Friday, March 5, 2021

His Plan...

"And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly." -- Mark 8:22-25
I broke my ankle in a motorcycle accident a number of years ago. The damage was far more extensive than expected and the recovery took a lot longer than usual. But, as the Doctor promised, time and rest brought healing. Such is the case with the human body, for we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:1). A good physician considers all the differing needs of his patient and has a plan.

When the Lord performs surgery on us he considers every need we have from top to bottom. Sometimes, as with this blind man, the personal need may require a very different approach than past occasions. The Lord is concerned with our body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). As the Great Physician, the Lord takes each of us into his care with individual attention and he has a plan.

Too often, we grow impatient with the Lord's work in our lives. We expected healing, improvement or change to come in our way. Then the Lord gives us a thorough "scan" and chooses a different way to proceed. Will you trust the Great Physician for what he does best my friend? Will you wait for his unique and individual care to bring you his blessing? Remember, he has a plan... and his plan is always PERFECT!!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Compassion in the Details...

“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” - Mark 8:2-3
Many years ago my mother suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for some time. The church family was greatly concerned for our family and prayed for us faithfully. There were some dear folks though that were very practical in their concern and invited my father and me over for supper more than once. Their compassion was in the details of life.

Jesus spent three days with four thousand people and at the end of the "conference" He was quite aware of their needs. The Lord had concern for the crowd as He so often did, but more than this He considered the practical outcome of their long trip home. Jesus' compassion was in the details of life.

Do you find yourself wondering if the Lord ever considers all the little things that weigh upon you my friend? Yes, you know that He is aware of your big needs, such as a new job, restored health, reconciled family or financial provision. But, is He concerned about a sandwich for today's lunch? I believe that He is just as focused on the practical needs of every day as the bigger picture. His compassion is also in the details of life.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Miraculous...

"And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak." - Mark 7:37
In the 21st century, people are still intrigued enough by illusionists to pay good money to see their shows. The awe factor seems to be alive and well as audiences watch the varied escapades of a Chris Angel, David Blaine or David Copperfield. It is a sad fact that while so many are amazed by an illusion, they are ho-hum when it comes to the truly miraculous.

When the Lord traveled throughout town and country, he performed many miracles. People were overwhelmed by the power of God present in His ministry. They sought the Lord Jesus from miles around; some for healing and others to simply sit under His teaching and observe His mighty works. For these followers, there was a genuine astonishment beyond measure as they experienced the truly miraculous.

How about it my friend? After you believe that you've seen it all, have you lost the ability to be astonished beyond measure? Is there little or no room for the awe factor when it comes to the mighty power of God? Have you lost the very sense of expectation? And as a result, do you rarely ask the "impossible" from our Lord? Remember, there was a day that "the wall fell down" (Joshua 6:20), "the sun stood still" (Joshua 10:13) and "the iron did swim" (2 Kings 6:6 KJV). The Lord does all things well, so expect the truly miraculous and be astonished beyond measure!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

An Undivided Heart...

"And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’" - Mark 7:6-7
Isn't it ironic that many people criticize those who are devoted to the company for which they work? They use a derogatory term for such a person by calling them a "company man". There doesn't seem to be any employee loyalty any more. They are very few who have an undivided heart for their employer.

As we read the passage above, we understand that loyalty and devotion has been a rare commodity for generations. Most people are simply focused on themselves and have no real devotion to anyone, including the Lord.  They honor Him with their lips and surface obedience to get all they can out of Him. They are very few who have an undivided heart for the Lord.

Which will it be my friend... lips or heart? Will you wear the cross or proudly display your "fish" bumper sticker, but spend most of your time on personal pursuits? Do you ridicule those who you consider to be "fanatics" for Jesus? Maybe it's time to leave the crowd behind and become one of the very few who have an undivided heart for the Lord.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Hardened Hearts...

 "When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened." - Mark 6:47-52

Spring is coming soon. Just last week I had my shovels all sharpened up, getting ready for another storm. Soon the flowers will be blooming, the trees will be budding and the grass will be growing. I'll be so caught up with getting the lawn mower ready to cut the grass that I'll be oblivious to the miracles around me. Spring is amazing, and if I'm not careful I'll miss the beauty and wonder of it because my familiarity and busyness has hardened my heart.

Imagine the disciples walking with Jesus every day, watching him perform miracles again and again. They saw such wonderful works of God and yet they missed the point and didn't understand. How could this be you might ask. How could anyone participate in feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, having twelve baskets of food left over, and be oblivious to the miracle? Familiarity and busyness can harden the heart.

God is doing tremendous things in your life right now. He's performing miracles moment by moment and if you're not careful, you're going to miss it. As spring arrives take time to watch as the flowers bloom. Slow down and feel the breeze across your face. Take note as the grass sprouts up with new color and fresh life. Step back and watch the Spirit of God mold your life into the likeness of Jesus. Don't be so familiar and busy that you harden your heart.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Unbelief...

"And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief." -- Mark 6:5-6 
G. Campbell Morgan grew up in a Christian home and never questioned that the Bible was the Word of God. But in college, his faith was severely challenged by the philosophies of the day, and he began to entertain doubts. After a steady exposure to skepticism and unbelief, he wrote, "There came a moment when I was sure of nothing.”

The surrounding region was abuzz with reports of miraculous works performed by Jesus. The evidence was in and the numbers of lives touched and changed were numerous. People traveled great distances to hear the Lord and receive healing. Should there not have been a "mighty work" done where ever He traveled? Such would be true were it not for "unbelief".

Unbelief cripples the soul and hinders the mighty work of God. The Lord responds to belief and unbelief. Where there is doubt there is darkness. Where there is faith there is freedom. What is your "Faith Quotient" today my friend? Jesus said in Mark 9:23, "All things are possible for one who believes". Is your life marked by the "possibilities" of faith or the "impossibilities" of unbelief?

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Powerful became Personal...

"After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat." - Mark 5:40-43 
Over the years we've heard about some amazing new medication that will rock the world of health. We heard all the testimonies about unbelievable results from many people who had been helped. We were convinced that this treatment would bring hope and healing to a loved one but... it's wasn't available to the public. We needed the powerful to become personal.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life. On the Lord's Day we celebrate His resurrection with joy and singing. We are reminded of the Lord's miraculous victory over death. We confess the resurrection of Christ as the very foundation of our faith. But hearing and singing about it doesn't bring a change until it comes home. When the risen Savior brings new life to a loved one or friend... the powerful becomes personal.

While our resurrection day is yet future, it begins when the Lord brings us from death to life, from darkness to the light, from bondage to freedom. We need the Lord to come home in our hearts before we can be at home in heaven. As Job said in Job 42:5... "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you."  The wonderful truth about the risen Christ is... the powerful became personal.