Archive for October, 2016

TRUST: Have faith in God

October 31, 2016

I believe the post will be real brief today. As I turned to Mark 11 to read for my Word from God today, it was glaring. It jumped off the page. It was obvious what my meditation for the day needed to be. It was clear what I needed to write about. It is simple; yet, hard to do. TRUST is hard to come by but even more difficult to do. Nevertheless, TRUST: Have faith in God.

22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

We see clearly that Jesus tells disciples namely Peter to TRUST: Have faith in God.  In Matthew 21:21, Matthew tells it like this 21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.

TRUST: Have faith in God. The word for faith here is pistis (pē’-stēs) which is the same word in Hebrews 11:1 which says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is trust, confidence, and reliance upon someone or something. Jesus makes it clear who the follower of Christ’s faith needs to be in – God (theos). The one true God, Jehovah, and Jesus Christ (Jn 17:3). The Triune God.

Here we have the mandate from Jesus – TRUST: Have faith in God. We are to place our confidence in God as we seek Him in prayer through life. The way to receive is through a believing prayer; however, let’s not take this to mean that God is a genie ready to give us our every request. It must be in accordance to His will. Despite that, the mandate is to TRUST: Have faith in God.

What are you facing today? What is troubling you? Where do you need to see God work in your circumstance or in your mind/heart regarding that circumstance. TRUST: Have faith in God.

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TRUST: Assess The Situation

October 27, 2016

Long before I took any college business or educational supervision courses, I learned the need to check out a situation before drawing a conclusion and taking action. I am still working on the art of that though. Little kids learn quickly to survey the situation. Just this month, I saw a video on how babies respond to the look, sounds and actions of their parents. In an excerpt from this psychological research, the video showed how the baby responded to his mother smiling, talking and cooing at him. Then, the parent went expressionless and did not speak. Instantaneously, the baby recognized the change in facial expressions, heard the lack of engaging sounds and knew something was wrong. The smile was erased quickly from his face. The baby tried motions, laughter and sounds to try to bring his smiling, talking and cooing mother back to no avail. At that, the baby began to express his frustration in the only way he knew how; he cried. At that moment, the mother assumed the engaging behavior. The baby stopped crying and began smiling. The baby showed us TRUST: Assess The Situation then act.

For most uninformed people, Jesus, in the temple with the money changers and dove merchants, does not look so loving. However, before that, Jesus demonstrated TRUST: Assess The Situation. Mark 11

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

From reading the scriptures, we see consistency in Jesus’ action when He reaches a town or city with a temple.When He gets to that town, He goes there almost exclusively to teach. Remember Jesus as a boy when He said, ““Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”” (Luke 2:49) In that case, He was saying to Joseph and Mary –TRUST: Assess The Situation. In Mark 11, Jesus again demonstrates TRUST: Assess The Situation. He goes into the temple courts and makes an assessment of what is going on.

Later in the passage, we see Jesus return in action. He “began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”” Jesus assessed the situation and took action. He always does.

For the believer today, 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (1 Corinthians 6:19). Followers of Christ also know the Holy Spirit TRUST: Assess The Situation.  In John 14:26, Jesus tells us “26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ” We know the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to speak to us. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The temple courts are our mind and the inner temple is our heart.

As a follower of Christ, we are not our own. We belong to God; therefore, we must demonstrate TRUST: Assess The Situation. The Word of God in Proverbs 19:2 stresses TRUST: Assess The Situation. I like the way that verse sounds in this way – it is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor be hasty and miss the way. You can click the link for biblical translations.

Ask God to lead you today in TRUST: Assess The Situation. There are circumstances that will challenge you. Let God lead you today as you TRUST: Assess The Situation.

TRUST: Do You See the King?

October 25, 2016

Several weeks ago, I was in an unusual position. I was a passenger in a vehicle. I was riding with my sister. We had just returned from dropping off her car at a friends repair shop. As we were headed back down Interstate 85, I looked up and was amazed. In all the years that I have lived in Atlanta and had traveled to Gwinnett County, I had never seen Stone Mountain as I drove down the highway. That is what I exclaimed. My sister simply stated, “That’s because you are in a new seat. You are normally the driver, but today, you are in the passenger’s seat. You have time to see things, to look around, to observe what’s around you because the driver has to focus on the road” TRUST: Do You See the King?

In life, sometimes we get to focused on the road that we miss all that is there until we get to the destination. I was amazed that I had never seen Stone Mountain. Now, today, I am amazed that the disciples and the people who followed Jesus from Bethan to Jerusalem missed some things, some important things as they traveled to their destination – Jerusalem and the temple. TRUST: Do You See the King?

Mark 11

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Whether in front or behind of Jesus, the people shouted

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

TRUST: Do You See the King? The people said the right things, but missed the boat entirely. They missed it because they, like the driver in a car, were not focused on the bigger picture. They said, “Hosanna!” which is the highest praise. They were right in praising Jesus, but they did not know exactly why Jesus deserves the highest praise. They did not know that God incarnate was among them. They said, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” They thought they were blessed because Jesus would end Roman Rule, but Jesus came to end the reign and rule of sin in the lives of man. He came that we might have life and life more abundantly.

TRUST: Do You See the King? They said, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Despite that, they did not realize that Jesus came in the name of the Lord. Had they, they never would have shouted “Crucify Him” a couple of days later. The disciples did not even fully grasp who He was either. I am not condemning any of them for not recognizing Jesus as we all miss the boat on who He is and what He has called us to be and do in Him. We do not see the King.

They said “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” Jesus was the apex of the coming kingdom of their father David. Jesus was the prophesied King of Kings; yet, we learn in John 1:11 that He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. They did not receive Him because of TRUST: Do You See the King?  They did not see the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Rather than being passengers in life, they assumed the role of driver.

Today, God is calling us to assume our designated and rightful role of passenger in this trip called life. God has been and always will be the driver. We can act like we are the driver, but we do not determined where we will go, how we will get there or even when we will get there. God is in control.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
    and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
    for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
    you are exalted as head over all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

12 In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!” Revelation 5:12-13

Yes, we need to examine TRUST: Do You See the King?  Assume the role of passenger in life, God is in control.  When you do, you will see the beauty that God intended for you to see as you experience life and life more abundantly.

TRUST: People Love You Today and Loathe You Tomorrow

October 24, 2016

We all know that people are fickle and as we say in my circles, trifling. TRUST: People Love You Today and Loathe You Tomorrow. This is not anymore true than in the life of Jesus. In Mark 11, we see the people full of excitement and expectation of those who thought Jesus came to overthrow Roman rule. The Messiah had been prophesied. Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah; however, His mission was the polar opposite of what the people were expecting. The kingdom that He came to establish was in the hearts and minds of people rather than a political stance or structure. When peoples’ expectations are not satiated in the manner envisioned, TRUST: People Love You Today and Loathe You Tomorrow.

Let’s see it in action.

Mark 11

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Hosanna was the highest praise that could be given. Jesus received a hero’s welcome by the people because they thought they would overthrow the Roman rule in county. Jesus was going to stop the intrusions into their way of life by the Romans. Before it is over, some of the people had turned on Jesus. Listen to the commentary in Mark 15

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate,10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.

14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

TRUST: People Love You Today and Loathe You Tomorrow. In just a short period of time, Jesus went from being given the highest praise to people calling for His death – crucify Him! Wow. I wonder how we do the same to Jesus by failing to trust in Him. In one minute, we are praising Him. We are shouting, writing, singing, dancing about something that God has allowed in our lives that met our expectation – no exceeded our expectation. We call them blessings. On the other hand, let something that appears to be distasteful happen in our lives; we are ready to crucify Jesus with our retracted belief or faith. TRUST: People Love You Today and Loathe You Tomorrow.

Watch your thoughts and life today. Things may not go as you expect. People will disappoint you, but your hope should not be in them. Will you Love or Loathe Jesus in that moment. In Psalm 34:1, David said, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Will we follow that encouragement or will we again be like the people who shouted “crucify Him”? TRUST: People Love You Today and Loathe You Tomorrow.

TRUST is hard to come by but even more difficult to do.

October 21, 2016

“Trust is like pieces of broken glass. U can never put it back. Even if u do, There’ll still be cracks. Things will never be the same again.” Anonymous.

Today, public trust in the US government remains near historic lows. Only 19% of Americans today say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right “just about always” (3%) or “most of the time” (16%). In the US, Our World Data reports that the General Social Survey (GSS) has been gathering information about trust attitudes since 1972. It suggests that people trust each other less today than 40 years ago. According to FranklinCovey,

  • Only 51% of employees have trust and confidence in senior management.
  • Over the past 12 months, 76% of employees have observed illegal or unethical conduct on the job.
  • Only 36% of employees believe their leaders act with honesty and integrity.
  • With regard to trust, Gallup’s research shows that 96% of engaged employees, but only 46% of disengaged employees, trust management. As the age-old question goes, “Which came first—the chicken (distrust) or the egg (disengagement)?” It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that gradually grinds the organization to a crippled pace, or even to a halt.

  • A Personnel Today study noted the importance of gaining the trust of employees as the key to high engagement.
  • According to a survey conducted by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in late 2007, 77% of Americans lack confidence in their leaders.

TRUST is hard to come by but even more difficult to do. Much of our ability to trust is impacted by the imperfect world in which we live. All around us are reminders of how people, organizations, companies and governments have failed. It is no wonder that we carry those same mindsets into how we interact with God. While understandable, it is wrong and sinful to distrust God based on how man behaves. It is akin to someone distrusting you because of what your sibling, parent or spouse did. Is there a relationship? Yes, but there is no basis of a correlation being drawn. Likewise, we need to reform our perception and efforts to trust God.

The Israelites are an example for us to learn from. Listen to God’s commentary on mankind’s failure to trust in Him in Deuteronomy 1:

29 Then I said to you,“Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. 34 When the Lord heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: 35 “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.”

It is clear that God wants and commands that man trust in Him, but we reflect on TRUST is hard to come by but even more difficult to do. He wants us to be faithful to Him. We superimpose man’s attributes of imperfection, finiteness, lack of knowledge and power and the like on God. This causes us to have faults in our ability to see God’s perfect and holy character. Consequently, we fail to trust God. Charles Stanley calls those Moments of Faith (MOF) Faith Failures. Dr. Stanley lists three consequences of Faith Failures seen in Numbers 13-14:

  1. We suffer disappointment – the more God wants to bless you, the worse the penalty when you will not trust Him. They said it was better in Egypt than better in the Promised Land
  2. We develop a distorted view of our circumstances – back to Egypt, wilderness and slavery – but they were on the brink of blessing but they laid it all down because of what ten men said rather than what God said
  3. We cause others to sin – Numbers 14:1 – they spent a miserable night – what happened, 30-32 – surely you will not come into the land, your children will enter. They chose to rebel against the will of God in their lives which was absolutely awesome. When you fail or refuse Jesus, you are rebelling against the will of God and God.  

TRUST is hard to come by but even more difficult to do. Whether we profess to follow Jesus, Allah, Shiva or Vishnu, Buddha or the like, we all struggle in demonstrating TRUST or faith in who/what we believe. For those who follow Christ, it is an imperative that we TRUST in God. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Furthermore, the reason faith or TRUST is essential and vital is that without faith there is no salvation for your soul as 1 Peter 1:9 conveys.

Without faith, we have nothing. We have no confidence, no assurances, no absolutes, no peace. I read a quote on front of the program at church this past Sunday. It said:

When you’re down to nothing,  God is up
to something. The faithful see the invisible,
believe the incredible and the receive
the impossible.

Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Since that is the case, we should invest our thoughts and energies in getting to know Jehovah. When we learn who He is, His person/character, where He is, His presence, what He has guaranteed, His promises and what He can do, His power, we will see the invisible, believer the incredible and receive the impossible. That is what TRUST/faith is all about. At that point, we effectively deal with TRUST is hard to come by but even more difficult to do. 

To be encouraged to grow in your faith, read 2 Chronicles 14 and 2 Kings 18-19.

TRUST: The Places the People of God have been are Significant.

October 19, 2016

The places where significant and important people have always been recognized in history. It is not necessarily the place that is so important, but what happened there because of a person is the most significant about the place. Take my city, Atlanta (ATL), for example. The ATL was very nearly the MAR. In the early 1840s, what is now Atlanta called itself “Marthasville,” a nod to former governor Wilson Lumpkin’s daughter Martha. The name changed to Atlanta in 1847, and although J. Edgar Thomson, chief engineer of the Georgia Railroad, gets credit for coining the “Atlanta” name, there is some debate over what inspired him. Some sources claim the aforementioned Martha Lumpkin’s middle name was Atalanta. Others claim that Thomson took inspiration from Greek mythology’s Atalanta. Still others claim that Thomson shortened the name from his original idea, “Atlantica-Pacifica.”(Mentalfloss)

Atlanta has a multitude of streets named after people, places and things that are often immediately identifiable: Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd, Martin Luther King Drive, Ralph McGill Boulevard, John Wesley Dobbs Ave, Lawrenceville Highway, Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, and Peachtree Street are just a few.

There is Grant Park named after Ulysses S. Grant who was the 18th President of the United States. As Commanding General of the United States Army, Grant worked closely with President Abraham Lincoln to lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Washington Park is one of the focal points of a historic district. Prior to the construction of Washington Park in 1919, there were no recreational parks in Atlanta available to African Americans. Maddox Park is named after former mayor Robert Maddox.

Mark 11

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

In Mark 11, we see another place named in the bible for some significant events surround important people in God’s plan to redeem man from the bondage of sin. The “Mount of Olives” is one of those places. TRUST: The Places the People of God have been are Significant.

According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, the “Mount of Olives”, so called from the olive trees with which its sides are clothed, is a mountain ridge on the east of Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:7; Ezek. 11:23; Zech. 14:4), from which it is separated by the valley of Kidron. It is about 200 feet above the level of the city. The road from Jerusalem to Bethany runs as of old over this mount. It was on this mount that Jesus stood when he wept over Jerusalem. “No name in Scripture,” says Dr. Porter, “calls up associations at once so sacred and so pleasing as that of Olivet. The ‘mount’ is so intimately connected with the private, the devotional life of the Saviour, that we read of it and look at it with feelings of deepest interest and affection. Here he often sat with his disciples, telling them of wondrous events yet to come, of the destruction of the Holy City; of the sufferings, the persecution, and the final triumph of his followers (Matt. 24). Here he gave them the beautiful parables of the ten virgins and the five talents (25); here he was wont to retire on each evening for meditation, and prayer, and rest of body, when weary and harassed by the labours and trials of the day (Luke 21:37); and here he came on the night of his betrayal to utter that wonderful prayer, ‘O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt’ (Matt. 26:39). And when the cup of God’s wrath had been drunk, and death and the grave conquered, he led his disciples out again over Olivet as far as to Bethany, and after a parting blessing ascended to heaven (Luke 24:50, 51; Acts 1:12).” This mount, or rather mountain range, has four summits or peaks: (1) the “Galilee” peak, so called from a tradition that the angels stood here when they spoke to the disciples (Acts 1:11); (2) the “Mount of Ascension,” the supposed site of that event, which was, however, somewhere probably nearer Bethany (Luke 24:51, 52); (3) the “Prophets,” from the catacombs on its side, called “the prophets’ tombs;” and (4) the “Mount of Corruption,” so called because of the “high places” erected there by Solomon for the idolatrous worship of his foreign wives (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13; Vulg., “Mount of Offence”). TRUST: The Places the People of God have been are Significant.

TRUST: The Places the People of God have been are Significant. In the passage above, we learn why the Mount of Olives is so significant. It is so important because of Jesus. As followers of Christ, God expects the world to be different and transformed because of us, “… a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9

How are you declaring His praises? Are you thinking, speaking and living in a manner that praises your God and Savior? If not, confess and repent. If you are, Hallelujah. Press on and TRUST: The Places the People of God have been are Significant. The world will be different because you, as a follower of Jesus, have been there.

TRUST: Jesus Answers Him Who Cries Out to Him.

October 12, 2016

We all have needs, but we go about meeting them in a wide variety of ways. Some take the matter squarely on their shoulders placing confidence in their abilities, skills and experience. There are others who sit back and wait for someone to do something for them as their trust is in others. A fewer select of people appeal to God to meet their needs but take the action requisite of them to ensure their appeal is heard.

We see a prime example of this in Mark 10 with Bartimaeus. He was a blind man who was subject to the mercy of others helping meet his need. He knew that their response was not consistent. I am sure he had learned that over his life, but now, Bartimaeus was told that Jesus was in the area. He positioned himself along the way to be able to present his needs to Jesus. Bartimaeus shows us how to TRUST: Jesus Answers Him Who Cries Out to Him.

Mark 10

46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

The city of Jericho is symbolic for a number of reasons, but namely for the manner in which the Israelites captured it in Joshua 6. From that account, we see God’s faithfulness to the Israelites as well as the Gentiles represented by Rahab and her family. All who professed and demonstrated faith in Jehovah were given victory and spared. Even an accursed rebuilt town, Jesus gives notice to  TRUST: Jesus Answers Him Who Cries Out to Him.

Now, Jericho is the site of another demonstration of God’s power and the freeing of people who demonstrate TRUST: Jesus Answers Him Who Cries Out to Him. The example here is one that shows us how to petition God in prayer. First, he had faith in hearing that it was Jesus. The blind man began to shout or cry out to Jesus in efforts to get His attention. The man was in the way in which Jesus was going, so he could cry out to Jesus as He passed by. He also appealed to the mercy of Christ which is not to be overlooked. It is by mercy and grace that we are all saved. Next, the man was not deterred in his pursuit of Jesus, and he was persistent in his petition of Jesus. The people tried to quiet him. Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” He did not let their shushing of him quit. He persisted in his petition of Jesus. Then, Jesus gave him His attention asking what he wanted for which he answered “Rabbi, I want to see.” His faith led them to appeal to Jesus for his need – his sight.

TRUST: Jesus Answers Him Who Cries Out to Him, but it is one’s faith that activates Jesus’ response to one’s cry. The text tells us “52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” Hebrews 11 confirms this position on faith. It is our faith that moves Jesus. The faith to cry out to Him believing that He will hear us. The faith to believe that “… if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” 1 John 5:15

What are the matters of your life that are holding you back? What is the thing that handicaps you? Let Bartimaeus’ example propel us to TRUST: Jesus Answers Him Who Cries Out to Him. Will you cry out to the Lord in faith about what you need? Match your faith to action and what God respond to your need. TRUST: Jesus Answers Him Who Cries Out to Him!

TRUST: You Become Great by Serving

October 11, 2016

In the post TRUST: Whose The Greatest?, James and John wanted to take positions of honor, but honor that is asked for is not honor at all. True honor is bestowed not requested. They were more concerned about what they wanted rather than the will of God.The title of that post was answered by Jesus in Word and in deed. First, Jesus was demonstrating to them who was the greatest by going up to Jerusalem. They knew danger lurked there for Jesus and for them. In the verse proceeding verse 35, Jesus had told the twelve that He would be mocked, scourged, spat on, and killed then after the third day He will rise again, but they did not get it. As a consequence, Jesus

Mark 10

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

In verses 42-45, Jesus contrasts the leadership of the Gentiles with Godly Leadership. In essence, He says those who really are not in control know it and try to compensate for it by lording over those who are subject to them. Conversely, Jesus, who is Lord over all as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, does not lord over those who follow Him. He serves. TRUST: You Become Great by Serving

Jesus teaches the ten and James and John through His example. Specifically, He tells them do not be like the Gentiles, instead whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. Jesus tells them TRUST: You Become Great by Serving. As usual, Jesus didn’t just talk about what to be or do, He lived it. Jesus told them “ For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus proclaimed that if I, God Almighty, could humble Himself and serve, so should you. Jesus told them that He was going to give His life as a ransom for many. The implications of that can’t be captured by me, but it is the means for which God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Colossians 1:13). This is how we are saved from the wrath of God. Jesus, the LORD, served. Jesus, the LORD, gave His life, so we, the lesser, the created, could experience life as God desired for those who have been called.

TRUST: You Become Great by Serving not by lording over people or seeking for yourself.

 

 

TRUST: Whose The Greatest?

October 7, 2016

Whether reading Abraham Maslow or the bible, literature abounds regarding man’s need to feel significant. How we arrive or satiate that need makes all the difference. In America, there is a penchant for man to rely upon himself. We have sayings like self-made man or pull yourself up by your boot straps. Then, we have debate after debate about the G.O.A.T., the greatest of all time, for baseball, basketball, football and other areas like poets or novelist. Those and others presupposes that man is responsible for what he accomplishes. We constantly are asked to TRUST: Whose The Greatest?

In the post TRUST: We Are So Insensitive, we learned that one becomes so fixated on himself that what is most important, Jesus, gets lost. God has been and will always be what is most important; yet, we, like the disciples James and John, assert ourselves in that position because of our selfishness which is sin. Jesus had told them again that He was going to suffer and die, but their focus was on themselves not Jesus.

Mark 10

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” 41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.

TRUST: Whose The Greatest?  In man’s eyes as James and John illustrate, he is most important, but through the perspective of the creator, Jesus, God Almighty, God is the most important. Long before the disciples were created, God established His response to TRUST: Whose The Greatest?  “This is what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6)

James and John wanted to take positions of honor, but honor that is asked for is not honor at all. True honor is bestowed not requested. They were more concerned about what they wanted. We learned this from Mark 9 – He said to them,“The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him,and after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. 33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. – We know from that text the disciples missed Jesus was going to die, but they certainly were jockeying for position. They, like many Israelites, were thinking that Jesus came to establish a kingdom on earth where the Israelites would be in position of prominence, and as His main men, the disciples wanted to be in the seats of honor. That is what all the talk was about – TRUST: Whose The Greatest? 

God had answered TRUST: Whose The Greatest? and again in the verses following our text today. Before we can receive that response, we must deal with our penchant to focus on us rather than God. TRUST: Whose The Greatest? – God is the greatest. What we should revel in is our relationship to Him not our perceived position in relationship to others who know Him or who do not. Rest in Him not in a position. “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.Matthew 11:28-29

 

 

TRUST: We Are So Insensitive

October 6, 2016

TRUST: We Are So Insensitive. Insensitive is defined as deficient in human sensibility, acuteness of feeling, or consideration;unfeeling; callous: dictionary.com Why are we so insensitive? That’s easy! Selfishness. When we think about ourselves over another, we can easily subjugate the needs of others no matter how important we say they are. 

I have to admit that I struggle in putting my needs beneath my wife’s. God calls for a man to love his wife as Christ loved the church – who died and gave Himself for her. That’s why Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives.” We need to be reminded that we are called to be sacrificial for our brides. When I get upset with my wife, it is because I refuse to put her needs above mine. TRUST: We Are So Insensitive. Jesus perfectly models how I should respond to my wife when I feel like I need her, but I don’t feel attended to. He models love which is the ultimate example of selflessness and the opposite of selfishness.

In Mark 10, Jesus had just told the disciples that He, the Son of Man, will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise. Look at how calloused, unfeeling and deficient in human sensibility the disciples were. TRUST: We Are So Insensitive

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

39 “We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”

We know they knew what was going on because they responded in amazement at Jesus courage to face death and were afraid at what was going to happen to them. Concern for self rose above concern for the Christ. That is how they straight ignored Jesus’ need to be loved and considered. He, after all, was dying for them too. At least in what is written, the disciples did not address what Jesus needed. It was about themselves. They did not ask Jesus how they could support Him. They did not express sorrow. They started asking about themselves. TRUST: We Are So Insensitive.

Even in that moment, Jesus was considerate of what they asked Him. We know it was authentic because He told them that what they asked for they didn’t know what they were asking for. They wanted one kind of blessing, but Jesus implied that they would experience another kind of blessing – the blessing of suffering for Christ. While they would not venture down that road on their own, it was and is a consequence of following Jesus. We will experience adversity, hardship, sufferings and trials all to bring us to dependence on God where He will respond to demonstrate His power and gain glory for Himself. Jesus modeled that too in the cross.

TRUST: We Are So Insensitive, but God loves us through our sinfulness and is committed to purifying our faith and heart for His glory. Today, realize that we are so insensitive. Ask God to help you put the needs of others before yours, so you can reveal the character of Christ in that response. May He be glorified in the process.