Obeying God's Commands' – Mark 7:1-23

 

The text describes a confrontation between Jesus, his disciples and Jewish religious leaders.  The confrontation centered on the subject of obedience to the Word of God.  The key verse is found in vs.8 where Jesus declared to them, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men”.

 

The Jewish religious leaders were upset because Jesus and his disciples were not washing their hands in the proper, kosher manner. Jesus accused them of focusing on human tradition and neglecting obedience to the commands of God.

 

What human traditions do we hold on to today, that seem religious?  Some Christians have strong opinions about the type of music that they believe is appropriate for worship.  Others believe that those attending worship should follow a certain dress code.  Still others look down on fellow Christians who have tattoos or those who enjoy an alcoholic beverage in moderation.

 

Jesus wants us to carefully obey the commands in his Word.  Be careful not to add your opinions about people’s behavior.  Jesus got very upset with the Pharisees for their hypocrisy when it came to determining appropriate behavior. Beware of making the same mistake!



Mass Healing – Mark 6:53-56

Jesus had already become famous for healing people and his reputation preceded him.  The text tells us that people recognized Jesus and flocked to him in great numbers.  The people carried the sick to Jesus and He healed all who touched him.  Jesus healed lots of sick people!

 

This power to heal lots of people demonstrates Jesus’ divinity.  He is the eternal Son of God, fully divine and all powerful.  Jesus has a power to heal that’s not restricted by time and space. So, we can approach Jesus at any time in prayer as we pray for healing for loved ones, friends, work colleagues or ourselves.  Jesus still heals lots of sick people!

 

It’s mind boggling to think of the millions of prayers being said and answered every day.  But when we recognize Jesus and his true identity, it should not be a problem to believe that Jesus can hear and answer millions of prayers without any problems.

 

We see in the text that the people recognized Jesus (vs.54).  We also see in the text that people brought sick people to Jesus (vs.55).  These people fully expected Jesus to heal their loved ones or friends.  When we pray for healing for our loved ones, friends or ourselves we should pray with a sense of expectation.

 

Finally, believe Jesus has the power to heal those you bring in prayer.  Belief involves trust and faith.  In Mark 6:56 we read, “They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak and all who touched him were healed”.  I’m impressed with the people’s strong faith!  They believed that all they needed to do was touch the cloak or coat of Jesus and they would be healed.

 

Who do you need to bring to Jesus today for healing?  A mother or father?  Sister or brother? Yourself?   Whoever you bring, recognize Jesus as the eternal, all powerful Son of God and believe He has the power to heal!



Mexico Mission Sunday

No devotion available for this Sunday. A presentation was done by Adults and Students that went on the Mexico Mission Trip in June 2015.



And They Still Didn't Get It – Mark 6:45-52

No devotion is available for this date



Jesus Can Meet Your Needs – Mark 6:30-44

Jesus met real, felt, human needs in his ministry. In this amazing miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, the only miracle recorded in all four gospels except the resurrection, Jesus met the people’s needs. We learn from this miracle that Jesus can meet our needs too! Jesus can meet your needs!

Jesus met a variety of needs in this feeding of the 5,000. First, Jesus met the people’s need for food. We read in vs.42, “They all ate and were satisfied”. They had such an abundance of food that twelve baskets of food were collected at the end of the meal! Today, Jesus still meets our need for food.

Second, Jesus met the people’s need for attention. Deep within the human psyche a need to connect with others exists. God created us as social beings. But nearly all of us struggle with loneliness at one time or another. If this is true of you today, pray and ask God to give you some good friends. Jesus can also be our friend! Remember the old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”?

Third, Jesus met the people’s need for healing. In Matthew’s version of the miracle we read, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick”. (Matt 14:14) Jesus can heal you too! Whether it’s relational, emotional, physical or

Finally, Jesus can meet your need for greater faith. All of us could use greater faith! The disciples didn’t see beyond the five loaves of bread and two fish. When Jesus calls us to serve Him, we often consider only the realities of the situation, or the resources we have at hand. The Lord wants us to exercise faith when He calls us to minister! Step out by faith and trust the Lord to provide the resources for whatever ministry task He has called you to do for Him!

Remember, Jesus can meet your needs, whatever they are: a need for food, attention, healing or greater faith. We worship and serve a great and awesome God!



An Evil Response To A Successful Mission – Mark 6:14-29

Every generation struggles with evil. Our generation battles ISIS, home grown terrorists, Al Qaeda, selfish despots and tyrants who rule their countries oblivious to the suffering and poverty of their own people, rampant white collar crimes such as fraud, money laundering, racketeering and embezzlement. The list of evil activities and groups seems endless! But this doesn’t mean evil will prevail. As a matter of fact, though evil may appear powerful and pervasive, it will not prevail!

In the account of John the Baptist’s brutal death, evil seemed to prevail. But prior to Mark’s report of John’s death, we read of a very successful ministry journey of the disciples in Mark 6:6b-13. Following the account of John’s death, we read of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of 5000 men. In spite of the evil actions of a powerful man like King Herod, ministry continued!

This is true today too. Remember as we contend with evil activities, evil situations, evil intent, in spite of the fact that evil seems rampant, it will not prevail. At times, evil can seem very powerful too. But again, it will not prevail! The Bible tells us the end of the story: Jesus wins, not Satan!

Jesus was affected by John the Baptist’s death. We read in Matthew’s account, “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew privately by boat to a solitary place” (Matt 14:13). Though affected by John’s death, Jesus continued to minister.

Evil can and does affect Christian ministry. Evil actions can break up churches, ministries, marriages, etc. But again, evil will not prevail! Let us engage in ministry aware of Satan’s evil schemes to destroy, discourage and denigrate Christian ministries. Keep going in your ministry in spite of the presence of evil!



Share Your Faith In Word And Deed – Mark 6:6-13

Jesus sent his disciples out on a ministry journey.  He told them to share their faith in word and deed!  The key verse is vs.7,  “Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits”.  Jesus had been mentoring his disciples and decided they needed to get out and do ministry.  Jesus sent the men out in pairs.  Ministry for Jesus is always a team effort!  In your ministry for Jesus, beware of lone ranger ministry.  Enlist at least one other believer to participate in ministry with you.  Jesus gave his disciples authority over evil spirits.  “Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world”. (1 John 4:4b)

 

Like the original disciples, we too have been sent out on a ministry journey.  The Lord has given us the task of ministering in both word and deed.  So, share your faith in word and deed!

In Mark 6:8-10 Jesus warns us about being concerned with our own comfort.  Some of us expect Christ to give us a comfortable life.  But ministry for Jesus can make us feel very uncomfortable at times!  Listen: if you want to grow in your faith and service for Christ, be willing to experience discomfort!

 

Share Jesus’ call to repent from sin.  The word “sin” is not in vogue in our culture.  It’s not a popular word!  But Jesus didn’t shy away from it.  In order for people to understand what Jesus did for them on the cross we must we willing to use the word “sin” and explain what it means. Finally, include ministry to both spiritual and physical needs of people.  Jesus did!  Strive for balance in caring for people’s spiritual and physical needs.   Who can be the beneficiary of your ministry of word and deed?



What To Do With Rejection – Mark 6:1-6

How do you handle rejection? I can think of several common responses: we get angry, or resentful, or discouraged; we might experience a sense of futility, and many times, we simply give up doing whatever we were doing that caused the rejection in the first place.

Jesus experienced a lot of rejection. In Mark 6:1-6 Jesus spoke about being rejected by the townspeople of Nazareth. The people in Nazareth simply couldn’t believe that the Jesus they heard in the synagogue teaching them was the same Jesus who had grown up in their town, before their very eyes. Wasn’t this Jesus the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Hadn’t he played with their kids in the dusty streets? Where did Jesus, the carpenter get this incredible knowledge?

In spite of the rejection from people Jesus knew well, Jesus continued in his ministry. We learn from his example, that when we experience rejection in ministry, we should also continue with our ministries! So, when you experience rejection, continue in your ministry! Like Jesus, be determined, steadfast and persistent in your ministry!

Having said this, there are times we need to move on in ministry. Perhaps leading your Care Group has run its course and God has something else in mind for you to do in order to serve. Listen for God’s voice every day to make sure you are doing what He wants you to do.

However, most of the time, God’s people give up to easily. As Jesus demonstrated, we should expect rejection, identify it and continue in ministry in spite of it. Further, don’t even let the fear of rejection deter you! Keep pressing on, fighting the good fight of faith and ministry. May God bless you in your service for Him and His kingdom!



Annual Prayer Service – Various Scriptures

DEVOTION ANNUAL PRAYER SERVICE
TIME OF DIRECTED PRAYER DURING WORSHIP
If you were not able to attend this past Sunday, here is the directed
prayer offered during the service. It might be a good guideline
to use throughout the Summer as a family time of prayer.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
Ask the Holy Spirit to silence all distractions and allow you
to pray today.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:32
Reflect on Jesus, on the Cross. Thank Him for what He did
for you. Thank God specifically for the good things that He
has graciously given you.

“To the elders among you… Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be;  not pursuing dishonest gain,  but eager to serve;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” 1 Peter 5:1-3
Pray for our church leadership – for God to help them be men
and women of faith as an example to all. Ask the Lord to
protect them, their marriages and families from the Evil One.

“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” Psalm 86:11
Pray for our ministry as a church. Ask God to direct us, correct
us, encourage us – whatever He needs to do that we would
glorify Him more. Pray the same for you and your family, that
God would do whatever He needs to do, that would glorify Him.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Pray that God would grab hold of our graduates, that He would protect them as they move into this new season, that they would not depart from the faith. Pray for graduates you know by name. Pray for the children and youth of our church and in your family that they would be strong and grow in their faith.



COME, HOLY SPIRIT! – Acts 2:1-13,40-41

We celebrate Pentecost on Sunday, May 24. Pentecost was a Jewish feast that celebrated the harvest of crops. Jews gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate God’s bounty. As recorded in Acts 2, Jews from all over the world were present for this Jewish celebration. But something powerful happened: the Holy Spirit descended on the people with such power and force that 3,000 Jews became believers in Christ on that one day! Isn’t it interesting that the Jewish feast of bounty becomes the Christian celebration of bounty for the kingdom of God? The Holy Spirit made a powerful difference! He continues to make a powerful difference today. He makes a powerful difference in the world. Often times we have a hard time seeing and understanding how He’s active in the world. The enormous problems of global terrorism, natural disasters, moral relativism, the eroding of family values and rampant drug use receive lots of attention from us. But consider this: things would be much worse without the active presence of the Holy Spirit! They really would! Do you have an unbelieving co-worker, neighbor, family member or friend? Ask the Holy Spirit to move powerfully in their heart and convince them of the truth of Christ! The Holy Spirit also makes a powerful difference in the church. He inspires our worship! He guides our leaders! The presbytery worship service we hosted on May 15th was very powerful, largely because of the Spirit’s presence among us. His presence was real and palpable. Finally, the Holy Spirit makes a powerful difference in our lives. The Holy Spirit helps us make difficult decisions, gives us spiritual gifts for ministry and makes His fruit manifest. Remember the fruit of the Spirit that Paul lists in Galatians 5? He exudes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control from our lives. Remember that the Holy Spirit lives within you, if you are a believer. He will help you live the Christian life! He makes a powerful difference in our world, church and lives!