…remove this cup from me; yet not what I want , but what you want. Mark 14:27-42 God did not force Jesus to drink. Yet even for Christ, there were some things that could not be avoided; he chose to drink because God’s desire was his desire. Although the spirit of support from his disciples may have been comforting, Jesus knew that when the time came they weren’t quite ready to drink from the cup he was about to drink. So it is with us; there simply are some things we can not avoid. Our friends and family with all their good intention and compassion will have no say in the matter. Going in, when the time comes, perhaps our circumstance may be unavoidable but our praise is not. When it is finished know that God will have heard every word of praise from our mouths, and we too will arise beholding His likeness.
“there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” Praise him at all times and experience the cup of salvation and glory in his Word.
…but the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. Acts 27:27-44 Ever wonder why God brings certain people into your life? Even though Paul assured his boat mates and captures that the key to their survival was that they all needed to stay in the ship, there were those who believed the weight of the boat needed to be lightened. The first to go would have to be the prisoners. Sometimes we find our selves captured in various situations and the first thing we want to do is jump ship. But if we just hang in there a little while longer we find that it is often safer to stay where we are rather than battle the storms that rise to keep us from getting safely to the other side. Like the centurion that protected Paul, God places those soldiers in our lives as well, to intercede on our behalf. As for our steadfastness in the storm, perhaps we are being called to make disciples on the way to that peaceful shore.
Why was the ointment wasted in this way? Mark 14:1-11 While in the house of Simon the leper, a woman with an alabaster jar of costly ointment pours it on the head of Jesus. Some thought she was being wasteful and should have sold the ointment and gave the money to the poor. Jesus’ response to their misguided compassion at first seems selfish. Yet Christ is of course perfectly right. We always have the poor. Why do we wait for a windfall of funds? We can and should already be giving to the poor because money isn’t the only thing they need. Of the times when we are poor in spirit, only one act of giving is necessary. Like the woman and the alabaster jar we pour out the treasure that is our heart to God, the one act of worship that is never wasted.
Beware, keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come. Mark 13:28-37 I used to fight sleep; especially when I was trying to get something done. But the reality is that I’m just not that effective or creative when I am tired. I want to give God all that I have, receive all that God has to give and be ready when the time comes. The only way I can do this is to take the proper rest and trust God’s timing.
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;… Psalm 1 This is where it all begins – Happiness. Yet who among us has not followed bad advice, taken a path we probably should not have taken, or sat in the scoffer’s seat? After we’ve done all these things what’s left? The spirit within that cries out. Like a parent to a child God answers with love and discipline. Then redeemed, we go forth and try again.
“…she out of her poverty has put in everything she had.” Mark12:35-44 This passage is often used for stewardship campaigns. It is equally, if not more so about faith. While teaching in the temple, Jesus warns against those who “devour the widow’s houses and for the sake of appearance, say long prayers.” Knowing this, why would anyone put anything in the treasury let alone 100% of all that they have, if not for their faith by the grace of God? Additionally, why would the widow give 100% of all she had when the law only required a 10th? It seems this act of faith isn’t about money at all but rather about trusting enough to give 100% of our life over to God.
“keep him in custody, but let him have some liberty and don’t prevent any of his friends from taking care of his needs.” Acts 24:1-23 Ever wonder why you are who you are or why you are where you are right now? When Paul was accused by the Jews and brought before the Roman Council, one aspect of his identity (Roman citizenship) not only served to benefit him, more importantly it served to glorify God. Paul’s message, carried a double edge – saving and convicting the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles. When we like Paul say yes to God’s will and his way, it doesn’t matter who we are or where we are, God our protector and provider will also use us to his glory as well!
“Why are you putting me to the test?…Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Mark12:13-27 I like shoes! Recently, I purchased a pair of which the color and style were exactly what I had been looking for. I’d finally gotten the first opportunity to wear my new shoes and by the end of the day as I was preparing to spend my usual evening time with God I chose not to change into my slippers as I was accustomed to do. After about two and a half hours I succumbed to the realization that more of my attention was on my new shoes rather than God. I had been sneaking peeks at them as I tried to study the scripture! So I got up and readied myself for bed and that’s when I was reminded that those things that we think are necessary in this life are of no use to God! More importantly, along with our praise, worship, and thanksgiving, when we set aside time to study his Word our full attention belongs to God as well.
Then he began to speak to them in parables.”Mark11:27-12:12 Speaking plain truth is difficult for for the proud to hear. Pride, if not careful closes the mind and heart to ones own truth. Parables allow one to view truth from a distance (told in third person). If you can understand the parable you can understand the truth and then apply it to your own life. Even when the Pharisees understood the parable they refused to accept the truth. We must be careful not to let pride keep us from hearing the truth. Having difficulty focusing on the Kingdom? Read a parable!
“When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.”
What has God given you that you are unwilling to return to him?
… as they passed by they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Mark 11:12-26 Just the day before Jesus cursed that fig tree for not having any fruit! But in defense of the fig tree it wasn’t the season to find fruit on that tree! Jesus was hungry and frustrated and the fig tree was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When his disciples pointed out the withered tree to Jesus, I believe he realized that he had to reign in his own authority because the tree hadn’t done anything wrong and yet suffered (along with those who depended on that fruit when it was in season) as a result of Christ’s authority over it. However, Jesus discourse following his awareness of the withered fig tree encourages us to watch what we say. Our words in Christ have power and authority yet sometimes out of frustration our passion gets in the way. So today if you find yourself to be the fig tree remember to forgive because tomorrow you may need to be forgiven.