First responders…

Luke 5:27-32

 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”  And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

And leaving everything,…Jesus called; Levi responded, completely.  When we hear the call how do we react?  Do we have things to fix first, things to complete and put in order?  Or are we able to drop what we thought we were going to do to follow His call? 

 First responders hear the call to service and drop what they are doing to go.  They go to those in need of their assistance.  The call comes from the unhealthy who are in need of someone to  help them move toward health.  We, like Jesus, our first responder, can be ready to drop what we are doing to respond to the call for help.  Are we in a place where we can hear the call?  Are we willing to respond?  Have we been willing to sit at His feet and learn from His Word?  Are we equipped to do the task?  Are we found faithful?

Resistance…

Mark 14:43-52

And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders.  The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.”  As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.

Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.  But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

Jesus asked them, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about me.”

Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away.  One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him,  he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.

 Just as he said, they all fled.  Just as he said, he was taken.  Just as he said, they slept and did not watch.  They could not stand.

 “Am I leading a rebellion?”  “Am I some dangerous revolutionary?” Those resistant to change came with force to take one who was gentle, peaceful, meek but spoke words of change. The change is what raises the objection and gives the reason to quiet him.  A change that is inward with outward expression.  A change that does not use force but creates a world different enough to be seen as a threat to the present way of life.

 Two forces are in conflict and the agent of change is words.  Words that are heard and create change.  “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.”They have ears but cannot hear.”  How shall they hear unless someone tell them.”  Are we listening?  Are we speaking His Word?  We need the power the knowledge brings to stand when the change within brings conflict.  We need to be in the Word, praying if change is to come.  2 Chronicles 7:14  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves  and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

 We will read His Word, we will listen to what He says, we will humble ourselves and pray, we will show evidence of change.  He will hear us, forgive us and heal our land.  This is a Word that is active and alive!

Listen to him…

Mark 9:2-13

 Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them.  Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.

 Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials  —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified.

 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.”Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.

As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.  So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.”

 Then they asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes? ”

 Jesus responded, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be treated with utter contempt?  But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they chose to abuse him, just as the Scriptures predicted.”

 Six days after Jesus tells them about his coming death and resurrection, six days after a strong rebuke of Peter, he takes Peter with him for this experience.  This event provides confirmation for the disciples of who he is and what he must do.  They react as we all do when faced with what we don’t understand and don’t want; they react with denial–this can’t be, what does ‘rising from the dead’ mean?   When you learn from someone, bond with that one, love deeply, you do not want to hear about possible harm coming to them, or that they will be facing rejection.  The mind does not want to accept what might be right in front of them. 

“Listen to him.”  Affirming Jesus’ authority, existence and a command to hear him out.  Listen to him.  It applies today.  Are we listening to him?  Or do we question like a child, object, move into denial?  Are we listening to all that he says not just what we want to hear? 

He knew who he was, and we know who he is.  He knew what he must and could do, and we know what he did.  He teaches us who we are and what we can do.  Are we listening? Is there evidence that His Word is alive and active in us?

 Listen to him…

The second touch…

Mark 8:22-26

 When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him.  Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”

The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”

Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly. Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.”

 “Do you see anything?”  Partial sight is sometimes what we have concerning our relationship with Christ.  Seeing darkly as Paul put it, we don’t see clearly, we see men as trees walking. 

Don’t give up.  The second touch brought clear sight.  Yesterday we were left with the question: “Don’t you understand?”  Today we hear “Do you see anything?”

 Sometimes it isn’t enough to just read the Word, sometimes we need the second touch to see clearly.  Pray to understand;  God’s Word states in Proverbs :  Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God. 2:3-5 In Revelation it states seven (7) times that … “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. 2:29  David prayed to understand…Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. Psalm 119:27

With understanding, the Word of God comes alive and active to us and within us.  Let us seek the second touch!!

Do we hear, do we see…?

Mark 8:14-21

But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat.  As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.”

 At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’  Don’t you remember anything at all? When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?”

“Twelve,” they said.

And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”

“Seven,” they said. “Don’t you understand yet?” he asked them.

 Do we have eyes and not see?  Ears and not hear?  Do we not understand?  Yeast has the capability to grow and spread.  Beware, we must careful of what we listen to and focus on.  What we give ourselves over to  is what will grow and spread in our daily life and will affect  our life from that point on.  Do we focus on the negative talk at work?  Is it complaining at home? Is it gossip about others? Is it the use of mankind’s traditions and laws over God’s commands and principles?  All of this is like yeast, it can spoil, grow and spread or enhance, grow and spread. 

Yeast in a friendship bread starter will double in size and what originally would make one loaf of bread will now make four loaves.  A friend buried hers and it grew in the soil pushing up the dirt!

 Do we have eyes and see, ears and hear?  Do we understand?  Let God’s Word, His principles and commands grow and spread within us and within our lives, thoughts and actions.  Use His Word to push away the yeast that spoils. Philippians 4:8 NLT – And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Breath prayer – Lord help me think on things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  –Let His Word be active and alive in us.

Faith needs no ‘sign’…(deep sigh)

Mark 8:1-13

About this time another large crowd had gathered, and the people ran out of food again. Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will faint along the way. For some of them have come a long distance.”

His disciples replied, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?”

Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”

“Seven loaves,” they replied.

So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to his disciples, who distributed the bread to the crowd. A few small fish were found, too, so Jesus also blessed these and told the disciples to distribute them.

They ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were about 4,000 people in the crowd that day, and Jesus sent them home after they had eaten.Immediately after this, he got into a boat with his disciples and crossed over to the region of Dalmanutha.

 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.

When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.” So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake.

 The miracles weren’t enough?  The message from this passage speaks to me of the unwillingness to have faith…What drives the human race to want ‘proof-sign’?  We find it difficult when faced with a miracle to accept it.  We look for a logical cause/effect, or reason.  Then we ask for a sign!  We just don’t get it…he sighed deeply in his spirit…

If we have faith, we have no need of a ‘sign’.  We wouldn’t believe the ‘sign’ whatever it was if we lacked faith, or we would attempt to explain it away.  Faith comes from hearing; and hearing the Word of Christ.  They could not hear, they could not have faith.  Jesus spent time speaking, teaching, healing and yet they could not find faith to believe but asked for a sign.  Closed ears, closed minds. …he sighed deeply in his spirit… 

We hear the Word, we read the Word, we must also receive the Word, accept the Word.  Faith comes…then we need no sign, we just believe.  We know who He is and what He does.  Then we can accept by faith who he says we are and what we can do through Him.  At that point His Word which generated the faith, becomes active and alive in us.  Let others see that faith in us.

Be Opened….

Mark 7:31-37

Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.

Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!” Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!

Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news.They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”

 Jesus loved so deeply.  Open our ears so that we can hear His words and then speak them, passing on the love He demonstrated.  He told them not to tell and they couldn’t contain the message.   He wants us to hear… 

Can we hear the need around us?  Can we respond with the same deep love for the individual that He had?  Can we become who He says we are and do what He says we can do through Him?  We can.  Will we?  Will we allow the Word of God to be alive and active in us?

Knowlege is responsibility

James 4:17   Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do [it], to him it is sin.  http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Jam&c=4&v=1&t=NKJV#top

If you know the Lord’s will and don’t do it, it is sin.   If He calls you to a ministry and you don’t respond, it is sin.  If you know to eat one thing over another and don’t do it, it is sin.  When you ask for knowledge and receive it, then don’t follow through, that is sin.

Jeremiah 36:6  You go, therefore, and read from the scroll which you have written at my instruction, [fn]the words of the LORD, …” 28 Take yet another scroll, and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned. …29-30 And you shall say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, ‘Thus says the LORD: “You have burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why have you written in it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and cause man and beast to cease from here?’ ” Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: “He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night…32  Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote on it at the instruction of Jeremiah [fn]all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And besides, there were added to them many similar words. http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Jer&c=36&v=1&t=NKJV#top

 Read the words of the Lord.  They reveal who we are, showcase our true self.  Do not ‘burn’ the words of the Lord, but act on them.  Take action to change what needs to change, to make your relationship with God as it should be.

 

Hearing, but not doing

Readings:   Ezekiel 33, James 1:22, Isaiah 53:6

Summary;

 

they hear your words, but they do not do them;  from Ezekiel 33,

Be doers not hearer only from James 1:22

All we like sheep have gone astray  from Isaiah 53:6

 

Many come to hear (church, conventions, conferences) but what they hear  isn’t the food they think they want.  They want sweets not veggies so they leave the bounty and starve. 

 

We need to be careful that like the sheep we aren’t going for the green, only to find it is bondage and death, the result of sin, a desire for something we don’t have.   The Lord is all we need, His words nourish, (veggies).  He is all we need, He satisfies, He nourishes, and we grow.  We need to stick with His veggies.  We need to partake ( participate), be doers, and grow in Him.