Constant Vigilance

Re:Verse passage – 1 Chronicles 28:1-10 (day two) 

“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.” vs. 9

You have been singled out, chosen for a high honor, and given esteem; seems like you’ve got it made, right? Solomon need only think on his father, David, or the great Patriarchs like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and all the others to realize to be chosen is not to be free from temptation and trial. The Lord had clearly selected Solomon to build his Temple, but that selection also came with the burden to continue to seek after the Lord in all things. Failure to do so had consequences.

Have you even reached a point where you could truly feel the pleasure of the Lord? What happened next? Our call is to constantly take up our cross. Let us remember the great favor the Lord has shown us, but continue to persevere in what he has called us to. Constant vigilance.

Everybody, Always

Re:Verse passage – Mark 3:31-35 (day two) 

For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother. vs. 35

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. Exodus 20:12

Caring for each other seems to be a consistent thread of scripture. Whether it is to obey, or to assist, the Bible has much to say about how we should interact with neighbors (everyone) and family (believers). Bob Goff wrote a book confronting this topic called Everybody, Always, and the premise is that we are called to love and serve everybody, always. It’s what Jesus has been saying all along. In the wake of last week’s storms it was an incredible picture of the church to see phone calls and texts from all over the city making sure their brothers and sisters had everything they needed. We don’t need a crisis to act like Jesus. He has given us permission already.

As for My House

Re:Verse passage – Mark 3:20-30 (day two)

If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. Vs. 25

Much can be made of verse 24 in relation to today’s volatile political climate. Most of us, however, are content to rail against the current dysfunction and throw our hands in the air since we have little power over the outcome. Jesus was so keen that he did not leave that analogy at that level. He immediately brought it to a place that should reach each one of us. What is the condition of your home and family? Are you working in the very place that you can have influence to make sure that there is a zeal for the things of the Lord? Let’s start there, and see where the Lord takes it.

He Wanted Them

Re:Verse passage – Mark 3:13-19 (day two)

And He went up on the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. vs. 13

He wanted them. I’m not sure this can be overstated: Jesus wanted to be around these men. You’ve heard about how God has consistently used flawed people to build his Kingdom, but have you considered the tedious nature of our rebellion? It’s one thing for flawed people to make good choices when it counts, but quite another to know these less desirable personality traits are a daily reality. Knowing that, he wanted them. Friend, Jesus wants you. This shouldn’t surprise you, but I hope that you will consider the fact that he can redeem even those rough parts, or use them for his glory. He wants you to be near him.

Retreat is Not Defeat

Re:Verse passage – Mark 3:1-12 (day two) Jesus withdrew to the sea with His disciples…vs. 7a

Retreat is not defeat. Look at this pattern in Jesus’ life and ministry. He was pressed on all sides. He was challenged at every turn, all while he was teaching and healing. Jesus stepped away. He didn’t step away from his assignment and purpose. He stepped away to honor the covenant of God the Father. We are commanded to stop and rest. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, and he took time to be still and quiet. This beautiful act of obedience should cut us to the quick. Doing more is never mandated in the scriptures. Doing wisely is our task. Wisdom demands our stillness more often than most of us are comfortable with. He didn’t get to rest long, but it was a priority nonetheless.

Meet Their Needs

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:23-28 (day two) 

Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. vs. 27

As I was studying this passage this morning I referred to the notes in Bible’s commentary section. After referring to the passage that Jesus referenced,   (1 Samuel 21:1-6), it spoke of the difference between the letter and the spirit of the law. I am not a legal scholar, but I do know that Jesus was not trying to be above the law. He did, however, understand why they law existed. He knew the tendency of man to sin and the necessity to point back to a better way. He also knew that meeting people where they are is crucial to getting them to where they need to be. Caring for people is never wrong. Do we see the needs of our neighbors, or do we see how they are not living like us? How can they ever know love if we refuse to see them until they are like us?

 

True Fasting

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:18-22 (day two) 

“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Isaiah 58:6-7

If there was a subtext to what Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, surely this was it. Those who should know better were fixating on minutiae rather than the heart of what we are called to do. The prophet Isaiah saw this, Jesus saw this, and it is fair to assume that we still focus on the small details rather than the heart of our call. Our ministry is to help set free those who are imprisoned by their sin. Those who are shackled by the weight of their choices; we are to be a buoy of hope. We must never forget what the true purpose of any ritual we adhere to. If we can’t see the helpless around us, we are likely missing the point.

 

Teacher

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:13-17 (day two) 

And He went out again by the seashore; and all the people were coming to Him, and He was teaching them. vs. 13

I always resonate with passages like this. I love reading about Jesus surrounding himself with large crowds, children, tax collectors, or inquiring Pharisees. Jesus loved to teach. He had just performed an incredible miracle and by way of that miracle revealed his true nature to those who were there, but he came to teach, to save. The spectacle was grand, but in the end he wanted people to understand why he came. That is the heart of every teacher I know. We want to make sure you know why we are doing the things we do. Jesus didn’t come to keep you in the dark. He came to bring light. Aren’t you grateful for a God who teaches? Have you spent time with the Lord asking to bring understanding to his Word or his plan?

Get Near Jesus

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:1-12 (day two)

Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. vs. 4

What would you do to get near Jesus; climb a tree, push through a crowd, walk to the next town, leave your dying relative? Are these familiar stories of people doing whatever they could to get near the savior are becoming, well, familiar? It seems we are comfortable reading these magnificent stories, but, in reality, we do little to emulate them. Perhaps it is because any one of those stories includes a bit of humiliation. Each of them were willing to risk something to get near Jesus, and that may be a bridge too far for us. It was good for a tax collector, or a bleeding woman, but not for a 21st century average Joe/Jane. What’s missing? Did they recognize Jesus more fully than we do? Were they willing to throw all caution aside for a chance to be near this teacher, this healer, this Jesus? One thing that hasn’t changed over time is Jesus. So what we are left with is a choice to follow the examples of some first century sinners and do whatever it takes to get near him today.

Recognize Jesus

Re:Verse passage – Mark 1:36-45 (day two)  And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

Yesterday on the Re:vlog I mentioned another passage of scripture that had a similar feeling to me. I wanted to follow up on that text. In the very familiar account of Peter walking on water there is this exchange between Jesus and Peter.

Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. Matthew 14:28-29

Both the leper and Peter recognize in Jesus the power and ability to conquer fear, disease, and nature. They first acknowledge that what they seek is rooted in the savior. This recognition goes beyond Jesus’ ability to perform miracles, it begins with humility and submission. Turned around the questions could have easily been asked this way. I desire to be healed/to come near you, but I desire your will not mine. Sound familiar?

Recognize Jesus’ authority today in your petitions.