Legacy

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

“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.”

David’s time on earth is coming to a close. As he thinks back on his life and looks forward to Solomon’s reign, David wisely points his son to seek and serve the Living God. What will be the legacy advice we leave (verbally or behaviorally) to our children?  Trust me, they are watching and listening (learning) from an early age. Will it be about finances? Relationships? Work ethic? Priorities? Successes? Failures?

David charges Solomon (and us) that the best and most important legacy we can leave our children and the next generation is a vibrant faith and intimate fellowship with God.  So we all need to ask… are our children and those of the next generation learning (from what they see and hear in our lives) that faith in God is our most treasured possession?  Are we intentionally encouraging them to seek and serve God? That, is a legacy that will last through the generations.

Family of God

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

For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.”  When Jesus proclaimed “the Kingdom of God is at hand” in Mark chapter 1, He was announcing that life would look and feel different as a citizen of this new kingdom. Being a citizen of God’s Kingdom would affect everything. Priorities, practices, prejudices, and now relationships were being redefined by love, service, grace, and obedience. Life in God’s Kingdom was/is larger and longer that people recognize.  It is fitting that Jesus reshapes they way we should think and feel about other believers too- family.  Vulnerability, forgiveness, sacrifice, accountability, and obedience all are distinguishing marks of the members in the “family of God”.

Discipleship vs Disciple-Making

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

“And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons.”

It’s a new paradigm. Jesus has embraced a different strategy for growing His kingdom. He has gone from discipleship to disciple-making.  He did exhort and challenge people to “take up their cross daily, and follow Me”- discipleship. But now He is expanding the scope of His ministry and focus. The goal is relationship AND multiplication.  Paul echos the same purpose, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also”.  There it is. Certainly the gospel is being taught/shared.  But now the goal is deeper and longer.  Believers who are compelled and capable of leading others to become believers who can then lead others to become believers who are compelled and capable… – multiplication.  Our time with the Lord AND our time investing in others who can then learn, lead, serve, and share is Disciple-making. An even greater perspective and privilege for growing God’s kingdom.

Perspective

Re:Verse passage – Mark 3:1-12 (day five)

“They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.”

We have another occurrence of the mounting tension between Jesus and the Pharisees. It seems relentless. We get a glimpse into their perspective.  They were looking for opportunities to accuse and confront Jesus. How did it come to this?  Why were they so unaware of who and what was going on?  They have completely lost perspective. The perspective of the law and subsequently the perspective of the mission and message of Jesus.

The Pharisees because of their inward and insecure focus, believed that the Law was designed and given to make men “like themselves”. When in actuality, the Law was given and designed to make man more like God- loving, serving, worshipping. As believers, the goal of the gospel- for us, for other believers, and for unbelievers is never to make others like us, but rather make them (and us) more like Jesus- the full and complete revelation of the living God.

The Danger of Legalism

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:23-28 (day five) The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”  This is the second “interaction” (in a row) that Jesus has with the religious leaders over legalism. Previously, Jesus was challenged over fasting.  In the Re:Verse passage this week He is confronted by them, about sabbath rules. Jesus both recognizes and chastises their legalism.  Jesus has strong words against legalism. Why?  Because legalism impairs a right relationship with God. Legalism causes humans to look at the shortcomings in the lives of others rather than in themselves. (Notice how external this is) Legalism promotes a man-centered righteousness rather than a Christ-centered righteousness. Legalism is dangerous and destructive.
We can/must look to Jesus to find righteousness and abundant life- not follow man-made rules. That is the gospel. That is good news.

Religion vs. Relationship

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

“Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them.”  What the Pharisees wanted and practiced (some scholars suggest they were fasting twice a week) was a religion that focused on their “actions, habits, and rituals”. It ignored or minimized the presence and fellowship of God (bridegroom).  It made much of themselves.

In contrast, Jesus was pointing them to His mission and ministry- a right relationship with God through the Son (New Testament bridegroom). Jesus was teaching that the goal of actions, habits, and rituals should be to grow, strengthen, and nurture our relationship with God. His nearness/presence and fellowship with Him through the Holy Spirit become reason for joy and celebration!!  It’s the reason we pray and fast- to be near/close.

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Oh, the pure delight of a single hour That before Thy throne I spend, When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God.
I commune as friend with friend!

Influence

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

“While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.”

Levi’s reaction and response to having been called to follow Jesus was amazing. In the very next verse we read where he has been a catalyst for others to be in the presence of Jesus- eating dinner together at his house. Must have been an urgency and sincerity for Levi to leverage his relationships to influence them to be near Jesus and to hear the gospel.
Makes me search my own heart to check if I have that same urgency and influence for the gospel. Oh, that the Lord would continue to put people in my path and that I might be faithful to love with sincerity and influence with urgency for the gospel, that the Kingdom of God might grow in number and in strength. Levi’s reaction reminds me of the woman at the well in John 4. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony”.

May we love and influence others that way, too!!

Circumstances

Re:Verse passage – Mark 2:1-12 (day five).  And Jesus seeing their faith *said to the paralytic, “ Son, your sins are forgiven.”

It’s a beautiful picture. All 5 of these men have faith that was recognized by Jesus.  What was it that they believed?  I think they believed that Jesus could and would meet their friend’s deepest need. They were right, and they were wrong. They were right in the sense that Jesus could meet His deepest need. They were wrong in understanding what his deepest need actually was.  Jesus was very clear and understood completely what his biggest need actually was- the forgiveness of sin, to be in a right relationship with the Living God. Jesus at that moment looked past the circumstances and met the paralyzed man’s greatest need- forgiveness of Sin.

Will you ask Him to do the same for you?  Lord- Look past our circumstances and meet our greatest need!! (Help us be in a right relationship with You, Lord)

His Face

Re:Verse passage – Mark 1:36-45 (day five)

“He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” Mark‬ ‭1:38‬

Jesus’ mission has been made clear from His first night as a human. “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  Would have been easy for Jesus to stay with the crowds and heal and minister. Yet, He keeps His mission clear (result of His prayer life- discipleship). There was a subtle but dangerous thing happening in the hearts of the people. They were beginning to seek the “hand” of Jesus rather than the “face” of Jesus. Leads to confusion of what our biggest need actually is. It’s why salvation and then regular repentance are so powerful. They keep us focused on our spiritual need. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

We need, more than anything, a savior and a right relationship with the Living God.

This year, will you seek the Lord’s face rather than His hand?  Three ways that will help-  Repent Witness Disciple.

Happy New Year!!

Clarity and Courage

Re:Verse passage – Mark 1:21-35 (day five)“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” Mark‬ ‭1:35‬ ‭

It is an amazing picture. Jesus retreating from the crowds, the noise, the busyness in order to pray.  Jesus again, is modeling what obedience to God looks like- prioritizing time alone with His Heavenly Father. Just like in Mark 1, He would often leave those times in prayer with clarity and courage (reminds me of His time praying in the Garden of Gethsemane).  What Jesus knew, was that carving out or protecting time alone with God was invaluable. The disciples saw the  practice and the results. In fact, they asked Him to teach them how to pray.
Maybe that would be the best Christmas present we could discover- the desire and discipline to spend time alone with God in prayer. Anyone need clarity or courage?  “Lord, teach us to pray!!”