My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, it's because something has kept me from it -- but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. I follow the readings and journaling from lifejournal.me Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image -- and Jesus IS the image.
Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation
seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this
(Mark 8:12 NASB)
Jesus physically stood in the very midst of the people of Israel.
Day after day He walked among them. Miracles were performed in almost
every town and city that He visited. The lame were walking, the deaf
could hear, the blind could see, and even the dead were raised to life.
Jesus was preaching the Good News about the Kingdom of God to everyone
who would listen, and yet, there were those who came to Him and asked
Him for a "sign." We can probably relate to Jesus' response. Jesus
signed deeply! Can you just imagine the frustration that Jesus felt.
He probably wanted to cry out, "Hello!!!! Who do you think I am and
what do you think I've been doing?"
And I'm guessing that there are many times today that Jesus is
doing the very same thing from heaven above. Day after day He is
working in this world and transforming peoples' lives and yet, we ask
Him -- "Can you show us something?" And Jesus sighs deeply in His
spirit and wonders what in the world it will take for us to realize that
He is living and active in our world every single day, but just as the
religious leaders of His day couldn't see the signs, if we are not
paying attention, we will miss them as well.
It's time to open our eyes to the work of God in our world. Let's
not frustrate Jesus, instead, let us be one of those who asks Him
whether we can join into the work of His kingdom here on earth. Let us
be a part of His company, and may our actions be a "sign" to the world
around us that Jesus is here now!
Lord, lead me to someone today that needs to see a sign that You are real! Amen.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
(Mark 1:1 NASB)
The Gospel of Mark begins with this one little sentence. The
Gospel, Jesus Christ, the Good News...here it is! It starts right here.
Then the book of Mark lays out the story of Jesus and His life.
However, this little book in the New Testament is just the first part of
the story of the Gospel. It may finish by telling of the life of Jesus
here on earth, but the story of the Gospel is not finished. This is an
unfinished story at this time for the story is in the process of being
written or told. The question for us, is whether we are willing to step
into the story and help it be written.
We, as followers of Christ must understand the mantle which He has
placed on us. As His children we are to be transformed into the very
image of Jesus Christ. In that transformation we must realize that we
are to be Christ to this world. In being Christ to the world, we
continue His story. It is not finished, it is not completed. There is
still much which should be written. Beware if we, as Christians, think
that we are simply awaiting His return without writing more chapters of
the Gospel. We are not called to be "safe" and await His coming, we are
called to be active workers in His Kingdom. What are you doing today
to write the next chapter?
Lord, today, may I listen to You and Your leading as I journey through life, writing new chapters together with You. Amen.
Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.
(Acts 27:35 NASB)
All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.
(Acts 27:36 NASB)
All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six persons.
(Acts 27:37 NASB)
Paul was merely a prisoner on the ship when they found themselves
in a terrible storm. For fourteen days the storm raged on and they all
thought that they would die. These were rough men of the sea and they
were most certainly not followers of Jesus Christ. In the midst of it
all, Paul seems to keep his cool. Not only does he keep his cool, but
he uses every single circumstance to minister and share Jesus with the
world around him. This scene becomes reminiscent of the last supper
when Jesus is with his disciples. Now Paul, the lowly prisoner on the
ship, tells the men what lies ahead and he encourages them to stop in
the midst of the storm and eat. Paul then prays and gives thanks to God
in the presence of 276 people, and they join him in eating the bread.
Had the storm not come, could Paul have had the opportunity to minister
to all 276?
In the midst of the terrible storm Paul seemed to have a real peace
about him. This is probably because he knew that he was living in
God's hands, and Paul saw every situation as an opportunity to continue
to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ. How else could Paul have
had a captive audience of 276 people from Alexandria? This was a
boatload of people from Egypt! Paul had never been there and would
never go there and somehow on his way to prison in Rome, God gives him
the opportunity to spread the Gospel to a group of people to whom he's
never ministered before. However, one can only imagine how far reaching
that ministry ultimately became as those people, as sailors, traveled
the world, and then eventually took the good news home with them.
Alexandria eventually becomes one of the major cities of Christianity in
the early church. Did it have something to do with with sailors on a
boat with a prisoner?
Lord, may we experience stormy peace in our lives as we trust in You in all of our circumstances. Amen.
“For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up
dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of
the sect of the Nazarenes.
(Acts 24:5 NASB)
Paul spent all the later years of his ministry in prison, and all
because he'd been a "pest." The quote above is from the Lawyer that the
High Priest brought before the authorities to explain all the "bad"
things that Paul had done. This declaration left the Roman officials
scratching their heads because they couldn't figure out what was wrong
with what Paul had done. Paul was a "pest," he had stirred up
"dissension" and he was "ringleader."
In reality, Paul was faithful and obedient. He was unwilling to
compromise in his faith in Jesus Christ. He knew that he was called to
share the Good News with the whole world and absolutely nothing was
going to get in his way. However, it should be noted that Paul did live
within the legal bounds of the countries where he took that Good News.
He knew how to contextualize and respect the bounds of those nations,
even, at times, using the pagan cultures as a way to bring people to
faith. Ultimately the problem was that people responded to his message.
The dissension occurred because Jews were turning to Christ, and other
were not. This did cause a divide among the Jews, but not because of
Paul, but rather, because of them.
I must confess that there are ways today that I see some Christians
being "pests" but its not in the same way as Paul. The other day I saw a
billboard declaring that Saturday is the true Sabbath (okay, it is) --
but that the antichrist has forced us to worship on Sundays (don't
remember that being in the Bible) -- and gave a web-site where we could
be turned to the truth of when to worship. This does nothing to draw
people to Christ. Paul was drawing many to Christ and that was
ultimately the problem and that was why he was a "pest." May we learn
from Paul and may we, too, be inspired to be "pests."
As a follower of Christ it is my desire that I be a "pest," --
wholeheartedly passionate about sharing the Good News everywhere I go,
and may people be disturbed by how following Christ changes the culture.
For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city
with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
(Acts 21:29 NASB)
Then all the city was provoked, and the people rushed together, and
taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately
the doors were shut.
(Acts 21:30 NASB)
The Jews in Jerusalem were determined that they were going to catch
Paul doing something wrong. They were so determined that they wanted
to believe any bit of gossip which they heard. Not only did they want
to believe the gossip, but they were even ready to create that gossip by
making assumptions about Paul's behavior. They didn't know Paul
personally, they didn't want to get to know Paul personally, but rather,
they wanted to assume that he really was the no good man that they
thought that he was. So, although Paul's Greek friend, Trophimus had
not gone to the Temple, they were just sure that Paul had brought him
and defiled the temple. This assumption and gossip led again to a mob
mentality. No one would listen to the truth, they had made up their
minds what kind of a man Paul was.
How often may we, as Christians, be guilt of character
assassination simply by virtue of assumption? In Paul's case it wasn't
just character assassination but they wanted a real assassination!
However, I know that there are times that we look at someone doing
something, or having said or written something, and we make assumptions
about who they are and what their "real" motivation is in life. If we
go to the extreme of these "religious" folks, a persons life can be
destroyed. I think that so often it is easy to forget the destructive
power of words.
If we are to be true followers of Jesus Christ, let us not follow the
crowd and never make assumptions about people. Take the time to truly
get to know people and to listen to their heart and to their passion.
We will usually discover that all of our assumptions were so very wrong.
Jesus took time to hang out with the "sinners." The "religious" folks
had assumptions about Jesus because of this, but in the end, the
"sinners" were set free and God was glorified.
Lord, please help me to have the patience to get to know people and their passion. Amen.
So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together. (Acts 19:32 NASB)
The crowds in Ephesus had been stirred up. They were angry at Paul (at least some of them) because the message he was preaching was affecting their business. However, by the time they all made it to auditorium many had no clue why they were there. They were screaming and yelling and joining into the mob but really had no idea what was going on. They were simply following the crowd that day and joining into the excitement.
We are living in interesting days where we have seen, on occasion, that the mob is ruling. As followers of Christ we must step back and ask some critical questions. Do we really know what is going on? Do we know why people are upset? Maybe there are those involved with personal motivations which we would not support and yet, because we ask no questions, we might simply join the mob. I believe that Jesus would caution us to be careful of mob response in anything because usually those responses don't understand the implications of all involved. Let us be on our knees. Let us pray. Let us seek to know the issues facing us and may God use His children as instruments of His peace.
Lord, may I be Your instrument today in your Kingdom! Amen.