The Gospel of Mark

by Rick
The Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark is quick and to the point.  Mark omits many details and gets to the heart of the matter.  He writes, but this is really Peter’s gospel.  Peter stamp is all over it.  Peter was a man of action and this is a Gospel of Action!  It shows what Jesus did and how it applies to our lives today!  Read it, apply it, and be blessed!

  • Mark 1:35,38 What happens when believer pray?
  • Mark 2:13,14 Jesus is the answer to your present situation
  • Mark 4:1-3 Making parables personal
  • Mark 4:35-5:1 When Jesus is on the ship!
  • Mark 5:19,20 What will you do, when God Bless you?
  • Mark 6:12 The need for a change in the heart of men!
  • Mark 6:50b God’s Answer to Man’s Despair!
  • Mark 6:56 Will you touch Him?
  • Mark 7:34,35 Human Disability is Heavenly Possibility!
  • Mark 8:2&5 Jesus fed both crowds!
  • Mark 8:34 The Cost of Discipleship
  • Mark 9:23,24 Our Faith Looses God’s Blessings!
  • Mark 9:34,35 The Peril of Pride!
  • Mark 9:40 Unity is not Uniformity!
  • Mark 10:17-22 Religion vs. Relationship
  • Mark 10:46,47 and 51 God’s Answer to Man’s Darkness!
  • Mark 11:7-9 The Gospel Message
  • Mark 11:17 The House of Prayer
  • Mark 11:22,25,26 Have Faith in God!
  • Mark 12:17 Whose face is on the coin?
  • Mark 12:28-31 The Great Commandment
  • Mark 12:42 What will you give?
  • Mark 13:31 God’s Word is Eternal
  • Mark 14:9 What are you willing to give God?
  • Mark 14:30, 31 The God of Another Chance
  • Mark 14:32-34 God’s Answer to Man’s Dilemmas!
  • Mark 14:65 Your Pain is Your Power!
  • Mark 15:13 God’s Answer to Man’s Instability!

What happens when believers pray? (top of page)

(Mark 1:35,38 BBE)  And in the morning, a long time before daylight, he got up and went out to a quiet place, and there he gave himself up to prayer.  (v.38) And he said to them, Let us go to other parts into the nearest towns, so that I may give teaching there, because for this purpose I came.

If you begin reading at Mark 1:21 you will see that Jesus was teaching on the Sabbath in a synagogue when a demon possessed man cried out to Him.  Jesus in turn cast the demons out of the man.  Afterwards He went with James and John to Simon and Andrew’s house and found their Mother-in-law with a fever, and He healed her.  That evening people brought the sick and demon-possessed to Jesus and that night He healed various diseases and cast out many demons.  It is safe to say that Jesus had a busy day.

It is Monday morning and many of us may still be a little tired from last week.  We live in a hectic and fast-paced society.  We run out of day before we run out of tasks and one thing seems to lead to another.  This morning, we can learn from Jesus what to do when you have so much to do.  We can assume that Jesus was tired after all of this, but what did He do the next morning?  This is where we will learn from our text today.

(v.35) And in the morning, a long time before daylight, he got up and went out to a quiet place, and there he gave himself up to prayer.  This was the key for Jesus and it should be the key for us.  Prayer can revive us, prayer can rejuvenate us, and prayer can restore us when we have been weak and weary.  Jesus was used of God mightily the day before, but He got up, early in the morning and found a quiet place to pray.

What happened when He prayed?  He received:

Direction:  And he said to them, Let us go to other parts into the nearest towns. It may look like He wandered around from place to place, but every step that Jesus took was ordered by the Father.  Jesus received His direction through the vehicle of prayer.  If you and I want to live a directed (not driven) life, we need to spend some quiet time with God in prayer.

Instruction:  so that I may give teaching there.  Not only did Jesus now know where to go, but also what to do when He got there.  We too can receive God’s instructions for today and everyday, if we simply take the time to pray.

Purpose:  because for this purpose I came.  Jesus knew why He was here and He lived a ‘Purpose Driven’ life.  Don’t you want to live your life on Purpose?  Don’t you want there to be a method behind the daily madness?  If so, spend time with God in prayer and He will reveal His purpose for your life and living.

If you have not yet prayed this morning, please take the time to do so.  So you can receive Direction, Instruction, and Purpose.

One last nugget: Jesus did not mention anything about the previous day after He prayed.  He was constantly looking forward and not backward.  This practice can also help us.  Yesterday is gone, take advantage of today!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jesus is the Answer to Your Present Situation (top of page)

(Mark 2:13,14 RWEBSTR)  And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted to him, and he taught them.  And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and said to him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

Word about Jesus was spreading fast.  This was a man that could heal the sick, cast out demons, and also teach the Word of God with authority.  This was something to see and someone to meet.  Just prior to our text Jesus was teaching in a house and the house was so packed that no one else could get in.  There was a man that could not move at all and four of his friends carried him to Jesus.  When they got there and saw that they could not get in, they climbed up on the roof, dug a hole in it and lowered their friend to Jesus.  Jesus healed the man.  Jesus left there and a crowd followed Him.  This is where we pick up our text.

Jesus was teaching the crowd and they followed Him and as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and said to him, Follow Me!  This is very interesting because Levi (also known as Matthew) was a Jew and his job was to be a tax collector for Romans.  Many who held this position were commonly known to be shady characters and often skimmed money off of the top to line their pockets.  This was not an esteemed profession.  But then here is Jesus, walking along with a great crowd following Him, He is teaching them and all of a sudden He interrupts His lesson to call the despised to follow Him.  This call, as we later know, was not to join the general crowd, but rather to join His ministry as one of His disciples.

So what does this mean to you today? God can meet you where you are and deliver you from every situation.  Whether you are like the paralyzed man who wanted so much to get to Jesus that his friends tore a hole in the roof, or whether you are a despised individual like Levi (Matthew); God loves you just the way you are, but loves you too much to leave you that way.  Whether you are running towards God or running from God this morning, the answer is still the same  —  JESUS!

God can interrupt his program to stop and meet your need.  God loves you enough to look beyond the crowd and see you sitting there at the tax office and call you to follow Him.

What is God calling you to do this morning?  Your blessing is tied up in your reply to His call.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Making Parables Personal (top of page)

(Mark 4:1-3 BBE)  And again he was teaching by the seaside. And a very great number of people had come to him, so that he got into a boat on the sea and took his seat; and all the people were on the land by the seaside.  And he gave them teaching about a number of things in the form of stories, and said to them in his teaching, Give ear: A man went out to put seed in the earth…

Isaiah taught us that God’s ways are above our ways and his thoughts above our thoughts.  God is infinite and we are finite.  God is limitless and we are limited.  God is all knowing and we are simply learning.  Understanding this, we can better understand why Jesus taught in stories (parables).  These stories were basically natural illustrations with supernatural applications.  This what not new in the bible, the Old Testament is full of types and typologies.  We learn God’s commitment to the backslider with Hosea’s relationship with Gomer (a prostitute).  We learn a great deal about God’s dealings with the nation of Israel when we read about the Potter and the clay.  We learn David’s illustration of what a blessed man should be like when he talks about a Tree planted by the rivers of water.

All of these and many more are God’s attempt to condescend to our level so that we can understand Him!  Jesus spoke to farmers about sowing seed.  He spoke to the hungry about being the Bread of Life.  He spoke to the thirsty about being a River of Living Water.  When Lazarus was dead, He spoke to his sister about being the Resurrection and the Life!  He spoke to a religious leader (Nicademus) and called him beyond religion, towards relationship!

So what is the Bottom line?  What does this have to do with you today? Well, without teaching a lesson about this one parable of the sower and the seed, let us look at the broader applications of parables and stories and situations in general.  When Jesus met people, He met them at their level.  He spoke their language and met them where they were.  Methods are many, principles are few, methods always change, and principles never do.  The same principle applies today.  God is still looking to meet you where you are.

Take a moment to think about what situation God has placed you in lately and what application you can get out of it.  What is God trying to tell you and teach you by what He has permitted to enter your life?  What is your story?  What is your parable?

Do you need to stop doing something that is hindering your growth in Christ?  Do you need to start doing something that God has birthed in you since you were a young child?  Do you need to seek forgiveness from someone for something that you are holding in your heart?  What is it that God is saying to you  —  TODAY?  And what are you going to do about it?

Make it personal today.  Allow God to make a difference by acknowledging and accepting your personal parable.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

When Jesus is on the Ship! (top of page)

(Mark 4:35-5:1 BBE)  And on that day, when the evening had come, he said to them, Let us go over to the other side.  And going away from the people, they took him with them, as he was, in the boat. And other boats were with him.  And a great storm of wind came up, and the waves came into the boat, so that the boat was now becoming full.  And he himself was in the back of the boat, sleeping on the cushion: and they, awaking him, said, Master, is it nothing to you that we are in danger of destruction?  And he came out of his sleep, and gave strong orders to the wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be at rest. And the wind went down, and there was a great calm.  And he said to them, Why are you full of fear? have you still no faith?  And their fear was great, and they said one to another, Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea do his orders?  And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.

Jesus was done teaching by way of stories (parables) and he spent some quiet time with the disciples explaining the stories to them, that night, he tells them that they are going to the other side (the east side of the lake, to the land of Gad).  There are so many lessons that we could learn from this passage that I could share on this all week, but for this morning, let us just look at a few:

Jesus knew His PURPOSE:  God is a God of progression and not regression.  Jesus knew what He was here to do and He was determined to fulfill His destiny.  Every step that He took was purpose-driven.  He knew that his job was done in his current location and He was ready to go over to heal a man of the Gaderenes who was demon possessed.

Application:  As much as we may like our current location (physical or spiritual), in order for God to grow us, He has to continually move us from place to place and from glory to glory.  Are you ready to grow?  If so, you might need to get ready to move!

Jesus included the disciples in the PROMISE:  He said, “Let us go over to the other side.”  These words flowing from the lips of Jesus was a guarantee that every one of them, to include Jesus Himself, would make it to the other side.

Application:  God does not make haphazard statements.  His words are Spirit and they are Life.  His words are power packed and full of promises.  Once He says something, He obligates Himself to performance.  If God has spoken a promise to you audibly or if you have agreed with one of the many promises found in scripture, then His is obligated to perform that promise in your life.

Jesus did not prevent the PROBLEM:  The waves were beating on the boat and water was coming in and the disciples were afraid.  They thought that they were going to die.

Application:  God could have prevented this entire episode, but He did not because He had purpose wrapped up in it.  Although God gives us promises, there is often times a space between the Promise and the Performance and the adversary tries to fill that space with Problems.  Our task then, is to look beyond the problem and focus on the promise!

Jesus restored the PEACE:  Jesus rebuked the wind because the wind was the root of the problem.  Jesus immediately went to the heart of the matter and restored His order.

Application:  God cuts to the chase and wants to deal with the root of the issues in our lives and not just the fruit, but He will do it in HIS time.

Jesus ensured that they all made it to the PLACE:  “And they came to the other side of the sea.”  They made it because Jesus never left them for one moment.

Application:  There will be times in your life where you think that God is asleep and may be devoid of all knowledge of your situation.  God knows, He cares, and He will take you to your destination  —  Have faith in God!

You may be in the midst of a storm this morning.  Remember, God is still on your ship!  This is all part of the journey of your life.  Relax, God is in charge!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

What will you do, when God blesses You? (top of page)

(Mark 5:19,20 BBE)  And he would not let him, but said to him, Go to your house, to your friends, and give them news of the great things the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you.  And he went on his way, and made public in the country of Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him: and all men were full of wonder.

Yesterday we shared about the journey over to the east side of the lake, to the land of Gad.  As soon as they got there they came across a man who was in a bad situation.  He was demon possessed, and left to walk around in the cemeteries crying out and cutting himself with stones.  The people there thought he was crazy and did not know how to deal with the root of the issue so they tried to bind with chains, but he would simply break them.  So there he was, ostracized by the people and oppressed by the demons.  God cared so much about this man that He had Jesus to make this special trip across the lake just for him.  Remember in yesterday’s message Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side?”  Well, this was the reason, to meet this man.  What do you think Jesus did when He met this man?  The answer is what God always seeks to do  —  meet the need.  He casts the demons out of the man and sent them into 2,000 pigs and the pigs ran into the lake and drowned.  The people of the area did not know how to handle Jesus so they asked Him to leave.  While He was leaving, the man who was recently delivered from the bondage wanted to go with Jesus.  This is where we pick up our text.

Although Jesus would not let the man go with Him, He did give him instructions.  He said, “Go to your house, to your friends, and give them news of the great things the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you.

So what does this have to do with you today? Just like Jesus met this man’s need, I am sure that He has also met your needs many, many times over.  What have you done when God has blessed you?  Sure you thank God, but have you done what Jesus told this man to do  —  go and tell someone else about it?  God wanted the man to first go and tell his house what had happened because they knew better than anyone else his previous condition and would immediately see the results of coming in contact with Jesus.  He then instructed him to tell his friends so that they too could hear the Good News about Jesus.

What has God done for you and who are you willing to tell  —  TODAY? Sure you can talk about the movie you just saw, or the game last night, or your favorite soap opera; but are you ashamed to openly talk about Jesus?  Are you ashamed to tell your house and your friends what God has done for you?  Please don’t be ashamed and remember the words of Jesus, (Matthew 10:33 KJV) But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

You don’t have to stop everyone you meet on the street and tell that they are destined to hell.  But what you should do is pray to the Father and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to share His goodness with all those you can and watch the Holy Spirit do it in such a way that will blow your mind.  God wants to use you to tell somebody about Him  —  TODAY!  Are you ready?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The need for a change of heart in men! (top of page)

(Mark 6:12 BBE)  And they went out, preaching the need for a change of heart in men.

Mark 6 starts off with Jesus going to His hometown.  When the Sabbath came he went to church and began to teach and they were amazed.  But they could not really receive much from Him because they kept seeing Him as Mary’s little baby and Joseph’s little boy.  They remembered Him working on their roof and building their shelves as a carpenter and could not perceive Him to be anything greater, because often times you cannot receive what you cannot perceive!

So Jesus left with the disciples and went from village to village.  He then sent them out two-by-two.  They were to take nothing with them except God’s power and the gospel.  Our text for this morning was the crux of their message; they preached the need for a change of heart in men.  In the King James Version it is translated, “they went out, and preached that men should repent.”  This word repent is the Greek word (metanoeo) which literally means to change one’s mind for the better.

So what does this mean to you today? The United States of America is one of the richest nations on the planet and one of the most educated.  We deal with people on a daily basis who have spent a great deal of time and money to train their minds to think the way they do.  Many take pride in the fact that their minds are sharp and able.  Many of these smart, bright, and brainy people, however, do not know Jesus.  You and I have a responsibility  —  like the disciples did  —  to share with people a need for a change of heart and mind.

Now before you start making excuses, let me say that you don’t have to be a preacher, you don’t have to wear a suit, you don’t need a soapbox and a street corner, all you simply need to do is to live a Christian life in the presence of a dying and decaying world.  People hear sermons on Sunday, but they are more apt to ‘See’ a sermon on Monday – Saturday.  Once they actually ‘See’ you live what the bible says, and then you will not have to come to them, they will come to you.  And then all you need do is share what God has done for you and how He changed your heart and mind and how He can do the same for them.

So what will you do today that will show someone that your heart, your mind, and your life has been changed?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s answer to Man’s Despair (top of page)

(Mark 6:50b KJV)  It is I; be not afraid.

It was late at night and Jesus had just finished feeding 5,000 men (not to count the women and children) with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.  He had just shown Himself to be God’s answer to Man’s deficit.  He tells his disciples to get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

So there they are, Jesus’ chosen 12, rowing their boat across the Sea of Galilee.  It has been said that the Sea of Galilee is one of the most beautiful in the entire world.  The old Rabbi’s would say that God created all other bodies of water and then created the Sea of Galilee for Himself.  It is calm, quiet, tranquil, and serene.  The disciples are probably enjoying the view and talking about how Jesus fed 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch.  The first watch of the night (6-9pm) goes by and they keep rowing and talking and everything is going well.  The second watch of the night (9-12pm) goes by and they are getting their second wind.  By the third watch of the night (12-3am) some of the disciples are bedding down and others are fighting sleep.  But here comes the fourth watch of the night (3-6am), what Dr. Joel Gregory calls the lull of human metabolism.  It is in the fourth watch of the night that the winds begin to blow and a storm arises.  The disciples are then having trouble rowing and moving forward because of the wind and storm.  All of a sudden Jesus shows up, walking of water.  Their first impression was that He was a ghost and they were terrified.  Here they were tired, weary, sleepy, and scared.  It is in this situation that Jesus says what He does  —  “It is I; be not afraid.”

So what does this mean to you today? In Mark 6 Jesus not only reveals Himself as God’s answer to Man’s deficit (feeding 5,000), but He also reveals Himself to be God’s answer to Man’s despair!

Maybe you are in the middle of a storm in your life and it is now the fourth watch of the night in your situation.  You are tired, weary, and afraid.  You don’t know where God is in all of this and the winds are getting stronger.  God says to you this morning, by way of this message, “It is I; be not afraid.”

In the very next verse (v.51) Jesus went into the boat and the wind immediately ceased.  God is willing and wanting to come into the boat of your circumstance this morning and calm your storm.

Will you let Him in?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Will You Touch Him? (top of page)

(Mark 6:56 KJV)  And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.

Yesterday we talked about how Jesus is God’s answer to Man’s deficit and despair.  After He got into the boat and the storm ceased, He continued on with His disciples to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there.  Now, as soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus and ran throughout the region getting the sick and carrying them to Him.  This is where we pick up our text and see that wherever Jesus went people were bringing the sick to Him and begging Him to allow them to touch, even the edge of His garments.  All those that did touch Jesus, were made whole.

It is interesting that these people were that were sick were made whole and not just healed.  There is a difference.  The word that is commonly used in the bible for being healed is the Greek word (therapeuo), which is where we get therapeutic.  This word means: to heal, to cure, and to restore to health.  The word that is used in our text, however, is the Greek word (sozo).  This word has a different connotation altogether.  This word means to save, to rescue from danger, and to deliver from imminent death.

So what does this mean to you today? God does not halfway do things.  God not only met the immediate need of these people (healing), He looked beyond the obvious and met the impending need (salvation) and made them whole.  And because God does not play favorites, He can do the same thing for YOU!

What is it that you stand in the need of today?  Whatever it is, God can meet you need and do it in such a way that will blow your mind.  He does not only want to heal you, He wants to make you whole!  Whole, complete, and lacking nothing!

Do you have an area in your life that is lacking?  Why don’t you do like the people in the text and come to Jesus and seek to ‘touch’ Him this morning and allow Him to make you whole?

He is willing, are you wanting?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Human disability is Heavenly Possibility! (top of page)

(Mark 7:34,35 KJV)  And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.  And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

Yesterday we left Jesus in Gennesaret where we had made many sick people whole.  He left there and had to deal with some traditional religious leaders who were more concerned with the law than the life.  He transitioned from there to the vicinity of Tyre.  It Tyre of Sidon He met with a Syrophenician woman whose daughter was demon possessed and He delivered her without ever leaving the dinner table.  Then Jesus left the Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of Decapolis.  There some people brought to Him a man that was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Him to place His hand on the man.

Jesus took this man and set Him aside, away from the crowd.  Jesus then put His fingers into the man’s ears and also placed saliva from His mouth on the man’s tongue.  We then pick up our text where He looks up to heaven, He sighed, and He spoke.  Now without dealing with the fact that He pulled the man off to the side or addressing the fingers in the ears or saliva in the mouth; this morning let’s just look at three things.

1.  He looked up to Heaven (Pray):  Jesus received His marching orders from the Father.  Jesus was led of the Holy Spirit in everything He EVER did.  Here He was again, posed with a human disability, but a heavenly possibility.  Jesus looks up to heaven for earthy guidance.

Application:  If Jesus, who was God in the flesh, thought it necessary to seek heavenly guidance on a daily basis, then how much more should we?  We will be presented with overwhelming circumstances from time to time, but we will know what to do and how to do it, if we simply look up to heaven and pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus.

2.  He sighed (Press):  Jesus was all God and all man at the same time.  Jesus was being used of God mightily, to do His work and meet the needs of people everywhere He went.  This could be overwhelming to Jesus’ humanity, but He was able to overcome it because of His divinity.

Application:  Sometimes you are going to get tired.  Sometimes you will sigh and want to forget about the demands of this life, this faith, this walk, and etc.  This is OK!  I get fed up from time to time and have a pity part with God.  The key is not staying there.  Jesus pressed beyond the sigh and performed the sign (deliverance).  We too must get beyond our moments of frustration and we can do that, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

3.  He spoke (Proclaim):  He said, “Be Opened” and instantly, the man could both hear and speak.

Application:  The answer to the world’s need is found in the Word of God.  Our responsibility is to simply “Speak the Word” to a dying and decaying world!

So when you run into people that need their ears opened and tongues loosed, what you need do is to Pray, Press, and Proclaim!

Are you ready?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jesus Fed Both Crowds! (top of page)

(Mark 8:2&5  KJV)  I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat.  (v.5)  And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

Last week we left off with Jesus opening a man’s ears and loosing his tongue so that he could both hear and speak.  Shortly after performing this miracle, another crowd forms.  Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to Him and explained to them that He had compassion on these people.  They had been following Jesus for three days, and had nothing to eat.  He then asked His disciples how many loaves of bread they had and they told Him that they had seven.  Jesus took the seven loaves and also a few fishes and blessed them and multiplied them and fed the four thousand (men, not counting women and children) and they had seven baskets left over.

So what does this mean to you today? You may be in one of the two groups in the text this morning.  Let’s divide the groups into the people following Jesus, who were hungry and had nothing to eat; and the disciples who had seven loaves and a few fish.

Although this is Monday morning and we should be preparing for this week and ready for everything we need to get done, some of us are tired and weary.  We have been walking with Jesus, but not really being fed properly.  We are now at the point where we are questioning whether or not this walk is even worth it.  We go to church, Sunday after Sunday, but believe there has to be something more.  We see and hear of other folk getting blessed and healed and delivered, but we are waiting on our turn and it never seems to come.  We are at the point where we are considering turning around and going home.  It is at this point, where the text says that Jesus had compassion on them.  It is at the point where we at the end of ourselves, that Jesus steps in to feed us and nourish us from His hands.  If this is you this morning, Jesus knows exactly where you are and is ready to meet your immediate need of nourishment and satisfaction.

Then there is another group in the text.  The disciples, who had already seen Jesus feed five thousand, walk on water, heal the sick, and perform many miracles.  This group is asked of God for provision for the needy.  Their immediate response was to say that they were in a remote place and could not get enough to bread to feed these people, but then Jesus asked them for what they had and their reply was “seven.”  There are seven days in a week, seven colors in the spectrum, Jesus said seven things on the cross, and etc.  Seven is the number of spiritual perfection.  To those of us in this crowd this morning, God says that we may not think that we have anything worth giving the hungry, but if we allow God to multiply it  —  we have enough.  As long as we allow God to use our smile, our kind word, our short email, our time, our love, and etc. with those around us today  —  God can meet the needs of the people.

Prayer:  Father God, Lord in the Name of Jesus, I set my faith in agreement with both crowds this morning.  I pray for those who are at the end of themselves and are reading this message.  I pray that You have compassion on them, even as You did with those in our text and that you meet their immediate need  —  TODAY!  I pray that you touch their heart in the midst of this prayer that they may know that you are a real God that can deal with read issues.  I also pray this morning for the doubting disciples.  For those of us who know that there is a need, but think that we cannot do anything about it.  I pray that you help us to use whatever it is that you have given us  —  to your glory.  That every smile, every kind word, every conversation, every thoughtful act, may be done in Your name.  That people may know that God is still God!  In the matchless Name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Cost of Discipleship (top of page)

(Mark 8:34 BBE)  And turning to the mass of people with his disciples, he said to them, If any man has the desire to come after me, let him give up all other desires, and take up his cross and come after me.

We left Jesus yesterday feeding the four thousand with seven loaves and a few fishes.  He then went on to Bethsaida where He healed a blind man.  He and His disciples left from there and went to the coasts of Caesarea Philippi and on the way He asked them “Who do people say that I am?”  After numerous answers, he asked, “Who do you say that I am?” and Simon (Peter) answered, “You are the Christ!”  It was after this divine revelation of whom Jesus really was that He begins to explain to His disciples that He would have to suffer and die.  It is in this conversation that we pick up our text.

Jesus was all God and all man simultaneously.  Jesus knew of His inevitable earthly fate.  He also knew that if the world would treat Him this way that those of us who would come after Him would also receive like punishment and persecution.  In preparation for this Christian journey after His departure He explains that although God is available to all people (whosoever), those that do accept God’s free gift of salvation will also have accept the high cost of this free gift.  And that cost is personal denial and possible persecution.  Additionally, the words “his cross,” connote the fact that our path and possible persecution would be different from His or anyone else’s for that matter.  For our walk  —  and everything that comes with it  —  to be Powerful, it would have to be Personal!

So what does this mean to you today? We live in a world of all types of desires and lusts.  Our desire for God must supersede all other desires if we are going to be able to walk in the power of the newness of this life.  This is not to say that as Christians we don’t have fun, nor enjoy life.  But this is to say that our joy should come from those things that are pleasing to God.  The Lord allows me to teach in this forum often times about His principals and Christian concepts, but I would be remised if I did not remind us of our responsibility to build Christian Character.  Self-denial and Godly perusal builds character.  Concepts help us, but character defines us.

If you are a Christian you know that God has given you so much.  Since receiving Jesus, I am sure that you have received manifold blessings along with Him.  The question this morning is, what are you willing to give up for Him?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Our Faith Looses God’s Blessings (top of page)

(Mark 9:23,24 NLT)  “What do you mean, `If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”  The father instantly replied, “I do believe, but help me not to doubt!”

We left Jesus yesterday in Caesarea Philippi where He dealt with the disciples about self-denial.  After being there for six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a high mountain and there they saw a divine revelation of what was to come.  Coming down off of the mountain they met up with the other disciples who were arguing with a large crowd.  When Jesus asked what they were arguing about, a man in crowd came to Jesus you explained that he brought his son to the disciples and they could not do anything with him.  He went on to explain that his son was demon possessed from a little child and would often times have seizures and begin to foam at the mouth.  Jesus said “Bring the boy to me.”  When they did, he immediately began to roll around on the ground and convulse and foam at the mouth.  The father said, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”  This is where we pick up our text.

Jesus immediately addressed the fact that his son’s deliverance or lack thereof did not have anything to do with whether or not God had the power over the demon, but rather whether or not he had the faith to receive God’s power.  He went on to explain that anything is possible to the person that believes.  That word believes in the text is the same word for faith.  In other words  —  My Doing is contingent upon your Believing (faith).  I love the man’s response because it so illustrates our humanity and often struggle with divinity.  He says, “I do believe, but help me not to doubt.”  In the end, the boy was delivered.

So what does this mean to you today? Your son may not be demon possessed this morning, but you may have a situation that is beyond your control and you need God’s intervention.  In this case, there are many nuggets that we can draw from this text, but let’s just look at a few:

1.              We must always be willing to take our issues to God and lay them at Jesus’ feet (“Bring the boy to me”).

2.              There is nothing that God cannot do.

3.              God’s action is contingent upon our faith.

4.              Our faith looses God’s blessing.

5.              God’s understands our often struggle with this Christian walk and grants us the grace to continue on in the Christian journey.

So no matter the situation or circumstance this morning, God is ready, willing, and able to move on your behalf, but He is waiting on your faith.  Do you believe?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Peril of Pride (top of page)

(Mark 9:34,35 BBE)  But they said nothing: because they had had an argument between themselves on the way, about who was the greatest.  And seating himself, he made the twelve come to him; and he said to them, If any man has the desire to be first, he will be last of all and servant of all.

First of all I want to thank God for a safe journey to the US and His favor upon me for this trip.  Thank you for your prayers.

This morning we find Jesus, after delivering a demon-possessed boy (that his disciples could not cast out), having to deal with the pride issue in the lives of those closest to him.  When they arrived at Capernaum and entered the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?”  This is where we pick up our text this morning.  They said nothing because they knew that they were arguing about who was the greatest.

We live in a world in general and in a country in particular where ambition is a way of life.  There is a thin line between Godly ambition and worldly pride.  Pride has become the silent killer of the church today.  I believe in being successful and think that Christians should be the best at all that they put their hands to do, but never at the expense of Christian character.

Jesus told His disciples then and He speaks to us this morning and says, “If any man has the desire to be first, he will be last of all and servant of all.”  This word servant means one who executes the commands of another.  As a Christian, God wants you to be successful and be the best, but He wants you to do it His way.  He wants us to be led of His Spirit in our life and living.

So what does this mean to you today? Take a moment this morning to review your practices.  In what ways have you allowed pride to overtake your walk?  What have you done in the guise of being successful that is not pleasing in God’s sight? Once God reveals your proud ways this morning, repent and move forward.  God is a God of progression and not regression!  Receive forgiveness and press forward to Godly Success!

Prayer:  Father God, Lord in the Name of Jesus, I thank you for showing me where I have been wrong and where I have allowed the pride of life to overtake me.  I submit unto your ways this morning and pray that you lead me to be successful in a way that is pleasing in your sight.  Use me.  Speak to me.  Have Your way in my life.  This is your servant’s prayer.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Unity is not Uniformity (top of page)

(Mark 9:40 BBE)  He who is not against us is for us.

After Jesus addressed the pride issue (who is the greatest) in the lives of the disciples, John says, “Teacher, we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”  Jesus said, “Do not stop him, no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me.  He who is not against us is for us.”

John, who is also known as the beloved disciple, made the mistake of misunderstanding unity and uniformity.  This man that he came across was being used of God to drive out demons in the name of Jesus.  He was doing the work of the ministry, to the glory of the Father.  John told him to stop because he was not with them.

We too have mistaken unity for uniformity in the Body of Christ.  Jesus prayed that we (the Body of Christ) may be one, even as He and His Father are one (Jn. 17:11).  It is God’s desire that Christians be unified under one purpose and one goal  —  winning the lost for Jesus and meeting the needs of the world.  This unity, however, is often lost in the pursuit of uniformity.  We don’t have to look the same, act the same, speak the same, nor walk the same to be united in the Body of Christ.  Baptists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Holiness, Catholics, Church of God, Church of Christ, Church of God in Christ, and etc.; are all ONE under the panoply of Christianity.  We may not agree on certain doctrinal issues, but we do agree that Jesus was the Son of God, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, suffered, bled, died, was risen from the dead and is coming back again.  If agree on these things, then we can agree to disagree without being disagreeable on others.

So what does this mean to you today? Whoever is not against the cause of Christ is for it.  You may work with or come in contact with someone that you know to be a Christian, but don’t ever fellowship with because your worship in different “churches.”  You may talk to one person about God and never mention Him to another, because of your different worship styles.  This morning God wants you to remember that we are all HIS CHURCH anyway and wants us to stop majoring on the minors.  You may go to church 5 days a week and another person only attend worship once, but that does not make you any more a Christian than them and does not exempt you from being their brother and sister in the Body of Christ.  You may clap on the 2nd and 4th beats and they may clap on the 1st and 3rd beats  —  SO WHAT!  They are still your brother and sister in the Body of Christ.

You can worship the same God, but avoid people who do not worship Him the same WAY!  Who have you been avoiding because of unimportant differences?

I will close the way we started, with the words of Jesus, “He who is not against us is for us.”

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Religion vs. Relationship (top of page)

(Mark 10:17-22 BBE)  And while he was going out into the way, a man came running to him, and went down on his knees, saying, Good Master, what have I to do so that I may have eternal life?  And Jesus said to him, Why do you say I am good? no one is good but one, and that is God.  You have knowledge of what is said in the law, Do not put any one to death, Do not be untrue in married life, Do not take what is not yours, Do not give false witness, Do not get money by deceit, Give honour to your father and mother.  And he said to him, Master, all these laws I have kept from the time when I was young.  And Jesus, looking on him and loving him, said, There is one thing needed: go, get money for your goods, and give it to the poor, and you will have wealth in heaven: and come with me.  But his face became sad at the saying, and he went away sorrowing: for he was one who had much property.

This story illustrates the difference between religion and relationship, between having a form of Godliness and having an intimate relationship with God.  This rich young ruler wanted to know what he had to do to gain eternal life.  He wanted to know what he could do today that would effect his tomorrow.  He wanted what we should all want  —  to live for ever with Jesus!

I could just imagine the conversation:  Don’t commit adultery – got it!  Don’t steal – got it!  Don’t lie – got it!  Don’t be deceitful – got it!  The young man seemed to have all bases covered.  He had been doing these things since he was a child.  Got it, got it, got it  —  were his replies.  Then Jesus, looking on him and loving him, said, There is one thing needed: go, get money for your goods, and give it to the poor, and you will have wealth in heaven: and come with me.  This was too hard a request for the man because he was so wealthy.  He had allowed his money to become his God and he had religion, but not a relationship.

So what does this mean to you today? God wants YOU!  God wants your heart and wants an intimate relationship with you.  You can feed the homeless, serve the sick, go to church regularly, be good to people, and etc. without ever having a true relationship with God.  We can allow ‘things’ and ‘people’ to become our gods and keep us from true fellowship with the only true GOD!

Take self-inventory this morning.  Pause for a moment and search your heart for anything or anyone that is more important to you than God Himself.  For many it is that new car, or that new house, or that new job.  For others it is their husband or wife, or mother, etc.

If the Holy Spirit has shown you, through this message this morning, that you have allowed someone or something to take God’s place in your heart (1st Place), then it is time to make some changes.

(Exodus 20:3 KJV)  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Answer to Man’s Darkness (top of page)

(Mark 10:46,47 and 51 BBE)  And they came to Jericho: and when he was going out of Jericho, with his disciples and a great number of people, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus, a blind man, was seated by the wayside, with his hand out for money.  And when it came to his ears that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he gave a cry, and said, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.  (v.51) And Jesus said to him, What would you have me do to you? And the blind man said, Master, make me able to see.

We last left Jesus with the Rich young ruler where God revealed Jesus to be God’s answer to Man’s Dogma.  He then reveals his upcoming fate to His disciples where God’s gives them a glimpse of Jesus being God’s answer to Man’s Death.  He then once again has to deal with the pride issue when James and John request to be seated on his left and right side in glory.  And this is where we pick up our text.  This morning God reveals Jesus to be God’s answer to Man’s Darkness.  There are many nuggets in the text, but let’s look at four this morning:

1.  The Man Understood His Position:  He was in a bad situation:

a.  The text does not even name the man.  We only know him to be the son of Timaeus (bar means son of).
b.  He was blind.
c.  He was seated by the wayside.
d.  He was asking for handouts (money).

Application:  You may fell like God does not know or has forgotten your name this morning.  You may feel lost, dark, out of position, with seemingly no way out.  If so, God says to you this morning that Jesus is the answer to your Darkness!

2.  He Used what he had Left:  It is true that he could not see, but he could hear and he could speak.  He used everything he had left to get him out of his situation.

Application:  You may not feel like you have much, but you always have something left.  Just allow God to use what you have left in your marriage, your job, your family, your finances, and etc. and He can work miracles.  Remember, God fed 5,000 with some leftovers.

3.  He Recognized God for Who He was:  The crowd called Him Jesus of Nazareth.  Nazareth was the ghetto.  Nazareth was so bad that it was debated if anything good could ever come out of this seemingly useless town (Jn 1:46).  The blind man, however, did not regurgitate what he heard the people say.  Jesus of Nazareth was a title that connected Him to humanity, but the blind man called Him Jesus, the Son of David, which was a name that connected Him to Divinity.

Application:  If you met me this morning, you probably would not ask me to 10 Million Dollars, because you would probably perceive that I do not have it (yet!).  When you acknowledge God for WHO He is, you can then come to Him in prayer, by faith; because you then perceive Him to able to do all things.  Recognize God for who He is this morning and call upon Him to manifest Himself in your life.  He can and He will!

4.  His faith triggered God’s Blessing:  The man’s faith caused Jesus to ask, (v.51) What would you have me do to you? This is it!  This is what we all want to hear.  The man said, “Master, make me able to see.” And in the next verse he was healed.

Application:  God does not play favorites.  What he did for this man, He can do for you.  You must operate in faith, however, to loose God’s blessing over and upon your life.

So if you feel like the man felt (dark and down), use what He used (what he had left), to see what he saw (God for who He is), so that you can receive what He received (deliverance and healing).

 

Jesus is God’s answer to Man’s Darkness.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Gospel Message (top of page)

(Mark 11:7-9 KJV)  And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.  And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.  And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord

Imagine yourself as a member of the nation of Israel.  You have been under Egyptian captivity for some 400 years now.  God sends Moses to get you out from under the hand of Pharaoh, but all you have seen is plague after plague come with Moses.  Things are seemingly getting worse before they get better.  And then Moses comes with a message from the Lord.  He says that this month shall be the beginning of months.  He tells you to pick out a male lamb, without blemish, on the 10th day of the month.  You are to keep this lamb until the 14th day of the month.  On the 14thday you are to sacrifice the lamb and place its blood on your doorposts.  He says that a death angel will come and kill all the firstborn children, but the doors that are ‘covered by the blood,’ he will PASSOVER.  The death of this little lamb would deliver your house from the hand of this last and final plague and would eventually deliver you out of Egypt.  Imagine yourself looking for that perfect male lamb.  Do you see him?  What does he look like?

Fast-forward now a few thousand years into the New Testament.  It is early morning and the hustle and bustle of the day has already started in Jerusalem.  People are preparing for their ‘business-as-usual’ lives.  And then all of a sudden you hear a commotion.  People are shouting.  It seems like they are chanting.  What are they saying?  You get closer.  Hosanna!  Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna!  Hosanna!  What is all of this about?  You get even closer and you see a man riding a colt and people are throwing down their cloaks and palm leaves on the ground where the colt walks.  They seem to be worshipping this man.  Who is he?  Why all the fuss?  You come to find out that His name is Jesus.  You check the date and realize that today is the tenth day of the first month.  You did not know it, but the perfect male lamb was just selected to be ultimate PASSOVER sacrifice.  His blood would soon be shed (the 14th day) for the salvation and deliverance of the entire world.

 

So what does this mean to you today? Jesus suffered, bled, and eventually died.  The gospel message, however, does not end there.  God raised Him from the dead on the third day with all power in His hand so that we could conquer death, like He did.  What does this mean to you?  This means that, as a Christian, you are a conqueror in Christ Jesus.  It means that you are the head and not the tail.  It means that you are above and not beneath.  It means that you are a ‘King’s Kid,’ a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation.  It means that you can walk throughout this day and everyday with your head held high because you know that you are covered by the blood, anointed the by Spirit, and called according to the purpose of God.  That’s what this means to you TODAY!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The House of Prayer (top of page)

Mark 11:17 KJV)  And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Yesterday we saw Jesus make His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, which depicted his selection as the ultimate PASSOVER sacrifice.  Shortly thereafter he enters into the temple and begins to drive out those who were buying and selling there.  He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise throughout the temple courts.  Can you imagine the scene?  The people are shocked.  They are all staring at Jesus.  Their religion is now is question, because they are about to be called passed religion into relationship.  They had been accustomed to these practices for a very long time.  It was the feast of the PASSOVER and everyone was coming home to Jerusalem.  The preachers were making lots of money selling unworthy sacrifices in the temple and also making everyone exchange their money before they made their offering.  The temple had become a place of finance and not a place of faith.  And here is Jesus, bringing it all to a screeching halt.  The place is quiet.  No one is moving.  And this is where we pick up our text.

It is at this point that Jesus begins to teach them and quotes from Is 56:7 and tells them and reminds us this morning, that His house will be called (of all nations) the “House of Prayer!” Not a house of praise, not a house of preaching, but a House of Prayer!

So what does this mean to you today? The message this morning is twofold:

1.  Never allow religious practices to lead you away from a personal and intimate relationship with Christ.  Just because something has been done for a long time and handed down from generation to generation, does not necessarily mean that it is biblical, nor pleasing in God’s sight.  Seek God daily and ask the Holy Spirit to lead and order your steps.

2.  You cannot make it in this Christian life without prayer.  Prayer to your Spirit man is what air is to your physical man.  Prayer is the wind beneath your wings, it is the fuel in your tank, and it is the strength in your step.  God’s house should be called a House of Prayer and you and I should be a praying people.

Has God revealed something to you today that you need to change?  If so, follow His lead and receive His reward.  Once again, the choice is yours.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Have Faith in God! (top of page)

(Mark 11:22,25,26 KJV)  And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  (v.25)  And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (v.26)  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Yesterday we looked at the travesty that had happened in the temple and how corruption had overtaken the house of God.  Jesus reestablished order and reminded them and us that His House will be called a House of Prayer.  The next morning He and the disciples come across a fig tree that Jesus had cursed prior to entering the temple and it was now dried up from its roots.  It was a fig tree with beautiful leaves, but no figs and hence, representative of what he would find in the temple.  Peter tells Jesus to look at the tree and as He does, we pick up our text for this morning.

He looks at the picture of an aborted destiny and wasted possibilities and says, “Have Faith In God!” Four of the most powerful words you will ever hear.  He goes on to explain that if you really have faith and operate therein, you will be able to speak to mountains and situations and circumstances in your life and watch them move before your very eyes.  You will be able to pray and see results.  Your faith will fuel your prayer and your prayer will activate your faith.  Who would not want this kind of life?  We all love to hear these verses.  But then  —  all of a sudden  —  Jesus says something that is tied to whether or not your prayer will be answered.  He says, “Forgive.”  He goes on to explain that if we do not forgive, our Father in heaven will not forgive us.

So what does this mean to you today?  Twofold once again:

1.  God wants you to have an active prayer life that is fueled by faith:  If your prayer life is not fruitful it is not because God is not able.  You must come to God, in faith and also in accordance with His will.  God honors faith.  He does not honor doubt, nor anything that goes against His Word.  So if you want to have an active prayer life, pray in faith and in accordance with His Word.

2.  Unforgiveness will hinder your prayer life:  Folk will hurt you, offend you, and upset you.  This is part of life.  What you must do, however, (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) is to find a way to forgive them.  If you do not forgive them, God will not forgive you and it will hinder your prayer life.  Listen, no matter who they are and what they did, they are not worth it!  There are blessings in heaven that are waiting to be released to you and your family, but cannot be, because of your unforgivenss.  When you really think about it, whatever they did is really not that important.  Let it go this morning and forgive them in your heart!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Whose face is on the coin? (top of page)

(Mark 12:17 KJV)  And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

Mark chapter 12 opens with Jesus speaking a parable about how the Pharisees had rejected Him and how they would be rejected by God.  They were upset and were looking for a way to arrest him.  They then tried to catch him in his words.  They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity.  You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with truth.  Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?  Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”  But Jesus knew their hypocrisy.  “Why are you trying to trap me He asked?”  “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”  They brought Him the coin and He asked them, “Whose portrait is this?  And whose inscription?”  They said, “Caesar’s.”  This is where we pick up our text.  Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

The Pharisees were really not concerned with taxes at all, but they were looking and hoping for a way to find Jesus at fault.  They thought he was going to speak against Caesar and therefore, place Himself in a position to be arrested.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s once again draw two nuggets from the text:

1.  Be Careful what you Say:  The principalities of the world sought to defame and denounce Christ and their method has not changed.  They are looking for ways to tear down the kingdom of God and unfortunately, many of us (Christians), are giving them their ammunition by the words of our mouths.  James taught us (1:19) that we should be slow to speak and quick to listen.

2.  Give both God and man what is theirs:  Although the bible teaches us to pray without ceasing (I Thes 5:17) and meditate on God’s Word day and night (Ps 1:2, Jos 1:8), some Christians misunderstand these scriptures and run into problems in the workplace.  Some have ruined their careers over it.  I believe that we should give God our all and seek to be all that God would have us to be.  This does not mean, however, that we forsake our responsibilities to man.  for example: Let’s say that you get paid to answer the phone.  You come to work and are now ‘on-the-clock.’  You feel led to pray and begin to pray in your office and the phone rings and you neglect to answer it because you were caught up in prayer.  Although you may have had good intentions, you are in error.  We have earthly responsibilities and God wants us to fulfill them.  The best way to represent God in the workplace is to be the very best at what you do and to give Him the glory for it at every opportunity!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Great Commandment (top of page)

(Mark 12:28-31 KJV)  And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Yesterday we saw how the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with the question on taxes.  Well, they did not stop there.  A Sadducee came up afterwards and asked a hypothetical question about whom a woman would be married to in heaven if she had literally been with seven husbands on earth and Jesus explained that there will not be marriage in heaven, but rather that we will be like angels.  This is where we pick up our text.

This scribe seemed to have an honest question about the “first” or “greatest” commandment.  Once again, Jesus answers in an unexpected fashion.  Instead of perusing through the entire law to pick out the greatest, he sums it up with these words, “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.”  This is it!  If you endeavor to love the Lord with your entire being, then you will live a life that is pleasing to God.  God is love (I Jn 4:8).  Jesus also told his disciples that love would be their identifying characteristic (Jn 13:35).  Beyond the sacrifices of doves, bullocks, sheep, and etc.; God wants us to sacrifice ourselves unto Him (Ro 12:1) and that we do it in love.

Jesus did not stop there, however.  He went on to name a second greatest commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”  This has been dubbed “The Golden Rule” by the world.  They often say, “Treat people like you want to be treated.”  What Jesus said, however, goes beyond that.  He said that we should love (not treat) our neighbors as ourselves.  This first implies that you love yourself.  This means that you have a love for God and a healthy love for yourself and that you are then in a position to share that love with someone else.  God wants you and I to operate in love (1 Cor 13) in every area of our lives.  He wants us to exude love to others.

So what does this mean to you today? In summary:

1.              God is love.

2.              God wants us to love Him with our entire being.

3.              God wants us to have a healthy love for ourselves (not a low self-esteem).

4.              God wants us to love everyone we come in contact with  —  in spite of their actions.

Are you ready to love  —  in spite of?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

What will you give? (top of page)

(Mark 12:42 KJV)  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

Jesus is in the temple and He takes a seat opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the people as they came and placed their offerings in the temple treasury.  Many rich people came and threw in large amounts.  And then here comes a poor widow.  I can imagine her approaching the offering basket and imagine how she may have even been shunned in the temple.  The rich folk did not want to sit by her.  Some ‘religious’ people looked at her and questioned why she was even there.  She creeps up to the basket and places in two mites (very small copper coins) worth only a fraction of a penny.  Jesus saw this and immediately called His disciples over and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”

So what does this mean to you today? We can glean several nuggets from this text:

1.  God looks at the heart:  We can be impressed with outward fashion and flashy people, but God looks right through outward appearances and looks at the motivation behind the action and the condition of the heart.  Be careful to do what you do, with the right motivation.

2.  God can use what you have:  You may feel inferior to others in the church, the workplace, your family, or etc.  You may feel like you are not as equipped as they are or as prepared for the assigned task.  Regardless of how you ‘feel,’ God has placed something special in YOU.  God has placed YOU in your particular positions so that you can be used to His glory.  This widow did not have much, in comparison to others, but she was willing to use what she had, to the glory of God.

 

3.  Trust God:  Jesus said that she gave all that she had to live on.  I am not saying that you have to go out this morning and clear your savings account and place it in the offering basket, but you and I both have a responsibility to trust God for our today and our tomorrow.  She literally placed her life in the hands of God while she was in the temple and that is exactly what God is seeking from you and I this morning.  He wants us to place our lives in His hands and trust Him to today, and the rest of our living.

So in closing:  Right now God is looking at your heart.  Does He like what He sees?  If not, it is time to make some changes.  Are you ready to allow Him to use what you have, to His glory?  Are you willing to Trust Him?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Word is Eternal! (top of page)

(Mark 13:31 KJV)  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

This morning (2003) we pick back up in the Gospel according to St. Mark and we find Jesus in teaching His disciples of the signs of the end times (chapter 13).  He talks of abomination, desolation, trials, and turmoil.  He tells them that the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light and how the stars will fall from the sky and heavenly bodies will be shaken.  He teaches them many things about the end times and then says, “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” and this is where we pick up our text. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

So what does this mean to you today? We are at the dawn of a new year and with it we have: new aspirations, new dedications, and new determinations.  We have a new resolve and are praying for a steadfast spirit to remain resolved for this year and beyond.  God reminds us this morning, by way of His Word, that this world and everything in it is temporal.  Our homes, cars, stocks, bonds, CDs, and etc. are all temporal.  Those things that we seemingly put a great deal of stock into  —  our careers and our possessions  —  will some day be blown away into the abyss.  God’s Word, however, is eternal.  God’s Word is permanent.  God’s Word is everlasting.  God’s Word is timeless.

So if you want some substance that is immutable, infallible, inexhaustible, and inerrant  —  read the Word of God in 2003.  If you want stability in an ever changing environment  —  read the Word of God in 2003.  If you want direction in a world of aimlessness  —  read the Word of God in 2003.  If you want to be blessed and your children to be blessed and your children’s children to be blessed  —  read the Word of God in 2003.

And oh yeah, by the way, I have to mention one very important caveat to the last paragraph.  Just so we are clear.  You do have to go one step beyond reading the Word.  If you really want to be blessed in 2003 and receive everything that God has given you by way of His promises, you have to actually put your reading into action and apply His Word to your life.  It is only in the application that you will see results.

Do you want 2004 to be the best year you have ever had?  Be Ready, Receptive, and then Responsive to what God says in His eternal Word!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

What are you willing to give God? (top of page)

(Mark 14:9 BBE)  And truly I say to you, Wherever the good news goes out through all the earth, what this woman has done will be talked of in memory of her.

Mark 14 opens with the Feast of the Unleavened Bread and the Passover only two days away.  The chief priests were trying to figure out a way to arrest Jesus, but they did not want to do it during the Feast because they were afraid of it causing a riot.  While they were scheming, Jesus was in Bethany at the Simon the Leper’s house.  There was a woman there (Jn 12:3 teaches us that this was Mary) who came with an alabaster box of very expensive perfume.  She broke the box and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head.  This perfume was very expensive, about a year’s wages.  Some of those present were complaining about what she did, but Jesus said that she had done a beautiful thing to Him.  This is where we pick up our text, where He went on to say, “What this woman has done will be talked of in memory of her.”  This caused Judas to want to betray Jesus and we went out to do so.

So what does this mean to you today? We can glean several nuggets from the text.  This morning we will only discuss three:

1.  A Price:  Our Christian walk is costly.  God’s gift of eternal life is a free gift that comes with a high cost.  The high cost of the free gift is YOU.  Mary was not concerned with the cost of the gift because she had already given herself.  God is looking for us to come to Him submitted and surrendered and to give our lives wholeheartedly to Him.  Our living bodies  —  sacrificed to His will  —  is the high cost of the fee gift.  There is a price.

2.  A Promise:  Jesus promised that what Mary did would be talked about wherever the gospel is preached.  The Word of the Day ministry is a place where the gospel is preached and just like Jesus said, we are mentioning Mary this morning.  This is just another fulfillment of the prophecy declared by Jesus.  If you surrender yourself to God’s will and God’s way, God will also promise specific things in your life.  You also then have access to all the promises in the bible  —  and there are many  —  and you can stand on them in your daily walk with Christ.  She received a Promise and so can we.

3.  A Problem:  Judas took what she did the wrong way and allowed it to fester.  He already had issues in his heart and this was the last straw.  He betrayed Jesus.  Jesus told us (Jn 16:33) that we would have tribulation in this world, but that we should be of good cheer, because He has already overcome the world.  Problems are part of daily life and living, but we must be able to look beyond the problems and focus on the promises.

Are you willing to pay the high cost of the free gift?  Are you willing to surrender your will for God’s?  If so, you will see the promises of God manifest in your life.  This will not exclude you from problems, but will enable you to endure in spite of them.  The bottom line here is that we serve a real God, with real promises, and real power to overcome real problems.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The God of Another Chance! (top of page)

(Mark 14:30, 31 BBE)  And Jesus said to him, Truly, I say to you that you, today, even this night, before the cock’s second cry, will say three times that you have no knowledge of me.  But he said with passion, If I have to be put to death with you, I will not be false to you. And they all said the same.

Yesterday we saw how Jesus was anointed at Bethany at Simon the Leper’s house.  Shortly thereafter He and His disciples ate the Passover meal in an upper room and He told of how one of them would soon betray Him.  After the meal told them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will all be scattered.  But after I have risen I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”  Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”  This is where we pick up our text and we see how Peter emphatically rejected that this could ever be.  The truth is, however, that Peter did deny Jesus three times before the cock crowed twice and Peter was crushed.

Many of us can identify with Peter.  He was fired up for the Lord.  He was always eager to want to do something for God.  He was the one that asked to come to Jesus when He was on the water, and he did.  He actually walked on water.  He was the one that received the revelation of Christ’s true identity when others seemed to be missing it.  Peter was eager and excited about God.  For Peter to hear that he would actually deny even knowing Jesus was hard for him to swallow in and of itself, but when he actually did it; he was crushed.  The good news is that this is not the last we hear from Peter.  There are many more chapters in the book of Peter’s life.  Peter was restored and preached the first sermon and three thousand souls were added to the church as a result of God use of his preaching on the day of Pentecost.  Half of the book of Acts is dedicated to what God did through Peter.

So what does this mean to you today? I have heard many people say that we serve a God of a “Second Chance.”  I think it is better stated that we serve a God of “Another Chance,” because I used up my second chance a long time ago.  You may feel like Peter did this morning.  You may be upset with yourself for what you did or what you failed to do.  The Word of the Lord this morning for you is  —  Shake it off and Drive on! Peter had to accept his shortfalls and so do we.

Don’t nurse it and rehearse it, disperse it to God, so He can reverse it! Whatever it is, it’s not that bad.  Ask God to forgive you and He will and then do what Peter and I and everyone else who wants to grow in Christ has had to do  —  forgive yourself!

God wants to give you Another Chance this morning.  Are you willing to receive it?

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Answer to Man’s Dilemmas (top of page)

(Mark 14:32-34 BBE)  And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he said to his disciples, Be seated here while I say a prayer.  And he took with him Peter and James and John, and grief and great trouble came on him.  And he said to them, My soul is very sad, even to death: be here a little time, and keep watch.

Jesus just finished predicting Peter’s denial when they come to a place, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, called Gethsemane.  He takes his inner circle with him (Peter, James, and John) and tells the others to stay there while He went and prayed.  He was overwhelmed with the impending situation and the inevitable crucifixion.  He confesses to his inner circle that he is very sad and asked them to keep watch.  He went a little further, fell to the ground, and prayed that if possible, the hour might pass from Him.  Nevertheless He said, not my will but yours be done.  He returned to find His disciples sleeping.  Could you not keep watch for one hour?  He asked.  Peter said, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”  He left again to pray and came back, they were sleeping again.  He left a third time and came back, and there they were, sleeping.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s glean a few nuggets from the text:

1.  You can’t take everyone with you in certain situations:  There were times when Jesus was with the 5,000.  There were times when Jesus was with the 70.  There were many times when He was with the 12.  But whenever He had a serious situation, He only called upon 3 (Peter, James, and John).   There will be times in your life where you can only depend upon a select few.  Know who these people are and foster your relationship with them.

2.  When you are down, You need to pray:  Jesus was all God and all Man at the same time.  In His humanity he confessed that he is overwhelmingly sad.  If Jesus was sad and overwhelmed we can rest assured that we will have situations in our lives that cause us to feel the same.  His answer, however, should be ours  —  Take it to the Lord in prayer!  If you are down this morning, spend some time in prayer and watch God revive, rejuvenate, and restore you!

3.  Some times all you have is God:  Even as important it is to have an inner circle and friends that you can depend on, there will be times in your life when even they will fail you.  Three times Jesus came back and three times they  —  the inner circle  —  were sleeping.  Although folk with sometimes fail you, God is always Faithful!  God is always there and is always willing to meet us where we are.  So if feel like everyone else has failed you, try Jesus!  He will never leave you, nor fail you.

The message this morning is that Jesus is God’s answer to man’s Dilemmas.  You will be faced with Dilemmas from time to time, and when you do  —  Take it to the Lord in prayer, just like Jesus did.

If you are willing to pray, God is willing to bless you.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Your Pain is Your Power (top of page)

(Mark 14:65 KJV)  And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

We left Jesus at Gethsemane yesterday.  Immediately after yesterday’s message, Judas showed up with a crowd of armed soldiers to arrest Jesus.  Judas, one of the twelve, betrayed Jesus with a kiss.  They arrested Him and brought Him before the Sanhedrin council.  The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence to put Jesus death, but they did not find any.  Person after person came and falsely testified against Jesus, but He remained silent.  The high priest asked Him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”  “I am” said Jesus.  “And you will see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  The high priest tore his clothes.  He said, “Why do we need anymore witness?  You have heard the blasphemy.  What do you think?”  They condemned Him as worthy of death.  This is where we pick up our text.  Some were spitting on Him and they blindfolded Him and began to slap Him in His face and then tell Him to prophesy who it was that hit Him.  They were mocking and ridiculing Jesus and He did nothing wrong.

So what does this mean to you today? The message this morning is twofold:

1.  Jesus endured all of this for YOU:  When you realize that God almighty in heaven removed Himself for eternity to step into time, from Omnipresence to step into locality, from Divinity to be wrapped and robed in humanity; you have a better appreciation for the love God has for us.  And He did all of this while you and I were yet sinners.  We never did nor will ever be able to do anything that will be worth what He did for us.  While they were slapping Him in the face, I believe He was thinking of YOU!  You are special to God.  He loved you enough to die for your sins.  He was compelled to endure ridicule and persecution for YOU, what are you compelled to endure for Him?

2.  We should not expect any less treatment from the world:  Jesus was lied upon, cheated, mistreated, mocked, and beaten.  He would later be put to death for our sakes.  It is foolish for us Christians to expect any less from a dying and decaying world.  What we must do, like Jesus, is endure the ridicule and repay it with the love of God.

You may have to endure some tough situations from time to time, just for being a Christian.  You may be experiencing ridicule right now.  You have a choice to make.  You can either choose to join those who ridicule you and deny Christ or you can endure the ridicule and continue to express the love of God towards the ridiculers and watch God bless you for it.

It may not always be easy  —  being a Christian  —  but it sure will be worth it!  I will close with the words of Paul because I belive He said it best(Ro 8:18 BBE)  I am of the opinion that there is no comparison between the pain of this present time and the glory which we will see in the future.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

God’s Answer to Man’s Instability! (top of page)

(Mark 15:13 KJV)  And they cried out again, Crucify him.

After the debauchery at the Sanhedrin council, Jesus was handed over to Pilate to be crucified.  “Are you the King of the Jews” Pilate asked.  “Yes, it is as you say” Jesus replied.  The chief priests accused him of many other things, but Jesus remained silent, and Pilate was amazed.  Now it was a custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested.  A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising.  “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing that Jesus had received a bum trial with the Sanhedrin.  But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.  “What shall I do then with the one you call the King of the Jews?” asked Pilate.  “Crucify Him!” they shouted.  And this is where we pick up our text: And they cried out again, Crucify him.

So what does this mean to you today? The message this morning is that Jesus is God’s answer to Man’s instability.  The same people who were praising Jesus when He made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and were calling out “Hosanna, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord;” were now just a few days later crying out “Crucify him!”  Have you ever experienced this?  Have you ever had people to change on you overnight?  Have you ever had circumstances go awry in an instant?

We live in an unstable environment.  The U.S.S.R. was a Superpower just a few years ago, but we have seen it’s fall.  We are currently preparing for a second war with Iraq; are currently engaged in Peace Keeping operations; are still moving full-throttle forward in the global war on terrorism; and also working on an economic stimulus plan.  This can all change today!  CNN advertises “In the next 15 minutes…”  Their hook is that you never know what is going to happen in the next 15 minutes and if you want to know, you keep watching their news program.

People change, the political venue changes, life is and will always be  —  constant change.  In a world of instability, God is our only source of eternal permanence.  Jesus was handed from shady character to shady character and never once did He violate His integrity.  He remained faithful and stable, even when everything was changing around Him.

The message this morning is that Jesus is God’s answer to Man’s instability.  If you are struggling to deal with a new development in your life  —  Look to Jesus and He will bring stability to your ever changing world!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!