Before we knew Christ we made choices as though life on this earth is all there is. But as believers, this life is just an introduction to the life God has intended for us in eternity. In Matthew 16:26 Jesus said, What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? The possessions we gain in our life on earth has no value in eternity. We must learn to evaluate all we do in the light of eternity.
Mark 7:24-30 tells the story of a woman whose daughter is demon possessed and asks Jesus to drive out the demon. Verses 27-30 confused me: 27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 28 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone. I did some research to find out what Jesus and the woman were talking about. Turns out they were referring to Jesus teaching the children (His disciples) as His first priority and not allowing the pets (those in need) to interrupt. The woman chose to follow His imagery to say that even the pets (allowing herself to be considered an interruption for the sake of her daughter) receive crumbs (miracles) from the main table. Jesus recognized her faith and immediately healed her daughter. It is interesting to me that the woman would humble herself to recognize her need for her daughter as being greater than her pride. This is a great example and perspective for all of us.
People get very caught up in doing what they think is right vs what is wrong and trying to pin God’s approval to it. Jesus made clear what makes us unclean in God’s eyes. Matthew 15:18, But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ There are consequences to making bad decisions for our lives, but spiritual ‘cleanliness’ comes from the condition of our heart. And the heart is reflected through the words we speak and in the manner in which we speak it.
The gospel of Jesus Christ can be summed up in John 6:47-48, 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. When the Jews received manna in the desert from Moses, it was temporal; it satisfied their daily need for nourishment which kept them alive. But when Jesus gave his body as a sacrifice for all our sins, He gave us the bread that satisfies completely and gives us eternal life. We simply need to trust and obey Jesus in accepting Him as the perfect sacrifice for our imperfect lives and thus satisfying our needs through eternity.
The feeding of the 5,000 is such an amazing story and an example of how powerful faith can be. We tend to think on a small scale in comparison to what is possible through the creator of the universe. When the disciples brought five loaves and two fish thinking it would not be enough, Jesus took what they had and multiplied it beyond anything they could have imagined. No matter how small we think our gifts are, God has the ability to turn them into something truly immense and miraculous. When we least expect God to act in a big way, He brings His omnipotence into play and blows us away.
Remember who God made you to be. Sometimes it is hard to accept doing the right thing knowing there are no guarantees it will be appreciated, but God calls us to do it anyway and trust in Him.
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When Jesus visited His home town of Nazareth, the people took offense that a carpenter could speak with such authority and conduct miracles. Mark 6:4, Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” Jesus understood how people can be judged throughout their entire lives for what people think they are. They forget the power God has to transform anyone into a new creation. In Jesus’ case He was already transformed as God’s Son here on earth as a human and He is a perfect example of how God makes all things new. What we believe to be true about others, based on their past, does not define them. What does define them is the cleansing blood of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to make all things new and make us worth of eternal life with Him.
When we feel all alone in the middle of the storm, we must always remember Jesus is there right beside us. When the disciples were in the middle of a storm on the lake, they thought they were all alone facing the real possibility of death. But even in the middle of that lake Jesus went to be with them. Matthew 14:27, But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage it is I. Don’t be afraid.” Christ’s presence in our lives is always there. We are never alone and we must always recognize the desire to be with us in all circumstances is His.
As we as believers face this world we are beginning to feel more and more as though we are in the presence of wolves. And like sheep, our protection comes from our Shepherd. In Matthew 10:16 Jesus gave the following advice to His disciples, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. We are not called to be sheep-like in our attitude, but we must find a balance between wisdom and vulnerability that allows God to effectively work through us to accomplish the work He has set before us.
God has given us the privilege of being used by Him; not that He needs us, but He chooses to include us in His plan. Part of his plan is to show others the way to Him through us. Matthew 9:37-38 says, 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. There are plenty of people out there that need Christ in their lives and are ready to follow Him if someone would just take the time to show them the way. We must always be prepared for God to show someone the way to a personal relationship to Him through us.