February 23

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“After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray” (Mark 6:46 NLT).

From: February 23, 2019

WHEN DO YOU GET ALONE TO PRAY?

After a long day filled with teaching and miraculously feeding the 5,000, Jesus insisted that His disciples go on ahead while He excused the crowds. Jesus wanted some time alone to pray. For the Son did “nothing of Himself” (John 5:19). Everything He did was shown to Him by the Father.
 
Perhaps more impressive than any miracle Christ performed was His practice of getting by Himself to pray. If prayer sustained the Son, shouldn’t we depend on prayer all the more? Like Peter, we want to join Him walking on the water, but we fail to join Him in praying alone through the night.
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord, we want to join with You in prayer. We are too dependent on our own efforts and not dependent enough on You. Forgive us our busyness. Like Martha we are distracted by all our preparations, when only one thing is needed. We need more time with You. Teach us to pray and hear from You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

‘But Jesus said, “You feed them.”’ (Mark 6:37 NLT).

From: February 23, 2018

JESUS CALLS THOSE WHO SEE THE NEED TO MEET IT
When the disciples came to Jesus telling Him to send the hungry crowds away to get something to eat, He told the disciples, “You feed them.” You have to be careful what you ask of Jesus. He might just tell you to be the answer to the very need you lifted up to Him. In the case of the disciples, He had them do an inventory of the need, bring what food they discovered to Him to bless it, organize the people in groups, and then distribute the food. Jesus called them to meet the need that they seen with what they had, trusting Him to fill up the difference. 
 
What can we learn from this?

“As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water.” (Leviticus 14:6 NKJV).

From: February 23, 2017

Why does God’s Word contain laws concerning leprosy?
 
The laws in Leviticus are in three categories: 1) Moral, 2) Ceremonial and 3) Civil. Moral laws are perpetual, revealing the character of God and showing us how to treat both God and man. Ceremonial laws have to do with temple worship, holy days, and the sacrificial system. Civil laws have the effect of setting the Jews apart as God’s peculiar people. The leprosy laws fall into the last two categories, they both preserve the holiness of corporate worship and protect the civil community from communicable disease.
 
Yet, within these laws there are spiritual signs that point to Christ. Consider the elements of the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop.
– The two birds: This points to the union of the two natures in Christ, both human and divine. The one sacrificed and its blood shed points to His crucifixion and death. The one let loose points to His resurrection and ascension.
– The cedar wood: This points to the cross itself.
– The scarlet: The color of the robe the Roman soldiers put on Christ and mocked Him (Matt. 27:28).
– The hyssop: The Roman soldiers lifted a sponge filled with sour wine with a hyssop branch to Christ on the cross (John 19:28-30).
 
Leviticus is rich with spiritual meaning and metaphor when we read it through the lens of the New Testament.

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12 ESV)

From: February 23, 2016

The heart without love is easily offendable. It looks for offense and strikes back to defend. It leaves a trail of broken relationships in its wake. But the heart of love is hard to offend because it thinks of others ahead of itself. It has no need to defend or protect because love is its strong tower. Where ever the heart of love goes, healing and reconciliation happen. Are you overly sensitive and easily offendable? Ask God to examine your heart.

“Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught” (Mark 6:30 NKJV)

From: February 23, 2015

After Jesus had sent his disciples out two by two to witness, they returned full of excitement and stories to report. They had been following Jesus and learning from him for some time and now after being sent out on their own for the first time, they were glad to be back in the presence of their Lord and to tell him “all things” about their work. Can you picture the excitement? Perhaps the Lord had to tell Peter to sit down and let Andrew tell his story too. Then, after everyone had debriefed their stories with Jesus and he had given them feedback, he invited them to take a retreat to get some rest with him. This is a crucial step to add to our ministry. Take time to discuss your day with Jesus. Tell him “all things” you’ve done and taught. Listen for his feedback. Then, obey when he invites you to get some rest with him.

“Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.'” (Mark 6:31 NLT)

From: February 23, 2014

A sharpened saw cuts more efficiently, but you have to take a break from sawing long enough to sharpen the blade. Long before Covey wrote “The 7 Habits,” Jesus taught His disciples to pull away with Him to rest. Working without rest results in diminishing returns. A rhythm of work and rest produces the best outcome. This rest must include certain aspects: 1) “Let’s” – Spiritual rest means time alone with Jesus, 2) “go off” – Physical rest requires a pulling away from work completely. 3) “by ourselves” – Social rest involves time away from others, and 4) “quiet place” – Mental rest means a place where input from various media is cut off, so that the mental faculties can recover. When we follow Jesus in this rhythm of work and rest, we discover new strength and insight for life.

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12 ESV)

From: February 23, 2013

The heart without love is easily offendable. It looks for offense and strikes back to defend. It leaves a trail of broken relationships in its wake. But the heart of love is hard to offend because it thinks of others ahead of itself. It has no need to defend or protect because love is its strong tower. Where ever the heart of love goes, healing and reconciliation happen. Are you overly sensitive and easily offendable? Ask God to examine your heart.