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.
February 21, 2014
This woman had suffered with a continuous issue of blood for 12 years. She had bankrupted herself spending on doctors but found no relief. Her condition meant that by Levitical law she was unclean. She could not enter the Temple to bring sacrifice. She could not be with her husband or touch another human being, for that would make them unclean as well. She was like a societal leper. She risked everything by being in that crowd following Jesus. She risked even more by touching the hem of His robe. Yet, her faith was rewarded. After 12 terrible years, she was instantly healed with just a touch. But she didn’t get away with a stolen miracle. Jesus took notice. He knew. He called her “Daughter,” welcoming her to the family of faith. Her impurity had not made Jesus unclean, but His holiness had been transmitted to her making her whole.
February 20, 2014
Jesus and the Twelve crossed to the Eastern side of the Sea of Galilee to a Gentile region known as the the Gerasenes near the Decapolis (Ten Cities). They went through a terrible storm on the way across that so terrified the disciples that Jesus had to calm it. Then, as soon as they landed they were met by a demon-possessed man that lived in the tombs. After Jesus cast the demons out into a nearby herd of pigs, the locals were so afraid of Jesus that they begged Him to leave. The healed demoniac however, begged to go with Jesus. Instead, Jesus appointed him to go to the Decapolis and tell what God had done. When we read this story, it appears that Jesus crossed over to a Gentile land, in spite of a terrible storm, to heal and ordain one demoniac to be a disciple. Jesus is still calling us to cross over to the other side to call those that He wants to save.
February 17, 2014
The Pharisees brought out the full range of emotion from our Lord Jesus. When He tried to show them the spirit of the Sabbath, they clung to the letter of the law, even that which they themselves had added to it. He asked them a simple question, one that begged a correct response. He asked whether the law permitted good on the Sabbath or evil? They wouldn’t reply. So, he put the man with the withered hand before the whole assembly in the synagogue and healed him. The man and his family rejoiced, but the Pharisees left angry, plotting with the Herodians, whom they normally hated, to plot the killing of Jesus. This scene caused conflicting emotions in Jesus. He was both angry and sad. Angry at the sinful pride that wouldn’t answer His question. And sad at the hard hearts that wouldn’t listen.
February 15, 2014
John the Baptist was God’s appointed Messianic forerunner, coming in the spirit of Elijah, announcing the coming of the Christ. John’s birth was surrounded by miraculous events: an angel’s announcement, a priestly father’s doubting muteness, a barren mother’s pregnancy, an unborn baby leaping with the Spirit’s joy. John was larger than life. Jesus called him the greatest ever born of woman. Yet, John knew his role. He was merely the herald of the coming King. He was a servant of the One who would baptize us not with water, but with the Holy Spirit.
March 12, 2013
This was the question the women who wanted to anoint the Lord’s body had as they headed towards the tomb on that first Easter morning. Arriving there, they found the huge stone had already been rolled away, revealing the empty tomb. Do you know someone that seems close to believing, yet there is a kind of unmovable stone standing in the way? You can lead them to the cross and to the tomb, but only God can remove the stone. Pray that the stone is removed, so that they can finally see and believe.
March 10, 2013
This was Jesus’ response to the high priest who asked whether he was the Christ. His answer? “I am.” Jesus used both the Hebrew name for God and the prophetic title of “Son of Man” in his answer. Jesus was crucified for claiming to be the Messiah. Then, three days later he defeated death and the grave and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that His claim was true!