Daily Word

Mark 12

Reflections on Mark 12 – I love this chapter!  There is much to reflect on, but the verse that truly changed my life is in the section :28-34, and :31 in particular.  Do you have time for a little testimony, Beloved?  

You see, when I started walking with Jesus in full measure, I fully understood and loved the number one commandment to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength; :30.  And I thought I was doing an impressive job with the second commandment, to love my neighbor as myself, because I wrongly thought I loved others more than myself.  I carried a lifelong burden of insecurity.  It ruled my life; I was constantly making self-deprecating comments to show others that I held them in higher esteem than myself… Do you know what the truth behind this lie is?  Insecurity was my idol; it came before God, and it devalued His gift of my life.  It kept Jesus’s gift of my Salvation subdued.  It was like getting a gift and loving it, but putting it in the back of the closet for safekeeping… To honor the giver is to delight in the gift.

You can imagine my joy when the Holy Spirit finally helped me see this!  The reality was that I wasn’t truly loving others – I was desperate for approval.  It’s a very hard way to live and a very hard thing for others to be around.  It was not the life Jesus died to give me.  

Beloved, the freedom of this realization was transforming for me!  “The thief came to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10  The more I delight in Jesus, the more I am able to delight in my life and the more love pours out on everyone!  That is the heart of ‘loving my neighbor as myself’.  Hallelujah!

Mark 12 covers many wonderful teachings of Jesus, The Parable of the Evil Farmers, shows the wickedness of the religious leaders.  The trick of Taxes for Caesar was a ploy by those same leaders to trap Jesus.  And the beautiful Widow’s Offering, :41-44, reveals how much Jesus treasures the heart behind the offering.  Beloved, which of these parables or verses was Jesus’s gift to you today?

Daily Word

Mark 4

Reflections on Chapter 4 – Jesus taught by telling stories in the form of parables.  Four are recorded here, and then a life application is presented. 

The first one, the parable of the farmer scattering seed, is one I have spent some time with.  I first asked Jesus into my heart around the age of 6… a neighbor shared the Good News to the best of her 8 year old ability.  Unfortunately, there was no further foundation for that faith, no one I knew went to church or could help me grow, and it was as if that seed were picked up by birds and carried away, :4.  In high school, I answered an altar call and began attending church regularly for a period, but adulthood came with so many temptations and distractions that my faith went dormant for many years, :7.  Then in 2004, I was a hair away dismissing my faith all together, when I decided to settle the matter once and for good.  I began investigating Christianity, Jesus and the Bible with all the skepticism and hardness of heart I had developed over the years.  Jesus dealt with me brilliantly!  He put people and conversations and books in my path… this time, my seed landed on fertile soil and I’ve been learning and sharing ever since!  Hallelujah!  

Beloved, I share this to say, it is not too late to revive your faith, dry spells, bad foundations, guilt, shame, arrogance and anything else that has kept you at arms length can be confessed right now.  Jesus is waiting for you with patience and mercy.  He knows all about your hurts and He knows you are thirsty. 

Jesus explains His purpose in speaking through parables in :11-12.  He could easily override our freewill with His divine nature, forcing people to believe.  True belief lies in the heart of the individual.  Jesus is a respecter of persons; no one in hell will be surprised to be there… though it breaks my heart to say that.

Our chapter has three other parables, which spoke to you the greatest?  Which one are you going to share with someone today?

In verses :35-41, a true life application comes to the disciples.  Jesus suggests that they cross the lake, and goes to sleep at the back of the boat.  As they are sailing a fierce storm comes up and they (the disciples) are terrified for their lives.  They wake Jesus, and the way it plays out is quite telling of their faith.  This is to grow them, not to shame them.  Beloved, may all of your, “I should have’s” grow and mature you for the life that lies ahead.

Read chapter 5 for tomorrow.