Archive for July, 2012

In a previous post, I covered some key issues and insights from Jesus on how we truly become defiled.  Believe it or not, Jesus was pretty direct with what He said.  He didn’t leave much wiggle room for other interpretations (Mark 7:1-23).

That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  That’s been pretty standard practice for Jesus during this whole study, hasn’t it? I would think so.

Along with that, we had a short survey entitled Who is Jesus? that numerous visitors and subscribers joined in to share their opinions. FYI: we’re still taking responses throughout this week.  The results are as follows so far:

  • 89% of respondents said that King Herod believed Jesus to be John the Baptist.  That comes from the king’s own personal paranoia about John in Mark 6:14-29.
  • 56% of respondents found it insightful that the Greek woman’s daughter was healed, while 22% of respondents selected the woman’s response to Jesus’ reluctance to help.  See Mark 7:24-30.
  • 44% of respondents were amazed at Jesus’ methods for healing the deaf and mute man, while 33% were amazed at the people publishing the report despite Jesus warning against it.  See Mark 7:31-37.

We are moving on to chapter 8 now.  We will hear about signs, predictions and other challenges in this chapter.  Jesus will make some literal moves that may surprise us, too.  Look at where He goes with His disciples.  Bethsaida and Caesarea Philippi take them away from the far west and back along the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee.  Literally, Jesus is making moves and so are others who seek a sign from Him.


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And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. – Mark 7:20

Imagine how it would be if everyone could what was inside of us.

They could see your thoughts.  Every one of your thoughts would play out like a movie scene before every person who came in contact with you.  You would be viewable by anyone and everyone.

People could see what you had in your system.  What you ate for breakfast would be in plain view.  What you put in your system would be apparent to every single person who approached you, both the good and the bad.

That doesn’t sound too good.
What about that time when I only had a few drinks? It was just something to do.

How about the time when I  held her close for only one night? Will those smudges of sex and lust still be apparent on my hands and the rest of my body?

Will everything that I laid my eyes be revealed when people look in my eyes? Magazines? Videos? Websites?


The eyes of the LORD are everywhere,
keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

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If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. – John 15:18 (NLT)

Think about the Avengers or X-Men.  Those guys were bitten by spiders, struck by gamma rays or born mutated, only to emerge with super powers that spanned the full range of strangeness.  As much as we may love Professor Xavier, we certainly do not want anyone reading our minds or trying to control our thoughts.

We’re like these mutated brothers and sisters to a degree.  The world does not understand us, so in turn, it despises us and seeks to destroy us.  The world resists what we have to say, especially about Jesus.  It will consider us weird because of how intensely we follow the steps of Jesus along with His words, almost in the same way that some follow Star Wars or Star Trek.  For us, our church conventions and praise festivals are like our own version of Comic Con spread from town to town.

No one in this world will ever hate the follower or fan as much as they hate the original icon.  We are not hated because Captain Kirk and Spock grew old or that someone got thrown off because Mr. Sulu came out of the closet and that viewers discovered somewhere around Babylon 5 that the same plots keep playing over and over.  No, we’re hated because the world first hated Him. 

Just like Professor X and the Uncanny X-men, we represent the world’s opposition to tolerance.  We stand in outright defiance of all that seems so-called normal to the folks who cannot accept change.  We live as the litmus test of the degree of openness such an “open society” really has for all of its people, even the ones who seem to be as weird as mutants.

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. – John 7:7 (NIV)

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Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness,

Morning by morning new mercies I see:

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided

– Great is Thy Faithfulness (Hymn)

22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV)

What if God stopped giving us those new mercies “morning by morning?” Could we handle that?

I am not too sure that we could.

What if God said He was going to start a mercy recycling program where He could recycle, reduce and reuse some of these mercies that he has been using on us? Would we still be overjoyed and full of praise?

I don’t know about the same level of praise, but any mercy from one such as the Great I Am is good.  Yet, God does a masterful job putting us in a position to accept His greatness and His great faithfulness.  He gives us all that we have need of day by day, morning by morning, especially those things of spiritual value.

Don’t neglect or overlook God’s faithfulness with the dawning of each day that is full of new mercies laid out just for us.

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“Let no one steal God’s glory.” – Watchman Nee

11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

– Isaiah 14:11-17 (KJV)

God deserves our best.  He deserves our all.  He is deserving and worthy of all praise.

Lucifer didn’t think so.  He felt that some glory should come his way, too.  After all, he was son of the morning  and the anointed cherub.  He thought highly of himself and exalted himself out of pride.  It was his lust for power that caused his downfall.  Glory was not his to have.  It was reserved for God.

17  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
.18  Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
.19  All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more
.Ezekiel 28:17-19

Let God have His glory.  Cast off anyone who dares to try to steal His glory.  It is all His and for His benefit, not ours.  He’s already blessed us with His love, grace, mercy and kindness.

I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. – Isaiah 42:8 (NIV)

For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. – Isaiah 43:3 (NIV)

For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another. – Isaiah 48:11 (NIV)


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“Grace is the active expression of His love.” – Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

If you really want to understand grace, you need to look at God’s love.  Grace is a manifestation of the love of God that He offers us in spite of all that we don’t do or refuse to recognize.  Imagine if it when by what we deserved and not by His grace.  We’d be in more than a pickle.

I like the way that SharpIron displayed Manning’s quotes on graceItsabeautifulgospel.com posted about Manning’s All is GracePastor Nancy speaks out on both books on her blog, Michael Daly posted YouTube videos of Manning speaking on the subject of grace.  We’ve got a lot of folks talking up both of these books on their blogs and sites.

Talk is cheap, though.  Isn’t that how the adage goes? Let’s start applying what we have been tossing around about grace in theory.  Let’s get out of the laboratory and make some headway with some real-time and real-life experiences with grace rather than experiments.

Manning just highlighted what has already been revealed.  The Bible says that we should recognize “the gift of God”- that is our salvation- that has come forth by the grace of God through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10).  These other bloggers spoke on how Manning treated the subject.  Some fully agreed with him, while others might have had some issues with parts of the concept.  Needless to say, the books did their work.  They drove people to return to their Bibles and search the Scriptures for their answers, not just leave it at what Manning had to say.

Let grace weigh heavy upon your heart until it cruishes anything beyond love for God.  Your love for God will cause you to forgive more, to offer kindness more often and provide grace as frequently as opportunity presents itself.  Let the gravity of grace do its work on you, so that God will have the glory through your words that are “seasoned with grace” and your actions that, like our Lord and Christ, are “full of grace.”

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Here is a bit of how ou can study along with us online and keep the interaction going. I will provide the week’s lesson as far as chapter and any materials such as an outline or “homework.” From there, you can engage in a lot of the activities with us.

 I suggest that you use a website like YouVersion or Biblegateway if you plan on using your mobile device or laptop to read the Bible as we study together. These sites provide a pretty good variety of Bible translations in case you are more comfortable with NIV or ESV, even the New Century Version or the Message, rather than the plain old King James Version. This week’s lesson transitions from Mark chapter 4 to chapter 5. Read Mark 4 to familiarize yourself with what we have studied and read chapter 5 to be up to speed with the rest of us. Once you have done that, follow the link below to our class review and answer the questions. From there, be on the lookout for the responses that come rolling in. I will share them as we go forward.

Review of Mark Chapter 4. . .

Go to the first study’s “Quiz” on Getting to Know the Gospel of Mark. . .

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