Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Inside Out

Mark 7: 17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

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Hearing some of the neighborhood kids use explicit language intrigued me. There were a few who would get all the laughs and I desired that kind of spotlight. My first attempts at using foul language flopped, but soon I got better. I eventually use this new found talent as pickup lines, venting rage and putting others down.

  • There were times I acted out.
  • There were times that I could not hold my tongue.
  • There were times that my true desires came out of my mouth.


JESUS tells HIS disciples that the heart is more important than ritual practices of eating. Many  people who were concerned about following the Law were not as concerned about the spirit of the Law. JESUS points out that it is what comes out of the heart that can make someone dirty.

  • GOD wants me to ask HIM for a clean heart.
  • GOD wants me to align my desires to HIS on a daily basis.
  • GOD wants me to nourish my heart as often as I nourish my stomach.


“Garbage in, garbage out” is what people have said and it is true regarding my heart. When I have a steady diet of foulness my heart will wring out its gross contents. GOD is great at replacing my heart. No matter what I have done, HE can mend my heart to use it for HIS glory.

  • Where is your heart?
  • Are you on a road to foulness because of your heart?
  • Can you listen to GOD instead of listening to humans and allow HIM to lead you to a better path? 


Friday, December 8, 2017

Already There

Mark 7: 14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”

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Seeing the new clothes on the mannequin stirred up something inside me that said “I want that.” As I surveyed the handsome garments, a salesperson immediately came over. “You would look great in this” she said to me, batting flirty eyes. “I have to have this!” were my new words.

  • Sometimes I think I am tempted by what I see.
  • Sometimes I think I am drawn to temptation by what I hear.
  • Sometimes I think it is the situation that is holding me down.


“If it weren’t for that, fill in the blank, I would not have fallen into temptation” were my words I would use to justify my actions. JESUS negates my excuses immediately.

  • JESUS says to me “Fortify your heart on a daily basis.”
  • JESUS says to me “Guard your heart daily before you go out.”
  • JESUS says to me “Seek ME and you will find ME daily.”


Some of the temptations I found did not happen by chance; rather it was because I was looking to be tempted. In other words, it was already in my heart before I left the house. GOD wants me to understand my weaknesses and ask HIM to fortify my senses before I go out into the world.

GOD gave me smell, touch, sight, hearing and taste as wonderful, pleasurable sensations that I can use or abuse this day. GOD says “Ask and I will guide you to use your senses to MY glory today.”
  • Are you easily tempted?
  • Do you think you were tempted by chance or was it already in your heart?
  • Can you admit what you easily fall for and ask GOD to handle that for you?
  • Will you allow GOD to flow from your heart instead of defilement today?


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Honorable Profit

Mark 7:For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

He said to them, All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

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“Network” was the answer to all of my woes. “Why don’t you get out there and meet some people” they said. I observed network techniques from those around me. In closed doors they would speak their poison about a person, but when we met with them, they were best friends. “Hmm… As long as they don’t know I don’t like them I can still use them to get ahead. Got it!”

  • There were times I wanted position.
  • There were times I wanted power.
  • There were times I wanted respect from a community who only respected the rich and powerful.


Honor was used earlier in this chapter by JESUS. HE spoke of the Pharisee’s lack of honor by pretending to be holy. Now JESUS speaks on profit focused people passing on traditions steeped in money. “As long as I am rich, I can dishonor anyone I please, even my parents” is the attitude JESUS is addressing.

  • JESUS says to me “Add honor to everything you do.”
  • JESUS says to me “I love it when you honor ME with your heart.”
  • JESUS says to me “Honor should always go before profit.”


When I place profit before honor, I may use “dishonest scales.” More for me and less for you would be my first line of thought. BUT GOD wants me to be different. HE wants me to honor everyone around me and bless those who cannot bless me in return. HE wants me to highly respect those who taught me so I would never push them out with my pride.

  • Are you dishonoring people?
  • Are you embarrassed about what you have become and blaming it on others?
  • Can you stop spitting out poison and speak in “high regards” about people GOD has placed in your life?


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Looking Good

Mark 7: Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”

He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.

And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

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Preparing for church was a chore this particular day. As I put on my only dress shirt, the frayed elbow finally gave way. Maybe I can hide it by putting on the jacket. No one will notice.

  • Many times I tried to look good in front of people.
  • Many times I tried to keep up appearances in front of people.
  • Many times I tried to show people that everything was fine when everything was really bad.


Performing ritualistic washing had become a major performance amongst the Scribes and the Pharisees. Appearing “clean” to people meant they held themselves to a higher standard so they could impose greater demands to have others “look good.” BUT GOD sees through it.

  • GOD sees my heart and knows it needs cleaning.
  • GOD sees my thoughts and knows they need to be put under HIS guard.
  • GOD sees my desires and many times they do not include HIS desires.


My desire for fashionable good looks crept into my spirit life as well. Hiding lusts for sex, money and power had become the norm. I could afford nice suits and give more money than people made in a year, but where was GOD? HE was buried deep under my “good looks.” GOD desires to break through my good looks so HE can shine today.

  • Are you busy telling people how “good” you look?
  • Do you hide your flaws so others can think you are better than you are?
  • Do you give false pity on those who do confess their sins?
  • Will you open your mouth and tell people your sins so GOD can do a marvelous work in you?


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Touched


Mark:6 53 When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, 55 ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. 56 Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.

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“Here is a drawing of you” the child said. As I looked at the drawing and then the child’s smile I could not contain the joy I had at that moment.

  • I have had some times that brought me extreme joy.
  • I have had some times that enabled me to experience delight.
  • I have had some times that were very touching.


Being “touched” is a wonderful feeling. Many people touched me when they boldly spoke as they met me where I was at the time. They cared and some reached out and took me by the wing to grow me. JESUS does the same.

  • JESUS enjoys when I reach out to touch HIS garment.
  • JESUS loves when I do something to touch HIM.
  • JESUS is touched by my words of encouragement I give to others on HIS behalf.


There are so many people who are reaching out to touch something, but unfortunately there is nothing good in what is being touched. BUT GOD is the right “something” to touch. HE can provide joy like none other. HE can fill me up when others are robbing me of peace.

JESUS is who I reach out to touch when things are not looking as great as they should. I am healed by touching JESUS’s garment.

  • Do you need physical, mental, emotional or spiritual healing?
  • What are you reaching out to get help from?
  • Why is your heart turned from the one who loves you dearly?
  • Will you turn to GOD today and watch HIM do a marvelous work in you?


Monday, December 4, 2017

Hardened Away

Mark 6: 45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. 46 And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.

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“Do you want to go over your friend’s house?” was the question. “No, he’s not my friend!”  pouted back. I cannot remember what had happened but all I know is he was no longer my friend. I think it was because he wouldn’t share his toy with me. When I saw other kids playing, I had to change my heart and visit.

  • Sometimes I get mad at people.
  • Sometimes I cannot hear good advice because I am angry.
  • Sometimes I stick to principles when I should be listening to advice.


The disciples desired something different from JESUS. They may have possibly wanted HIM to be a king just like everyone else. While they were able to perform some miracles, they were still confused about who and what JESUS was and is.

Their hearts were hardened to the truth of JESUS being GOD and they could not understand HIS ability to walk on water or for them to feed 5000 or more people with nothing like HE did.

  • JESUS says to me “Be of good cheer” when the winds of life blow my way.
  • JESUS says to me “Do not be afraid” when challenges come against me.
  • JESUS says to me “Believe” when things seem impossible.


Belief that GOD will handle everything in the right time and the right way is hard to do, so hard that my heart may be affected and become hardened to HIS way.  I may rely on “my” abilities instead of believing GOD understands the situation and loves me beyond measure. “My” power comes from HIS power when I believe.

  • Are you going through something?
  • Are the storms of life challenging your abilities right now?
  • Can you stop trying to do things under your own power and seek GOD to provide HIS power?


Friday, December 1, 2017

Powerful Instructions

Mark 6: 35 When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. 36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.”

37 But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.”

And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”

38 But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”

39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. 41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. 42 So they all ate and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.

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“Run the division” were the words spoken to me that were absolutely outrageous. I hadn’t run anything large and the request, while exciting, quickly became overwhelming. How am “I” supposed to do that? I laid awake thinking.

  • Sometimes I think “I” have to do everything under “my” power.
  • Sometimes the task placed in front of me seems huge.
  • Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the unknown.


“You give them something to eat” were JESUS’ words. HE expected HIS disciples, who had just performed all sorts of miracles, to believe they could perform another. Somehow JESUS knew they could do more than they thought, but HE also knew the people were hungry so HE performed the miracle.

  • JESUS knows the faith I have.
  • JESUS knows that if I believe and have faith in HIM, amazing things can happen.
  • JESUS knows the plans HE has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.


JESUS knows I can do more, but most times I don’t think so. I think miracles are for the select few and reduce GOD down to only finding keys, jobs and money. GOD can heal people, relationships and diseases. HE can bring lost people back to HIS loving arms and HE can even forgive me.

  • Do you feel lost?
  • Is GOD saying you can do more than you can ever imagine?
  • Will you stop getting your faith from what you can see and rely on GOD to provide the power?