Day Forty-Three with Mark: Mark 11:15-19

Today we look at one of the more well know passages in the Bible, Mark 11:15-19, where Jesus cleanses the temple.

15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
But you have made it a den of robbers.”
18 And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. 19 And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

835_1.jpgOk, let’s unpack what is happening here.  In the Old Testament there were prescribed offerings to made for sin.  But, most people, even back then, didn’t have sheep in their backyard.  So, shepherds and others would bring the sheep, the bulls, the sparrows, all the things prescribed for offerings to the Temple where they could be sold.

Ok, that sounds simple enough.  But here’s the thing.   The Temple treasury wouldn’t accept Roman money, because it had Ceaser on it, and he claimed to be divine.  So, before you purchase your bull or goat or sparrow, you had to exchange your Roman money for Temple money that you could then use to buy your animal for the sacrifice.

And of course, these “money changers” would gouge the people coming to worship.

And that’s the thing that angered, yes, angered Jesus.  Here were people that were coming to worship, and everyone was standing in their way.  Everyone was profiting off of them.  The people that God had sent to them to be a means by which they could worship and experience God these individuals were only using the people as a means to gain themselves.

And this really did make Jesus mad.  One of the many things He did was that He welcomed people in, over and over again.  And here are those that should be helping others worship, instead they are making it hard and just using folks.

And so Jesus hits the reset button.

Jesus cleans it all out.

Because people matter most. That’s what Jesus is saying.  That’s why Jesus is doing.  That’s what Jesus is trying communicate.

People matter.

Today, let’s work to help people know Jesus.  Let’s show grace, let’s show mercy, let’s open doors, let’s be difference makers.

Let’s pull folks in, not push folks away.

Tuesday we’ll look at Mark 11:20-33.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Our Biggest Battle

Burnning-HeartOur biggest battle in life is not external. Our biggest battle in life is not them. It’s not their sin. It’s not their mistakes. It’s not their faults. It’s not their stuff.

It’s really not.

Our biggest battle is not them. Our biggest battle is us. Our biggest battle is our stuff, our faults, our mistakes, our sin.

I have no control over “them.” Most times, I have very little control over “me.” But here’s the thing. I still have more control over me than I do over them.

I think that’s one of the reasons why Jesus says things like He says in Matthew 6: 16-18:

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

He says when you fast (by the way, to my detriment, he doesn’t say “if” you fast. But when. I haven’t, and most churches haven’t taught fasting as we should) don’t make a big deal about it. Don’t walk around looking sad. Don’t act like it’s a big deal in front of others.

Don’t do it for them. Don’t do it for them to see. Do it for you. Do it so you can learn. So you can grow. So you can be more faithful and learn.

Do it to fight the battle within you. It’s not about them. It’s about you.

So is your biggest battle. It’s about you, and your daily battle to be faithful and to grow.

So, when you fast, or do any other act of faithfulness, it’s not about them. It’s about you and your own walk. Do it for that reason.

If you do it for your own pride, or your own recognition, that’s it. That’s all that you will receive from it.

But when you do it for your own soul, God will do amazing things in your life. That’s our biggest battle. Not with them, but with us.

Today, may we fight the good fight. May we look within. And may God do amazing things within us.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Who Do We Live For?

I wanted to share something with this morning that we talked about last night at Bible Study at Asbury. I love our Wednesday nights here; we have lots of adult small groups that meet across campus, youth worship, and children’s activities. It’s a really good time.

But last night we are in the process of working through Romans and started talking about the law, keeping the law, doing right, grace and all kind of things.

And I began to talk about our lives, and the thing that should really matter the most in our lives is God, and then from that, other people. I don’t live for myself, I live for God.

And I want my life for God to influence others for Him. So, on one aspect, I really don’t care what others think about me. Really, I don’t. I don’t live for the approval of other people. I live for the approval of God.

But, I also don’t want my life, the things I do, I don’t want these things to harm others or harm their faith. I want my life to be a blessing to others. Not a harm.

Listen to what Paul says in Romans 14: 13-15:

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died

business man shrugOur faith is not about actions. By what we eat, or by what we drink, these things don’t save or condemn us. What Paul is talking about is food sacrificed to idols. Here is a pretty good explanation of what that is.

But what Paul winds up saying is this. What you eat or what you drink, those aren’t big deals. They don’t save or condemn you. But, you want to make sure that by what you do, you don’t harm others.

Your life is a witness about God to others. We live for God’s purpose and His plan. He is our concern. But we never want to harm others.

In short, we don’t just live for ourselves. We live for others. We live for God. We live to make a difference.

And today, you do. You can make a difference. Let your light shine, let your life make a difference. You can. You can make a difference. You can make an impact. You were placed here to do it.

Live for God’s glory. Live to impact others. Live to take His word with you.

You can do it.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

How Should We View Others?

How do we look at other people? What are we to think about them? What should be our main thought of others?

We all know that we are supposed to love them, after all as Christians we are supposed to love everyone. We get and understand that. But, that doesn’t really answer the question.

When you see someone, someone you like, or someone you don’t like, how should we see them? Listen to what Paul says in Romans 13: 13-15:

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.

binocularsPaul is writing here about food sacrificed to idols. That was food that had been dedicated to an idol that was then for sale, sometimes, you would be at a feast and not realize that the food you were eating had been dedicated to an idol until the feast had started.

What did you do then? Paul says that the food is fine. But, look at what he says in the end. You can eat it, sure, but by what you eat – do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.

So, if our actions, can bring harm to another, we need to very careful consider what we do. Because we don’t want to harm another for whom Christ died.

That’s what we’ve got to remember. Jesus died for the world. The folks we like, the folks we don’t like. He died for everyone.

And that’s how we should view others. As someone that Christ died for. As someone that matters to Jesus. As someone that is important. There are no unimportant people; there are no people that don’t matter.

Every matters. Because Jesus died for them.

Remember that today. How should we view others? As someone that Jesus died for. That right there, that can change our lives.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Perspective

It’s so easy in life to lose perspective.  To lose perspective on ourselves, or to lose perspective on others.  To think too much of ourselves, or too little of ourselves.  To think too much of others, or too little of others.  In our lives, we really do need perspective.  We need to see things for what they are in reality.

Listen to how Paul puts it in Romans 12:3-5:

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

PERSPECTIVEPaul tells us this morning, keep that perspective.  Don’t think to highly of ourselves; but think about things with grace and perspective.  Now hear me, this doesn’t mean that we are to have a low opinion of ourselves or think that we don’t matter.

Please understand, that’s not what Paul is saying at all. What he is saying is this.  It’s not that you don’t matter.  It’s that they matter too.  It’s not that you are unimportant, it’s that they are are just as important as you are.

This is the proper perspective to have, we all matter.  You are sacred and of great worth.  You matter.  You are vital.  You are important.  You is kind, you is smart, you is important.

And so are they.  For we are all part of one body.  We all matter.  We all are important.  We all count.

Perspective is not thinking less of yourself.  It’s thinking as much of them, as you do yourself.

Today, live with perspective.  Don’t think as much about yourself, as you do about them.  And I promise you, in that, you’ll find more life that you ever think possible.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Who Do We Write Off?

It can be easy to miss what God is doing. It can be very easy.

We can be distracted by the circumstances of life. We can be distracted by sin. We can be distracted by the stuff in our lives. We can be distracted by the stuff in others.

We can judge others too quickly. We can judge ourselves too quickly.

We can just not pay attention to the stuff of God sometimes.

And when we aren’t attuned to God, it can be so easy to miss what He wanting to do.

Listen to what happened in John 1: 45-49:

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Nathanael said to him, Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit! Nathanael said to him, How do you know me? Jesus answered him, Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!

We see here that Nathanael almost missed Jesus Christ, even after Phillip pointed Jesus out to him. Why?

Because Nathanael, he just knew that nothing good could come out of Nazareth. Nothing. Nothing good could come from that.

So, he almost wrote off Jesus. He almost missed what God was going to do with his life, because surly nothing good could come from Nazareth.

Nothing.

He almost wrote Jesus off, because he already had him mind made up.

Today, be careful. Who do we write off? Who do we prejudge?

How can miss what God wants to do in our lives?

Today, be attuned to the stuff of God. Pray. Listen. Watch. Be gracious. Love.

Look for Jesus in the small things. Look for Jesus in the big things.

Today, if we look, we will see God in our midst. May we not quickly write off what God wants to do.

And may we be faithful in all things!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Who Are We Aiming to Please?

Today, in your life, who are you trying to make happy? Who are you trying to please?

Whose praise are you trying to ear?

The answer to that question will determine a lot of things in our lives.

If we live to please ourselves, we will become selfish, seeking only our pleasure, our gain, our stuff. We will place ourselves over others.

And in that, we will push others away, time and time again.

Living for ourselves will cause us to live alone.

Perhaps, through, we don’t live to please ourselves. We live to please others. And, while this sounds good, what happens is this.

We follow the crowd.

We given into peer pressure. We lose ourselves.

And, in that, we live more for the applause of man, than for what really matters.

Listen to what Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:1-4 today:

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

We are soilders of the cross. And our aim is not to please any human. Our aim is to please God.

Today, how are you living? Are you aiming to please yourself?

Are you aiming to please others?

Or are you aiming to please God?

Only one option will truly give us joy and peace.

Today, may we aim to please God.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

The Hardest Person to Forgive

Forgiveness is a hard thing. It really is. I once read that forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. Only the strong can forgive.

It can be very hard for us to forgive others. They may have wronged us badly. We struggle mightily with sometimes. And, we all understand.

We must, through, learn to forgive. I tell folks the quote that I’ve heard. Unforgiveness is me drinking a poison, and expecting it to kill you.

Our lack of forgiveness only harms us.

And I think we all know that. Even if it’s hard.

Others are often not the hardest to forgive. Sometimes, the hardest person to forgive is ourselves.

We can forgive others. It’s really, really, really tough to move past our failures sometimes. Sometimes we think we have done too much.

Gone too far.

Failed too loudly.

Surely there is grace for you. But, not for me.

We all think that. Listen to what 1 John 2:1-2 says:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

We have an advocate. Jesus. He is the forgiveness for our sins He paid the price. He paid the ransom. He has done it.

We are forgiven. We are.

Listen. It’s not just we.

You.

(Insert Your Name Here) is forgiven. You are. Jesus Christ has purchased your freedom and forgiveness.

You are loved. You are forgiven. Today.

Today, may we live like the loved, forgiven children that we are!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.