Day Thirty-One with Mark: Mark 8:1-10

Today in Mark 8:1-10 we see Jesus feed another multitude.  Earlier in Mark He fed the 5000.  Today, He feeds the 4000:

Feeding the Four Thousand
8 In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, 2 “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.” 4 His disciples replied, “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?” 5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. 7 They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. 8 They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

NT Ch15Ok, so why does Jesus feed large crowds twice?  Not to be trite, but the simple answer is that Jesus loved people, and this is at least twice in His ministry when large crowds were with Him, and He knew that if He was to send them away without food they may not make it home.  So, why did Jesus do this twice?  The simple reason is because people needed it twice.

But there is something deeper and bigger going on here, as there is with almost all that happens in the Bible. There are two things that jump out to me in this reading that I think are significant.  First, look at the “faith” of the Disciples.  Remember, they had already seen Jesus feed an even larger crowd before. But when He says that the people must be fed, they say, how can we feed this many people here in the desert?

They’d seen Jesus do it before.  They knew that He could do it, they saw it with their own eyes, the experienced it, they helped.  And yet, they still doubted.

Aren’t we like that?  Don’t we know what God can do?  Haven’t we seen Him do it before?  Aren’t we aware of His power?  Yes.  Yes we are.  And yet, don’t we doubt, as they did?  Don’t we forget, as they did?  They did.  And we do.

On one hand, we need to learn, as they did, to have faith, to not doubt, to remember the faithfulness of God.  Remember how He has been there.  Remember what He has done.  Remember who He is. Remember His faithfulness from generation to generation.

But when we do, we need to show ourselves grace as well. Because we weren’t the first to doubt.  The very ones that walked with Jesus doubted as well.  And He didn’t give up on them. And He won’t give up on us either.

Second, many scholars believe that the first feeding of the multitude (the 5000) was a Jewish crowd, and many think that this crowd, if not mainly Gentile, had many Gentiles within it.  This was on the western side of the Sea of Galilee, which was the more Gentile area.  We cannot say for 100% certain that there were Gentile there, but reading into the context of scripture, it’s a safe assumption.

So, we have seen Him heal Gentiles.  Now we see Him feed Gentiles. We are seeing more and more that Jesus Christ came to redeem the world. All the world.  All that call upon His name.  All

And in a world that is so, so, so very polarized and full of hardening lines, I think it’s important for us to remember that Jesus Christ came for the world.  The entire world. For all who believe.

Today, may we live out that grace with all that we meet.

Friday we’ll look at Mark 8:11-12.

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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They are Listening

One of my coaches at Bogue Chitto said something in an FCA event that has stuck with me through these years.  Coach Micky Myers said – “your life may be the only Bible someone ever reads.”  I’ve always thought about that, how I live, how I act, how I react, those actions say so very much about who God is, how He loves, how we cares, how He wants to know all people.

As believers this morning, as those that follow God, people are watching us today, to see how we react to life and circumstance.  People are paying attention. The are listening.

I was thinking about that this morning as I read one of our texts today, Acts 16: 25-31.  Listen to what it says:

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted in a loud voice, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.’ 29The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them outside and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ 31They answered, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’

Paul_and_Silas_in_Jail_1337-225There are no unimportant words in the Bible. Everything there has a meaning or a purpose. So today as I read, what stood out to me was the end of verse 25 “and the prisoners were listening to them.”  Luke (the author of Acts) didn’t have to include the fact that the other prisoners were listening to Paul and Silas singing hymns.  It wasn’t really “important” to what was happening. That’s what we tell ourselves.

But, it’s in the Bible.  So do it does matter.  So what does it tell us today?

They were listening to Paul and Silas sing. They were in prison.  It was awful.  It was terrible.  It was not a good place to be.  And what did the other prisoners here in that moment?  Faith.  Hope.  Believe

They were listening to Paul and Silas.  They wanted to know if their faith was real, was it something that truly matter when times got to.  And I believe, they really wanted to believe.  They wanted that faith. They were listening to see if it was real.

The world is listening to us today. They are listening.  They are paying attention to what we do; to what we say; to what we live.

They want to know that we really, actually believe what we say that we believe.  They want to know that we mean it.  In a world that is changing and so temporal, they really want to know that we actually believe what we say that we believe.

They are listening. Today, what do they hear from us?

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What are You For?

When we think about the world we live in, it can be a scary place, can’t it? We can feel overwhelmed by challenges, worries, fears, doubts.

We can feel like there is much evil in the world, many things that are wrong, things are against. Things that we feel like we must speak out against and oppose. We can feel like that’s what we are supposed to do.

And, in a world full of evil, we do have to stand for what we believe. But here’s the thing, standing against evil isn’t the totality of our duty and our calling. There’s more. Listen to what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5: 11:

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.

jesus-christI don’t just want to stand against what is wrong. I want to persuade others to do what is right. I heard Tim Keller say at a lecture recently, “it isn’t just that we proclaim the Gospel, it is that we are to persuade people to follow it and love it.”

I don’t just want to be know for what I’m against.  I want to be known for what I am for.  Jesus.

Today, we are not just to be against something. We are called to be for something. I don’t want to just stand against sin (as important as that is); I want to convince people, persuade people to follow Jesus.

Well, how do we do that? First, with our lives. If we are going to convince people to follow Jesus, we have to follow Him ourselves. There must be something different about us that makes folks want to follow Him.

Second, with our love. As we love folks as He loves them, they will want to know Him. They will. They will. They will want to know this Jesus that causes others to radically love others.

Today, that’s our calling. Not just to be against the evils of this world. But to persuade others to follow our Jesus.

Today may we live, may we love. And as we do that, may we give glory to our saviour!

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You have no idea the impact that you can make today. Seriously.  You could change the world, today.

Today, through some action, through some word, through something you do, you can change the world. You can do something amazing. And the the thing is this, you can do this amazing thing, no matter where you.

How?  Look at what happens today in John 1:40-42:

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

impactAndrew was impacted by hearing Jesus.  He heard His teaching.  He followed Him, he allowed Jesus to change him.

And then, with the change that Jesus made in his life, he told someone about Jesus.  He told his brother, we’ve found the Messiah.  We’ve found the one that will save us, that will change us, that will redeem us.

And Peter was the one that preached the sermon at Pentecost, where thousands were saved.

And Peter would have never known Jesus if not for his brother Andrew, that took him to Jesus.

And Andrew would have never done that, if Jesus hadn’t changed his life.

Today, you can make a huge impact.  How?  First, understand this truth. God loves you.  More than any mistake you’ve ever made.  You are a loved child of the king.

Seriously.  You are.  Hear those works.  Believe that.  Let it impact you.

And, let the impact of grace in your life, bleed over into all your life. As one affected by grace, let that grace touch others.  Let it impact others.  And you never know the difference that will make.

Just like the difference that it made in Peter.  And through Peter.

Today, you can make a huge impact.  Let God’s grace truly warm your heart today. And let that grace, through your life, impact someone else.

Today, we can change the world.

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fri 02You ever get frustrated with folks that aren’t Christian?  You ever just really get fed up with the world, with the way that people act, that their choices, their decisions, the way that their mind works?

There’s something that I say from time to tim – I don’t expect lost folks to act like Christians.  I do, however, expect Christians to act like Christians.  So, if you are spending your time, expecting people that don’t know Jesus Christ, to act like me or you, than you are just wasting your time.

They aren’t.  They simply aren’t.  Listen to what it says in 2 Corinthians 4:4-6

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

We see here that the god of this age (Satan) has blinded the unbelievers to the truth of God.  So then, what is our move?  What are we to do?  What are our options?

Pray.  Build relationships.  Take Christ with you.  Shine the light.  Take it with you.

In your words. In your actions.  In all that you do.  Shine His.  The light will shine in the darkness. And the darkness will not overcome it.  Take the light of Jesus with you.

But first, and foremost.  Pray.  Pray for those that you know that don’t love Jesus.  Pray for those that you know that need to love Him better.  Pray.

Pray for His word to spread.  Pray for the church.  Pray for yourself.

Yes, they are blinded.  Don’t get frustrated.  Don’t get angry.  Love.  Trust.  Pray.

And let God take care of the rest.

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God Wins

One of the things that I’ve always stressed in ministry is this. Things will not always be easy. There will be times of trial, times of hurt, times of tears, times of worry, times of stress.

That’s a given. That’s a certainty. We see that in our lives. We know that from our experiences. We just know that. Things will not always be easy.

Even the Bible confirms that. We can even look within God’s Word and understand that man, sometimes it’s just going to stink. Sometimes, there’s no getting around it. It’s just going to be hard.

But you know what, even in that, it’s going to be ok. Listen to what is says in John 16:31-33:

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

keep-calm-for-i-have-overcome-the-worldJesus tells us there will be times when the disciples face troubles. They will be scattered. They will leave Jesus alone. Times will get tough, bad, and painful. It will not be fun.

The same is true for us. We know that. We can count those times in our minds right now.

But, keep reading. In the world you will have trouble. But, He has overcome the world. Yeah, it may be bad. It may be hard. You may not like it. You may feel like giving up.

Don’t. Do not give up. The world cannot win. The pain cannot will. The trials cannot win.

They will come. Sure. But Jesus has overcome them. He has triumphed over them. He has conquered them. He has won.

Yeah, troubles come. That’s ok. Remember what matters.

God wins. And through Him, so do we. It’s going to be ok.

God wins.

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.