Day Thirty-Eight with Mark: Mark 10:1-12 and 13-16

Today we look at Mark 10: 1-12:

10 He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.

2 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Ok, today’s passage is one of those tough passages, one that can really be a challenge to understand.  That’s why I think it’s good to read it in context with what follows, Mark 10:13-16:

13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

jesuskidsHere’s the importance of context, we can see a bigger picture of what Jesus is doing.  When we look at passages that are tough and hard to understand, that context is key.  In both of these passages, Jesus is lifting up those that were forgotten and taken advantage of.

In the first passage, first we see that Jesus was being tested, the religious leaders wanted to see if they could trip Him up, so they asked about divorce.  What was happening in that day was this.  Men would marry and after a few years, divorce their wife and remarry because they could.  In that culture, that would leave the wife basically poor and powerless.

And what Jesus is saying is this.  No!  That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.  You can’t do this to your wife.  It’s not the way that God intended.  She’s made in His image.  You can’t, you shouldn’t do that to her.  It’s wrong.

This passage is about affirming the worth of the wife, of the female, of the one that in that culture didn’t matter.  Jesus is saying, this – she matters!

And the same thing with the child.  Children (like women) in that culture were little more than property.  And Jesus is telling the people this, these children matter.  Welcome them.  They count. They are important.  Welcome these little ones.

Jesus is telling us today that everyone matters.  Everyone is important.  Everyone has worth.  Even those that we are tempted to miss or tempted to ignore.

They matter to Jesus.

So, today and each day, they should matter to us.

Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 10:17-31.

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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At Just the Right Moment

logo-wallpapers-clock-wallpaper-wallpaper-36269Has something ever come along at just the right moment for you?  You know, like that feeling when you are driving down a country road and your gas light comes on.  You begin to think, am I going to be able to make it to town where there is gas?  And then, out of nowhere, you find a gas station?

Or maybe you’ve been looking for something that belongs to your child or grandchild and they are THISCLOSE to having a meltdown.  And then, boom, out of nowhere, you find it?  Disaster averted.

It’s that a great feeling, to know that at just the right moment, you had what you needed.  I think about that a lot when I read today’s passage.  Listen to what it says in Romans 5: 6-8:

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I love that passage.  At just the right moment.  While we were weak, while we were frail, while we were at our most unlovable.  It was at that exact moment that Jesu died for us.  Not because we deserved it or earned it.

In fact, the exact opposite.  At that moment, that moment of our failure, our mistakes, our weakness, at that moment Jesus died for us.  Not because we earned it. But because He loves us.

At that moment when we were the most unloveable, that was the right moment.  That’s when grace was applied.

You are loved today.  You just are.  You can choose to live in that, or reject.  It’s your call, it’s my call.  It’s up to me and you to decide what we will do with God’s love at this moment.  But regardless of your choice, know this.

You are loved. Because at just the right moment, at just the right time.  At that moment when we were most unlovable, at that moment Jesus died for us.

You are loved.  Never forget that.  You are loved.

Live in that grace today.

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A Reset

ResetSometimes in life, because of business, because of stress, because of work, or family, or hobbies, or whatever, we can forget who we are.  We can just forget who we are and who we are made to be.  In this moments, we have to reset.  We have to remember. We have to return to what we we know to be true.

How do we know what is true?  We return to the truth of God’s Word.  When we look at scripture, we see what is good, what is noble, what is good, what is true.  Today, to help us reset and remember, let’s look at what God’s Word says about us in 1 Peter 2:9-10:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

This text reminds us two very important things.  Who we are and what we are supposed to do.

Who we are – we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood.  Once we were no people, now we are God’s people. That’s who you are.  Your identity is found in that; your worth is found in that.  Not anything else.

The world tries to tell us what who we are comes from all these worldly things – from possessions or status or achievements.  And in that we have to keep getting more and more and more and more.

Today, the word reminds us, no.  Who are you comes from this.   You are God’s very own.  He loves you.  He bought you.  You are His.  You don’t have to do more and more and more.  You just have to know that you are loved.

What we are supposed to do – We are His possession.  Why?  So we may proclaim His excellencies.  So that we may tell others of how He has called us from darkness to light.  That’s what we are here for.  That’s what we are supposed to do.  That’s our purpose. That’s our reason. That’s our very life.

And in doing that, we are living.  We are achieving the purpose that He has for us.

In the world, our worth is determined by what we do.

In God’s view, our worth causes us to do what we are called to do.

Remember the correct order.  You you are (a child of God) determines what you do.  You are loved.  May that love filter through into every part of our being, into every part of our life.

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Hidden

What is worth having? What is worth holding on to? What is worth building your life around? Is it the stuff that you can see? Or is it the stuff that is hidden?

What do I mean by the stuff that is hidden?

Listen to these parables that Jesus told this morning. Jesus would tell stories about great truth in ways that people would understand. Here is what he says in Matthew 13:44-46:

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Pearl-of-Great-PriceHe compares the kingdom of God to a hidden treasure that man sells all that he owns to buy. He compares it to a pearl that an expert saw, sold everything to go and buy.

What do we learn from this? The stuff that we seek may not be what we are chasing after. The things that we desperate want, that will fulfill us, they may not be what we think that they are.

They may not be big. They may not be visible. They may seem to be small and unimportant. They may be missed. They may be ordinary and common in our life.

But they are worth great riches. They are faith. They are family. They are true friends. They are things that can be easy to miss. Their worth can be hidden. But they are worth more to us than we can ever imagine.

The things that matter may not seem like great worldly riches. But they are priceless.

And we see that they sold all that they had to gain them.

Today, are you building your life around what matters and what is priceless? Or are you building your life around things that aren’t as important. They sold all they had to gain this great treasure.

The treasure of faith. . . family. . . friends. . . are these things shaping our lives?

Or are we focusing on that which isn’t as important?

Today, may we live our lives around that beautiful hidden treasure.

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.

You Matter

you-matter1You matter to God. You do. Your life. Your fears. Your worries. All of it.

Even the things that you may think don’t matter. If they matter to you than they matter to God. You are important to Him. He loves you and cares for you.

You matter.

Sometimes it’s tempting to think that we don’t matter. Or our concerns aren’t big enough. Or important enough. Surely there are things that are more important to God than our fears, our worries, our lives.

Why should we pray about these things? Surely God has more important things to worry about.

Listen to what Jesus says today in Luke 12:6-7:

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Sparrows in the economy of Jesus’ day were literally of no value. They had no worth. They were the most unimportant thing you could think of.

And Jesus says that none of them would be forgotten.

You matter. You matter to God. You are important. Your worries. Your fears. Your concerns. All of it. You matter.

Never forget that. Take your concerns to Him. You matter. You are important. Never forget.

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.

Family Resemblance

One day my daughter Sarah got in an argument with my wife Holly. We were at Holly’s parents and Sarah saw a picture of Holly when she was a little girl and asked Holly when it was that she (Sarah) had taken that picture. Sarah said, no mama, that’s me. Holly said, no Sarah, that was me as a little girl. And Sarah didn’t believe her.

When you see a picture of Sarah and Holly side by side when they were the same age, you could see why she would be confused. I’m not going to say that they look exactly alike, but it’s very close.

We look like are parents and other family. It’s neat to see that family resemblance sometimes. It’s neat to be able to look back and see those common traits in families through the years.

Listen to what happens in Genesis 1:26-27:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Today in Genesis, we see the story of our creation and formation. And we see our greatest family resemblance. We look like our Father. Our heavenly Father.

We are made in God’s image. Each of us. We are made in the image of God. That doesn’t mean that we “look” like God, it means that we are each of what I have heard it called a “sacred worth.”

Each of us, no matter what’s going on in our lives; no matter what we’ve been told; no matter what we’ve done; no matter what we are doing, we are each of a sacred worth. We matter. We are important. Christ died for us.

You matter today. You are sacred today. You are special today. You are vital part of God’s creation and God’s plan today.

You have a family resemblance. You take after your Father. Nothing can take that away. Nothing. Nothing.

Live with that knowledge and confidence today. Live with that assurance. You are a specially created child of God today. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

You were made in God’s image. You matter. You are important. Never forget that.

Nothing Compares to Him

This week between Palm Sunday and Easter is called Holy Week. Each day of this week, Jesus was drawn closer to the cross, closer that day that won our redemption and our victory. But each day is a day closer to the emotional and spiritual pain of His betrayal, and closer to physical pain and death of cross.

Each day is one day closer.

And each day this week, we will remember what He went through. I was talking yesterday at Asbury, to truly understand how amazing the empty grave of Sunday is, we must stop and remember the pain and hurt of the bloody cross.

Today on this Monday of Holy Week, John 12 tells us what happened to Jesus:

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

There are lots of different thoughts at to the significance of the perfume Mary used. Some say could have been part of the dowry for marriage.  Some say it could have been part of a family tradition.  I’ve heard lots of stories and sermons about what all the perfume represented, and I don’t know the answer to it.

But I do know this.  This perfume was the most valuable thing Mary owned. This was worth more than anything she owned or could have owned.

And she willing laid it at the foot of Jesus. Literally.  This perfume of great worth only found in its true worth in being used to anoint Jesus.

Today, what is that thing of great worth in your life?  What is that prized possession?  Is it of more worth to you than Jesus?  Or course, publicly, we’d all say “Of course not!” But what about privately?  What about when no one is looking? What about when’s it just us and our thoughts?

Today, Mary showed us an example.  Nothing was worth more than Jesus to her. Nothing.

May we see that example, and may we follow.  Jesus laid everything down for our sake and for our salvation.  May we lay it all down for His glory.

He is our greatest prize and possession.  And nothing compares to Him.

Your Greatest Possession

What is the thing you have that is worth the most in your life

Andy, what do you mean, worth the most?  Do you mean cost the most?  Has the most value?  Is most sentimental to me?

By the question, I can mean any of those things.  What is the thing that you treasure the most?  What is the thing that is so important to you?

Now, think about what you want the most right now. What is the thing that  if you had it, you could say – ah, now I’ve got “it.”  Now I’ve gotten what I need/want.  Here’s mine 🙂

Ok, got those thoughts in your mind? Thinking about them?

Now, listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 16: 26

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

What ever “it” is, it can’t compare to your soul. What ever “it” is, it will soon be destroyed.  Or dropped.  Or lost.  Or broken.  Or replaced.  What ever “it” is, it is not eternal.

Your soul is.  Your soul counts forever.  Your soul lives on.  Your soul is worth more than anything you could ever think of or desire. And if you lose your soul in pursuit of something that doesn’t really matter, what you have you done?

You’ve exchanged something eternal for something that is of this world.  Nothing is worth that.  Nothing.

You life will not be found in chasing the things of this world.  It will not be found in stuff.  It will not be found in whatever “it” is.  You life will be found in feeding your soul on the things of God.  It will be found in these things that are eternal.

That is what matters most. And that’s what we should be chasing. Don’t lose your soul for what is only of this world.  You soul is worth more to you (and God) than whatever “it.” is.

Never forget that.

The Kingdom is Like. . . .

One of the things that Jesus does in Scripture is compares things that we don’t understand to things that we do understand.

So, you know, we’ll understand them.

He takes a concept that no of us can really wrap our minds around, the Kingdom of God, and does this – He shows us its complete worth.

He says the Kingdom of God is of so much value, we should be willing to give everything for it. We see Jesus describe it in Matthew’s Gospel this way:

44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45’Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47’Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad.

It should, and must be our main priority.

It must come first.

God must come first.

It is a pearl of great worth, that everything else fails to compare to.

Yesterday in worship at Asbury Church, I asked my people this question – “Does God define you?”  Is God, and your worship of God, does it define every moment of your life?  Is that worship of God, that relationship with God, is it the main component of your life?

Or is it something you do when you have time?

Does God define you?

Is He, for you, that pearl of great price, that you would sale everything for?

Is He your everything?

If not, you will find all else lacking.

Does He define you?  Is He your life?  No where else, no where, will you find life, other than Jesus.

He must be our pearl of great price.  He must be our life.