Mark 8

Vs. 11, “The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.”  It didn’t matter how many miracles Jesus did, the hardened hearts of the Pharisees were already decided.  I love how we are told in vs. 12, Jesus sighed deeply…that shows some raw emotion from our Lord and Savior!  In our chapter today, we have another miracle of feeding only, this time the number is different (vs. 1-9).  The Yeast of the Pharisee’s (vs. 14-21) was used to illustrate the dangers of false teachers.  We read on to see Jesus giving sight to a blind man (vs. 22-26), and Mark’s version of Jesus’ interaction with asking the disciples who do people say I am.

 

Regarding application…Do You Understand? Vs. 18, “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?”  I tend to be one of those people that never seem to understand the punchline of a joke.  I don’t always get it.  This is kind of what happened to the disciples too.  They just failed to see the point that Jesus was making.  Question: Do you understand?  In the end times, there will be many who try to lead you astray.  Be careful dear brothers and sisters!  We don’t have Herod or the influence of the Pharisee’s (vs. 15)…but we do have others coming with authority telling us the “right” ways to live.  That is why it is so important to have a “relationship” with the Lord daily (vs. 34) and know His word.  Keep fighting the fight, find rest and trust in the Lord this week!

Matthew 8

Vs. 1, “When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.”  There is a time for everything, and now Jesus would backup his words with action!  Here we are given snippets of Jesus’ ministry.  Don’t forget, it was John would tell us that there would not be enough books to record everything Jesus did (John 21:25).  But, here we can take comfort because Jesus in the midst of the large crowds, still payed attention to the individuals.  It’s notable the first thing Matthew recorded was Jesus healing a leper.  Leprosy was a sign for sin, and Jesus came to forgive sins.  The faith of the Roman Centurion is also notable, because Jesus came not just for the Jew but also for the Gentile (us).  The healing of Peter’s mother-in-law shows you nothing is to small to bring to the Lord, even a everyday fever.  We see the first incident of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee.  For this storm to scare even the fisherman, it must have been pretty big!  But Jesus would show that He can even control the elements and it amazed the apostles.  We also come across demon possession…not a nice topic to think about.  But of course, the reality is, we live in a spiritual unseen world.  Notice how the demon’s even knew who Jesus was.

 

Regarding application…Cost of Following Jesus.  Vs. 19, “Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”  Really now???  What a stark lesson for us today.  We want our cake and eat it too.  While the grace of God paid for our debts…to be a disciple of Jesus means that we voluntarily live a life that does not conform to this world.  And brothers and sisters….easier said than done.  I want Jesus and I want my boyfriend/girlfriend.  I want Jesus and I want to listen to secular music.  I want Jesus and I want to cuss all the time.  I want Jesus and I want to drink and party.  Initially people respond pretty well to things Jesus offers…but, then the realization of the cost makes them reconsider.  Jesus was never about popularity.  He made it very clear that if you truly want to follow Him, you must deny yourself.  Question: Have you counted the cost recently?  Are you willing to let go of things in your life?  It’s hard isn’t it?  I’m praying today that you would let go of your fears and trust in the Lord!

Jeremiah 8

Vs. 9, “The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped.  Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?”  This was their worst sin…they were rejecting the word of the LORD.  God is saying we ought to no better than horses or birds…yet we were ignorant because of sin and deception.  They were decieved because they thought they had wisdom.  Just because they had the Temple & the law did not make them Godly or protected.  The Bible is continually the number one seller in the world, but that doesn’t mean society is getting more Godly.  They would find out they they would miss their opportunity and God would judge them harshly.  We see Jeremiah’s concern as he laments for Judah as we close the chapter.

Regarding application…Broken Heart.  Vs. 21, “Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me.”  We see why Jeremiah would be the weeping prophet. Iimagine if you could have known the killings in Norway could have been prevented.  Imagine if you had the opportunity to run to all the people and students who were killed.  Yet, how many of these people would have listened to you?  How many would have taken you seriously?  This is what was happening to Jeremiah.  Think how sad you would be if you knew without a doubt these people that you are warning would all be dead soon.  It really is a overwhelming thought…the sadness would be gut wrenching.

One thing that about Jeremiah is that his heart was definitely not hard.  His broken heart kept him faithful in enduring the monumental task that God had given him.  No matter how hard our lives are…may we never harden our hearts to the plight of others.  Sometimes, you may be watching t.v. late at night and run across one of those commericals with children who are starving to death and some organization asking for your help.  It’s easy to want to turn the channel and not think about the less fortunate.  Believe me, having just gone to Mexico on Missions, I got to see the poverty and children with nearly nothing.   But, Jeremiah chose not too…Jesus would choose not to…we must choose not to.  We must remember that our lives are not just about us.  There is a world out there that needs the message we hold in our hearts.  It’s an incredibly sad task to put yourself out there and see the reality of the pain people endure & will endure if they don’t turn to Jesus…but we must!  Are you prepared to have a broken heart?

Revelation 8

Vs. 1, “.” The scene before us is very solemn…it is the calm before quite intense storm. The seven trumpets are about to bring the full intensity of the Tribulation. Many scholars believe the seven trumpets are poured out in the first half of the Tribulation.

1st Trumpet 

This parallel’s the seventh plague of Egypt. Hailstorms in themselves are dangerous…but mixed with fire? Whew…this will be devestating!

2nd Trumpet

This parallet’s the first plague of Egypt. The sea/ocean which occupies most of the Earth will be next. We are not sure what this will be..symbolic or possibly a asteroid? Whatever it is…it’s going to wreak havoc.

3rd Trumpet

This is a big one too, for it will literraly affect our fresh drinking source. Some believe this may also be a meteor.

4th Trumpet

This is a fulfillment of one of Jesus’ phophecies (Luke 21:25-28) It is somewhat ironic that on the 4th day of creation, God created the Heaven’s & Earth…and on the 4th trumpet he will darken his creation of light. This will bring terror to so many…for signs in the skies have always made people fear. The crime & tumult will only increase to gigantic proportions.

Regarding application…Consequences.  All of these consequences are not only a time of wrath poured out upon a sinful world…but it is also a time for repentance for many.  While many do turn to the Lord…many also harden their hearts like Pharoh.  I think consequences in our lives determine our spiritual maturity or lack thereof.  Don’t you agree? Take a child for example….all you have to do is watch a child be scolded.  If the child responds with sadness & a sorry heart, you can see already that they are learning to grow from their mistakes.  If you see the child “huff & puff” and go pick on their little brother or sister because they are mad…well…we would all probably say this is a “brat!” This attitude of responding to calamities & consequences can either make our heart turn to God more…or grow bitter towards our situation in life.  Which one are you?  Instead of complaining when tough times come…let us all the more realize that when problems arise, we are given the opportunity to show who we put our trust in!  Ourselves, this world, relationships….or the Lord Most High!

Hebrews 8

Vs, 6, “But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.” In the previous chapters we discussed how Jesus is superior to the Levitical priesthood…now we see that Jesus also brings the New Covenant (Promise) by way of the cross. God gave Moses the law and while it did not save them…it did point out to them and all of us that we all fall short of the glory of God. Don’t fall into the impression that God did not know what He was doing….His providence and and will do not always make sense to our finite minds. Consider the law like a Children’s picture bible..it prepares them for the full revelation of Scripture through the complete Bible.

Regarding application…Perspective. Vs. 5, “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Key words here to look at is “copy” and “shadow”….they are not the real thing. In fact, shadows can actually be pretty scary in a dark street alley. Likewise…pictures are like copies of what we see. When Hyojin & I visited one of the 7 wonders of the world on our honeymoon…the Grand Canyon…it was breathtaking to say the least. Yet, all the pictures we took were beautiful but they did not capture the majesty and beauty of truly being there. We only have shadows and copies of what exists and will come. We live by faith not by sight…that is why we must always keep a proper perspective in this life. Yes, shadows are scary and copies just don’t tell the true story…but know that there is an unseen world that exists around us. We have promises that have already and come and will come that will be beyond description!