Mark 10:24 Difficult Entry

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:24

As Jesus was teaching a rich man came up to Jesus and wanted to follow Him. Jesus told the man to sell what he had and give to the poor, then follow Him. The man went away sad and decided not to do what he was told. This is where Jesus said it is hard for the rich to enter heaven.

Jesus repeats the statement again, only leaving out “the rich” part. The disciples were amazed at this statement.

Many people like to use this verse to talk about the value of not being rich, or to speak against those that are very wealthy. Jesus never spoke against having great wealth. He was looking at where the heart is.

When a person is wealthy, it is very easy to put your trust in the wealth or the ability to get wealth, than it is to trust in God. Most believers can believe and understand this.

However, with Jesus stating that it is hard to get into heaven, He was talking about everyone. Why is it difficult to get into heaven? All a person has to do is repent of their sins, believe Jesus paid the price for their sins and forgave him, and follow Him.

It is more of the heart that it becomes difficult to get into heaven. Where is your real trust?

Whether you are wealthy, or you are poor, you must believe and trust only in God. You must not trust in your own abilities or merits. Many believe that because they have done good things, they deserve heaven. What you have done has nothing to do with you getting into heaven.

Even the poorest of the poor can have a difficult time fully trusting in God for everything, including salvation. Are you trusting your hard work ethic? Or your job? Or your position? Or your going to church? Or your ministry? Or anything else?

Trust only in Jesus. Rely only on God for everything. This is difficult to do as a human. It is a simple strategy, but requires a denial of self, which is the difficult part. With God all things are possible. Are you trusting God today?

I pray today that God will help you see that He will take care of you; that you will trust God with all of your heart; that you will not trust in things of this world for anything; and that you will follow God with all that is in you.

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Mark 10:5 Unwanted Laws

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law, Jesus replied.” Mark 10:5

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus wanting to know if it was lawful to get a divorce. They pointed out that Moses had allowed a man to give a woman a certificate of divorce and send her away.

Jesus starts out with His answer pointing out that it was only because of the hardness of the hearts that divorce was permitted. He then points out that God never wanted divorce in the first place.

This could easily be a place for debating the arguments about whether God allows divorce or not. I am not going to talk on that subject in this blog.

Look at why divorce was permitted–it was because the hardness of the heart. The people were demanding that they be allowed to divorce. It was not God’s, nor Moses choice to want to allow it.

Outside of divorce, does this type of hardness of heart and making of rules still happen? Yes. Many people have closed their hearts off to what God really wants and start demanding changes in the way things are done.

Thirty years ago, very few places were open on Sundays. As a whole everyone believed you needed to rest on Sunday as God wanted. Today, a person almost cannot get a job without working on Sunday. This is due to people hardening their hearts and demanding more hours and services.

Television and movies have changed over the years. Classroom teaching has been changed to drop God out of the picture. Moral standards have dropped and rules have been put in place to allow the drop because of the hardness of hearts.

Christian Chaplains in the Army must now preach Islam to the soldiers, to be fair to everyone. This is because of new rules due to the hardness of the heart.

Where is your heart today? Is your heart following after God? Or is it following yourself or this world?

Be careful what rules you want in place. God may allow it, but does not mean He wants it. God never wanted divorce, but He does allow it, because man’s heart was hardened.

Do not allow your heart to become hard against the desires of God. Know the love and compassion that God has for you and everyone else.

I pray today that you will keep your heart from going hard against God; that God will fill your heart with His love and mercy; that you will not seek many rules on everything; that you will allow God’s love to guide you in all that you do; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.

Luke 2:10-11 Merry Christmas

“But the angle said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

Two thousand years ago the angels came to some shepherds in the field and gave them this message. When they saw the angels, they were afraid. The angels were told them to not be afraid, that they were bringing great news. That news was that the long-awaited for Messiah had arrived.

That message is still real even today. Many people look out on the world and see trouble and hardships. They do not see much good occurring. Watch the news and all you hear about is wars and killings. It does not look like God is anywhere to be seen.

When Jesus was born, Israel was controlled by the Roman Empire. Things did not look good. It did not look like God was in control or doing anything. Yet, God was at work.

As you celebrate Christmas today, remember why Jesus came to this earth. He came to die for you in order to save you. Not only did He come to save you, He also wants to save everyone in the world.

If you were told that there was a way to live forever, never get sick, and never have sorrow or pain, would it not be the best news you could possibly get? This is what the angels were bringing.

This is great news. It is joyful news. It is good news among all the bad news you see everywhere else.

Christmas is not just about getting and giving presents, although those are good things. It is not just about getting together with family and friends, though, that is good also.

It is about God giving us someone who can save you from your sins. It is about God showing His love to you. It is about God showing He cares for you. It is about the best news the world could ever receive.

Today may have pain and sorrow, but there is a hope for tomorrow. Look forward to the day Jesus either calls you home, or returns to bring you home. Rejoice in the great news you have and tell others about it.

I pray today that you will have great joy in knowing Jesus; that you will have joy in looking forward to the return of Jesus; that you will tell others of this great joy; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.

Merry Christmas! May you know the love and joy of our blessed Savior and Lord Jesus Christ today and everyday!

Mark 9:42 Causing a Stumble

“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

As Jesus and the disciples were walking along the disciples started arguing about who was first. Jesus points out the one who is a servant is first. Then they complained about another person casting out demons. Jesus points out that anyone doing a service for God is for Him.

Now Jesus points out not causing a little one who believes in Him to stumble. Many people look at this verse and see it as just talking about not causing a little child to stumble, but this includes more than just little children.

Every person who believes in Jesus is a child of God. They are not just a child, but a little child. Every person is growing in the likeness of Jesus. It is a lifelong process that never ends until they get to heaven.

Since everyone is then considered a child, do not cause them to stumble. How can a person cause another to stumble?

The most common thought is leading them into actual sinful acts. There are “believers”, even churches, out there that accept certain sinful habits as acceptable to God. These are then promoted. This is causing a person to sin.

When a younger believer sees an older believer doing something, it is seen as acceptable and they mimic it. Care has to be shown to not show wrong living that will cause sin in another person’s life.

One very common cause of stumbling is arguing about ways to live for God. Examples of this is demanding that women only wear dresses, or have long hair; that men cannot play cards or play sports; and arguments about politics.

Harsh disagreements often lead to bitterness and fighting. There are many things that God leaves open for each person to decide as to whether it is right or wrong between him and God. The Bible does not give hard fast rules on many things.

Demanding various things can cause a person to stumble in their belief in God. It can cause bitterness and resentment to rise up. Do not allow it in your life. Jesus said it would be better to be drowned then to cause a person to stumble.

I pray today that God will reveal to you ways that you can cause others to stumble; that God will guide you in how to build others up; that God will guide you in how to really live for Jesus; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.

Mark 9:23 If He Can

“If you can? said Jesus. Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23

There was a family who had a son that was possessed. The demons would throw the boy into a convulsion and often throwing him into fire or water. The teachers of the Law and the disciples were unable to do anything about it.

The parents decided to bring the boy to Jesus. The father tells Jesus what is happening and how long. Then he makes the statement: “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us”.

Jesus questions the statement “if you can”. It is like the father really does not believe Jesus can do it. It is only a last-ditch effort to find help for his child.

There is not a lot of hope or faith in the statement of “if you can”. True faith will state “you can” and “you will”.

Very often people will make this statement to God. Many will question if God really can help them. People look through their finite eyes at the situation and see it as hopeless. They cannot see a solution to their problem. The wall is too large, even for God.

People will go to God in prayer and make the statement, if you can. They do not really expect God to meet the need.

Yet, Jesus stated that everything is possible for anyone who believes. You need to trust God and believe in His Word. God has stated that He will meet every need that you have. God loves you and will take care of you.

You may not see the way God will meet the need. God may do a miracle and instantly meet the need. Other times, He may meet it through someone else. Yet, other times, He may meet it by bringing you through the situation with strength.

Do not question whether God can meet your need or not. Know that He can. Trust in the way He will choose to meet that need and accept it.

The father, in the next verse, asks Jesus to help His unbelief. He wanted to believe. Do you believe today?

I pray today that God will help you to believe; that you will choose to believe; that you will trust in God’s provision; that you will trust in God’s methods; and that you will have a testimony to share of God meeting your needs.

Mark 8:33 A Harsh Rebuke

“But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. Get behind me, Satan! he said. You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Mark 8:33

Jesus had just told the disciples about how He was going to suffer. He told them how He would be rejected and then killed. He also mentioned about His rising from the dead.

Peter heard all of this, except the part about rising from the dead. He could not believe Jesus would be rejected and would not allow for it.

Immediately Jesus says something that seems very harsh. He rebukes Peter as Satan. Jesus points out that Peter is only thinking like man, not like God. God had a plan that He knew would work, and Peter was not willing to follow that plan.

In this rebuke, however, Jesus does see the source of the problem. That source is Satan. He is the one behind all lies and deceit. Satan is the one trying to blind the eyes of Peter from seeing what God was really doing and needed to do.

Now comes the hard part, applying this to your life today. Many times a person will go through some major tragedy in his life. Often as he is going through the tragedy, he will blame God and get very angry with God. Many people cry out to God–Why? Often they will try to change God’s mind.

Jesus went to the cross willingly and knowing what was going to happen. Imagine the pain He knew that was coming, yet still going forward because it was the Father’s plan and will.

In your life, God may have you going through some major situation. It may seem to take forever for it to end. It may seem like it will never end.

You need to trust God in it. Do not try to run from the situation, embrace it as the will of God. Satan cannot do anything that God does not allow. Everything God allows is to build you up more like Jesus and for you to be His witness to the world.

This does not mean that things will be easy or fun, but it is God’s desire. Allow God to use you and make you more like Jesus. Keep yourself from having to be rebuked for not following God’s plan.

I pray today that God will reveal His plans for you; that you will know the love God has for you; that you will embrace the plans God has for you; that you will grow to be more like Jesus; and that God will use you to draw more people to Him.

Mark 8:11-12 Wrong Reasons for Signs

“The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given it.” Mark 8:11-12

Everyday Jesus was out teaching and performing many miracles. Thousands of people were coming to Him and talking about these miracles. They saw these miracles as signs from God.

Now the Pharisees come and ask for a sign. Their purpose was not to believe in Jesus, but to try to prove that He was a false teacher/prophet. They did not believe that Jesus was from God. If Jesus could not give the sign, than they would have their proof that He was not real.

One who believes in Jesus, must do so on faith. Faith is believing without physically seeing. It is believing when there is nothing in the natural to give you reason to believe.

Many people will ask for a sign like the Pharisees did. They really don’t believe in Jesus, but want some kind of proof that He is false. If the sign doesn’t happen, then Jesus was not real.

This is a different asking for a sign, then what the believer will ask. When a believer asks for a sign, he has already heard from God and just wants a confirmation that He heard correctly. He believes what God has said.

Jesus had stated that there would be many signs and that you must watch for them. If you are led by God’s Holy Spirit, you will see and understand those signs. You will not need any more signs from God.

Why do you ask for a sign from God? Is it out of unbelief, or from belief? God wants to build your faith in Him. He will use signs to do that, but you must be willing to accept them. You must also be willing to accept God’s choice to not show signs at times, and still trust Him.

I pray today that God will open your eyes to what He is doing; that you will see the signs that God is showing; that you will not test God to prove Him wrong; that you will walk with God in faith; and that God will build your faith in Him.