Ungratefulness

Lord, with what bounty and rare clemency
Have you redeemed us from the grave!
    If you had let us run,
Gladly had man adored the sun,
    And thought his god most brave;
Where now we shall be better gods than he.

You have but two rare cabinets full of treasure,
The Trinity, and Incarnation:
    You have unlocked them both,
And made them jewels to betroth
    The work of your creation
Unto your self in everlasting pleasure.

The statelier cabinet is the Trinity,
Whose sparkling light access denies:
    Therefore you do not show
This fully to us, till death blow
    The dust into our eyes:
For by that powder you wilt make us see.

But all your sweets are packed up in the other;
Your mercies thither flock and flow:
    That as the first affrights,
This may allure us with delights;
    Because this box we know;
For we have all of us just such another.

But man is close, reserved, and dark to thee:
When you demandest but a heart,
    He cavils instantly.
In his poor cabinet of bone
    Sins have their box apart,
Defrauding you, who gave us two for one.

– George Hebert

Mark 3:6-21 Jesus is on Mission from the Father

People wanted to kill Christ

     The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

… but fail and fail again because Christ is life.

 

People wanted to make him king because he makes food “magically”

     Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 

… but Jesus had so much more to give—eternal life.

 

Despite the masses that wanted him to heal them, so few wanted to be his disciple

     And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 

… but Jesus wants you to be with Him.

 

Demons wanted to try to mess up the mission of God

     And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

… but demons cannot mess up God’s plan because Jesus completely rules over demons.

 

Jesus reveals the 12 dudes that will walk with him, when others won’t:

     And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Therefore, we are no less than the 12 disciples of Christ. We are to go and preach his good news and with his authority, expand His kingdom and press up against the gates of Hell.

 

His family said, “Jesus is out of his mind”

     Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

… but the mind of Father, Son, and Spirit are one.

 

Religious leaders said, “He is filled with demons”

     And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” (Mark 3:6-22 ESV)

… Jesus is not filled with demons but filled with the Holy Spirit. The work of demons and the work of God are two different things. One is out for your death. The other is out of love for your joy.

 

Jesus had just one mission: from his Father with the power of His Spirit, he came to earth to save His people.

 

Series: I have made mentioned of our family devotions on the Internets and gotten a few requests for my notes. So that is what I am doing just that here. Every Wednesday as a regular weekly series, I will share my notes that I write in preparing for family devotions.

Here is Love: Precious in His Sight—Deuteronomy 7:6-8

And here is love: Deuteronomy 7:6-8 “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

I get the fact that I am not a Hebrew. I am not an Israelite. I get that God had certain promises given to Israel that he did not give to Gentiles. I get all of that.

However, when I read the New Testament, I cannot be so quick to dismiss or downplay the Old Testament. I read Jesus’ account of the Vinedresser, Paul’s exposition of that particular teaching, Paul’s further clarification on the offspring of Abraham, and Christ’s confirmation that all of the Scriptures are about Him. Based on that string of logic, I am left to conclude that “Father Abraham had many sons and many sons had Father Abraham.” Furthermore, if you and I are saved by Christ, then “I am one of them and so are you.” (So, let us just praise the Lord.)

All that to say: when I read this passage in Deuteronomy, I cannot dismiss this as some obscure Jewish fact. This passage applies to me.

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God – This is simple enough. I am holy because God is holy. (1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44)

The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples. – Of course, I am just one person. I am a born sinner. My family name is not that great. My city and country are not supreme over all historical cities and empires. I am but a mere mortal—not the strongest, not the richest, not that wise, and not that smart. Only because of Him for him by Him to Him that out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth, He has chosen me. While I was a sinner and I kept on dying and kept on sinning, Christ loved me and gave his life up for me. I have no room to boast. Salvation is of the Lord alone and He is the mighty one to save. (Romans 5:12-21; Jeremiah 9:23-24; Romans 5:8; Galatians 2:20; Jonah 2:9; Zephaniah 3:17)

it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers – God set his love, thoughts, mercies, affections, grace upon me. He did infinitely before he made one promise to either of my fathers Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, or David. He had his mind made up, He alone had the audacity, power, will, freedom, might, boldness, humility, holiness, righteousness, perfection, just, and love to save me. He handed down those covenants and He is the only being in this universe that cannot possibly lie or break a promise. (Hebrews 6:17-18)

that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand – He is the mighty one that saves. (Zephaniah 3:17 cf. Isaiah 63:1; Romans 7:24-25)

redeemed you from the house of slavery – I have not been given the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear but as a son of God, I have received the Spirit of Adoption by whom I cry, “Daddy!” (Romans 8:16)

from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. – Jesus conquered, defeated, and reigns supreme over Satan, demons, sin, hell, and death. (Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14-18; Romans 8:28-39)

Way before I was even born, before the heavens were made manifest, the earth was formed, the seas filled and the mountains put into place, He saw my destiny of disease, destruction, decay, and death and would have none of that. In His infinite power and might, He predestined me to life with Him, fullness of joy in His presence, and unlimited pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 90:2; Ephesians 2:1-10; Psalm 16:11)

Simply put, the greatest love ever known is not the possibility of salvation by God but that in God actually saves. That guaranteed salvation of love is wrapped up simply and completely in one little verse:

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:30

So what shall we say to these things?

That is love.

Mark 3:1-6 Jesus Softens Hearts

What does it mean to harden your heart?

Pharaoh hardened his heart.
Exodus 7:13, 22; 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7, 34-35;

I will harden his heart.
Exodus 7:14; 9:12, 34-34; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:8

I have harden his heart.
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
(Romans 9:17-18 ESV)

How does God hardens hearts?

How does God soften hearts?

Does God get sad when people harden their own hearts?

Does God get mad and angry when people harden their own hearts?

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (Mark 3:1-6 ESV)

And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, your brothers, even your brothers, your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the LORD; to us this land is given for a possession.’ Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’ Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 11:14-21 ESV)

Series: I have made mentioned of our family devotions on the Internets and gotten a few requests for my notes. So that is what I am doing just that here. Every Wednesday as a regular weekly series, I will share my notes that I write in preparing for family devotions.

Here is Love: The Cross Was Never Plan B—Genesis 3:15

Here is love: Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The cosmos shattered.

The universe cracked.

The world broken.

Sin has entered into our lives and began its wanton destruction leaving billions dead and the sons of Adam damned to the eternal wrath of the Holy God.

But the Holy God was not put off by sin. God did not have to alter His eternal plan because of sin. He did not have to re-arrange His calendar due to our sin. Out of His great immense love, He created humans in His image—male and female. In His great omniscience, he knew humans would choose not-God over God. He knew this.

He knew this and He knew us anyways.

He knew this and He created us anyways.

He knew this and He chose us anyways.

He knew this and He loved us anyways.

He knew this and He saved us.

The first given to Adam in the garden: “Choose Me. Choose not Me and you will surely die.”

Instead of the fullness of life, joy, satisfaction, and pleasures forevermore, we choose not-God. Sin began its death march. However, God stepped into our dying world and into our dying lives and gives not a commandment but His love:

“Adam, you have already felt some of the effects of this curse. You now feel cold and ashamed. Lost and bewildered. Frightened and alone. There are many things that are going to work out. Life will be difficult and hard and you are die.

But I am still God. I am still your Creator. I still love you. When you were too scared, I came after you. I still want you. Turn back to me. I will make all things right. I will crush Sin. I will destroy Death. The Serpent will be tormented and utterly controlled forever.

I will make all things right. I will make it better than you had it before. Do you trust me?”

The Serpent was the first false preacher to give a false gospel: be like God and you will know like God.

The God responds to this horrific lie preached to his children, comes to his children and then proclaims the absolute truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The absolute truth is this: We cannot make things right. He alone can make things right. Man has to live a perfect life and die so that he in order to be saved. The honest truth is that we cannot be God but the good news is that the ultimately omnipotent God with true free will who has the all-power to become man to live the perfect life, die in our place, buried with our sins, and rose to conquer Satan, demons, sin, hell, death in order to save His people from their sins.

Adam and Eve believed this. They believed this with all of their heart. On the first day of their sin-infested lives, they believed and then, they laid down to rest in His presence. What does a loving God do? God strips them of their self-righteousness used to cover their condemnation and covers them in the warmth, grace, and loveliness of His own righteousness.

Children, his forever.

Mercy, renews forever.

Grace, pours forever.

Holy, forever and ever.

And that is love.

Mark 2:23-28 Jesus is Our Rest

     Mark 2:23-28 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

 

What is Sabbath?

     Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 


Did God rest?

     Genesis 2:2-3 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

 

Did God stop working?

God did stop creating creation (Genesis 2:3  “… God rested from all his work that he had done in creation“) but he keeps on going by new plants, new trees, new baby animals and new babies ( “… you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13)

Why do you think your Mom and I want you to get good rest?

 

Do you think God wants you to get good rest?
    Matthew 11:25-30 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

Is Jesus in charge of all humans? 

 

Did Jesus make resting (having fun, relaxing, naps, sleep) for humans? 

 

Is Jesus in charge of resting and having fun?

Jesus gave us rest because He knew we needed rest and resting (naps, sleep, fun) are awesome.  More than being awesome, our body, mind, and spirit needs to chill out everyone once in a while. Not all the time—but some of the time. Jesus gave Himself to us so that we wouldn’t work so hard to be saved. Jesus did all of the hard work so that you can be saved to Him forever.

 

Series: I have made mentioned of our family devotions on the Internets and gotten a few requests for my notes. So that is what I am doing just that here. Every Wednesday as a regular weekly series, I will share my notes that I write in preparing for family devotions.

Here is Love: All Sin Future Sin—Romans 5:8

Here is love: Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I am confident that 99.8% of people reading this was born in the 20th century. Historically speaking, Christ died about 2000 years ago. I am going to link these two ideas in one moment.

Christ is fully God. That means He fully sees all and fully knows all. This goes beyond what you and I can see. We might stand in one room, look around and see all that we can see but we know that there are certain things that can our block our views. We can’t see everything in the room or better yet, we can’t see everything within everything in the room. That is not a problem for God. In your house, he clearly sees—not crystal ball see or video camera see—but clearly sees everything within everything in all of your rooms. Lights on or off, it doesn’t matter. As for the everything within everything, he also sees what’s going on inside your body. Further still, he sees what’s going on inside your mind, your emotions, your will, and your desires.

What makes God really God is not that any one moment he chooses to see all these things—from the dust bunnies behind your desk to deepest darkest recesses of your heart—but rather, he continuously, actively, fully processing all those things all the time.  He can’t shut that off. He is God. He has to fully know everything for every moment of every day since time began. For Him to be God, He has to know every single thought, motivation, and desire you have ever had or will ever had.

You were born some time in the 1900s or if you are so happened to read this a few years from now, 2000s. If Christ was historically crucified some 2000 years ago and as a believer, he died for yours sins, then that means that before you were born, before you could do anything about any of your sins, Christ died for you.

Look at the verse again: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Here is the good news: that verse never says, “but God shows his love for us based on all the good stuff we did and the bad stuff we didn’t do, Christ died for us.” It certainly never says, “God shows his love for us in that time he saw that I went forward in church, said the sinner’s prayer, Christ died for me.” It clearly says, “while we were still sinners”.

There is no other religion, no other faith that makes these claims. The rest of the world wants you to try really hard to be perfect, do the right thing and don’t do the wrong things.  But God says, “You are going to fail because I know. I already know. Even when you do good things, you sometimes do them for the wrong reason. Even when you had good intentions, sometimes it goes bad. I already know.”

In other words, He looked upon me and saw that I was a horrible guy. He looked at my life and knew I was going to die apart from him. He saw that by my birth and by my choice, I was destined for destruction, decay, disease, and death.

He saw everything about me. He saw it all, and despite my worst, he chose me and loved me anyways and went ahead sent His Son to die for me so I could be with Him instead.

That is love.

Mark 2:18-22 Jesus is the Bridegroom

Mark 2:18-22 ESV Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

1. Is Jesus with us physically like you are with me or your mom is with me at this dinner table?

Jesus is physically not here. He is with us in spirit (through the Holy Spirit) but he is in heaven ruling and reigning, personally mindful of us all and praying for each of us.

2. Is Jesus coming back?
Matthew 24:23-31 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

3. Does your mom misses me when I am away? Do I miss your mom when I am not with her?

The more I love your mom, the more I miss her when I am not with her. Think: if we choose to love God and God grows in us, don’t you think we will want to see him more and more?

What if Jesus came back to get us before you got out of school? Before you got married? Before you had kids of your own? What if he came back before I could ever preach? What if Jesus came back before we got to anything we wanted to do?

4. How should we wait for Jesus?

Until we see Christ face to face, what should we do?

Fast (Esther 4:16, Ezra 9:5, Luke 18:9-14)
Pray (Matthew 6:5-15)
Love one another (1 John 3 – 5)
Give (2 Corinthians 8 – 9)

5. What is the number one thing we are to do until he gets back?

Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:14-20, John 21:15-19, Acts 1:6-8

 

Series: I have made mentioned of our family devotions on the Internets and gotten a few requests for my notes. So that is what I am doing just that here. Every Wednesday as a regular weekly series, I will share my notes that I write in preparing for family devotions.