Tag Archives: Mark

Fig Tree Faith

fig-treeI am so very human so very often, and the times that I am most aware of it is when I get in the flesh over spiritual matters. It seems like an oxymoron but its truth none the less. So this morning as I read the scripture in Mark of Jesus’ frustration with the money changers my mind drifted to empty seats and lackadaisical attitudes toward church attendance and Christian service. I had to wonder why this story was in the middle of the story of the fig tree?  I get Jesus’ frustrations with fruitless lives, and I can more than understand His frustrations with thievery in the church house, but what does one have to do with the other? Pew sitters seems a far cry from what the money changers were doing that caused Jesus to throw tables over and drive people out for using God’s house for their own gain rather than the soul saving station and to edify the church. But then I began to think of the cost of an apathetic attitude toward the work of God, and the number of them who attend church, I understood why God could pair those two stories together.

Unfruitful servants of God are like that tree and the money changers in the fact that they rob God of the fruit He so desires. I’d also have to include myself in that category, because I could certainly do more fruit baring. Jesus’ closing words Peter, when asked why the tree died, was “Have faith in God.”

It was a kick in the pants to me, as if to say, “Let God handle everyone else Shari, you worry about your fruit.”

Mark 11:12-22

And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

 

For They Considered Not the Miracle

miracle

It’s true in my life too. A few days of struggle, a few rough waves to get over and I’ve long since forgotten the countless things that God has done in my life. I pondered the upcoming election this morning as I read the story of the forgotten miracle:

Mark 6:48-52

And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.  But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

Jesus had fed 5000+ people with 2 loaves of bread and a few fishes, followed by calming the raging sea and scaring the pants off His buddies and they were sore amazed and wondered. They’d already forgotten about that amazing lunch He provided from basically nothing! It was as if the bread and fish were a little miracle by comparison to the angry storm. How much different is it today?

We are so impressed when God does what we deem amazing, when the amazing is being done right before us every day in our lives by the provision and sustainment of life. So why are worrying about the waves of this election?

I’ve seen some really positive, good posts on social media recently about what Jesus can do through this election, but I feel they’re being over looked by those wanting to sensationalize, and refocus us on the stormy waters surrounding the candidates. I will confess that the candidates of choice are not my choice, but I have to look at what I have available. The folks on the ground that day with Jesus had but one choice for dinner, “bread and fish.” The miracle was not in the choice, it was what God did with the choice. I feel the same way about this election. I don’t think either one of these people are living at the foot of the cross, but I know the One Who died on the cross for the salvation of man, and He can work a miracle with the matter. It’s not much… I wouldn’t call those two a happy meal, but… let me preface this by saying I’m voting for Trump. Not because he’s all that and bag of chips, but I feel he is the provision for America and Hillary is the destruction. I won’t get into anything other than that. That alone is enough for me to ponder today when the world would rather I worry. If Christians will pray and vote… in that order, rely on God to take care of us as well as work for Him until He comes, this might be the most amazing four years of American history!

Have you made your mark?

chick mark

I have many, many quirks and fetishes in life that makes me the strange person I am. One of them happens to be that I like markers. But not just any markers; I like markers that make a statement. Markers that leave a mark! What a novel idea. I like them bold, every color under the rainbow and I don’t want them to fade. I like my people the same way. Every path I’ve crossed in my life has left some sort of mark on me and I no doubt, even if they don’t appreciate my Sharpie analogy, have left a mark on the lives of others.

I’m sure when Frederick W. Redington and William H. Sanford, Jr. founded Sanford Manufacturing Company in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1857 they had no idea that their focus on producing glue and ink would one day explode into the creative masterpieces that have been accomplished by Sharpie artists. I’m likewise sure that when we get to Heaven we’ll have no idea of some of the people that we left a mark on. Apostle Paul told the Romans the Philippians that we were to mark two types of people, so get out your Sharpie dude!

Mark the Trouble Makers

Romans 16:17

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

I can almost guarantee every church has got at least a few. While Apostle Paul’s marks were concerned with “offenses contrary to doctrine,” those who would change God’s Word to suit their own purpose, there are also those who (contrary to scripture) just love trouble. Those who love making statements that are sure to ruffle someone’s feathers, create dissension among the members or are just plain mean! It comes in the form of gossip, criticism, “correction” and oh so often in the form of prayer requests. Whether it’s changing God’s Word or causing God’s Word to be unheard when someone is upset, we need to mark those people and avoid them. While it’s impossible to avoid someone completely in most of our smaller congregations, we don’t have to linger in their presence either. Dispense the Christian niceties of “God bless ya sister or brother,” and move on down the aisle. Don’t give opportunity to fall victim to having your mind taken off the Word of God and placed on something that you likely can do nothing about.

There is the story of days gone by when an “adulteress woman” was marked with the scarlet letter “A” for adulterer. This for me is akin to what Paul is saying, only he didn’t say mark the sinner, he said to mark those who cause division among the saints, because that is serious business. It’s much like having an affair on Christ because you’re breaking His heart.

Mark the Tried and True!

Philippians 3:17

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

I’ve been blessed with a Christian lifetime full of “examples.” There’s likely not enough ink in a sharpie to mark those who have walked beside of me and been encouragers of the faith. Paul said to take note of those people, probably because we’ll need them again. I wish that I could send every single person who’s made a mark on my life a red Sharpie, but I’m sure I’d unintentionally miss someone. It’s more important for me to mark them along the way by telling them that I praise God they’re in my life. How about you? Got a Sharpie dude? Start marking!

How to be Fashionably Late

chick time

I have a friend or two and a relative or two who are most usually late for meetings and events. It’s not that they’re irresponsible or forgetful, they are some of the most responsible and intellectual people I know… it’s just that their prep time is longer than usual. Perhaps they need prompters to help them along. I’m about to take Mark 2 in places it may have never gone before, and for some of my Bible Scholar friends, they may prefer not to travel this road with me at all. But it’s on my mind today.

I love it when a preacher speculates about the story around the story; adlibbing conversations that may or may not, most likely did not, occur around a biblical event. My nephew Robert preached on Mark 2 last night at his home church, and he just wowed his ol’ Aunt Shari at what an amazing work God is doing in his life. Isn’t that the kind of work that God always does? Amazing!

This morning that scripture is still heavy on my heart, but not in the context that Robert preached it… I’m thinking about the story of the four men who carried their friend to church from an entirely different perspective.

Fashionably Loud

Mark 2:1-3

And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

What a church service! Loud, crowded and the roof blown off. That’s just how I like mine.

Why is it that ¾ (or greater) of the churches in America feel the need to sit and soak… or sulk. They’re more resemble a funeral than praise and worship. What part of “Worship” hour did you not understand when you arrived at church. I’d rather see someone late and loud, than on time and dead. I love seeing people so desperate to see God move that they’re willing to take extreme measures to make it happen. So they got there late… I’m sure it was not an easy task for the four of them to carry this guy from his home. Nor is it always easy for that Momma or Daddy to get their brood bundled up and on their way. When they finally got there they were likely hot and tired, not willing to wait any longer. They were late enough! There’s got to be another way in… “Hey nobody’s using the roof!”

Fashionably Lead

Mark 2:4-5

And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

The man sick of the palsy could not get himself to Jesus, so his 4 friends not only lead the way up they broke it up. They were desperate to get to him to the Lord and they didn’t care how big of a scene it created. Sometimes it’s necessary for leadership to make a scene in order to get things stirred up and the Spirit moving. How far are you willing to go to hear the Lord say to your friend “thy sins be forgiven thee.”

Fashionably loose

Mark 2:12

And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

And thus where my thought derived from this morning. They’d never saw it in that fashion. What fashion? I expect that he not only walked… he walked with style. Possibly what they’d call a swagger. He may have even danced a jig. There’s something about a new convert that can be visibly seen, if they’re lucky it never fades. Well… I don’t want to say lucky, let’s use the word blessed! When you’ve been bound by sickness or sin either one, and you’re suddenly free of it you understand the value of being “loose.” It changes the way you walk and talk and people notice. You have the freedom to speak and act with boldness!

Are you a fashionista? Are you loud, are you a leader, are you loose? (in the godly way of course.) Let’s make some noise for Jesus today!