40 DITW - Day 19

SIN:  This story shows that sometimes we worship and love money more than we worship and love God.

PROMISE: Our sacrifices of worship to Jesus is never wasted, it please Him.

ATTITUDE:  The woman was willing to bring her best and something that came at great sacrifice to her.  We too must worship God by giving our best.  True worship (and I am not talking about just singing) to God is costly because it requires obedience in areas that sometimes require great sacrifice.

COMMAND:  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might and with all your strength.

EXAMPLE:  The example of the woman’s worship is one we should emulate.

PRAYER:  Father, sometimes I find that I hold back in what I bring to you as my worship.  I want to worship you without it being sacrificial.  Forgive me for holding back and sometimes even giving reasons why I hold back that sound so holy.

ERROR TO AVOID:  The people who witnessed the act of worship criticized the woman saying that she should have given the money to the poor, when in reality most of them would have never sold the perfume and given it to the poor.  In the case of Judas, he probably wanted the money for his own benefit.  It is easy to criticize someone who is worshipping God by saying what we would do but in the end the woman was the one who did something while everyone else stood around.

SOMETHING PRAISEWORTHY:  The woman’s generosity and sacrifice pleased Jesus.  We too should look for ways to offer our sacrifices of worship.  As we know from Jesus, the amount is not what impresses Him, it is the level of sacrifice and faith that is meaningful to Him.  


40Days DEVO: 

40 DITW - Day 18

Mark 11:25  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."


SIN: Don't hold offenses and keep grudges.

PROMISE: When you forgive others it releases the power of God in your life.

ATTITUDE: The attitude of forgiveness is an outward indicator of a heart submitted to God.

COMMAND:  Be constant in prayer and if there is anything hindering your prayers deal with it.

PRAYER:  God let my prayers not be selfish ones where I pray for my will and wants, but may my prayers be one that invites you to fulfill your will on earth as it is in heaven...through me.

ERROR:  The bigger passage is talking about prayer and faith.  One of the errors in this passage is this understanding that somehow if we pray hard enough and long enough, God is obligated to answer our requests no matter what they are.  Not true.  In fact the reason why this forgiveness issue is so important is because it makes us have to align our will with God's will and so when we pray we are praying His will be done not ours.

TRUTH:  We do not earn God's blessing by forgiving one another. Our forgiving heart is one evidence that our hearts are right with God and that we want to obey His will, and this makes it possible for the Father to hear us and to answer prayer (Ps. 66:18). Faith works by love (Gal. 5:6). If I have faith in God, I will also have love for my brother.

40Days DEVO:

40 DITW - Day 17

Mark 10:17-31

SIN:  many times we are guilty of false worship, outward actions that have no origin in having a heart to please God.

PROMISE:  To forsake everything to follow Jesus will lead to eternal reward.  (Vs 30)

ATTITUDE: Don't let the things of the world have a hold on your life.

EXAMPLE: Like the disciples showed we must chose to leave everything behind to follow Jesus.  The understanding is that we are giving Christ the highest priority of our lives and we hold loosely to everything else.

PRAYER:  Lord, as I do everyday, I surrender my life to you so that I can be used for your honor and glory.  My life is not my own but I belong to you.  Forgive me for trying to take over so much, I surrender to you.

ERROR TO AVOID:  Outward actions are not the single measure of spiritual maturity, rather it is outward actions that come from a heart that is set on worshipping Christ.

TRUTH:  God desires that we worship Him from the inside out.  The man was sad to give away his wealth because his heart was not really into worshipping God.  When the worship called for a very personal sacrifice he chose to not worship - that decision pointed to the true motivation of his worship.


40 DITW - Day 16

 33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?"34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.  35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all."
Mark 9:33–35

SIN:  The sin in this passage is the part of the root of all that causes us to disobey God - we want to exalt ourselves.  The problem with exalting ourselves is that we dont stop with exalting ourselves over people we want to literally be God - to take His place of authority in our lives.

PROMISE: People who humble themselves will be exalted in the right time.

ATTITUDE:  We should coninue to look to serve others rather than looking for others to serve us.

COMMAND: Be a servant.

EXAMPLE:  Jesus took the child as an example of how we must serve even those who we consider the least.  We serve not to gain position but because it is the attitude of Christ and the command of Christ.

PRAYER:  Father forgive me for allowing my sin nature to resurrect itself in wanting to exalt and promote myself.  It is so easy in this world we live in to forget that man-made power and position is not the goal, but pleasing my Father in heaven.

TRUTH,SOMETHING PRAISEWORTHY: 1 Peter 5:6 (MSG) So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; he'll promote you at the right time.


40 DITW - Day 15

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.35 For whoever wants to save their lifet will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

Mark 8:34–38

SIN:  The sin I see that is holds us back in this passage is the sin of selfishness.  We want to be in control not give God control.  We want to be independent of God not dependent on Him.

PROMISE: Losing my life for Christ is gain.

ATTITUDE:  The attitude we should adopt is one of trust and self-denial.  We should desire to be disciples of Christ.

COMMAND:  Follow Christ.

EXAMPLE:  Die to myself and live for Christ.

PRAYER:  Lord not my will but yours be done in my life.

SOMETHING PRAISWORTHY:  God calls us to be His disciples.  He invites us to join Him.  Even though we are not worthy He calls us and in the calling makes us worthy.

40 DITW - Day 11

Mark 5:21-43

Hi, Jairus here.  Pastor Gary asked me to share with you my perspective from the day Jesus raised my daughter from the dead.

As a Synagogue leader I rubbed shoulders with the religious leaders who for the most part were anti-Jesus.  Talking at the water cooler in the synagogue they would tell me how much they disapproved of anyone going to Jesus for anything.  You can imagine my predicament when my daughter got ill and nothing was helping her get better, I thought about Jesus but the pressure of what my Pharisee and Sadduce friends kept me from asking Him.  My daughter only got worse though and desperation can make us do some crazy things.  I decided that my daughter's life was more important than what people thought of me and I decided to swallow my pride and go ask Jesus for help.   It is not easy to humble yourself in front of a crowd of people (many who know who I am) and get down on my knees and beg Jesus for help, but desperate times will do that to us.  I think that more people need those desperate moments because sometimes that is what it will take for them to come to God and ask for help.  Sometimes the desperate moments, when our backs are up against the wall are the best moments of our lives, because it is in that moment we fall on our knees and admit we cant do it on our own, we need help from God.  I thank God for desperate situations.

Jesus agreed to go with me to my home to heal my daughter, what a relief.  There was no time to waste, I had already wasted some much time with deciding to ask Jesus or not.  The moment he said yes I asked Him to follow me quickly to my house.  I am sure you have noticed this but Jesus moves at His own pace and too often it is just not fast enough for me.  In the middle of my emergency Jesus decides to stop and have a discussion about who touched Him.  We are in a crowd, are you really going to stop everything to ask who touched you?  My daughter is dying, this can wait.  And it is not like the woman was not healed, so why is Jesus making a big deal? 

While Jesus is "wasting time" one of my servants arrive with news that I was hoping never to hear, my daughter had died.  In that moment there was this frustration that started welling up inside me, so close and yet so far.  If Jesus didn't take time to dilly and dally then maybe my daughter would still be alive.  In the middle of my frustration I realize that Jesus is speaking to a woman who admits that she has been healed.  She was the one who touched Jesus' robe and in that moment she was healed from a disease that had plagued her for 12 years.  Wow!  Frustration is replaced by hope, if Jesus can heal even when He is not even thinking about it, what is death to Him?   This delay is a blessing in disguise.  The truth is my daughter was dead before the incident with the woman, I just was not aware of it, but when Jesus stopped to talk with the woman and I saw the power that Jesus had, that even when people just touched His clothes in faith they were healed, my faith was built so that when I got the news about mydaughter's death it was no big deal, I believed (having seen it firsthand) that Jesus was able to heal my daughter.  The delay was important.
Sometimes the delays in our lives are part of God's plan for us to witness His power.  The delays are important to build our faith.  Don't despise the delays.

Hope my story was helpful to you as you grow in faith.  Listen there is no situation too difficult for God.  Even death is not final with Him. 

40Days Devo:

40 DITW - Day 10

Mark 4:35-41

Jesus spends the day teaching the disciples and the crowds.  At the end of the day Jesus decides to give His disciples a test.  You see it is one thing to learn the academics of God and His power at work in our lives but it is not enough - we must learn how to put it into practice in our lives.  Jesus wants to seeds of faith to take root so that it can produce great faith.

Here are some thoughts as I look at the situation from the disciples’ point of view.

The storm that came up must have been something fierce to frighten experienced fishermen, they were afraid.  But had they stopped to think about the situation they would have recognized some important things…

1.  They were in the middle of the storm as a result of obeying Jesus.  How often we think that the presence of storms is the absence of God, that somehow we are facing the storm because of some disobedience that brought the displeasure of God.  They were in the middle of the storm because they had been obedient to Jesus to go over to the other side of the lake.  Did Jesus know that there was a storm coming?  I think so, but the storm was part of the day’s curriculum.  He wanted to take the head knowledge and apply it to real life.  The storms of life are many times as a result of obedience not disobedience or displeasure.

2.  The disciples should not have been afraid if they had stopped to remember Jesus’ words - “Let’s go over to the other side.”  not, “let’s go for a boat ride.”  I may be stretching here but His instruction was His promise.  Inherent in his command was the promise that they would make it to the other side of the lake.  We need to take God at His word and remember that His commands are also His promise of enabling us to accomplish what He has called us to do.  It may not be an easy trip but if He says let go over to the other side of the lake then I believe that we will get there..

3.  I also think that the disciples would not have been fearful if they had properly assessed Jesus’ actions.  In the middle of the storm He was at peace, asleep.  Instead they misread His peace as not caring about them.  They allowed their fear to lead them to incorrect conclusions about Jesus.  

4.  The fact that they said, “Don’t you care?”  is also something that struck me.  How often we begin to think that Jesus’ presence with us is so that He can be our genie in a bottle, Johnny on the spot to fix all our problems.  We have this mentality that He is to be at our beck and call instead of the other way around.  We want Jesus to take His cues from us rather than us taking our cues from Him.  So instead of being at peace like Jesus was they woke Him up and demanded that He fix their circumstances.  It comes back to answering an important question, “Who do I believe Jesus to be in my life?”  Is He my Lord or is He my servant?


40Days Devo: 

40 DITW - Day 9

Mark 3:1-6

The God of Creation, the Messiah and Savior, was in the building and instead of some people seeing Christ they saw a lawbreaker.  I am sure that some of them were deeply religious people who were thinking of protecting the people in Jerusalem from imposters, but in their zeal for upholding God's law they missed Him at work right before their eyes.  Instead of seeing God they were looking for ways to discredit Him.  Funny how when we have a preconcieved idea of how God works or does not work it becomes so easy to miss Him when He is right at work before our eyes, but because it does not fit our "theology" of Him we end up accusing God Himself of sin.  I think this happens today especially when it comes to the Holy Spirit.  Well meaning teachers and preachers have labeled anything that is not within their framework of how God works as ungodly or of the devil, when in fact it is God the Holy Spirit at work and we are missing Him.  Let us not do to the Holy Spirit what the religious people of Jesus' day did to Him and put God in a box.  He can and will work in whichever way He chooses to.

Psalm 119;18

The other perspective I want to look at is that of the man with the shriveled hand.  Jesus asks him to stand up in front of everyone and stretch out his hand.  Now I am pretty sure the man knew of the tension in the room and was in a bit of a predicament.  Should he follow the letter of the law and refuse Jesus because it was unlawful to "work" on the Sabbath or should he listen to Jesus and receive healing?  In the end I believe that the man's desire for wholeness overcame his fear of man.  I wonder how many of us are like this man?  We are caught between what people will think about us and getting in trouble with man or obeying Jesus and experiencing His wholeness and healing.  I pray that our desire for God and His healing will be greater than our fear of man.


40DITW Devo:

40 DITW - Day 8

Psalm 119;18

The leper came to Jesus and said, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Leprosy was especially terrible to a Jew. Leprosy was the word used of any chronic or infectious skin disease. Leprosy was serious in Israel not only because it caused physical pain, but because it made a Jew ceremonially "unclean.” Such a Jew could not participate in worship and was to be isolated from others in the Hebrew community.

The leper who approached Jesus had very probably not experienced human touch for years, as everyone around him would have run in the opposite direction when they saw him coming.

From his perspective I would see that he would be very hesitant to come close to Jesus to ask Him an unthinkable question, “Would you make me clean?”  In his mind the way that Jesus could make him clean would be by touching him.  For so long the actions of people, including the religious leaders were to shun him and run away from him.  When he makes the statement to Jesus that he made, his issue was not with whether Jesus had the power to heal him, I think he was more concerned with whether Jesus would want to touch someone who was unclean and an outcast.  

The Bible version that the 40 Days website gave us translated that Jesus’ response was anger; that kind of threw me for a loop, anger?  Really?  After all every other time I have read this passage the translation was that Jesus was moved with compassion.  At first I didn’t like the translation of anger, but after thinking about it and putting myself in Jesus’ shoes I think the Message does the best job of interpreting this word.  Instead of anger or compassion the Message renders the word "deeply moved."  Yesss!  That makes sense to me.  Jesus experienced a gamut of emotions.  He got angry, he was sad, he felt compassion. 

He was angry that religious people of the day had taken His laws and used it as a way to destroy people rather than bring wholeness and redemption. 
He was angry that sin had brought such suffering and angst to His creation. 
He was angry because this man showed the response of many when it comes to Christ - “I am too unworthy for you to touch me.  I know you have the power to save me and change me, but do you want to?  Are you willing to touch me?”  

Obviously the answer is yes, “God so loved us that He moved into our neighborhood, willing to live among us and touch us in the midst of our brokenness, filth and shame.

Jesus was also deeply moved to compassion as well.  That one is obvious to me.  Compassion is concern (sympathy, empathy) that is followed up by action.  Jesus felt sympathy for the leper so much so that He was moved to action - that is compassion.

How do we show the love of Christ to those who are untouchable, outcasts, in the muck and mire of their sin and bad choices?  Are we willing to touch them and bring the power of God to bear on their lives?  After all we are now carriers of the power of God because the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us. 
Are we moved with compassion - sympathy that moves us to action?


40 DITW Devo:

Mark 14

"If worship's like perfume, I'll pour mine out on You."

We sing that song talking about surrender to God and here we catch the understanding of worship, perfume and surrender.  Mary shows her love for Jesus in this act of worship - she anoints Him with a perfume worth about a year's wages.  Talk about love showing itself in sacrificial giving.  Check out what happens when she worshipped openly and lovingly and catch a glimpse of what may happen when we do the same.

First of all I imagine that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  Her act of worship had an effect on Jesus but also on all those who were present.  The sweet aroma of worship is evident where God's people lovingly and openly worship their Savior.

But in as much as she gave openly and lovingly it opened her up for criticism.  Amazing how people can turn a beautiful moment into a self-serving moment.  People started criticizing her for wasting the perfume on Jesus.  Is that possible?  And the arguments for why they thought it was a bad idea actually sounded good.  Sometimes we will worship God with good motives and it will be misunderstood, but don't let it stop you from worshipping Him. 

No matter what others may say about our worship and service, the most important thing is that we please the Lord. The fact that others misunderstand and criticize us should not keep us from showing our love to Christ. Our concern should be His approval alone.  And Jesus showed His approval. 

So are we more concerned with the approval of people in our worship or are we looking to please our Lord and King?