The Centurion

Scripture

So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39 (NKJV)

Observation

The centurion saw and heard what Jesus said and did on the cross.  He heard Jesus welcome the repentant thief into paradise.  He heard Jesus lamenting to God.  He saw Him refuse wine that would dull his senses.  He heard and felt the earth quake when Jesus died.  He saw the sky darken.  He heard Jesus say, “Father, into you hands I commit My spirit.” (Luke 23:46)  He confessed that Jesus was the Son of God.  He was the first to  “preach Christ crucified.” (1 Corinthians 1:23)

Application

I forget, ashamedly, what happened on the cross.  I get too engrossed on systematizing the theology instead of letting that very theology grow organically in me.  The centurion marveled!  I need to marvel.

Prayer

Lord, truly You are the Son of God…

 

Tagged , , ,

Help My Unbelief

Scripture

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:23-24 (NKJV)

Observation

The man’s child had a demon. He asked Jesus what Jesus could do.  He addressed Him as Teacher.  With all the Pharisees and scribes around, he may have come to challenge Jesus on their behalf.  But Jesus explained, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Then all the doubt left the man and now he calls Jesus “Lord.”  He declared his belief and cries out, “Help my unbelief!”

Application

This man went from addressing Jesus as “teacher” to crying out to Jesus, “Lord!”  He thought there was a limit to what Jesus could do and that he would find that limit.  I have to admit, I am more like this man that I care to admit.  I bring a prayer request to Him and dare Him to do something.  I should come to Him in total submission and cry out, “Lord!”

Prayer

Lord, I believe; Help my unbelief!

Good Soil

Scripture

The sower sows the word…but these are the ones sown on good ground.  Those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit…  Mark 4:14, 20a

Observation

Good soil has to be prepared by it’s Owner.  He removes thorns.  He removes stones.  He doe not trample it down with a path.  Good soil is planned and thought out beforehand.  It does not make itself good.  When the sower comes he throws the seed out by hand on the good soil.  But, coincidentally, some falls in places beside the good soil — thorns, stony soil, and paths — not prepared to receive the seed.

Application

It’s not about what type of soil I am.  It is rather that I am a sower and the seed is the Word.  By hand, I sow the Word of God.  Some of that will fall on unprepared hearts.  Most will fall on hearts already prepared to receive it.

Prayer

Lord, use me as a sower of Your Word.  May it become a bountiful harvest in the good soil you have prepared.

The Will of God

Scripture

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)

Observation

Paul, in his first letter to the church of Thessalonica, closes with instructions.  This particular passage teaches a constant rejoicing, prayerful, and thankful attitude.  But, while the readers would benefit, it was not so they would have warm fuzzies.  It is because it is the will of God.

Application

What is the will of God?  Can I know it?  Well, yes.  Do I know the will of God for my life?  Well, yes.  For decades I have sought God’s will.  I’ve read books on theology, prayer, bible study.  I’ve gone to cell groups, life groups, accountability groups, retreats, and Alaska.  I’ve read through the Bible umpteen times.  Never could I discern the will of God — until now when I read this passage again for the first time.  God’s will is for me to rejoice — not complain.  God’s will for me is to pray continuously — not to learn to pray but rather just do it.  God’s will for me is to be thankful in everything — not to be sorrowful.  God’s will for me is to do all these things — rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks — in Christ Jesus.

Prayer

Lord, I rejoice in the salvation through Christ Jesus.  May my prayers always glorify You.  Thanks for accepting my worship through Jesus.  Thy will be done.

The Tutor

Scripture

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  Galatians 3:24.

Observation

What is the purpose of the law?  It is to point toward the ministry of Jesus Christ (v. 23)

Application

In reading Leviticus, I marvel at all the details of ceremony there are.  There is preparation galore!  There are so many “if/then” things.  There are feasts throughout the year.  They must meet stringent  requirements.  Day to day activities, sickness, crime, immorality…they are all covered by “the law.”  Paul told the Galatians “the law” is a tutor.  It instructs.  “The law” rightly understood brings every act and thought captive to God.  God is the reason for doing anything and everything becomes a form of worship with “the law.”

But Jesus is Himself the very fulfillment of “the law.”  Instead of the tedium, I have freedom.  My focus is on Him.  Rules do not justify me — faith in Christ does.  Jesus Christ becomes my worship.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for fulfilling the law in Yourself.  I want to worship You.

Profane Fire

Scripture

‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’… Leviticus 10:3 

Observation

The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, were just killed by the LORD.  They offered “profane fire” before the LORD.  They each had taken a censer and put incense on it.  They came before Holy God any way they wanted. They mocked Him.

Application

The sons of Aaron thought it was a show.  Anybody, or so they thought, could come and “worship” before the LORD.  They bypassed all that had been prescribed for preparation — repentance, sacrifice, atonement, washing, holiness (being set aside).  God wants me to take Him seriously.  Without “the law” there is no reason for grace.  I cannot bypass what the law has provided for merely by claiming grace.  Grace means I myself am no longer subject to the penalty of the law — living under the law.  It means that Someone, Jesus Christ, has taken my place.  All the components of the law are still there, I just don’t suffer the consequences.

God is not an idol.  He is not a genie.  He is holy.  What I do as worship must bring glory to Him — pray, bible reading/study, daily living,…I should do it not out of fear but because He loves me.

Prayer

Lord, prepare me so that I worship You in Your Holiness.  May I glorify You.

 

In To the Closet

Scripture

But you, when you pray, go into your [closet], and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:6 (NKJV)

Observation

Jesus has expectations and guidelines on how to pray.  Where and how are important.  The lead-up to the Lord’s Prayer, (Matthew 6:9-13) even lists them:  Get alone with God, don’t try to impress, the same repetitions are not necessary.  In short — BE REAL.

Application

When I get alone “in to the closet” there is an intimacy with Abba-Father not usually perceived in public.  He show me, through His Word, what I really need — what He knows I need — to participate in His will.

  • part of my life that need changing
  • attitude adjustments
  • who I need to love
  • what I need to stop pursuing

In short, He shows me how to be more Christlike…

Prayer

Lord, send me in to the closet…

The “Tenor” of These Words

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”
Exodus 34:27 (NKJV)

God gave Moses the covenant – Ten Commandments and Feasts. But…”tenor” is PEH in “the Hebrew” — instrument of speech.  Other translations have “in accordance to” or “based on.” “Tenor” is only in Geneva/KJV/NKJV translations.  “Tenor” brings with it an implied meaning of intended spirit/attitude. God wants to be obeyed and worshiped. 

God wants to be worshiped in spirit and truth (John 4:24).  We are to be better ministers by obeying God in the true spirit of His law and not be legalistic — the spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6)

Lord, help me have Your Spirit to worship You.  Let my life have the “tenor” by which others will hear You.  May my “tenor” bring glory to Your Name.

We Ought to Obey God…

But Peter and the other Apostles answered and said:  “We ought to obey God rather than men.”  Acts 5:29

Peter and the apostles preached the Gospel:  Christ died for our sins , was buried, and arose again.  Nothing else.  When confronted, they were challenged and commanded to stop. They responded by saying “we ought to obey God rather than men.”

Some have a platform that they abuse by preaching another gospel — how to be a better person.  I no longer have a public platform.  So, how can I preach the gospel?  How can I not?  I cannot let others’ abuses deter me from obeying God.

Lord, help me to obey You. Help me to not be discouraged by others.


Christianity is not a self-improvement program.  It is a Lord-serving life.

Jesus prays for me!

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)

I want faith to pray.  And pray for faith. A circle.  Peter (Simon) is much like the church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7).  “Return to your first love.”

How do I return to my first love?  How do I pray?  I have been in a state of being sifted.

Lord, pray for me.