Mark 10:42-44 – To The Leaders

Mark 10:42-44
42
But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all

-To those who would be leaders or the great ones in our society, remember these words of warning from the Lord.  It would be easy to hide behind such power and use it to lift one’s self up, but that is not what such authority is for.  Rather, those who would be masters should instead be as servants to those around them; showing them the character of Christ and so making them want to follow Christ all the more.  “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

Mark 9:43-48 – Hell

Mark 9:43-48
43
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

-Many of us have an image of Hell as a place of fire where the Devil runs around with a pitch fork and revels in all of his lost “subjects”.  But the Bible teaches that God created Hell as a place to punish Satan, not to give him a kingdom to rule.  Make no mistake, in the fullness of time when all sin is done away with and evil is punished, Satan will be burning in torment along with all those who choose not to accept the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Don’t let movies and general perceptions desensitize you to the reality of Hell.  It’s not a place you want to go; it’s not a place you want your worst enemy to go.  Hell is a place of everlasting agony where God’s mercy has no latitude to operate.  The Messiah, The Son of God, The Lord Jesus Christ suffered misery and torment so that none of us would have to; He paid the price so that you would have an option other than Hell.  If you haven’t repented of your sin and accepted the Lord’s salvation, I beg you to stop what you’re doing and settle it right now.  The Word of God is the first and best resource if you are unsure how to proceed, but Christians in your life can support you as well.  If you don’t have any such person in your life, feel free reach out to me.

Luke 17:7-10 – Expectations of a Servant

Luke 17:7-10
7
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

-Never make the mistake of feeling like you are entitled to blessings and mercy since the only acceptable standard is Jesus Christ Himself.  Every day that you fall short of that high mark, you should ask forgiveness on the basis of God’s mercy and redemptive work.  If a day comes where you do manage to walk just as Jesus walked, on that day say, “Don’t thank me, I did only what was expected of me.”  It may not result in the earthly glory that some of us desire, but “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”. (Matthew 5:5)

Philippians 4:12-13 – Both to abound and to suffer need.

Philippians 4:12-13
11
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

-Most of us have the idea that everything in our lives would be okay if only we had more money, more power, more influence, or more of other such things; that our attitudes would improve along with our circumstances.  The Bible teaches that such a notion is not so and that learning how to be exalted is just as important as how to be humbled.  The most typical response when life goes “bad” is to get mad at God and either blame or doubt Him.  Likewise, the most typical response when life goes “good” is to become indifferent towards God and forget that His was the hand that led you to success.  Neither of these are good responses.  Because of this, God will lead us down paths that will prepare us for our highs and also to prepare us for our lows so be mindful of both lessons.  Only then can we declare just as Paul that we know how to be abased and how to abound.

Acts 12:1-3 – Always a Little Further

Acts 12:1-3
1
Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also.

-After Herod killed James and saw how pleasing it was to the Jews, he went a little further and took Peter also.  This is what makes the world such a dangerous enemy; they will never stop with a little persecution.  Anytime the world moves against the church and receives good feedback from the masses, they feel permitted to press the attack.  They will persecute one more Christian, or repeal one more God-honoring law, or glorify one more sin- always a little further.  Fortunately, “greater is he that is in [us], than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) and that great One also goes a little further. (Matthew 26:39)  He went further to love us, He went further to spare us, and He went further to die for us.  Even now He keeps watch over His own and no matter how far the enemy goes, the Lord can always go further.

Luke 15:3-7 – Good Sheep

Luke 15:3-7
3
And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

-Jesus makes it clear that any good shepherd will never settle for ninety-nine sheep if the remaining one is lost, but will instead go in search until he find it.  It’s easy to read this section of scripture and simply dismiss it as pertaining to The Good Shepherd (John 10:11).  But notice how Jesus framed this parable, “What man of you…”; the parable serves to remind those who are listening that each of them would be willing to take action for lost sheep.  It is certain that the Lord will go to any length to rescue the lost, but Jesus taught us that, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)  The question is not whether the Good Shepherd will leave the ninety and nine, for it is certain that He will; the question becomes how many of the ninety and nine will leave the safety and comfort of the pasture to seek them who are lost? 

1 Timothy 2:1-3 – Pray For Our Leaders

1 Timothy 2:1-3
1
 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

-We’ve just come through a long and grueling election cycle.  Topics were heavy, emotions were high, and many people on both sides spoke out in opposition of the major candidates.  But whether you voted Democrat or Republican, whether you love Donald Trump or Hate him, the time for all of that is over.  Donald Trump is the President of the United States and, as such, he needs our prayers and our support.  Some might say, “Well I didn’t vote for him.”  That doesn’t matter; what matters is that he was freely elected as our leader and we are called to pray for our leaders.  Others might say, “I believe he is a racist or a chauvinist”.  Even if that were true and even if you were personally offended by that truth, does the Bible not also call us to “pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you?” (Matthew 5:44)  The fact is none of us are perfect and so none of us have a leg to stand on when it comes to wishing for another’s downfall.  If it came to pass that the President did abuse his power or take this as an opportunity to break the laws of God and man, then the Lord is more than able to remove him (Daniel 2:21); but until such a day should come, it is our duty to pray that President Trump will have good success in his station and that he can be used of God to bring about His will.  Anything less is simply unbiblical.

Isaiah 9:6 – and His name shall be called…

Isaiah 9:6
6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

-The Lord has many names found throughout scripture; all of them well-deserved and exemplifying His Divine character.  We could spend all day going through some of those names (and I encourage you to do that), but I wanted to look at a few names that you won’t find ascribed to the Lord.  1) Betrayer– Has someone you counted on ever turned their back on you?  The Lord never has, He promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  He marched through death and Hell just so He could be there for us.  2) Foe– We all have more enemies than we need, but the Lord is not one of them. He loved us and sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16).  You will not find a better example of love and friendship than that.  3) Unfaithful2 Samuel 22:31As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.”  Consider, no one who has trusted in the Lord has ever come away disappointed.  He can be trusted with your family; He can be trusted with your money; He can even be trusted with your eternal soul.  God is good!

Revelation 1:13-18 – Be Not Afraid

Revelation 1:13-18
13
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

-“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27) There will come a day when we stand in the presence of God and will truly see Him for the first time; could even the redeemed face such a meeting without experiencing fear at the divine presence of the Lord? But just as Jesus was so apt to do in scripture, He will make His presence known and allay our fears.  He will reassure us that He is the very One who died so that we may enter in.  He will reassure us that He is the very One who holds the power of Hell and Death.  He will reassure us that He is the One who has been with us all along and who will be with us for all eternity.  With a simple utterance, the Lord can bring light to a dark universe.  (Genesis 1:3)  But what is even more impressive is that with a simple utterance, the Lord can bring us peace and show us that our faith in Him was never misplaced.  “It is I; be not afraid.” (John 6:20)

John 17:6 – They Have Kept Thy Word

John 17:6
6
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

-What a remarkable testimony to receive from Jesus.  In regards to those who belong to the Lord, they aren’t called out for making a name for themselves, for their names are not even spoken.  Nor are they are noted for acquiring great wealth or power; rather, they are noteworthy for having kept the word of the Lord.  This is why Jesus cautions us not to lay up for ourselves “treasures on the earth” (Matthew 6:19); because the only treasures that will stand the test of time and fire will be those that shine in the light of God’s Word.  To pass from this mortal world without being remembered is no great loss; but if we are to be remembered, let it be said of each of us that we kept HIS word.