Today's Good News

October 2009

10/1            Mark 7:1-2
One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to confront Jesus.  They noticed that some of Jesus’ disciples failed to follow the usual Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating.

RITUAL
We can get sidelined by rituals.  We forget that the Lord is interested in a real relationship.  We let ourselves live on auto pilot-we read the Word, say our prayers, recite our memory verses and forget to talk with the Lord.  We don’t stop long enough to hear His response.  A growing Christian life includes time to let the Lord guide us.  Rituals give us control of our life.  Our daily goal is to let Jesus have control of our life.

 

10/2            Mark 7:3-4
(The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands, as required by their ancient traditions.  Similarly, they eat nothing bought from the market unless they have immersed their hands in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to – such as their ceremony of washing cups, pitchers, and kettles.)

CEREMONY
Ceremony replaced relationship for the Pharisees.  Ceremony can be controlled.  Relationships are alive and require sacrifices and decisions.  The religious leaders had opted for ceremony-it framed life in a way they could control.  We strive to grow.  We seek to be filled with the Lord so that our life will be like His life.

 

10/3            Mark 7:5
So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old customs? For they eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”

NEW
Jesus brought a new ethic in the flesh.  They didn’t see it.  He was the One they had been looking for and they missed it.  Be careful what customs you call your faith.  We must be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit and the clear guidance of the Lord as we spend time in His Word each day.

 

10/4            Mark 7:6-7
Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said,  ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is a farce, for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings.’

HEART
The Lord looks upon our hearts.  He wants to know if we have accepted Him by faith and believe in our heart that He is Lord.  His call to us today is to let Him have control of our life.

 

10/5            Mark 7:8-9
For you ignore God’s specific laws and substitute your own traditions.”  Then he said, “You reject God’s laws in order to hold on to your own traditions.

SUBSTITUTE
Are you living your life with a substitute god?  Is there something other than Jesus that has your heart?  Set them aside and give your heart, your life to Jesus.  Jesus is first for there is no other way for us to be saved than Jesus Christ.

 

10/6            Mark 7:10
For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.’

TRADITION
Strict adherence to the Scribal law made it impossible for a person to follow the Ten Commandments, God’s law.  Jesus is beginning this passage with an example to show how foolish this kind of thinking is.  We are responsible to God which makes us responsible to the people we live with in this world.  God is not mocked nor can we absolve ourselves by some rule we made no matter the intention.  Following Jesus is based on His Words not our tradition.

 

10/7            Mark 7:11-13
But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you.  For I have vowed to give to God what I could have given to you.’    You let them disregard their needy parents.  As such, you break the law of God in order to protect your own tradition. And this is only one example. There are many, many others.”

COMPLETION
This is the completion of Jesus’ example.  How foolish of us to figure out how we are going to get out of being honest and use our law based on our interpretation to invalidate the obvious meaning God had by His Word.  Be careful.  Pay attention to the things you do.  Serve the Lord.

 

10/8            Mark 7:14-16
Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand.  You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do! “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand.

DIRECT
This was a revolutionary idea.  It wasn’t a parable.  It was straightforward.  What we think about controls us.  The trappings of our life do not create our ethics.  We are to be careful about the people that we listen to and follow.  That is why Christ gives us a new heart when we come into the family of God.  Jesus helps us to get it.  Kingdom thinking is the key to right living.

 

10/9            Mark 7:17-19
Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowds, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the statement he had made.  “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that what you eat won’t defile you?  Food doesn’t come in contact with your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then comes out again.” (By saying this, he showed that every kind of food is acceptable.)

VALUE
Our life is useable and useful.  We determine how useful we will be by the way that we think.  Do we let the Lord control our heart?  Do we think about spiritual things all the time?  Where is our head?  We cannot change by being in the world and visiting in the church.  One or the other and it is our choice.  Jesus is Lord.

 

10/10          Mark 7:20-23
And then he added, “It is the thought-life that defiles you.  For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.  All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God.”

CLOTHES
Clothes are important.  Dressing up at church and when we go out is viewed as important.  We can see clothes.  We can’t see a person’s heart.  Jesus says what is important is our heart.  Sin is a product of an unclean heart.  Jesus can cleanse our heart.  He gives us a new heart when we come into the family of God.  Our new heart can and should reject evil.

 

10/11          Mark 7:24
Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre.  He tried to keep it secret that he was there, but he couldn’t. As usual, the news of his arrival spread fast.

SPEAKER
When Jesus went somewhere the people crowded around to hear Him speak.  He worked physical miracles in their presence.  They knew this and they were desperate for any glimmer of hope in their life.  Jesus knew this and He was deeply moved by their need.  Do you have a need today?  Take it to Jesus.  He will not turn you away.

 

10/12          Mark 7:25-27
Right away a woman came to him whose little girl was possessed by an evil spirit. She had heard about Jesus, and now she came and fell at his feet.  She begged him to release her child from the demon’s control.  Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, Jesus told her, “First I should help my own family, the Jews.  It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

RESPONSE
Did she just want healing or did she really believe in Jesus.  Our relationship with Jesus the Son of God is a heart relationship.  He gives us life.  Whatever it takes for us to get that life is important for us to do.  The woman knew that she wasn’t a Jew but she also knew that Jesus was Lord and she wanted Him.

 

10/13          Mark 7:28-30
She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are given some crumbs from the children’s plates.”  “Good answer!” he said. “And because you have answered so well, I have healed your daughter.”  And when she arrived home, her little girl was lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.

JESUS
What are you lacking to accomplish God’s plan for your life?  Talk with Jesus about that need.  Let Him know what you think and move forward with confidence that the Lord will answer you.  The joy will be the journey of experiential awareness knowing that His way of answering you will create a joyous experience in you.

 

10/14          Mark 7:31
Jesus left Tyre and went to Sidon, then back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns.

PURPOSE
Jesus wants us to see that He like the Father is moving with purpose.  This was a predominantly Gentile area and Jesus would do some unique things here.  As you think about your life think about the opportunities that you have had to do what the Lord has called you to do.  Most of them probably started as ordinary, normal events maybe so much so that you weren’t even thinking about doing God’s work.  But, when you were aware of His activity in the event you also became aware of what the Lord had done leading up to that event.  Jesus is Lord life including the things that transpire in our life.

 

10/15          Mark 7:32-34
A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.  Jesus led him to a private place away from the crowd. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting onto his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue with the spittle.  And looking up to heaven, he sighed and commanded, “Be opened!”

HEALING
Jesus was willing to heal those who came to Him.  Do you want to be healed?  Go to Jesus.  Spend time with the Lord.  Tell Him you problems.  Ask Him what to do.  Pray for the weak.  Ask Him if you need healing.

 

10/16          Mark 7:35-37
Instantly the man could hear perfectly and speak plainly!  Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news, for they were completely amazed. Again and again they said, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even heals those who are deaf and mute.”

WONDERFUL
Do you feel that everything Jesus does is wonderful?  I do.  I do because I have spent time with Him to know Him.  I do because He is worthy of all honor and praise and glory.  Do you know Jesus?  If you do, keep growing in knowledge of Him.  Ask the Lord to guide you into all knowledge of Him.

 

10/17          Mark 8:1-2
About this time another great crowd had gathered, and the people ran out of food again. Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat.

LESSON
The disciples didn’t get it.  His examples weren’t gelling in their mind.  They didn’t think of Him as the consummate Lord and Savior.  They saw Him as only a man.  Jesus is Lord.  Until we see and understand that we too will fret about issues and decisions to be made instead of throwing ourselves at His feet.  Jesus help me with my unbelief.

 

10/18          Mark 8:3
And if I send them home without feeding them, they will faint along the road. For some of them have come a long distance.”

PEOPLE
People were willing to pay a great price to hear everything Jesus said.  He was hope for them.  He gave them a ray of change.  Christ in turn felt deep compassion for them including their need for food.  When you look at those around you that are hurting do you feel contempt or compassion?  Your answer to that will give you an insight on your relationship with Jesus.  Jesus had compassion for the multitudes.

 

10/19          Mark 8:4-8
“How are we supposed to find enough food for them here in the wilderness?” his disciples asked.  “How many loaves of bread do you have?” he asked.”Seven,” they replied.  So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves, thanked God for them, broke them into pieces, and gave them to his disciples, who distributed the bread to the crowd.  A few small fish were found, too, so Jesus also blessed these and told the disciples to pass them out.  They ate until they were full, and when the scraps were picked up, there were seven large baskets of food left over!

FEEDING
Although a quick reading of this passage would tend to lead us to think only of the feeding.  Jesus fed all of them.  The key focus is for us to see that Jesus is able.  He is able to save us.  He is able to use us.  He is able to make His plan for out life come to fruition.  Our prayer is simply thy will be done in me.

 

10/20          Mark 8:9
There were about four thousand people in the crowd that day, and he sent them home after they had eaten.

REALITY
The reality is that we have to deal with flesh and bone issues each day.  God’s Word to us is that He knows the reality of life that each one of us faces.  Therefore, He is able to meet our need.  No matter how great or how small Jesus is able to meet our need.

 

10/21          Mark 8:10
Immediately after this, he got into a boat with his disciples and crossed over to the region of Dalmanutha.

ACTION
The Lord Jesus works hard.  His Word to us is that we should be busy about our master’s work but making sure that we have balance in our life.  All of his travel had purpose.  Jesus was striving to help the people and train His disciples.  They didn’t understand what Jesus was trying to do but they would.  Spend time with Jesus.  Get to know Him.

 

10/22          Mark 8:11
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came to argue with him. Testing him to see if he was from God, they demanded, “Give us a miraculous sign from heaven to prove yourself.”

PHARISEES
They were always trying to discredit Jesus.  Jesus was a threat to their authority.  They liked standing before the people as God’s only representative.  They loved their rules and regulations and had a high level of disdain for Christ.  They really were not seeking to know Jesus.  They wanted to destroy Him.

 

10/23          Mark 8:12
When he heard this, he sighed deeply and said, “Why do you people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I assure you, I will not give this generation any such sign.”

SIGN
They were simply seeking a way to discredit Jesus.  They had no faith in Him or the Father.  They were close minded on matters of the Gospel.  They didn’t believe Jesus and there was nothing He could say or do that would change that.  Faith in Christ is the key to knowing and growing in Jesus.

 

10/24          Mark 8:13-16
So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake.  But the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any food, so there was only one loaf of bread with them in the boat.  As they were crossing the lake, Jesus warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod.”  They decided he was saying this because they hadn’t brought any bread.

MISSED
The disciples missed His point again.  We are so much like them.  This world is not our home.  We are called to missionary zeal in proclaiming the Gospel-Messiah has ransomed us from sin and He has come that we might have life.  Believe in Jesus.

 

10/25          Mark 8:17-21
Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he said, “Why are you so worried about having no food? Won’t you ever learn or understand? Are your hearts too hard to take it in?  ‘You have eyes – can’t you see? You have ears – can’t you hear?’  Don’t you remember anything at all?  What about the five thousand men I fed with five loaves of bread? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?” “Twelve,” they said.  “And when I fed the four thousand with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Seven,” they said.  “Don’t you understand even yet?” he asked them.

SIN
Sin blinds us to the things of the Gospel.  Jesus is Lord and yet we continue to struggle with actualizing that in our life.  Let Jesus lead you.  He will not turn you in the wrong direction.  Let Him have control of your heart and walk in His peace and power moment by moment.  Jesus is Lord.

 

10/26          Mark 8:22-26
When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch and heal the man.  Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”  The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”  Then Jesus placed his hands over the man’s eyes again. As the man stared intently, his sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.  Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.”

FAITH
Jesus tells us that our faith lets His power work in and thru us.  Believe in Him.  Life is right now.  Today is the time for our faith to grow.  Live in the present not in the maybe.  Spend time with Jesus right now.  If only a few minutes take time to talk with Him.

 

10/27          Mark 8:27-30
Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”  “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”  Then Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”  But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

REVELATION
God reveals spiritual things to us.  They are never counter to His revealed will in His Word.  His revelation never calls us to do evil.  Be careful how you dream things up for there are many deceiving spirits.  Read the Word, do the Word and grow in Christ.

 

10/28          Mark 8:31
Then Jesus began to tell them that he, the Son of Man, would suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, and three days later he would rise again.

JESUS
Jesus willingly sacrificed His life for you.  He did it while you were still dead in your trespasses and sin.  He did it because there is no other way to the Father than Jesus.

 

10/29          Mark 8:32-33
As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and told him he shouldn’t say things like that.  Jesus turned and looked at his disciples and then said to Peter very sternly, “Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

REVELATION
We must be careful as we live our lives.  Sin so easily finds us and so often we are such willing associates.  Stay with Jesus by spending time with Him in prayer, reading the Word of God and immediate obedience.

 

10/30          Mark 8:34-35
Then he called his disciples and the crowds to come over and listen. “If any of you wants to be my follower,” he told them, “you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.  If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will find true life.

JESUS
We are called to follow Jesus.  He is the focus of life and our life.  He gives us everything we need to lead an abundant life.  We walk with Him, we talk with Him, we read of Him and we obey Him.  Life is simple when we are focused on Jesus.

 

10/31          Mark 8:36-38
And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?  Is anything worth more than your soul?  If a person is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in the glory of my Father with the holy angels.”

ETERNITY
This world is a veil of tears.  Life isn’t fair and none of us will get out of this world alive.  Therefore, it makes sense to follow Jesus.  He gives us wisdom for living no matter what we face.  He is our life and in Him we find life.  Follow Jesus and you will never perish but have everlasting life.

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Clay Corvin

Clay Corvin is Co-Pastor at Bethel Community Baptist Church. He is the VP Business and Professor of Admin at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the pastor at the Brantley Baptist Center for twenty-five years. He is married to Carol Corvin and the father of three children and has three grandchildren.