...we follow! Psalm 32:8 KJV
"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye."
We have a Good Shepherd Who has vowed by His own blood to lead us. The good in God won't let Him just point in the direction or throw out the bone of His will and yell "go get it!" He both tells and teaches. Jesus didn't just tell the disciples in Mark 3 who they were, He told them then spent years teaching them as they spent years learning.
Since we are His disciples today, remember, just like a map tells you where to go, we do the choosing to follow it. After we know to "go west on Maple Street", we don't stand repeating out loud "west on Maple, west on Maple, west on Maple". But we, moment by moment, mile after mile, as we walk, drive, pedal, turn, jump, stop and go, are saying "west on Maple" by going west on Maple. Obedience is the choice to follow.
The Good Shepherd is better than show & tell; or point and preach. He tells & teaches! Otherwise we'd never have a license to move. Our wrong turns and accidents may delay, but they don't delete the route. As He says at the end of verse 8, "I will guide thee with Mine eye", to be guided by the eyes of God is to be guarded by the hands of God. Rather than learning then going, He understands that we learn as we go.
So go as God tells and teaches, and you won't go alone!
Of all the Gospels of Jesus, Mark is the leanest but it doesn't make it the weakest (because there are no weak Gospels). It gets right to the point and boom - the first chapter has the Son of God baptized, in and out of the wilderness, and by verse 16, He is preaching! More accurately, He's getting to work. So look who shows out as soon as Jesus shows up...
Mark 1:23-24 KJV - "23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 Saying, Let [us] alone; what have we to do with thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God."
Note it...when Jesus shows up, Satan shows out. Consequently, what Jesus primarily deals with is summed up in verse 34...
"And He healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew Him." - Mark 1:34 KJV
Devils and disease seem to have a vital connection. The diseases were the symptoms of the presence of the enemy and his demons. By the absence of the LORD (which was actually our distance from God because of sin), all the fallen angels were empowered to perpetuate "dis-ease" of the bodies, minds, and hearts of the people. That's why when Jesus shows up, healing of the body and the heart also have a vital connection. People who get faith can also get forgiven. People who get fit can also get free. On every level, when Jesus is present and accepted, He has the power to change not a part of the life, but life itself. How else could He possibly offer eternal life if He can't make a dent on daily life?
Today, Jesus wants to show up in our lives by His Spirit..."
"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty." - 2 Corinthians 3:17 KJV
Better than when He walked into a synangogue in Caperaum, let's let Him walk into our hearts today. So what if the devils show out for a moment! As long as Jesus shows up, HE WILL shut them down!
Forgetting is yet another consequence of our fallen nature as a result of sin. An unfortunate but common hardware failure that can impact some more than others. But the spirit of forgetfulness is a much deeper matter because it's not something occasional; but rather, a trend. This is a pattern of neglect that is not so much in the mind as it is in the heart because it's rooted in a lack of belief; a failure of faith in who God is. I'm not talking about not believing if He exists or if He is indeed the Most High. But believing in who He is in His character; even, in His heart.
If I don't believe in who God is in His character, how can I believe in what He says? If I don't believe in what He says in His Word to Israel, how can I believe in what He says to me individually? In short, not reading ultimately comes from not believing which leads to not needing.
I'm not sure what the weather is like where you are today, but let's pretend that today it is NOT raining and not even forecasted to rain. You don't see any clouds, the sky is clear, and the sunbeams are blasting. So if I were to come your way and ask you why you don't have an umbrella, you would probably simply reply, "because I don't need one." When the Word becomes an afterthought, it's because we don't believe we need it. It's not a matter of questioning it's existence or power, any more than not having an umbrella doesn't mean I don't believe in rain, storms, or the Weather Channel. But when God becomes an afterthought, it's a sign we have gotten to a place where we don't think that we need Him.
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary [food]. - Job 23:12 KJV
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. - Jeremiah 15:16 KJV
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: - 1 Peter 2:2 KJV
Please don't leave this thought just focusing on how much you do or don't read the Bible. You will leave either proud of how much you do or discouraged about how much you don't. What we really need is the LORD Himself to reveal to us is how much do we see our need for Him. If you know how much you need Him, you will always take time to read Him!
"Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill."
Yesterday Faith, Jai'el, and I went to the zoo. While recovering from the heat at the polar bear exhibit, birds dotted and walked all around us. They were so close, we thought we could touch them. But sure enough, right when my hand got about an inch away, they would bounce and dart into flight. Did God put that fear into the bird to protect it? In a post-sin world I would say so. Even with our good intentions, He knew that in our excitement we would probably injure or crush this incredibly fascinating, but fragile, creature.
The fragility of the bird is a product of the same physiology that allows it to be light enough and strong enough to fly. You could argue that its weakness is its greatest strength. The same can be seen in hope. It is as strong as it is fragile. Hope is not just a weak but holy "whatever." Hope is a voluntary disarmement of the power of self to invest in the One who is all power. Therefore, the Christian's hope is actually a gift of strength.
Joel 3:16 KJV
The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
1 Peter 1:3 KJV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Psalm 31:24 KJV — Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
Our Father in Heaven promises to be our hope AND our strength. That means He is able to be our willing and our doing! The scale of the power of this hope is equated to the power by which The Father raised His Son Jesus Christ from the dead! As we hope in God we will be strengthened, and even revived.
Family, choose God by choosing hope! In Him, through Christ, and on His word, we can do something better than holding a bird in our hands, and that's to fly like one in our hearts!
- Chris Bailey III
Even in an age of instant cake mix and cakes in a cup, how many of us want to celebrate life's milestones with a cake made in a microwave? Wedding cakes don't make you any more married, but they speak to the special place of the occasion. The more time and effort put into the cake, the more valuable it is to the wedding party. Could hope work (or wait) the same way?
Hoping usually means waiting...
Psalm 39:7 KJV — And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in Thee.
We cannot deny the wait element in the hope process. We usually associate hope as the power that keeps us moving. But more often than not, Scripture reveals hope as the power that also keeps us still.
Psalm 130:5 KJV — I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in His Word do I hope.
Being still is a learned behavior. Just ask any early elementary teacher or VBS volunteer. As such, it's a strength that is not just a matter of doing nothing, but is willing to wait and let the LORD God Almighty do the working, and for Him to do it in His own time. The clock of hope in the believer is not an aimless stopwatch, but more like a timer set to the movements of God's all-loving heart and all-powerful hand. So keep waiting!
Lamentations 3:26 KJV — It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Stop. Look around your office. Check on your desk. By your bed. What's on your fridge in the kitchen? Probably, a memo. I know we may not know it by that name. We usually call it by the now universal title - a Post-It Note. But call it what you will, what's written on it is more than a reminder, a good thought, or a recipe. On a much deeper level it is a measure of accountability.
It makes what is an idea, reality. Turning thoughts into action. That's why God, the One who is hope, and the One in whom His believers hope, wrote who He is on paper. Because what our Creator says is the extension of who He is. Therefore, what He says is impossible to not be done.
That's why His believers hope in His Word! This truth is taught repeatedly in the longest Psalm of all...
Psalm 119:49 KJV — ZAIN. Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope.
Psalm 119:81 KJV — CAPH. My soul fainteth for Thy salvation: but I hope in Thy word.
Psalm 119:114 KJV
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy word.
Psalm 119:116 KJV
Uphold me according unto Thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
It's one thing to believe in what our Heavenly Father can do (which is anything). But it's a whole different matter to believe in what He said He would do (which is exactly what He said). Read and stand on God's Word as evidence to a fact, and watch or be willing to wait for hope to turn into happening!
- Chris Bailey III
It's a foggy morning on the banks of the Ohio River today. But the sun has a clarity and definition that you couldn't possibly see if there were no clouds. Hope often works the same way. It's not just the visibility, but the reality, that is it's strength. It's where we place our hope that makes it false, or fierce. The Bible teaches us that the believer's hope is in God!
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD [there is] mercy, and with Him [is] plenteous redemption. (Psalm 130:7 KJV)
Notice how it specified "let Israel." We often talk about the burdens of the narrow way, but a blessing of being a believer, a true Israelite, is that we identify with God beyond an affiliation, all the way to a trust.
For in Thee, O LORD, do I hope: Thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. (Psalm 38:15 KJV)
Like a lantern holding a flame, we choose to let the Lord our God be the resting place for what we look for before we even find it. So...
Blessed [is] the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. (Jeremiah 17:7 KJV)
Do you see it? It's not just that we hope in the LORD, but the LORD IS our hope! Our anticipation, our our optimism, our it's gonna' be alright, is in God because He is the One who gives us hope in the first place!
- Chris Bailey III
God has something to say to us (more than we want to hear it)! That's why there is always a WORD!