He Threw Down His Coat

29th September

Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. The come, follow Me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions….Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus..”

Mark 10:21b-22, 50

Why did Mark see it fit to include the portion of the story where Bartimaeus threw his coat aside before coming to Jesus? Is it relevant to his healing or to the power of this story? Well, if compared with the earlier story of the rich man, then absolutely. If we look again at the story of the rich man, asking what he should do to get eternal life, Jesus, having compassion on him, noticed an area of his life he was not willing to give up or to give to Jesus; the area of wealth. He was a very rich man, and Jesus saw that the love of wealth was the hinderance of their relationship. Quite simply, his wealth meant more to him than his relationship with Christ. Bartimaeus on the other hand, freely threw aside the only thing he had of value, his coat, when Jesus called him.

We too, have a choice. Do we give up what we hold valuable, and fall at the feet of Jesus, or do we allow it to become a roadblock in our relationship with Jesus? Notice Jesus’ words to the rich man, ‘go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN.’ God never asks us to give up something to make us poor or to suffer unnecessarily. He is our provider, protector and shepherd. Yet He does challenge the things in our lives that take His place. We are promised that if we give up our life for His sake and for the sake of the Good News, we will be saved (Mark 8:35 paraphrased). Whatever we give up on this earth, we will be rewarded with so much more in Heaven, here on this earth and most importantly, an uninterrupted and unhindered life and relationship with Jesus Christ. Will you throw your coat aside or cling on to your wealth?

What Do You Want From ME? Part 2

28th September

As Jesus was starting out on His way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to Him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”… “What do you want Me to do for you? Jesus asked.”

Mark 10:17, 51

Jesus always looks at our heart. In today’s key verses we see a clear contrast between Jesus’ attitude and man’s attitude. Yesterday we read about the story of blind Bartimaeus, who humbled himself before Jesus, cried out, disregarding the shame, and asked Jesus for mercy. Jesus, seeing his faith, was moved with compassion and stretched out His hand to heal him.

In today’s verse, we read of someone, who seemingly humbly comes before Jesus. In a complete contrast to the Bartimaeus story, instead of asking for mercy and grace from Jesus, he instead wants to earn or even pay his way into God’s Kingdom. He was obsessed with the ‘doing’, obeying God’s laws etc. Yet his issue was about his heart condition, and his love for money. He couldn’t give everything up for Jesus, and rather felt like he could earn a place in Heaven, by asking Jesus, what ‘he should do’ to get into Heaven.

Yet when mankind says, ‘what must I do’, Jesus, still has mercy on us and says, ‘my child, I have already done, WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?’. Jesus has already ‘done’ so we don’t have to. He flips the question on us, and says what can I do for you!!

What Do You Want From ME?

27th September

What do you want Me to do for you? Jesus asked.”

Mark 10:51

Bartimaeus was a blind beggar, rejected by society and left begging for food and money to survive. Yet there was one man who didn’t walk past him and leave him for dead: His name was Jesus. When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was in town, presumably He had heard of Jesus’ healing from people around him, knew that when Jesus passed near them, that was his chance for healing. So with a loud voice, he cried for mercy to the prophesied Messiah from the lineage of King David, despite others around him trying to shut him up.

Even though Bartimaeus may have annoyed the people around him with his loud cries for mercies, he caught Jesus’ attention. Jesus stopped what He was doing, went over to Bartimaeus and said, ‘what do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus was not stupid. He knew what Bartimaeus’ needs were, but Jesus wanted to show him, that He was the healer and hear from Bartimaeus’ mouth, his needs and problems.

Today, Jesus calls you too with this same question. Yes He already knows what we need, but He wants us to lean on Him completely for everything. Don’t let pride stop you from asking God for anything. Be like Bartimaeus who laid himself completely open, knowing that it was Jesus alone who could save!!

The Director Of Our Steps

26th September

The Lord directs our steps so why try to understand everything along the way……..So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What we will we drink? What we will wear?’…your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

Proverbs 20:24, Matthew 6:31, 32b

When things don’t always go as planned, having an attitude of trust in Jesus, leads us to peace in the midst and throughout the storm we may have to go through. If we know that God is directing our steps, has our today and tomorrow at the forefront of His thoughts, then we can be at peace knowing that we don’t have to have all the answers or solutions for everything life throws at us, or when things don’t go to plan.

Not worrying, is not laziness or not being pro-active, but rather actively trusting in God, therefore we don’t need to worry. Everyone has big decisions to make in life. Jesus’ list of examples were just some of the few things that can cause us to worry. But surely the list is longer right? Who will I marry? Where will I live? Will I get that promotion? And so on. Not worrying about these things is having a pro-active attitude that says, ‘God is in control, that’s why I don’t worry’.

The Lord is directing your steps. Actively trust Him, that although they may not always lead where you think is best, God does have our best at hand. Be at peace knowing we don’t have to try to fix everything, organise everything and have everything regimentally planned out; Trust Him, He is in control.

The Kingdom Above ALL

25th September

Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honour and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father… Of the greatness of His government and peace, THERE WILL BE NO END! ”

Philippians 2:9-11, Isaiah 9:7a (NIV)

When we think of great empires, we can look back at the history books and see all that they achieved and be in awe of all they accomplished. We may even perhaps be able to see the works and fruits these empires achieved to try to make the world a better place. Roads, Mathematics, Astrology and great architectural achievements for example. Yet their legacy is just that, in the history books, or rather limited to the history books. Their empires, their great kingdoms have come to an end, their leaders eventually defeated, and know only remembered through history books.

HOWEVER and that is a big however, there is one Kingdom, that has survived oppression, the execution of its leader, slavery, persecution and so much more, YET still lives on; That is the Kingdom of the resurrected, perfect, sinless, Lamb of God, Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ. His Kingdom will never end, will never be limited to history books, is alive and active today, and will continue to be forever. Whatever is done to try and stop it, it cannot be defeated. Jesus’ Name is the Name above all other names. He has no rival, no equal and nothing can stand in His way. His Kingdom, however, does not bring fear, dictatorship or bondage, but rather brings freedom, justice, love, mercy and grace and the best news is, you can be part of it.

Don’t you want to join the winning side!? His Kingdom is eternal, and we can be part of it!!

We Are Not Home Yet

22nd– 24th September

Weekend Edition

For we live by believing and not by seeing..”

2 Corinthians 5:7

We know that one day we will all come to an end in our physical bodies. Yet, for those who believe in Christ, have repented of their wrong doings and live with Christ in their hearts, it is not the end. The best is yet to come. One day we will have a new body and live in a new world, where there is no pain, suffering, sadness or tears. This is the promise of eternal life in Christ. If we look around us, however, we can so yearn for that better place and body now.

Many can look around at the world in its present state, wars and rumours of wars, terrorist attacks and so on, and soon become discouraged, believing that there is not more to life than what we see in the physical. Yet, just as Paul encouraged the Corinthian church with today’s key verse, so we too must take encouragement from these words. We, as believers, do not live by what we can see in the natural and our faith is not built on this temporary world. We believe not by seeing, but by having faith in God’s promises and His eternal hope, revealed to us by His Holy Spirit, in-spite of what is happening around us in the physical.

We are not home yet. That day will come, but until then, keep living for Him, praying in His Kingdom and devoting yourself to Him daily.

The Greatest Dreamer

21st September

…Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding the shame. Now He is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.”

Hebrews 12:2b

Our great God was also a dreamer. He dreamt of a world, a people who can freely have a relationship with Him. Not through twisted and forced behaviour. Not through ‘communist’ style leadership. But because people wanted too. Yet there was one hurdle to this dream. SIN. So God took on human flesh Himself, became like one of us, lived a perfect life, then sacrificed Himself for us to make the ‘sin’ problem no longer a hinderance for us humans to have a relationship with Him.

The exciting news is that you are part of God’s dream. He wants to have a relationship with you and paid a great price to get there. Yet, throughout all the pain and suffering, before this dream came to fruition, Jesus had to suffer, be beaten and endure a gruesome death. But, as the writer of Hebrews tells us, it was His joy. The end point was salvation for all. Sometimes we too, have to go through tough times to wait until our dreams our realised, but what joy awaits us. Endure the hard times. There is in end. Joy is coming. God is in control.