Take Notice ..Be Grateful ;)

But the disciples had forgotten to bring any food. They had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat.
Mark 8:14 (NLT)

Earlier in this same chapter (also see Compassion post), Jesus fed 4000 with 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish that He blessed.

Later, Pharisees come …testing and pushing Him to do a miracle. Jesus and the disciples get in the boat to leave.

Then the disciples are hungry because they forgot bread. So they are arguing and complaining and Jesus starts to remind them (basically) of the things they should be thinking on…not arguing about bread.

Jesus says: “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? 18‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’a Don’t you remember anything at all? 19When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?”

“Twelve,” they said.

20“And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”

“Seven,” they said.

21“Don’t you understand yet?” he asked them.

How many times do we look at our lives, and complain about the bread instead of noticing … maybe the sunset …or the people around us… or any of the things that have shown God’s real and living hand amongst us. God is alive and well! How many people are living in a world where they have no understanding of that…let alone any direct fellowship with Him!

Compassion. Pure and Unadulterated.

“I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will faint along the way. For some of them have come a long distance.” Mark 8:2-3 (NLT)

All the other translation use the word ‘compassion’ where the NLT uses ‘sorry’.
Jesus is feeling compassion for these people.

This is just before Jesus feeds the 4000 people He is speaking of, with seven loaves and a few fish.

Compassion.
True compassion.

Not fake compassion .. ever come across that?
a few different forms of that.

But true compassion … pure, innocent, un-trapped. No manipulation or control. No … other motives. No false humility.

Just pure, unadulterated compassion. Love.

When we see it, it is unmistakeable.

Heidi Baker comes to mind. 🙂

Hearing and Receiving is NOT Good Enough!

The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. Mark 4:16 (NLT)

Doesn’t that sound great! A soil that 1. Hears the Message … and 2. Receives it with Joy!
But no. This is rocky soil.

Continuing… verse 17:
But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.

So… just because you hear the message and Receive it with joy…that is not good enough!
You need to be able to have deep roots, or the shallowness of the soil of your heart…isn’t going to bear much fruit. The things you received, are going to fall away as soon as you have problems or face any sort of maltreatment or oppression or even teasing! (see this link at Thesaurus.com for more forms of ‘persecution’.)

Imagine… teasing… if the beliefs in your heart are so shallow that teasing could remove them..and remove the roots. So you have to go back and start all over again. Basically…no foundation, whatsoever is left behind.

Yipes!

May you dig deep into the soil of your heart, and me too, that we would be able to bear deep rich roots and fruit, in the midst of intense oppression.

It reminds me of how different trees have really shallow roots or deep deep roots. And how that affects them.

However, the Redwood Tree… though they are so huge … their roots are very shallow. But the redwood roots are intertwined with other redwoods, which is how they can stand through storms and so on!

Amazing. A reminder how good fellowship can support and strengthen growth. Wow.

Eternal Life: Hate is No Option.

14If we love our Christian brothers and sisters,d it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15Anyone who hates another brother or sistere is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. 1 John 3:14-15 (NLT)

So .. love within a person (especially towards fellow Christians) is the measure of whether a person has moved from the automatic death that comes from original sin, into life …eternal life.

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:20 (NLT)

“Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin. Leviticus 19:17 (NLT)

Rather than to hate someone, and dwell in a place of being upset or intensely angry with a person, confront him or her directly (obviously in love, and with a desire for truth and peace). This comes up a couple of times in the Bible. Another is:
Matthew 18:15
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. (NIV)
OR
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. (NLT)

Jesus says that rather than be angry (and thus be under judgement .. specifically “you may be in danger of the fires of hell”) go and reconcile yourself (quickly) with the person ..even if it is them who have a problem with you. Matthew 5:22-25 (Sermon on the Mount post)

8
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”a
you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2:8-10 (NIV)

Let us not walk on the edge.. let us keep all our ways in alignment with Christ. Thank God for grace! However, where your heart is, is most important. And if there is a desire not to sin, then you can walk in alignment all the more. God sees the heart. Check your heart. Are you really wanting to love God, and love His children. And also, love your enemies?

Let us do as Christ said: the two most important things are to Love God. And to Love your neighbor as yourself. (Be Strong and Courageous! post where I quote this from Matthew 22:36-40).

Finally, in Jesus’ words:
46If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47If you are kind only to your friends,t how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:46-48)