“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.”And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd.And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them.And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. —Mark 8:2-8
Have you ever had little, then it multiplied to feed thousands and then you had more left over than what you had when you first begun? This is what our Lord does. He can take the little, multiply it to accomplish His desire and then have more left over at the end than was had at the beginning. When that happens there is no doubt that our Lord did it!
Have you seen the Lord take a little of something in your life, multiply it in such a way that there was more of that something than when you first begun? That is an area where you need to focus on. Whatever it is that our Lord is blessing in your life is the area where He wants you to go in. He wants to multiply you in that area. So what is it?
There are some things from God’s Word that are basic for all those who follow Jesus. First, He said that He would make us fishers of men (Matthew 4:19; Acts 1:8). How have the opportunities multiplied in your life to fish for men? Second, He said that we would be teaching others what we have been taught— discipleship (Matthew 28:18-20). This is the bread He wants to multiply in and through our lives (Matthew 4:4; John 6:35). Is this happening in your life?
And he said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ —Mark 7:6-7
What is vain worship? It is when we honor our Lord with lips alone. It is having a heart that is far from Him. It is the teaching of men’s ideas and not the Word of God. This is hypocritical.
So, I ask myself— Am I worshipping my Lord Jesus in vain? Am I honoring Him just with my lips? Is my heart far from Him? Am I teaching man’s ideas or God’s Word? Am I being a hypocrite?
Oh my Father, may I be worshipping You “in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). May my thoughts, words and deeds agree in honoring You. May I teach Your Word and not my own ideas. Oh, may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrxW5FX_0pg
And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. —Numbers 15:39
So too we are to remember the Word of our Lord and obey. The person who does so shows they truly love Him (John 14:21). We are “not to follow after our own heart”—
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” —Jeremiah 17:7-10
Yes, we are to trust the Word of our Lord, lovingly obey Him and not our eyes, not our flesh and not our pride.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. —I John 2:15-17
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever c you want.” —Galatians 5:16-17
Oh, that we would “keep in step with the Spirit” and “not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Yes, moment by moment may we seek to yield to God’s Holy Spirit and not to our own desires.
“Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.” —Numbers 11:23
Is the Lord’s hand too short to reach your situation? He provided in a night enough quail for all the Israelites to each for one month, surely He can take care of your situation. Trust what He has to say. Be what He desires you to be and do what He desires you to do. He can be fully trusted… all the time! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsQmsEE_2-s&list=UUf1NPIFOBwzTLVQiEDnq4Cw&index=8
Dear Father please help me to trust what You have to say and be and do what You desire. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus.
Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. —Mark 5:19-20
Legion was so grateful to Jesus for releasing him from the demons that possessed him that he wanted to go with Jesus and be with Him. Jesus did not permit him to do so, but instead told him to bear witness to his friends at home. He was to tell them what the Lord had done for him and how the Lord had mercy on him.
How about us? Have we told our hometown friends of what our Lord has done for us? Have we told them the mercy He has shown us? This was where our Lord told the man that ministry began for him. It was not going off somewhere with Jesus. No, instead it was bearing witness right where he was with those he knew. Have we done so?
This man did not stop at telling his friends at home though. We are told that he “began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.” Decapolis means “10 cities” and was in an area east of the Jordon River. So the area of this man’s witness was extensive. He witnessed to many people. He was drawn to do so because of that great mercy he was shown by our Lord!
How about us? To what extent would our Lord have us be a witness? To what areas would He have us go to tell others about the mercy He has shown to us? Do you and I have a desire to be a witness for Jesus wherever He would have us go in obedience to Him? (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). Oh, may we be like this man who understood what great things our Lord did for Him and then wanted to tell others so they too could experience the freedom in Jesus that he now had!
MORE RESPONSIBILITY IS GIVEN TO THOSE FAITHFUL IN THE LITTLE
If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” —Mark 4:23-25
Are we being careful to pay attention to God’s Word? Jesus said, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them” (Matthew 13:11-12). We are responsible with the knowledge that our Lord has revealed to us. The way that we apply that knowledge will determine if we will be given more.
Ever wonder why those who claim to be followers of Jesus never seem to mature? It just may be this principle Jesus gave us— “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much: (Luke 16:10). If you or I cannot be faithful with the little that He has given to us, whether it is knowledge or anything else He stewards us with, then why would He give us more responsibility?
Think about this principle as it applies to so many things. If I am just learning a vocation of any kind— baker, mechanic, carpenter, nursing, accounting etc — chance are if I am not faithful in the basics, then I will not be faithful in the larger things. If I am not faithful with the small responsibilities I surely will not be given larger responsibilities. If I am not faithful in service to King Jesus with the little He has given me, why would He give me more? He won’t!
I think many times we want to accomplish great things for the Lord (and that is wonderful as He leads), but we may not be presently responsible with the little things He has given us to do right now. If that is the case He will not give us greater things. This is clear from His Word. “He who has ears, let him hear!” Be faithful with what He has given to you now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLX83HbefrI&list=UUf1NPIFOBwzTLVQiEDnq4Cw&index=13
Dear Father please help me to be faithful in the little things in the race You have marked out for me. May You be pleased then to give me greater responsibility to bring honor and glory to Your Name. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians. I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk in uprightness. —Leviticus 26:13
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. —Philippians 2:12-13
We must understand that all we are and all we do is by God’s grace! (I Corinthians 15:10). Anything that has eternal righteous value in us or through us is because God does it. We could not come to Jesus for salvation unless He drew us and enlightened us (John 6:44; II Corinthians 4:6) and we cannot accomplish any righteousness unless He enables us and “works in (us) to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” And yet “Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him” (John 14:21). We still have the responsibility to obey and continue in Him (John 15). Surely, “apart from me you can do nothing” as Jesus has said. It is a marvel how God has woven His sovereignty together with our responsibility. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvN897T0zVc
Dear Father I am so grateful for how You are working in my life. Oh, that I would be faithful with the responsibility You have given to me. May I use the gifts and abilities You have given me to bring honor and glory to Your Name. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.
FAITHFULLY FOLLOW HIM WHEREVER HE DESIRES US TO GO
Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray. Simon and his companions went to look for Him, and when they found Him, they said, “Everyone is looking for You!” But Jesus answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns so I can preach there as well, for that is why I have come.” —Mark 1:35-38
Jesus’ disciples came looking for Him in the early morning. He had gone by Himself to pray. When they found Him and told Him that “Everyone is looking for You!” He said, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns so I can preach there as well, for that is why I have come.” Jesus came to preach all over the region, not in just one area.
Let us not limit sharing God’s Word to one area. Instead, let us share the gospel wherever we go. There also may be an area we have not thought of where our Lord wants us to proclaim His Word. Is He putting one on your heart? Will you be obedient to go? It may be a neighbor. It may be a co-worker. It may be a fellow student. It may be a stranger. It may be in a nursing home. It may be in a hospital. It may be in another state or country. Where does He want you to proclaim His Word today?
Jesus said He had come to preach in various locations and we should be open to that as well. It is comfortable to stay in our known circle of life that we move around in day after day. I am sure our Lord would have us break out of that so we might have contact with new people who desperately need to hear the gospel. Oh, that we would be sensitive and obedient to how our Lord wants to lead us today. May it be so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8Sx_U0Ztr8
Dear Father may I go wherever You desire me to go to preach Your Word. May I do so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”And immediately they left their nets and followed him.And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets.And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. —Mark 1:16-20
Are you following Jesus? Then He will make you a fisher of men. This is what Jesus said He would do. So, if I say I am following Jesus, but I am not fishing for men then am I really following Jesus or just saying words? True, He said He would MAKE us a fisher of men. It is a process. We are not automatically fishers of men. There is a process of being made a fisher of men. Am I in the process of being made a fisher of men?
Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.
Week after week, month after month, and year after year these who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. year after year they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.
Continually they searched for new and better methods of fishing and for new and better definitions of fishing. Further they said, “The fishing industry exists by fishing as fire exists by burning.” They loved slogans such as “Fishing is the task of every fisherman,” and “Every fisherman is a fisher,” and “A fisherman’s outpost for every fisherman’s club.” They sponsored special meetings called “Fishermen’s Campaigns” and “The Month for Fishermen to Fish.” They sponsored costly nationwide and worldwide congresses to discuss fishing to promote fishing and hear about all the ways of fishing such as the new fishing equipment, fish calls, and whether any new bait was discovered.
These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings called “Fishing Headquarters.” The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish. One thing they didn’t do, however – they didn’t fish. In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. All the fishermen seemed to agree that what is needed is a board which could challenge fishermen to be faithful in fishing. The board was formed by those who had the great vision and courage to speak about fishing, to define fishing, and to promote the idea of fishing in faraway streams and lakes where many other fish of different colors lived.
Also the board hired staffs and appointed committees and held many meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, and to decide what new streams should be thought about. But the staff and committee members did not fish.
Large, elaborate, and expensive training centers were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years courses were offered on the needs of fish, the nature of fish, where to find fish, the psychological reactions of fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in fishology. But the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing. Year after year, after tedious training, many were graduated and given fishing licenses. They were sent to do full-time fishing, some to distant waters that were filled with fish.
Some spent much study and travel to learn the history of fishing and to see faraway places where the founding fathers did great fishing in the centuries past. They lauded the faithful fishermen of years before who handed down the idea of fishing.
Further the fishermen built large printing houses to publish fishing guides. Presses were kept busy day and night to produce materials solely devoted to fishing methods, equipment, and programs to arrange and to encourage meetings to talk about fishing. A speakers’ bureau was also provided to schedule special speakers on the subject of fishing.
Many who felt the call to be fishermen responded. They were commissioned and sent to fish. But like fishermen back home they never fished. Like the fishermen back home they engaged in all kinds of other occupations. They built power plants to pump water for fish and tractors to plow new waterways. They made all kinds of equipment to travel here and there to look at fish hatcheries. Some also said they wanted to be part of the fishing party, but they felt called to furnish fishing equipment. Others felt their job was to relate to the fish in a good way so the fish would know the difference between good and bad fishermen. Others felt that simply letting the fish know they were nice, land-loving neighbors and how loving and kind they were was enough.
After one stirring meeting on “The Necessity for Fishing,” one young fellow left the meeting and went fishing. The next day he reported he had caught two outstanding fish. He was honored for his excellent catch and scheduled to visit all the big meetings possible to tell how he did it. So he quit his fishing in order to have time to tell about the experience to the other fishermen. He was also placed on the Fishermen’s General Board as a person having considerable experience.
Now it’s true that many of the fishermen sacrificed and put up with all kinds of difficulties. Some lived near the water and bore the smell of dead fish every day. They received the ridicule of some who made fun of their fishermen’s clubs and the fact that they claimed to be fishermen yet never fished. They wondered about those who felt it was of little use to attend the weekly meetings to talk about fishing. After all, were they not following the Master who said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men?”
Imagine how hurt some were when one day a person suggested that those who didn’t catch fish were really not fishermen, no matter how much they claimed to be. Yet it did sound correct. Is a person a fisherman if, year after year, he never catches a fish?
So, when was the last time you or I fished for men? Oh, that we may be doing so and by doing so prove that we truly are following Jesus. “Stop being afraid. From now on you will be catching people” (Luke 5:10).
Dear Father, please help me to fish for men regularly in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. May it be so!
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciplesof all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” —Matthew 28:18-20
So… how are you and I involved in what Jesus has given us to do? Here’s what He said to those who follow Him—
All authority is Jesus’ in heaven and earth
We are to intentionally be making disciples
We are to be impacting all nations
We are to baptize new disciples
We are to teach new disciples to obey what we have been commanded
We have Jesus with us to the very end of the age
Again, I ask, how are we doing with what Jesus commanded His followers? Praise God if we are being faithful to what He has commanded us, but if we are not being obedient to Him, Why? Oh, that would be faithfully obedient to His desires! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yBzIt_z8oY
Dear Father may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus!