Bringing Salty Back

Scripture

Mark 9:49-50

49 “For everyone will be tested with fire.  50 Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.”

Observation / Application

Much like today, people in Jesus’ time used salt to purify things and to preserve foods. Also, like today, when purifying metals they would use fire to bring out the impurities and preserve silver or gold without impurities.

The process of making something salty was a good thing, it still is. The process of purifying metals was a good thing. it still is. What Jesus was saying in verses 49 and 50 is that; as fiery trials come at us, they will test us and in essence become more pure through the process as we walk with Jesus. And that as we are purified and preserved by ‘salt’ we will be something that bring life and hope in a world that isn’t so ‘salty’.

I need to continually allow the One who can purify us and make us ‘salty’ do His work I may be an example of Christ in this world

Prayer

Jesus, help me to be dependent on you when trials arise. Give me strength to choose you and your strength and not my own understanding. As life hits me, help me to respond in humility and patience because through those tough times you purify and preserve us. Thank you Lord for your grace and wisdom. Amen.

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Something New

Scripture

Mark 2:21-22 NLT

21 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”

Observation / Application

Jesus is using an analogy here that would have been familiar to the people. New wine must be placed in a new wineskin, flexible so that they can expand as the wine ferments. What Jesus is saying is that there is something new happening and they must make room for that, putting aside the old ways (without throwing out the old system). He was asking the people to be flexible, that as this ‘new wine’ begins to take precedence the people need ‘new wineskins’ to carry this wine.

There is something new happening in our lives! Will we be flexible to allow that newness to ‘ferment’ in us and in do time celebrate? God is always trying to renew our faith. These people were encumbered by religion and ritual, not really knowing the joy and celebration of God being with them. Let’s be flexible and joyous over our journey with Jesus, let’s see where He’ll take us and celebrate the new.

Prayer

Jesus, thank you for the adventure you take us on! Help me to always be humble enough to be flexible in recognizing new things that You do in me and through me and in Your church. Help me to look ahead that as new things come our way, sometimes we don’t know the outcome, but it’s evident that with new wine, at some point there will be a new celebration. Help me to always walk with joy and hope, because of what You’ve done and what You’re doing. Amen.

Keep Believing for the Impossible

Scripture

Philippians 4:12-13

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Observation / Application

I wish that this were a constant and consistent attitude in me. It’s not. Paul, writing with joy to the church at Philippi thanks them for giving to him generously. He also encourages them that ‘everything’ is possible through Christ and what Paul or anyone else can not provide or produce, God can.

I need to make this my prayer ‘for I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.’ I think that many of us can relate with Paul. We don’t always have the resources we need, or the strength we need to continue, or the courage to move forward, but through Christ, we can do anything because our strength comes from Him. We can believe for the impossible in our lives!

Prayer

Jesus, help me to rely on You always! Help me to see You and stop focusing on my puny efforts causing me to worry and loose the courage and faith You provide. Give me the courage to keep believing for the impossible as we partner with You. Amen.

It’s Not What You Know, It’s WHO You Know

Scripture

Philippians 3:7-9

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

Observation

Paul, writing from prison for his faith in Christ, encourages the church at Philippi. He argues that regardless of his past merits in religion (giving a list in verses 5-6), that is all garbage [in a different version dog-dung] compared to ‘knowing Christ’. To know Jesus is far greater than to know about Him. Paul was an expert in the Old Testament, he had vast knowledge, but didn’t ‘know’ the King, the Creator. He says, that we become righteous through faith in Christ, what makes us right with Him depends on our faith in Him, not our accomplishments or knowledge.

Application

I often beat myself up as a pastor, because I want to know more about the Bible and have a deeper theological understanding. This kind of thinking somehow makes me believe that if I knew more or did more I’d be closer to Jesus. That’s wrong! All throughout the Old Testament God shows the Israelites how they are getting it wrong – that faith in Him is the key to righteousness and true freedom. I can’t rely on me. I must trust in Him, spend time with Him in the Word and in Prayer. It might be confusing, but knowing more about Christ through reading the Bible is not the same as knowing Christ better. The difference is in our submission to Him; to His Word and to the Spirit as He guides us throughout the day.

Prayer

Lord, help me to always walk with the confidence that I am loved by the Father because of my faith and not the experience I’ve accumulated in ministry or anything else that might make me look more ‘spiritual’. It doesn’t matter! What matters is KNOWING You, my King and Savior and spending time with You, allowing You to transform me and change my life. Thank You Jesus for the Relentless Grace You give us. Amen.