Lenten Devotion Day 20

“And He Was Standing on the Water!!”

Jesus Walks on Water

Some lessons have to be repeated for us to get the message. This story is an example. In an earlier devotion, I wrote about Jesus healing the blind man. Then yesterday, it was the story of the withered fig tree. Today, Jesus walks on water. How many miracles must Jesus perform for us before we accept His ability, His willingness to do anything for us?

Of course, we’re not the only ones to have doubts. The disciples, men that traveled everywhere with Jesus, who saw all the incredible things Jesus did, still had problems recognizing His ability. The strangest part of this story is the event that occurs right before Jesus walks on water.

Just before this incident, Jesus feeds the multitudes with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. He not only fed all those people but had enough left over to fill 12 baskets! Now, wouldn’t you think anyone witnessing this incredible event wouldn’t be surprised by ANYTHING Jesus did? And yet the verse tells us the disciples were “utterly astounded.” REALLY? Gee, guys, what did it take to finally convince you that Jesus is the real deal? Oh, yea, resurrection!

We’re even worse. Sure, the disciples witnessed Jesus miracles but we not only are able to read about all of them, we have the advantage of knowing how the story ends, or begins again. We know what happened on Easter. Yet, we still doubt Jesus ability, or willingness to help us when we need it most.

Take time today to read Mark 6. Go over all the miracles Jesus performs in this chapter. Then ask yourself, “What can’t or won’t Jesus do for me?” After all, He already did the hardest thing He could ever do when He went to the Cross.

Discussion Questions

1. What problems are you holding on to rather than turning them over to Jesus?

2. What prevents you from surrendering them to Him?

3. How can you get yourself to let go of them?

4. How can you help your family let go of their problems?

5. What verse or story can help you and your family strengthen your faith?

Lenten Devotion Day 19

Full Strength Faith

Withered Fig Tree

In the previous devotion, I talked about the story of Blind Bart. This blind beggar is healed, not by Jesus but by his own faith in Jesus ability. In the devotion, I discussed our lack of faith in our own lives. Consider what Jesus could do for us if only we believed!

Today’s lesson takes faith a step farther. In the story, Jesus tries to get fruit from a fig tree. When He sees the tree is not producing fruit, He curses the tree which immediately withers and dies. The disciples are stunned as they watch the tree wither and die right before their eyes. “How did You do that?!” Jesus is quick to explain that any of them is able to do the same thing, if only they have faith enough in their ability.

Think about it for a moment. All the miracles Jesus performed may be done by any of us if only we have faith enough. Jesus was able to perform all those miracles, not because He is God but because He had faith in the presence of God within Him and faith that He could do anything.

What an incredible idea it is! You can do anything if only you have faith. Scripture tells us: “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” There aren’t any exceptions to this rule. I am overwhelmed when I consider all I could accomplish if I only had faith enough in Christ and in myself.

This story is the perfect opportunity for your family to discuss what each of them might attempt if they knew they could accomplish it. “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” No exceptions. Dream Big!

Discussion Questions

1. In the past, what have you been afraid to try because you thought you would fail?

2. What are you afraid to try right now?

3. How can you overcome your fear?

4. How can you strengthen your faith?

5. How can you help your children have faith enough to try what they fear?

Lenten Devotion Day 18

I Can See!

Blind Bart

Can you see? I know there are many times when I can’t see. No, let me correct that. There are many times when I refuse to see. Jesus does so much for each of us yet we fail to see what He has done. Even worse, we know all the things He has done yet we still doubt that He may help us this time.

Blind Bartimaeus had never seen any of the miracles that Jesus performed. He had probably heard people talking about Jesus and all the things He was doing but Bart didn’t see any of these things himself. Yet, when Bart heard Jesus going by, he called out to Him, asking to be healed.

People around Bart tried to get him to be quiet. He was a beggar, sitting on a cloak in his rags. People like this were not to speak up and bother someone like Jesus. Bart didn’t care. All he cared about was having a chance for Jesus to heal him. Bart ignored those trying to shush him and kept calling out to Jesus. His persistence paid off. Jesus called Bart to come over. When Jesus asked Bart what he wanted, the blind man simply said he wanted to see again. Jesus told Bart that his faith made him well. Just like so many others, it was faith that Jesus could heal them, not Jesus, that brought about the miracle.

How strong is your faith? Do you believe Jesus can “heal” whatever ails you? Perhaps you think your problem isn’t important enough for Him. Maybe you think YOU aren’t important enough for Him to bother with you. Bart was a dirty beggar. Bart had no status in society. Yet, Bart didn’t care about any of this. He only knew he wanted to see and he believed Jesus was able to heal him. And he was RIGHT!

We are able to read all the miracles Jesus performed. Even more, we know what happened on Easter. How can any of us not have faith enough for our problems to be healed by Jesus? Time to open our eyes and see!

Discussion Questions

1. Do you believe Jesus is able to heal any problems you have in your life?

2. Do you believe you are important enough for Jesus to help you?

3. How can you strengthen your faith so you can believe?

4. What does it take for you to open your eyes and see?

Lenten Devotion Day 17

Family First

Peter’s Mother-in-law

It can be tough getting and keeping priorities straight. Some days, work gets in the way of family matters and other days, work has to take a back seat. I think, though, we can all agree on the importance of family.

Jesus called men in the community to follow Him in ministry. These men gave up their careers, left their families and spent 3 years traveling with Jesus. Much of their work kept them in their own community so I’m certain they saw their families on a regular basis but still, they made Jesus and His ministry their priority. Yet, in this brief account, Jesus shows that family is always important.

It’s hard to focus on the work at hand when you’re worried about the health of a loved one. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever, a very serious thing in those days since any number of things could cause a fever and many of them were difficult if not impossible to diagnose and treat.

The disciples spoke to Jesus, telling Him about the crisis in Simon’s family. Jesus immediately went to Simon’s house and healed his mother-in-law. Not just healed her but made her completely well so she was able to immediately get up and serve them.

I remember a time when I was very young. I suffered from severe asthma. Serious attacks often came in the middle of the night when I would be moved to the recliner in the living room, my parents keeping watch in case things got worse.

One night, I had a very serious attack. I still remember crying for my grandmother. No one else could help me so, in the middle of the night, my parents called and my grandmother came in a taxi to take care of me. Having her there helped calm me and soon my asthma settled down. My parents would have done ANYTHING to help me that night and on other long nights.

Simon would have done ANYTHING to help his mother-in-law, to ease the concern of his family. Jesus was able to offer the help he needed. These days, we must remember our priorities when illness strikes our family. We must take the steps necessary to give aid and comfort to those in need. Finally, we must call on Jesus to take them by the hand and lift them up. A wonderful prescription then AND now.

Discussion Questions

1. Do you sometimes struggle to get priorities straight when family members become ill?

2. How do you handle the illness of a child when your job doesn’t allow you time to care for them?

3. What steps do you take when family members become ill?

4. Talk to your children about their responsibilities when members of your extended family become ill?

5. Do you always offer up prayer when a member of your family is ill?

Lenten Study Day 16

Sit Down and Be Quiet!

Calm the Storm

It’s easy to read this verse and question the faithfulness of the disciples. After all, in the verses just before this event, Jesus had performed many miracles, including healings. The disciples had seen incredible things. Yet, they still had doubts about Jesus’ ability and His concern for them.

Then I think about myself. How many times has the Lord taken care of me? How many times has He come through when I thought there was absolutely no hope? Still, the next time a storm arises in my life, I become frightened and cry out for help. Yep, me of little faith!

Of course, this was a really wicked storm. It’s not like the disciples were inexperienced on the water. Some of them were fishermen, spent most of their lives in boats on the water. Storms with strong winds would spring up all the time in this region so they men weren’t unfamiliar with these conditions.

I think what frightened them was Jesus’ lack of concern for their plight. The boat was taking on water. The wind was blowing their boat out of control. And through it all, Jesus slept. Rather than taking comfort in His calm, the disciples misread it as indifference. They believed He could do something about the storm but He just kept on sleeping. Come on, Lord, let’s get with it before it’s too late!

How many times have you felt this way? A friend of mine refers to these moments as “just in time miracles.” While I would never criticize Jesus for His timing, my nerves sure could use a break occasionally. This “last minute” business can be trying. How swamped do I have to get? How many times must I be blown over? How soaked must I be before He calms the storms in my life?

My mother always told me I must learn to be more patient. Perhaps this is all Jesus is trying to teach me. All things in HIS time, not mine. Yet I must never doubt that His time will come and, as always, it will be perfect. Until then, I can tread water.

Discussion Questions

1. What are the storms in your life?

2. How do you respond when a crisis arises?

3. How does your family respond?

4. Do you have a lack of patience? Does it apply just to the Lord or are you impatient with people too?

5. What can you do to increase your patience?

6. How can you have more faith that the Lord is going to handle the situation?

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