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Lent Day 14: Everyone is On Their Knees

Mark 5 is an unbelievable account of belief! Multiple people ending up at the feet of Jesus. The first story involves a sick girl and a desperate father named Jarius. This fathers level of belief is overwhelming to me! He says, “(To Jesus) Please come and lay your hands on her so that she will get well and live.” (Mark 5:23).   By the time Jesus got around to going to heal this man’s daughter, Jairus’ friends came and said, ”Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher anymore? But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken said to Jairus, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” Just before Jesus honored the belief of Jairus and healed his daughter he did one other significant thing, he got belief out of the room. (v.40) He literally made sure everyone who didn’t believe that he could raise this girl from the dead get out of the room. Once the environment was right Jesus took the hand of the little girl and she got up!

Soon after Jairus corners Jesus and implores him to come and heal his daughter, Jesus finds himself in the midst of a large crowd. The bleeding woman or hemorrhaging woman, whatever we want to call her, had heard about Jesus. Her first thought was one of belief, “If I can just put my finger on his robe, I can get well.”(Mk5:28) So she makes her way in, and by in I mean she crawls to Jesus, and does that which she had believed for. Immediately Jesus felt something and noticed this woman on her knees. Even He was taken back by this kind of belief, and his statement to her is, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” (v.34).

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Lent Day 12: If/ Then

Remember the “if, then” clauses from elementary school. If you do x, then y will happen. I remember studying this in grammar class. I recall drawing lines from a list of “if” sentences to correspond with the “then” conclusion. Jesus must have picked up on this rule in his schooling. He tends to give the disciples and Pharisees a lot of “if, then” examples. Toward the end of John 5 Jesus is having quite a conversation with the Pharisees about their allegiance. His crescendo is v.40: “How can you believe when you seek glory from one another and do not seek glory from God?”

This is a great statement by Jesus, but I have a problem with it. Everything in me wants to be praised and recognized by others. I want to do something great and have people pat me on the back telling me how wonderful I am. I want the spotlight, I want my name in lights, I want people to desire to be like me. I guess that is why Jesus’ words in John 5 are so troubling to me. What Jesus tells us here is that seeking glory from others is the opposite of belief. If we truly believe the Gospel then we realize that we are loved no matter what. There is no need to seek glory because we have the ultimate love and approval from the only voice that truly matters.

Jesus’ hope for us is that we will choose belief over glory. He is familiar with the decision and he knows it is a hard one to make. When Satan came to him and told him to jump from the temple, he was asking Jesus to choose glory over belief. Satan was trying to convince Jesus that glory was the goal. Jesus knew it was an empty promise, I often forget.

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Lent Day 11: Why Are You So Afraid?

“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40) Those are two of my favorite questions that Jesus asks in the Gospels. Simple, to the point, not easily misinterpreted. Jesus first statement in verse 35, “Let’s go across to the other side”, sheds a little light on why he asks these two questions. Jesus flat out told his friends that they were going to the other side of the lake, yet a little later a big storm shows up! So big that the water from the waves is splashing into the boat and the fellas are freaking out. They grab the buckets and frantically attempt to get water out of the boat. They’re yelling commands that most of us wouldn’t understand, “Starboard, it’s hitting the panel, watch the hull” – Sea talk.   Meanwhile their friend Jesus is asleep in the front of the boat. Now this seems rather odd to me since they are in the middle of a huge storm, but these are the facts. So we’ve got the panic guys dishing out water with buckets, and I don’t know about you, but if it’s me that’s on the working end of the bucket, about every third bucket is going on the guy asleep. Who does he think he is!!! So one of the guys throws down his bucket, wakes up Jesus, grabs him by the robe and says, “There’s a storm out there, we’re drowning, don’t you care!”

I love this next part of the story. Jesus gets up, rubs the sleepy out of his eyes, looks his friend in the face, looks at the other guys, walks to the middle of the boat, holds out his hand and says, “Quiet, be still! And it does! The wind quits blowing, the waves cease and immediately it’s completely calm. Can’t you just picture it?   His friends are soaking wet, holding buckets, in absolute awe.

Although Jesus told these guys that they were going to the other side, when chaos hit they didn’t believe.   Moments after he told them, essentially, that he was going to take care of them, they were yelling, “DON’T YOU CARE!” In the midst of the storm and the fear they forgot Jesus first words to them, “Let’s go to the other side”, he had already promised that he will take them there.   He doesn’t promise that there will be no storms, he promises that they will make it through. But their panic and fear had short-circuited their brains. It blinded them to what they had witnessed in the very recent past. It kept them from remembering the miracles this very Lord who was in the boat with them had already performed. In their fear, they saw only the pain that could quickly follow.

Fear makes us react irrationally at times, it shuts down our brain and it blinds us to the possibilities in the boat, situation, crisis, whatever we have in front of us. How often in our storms and trials do we forget His promise to us? We get caught up in the craziness and stay there. We live in the moment of the storm, and yet He has promised that He will rescue us and take us to the other side.

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Lent begins tomorrow!

In case you are new to the blog, my name is Shawn Petree.  I work full-time helping men in the greater Seattle area grow in their relationship with Jesus through a ministry called www.teleios.org.   I love it!  Having been committed to this journey with Jesus personally for the past 20 years, I am passionate about helping men walk a similar path.  I do this through individual meetings and helping them get into groups with other men who have a similar desire.

I also love to hike, kayak, fly fish, watch the Longhorns play football, date my wife, hang with the guys, and play with our children.  I really enjoy traveling, reading, listening to inspiring speakers, and writing.

So on to Lent.  It begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday.  Ash Wednesday has been honored by Christians for well over ten centuries, falling at the beginning of Lent. In the earliest centuries, Christians who had been stuck in persistent sin had ashes sprinkled on their bodies as a sign of repentance, even as Job repented “in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). Around the tenth century, all believers began to signify their need for repentance by having ashes placed on their foreheads in the shape of a cross.

You don’t have to get ashes on your forehead in order to participate in Lent.  As mentioned in my last post, this Lenten season I am inviting you to consider one thing that you have unbelief about in your life.  Maybe it is a lie that you believe about yourself, or another person or God.  During Lent you will confess that you cannot change this unbelief on your own and will ask the Lord to replace your unbelief with the truth.

I hope you will take a moment to consider what area of your life you may have unbelief and decide to join us on this journey through Lent.