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Passing

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Read: Mark 6:48-50 Reflect: I love the irony in this story. Jesus sees the disciples ‘straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.’ This apparently went on all night, so Jesus decides to cross the lake rather than walk around it. He gained on them so quickly that ‘He was about to pass by them,’ before the disciples went into a panic. Jesus was walking faster on water than a team of disciples could row across the same water. He could have crossed the lake walking in less time than the disciples could do it rowing, but He decides to get in the boat because they were terrified. Jesus didn’t get in the boat to help them accomplish their goal quicker. He didn’t get in the boat to help them row. He got in the boat to calm their fears first. Jesus could have done everything on His own, but He chooses to take the time to comfort His disciples.  If it feels like you’re struggling against the wind, or if you are feeling terrified for whatever reason, please take comfort in the knowl

Rest

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Read: Mark 6:30-31 Reflect: Life can get very busy very fast. At times I’ve been so busy that I forgot to eat, then I struggle to work out why I’m so hungry! The disciples experienced this too. They were so busy doing God’s work and ministering to the people that they didn’t even have their lunch. I’m sure this wasn’t the only time it happened. Fortunately Jesus knows their needs better than they do themselves. So He calls them to Himself and tells them to take a break in a quiet place. I love that Jesus isn’t all about the results and changing the world. This passage reminds me that He is also very relational, caring and wants what is best for us. We are more than mere tools in God’s hands to be used to build His kingdom. We are His children. We are His friends. We are loved by Him. So why not take a moment or two to sit and rest with Jesus alone. Doing this will never be time wasted. Respond: Lord Jesus, thank you that I am more than just useful in your kingdom. Thank you that you lo

Practise

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Read: Mark 6:7 Reflect: While studying Biology at university I was in a group doing frog dissections one afternoon. I wanted to become a doctor at the time, so I imagined myself doing surgery on this frog’s leg. It all went really well and the two of us got an A+ for our dissection practical. It may sound silly (and gross…), but it really helped me grasp the theoretical knowledge of the nervous system and how neurons work. There are some things that can only be learned by doing; by experience. Theoretical knowledge is good, but it can only take one so far. It is the practical application of that knowledge that brings forth the fruit in the end. I like to think Jesus sent out His disciples two by two for this very reason. It’s one thing to know and remember every word from Christ’s lips, but it’s something completely different to put those beautiful, challenging words into practise. The same applies to us today. It is an altogether good thing to know and memorise God’s Word, but the rea

Familiarity

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Read: Mark 6:4-6 Reflect: I was asked to do the reading at an American friend’s wedding a couple of years ago. It was from Song Of Solomon and I did my utter best not to mess it up. During the reception some of the guests came up to me to say how lovely the reading was. I realised that people noticed my non-American accent. I couldn’t help but wonder if the reading would have had the same response from the locals if it was read with an American accent. Somehow we value things more if they seem exotic or uncommon. Even Jesus experienced this in His hometown. ‘Isn’t this the carpenter? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ (v. 3). And the result is that Jesus couldn’t do any miracles there (v.5). When we’ve been following Jesus for a long time it can easily happen that we become so familiar with Him that we lose interest. That the truth He speaks to us becomes so familiar our ears we switch off and we miss it. That the still small voice of the Spirit gets drowned out by our limited perceptio

Touch

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Read: Mark 5:30-34 Reflect: It really seems like Jesus was a superstar in His time on earth. Crowds of people following Him around, everyone wanting to touch Him, maybe even to be healed by Him. Like the woman who touched His robe and was healed. But what is the difference between her and the rest of the crowd that touched Jesus? I think the simple answer is faith. There was not a doubt in her mind that touching Jesus’ robe would heal her. Maybe she thought that she wouldn’t need to trouble Jesus if she can just touch His robe. But of course Jesus notices and attributes the miracle to her faith (v. 34). May we too have that kind of faith. Respond: Lord Jesus, thank you that you know me and care for me. Thank you for inviting me to experience more of you than just the hem of your robe. Give me the faith to approach you openly and to put my trust in you. Amen. Remind: “True faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to His Promises.” ~Francis Chan~ Ph

Explain

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Read: Mark 4:34 Reflect: Many people think that God’s word (the Bible) is inaccessible. Lots of it doesn’t make sense. Some of it even seems to contradict other parts of it. I’m sure the disciples felt like this after some of the teachings Jesus gave. But they had the inside scoop. They were able to retreat, be alone with Jesus and listen to Him explain the parables He told and what it meant for them in terms of application. We are fortunate enough to be privy to some of those conversations and explanations, but not all. However, we still have the opportunity to sit at Jesus’ side and have Him explain His teachings and how it applies to us today. Jesus promises in John 15:26 that He will send the Helper -the Holy Spirit- who will tell us about Jesus. This happened at Pentecost, of course, but we still need to make the decision to retreat to a quiet place and listen. Not only when we come across a verse that seems tricky, but every day. Respond: Lord Jesus, thank you for sending the Hol

Word

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Read: Mark 4:18-19 Reflect: I’ve always been taught that nothing is stronger than Jesus. Though this is true it seems that we (humans) have some degree of power over whether we believe it or not. In today’s passage we hear Jesus explaining how the worries, wealth and wants of our time can strangle the word growing in our hearts. The Greek word for ‘word’ is logon which is the same word used in the creation story from John 1 (...the Word was with God, and the Word was God). Jesus is the Word. The everlasting Word. The Word of God. Even though He is almighty, we have the ability to replace His prominence with other things like worries, wealth and wants. Or we can choose to make Him more important than any of those passing things. The Word is alive. The choice is ours. Respond: Lord Jesus, thank you that you are sovereign over all created things. Please forgive me for the times I’ve allowed myself to become distracted by worries, wealth and wants. Help me to fix my eyes on you and to all