April 5, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Mark 7:32-35

And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

There are several members of our church who study or work in the field of Occupational Therapy. From my limited understanding, the job of an occupational therapist (OT) is to evaluate a person’s physical/mental disability, and use individualized intervention strategies to help people do meaningful daily activities. For example, if someone has suffered a stroke and has lost motor control of their right arm, an OT would help this person figure out a strategy to rehabilitate their arm and/or help them relearn how to do their daily tasks such as typing, putting on clothes, eating, etc. What I found remarkable is that an OT’s work is extremely specific to the person(s) they are treating. In other words, their method of healing is constantly shifting, based on each individual and their specific situation/need.

If Jesus hadn’t been a carpenter, He might have been an occupational therapist, because much like OT’s, Jesus seems to minister to each individual based on his or her specific situation/need! In our passage today, Jesus encounters a man who was unable to hear or speak. Jesus uses a very unique and interesting way to minister unto him: He sticks His fingers in the man’s ears, and after spitting, touches the man’s tongue. What’s with the strange methods? Well, Jesus is ministering to this man in a way that he can understand—through touch!

Our God knows your exact situation. He intimately understands everything going on in your life! In fact, in many of the broken areas of our lives, only a touch from God can bring any kind of progress/breakthrough. Today, let us open our hearts and allow the Great Physician to touch us.

Prayer: God, help us to understand even more the depth of Your love for us. We ask You to come and touch the areas of our hearts, minds, and bodies that need Your healing. Thank You that even though You are the King of kings, You love to love us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Ephesians 5


Lunch Break Study

Read Luke 18:18-27: And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Questions to Consider

  1. According to the passage, what hindered this man from following Jesus?
  2. What does Jesus require that this man do, in order to follow Him?
  3. What do you think Jesus means when He says, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Notes

  1. This man was a real stand-up guy. He had obeyed all the commandments of the Lord from his youth! Yet, Jesus saw that there was still something in his heart that wasn’t fully surrendered: his wealth.
  2. Jesus commands the man to sell everything he has and distribute it to the poor. Then He explains that the man would have treasure in heaven. And then Jesus invites him to follow Him. But the man walks away sad. It seems that his earthly treasures were of more value to him than the heavenly ones.
  3. The point of this passage is not to say that money is inherently evil. But it is a warning of the difficulty of entering the kingdom of God when you have wealth. But the reality is… it’s difficult for ANYONE to enter the kingdom of God—impossible, in fact. Whether it’s wealth, addictions, pride, we all have idols in our hearts that we cannot escape from on our own. Jesus’ point is that salvation is ultimately made possible through God… not through the efforts of man. By this reasoning, none of us are worthy of the kingdom, but anyone can enter by trusting in God.

Evening Reflection

Today, we discovered that our God ministers to us personally and intimately. Whether it’s an area that needs His healing touch, or an area that needs correction, our God knows exactly what we need in every season of our lives. Spend some time this evening reflecting on the ways that God might want to touch your life right now.

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