Pause for Thought

Sunday 5th September: Mark 7 21-37

Jesus left that place and went to the region of Tyre. Not wanting anyone to know He was there, He entered a house, but was unable to escape their notice.  Instead, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit soon heard about Jesus, and she came and fell at His feet.  Now she was a Greek woman of Syrophoenician origin, and she kept asking Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.  “First let the children have their fill,” He said. “For it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then Jesus told her, “Because of this answer, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.”  And she went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone. Then Jesus left the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.  Some people brought to Him a man who was deaf and hardly able to speak, and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him. So Jesus took him aside privately, away from the crowd, and put His fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue.  And looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). Immediately the man’s ears were opened and his tongue was released, and he began to speak plainly. Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more He ordered them, the more widely they proclaimed it.  The people were utterly astonished and said, “He has done all things well! He makes even the deaf hear and the mute speak!”

These are two of Jesus’ healing miracles, both of which drew large crowds and despite Jesus asking them not to tell others, the news spread far and wide.  Jesus’ compassion was ever-present, and his healing touch changed lives beyond anyone’s hope or imagination.  Today this still happens – yet not perhaps always in the way we want;  Jesus’ love and caring is with us too, and he brings about great changes in our lives and those for whom we pray – but not necessarily physical healing.  He is with us in our pain and suffering as well as in our joy and happiness – and he will still give us strength to meet whatever happens in our lives

Are you praying for the healing of someone you love?  Perhaps asking questions as to why this is happening?  Jesus is still with you, and is supporting and holding you and the one for whom you are praying – he will provide the strength needed.


Sunday 12th September:  Mark 8  27-37

Then Jesus and His disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way, He questioned His disciples: “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” And Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about Him.  Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke this message quite frankly, and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But Jesus, turning and looking at His disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples, and He told them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Jesus challenged his disciples, asking them who they believed he was – and Peter had the courage and faith to reply, acknowledging Jesus as God’s son.  Yet Peter couldn’t accept that Jesus was going to face death on the cross, and was quick to declare that this could never happen.  Jesus challenges us too, and hopefully we also have courage to respond and accept him into our lives. But are we prepared to accept the things which are difficult in our lives?  Being a Christian doesn’t mean everything is easy and all troubles are sorted – but it does mean that God is with us throughout all these things and provides us with strength and courage to face them. 

Have you asked Jesus to be part of your life – but perhaps are struggling with difficulties and unexpected challenges?  Know that he is with you at all times, offering his support and love.


Sunday 19th September: Mark 9 30-37

…………  Then they came to Capernaum. While Jesus was in the house, He asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?”  But they were silent, for on the way they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last of all and the servant of all.” Then He had a little child stand among them. Taking the child in His arms, He said to them,  “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not only Me, but the One who sent Me.”

It is so easy for us to want to do well, to be successful, to achieve the best we can – and in part these are commendable goals.  But not as important, Jesus says, as trusting in him.  God asks us to place our faith in his strength, and not try and rely on our own.  Only then can we know true inner peace and achieve what God wants us to achieve.

Do you feel that life has become a struggle to get over the next hurdle; the next challenge; reach the next goal?  Ask God to help you do what he is calling you to do – and leave the rest to him.  He will not let you down.


Sunday 26th September: Mark 9  38-48

………” Jesus replied. “Indeed, if anyone gives you even a cup of water because you bear the name of Christ, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two hands and go into hell, into the unquenchable fire. If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.’

These days thankfully, punishment as mentioned by Jesus isn’t carried out literally – but perhaps we do need to look at our lives as see if there is any part which needs our attention – things we do or say which deep down we know aren’t right, and which would sadden Jesus.  Saying ‘that’s just the way I’m made’ or ‘I just can’t help myself’ isn’t being honest with ourselves or with God, and we need to have the courage to change.

Are there areas in your life which you feel should be better? Things which you feel are too difficult to change?  Tell God, and ask him to help you do this with his help.

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