March 20, 2018 • Michael Harding
John 8: 46-59 This is another example of why you don’t want to get into an argument with Jesus. Now to be fair, Jesus did arrive to the Mount of Olives bent on challenging some core tenets of Judaism. Being as this was a temple full of Jewish scholars, this is understandably upsetting. This dissolves into each side saying the other is “of the devil” until someone picks up rocks to throw at Jesus. This unfortunate escalation is all too common in the way that arguments progress. This came about through the Jews misinterpreting what Jesus meant about his followers never seeing death. They were upset that Abraham and the prophets had experienced mortal death, not grasping how Jesus viewed life as surpassing mortality. It is far too easy to lash out as the Jews did in this scenario when someone challenges your beliefs, be it religious or otherwise. A fine line must be traversed as Jesus does here. You must have the compassion and empathy to listen to those who argue against you but have the confidence to stand your ground in a room who would convince you otherwise. Is there a belief/way of life that you feel is currently being questioned and challenged? How are you handling this? Jesus ends by stating “before Abraham was, I am”, how is God underlying your belief and how is glory being directed to Him? “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me”
March 19, 2018 • Maggie Mauldin
Mark 7: 24-37 In these two Jesus miracle stories in Mark, demons are expelled by words and bodies are healed by a touch. In my head, these two phrases belong in the works of JK Rowling. Mark basically describes Dementors and Madam Pomfrey, respectfully. Surely, this is about magic? Except, Jesus isn’t a wizard. It’s easy to just hear and accept that Jesus performed miracles. The actions are miraculous because something or someone was one way one moment and different the next, just because it was willed. But have you ever let that sink in? That Jesus does what mere humans could only create stories about? That he defies the laws of science and medicine of the universe? We’ve all heard that Jesus is God and man. That doesn’t make it 50/50. Jesus is complete, not half of anything. He is 100% God and 100% human. This means Jesus wrote the laws of the universe, is greater than the universe itself, set everything within it into motion. I am one to believe that God created and is science. God handwrote the language of our being that we call genome sequences. The wizardry described by countless novelists has nothing to do with science. Jesus isn’t a wizard. Jesus is real.
No worship today a Wesley, but find a local church to attend this Sunday morning. Use the Sabbath day to pause and rest during this busy time. Every Sunday is a mini-Easter, so take a break from your fasting from Lent! We are praying for safe travels as people travel to Tallahassee as Spring Break ends. Hope you had a good break!
March 17, 2018 • Ashley Seng
Mark 9:14-29 This passage to me is all about truly believing in God’s power. In this story, Jesus and the disciples come across a man and his son, whose body is completely overtaken by an evil spirit. The disciples seem dumbfounded and completely unable to free the son from the evil spirit, but soon Jesus approaches to save the day. Jesus asks the disciples in verse 19, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you?” Potentially, this statement is not only foreshadowing Jesus’ death, but more importantly, Jesus, in desperation, is wondering why his disciples are still so faithless. After all the time they spent following him and all the things they have witnessed Jesus doing and all the stories he has taught them, they still have trouble believing. However, in a matter of seconds it seems, all just through faith and trust, Jesus is able to heal the cursed boy. Even after, the disciples don’t believe it; they think they child is dead. However, he is more alive than ever before, and completely free of all evil. The disciples still wonder though, in verse 28, “why could we not cast it out?” And Jesus replies that this kind of movement could only happen through prayer, once again emphasizing the important of simply believing. In what areas of your life are you not fully and completely trusting God? If Jesus was among us right now, are there areas of your life where you would question why things weren’t working a certain way? What do you think Jesus’ response would be. I think there is a fair chance he would simply ask us to truly believe. Focus on this today. Go throughout your day seeking out the areas of your life where there is disbelief and a lack of trust. Embrace faith and let God into that space. You might be surprised by the transformation that unfolds.
March 16, 2018 • Kayla McQueen
Mark 9:2-13 In this passage, Jesus takes Peter, James and John on a walk up to a high mountain where they Jesus among Moses and Elijah. This experience seems profound and you can see that the disciples are clearly in awe of what is happening. They feel unworthy to witness what is happening and offer to leave Jesus alone. In fact, Peter offers to build shelter for the three of them, yet Jesus denies them. Peter works hard to prove himself to Jesus in this scenario that is clearly divine, especially since he sees himself as merely a sinful human. Yet Jesus gets on him for working hard to prove himself and making himself worthy to Jesus, because all Jesus wanted was for them to simply be. During Lent, I challenge you to make yourself aware of the situations where you are trying to prove yourself to God. Soak up the moments where you can witness God and know that you are most certainly enough. God does not want or need you to prove yourself to Him, He doesn’t want you to think you are ever unworthy of being in His presence. God is always among you and takes you just as you are. Dwell in that.
March 15, 2018 • Zach McQueen
Mark 8:27-9:1 These two stories are pretty important in my understanding of the narrative of Jesus. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what my faith means to me and what I have decided is that Jesus lived a beautiful life. So beautiful in fact, I believe his life should be a model for how we as humans live in this world. I know this is a very redundant statement that is used very often in Christianity but, it is always true no matter the argument. Jesus never hurts and also never shames. He is a very gracious creature and is understanding and compassionate rather than commanding. This passage focuses on Jesus’ identity and that identity is the root in my faith. Nothing else matters because of how he lived. So, for this devo I think it is important to remind oneself about how to be gracious to the people around you and how you can uplift people because that is who Jesus was. I have no specific discipline to give to practice this, but the effort made should be a heartfelt one. I think for me, self-reflection is the most useful so that I can tangibly understand how I have wronged and how I can change.
March 14, 2018 • Ivan Myers
Mark 8:11-26 In this passage, the Pharisees challenge Jesus to give them a sign from heaven. The Pharisees were likely trying to trap Jesus or to have a reason to explain that he wasn’t the true Messiah, as if all of the acts and miracles he had displayed were not enough evidence already. Mark follows this with another example of people not trusting in the signs Jesus had already shown, but this time it is the disciples lacking in faith. Although they’ve already witnessed Jesus multiply food to feed 5,000, they are fearful that they will not have enough food for their journey. I think that these passages are meant to remind us of all the ways that God has provided for us that we tend to forget. So often we get overwhelmed with the present worries and stresses on us, and we fail to remember that God has provided us with blessings in the past to help us carry on. Those blessings may not necessarily be a miracle, or divine intervention; it could be as simple as an encouraging word from a friend when we needed it, or a moment of self-confidence we can’t explain. If we remember the grace that God has shown us throughout our life, then we will have our blindness removed and our relationship with God will grow even stronger.
March 13, 2018
Mark 8:1-10 This is a particularly interesting passage because it is different from the more commonly told Feeding of the Five Thousand. The feeding of the Five Thousand appears in all four gospels, with small variations among each one. However, the Feeding of the Four Thousand only appears in the gospels of Mark and Matthew. When I looked more into this, I was curious about the significance of including two similar stories in one Gospel, especially when half of the gospels don’t include this story. According to some sources, the major difference is that the feeding of the five thousand takes place in Bethesda, near the Sea of Galilee. The feeding of the four thousand takes place in an area called Gerasenes. The major difference is that Bethsaida would be a place of a largely Jewish population, while Gerasenes is a region of mostly Gentiles. Thus, the significance of both stories being included in Mark is that it shows, once again, how Jesus loves and serves all regardless of any classifications or culture bounds. Not only does this passage remind us of how we should trust and have faith in Jesus, but it reminds us of how deeply Jesus loves us. During this season of Lent, when we are in the desert, it may get hard. We are about halfway through the Lenten season, closer to Easter than ever before. We may feel like we can’t make it to Easter or it may be harder to get through the Lent challenges we put up for ourselves. However, we must have faith in the way that Jesus provides for us. Jesus will still loves us, even when we like we are failing in this season. Today, spend some time praying that God would more clearly show His generosity to you. Ask that God would provide for you in the remaining days of Lent and remind you of the goodness that is coming before us. Amen.
March 12, 2018 • Montana Herron
Mark 6:13-29 This passage speaks to the malleability of human beings. Despite being the figurehead of imperial power and control, Herod allows himself to be swayed by people closest to him. Instead of using his own agency to decide what is right and take action, he chooses to appease those around him and please the crowds. We can witness this inaction from people in power in our world today. Corruption, manipulation and oppression run rampant through our political, economic and social systems. We can see the need for active social justice and reform. This passage is also about the ways in which our God shows up to oppose the works of the imperialistic powers. In the midst of his grief at the news of his friend’s death, Jesus turns outward instead of inward. He faces the crowds that follow him, creating spaces for them to experience him. John the Baptist’s death inspires and empowers Jesus to continue and further his ministry. This story also foreshadows the events that would take place in the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus also stood in direct opposition to the powers that be, and it cost him his life. But through his death, we were given the freedom and strength to continue on with Jesus’ advocacy. During this Lenten season, we must remember to fight inaction with action. Where there is death, there is life. Where there is darkness, there is light. Where there is corruption, there is honesty. Where there is oppression, there is liberation.
Hi Friends! Take a break from our Lenten fast. Even though, Wesley is not having worship today, I encourage you to take a Sabbath and worship God. Go to a local church and enjoy being a apart of another community. We will continue our daily devotions continue through Spring Break. Hope you are enjoying them. Have a great break! In His Grip, Mike
March 10, 2018 • Manny Dye
Mark 6:47-56 In this passage we find the disciples in the middle of a lake after rowing against fierce winds all night. Prior to this, they spent the day helping Jesus miraculously feed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. In verses 50-52, Jesus walks on the waters near the near boat and the disciples mistake him for a ghost. Scripture says, "their hearts were hardened," and they had not understood the miracle Jesus performed. I often find myself in a similar state to the disciples in this story. I call myself a follower of Jesus and do my best to serve the kingdom but, in this process, harden myself to the magnitude of who Jesus is and why I serve him. Jesus' response to this confusion is an exclamation to, "take courage!" This is a command to bravely acknowledge the God we serve and the way he works our lives. I encourage you to take some time today to meditate over this. How is God working in our lives? How can we soften our hearts to God and acknowledge them more?
March 9, 2018 • Sam Ayers
Mark 6:30-46 I think quite often we feel like what we have to offer isn’t good enough for God - that our gifts are insignificant compared to all the world’s needs. But the great thing about God is that He can do so much with so little. He wants us to use the gifts we’ve been given so that we can share His love with others in our communities, just like how the people gathered together the five loaves of bread and two fish in order to feed the five thousand people that were gathered around Jesus. No one ever would have thought that such a small amount of food could ever satisfy the needs of so many people. But through God, these gifts were multiplied so that there was more than enough to go around. God takes the gifts we have been given, blesses them, and uses them to touch many. Think about some of the gifts that you’ve been given. These can be spiritual gifts, talents, or passions of yours. How can you share those gifts with others? Think about this as you go about your day. Perhaps find a new way you can love and serve someone today using the gifts God has given you. Pray, asking for the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and be willing to share in this beautiful exchange that I believe God has called each and every one of us to take part in.
March 8, 2018 • Kayla McQueen
Mark 6:1-13 The passage is a two-part passage about Jesus’ work with miracles and how his disciples faithfully follow him. And though it’s important to know that performing miracles and gathering a faithful following is crucial to knowing more about Jesus, I think we can also learn a lot from the disciples. Jesus does a lot of performing miracles and casting out demons all throughout the gospel, but the disciples in this passage were used to cast out demons and wickedness from people as well. It’s intense and can be intimidating thinking about applying God’s calling to our own lives, because we might not feel qualified or that we are good enough to fulfill God’s calling. However, I think it’s important to understand that God does not only call the equipped, but equips the called. The disciples were marginalized and out casted in their own society, yet Jesus trusted them the most with God’s mission of spreading truth and expanding the kingdom. My word of encouragement would be to spend some time during this Lenten season thinking about God’s calling for you, how you’re fulfilling it, and what does it look like to equip yourself and those around you.
March 7, 2018 • Nina Rodriguez
Mark 5: 21-43: The Accidental Healing By the time Jesus encounters Jairus, leader of the local synagogue, he has already demonstrated a knack for making the impossible possible. He’s healed a deformed man. He’s rebuked the howling winds and fuming waves into silence. He’s even cast out evil spirits, liberating a demon-possessed man from the legion within. It’s been a wild few days. So we find Jesus once more on the lakeshore. A religious leader accosts him almost immediately. His name is Jairus. There’s a crowd around him, and he falls to his knees and pleads to Jesus for healing, for his daughter is dying. Jesus, being Jesus, goes with him. But there’s someone in the crowd. A woman. She has no name, no title of which we know, and considering the socio-cultural context of this story, she most likely has no individual “rights” as we experience in our culture today. She is simply part of the mass. And she is suffering. In fact, she has been suffering for twelve years, and she’s getting worse. But the woman has heard about Jesus. “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Jesus heals two people on that day, one knowingly and one unknowingly. Can I say it louder for the people in the back? Jesus did not even know that he was healing the woman when she touched his robe. He simply felt that “healing power had gone out from him.” There was no laying of hands, no special prayer. Just a woman and her desperation. And her faith. So Jesus asks, “Who touched my robe?” And when the frightened woman speaks up, he tells her: “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” I’m not one to spew empty platitudes, such as “just have faith” or “faith will set you free.” But as we continue observing this season of Lent, my hope for you – for myself – is that we will not get hung up on this idea of faith and whether or not we have enough of it. This passage shows me that the goodness of Jesus/God/Holy Spirit is ALWAYS available. To the leaders of the faith, and to the woman with no name. Today, acknowledge the things you can have faith in. Jesus was someone who was available. His goodness was made accessible again and again and again. That’s just who Jesus was. That’s who Jesus is. Perhaps that is enough for today.
March 6, 2018 • Mike Toluba
John 5: 25-29 Sometimes being apart of the Christian community called “ the church” feels like one more activity or obligation. It could feel a lot like a commitment to school, work, family, a sports team, a book club, or another organization. We might reduce worship, our small group, or a service opportunity as just one more thing demanding our time and attention, and sometimes we just feel like skipping it. I have been there and felt that way for sure. This passage is one of those powerful reminders in the Scripture about the significance of life and death. God is the source and Creator of life. There is no life apart from God either on the Earth or into the everlasting. Our life is a generous gift. It is a precious and beautiful thing, and I think we often forget that our life on earth will not last forever. In saying that the dead will hear his voice, Jesus was talking about people who are spiritually dead. We pass people everyday on campus who are essentially dead on the inside. We as Christ followers even struggle in our relationship God sometimes, and you might be experiencing a season of deadness spiritually. Yet, our present deadness does not fully determine our future. Those who accept and embrace Jesus will experience everlasting life with God. Such a reality gives me tremendous hope for the world we live in world. It encourages me to talk with people who are experiencing spiritual deadnesss. When God reveals the reality of life and death, everything seems to change. Yet, Jesus was also taking about people who are physically dead too. Remember that Jesus raised several dead while He was on earth. When Jesus returns again, all people who are dead will rise from their graves. Jesus describes that people who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. This Christian faith is not a mere obligation; it is an invitation to do good and rise to live. If we are so shortsighted to choose what is evil, there is only the way of death. Are you experiencing life to the full? Are you experiencing spiritual deadness? Lean into God during this season of Lent. Take seriously the call to rise up towards life. Resist what is evil. Allow God to restore you!