March 7

Mark 11:20-33

In verses 12-14, the day after the Triumphal Entry, Jesus and His disciples came out from Bethany and became hungry. Jesus saw a tree with leaves, indicating that it was in bloom, but there was not fruit, only leaves. Jesus cursed the tree, even though it was not the season for figs. The disciples heard Jesus curse the tree.

They went to Jerusalem and then left that evening. In the morning, they passed by the tree Jesus had cursed. It was dead from the roots up. Here’s a few notes:
Peter saw the tree and remembered the word Jesus spoke. It’s good for us to remember the words of Jesus as well.
Peter called Jesus “Rabbi” or teacher. He is our teacher and He teaches us in Mark 11.
Jesus said “Have faith in God” or it could be translated, “Have the faith of God.”
In verse 23, Jesus says, “whoever says” – so not just because Jesus said, but anyone who has faith can do what Jesus did.
Jesus goes bigger than a fig tree, and points to something bigger and stronger – a mountain. I believe Jesus meant that we can literally move a mountain if necessary. However, the mountain can also refer to any other thing in our lives that seems insurmountable.
Jesus says to speak to the mountain. He didn’t say to pray to God to move the mountain. There are times to pray and there are other times to SAY. We need to use our mouths.
We are not to doubt in our heart. Our heart is our spirit. Whatever is going on in our emotions or our mind or our body, our spirit (the heart) is who we are. We can be in faith from our heart and still have to deal with our soul and our flesh.
We are not to doubt. The Greek word for doubt here is diakrino, also translated “doubting nothing.” This word means 1) to discern and make a decision, and 2) not to hesitate, waver, or be divided between two or more choices. We know that faith is dependency on God and God alone, a surrender that takes us to the point of action. We are to give God a FULLY yielded heart. Often these things take place as we are spending time with God, leaning on Him, not only with our mouths, but from a posture of our heart.
Believe the things you say will be done. Jesus doesn’t want us to believe a lie. If God promised it, then we have it in the spirit. Then it will be manifested in the natural. We really have it!
Faith begins where the will of God is known. Remember these things happen when we first are fully surrendered and obedient to God. We are not trying to control God or our situation. We are not trying to use these promises to manipulate, but to see God’s plan and purpose performed.
Verse 25 says, “AND” so what Jesus is about to say has something to do with what He just said. First, Jesus mentions praying, referring to verse 24, then He mentions, while you are in the presence of God, examine your heart. If you have anything against anyone, forgive. In other words, if someone has wronged you, don’t hold them in your debt. Release them of judgment. Why? We aren’t the judge. It’s not our place to condemn. That’s God’s job.
If we make ourselves a judge, then we can’t receive the mercy and power of God that we need to receive. However, if we stay in our place of submission to God, we are in an aligned position to receive.

In verses 27-33, in Jerusalem, Jesus’ authority is being challenged by the religious leaders. It’s a shame they were trying to be sufficient in their own goodness. Their religious pride caused them to miss out on the move of God. They were blind to it, deceived. And they didn’t know they were deceived, because they were deceived! The key to receiving from God is humility, that surrendered, dependent heart that will lean on God and obey Him. The glory of God belongs to those who know how to bow before Him!

Deuteronomy 3-4

In chapter 3, Moses continued to review the past, mentioning King Og’s defeat.

It has been 40 years in the desert. The slave mentality has been replaced with a son mentality. They are no longer afraid to possess the land. They are ready to take it. They are no longer struggling with an identity in Egypt. They now see themselves as children of God. They no longer feel they don’t deserve something good. Now they know what belongs to them. They know who they are (and who’s they are), what they have (and what God has for them), and what they can do (and what God can do for them).

In verse 12, Moses divides the land east of the Jordan. This was fighting time, not resting time. After they fought, then they would rest. Throughout my life, I look back, and there were definitely different times that had their own purposes. There was a time when I had to fight for the promise God had given me. There was a time when God told me to rest. How about you? Are you in a fighting season or a resting season? Maybe it’s a preparation season, a growing season, or a harvesting season. God has purpose for the season you are in right now!

In verse 22, Moses says, “You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you.” We are not alone! If there is a battle to be won, we have the help of the Lord. Often times, God is looking for us to depend upon Him. The Israelites were not fighting ordinary men. They were fighting men that were bigger and stronger than they were. Faith will rely on God, and facing something bigger than we are requires our faith.

In verses 23-29, Moses pleads with the Lord to let him cross over the Jordan. Here are a few things to notice:
Moses approached God as His “servant.” We all are servants of the Lord, but leaders are given a heavier responsibility and a stricter judgment. We are blessed when we desire to bless a leader.
Moses is 120 years old. He has seen the glory of God. He has lead a nation as a leader for over forty years. And he used the word “begun” when talking about knowing the Lord. Isn’t it true that the more we know the Lord, the more we realize how much more there is to know?
Moses spoke of knowing God’s greatness and mighty hand, having experienced the majesty and glory of God. If we don’t know Him, we lack an awe and fear of His greatness. There is no doubt that Jehovah is God and we are not!
Moses says that God cannot be compared with any other god. No one is like Him. And He loves us. He has chosen us. Praise the Lord!
Moses blames the people for his temper and actions. There is no doubt that Moses had to endure the complaints and rebellion of not just a few, but an entire group of people. He was frustrated, as most of us would be. But it was Moses’ decision to strike the rock and disobey the Lord. God held Moses accountable.
Moses says that the Lord had to tell Moses to stop asking. He made up His mind. Other times God did change His mind. However, this was not one of those times. I have experienced an absolute “no” from God as well. Like a firm and loving father, we know when God is not going to change His mind.
God allowed Moses to get a glimpse of the promised land. This was not just for Moses to see, but to encourage Moses that his life was not spent in vain. They would get to go into the promised land. I’m curious to know what Moses thought on that mountain. Perhaps Moses looked around and thought, “We could have been here forty years ago.” Perhaps Moses thought about the nation of Israel becoming great in the earth, being established in their own land.
God knew Moses would soon be with Him in all of His glory. Even Canaan would not compare to that. However, in the moment, all Moses could see what from his perspective. In our life with God, it’s good to remind ourselves that God has a different perspective than we do, and trust Him with our future.
God told Moses to encourage and strengthen Joshua as his successor. It’s always wise to invest in the next generation. I’m thinking of the people I’m investing in right now. What about you? Is there someone in whom you are investing?
They stayed in the valley. One thing the Israelites learned was to stay where God wanted them to stay until He moved them on. We are wise when we learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. No matter how difficult or how long the season may seem, our place is to submit to Him and the leaders He has placed over us.

In chapter 4, as one who himself had to yield to the consequences of his wrong, Moses instructs the people to obey the Lord and to beware of idolatry. Moses warns them to be completely obedient – not to try to manipulate or control God by adding or taking away from His instruction.

If they rely on God to the point of obedience, then God would be able to act on their behalf. It takes faith, complete yielded surrender, in order to line ourselves up with God in relationship and in power. If the people will lean on God to the point of taking obedient action, they will be positioned to receive from God. The will then possess, to physically establish, the promises of God. The same is true for us today.

In verse 4, Moses reminds them that each one of them were alive. Why were they alive after a battle? Because God did a miracle and showed His power.

In verse 9, Moses says to continually recall the things the Lord has done in the past so they don’t forget them. Not that they would forget the event but that they would stray away from dependency and become self-sufficient. Even in slavery, they didn’t rely on God but on their slave masters. God is after their heart.

Moses tells the people to teach their children of the wonders God did for them in the wilderness. Why? Was it so they would know their history and heritage? I believe it was more than that. They were taught to depend on God, to respect His greatness, and put action to their faith. This is what we are to teach our children.

In verse 29, it says, “From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him, if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Moses and the people of Israel experienced the mercy of God many times. When their behavior deserved punishment, when offerings were made, God relented of His punishment. God is mighty, but He is also merciful.

In Deuteronomy 4:32, Moses says that God has chosen to let the Israelites know Him. They heard His voice, they saw His signs and wonders, they experienced His provision, protection, and power. Moses then asked, “Why you?” In verse 37 he says, “because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants.

God will show Himself to your children because of your faith. God also chose Abraham to be the bloodline for Jesus, and God honored His promise.

Let’s continue to believe God, not only for ourselves; but also for those that follow us.

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