Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

When Jesus miraculously fed over 4000 people with 7 loaves and a few fish, He demonstrated deep, personal compassion. Jesus proved Himself to be the almighty Son of God and the promised Messiah. Look to Christ and His total sufficiency for whatever you face. Only Christ can abundantly satisfy and is worthy of our trust and praise.

Jealous is God's Name

man jealousy can be damaging and sinful, but the jealousy of God is a holy, passionate zeal to guard the exclusiveness of our relationship to Him. God is provoked to jealousy when we make any person, possession, or giftedness the first focus of our love, trust, and service. We are to worship the almighty, worthy, true God over all else.

The Lamb's Reward

Jesus, the Lamb of God, stands in heaven triumphant. What rewards has Jesus purchased for Himself by His sacrificial death? His reward is a holy people being sanctified more and more through the Word and the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:25-27). These people are also to be zealous for good works, not in order to achieve salvation, but as an outgrowth of salvation by grace. Finally, Jesus receives the glad, reverent adoration of eternal worshippers (Revelation 5:9-10). When the dust of history settles, the Lamb wins!

Jesus Enters Your World

Jesus heals a deaf and mute man in Mark 7:31-37. Jesus moves the man out of the crowd and interacts with him, demonstrating His compassion and healing power and affirming the man’s worth and individuality. In a similar way, Christ entered into the world of humanity to reveal Himself to us and save us from our sin so that we might have a personal relationship with Him.

The Broad Reach of the Gospel

In Mark 7:24-30 Jesus speaks with a Gentile woman who sought healing for her daughter. At first glance, the response of Jesus may be surprising and confusing, but in reality Jesus is not rejecting or deriding her. Jesus affirms her faith and promises healing for her child. God's blessings promised to Abraham were given first to the Jews but included all people on Earth. We, too, are the recipients of God's generous grace, mercy, and blessing.

The Cross Benediction

The Cross Benediction (Revelation 1:5b-6) reminds us that Christ’s love for us has been demonstrated by His death on the cross. Christ’s redemption saves us from the penalty and power of sin now and from the presence of sin in eternity. We are now part of His kingdom, the sovereign rule of Christ in our hearts and lives. We are to gratefully serve as priests, making Him known to others.

The Peace Benediction

In 2 Thessalonians 3:16, the apostle Paul pronounces a benediction of peace. The Lord Jesus is our source of peace, reconciling us to God (Isaiah 53:5). His peace is sufficient because He is sovereign, and His peace is certain because He is always with us (Philippians 4:17 and 2 Timothy 4:17). Our messiah is Emmanuel, God with us, the prince of peace.

The Hope Benediction

Biblical hope is not wishful thinking. It is a confident expectation based on the promises of God. Paul's benediction of hope in Romans 15:13 reminds us that God is our source and continuing supplier of hope. He is able to fill us with joy and peace, even in difficult times, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our role is to place our belief and trust in God.

The Unity Benediction

In Romans 15:5-6, Paul pronounces a benediction of unity upon his readers. The benediction encourages them to live in harmony and to welcome each other. Unity among believers matters because it brings glory to God, it follows the example of Christ, and it is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our Unity should be a witness to a watching world (John 17:20-23). We are to be a unified body, a family, a fellowship.

The Grace Benediction

A benediction is a sincere, earnest wish for all who hear it to receive by faith. Paul’s New Testament letters are filled with benedictions of grace because he understood the reality, necessity, and wonder of God’s grace. Grace is the undeserved favor of God, lavished upon us and available because of Christs’s sacrificial death on the cross. “Grace to you” refers to our salvation apart from our own works. “Grace with you” refers to our ability to access God’s grace in our lives each day.

A Psalm of Thanks

To worship God better we must know God and take up His character. Know that the Lord is God, know that He is good, gracious, steadfast in His love. He is truly worthy of thankful praise and devoted worship.

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