READ: Mark 8:14-26
THINK: Why is it that some people would not believe in God or accept Christ no matter how much evidence they had of His existence, love and power? Yet, there are others who would never give up their faith in God or love for Jesus despite a lack of visible signs or no apparent answers to their prayers. The difference comes down to an attitude of the heart and an openness to God that is willing to trust His Word and rely on what they know is true, no matter what they see. That is the essence of genuine faith, and it is the difference between those to whom God ultimately reveals himself and those who never experience the joy and fulfillment He offers.
RESPOND: What did Jesus mean when He said, "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees..."? (See 8:15 note in the FBSE.) Why did the Pharisees and others demand a sign from Jesus? What can happen among Jesus' followers if they are not on their guard against leaders whose message contradicts the message of Jesus as revealed in the Bible? Why were the disciples--like us--often slow to understand Jesus or to comprehend His capability, even after witnessing His great power and compassion? Why do you think that some people receive healing immediately, while others receive it gradually, and still others may not seem to receive it at all as they expect? (See 8:25 note and article on Divine Healing, p. 1286.)
PRAY: Ask God to give you discernment so you can detect and avoid insincere spiritual leaders and false teaching.
ACT: Think of a friend or acquaintance who has struggled with the issue of faith in God. Perhaps he or she once trusted God but has since turned away from faith in Him. Contact that person to encourage him or her. Let the individual know that you are thinking of them and praying that God would reveal himself to him or her in a fresh way. If you can, do something practical for the person as a means of demonstrating God's love. You never know what God will reveal to them as a result of your prayers and acts of kindness.
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