Mark 4:1-41 [Amplified]

[1] AGAIN JESUS began to teach beside the lake. And a very great crowd gathered about Him, so that He got into a ship in order to sit in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was at the lakeside on the shore.

[2] And He taught them many things in parables (illustrations or comparisons put beside truths to explain them), and in His teaching He said to them:

[3] Give attention to this! Behold, a sower went out to sow.

[4] And as he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

[5] Other seed of the same kind fell on ground full of rocks, where it had not much soil; and at once it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil;

[6] And when the sun came up, it was scorched, and because it had not taken root, it withered away.

[7] Other seed of the same kind fell among thorn plants, and the thistles grew and pressed together and utterly choked and suffocated it, and it yielded no grain.

[8] And other seed of the same kind fell into good (well-adapted) soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing, and yielded up to thirty times as much, and sixty times as much, and even a hundred times as much as had been sown.

[9] And He said, He who has ears to hear, let him be hearing and let him consider, and comprehend.

[10] And as soon as He was alone, those who were around Him, with the Twelve apostles, began to ask Him about the parables.

[11] And He said to them, To you has been entrusted the mystery of the kingdom of God that is, the secret counsels of God which are hidden from the ungodly; but for those outside of our circle everything becomes a parable,

[12] In order that they may indeed look and look but not see and perceive, and may hear and hear but not grasp and comprehend, lest haply they should turn again, and it their willful rejection of the truth should be forgiven them.

[13] And He said to them, Do you not discern and understand this parable? How then is it possible for you to discern and understand all the parables?

[14] The sower sows the Word.

[15] The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown in their hearts, but when they hear, Satan comes at once and by force takes away the message which is sown in them.

[16] And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy;

[17] And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.

[18] And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word;

[19] Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.

[20] And those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit–some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some even a hundred times as much.

[21] And He said to them, Is the lamp brought in to be put under a peck measure or under a bed, and not to be put on the lampstand?

[22] Things are hidden temporarily only as a means to revelation. For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything temporarily kept secret except in order that it may be made known.

[23] If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend.

[24] And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure of thought and study you give to the truth you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that comes back to you–and more besides will be given to you who hear.

[25] For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away by force,

[26] And He said, The kingdom of God is like a man who scatters seed upon the ground,

[27] And then continues sleeping and rising night and day while the seed sprouts and grows and increases–he knows not how.

[28] The earth produces acting by itself–first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

[29] But when the grain is ripe and permits, immediately he sends forth the reapers and puts in the sickle, because the harvest stands ready.

[30] And He said, With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use to illustrate and explain it?

[31] It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all seeds upon the earth;

[32] Yet after it is sown, it grows up and becomes the greatest of all garden herbs and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air are able to make nests and dwell in its shade.

[33] With many such parables Jesus spoke the Word to them, as they were able to hear and to comprehend and understand.

[34] He did not tell them anything without a parable; but privately to His disciples (those who were peculiarly His own) He explained everything fully.

[35] On that same day when evening had come, He said to them, Let us go over to the other side of the lake.

[36] And leaving the throng, they took Him with them, just as He was, in the boat in which He was sitting. And other boats were with Him.

[37] And a furious storm of wind of hurricane proportions arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled.

[38] But He Himself was in the stern of the boat, asleep on the leather cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do You not care that we are perishing?

[39] And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was immediately a great calm (a perfect peacefulness).

[40] He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)?

[41] And they were filled with great awe and t feared exceedingly and said one to another, Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?

Blessings

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, – Heb 12:1 NET

None can run this race but the saints of God, for the ground itself is holy ground, of which we read that “no unclean beast is to be found therein.” None but the redeemed walk there; and none have ever won the prize but those who have run this heavenly race—as redeemed by precious blood.

Now no sooner do we see by faith the race set before us than we begin to run; and, like Christian in the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” we run from the City of Destruction, our steps being winged with fear and apprehension. All this, especially in the outset, implies energy, movement, activity, pressing forward; running, as it were, for our life; escaping, as Lot, to the mountain; fleeing, as the prophet speaks, “like as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah” (Zech. 14:5); or as the manslayer fled to the city of refuge from the avenger of blood.

As, then, the runner stretches forward hands, and feet, and head, intent only on being first to reach the goal, so in the spiritual race there is a stretching forth of the faculties of the new-born soul to win the heavenly prize. There is a stretching forth of the spiritual understanding to become possessed of clear views of heavenly truth. There is a stretching forth of the desires of the heart to experience the love of God; to feel acceptance with him through the blood of sprinkling; to know the way of salvation for ourselves, and to have clear evidences that our feet are in it; to receive tokens for good, and manifestations of the pardoning love of God; to walk in his fear, live to his praise, and enjoy union and communion with the blessed Lord. And there is a stretching forth of the affections of the heart after Jesus and the truth as it is in Jesus, with many longings, breathings, earnest cries, and fervent wrestlings at the throne of grace, that we may know the truth and by the truth be sanctified and made free. So that when you look at the word “race” as emblematic of a Christian’s path, you see that it is not any movement of the body, what the Apostle calls “bodily exercise,” that is intended, but an inward movement of the soul, or rather of the grace that God has lodged in your bosom, and to which are communicated spiritual faculties, whereby it moves forward in the ways of God, under the influences of the blessed Spirit.

~ J.C. Philpot ~

The Pressure of Ministry

The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the fruits. [2 Timothy 2 : 6]

A person who serves with his whole heart will be content only with spiritual fruit. Yet some will only be content with prestige, acceptance, or money.

In the past, Satan has tried to put that thought into my mind. At times he’s tried to make me question why I care about the people I minister to. His approach is to make me secure in the knowledge that I’m saved and going to heaven, that I’m well paid in a good job with a lot of security. But that is Satan’s lie.

It’s very easy to let Satan pressure you into settling for less than God’s best. When Satan plants thoughts like that in my head, my reaction is: I am not content to simply be taken care of or appreciated. What matters is bearing fruit. Make the focus of your ministry spiritual fruit.

~ John MacArthur ~

Afternoon Prayer

“We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us.”

Joshua 1:16

Father God, yesterday, You told me to take a leap of faith, and “Go”. I was scared, unsure of what lie ahead. Today Lord, I have decided to follow Your command to do what You ask and go where You want me to go without questioning Your authority.

Amen

Christ Will Rule

I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23

I am not surprised that I still meet people who do not believe that Jesus Christ is going to return to earth. In fact, some of them, armed with their own Bibles and interpretations, are insistent on setting me “straight.”

One gentleman has written saying that I have it all wrong, and that Paul did not mean what I had said he meant, as I applied Paul’s statement to everyday life.

I took time to write a reply: “When it comes to saying what he meant, Paul’s batting average has been pretty good up to now. So, I will string along with what Paul plainly, clearly said.”

I did not figure I needed someone to straighten me out—particularly someone who had decided the Bible does not mean what it says.

No one is going to argue me out of my faith in what God has revealed and what God has said. As far as I am concerned, it is a fact that Jesus is coming again! The question I do raise is this: Are we prepared spiritually for His coming? Are we tolerating conditions in our midst that will cause us embarrassment when He does come?

Dear Lord, grant me courage to live today—indeed, every day of my life—as though You were coming back this afternoon.

~ Aiden Wilson Tozer ~

Today’s Faith Builder

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.”

[Genesis 12:1]

Abraham's faith took courage, but it was not blind. God would lead him step by step. God asks only so much from us — to walk with Him as He leads us one step at a time.