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Mark 8
by Anthony Tringale
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"The Pharisees came and began to argue with and question Him, demanding from Him a sign (an attesting miracle from heaven) [maliciously] to test Him.  And He groaned and sighed deeply in His spirit and said, "Why does this generation demand a sign? Positively I say to you, no sign shall be given this generation." (Mark 8:11,12 AMP)

"When they arrived, the Pharisees came out and started in on him, badgering him to prove himself, pushing him up against the wall. Provoked, he said, "Why does this generation clamor for miraculous guarantees? If I have anything to say about it, you'll not get so much as a hint of a guarantee." (Mark 8:11, 12 MSG)

I am not trying to make a point in favor of the Pharisees with this post.  I am seeing how these verses connect to things I have experienced in my life recently.  That being said, I hope you enjoy the following.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my room reading through the book of Matthew.  I was reading the part where there were lepers that asked Jesus for healing in their lives.  Jesus told them to go and present themselves to the official as though they were healed.  While they were on their way their healing was manifested in their lives and they were made whole.  Immediately after I read that story I clearly heard God tell me "If I tell you to go, My provision will meet you on the way."  I sat there for a few moments thinking about what I had just experienced when I suddenly felt God tell me "Go to California."  I assumed He meant for me to head out to Bethel in Redding, California.  At first I was questioning if I had really heard Him say those things.  I asked God to confirm what He told me through a sign.  I asked that He either appear to me and tell me again or confirm the word through different people in my life. 
A few days went by and I became more and more sure that I was meant to and that God told me to, move out to Redding and attend Bethel.  

I began packing my things.  I began pulling money together so I could get out to California and get set up.  I started looking for places to live and potential jobs.  I e-mailed people I knew that were connected to Bethel.  A few weeks went by and nothing happened.  I had a few people I talked with tell me it was a good idea but nothing came through.  

I was shocked.  I thought I knew God told me to move out to California.  Why would He not give me a sign?  Why would He not tell me to go or to stay?  I spent a few days questioning how I believed God spoke to me.  I felt like He had taken a few steps away from me, I felt alone.  

I'm not saying I know the exact way God works in our lives, I'm not even saying this idea is totally correct.  I am saying this answer gives me peace. It brings me comfort that leads me out of the questioning.

So how does Mark 8 connect to what happened to me?
One reason why I believe Jesus did not give the Pharisees a sign was because they were looking for His hand and not His face.  They could care less about getting to know who Jesus was, or who the real God was.  All they cared about was what He could do for them.  All they cared about was Jesus proving He was God through power or a sign.

I think it's interesting how the disciples didn't ask Jesus for a sign before they followed Him.  They just dropped everything in their lives and began following Him and getting to know Him through relationship.

I think this could be why God didn't give me a sign to confirm His word to me.  Because God is wanting a deeper relationship with me.  A relationship where I don't have to question what He tells me, where I can very clearly hear His voice and act upon it.  A relationship where I can think similar to the way He thinks. I am not saying God punished me because I questioned Him, I just think He values a deeper relationship with me rather than proving what He said through signs.  

God is not in the habit of developing unhealthy relationships with His children.

I always thought God spoke clearly to me concerning exactly what He wanted me to do in life.  I assumed He would communicate with me concerning where I should attend church, where I should attend school, what car I should buy, etc.  I am starting to realize how ridiculous that theology is.  If I believe in free will in it's purest form than it's ridiculous to believe God would tell me every move to make.  

Take Adam for example.  In Genesis 2:19 the Bible says God brought every animal to Adam to SEE what Adam would name them.  God didn't tell Adam what to name the animals.  He took interest in what Adam would name them. He allowed Adam to make the choices on his own.

Again, I am not sure if this idea is accurate, all I know is it brings me comfort for where I am in life.  Test the words I write to determine if they are true for you as well.  Share your thoughts with me. I'd like to think of this blog as more of a community of thoughts and perspectives shared, even if I am the only one writing the blog.
A few questions I am beginning to ask:
1.) Am I being selfish in my relationship with God in any area?
2.) Am I getting to know God because I want to know Him more or because I feel obligated to do so as Christian.
3.) How am I experiencing and sharing the love of Jesus in my life.

May the God of peace sanctify you.  May a deeper relationship with Jesus be developed in your life and may the fruit of the Spirt be manifest in your

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