Category Archives: Mark

Genesis 24-25; Psalm 4; Mark 9

Many of my friends, who have families, have immigrated with an arranged marriage. All the questions I have about what that looks like in real life have been answered. So when I read of arranged marriages like the one of Isaac, I have a better picture of what it means.

And Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and took Rebekah to be his wife. Isaac loved her, and he was comforted after his mother’s death. – Genesis 24:67 HCSB

A new home has begun and it is filled with love. I am sure that Rebekah loved Isaac too. Not in a romantic or sentimental kind of way but the kind of love that deepends and strengthens. The kind that stands the strain of trial, nor falters in the times of sickness or trouble.

For me and my wife it was “love at first sight.” Our love has been genuine in the sense that it has become more hallowed and more tender as the thirty-six years have gone by. As much as the arrangements were in place for their marriage, I believe that Isaac and Rebekah also experienced a “love at first sight.” I love the testimony that comes with a marriage that maintains a moral and life-long unity. A unity that proves to be a mutual blessing and represents that of the relationship between Jesus and His Church.

How quickly am I reminded how the Church is so messy in this arena. When there is no unity there is arguing. Where there is arguing there is no healing.

Then He asked them, “What are you arguing with them about?” – Mark 9:16 HCSB

What Jesus is really asking is – what is this big tear all about? He used the expression two other times in order to shed a unique light on the problem with the absence of unity.

Father, I am thankful for Your love for me that I can so graciously give the same to my wife. A home filled with You and filled with love is definitely a blessing. It is amazing to see love live, grow, be more in awe of, yield and so much more easily shared as our marriage matures. Love within the body of Christ also becomes a testimony of the relationship of Jesus and Your Church and those who see it, get it. How terrible it is when we cannot provide that testimony to the world who are looking at us. So many churches closing down, splitting, dwindling in numbers. They all have their story. I pray that our love does not become lukewarm. I pray that the Holy Spirit will spur us on to love one another, to honour each other. I pray that our testimony will be a light to a world who has lost hope. Amen

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 5 day reading plan, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, reading plan

Judges 17; Acts 21; Jeremiah 30,31; Mark 16

Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
    found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
    the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Jeremiah 31:2,3 ESV

God has a plan. Not only is He sovereign and holy and omniscient and loving, but he acts with intentionality. He knows where we have come from and what we have yet to go through and has planned for the times we need to be stretched and the times we need grace.

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”

Jeremiah 31:25 ESV

God knows exactly what we need. What is best. He has already marked that path that will shape us as needed and heal us as needed. What a hope we possess!

Recently I read a book by Niall Williams called This is Happiness and a quote stood out to me as incredibly revealing about the peace that Christianity brings. He presses the point that each life is a story worth telling and any story worth telling must have ups and downs. Therefore, “Story was the stuff of life, and to realise you were inside one allowed you to sometimes surrender to the plot, to bear a little easier the griefs and sufferings and to enjoy more fully the twists that came along the way.”

While our life is not just determined by a “storyline,” the point carries over. If God is at the helm and knows that in this sinful world there will come tragedy and joy, and He guides with the clearest perspective and control, we can weather storms with a little more perseverance, manage grief with surrender, and sometimes enjoy the small twists, knowing that He planned our lives for optimum impact.

. . . for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Mark 16:8b ESV

We will have those seasons of struggle, and then there are those pivotal moments when we look up and remember that God has a plan and that miracles and beauty are included in it along with the pain and darkness. We might even be struck speechless by the evidence of His moving in our lives and world.

Lord God, help me to remember that You hold all of it. Help me remember to hope in times of struggle and to keep acting with intentionality in times of joy. Thank you for planning and purposing each life for Your glory and the matchless peace I can rest in because of that truth. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Filed under 66 Books, Jeremiah, Mark

Judges12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

I read a story that is still active and alive today. A story of a word – Shibboleth.

In order to keep the Ephraimites from escaping, the Gileadites captured the places where the Jordan could be crossed. When any Ephraimite who was trying to escape would ask permission to cross, the men of Gilead would ask, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” they would tell him to say “Shibboleth.” But he would say “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce it correctly. Then they would grab him and kill him there at one of the Jordan River crossings. At that time forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites were killed. – Judges 12:5-6 GNT

My mom would tell me stories during the war of how they could find out if an American spy, posing as a German, could be tested in order to find them out. I think, we in the church do the same thing in determining whether one is really a follower of God. It is by prayer that I believe I refrain from lapsing into the Pharisee’s censoriousness.

Why cannot I be free to move as the Holy Spirit moves me just as Paul and Silas were?

They traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia because the Holy Spirit did not let them preach the message in the province of Asia. When they reached the border of Mysia, they tried to go into the province of Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. – Acts 16:6-7 GNT

It is difficult to understand why I have to do something differently but there is a moment of faith where I can almost see God’s hand trying to show the 30,000 foot view of where the Holy Spirit is moving.

The same is so when it comes to my sin. I pray that I never take it lightly.

The Lord, the God of Israel, said to me, “Here is a wine cup filled with my anger. Take it to all the nations to whom I send you, and make them drink from it. – Jeremiah 25:15 GNT

I am so thankful that I can pray and ask for help in overcoming the temptations of judgement on others and in ignoring the move of the Holy Spirit. I pray for faith to believe and the power to forgive.

Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. For this reason I tell you: When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for. And when you stand and pray, forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive the wrongs you have done. – Mark 11:22, 24-25 GNT

Father, may my walk with You be based on faith and not of judgment, on believing in You and not in myself, and on forgiving so that I may find myself being forgiven. Amen

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Jeremiah, Judges, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Judges 11:12-40; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

“Go sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them.  But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God.  In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded.  “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.  “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  But not with God.  Everything is possible with God.” Mark 10:21-27 NLT

Mark 10:27 is such a familiar verse to me.  God has used it in my life to speak hope to my soul.  But, I don’t remember if I have read the entire passage before. It puts it in a whole new light.  It makes me question what I am treasuring.  What am I holding onto that won’t fulfill me?What is hindering me from fully following Him?

“God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us.  He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith.  Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through  them among the Gentiles.” Acts 15:8-12 NLT

What is my faith in?

“Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him.  A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.  When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.  But only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”  So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said.  “Come on, he’s calling you!” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.  “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.  “My Rabbi, “the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.” Mark 10:46-52 NLT

The blind man continued to follow Jesus after he could see.  I can picture him walking the rest of his days with Jesus. Because he knew that He is the only place where true healing could be found.  I don’t think he was thinking about what he was giving up, but what he gained.  Not only his eyesight, but Jesus.

Dear Father, please forgive me when my heart is far from you. I am reminded of a song that says, “There is nothing better than You.”  I want to sing that and believe it, but sometimes I have to tell it to my heart. You are worthy. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

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Filed under Acts, Jeremiah, Judges, Mark, Uncategorized

Genesis 45; Mark 15; Job 11; Romans 15

Then Joseph said to them, “Please come closer.” They did, and he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be upset or blame yourselves because you sold me here. It was really God who sent me ahead of you to save people’s lives. This is only the second year of famine in the land; there will be five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor reaping. God sent me ahead of you to rescue you in this amazing way and to make sure that you and your descendants survive. So it was not really you who sent me here, but God. He has made me the king’s highest official. I am in charge of his whole country; I am the ruler of all Egypt.  Genesis 45:4-8 GNT

If I were to make an action plan based on Joseph’s response to his brothers, this is what it might look like. First, decide with my head that I need to come to a place where I might forgive with my heart. Secondly, depend on God because forgiveness does not come naturally to me. Thirdly, understand my emotions and allow my feelings to catch up to my decision. And lastly, pray for my enemies and those I think are persecuting me – love them.

I think of Jesus’ prayers, there were so few recorded. I cannot imagine how He felt when He prayed this one.

At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” – Mark 15:34 GNT

Of all the prayers He could have spoken, I love that He chose one from the Psalms, a traditional prayer or maybe a more prophetic prayer being fulfilled.  It may not have been as long as some of His spontaneous prayers but I love knowing prayer had a place in His life.

Paul gave us the best examples of requesting prayer from his friends.

I urge you, friends, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit gives: join me in praying fervently to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to God’s people there. And so I will come to you full of joy, if it is God’s will, and enjoy a refreshing visit with you. May God, our source of peace, be with all of you. Amen. – Romans 15:30-33 GNT

I want to learn how to pray with strength and I am motivated by Paul’s request for prayer. If I want God to use me, I need to depend on people who depend on Him by being in prayer.

Father, my strength to forgive, to love, to be a follower of You, to be a shoulder for others and to proclaim the Gospel comes through my conversations with You. I am thankful that Your door is always open.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Job, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans, Uncategorized