Category Archives: Mark

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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Genesis 40; Mark 10; Job 6; Romans 10

While Jesus was journeying with his disciples, he was approached by a rich young man claimed to have followed all of God’s commandments and wanting to know the way to eternal life. Jesus told him,

 “’You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he [the young man] went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10: 21, ESV).

In the end, it was not the young man’s lust or deceit that prevented him from following Jesus, it was his desire for riches and comfort. Jesus called the young man, and calls me, to sacrifice worldly possessions in pursuit of his service. Jesus wants me to be grateful for what I have and generous with what I have been given. He says,

“’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’… ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions , and in the age to come eternal life.’” (Mark 10: 25, 29-30, ESV).

Jesus says that those who retain great riches will have a very hard time getting to heaven but promises that those who do give generously will receive back all that they gave and more in heaven. He wants me to have an attitude of servitude and generosity with my time and possessions.

Dear God, thank you for your holy Word, it helps me to understand your will for my life. Please help me to live my life in servitude to you, and please help me to be generous with what you have given me. In Jesus’s holy name I pray, Amen

Asher (AsherB)

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Genesis 35,36; Mark 6; Job 2; Romans 6

How much do I stand out from those around me?

different color

A life of obedience to God’s commands pretty quickly sets us apart. There are activities that we won’t participate in, moral boundaries that we hold ourselves to, and habits that we work diligently to maintain.

Church attendance, tithing, Bible reading, protecting our purity, moderation, and integrity all tend to make our way of living a bit different from the cultural norm.

Really, this “otherness” started back at the beginning. Jacob’s descendants were clearly seen as different from others.

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” . . . And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. (Genesis 35:2-3,5 ESV)

While our actions and decisions may set us apart, it is God’s response that makes it even more noteworthy. He responds to a life lived in obedience and those around us cannot help but take note.

“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, (Job 2:3)

God pointed out Job to Satan because Job chose the higher path. His wife didn’t know how to handle the suffering and broke down. Job still had lessons to learn, but he also at least refrained his lips from speaking against God.

Jumping to the life of Christ in the book of Mark, we find the community that he grew up in struggled to make sense of Him. They simply could not believe.

“Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter . . . ” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:2-3)

God’s work on earth doesn’t always make sense to the non-believing mind. It usually causes a stir, and we should expect to stand out as not-of-this-world.

22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  (Romans 6:22)

We are free. Free to walk in His power. Not bound by sin. Not held back by guilt. Not seeking the approval of the world or our neighbor.

We might look a little weird at times, but if we do, we are in good company.

Lord God, you have done an awesome work to transform my simple self into one that shines Your light and can walk obediently in Your Word. Give me boldness to be different and perseverance when walking with the crowd seems the easier path. My life doesn’t need to make sense to anyone but You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Erin (6intow)

 

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Genesis 30; Mark 1; Esther 6; Romans 1

Then God remembered Rachel; he answered her prayer and made it possible for her to have children. – Genesis 30:22 GNT

I believe that God is faithful even when I am unfaithful. I believe He draws me close when I feel discouraged.

I know this to be true for even Jesus needed to pray.

Very early the next morning, long before daylight, Jesus got up and left the house. He went out of town to a lonely place, where he prayed. – Mark 1:35 GNT

It dawned on me that Jesus prayed – He was God. It dawned on me that Jesus valued the relationship with God the Father more than anything else. He delighted on spending time with Him. They enjoyed spending time together – talking. It is what makes for a good healthy relationship.

I believe that my pride deceives me on this very issue. I read of a man who had no need to pray – Haman. He is such a man that illustrates the deceitfulness of my own heart which appears as conceit I have of myself and my own performances. These things would jump out at me if I was watching and praying. Imagine thinking that I was loved and valued and then finding that love and value was given to another?

It is with a thankful heart that God’s grace is towards me, even though I was dead in my sins. I was brought near to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As to his divine holiness, he was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death. – Romans 1:4 GNT

Father, I come to You believing that You are prepared and willing to answer my prayer, even if that prayer is only a sigh. Jesus, thank you for modelling prayer and for encouraging me to have a relationship with You just as You had one with Your Father. Father, when I look at how black my heart is with pride and conceit in who I think I am, I am sickened to realise how much I am not like You. Thank You Jesus for coming, dying, were buried and yet through the power of the Holy Spirit You were raised from the dead so that I can be set free from those very chains that kept me from You. It is with a light heart and a glad and full cup, that my joy in You is seen in my life. I bless You for walking with me and allowing me to walk with You. May I never find myself taking You for granted. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

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Judges 12-16; Mark 14

29 Peter said, “Everyone else may stumble in their faith, but I will not.”

Haven’t I said those same words! I just knew I was strong in an area where God had been working but when the rug was pulled out from under me, I was not. I wasn’t prepared when something triggered that deep, emotional pain from my past.  I felt God whisper 1 Cor. 10:12 into my heart: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”

37He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour? 38 Stay awake and pray for strength against temptation. The spirit wants to do what is right, but the body is weak.”

And therein lies my problem. I think I’ve got everything under control! That issue I had, it’s in the past—or so I thought. God and I had worked together for years on breaking free from that habit, that old way of dealing with the pain of the past. I was free but I made the mistake of taking that freedom for granted. I need to “stay awake and pray for strength against temptation” for it is always going to be there. I cannot fall spiritually asleep, I must be vigilant. My flesh is weak and sometimes it is just easier to give in than fight. Now I’m learning, when I’ve come to the end of my strength, the Spirit has more than enough. All I have to do is ask for it.

72 At once, the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had told him: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” Then Peter lost control of himself and began to cry.

For three years Jesus poured himself into the disciples. Of the twelve, Peter, the rock as Jesus named him, John, and James were his closest companions. Peter, in particular, has stood out as a leader and strong in his faith—until he wasn’t. At that moment, he didn’t want to be associated with Jesus because he feared for his life. Isn’t that my story as well? I was strong until I wasn’t.

Jesus has been pouring himself into me for a lot longer than three years. I may not have said those exact words but there are so many instances I can think of where to me it is just like denying I know him. I have been in a conversation where someone is gossiping and my spirit told me to walk away but I didn’t—I denied him. I didn’t want people to associate me as “different” (a Jesus follower). That time I clearly heard I was supposed to go help someone and I didn’t follow through, I denied him. When I didn’t grab the opportunity to ask someone I knew was dying if they were assured they were going to heaven, I was denying Jesus. I didn’t want to make someone uncomfortable—isn’t THAT a lie from the devil? There are many times I feel like I have disappointed him and just like Peter I have cried and I have asked for forgiveness.

Jesus knew Peter would struggle with his faith, that is why he prayed for him (Luke 22:31). He also knew Peter would get past it and continue spreading the gospel. Jesus restored his dignity and assured Peter he still had plenty of work for him to do (“feed my sheep)”. Peter was given new hope and new purpose!

I, too, have a Savior who sees my weaknesses and continues to love me and pour Himself into me. I am dearly loved.  He has given me new hope and new purpose. That is praise worthy!

Thank you Jesus for never giving up on me. You know my heart is set on you. Help me to stay awake and be vigilant for the times temptation comes my way. Help me to overcome any fear of proclaiming I am Yours. Give me opportunities to serve others and tell them all about You. In your precious name I pray, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

 

 

 

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Joshua 22-24; Mark 9; Psalms 44;47

“Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.  “For the Lord has driven out great and powerful nations for you, and no one has yet been able to defeat you.  Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised.” Joshua 23:9-10 NLT

I am reading a book by Max Lucado called, Glory Days.  It is about Joshua.  This is his response to Joshua 23:9&10…”Don’t you love that image? One man of you shall chase a thousand.  I envision a single Hebrew soldier with drawn sword racing after am entire battalion of enemies.  He is outnumbered a thousand to one, but since God fights for him, they scatter like scared pigeons.  I picture the same for you.  The Amorites of your life-fears, dread, hatred, and hurt-come at you like a legion of hoodlums.  Yet rather than run away, you turn and face them. You unsheathe the promise of God’s word and defy the enemies of God’s cause.”  And than he says this, “Did you know that God is fighting for you?”  Wow, how different would I live if I truly remembered that.  And prayed like that.  Jesus fights for me. Just like he fought for the little boy with the evil spirit inside him…

Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought the boy.  But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.  “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.  He replied, “Since he was a little boy.  The spirit often throws him into the fire or into the water, trying to kill him.  Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”   “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” ” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:19-24 NLT

What areas do I still need healing in that I am not believing God for?  What lies from Satan am I still listening to?

“You drove out the pagan nations by your power and gave all the land to our ancestors.  You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free.  They did not conquer the land with swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.  It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.”  Psalms 44:2&3 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for how much you love me.  Thank you that you give me the power to defeat my enemies.  Sometimes it is my own self-doubt and insecurity that defeats me before I even start.  I claim your promises over my life.  Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

 

 

 

 

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Joshua 1-4; Psalm 37; Mark 4

I read a devotional not long ago that talked about God teaching us then giving us a lesson to put into practice what he taught us. When I was growing up, I took dance lessons. Ballet, tap, jazz—I loved it all! The teacher would choreograph a dance and then teach us the steps. She would tell us what to do, we would practice, and then she would put on the music. We would practice until we got it right. She would teach, we would practice. The more I practiced, the stronger I became and more assured that I could do it right. The process was teaching/lesson. As I read through the verses for today, they reminded me of that time.

In Joshua, the Israelites begin a new chapter of their journey. New chapters can be scary to some of us! (I tend to like my old and familiar). They have been wandering for 40 years. God has provided everything for them. He has shown them continuously they can trust him and depend on him. That was the teaching. Have they learned the lesson? God is going to give them an opportunity to find out.

Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.” (Josh 1:9) NCV

Be brave, courageous (trust) that I am with you everywhere you go.  That is what God taught them.

The first assignment is sending spies to scope out the land. They tried that once before and it didn’t work out very well. Only two returned (Joshua and Caleb) and reported they could overtake the land while they others caused a nation to shrink in fear. This time, however, the spies come back and assure Joshua the victory will be theirs. Lesson learned?

23 Then the two men started back. They left the hills and crossed the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said, “The Lord surely has given us all of the land. All the people in that land are terribly afraid of us.”

I love that God had another purpose for this mission as well: the spies encounter Rahab. Rahab was brave and courageous and risked her own life to save the spies. She is rewarded for her actions and is listed in the lineage of Jesus. (Math 1:5) She had faith and believed God. (Heb 11:31)

34 Wait for the Lord’s help
and follow him.
He will honor you and give you the land,
and you will see the wicked sent away. (Psalm 37:34)

Jesus teaches us as well. In Mark 4, Jesus tells the disciples:

 31 The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32 But when planted, this seed grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants. It produces large branches, and the wild birds can make nests in its shade.”

It reminded me of Luke 17:6 (If your faith were the size of a mustard seed . . .)  What a word picture that is of what a growing faith in God would look like. That very evening Jesus and the disciples headed across the lake. A storm came up and the boat began to fill with water. An opportunity for a lesson?

38 Jesus was at the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a cushion. His followers woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are drowning!”

39 Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became completely calm.

40 Jesus said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Be brave, courageous (trust) that I am with you everywhere you go (the teaching). Yes, again those words come to mind. I ask myself questions for something going on in my own life (the lesson). How much do I believe you, God? Do I believe you are working in my life or do I believe only what I see? As you have taught me, I cannot see what is going on when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. Before it can be seen, much has happened in the darkness of the ground. So many times I choose to believe the storm that is raging around me over what I know is Truth. That storm is much louder than your voice. “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I hear those words spoken in a loving tone–not a reprimand. You look at me with eyes of love. You have taught me I can say “Quiet! Be still!” as I wait for your help. I have nothing to fear!

As my thoughts ponder the teaching I’ve been given and the ample lessons to put the teaching to practice, I realize how often I’ve not passed the test! Quickly, before I can feel shame, God takes my eyes to the title over Mark 4:21-41 “USE WHAT YOU HAVE”. What do I have, Lord? What have you given me? Lovingly he speaks to my heart, “My WORD!”

Lord, you teach me in so many ways that I am to depend on you, to trust you. You will supply every need. There is nothing physical, emotional, or spiritual I could ever require that you will not provide. When I live believing that, no matter the circumstance, my life has peace. When I forget and trust myself instead, THAT is when I get into trouble. Thank you for being with me everywhere I go. Too often I forget that and feel I’m battling life alone. Whenever I head down that road, You are always quick to remind me how much you love me. I am eternally grateful. In Jesus precious name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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