Category Archives: Mark

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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Deuteronomy 27-31; Mark 2

Once again there is so much we could focus on in these chapters of God’s Word. Today I want us to look at a part of Mark 2. It’s a passage we may glance over without really thinking it through. Here it is:

13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mar2:13-17 [NIV]

Levi (Matthew) was a tax collector. One of the most dishonest professions of the day. They would extort extra funds from those they were collecting taxes from. Not only does Jesus call Levi to be one of His disciples, but when Levi has a party Jesus attends with even more tax collectors and sinners as Mark puts it. It was over a meal. They were eating together where Jesus meets these people. Many times I think we overlook the power of hospitality and eating together in spreading the gospel. Jesus came eating and drinking we read elsewhere in Scripture. His ministry happened many times over a meal. And at the last supper many things were spoken and remembered.

What role does eating and drinking play in your witnessing plan? Perhaps when you have individuals over for dinner who don’t know the Lord and you say a blessing over the meal it may get them thinking about eternal values. Especially when you thank God for your friendship.

Think about it. Who can you invite for dinner? What powerful things can you say, pray and ask that will draw your guests closer to God?

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Deuteronomy 23-26; Mark 1

I’m reading through Deuteronomy and seeing what the Lord values, his warnings, and his reasons why. Twice, I’m caught by the word “remember.”

17 “True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. 18 Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command.

19 “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. 20 When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21 When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command (Deuteronomy 24:17-22, NLT, emphasis added).

Here, calls to justice, mercy, compassion. These are things the Lord values. He reminds the people to remember where they came from–for they were all once slaves who received justice, mercy, and compassion from the Lord. And more: they received what they needed, perhaps in abundance, so that there was leftover to spare. They didn’t need to hold tightly. The Lord provides.

New Testament readings, and my heart swells at this:

10 As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News! (Mark 1:10-15, emphasis added)”

In Mark, Jesus, Son of God, who brings the Father great joy–even the angels take care of him. This is the God I love and who loves me too (Father, provider, protector, teacher–and so much more). I read of the healing that takes place as Jesus moves from place to place. Demons released, health restored, lives changed. He teaches with authority and shows the way.

35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came (Mark 1:35-38, NLT, emphasis added).”

Self: do not live deceived by comfort. I was saved by grace. I know where I came from, and I know who I should have become in a lineage void of Jesus. I can trust him to show mercy, justice, compassion, generosity. He calls me to do the same–to remember where I came from and how he saved me. Lord Jesus, everyone is looking for you, to fill a void and soothe a cry, to show the way to freedom. I am so grateful I know you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 41&42; Mark 16

37 This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God?” 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” (Genesis 42:37-40) ESV

We recall all the things that Joseph experience. He was betrayed by his brothers, then by his owner’s wife and then by a fellow jail mate. He spent years (for some of us not that long [he was 30 here]) but still years marking time at least or worst suffering along the way with no hope or deliverance in sight. Then comes this great picture of him standing before Pharaoh and interpreting a dream that will deliver millions of people. And Pharaoh’s observation? Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God? In the midst of suffering and hopelessness there was no leaving the God he loved. He was full of the Holy Spirit to the point that even Pharaoh saw it.

How many times do we let the circumstances we face, the disappointments in life, trial and sickness pull us away from God. We focus on us and not on the God who can deliver and want a growing relationship with us. In the midst of all these trials Joseph grew closer to God. How bout if today we welcome those negative events and circumstances into our lives as a way of pushing us closer and growing our relationship with the Holy Spirit? What difference will that make? Let’s see!

Father God help me today to look at the negative things that come my way as a means to growing my relationship with You and Your Holy Spirit. Grow me in you today God! I pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen!

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Genesis 32-34; Psalm 145; Mark 13

Imagine a young lady who is loved by a man and that same man rapes her.  Love in my family was just as dysfunctional but more so in another family of mine where the sister sexually abused her younger sister. To this day the emotional abuse continues. No wonder the Jacob’s family had other intentions for the rapist other than marriage.

Three days later the men who had been circumcised were still weak from pain. So Simeon and Levi,[h] two of Dinah’s brothers, attacked with their swords and killed every man in town,  including Hamor and Shechem. Then they took Dinah and left. – Genesis 34:25-26

Love is a strange word and I often wonder how I survived my dysfunctional past to have a rather healthy relationship with God. The Holy Spirit must have done some amazing work in my life transforming me and making me new because there is no reason for being the person I am except by grace and His power in my life.  I know one thing for sure, Jesus was the only person, when I was growing up, that I knew loved me and because He did, I loved Him right back.

You take care of everyone
who loves you,
    but you destroy the wicked. – Psalm 145:20

Every day that I follow the reading schedule found on the top of this blog, and every day that I am challenged to love my wife as Christ loved the Church, I understand this task is one that takes place every day.  Jesus loved us so much that He made sure to tell us how hard it will be when we face difficult times, even the end times.  I am challenged every day knowing that no matter if He comes suddenly, or destruction visits the door of my home, or I am tempted to go against Him in some part of my life, the only way I will hang on, the only way I can survive and sustain my walk with Him is to never waver in my love for Him, always bring Him into every area of my life and to walk with Him wherever I go.

But if he comes suddenly, don’t let him find you asleep.  I tell everyone just what I have told you. Be alert! – Mark 13:36-37

Thank you so much for loving me.  Your love reaches to the core of my heart, it is pure, life changing, and it sets me free to be me.  I can even forgive those who have hurt me or the family members that I love very much. Your love alone can change the world, and yet somehow the Church has lost its will to love You and by not loving You, they have lost the sense of Your love for them. Father, revive us, restore us and bring back to us our first love that You gave so freely to us on the day we gave our lives to following Jesus. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar)

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