Category Archives: Mark

What do You want me to do?

“Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Deuteronomy 5-6, Psalm 43, and Mark 14.

Surrender.

Total surrender.

Nothing more.  Nothing less.

God has the right plan for me.  I often think that I know best.  It’s obvious, or at least I think that it is.  BUT God knows ultimately best!

Jesus knew what was coming and He asked for another way.  God knew best: If Jesus didn’t carry my sins to death, I would still have them on my record.  I would be unacceptable to God on Judgment Day.

I must be certain that I am doing what God wants me to do.  The only way that I can get this right is to have a tight, ongoing relationship with Him.

I must give up trying to run my own life.  His Word gives me a foundation for what God would want me doing or not doing.  Sometimes the course I must take is clear from within the framework of His Word.  It’s the uncertain times.  It’s the times in which the obvious is not His Will.

How difficult it is for a mere mortal to live as God wants him to live!

“Father, I need Your help.  I beg You to direct my path.  I beg You to prick my conscience when I am going astray.  I want to be in Your Will all the time.  I cling to You now.  I love You, Lord.”

How will you know His Will?

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Having the right words

“Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say.  Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”  Mark 13:11.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Deuteronomy 3-4, Psalm 36, and Mark 13.

When I speak, is it the Holy Spirit speaking?  Not always, for sure!

If I want to speak His Words I must be filled with Him.

If I am not filled with Him, then I will be saying my own words which are not God’s Words.

There is no middle ground on this.  I am either verbally representing God or I am verbally representing Satan!

I must be conscious of the significance of my every word.  I continually throw words around here at home that are NOT Godly.  Why?  I get into a “comfort” zone here in which my words aren’t as guarded as they are elsewhere.  Often those “unguarded” words cause trouble. “Forgive me, Father!”

My relationship to God must be ongoing.  I must constantly check to see where He is in the moment I am in.  I know that He is with me but am I acting/talking as if I am aware of it?

“Lord, I need You every second.  You don’t leave.  I do.  Forgive me.  Saturate me with You so that what overflows pleases You.  I love You, Lord.”

His Words must be in every conversation I have this day.

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Clean up first

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  Mark 11:25.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Numbers 34-36 and Mark 11.

If I am going to be in the presence of a holy and righteous God, I must be cleaned up.

If I have known sins in my life, I need to ask for forgiveness.

Today’s verse is quite clear: my unforgiven sins are a problem.

There is a parable where a person gets a debt forgiven but does not do the same for someone indebted to him.

If I have an issue with someone, there is nothing better than to clear the air with that person.  What they do with my request for forgiveness is their business.  I have taken care of my side.

I never want my interactions with God to be limited.  I need Him every second. I can’t drift away from Him.  I can’t erect obstacles that mar this relationship.

“Lord, I need You every second.  Forgive me for being unforgiving.  I am a sinner.  I need to be constantly begging You for forgiveness.  Open my eyes/ears to my sinfulness so that I can ask for forgiveness.  I want my sin burden lifted so that I can please You unencumbered. Help me, I beg.”

Are you cut off from God because of your unconfessed sins?

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Hell isn’t just a warm place

“And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out.  It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”  Mark 9:47-48.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Numbers 30-31 and Mark 9.

Satan would have us believe that Hell isn’t all that bad.

Today’s verses insist otherwise.

Those who insist on going to Hell must understand that they will face eternal torment both internally (worms) and externally (fire).

And also there is no turning back.  You’re there, you’re there forever.

Why are so many so lackadaisical about Hell?  They doubt its existence and minimize it.

The preachers of old dwelled heavily on descriptions of Hell.  In many cases, they “scared” people into a desire to avoid Hell and to gain Heaven.  In many churches these days, Hell is minimized and the fear of it as well.

I have family members who are godless by their own admission.  If they knew what Hell was really like I am sure that they would seek an alternative eternal destination.

In apologetics we try to “reason” people into heaven.  Maybe we should spend more time “reasoning” people away from Hell.

“Lord, Hell is real.  You have told us that.  Forgive me for minimizing its existence.  For talking little about it.  I must, in Your strength, alert folks to its reality.  Help me, Father.”

Hell must not be taken lightly.

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Posture before God

“Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet.” Mark 5:22.

“Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet, and trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.” Mark 5:33.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Numbers 19-20, Psalm 28, and Mark 5.

Who am I in the presence of God?

God is not a casual acquaintance of mine.  There’s no small talk.  I am flat out overwhelmed.

Words will escape me.  My eyes cannot look at Him.

I am undone!

I can do nothing but stretch out in front of Him face down.

And then there’s my actual experience with Him.  I send Him wish lists telling Him what I want. I give Him an occasional “Thank You” for some help of His that I happen to notice.

How shallow is my relationship!  How unrealistic!

God is awe worthy.  EVERY good gift has come from Him.  He is the reason that I have eternal life with Him.  Why do I act so underwhelmed of Him?

“Lord, You are awe worthy.  Forgive me for lessening my awe and replacing it with complacency.  You are indeed everything to me.  How amazing You are!  Thank You, Father.”

If I am not overwhelmed by God then I am not seeing Him (and me) accurately.

 

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Only limited by us

“Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Numbers 17-18, Psalm 129, and Mark 4.

Today’s verse was the reaction of the disciples to the time Jesus calmed the Sea of Galilee.

Why would they react with such wonder?  Hadn’t they already seen Him do miracles?

It was the novelty that got them awestruck.  If they were on water in the future and a storm came up they would have the remembrance of a previous lake-calming to go by.

In my life I often push God out of the picture in some areas.  My thinking is that the faced trouble is not found dealt with in Scripture.  So, I make the same mistake the disciples did: I assume, by my actions, that it is something He can’t handle.  Silly me!

God, the Creator, is never out of His element.  He’s in charge of everything.  Read early Genesis to get an idea of what He’s done.  He’s not restricted.

I can turn every trouble to Him with confidence.  When I ignore Him, I elevate someone else other than Him.  That would be Satan.  Why go there.  I must continue to put my whole life into the hands of God and live that out every second.

“I need You every second.  Forgive me for elevating troubles above You.  I cling to You for guidance.  I thank You for Your Peace.  I love You, Lord.”

Where are you acting as if God can’t help?

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Be bold

“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” Mark 15:43.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Job 26-27, and Mark 15-16.

Joseph of Arimathea came out of the closet on this one.

He was a member of the Council that had a part in getting Jesus crucified.  Now he wants the body.

Pilate wouldn’t have to do much figuring to sort of why: Joseph was a closet follower of Jesus.

Like many of us, his faith was not truly external.  It was almost entirely internal.

I am pressing myself regarding witnessing.  It takes boldness to step out and do it.  I instinctively want to play it safe.  Wait for the golden opportunity.  Don’t take any risk.

Joseph may have been living the same way.  He may have had opportunities to speak out against harming Jesus but chickened out.

In this verse, however, he decides to cross the street.  I couldn’t resist the “chicken” analogy.

I must gain boldness to witness.  It cannot be just a perfect situation approach.  If I do it right and am rejected I have glorified God.  Of whom shall I fear?

“Lord, thank You for this story of a reluctant Joseph acting boldly as He did something for You.  Help me to be bold for You.  I love You, Father.”

I need to become bold in witnessing.

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Why I don’t know what I’m talking about

“Jesus replied, ‘Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?’”  Mark 12:24.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Job 23-24, and Mark 11-12.

The “smart” folks tried to trap Jesus into saying something that would give them reason to minimize Him.  It didn’t work!

His answers were remarkable.  At times, His response silenced His questioners completely.

But I choose to direct the response of Jesus, in today’s verse, in my direction.

I want to understand Jesus.  I want to know what He wants me to do.  Why am I not getting that done?

The answers are quite clear: “you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”

Jesus was dealing with Scripture “lifers” when He made that remark.  He was telling them that You think you know the Scriptures but you don’t.  You know the words, but You don’t know the actual meaning.  You have produced a “meaning” that is fallacious.

I must not fall into the same problem.  I must study His Word but do it pleading for His Enlightenment as I study it.

I must also be mindful of what can happen when I am empowered by God.  That empowerment will lessen my proclivity to misunderstand.

“Lord, I thank You for Your Word.  I beg You for discernment as I read Your Word.  You are in charge.  You can give me what I need as I read and study the Bible.  Empower me to live out the truths as You reveal them to me.  I love You, Lord.”

Do you know what you’re talking about?

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Getting saved

“’It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, ‘Who then can be saved?’  Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’”  Mark 10:25-27.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; Psalm 121, and Mark 9-10.

Heaven is not for sale.

My goodness won’t get me there.

My wealth may NOT indicate that God has blessed me.

In the Jewish belief system of that day, wealth was indicative of someone who had been good.  The poor, on the other hand, had messed up.

Jesus had just chatted with a wealthy young man.  He would have been a prized Jew: wealthy as well as someone who, according to him, had obeyed the Ten Commandments since he was young.  BUT he was arrogant about his status before God and Jesus cut through it by telling him to sell everything.

This man was loved by Jesus but not accepted by Him.  To be acceptable he would need to trust God instead of his wealth and his goodness.

I can do nothing to make myself right with God.  I can never be good enough.  I am already seriously flawed.  I need another solution.  That solution is believing that I am flawed (That’s easy!) and believing that Jesus took my sins to the grave.  He paid for my sins on the cross and was raised to new life with my sins taken care of.  I am in the clear.  By believing these things I am saved from the consequences of my sins.  Judgment Day does not worry me, in fact, I look forward to it.

“Lord, thank You for providing a way for a sinner like myself to have my after-life with You.  I believe that You took care of my sin problem when You died for me.  I believe that when You were raised (by God) You gave me a new life unburdened by my sins.  Help me to live this day accordingly.  I love You, Father.”

I will never be good enough to be saved…………nor will you.

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Selfish

“But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ’You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’”  Mark 8:33.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading; Job 22, and Mark 7-8.

Good intentions on Peter’s part but not what Jesus wanted to hear.

Peter didn’t want to lose Jesus.  But why?  It is fair to say that Peter’s motives were selfish.  Peter envisioned Jesus doing a multitude of good things.  Maybe Peter envisioned a kingdom being set up.  Whatever, talk of Jesus heading intentionally for an early death would end such hopes.  So Peter sought to do a “good” thing.

I have just (today) reread an RA Torrey writing on selfishness and answered prayer.  We pray for things that will make our lives better.  Take care of my back.  Bring my wayward child home.  Let’s have a revival in our church.  Torrey sees those requests as selfish.  They benefit us.  We instead, he states, must pray differently.  We must pray for things that will first and foremost glorify God.  We must secondly pray that an area where God is dishonored must be ended.

I have been focusing on witnessing lately.  Why do I want to get out and start witnessing?  I must decry a primary reason for witnessing to be making things better for me.  They’ll be better neighbors.  Folks will rise up and call me blessed.  Nonsense such as that.  My request to have the ability/opportunity to witness must be to bring glory to God as well as to end something that dishonors Him.

“Lord, I thank You for Your Word.  I thank You that You love me enough to share Who You are with me.  I thank You for solving my sin problem by dying for them.  I thank You for the new life I have because my sins are gone.  I rejoice in You.  I thank You for blessing me.  I have earned zip yet You have given me much.  I ask, Lord, for the ability/opportunity to share You with others.  To You be the glory.”

I will witness to glorify God and to end that which dishonors Him.

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