Category: Gospels

“He has risen; He is not here!”

Scripture reading for January 23rd: Mark 16, Psalm 16, Proverbs 16

Mark 16: 1-6 “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back–it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go and tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.””

Mark describes how the women who followed Jesus came on the first of the week to the tomb where they had witnessed Jesus’ body being laid three days before. They came to anoint His body with spices so that the smell of decaying flesh would be covered. As they came, they wondered how they might access the tomb. The rolling stone door was very heavy. But their fears were soon dispelled by the open door! Inside, they found a young man in white. He calmed their fears by telling them the good news, Jesus Christ was not there anymore! He was alive and risen from the grave! He invited them to view the tomb and HIs resting place. It was empty, except for carefully folded grave-clothes! They were instructed to tell His disciples He would see them in Galilee!

Psalm 16:9-11 “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right had are pleasures forevermore.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your amazing and steadfast love demonstrated for us through the giving of Your Son to bear our sins on the cross. Thank You that You did not allow Your Son’s body to decay or keep Him in Sheol, but raised Him to life eternal at Your right hand! I offer myself today to go and tell others that they may become disciples! I long for Your eternal presence and pleasures!

Proverbs 16:6 “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.”

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“Hail! King of the Jews!”

Scripture reading for January 20th: Mark 15, Psalm 15, Proverbs 15

Mark 15:16-20 “And the soldiers led Him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed Him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking His head with a reed and spitting on Him and kneeling down in homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the purple cloak and put His own clothes on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.”

Mark’s account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, probably from Peter and possibly his own memory, was full of mockery and derision. The soldiers, course men of the world of Rome, loved to laugh at someone else’s expense. Where they got the purple robe we do not know. But they found thorns growing near-by and quickly fashioned a crown. Placing it on Jesus, they mocked this ‘King of the Jews’, spit on him and repeatedly struck Him, beating Him severely, before crucifying Him. Scoffing and mocking are sins of pride. People seek to elevate themselves and put in total humiliation those they mock. Jesus wisely held His tongue, and in fact, prayed for these men, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;. . .”

Prayer: Glorious Lord, thank You for Your steadfast love and faithfulness to take our sins in Your body on the cross that our sins might be atoned for. Thank You for the Gift, Your Holy Spirit, that enables us to now fear the Lord and live blamelessly through grace during our sojourn in this world. Your righteousness given to us enables us to live in Your Holy Presence forever! Amen! Hallelujah!

Proverbs 16:5-6 “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.”

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Body, blood, with thanksgiving!

Scripture reading for January 19th: Mark 14, Psalm 14, Proverbs 14

Mark 14: 22-25 “And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew with you in the kingdom of God.””

As Jesus shared the ‘Last Supper’ with His disciples, He used the bread and sweet wine as a touchstone of remembrance and a prophesy of what was to come. He had told His disciples of His coming death and now broke the bread, giving thanks, telling them that it symbolized His body, broken for the world. He gave them the cup, after again giving thanks, telling them that this symbolized the (new) covenant with them made by the shedding of His own blood. He further told them that He would not drink this cup with them again until that day when He would drink it anew with them in His eternal kingdom! This cup also symbolizes the coming reunion of all believers when Jesus Christ takes us as His ‘Bride’ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Psalm 14:7 “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of His people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.”

Prayer: Oh, Father in heaven, we rejoice now with thanksgiving each time we partake of the ‘Lord’s Supper’ in Holy Communion! It is the Eucharist–(thanksgiving) and helps us remember Your Son’s death on the Cross for us and that last supper with His disciples. But our hearts long for the prophetic fulfilment when Jesus Christ comes again for us, His ‘Bride’ and we eat with Him anew in His eternal kingdom!

Proverbs 14:26-27 “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

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Oh the Joy of His coming!

Scripture reading for January 18th: Mark 13, Psalm 13, Proverbs 13

Mark 13: 24-27 “”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.””

Jesus’ last major teaching of His disciples was a warning of the coming time of great tribulation before Jesus’ second coming. Jesus told them that the tribulation would be time of great shaking of the earth and even the heavens. It would culminate with the return of “The Son of Man” in the clouds with power and great glory. The angels would gather all the elect, those trusting in Jesus Christ, from the ends of the earth and heaven! The righteous would be rewarded by their faith in Jesus and faithfulness to God’s Word. They had heeded the warning of Scripture and now will rejoice in salvation and their eternal reward. Everlasting singing and worship will mark the redeemed and they drink the fountain of Life!

Psalm 13:5-6 “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

Prayer: Father God, You have dealt bountifully with me and I am thankful and rejoice in my promised salvation! I revere Your Word of warning for those still despising Your Word. Have mercy on them and send Your workers with Good News that they might not bring destruction on themselves or their families. I look forward with joy to Your return with the clouds of heaven and power and great glory!

Proverbs 13:13-14 “Whoever despises the Word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.”

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Delighting God through faith!

Scripture reading for January 17th: Mark 12, Psalm 12, Proverbs 12

Mark 12: 38-40 “And in His teaching He said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widow’s houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Jesus taught His disciples to be discerning and watchful. In this world and even among religious folks, pride and love of position often is a trap of the devil to catch men. The Scribes wore religious clothing and symbols of their piety, but stole goods from the widows. They loved seats of honor, and prayed long prayers to show off. But their hearts were far from God and His commandments. God will arise and care for the poor and needy, widows, and orphans. God protects and defends them. He promises safety and deliverance to the righteous. They can count on having joy from their pure hearts and will delight God in their faithfulness. His Word is pure, tried and tested!

Psalm 12:5-6 “”Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for reminding me that You care for the poor, needy, widows, and orphans. Your Word is pure and true for all generations. Help me to walk by faith. Forgive me for the times I have been like those scribes, prideful and self-righteous. Use my lips to declare Your pure Word, warning and calling those lost in this world and deceived in Your church to peace and faithfulness, Your delight and my joy!

Proverbs 12:20-22 “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy. No ill befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are His delight.”

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The power of Faith in God

Scripture reading for January 16th: Mark 11, Psalm 11, Proverbs 11

Mark 11: 21-25 “And Peter remembered and said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Jesus taught His disciples the power of prayer and the power of our mouth and tongue to bless or curse. He used His own cursing of the fig tree that had no fruit but only leaves to illustrate the power of faith and of our words. Like the disciples of old, we face many mountains and obstacles during our pilgrimage on earth. We often fail to ask God for help or to believe His Word and speak in faith to the mountains. Jesus used an illustration visible right there to these disciples in that Herod had literally moved a mountain over about 10 years with many slaves to build his palace. Jesus likely referred to this human feat and the Dead Sea glittering in the distance to impress a vital truth on the hearts of his disciples.

Proverbs11:11-12 “By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown. Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.”

Prayer: Father God, I choose again today to ask for Your forgiveness for my lack of faith and sometimes my failure to forgive others and belittling them. Fill me with grace and faith in Your Word that I may ask You for strength to remove and move mountains of difficulty, bitterness, and unforgiveness. May they all be cast into the sea of Your grace! May my mouth bring blessings to my family or help me remain silent!

Psalm 11:7 “For the Lord is righteous; He loves the righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face!”

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Don’t hinder the children!

Scripture reading for January 13th: Mark 10, Psalm 10, Proverbs 10

Mark 10: 13-16 “And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”

All children are special in God’s sight. He loves them and longs to bless them, but people often hinder the children from coming to Jesus! These disciples were rebuking parents who were bringing their children to Jesus. Jesus got angry with them! He insisted on the children being allowed to come to Him. When they did, He used them again as an illustration of how their simple faith and trust was what the kingdom of heaven was all about. They loved Jesus and found joy in His blessing. In fact, Jesus loves the fatherless and abused children and those who are oppressed and held back by mistreatment! He promises to stand up for them and bring justice! But His greatest desire was and is to bless abundantly!

Psalm 10:17-18 O Lord, You hear the desire of the afflicted; You will strengthen their heart; You will incline Your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your heart towards the children, particularly the fatherless, the abused, the oppressed and the abandoned. I love how You long for them to come to You. Help me to bring them to You in prayer and to see Your blessing extended to them causing joy and hope to arise and giving joy to Your heart. Forgive me for neglecting the children or hindering them. Let all barriers be removed!

Proverbs 10:28-29 “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish. The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.”

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Greatness through serving!

Scripture reading for January 12th: Mark 9, Psalm 9, Proverbs 9

Mark 9: 33-37 “And they came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another abut who was the greatest. And He sat down and called the twelve. And He said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And He took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in My Name receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him Who sent Me.”

Jesus was the Wisdom of God in human flesh. His disciples had been arguing about who of them was the greatest of disciples. Jesus asked them what they had been discussing so energetically, not that He did not know! They kept silent at His question but He answered it for them with a short statement: “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” He then picked up a child, considered among the least of that culture. He encouraged them to receive a child in His Name. That act was equivalent of receiving Jesus Himself, and not only that, receiving His Father Who sent Him! That is true greatness–serving the least in Jesus’ Name and for the Father’s glory.

Proverbs 9:9-10 “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to instruct Your disciples in true greatness. I am seeking to follow Jesus’ teaching and example by applying this wisdom to my life and modeling it for those in my family and in the church. Guide me today into more wisdom and knowledge of how to properly serve each person that I meet or have relationships with. I trust You and seek You today in this time of trouble.

Psalm 9:9-10 “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know Your Name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

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Wisdom: “take up his cross and follow Me!”

Scripture reading for January 11th: Mark 8, Psalm 8, Proverbs 8

Mark 8: 34-38 “And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father will the holy angels.””

Jesus called out to the crowds and directly again to His disciples. His call was to take up their cross and follow Him. What a strange thing to ask of your followers! Carrying the instrument of their own cruel death and following Jesus would not normally be attractive. Jesus explained that loving our life here on earth would cause us to lose our relationship with Him. We would not find the way of the cross that leads to real life. Jesus explained that to lose our lives in following Him was to gain life! We must not be ashamed of Him, His death on a cross for us, or His resurrection to become our Savior! We confess our confidence by faith and take up our cross and follow Him to eternal life and victory over death!

Psalm 8:1 “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens.”

Prayer: Father God, I confess my utter dependence on You and Your way of salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed of Jesus Christ, my Lord, or of His Gospel of repentance and salvation through His sacrifice on the cross. Fill me with fresh boldness to declare the Gospel message in simplicity and in power, with conviction through the Holy Spirit, opening eyes and drawing the lost to salvation.

Proverbs 8:10-11 “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”

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Our heart is where defilement dwells

Scripture reading for January 10th: Mark 7, Psalm 7, Proverbs 7

Mark 7: 18-23 “And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not into his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and they defile a person.””

In Jesus’ day, there were many rules about what you could eat and drink and what would make a person ‘unclean.’ The religious folks loved to make a big deal about these rules about food. But Jesus wanted His disciples to recognize the true source of defilement. It was not the food they ate or abstained from eating, but what was in the heart of man. All evil and wickedness comes from a heart that is defiled by rebellion against God and His Word. Jesus declared all food clean if eaten with thanks to God and prayer of blessing. But the heart of man can only be delivered from wickedness by confession (repentance) and faith in Jesus’ sacrifice of His body and blood. These are the true food and drink of the redeemed!

Psalm 7:12-13 “If a man does not repent, God will whet His sword; He has bent and readied His bow; He has prepared for him His deadly weapons, making His arrows fiery shafts.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for bringing conviction to my heart of the evil within me, so that I might be drawn by Your goodness and mercy to repentance. Cleanse my heart each day as I read Your Word, remove any sin or evil that would bring dishonor to Your Name and bring Your wrath upon me and those I might influence. Help me to share Your great mercy through the Gospel to those yet unrepentant.

Proverbs 7:24-28 “And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your hear turn aside to her (the prostitute) ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.”

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