For my devotional recently I read the first 13 chapters of the Gospel of Mark straight through out of the God’s Word Translation. It was good to read this way because Mark is so brief. I could see the whole picture of the narrative of Jesus’s ministry more clearly, instead of seeing it in little bits, like I usually do.
Also, through the Spirit some of the passages stuck out to me and gave me the spiritual insights and strengthening I need for the things I am working on. (Sorry, I have not listed the chapter and verses here.) Here is what encouraged me:
GOD IS FAITHFUL. Let me hold to that today like a lifeline. If I know nothing else, let me know that.
Let me be faithful as well, the person Jesus wants to take with him to work his miracles, as he took Peter, John and James with him, not the person who is a hindrance, as those were in his hometown.
- While Jesus was still speaking to her, some people came from the synagogue leader’s home. They told the synagogue leader, “Your daughter has died. Why bother the teacher anymore?” When Jesus overheard what they said, he told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid! Just believe.” Jesus allowed no one to go with him except Peter and the two brothers James and John. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a noisy crowd there. People were crying and sobbing loudly. When he came into the house, he asked them, “Why are you making so much noise and crying? The child isn’t dead. She’s just sleeping.” They laughed at him. So he made all of them go outside. Then he took the child’s father, mother, and his three disciples and went to the child. Jesus took the child’s hand and said to her, “Talitha, koum!” which means, “Little girl, I’m telling you to get up!” The girl got up at once and started to walk. (She was twelve years old.) They were astonished.
- He couldn’t work any miracles there except to lay his hands on a few sick people and cure them. Their unbelief amazed him.
Let me remember that “hopeless” is not in God’s vocabulary. The passage above about Jesus healing the little girl illustrates this, as does the story of healing the demon possessed boy who the disciples couldn’t heal. These verses help to remind me that the situation before me may seem daunting, but it is not daunting to God. Those who seem like they cannot be saved can be saved. Those who seem like they will not change can grow over time.
- When Jesus went into a house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we force the spirit out of the boy?” He told them, “This kind of spirit can be forced out only by prayer.”
Let me know God is all sufficient. He will provide for my needs as I serve him. I may be intimidated by the health challenges I face, and worry about how I will be able to do the things I want to do. But as long as I make it my focus to seek God’s agenda, He will enable and equip me to accomplish the things He wants for me to accomplish.
- He called the twelve apostles, sent them out two by two, and gave them authority over evil spirits. He instructed them to take nothing along on the trip except a walking stick. They were not to take any food, a traveling bag, or money in their pockets. They could wear sandals but could not take along a change of clothes.
Let me pour myself out in service, not expecting anything in return. It is so inspiring to read how Jesus gave himself to a life of menial service. When I read these examples it exposes how tied up I can be in self, and in personal glory.
- When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw a large crowd and felt sorry for them. They were like sheep without a shepherd. So he spent a lot of time teaching them
- Whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant. Whoever wants to be most important among you will be a slave for everyone. It’s the same way with the Son of Man. He didn’t come so that others could serve him. He came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people.
Let me tell the truth to people, to tell them the things they need to know, and not hold back. I have been really thinking about this lately. Jake talked about sin in his disciple makers class on Saturday. He talked about how people need to see the truth in their life, what is causing it to be dysfunctional, what they are putting ahead of God. I am also including in this section some of the verses I have been reading on this topic in Ezekiel.
- So the apostles went and told people that they should turn to God and change the way they think and act.
- John had been telling Herod, “It’s not right for you to be married to your brother’s wife.” So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she wasn’t allowed to do it because Herod was afraid of John. Herod knew that John was a fair and holy man, so he protected him. When he listened to John, he would become very disturbed, and yet he liked to listen to him.
- Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man would have to suffer a lot. He taught them that he would be rejected by the leaders, the chief priests, and the scribes. He would be killed, but after three days he would come back to life. He told them very clearly what he meant. Peter took him aside and objected to this. Jesus turned, looked at his disciples, and objected to what Peter said. Jesus said, “Get out of my way, Satan! You aren’t thinking the way God thinks but the way humans think.”
- When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die fortheir sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved. (Ezek 33:8-9)