Thursday, March 31, 2011

His rich kindness

Luke 1:39-80

 46 Mary responded,   "Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
    47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
 49 For the Mighty One is holy,
      and he has done great things for me.
 50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
      to all who fear him.
 51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
 68 "Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
      because he has visited and redeemed his people.
 69 He has sent us a mighty Savior
      from the royal line of his servant David,
 70 just as he promised
      through his holy prophets long ago.

But why?  Why would He do all of this?  Because He loves us.  As the David Crowder song says, "Oh, how He loves us!"

What should we do in response?  We should walk with Him, and share His love with others:

74 We have been rescued from our enemies
      so we can serve God without fear,
 75 in holiness and righteousness
      for as long as we live.
 76 "And you, my little son,
      will be called the prophet of the Most High,
      because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
 77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
      through forgiveness of their sins.
 78 Because of God's tender mercy,
      the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
      and to guide us to the path of peace."

Heavenly Father, thank you for your great love!  Thank you for sending Jesus Christ to rescue us from our enemies and restore our relationship with you.  Lord, please forgive me for being distracted by the worthless things of this world; I want to walk with you and enjoy you.   I want to show others how great, kind, merciful, and loving you are.  May your light shine through me today.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

Friday, March 25, 2011

watch and pray; buck up

Mark 14:32-72
Jesus was out in the Garden of Gathsemene in the wee hours of the morning asking the Father to go easy on the suffering bit, and he brought is Green Berets with Him to watch and pray.  But they wimped out.  Too sleepy.  Sounds like me.
37And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
After they arrested Jesus and took Him to the High Priest's house for a dirty trial, Peter stealthly followed the angry mob and ananonomously eavesdropped outside in the High Priest's courtyard.  When he was spotted and recognized as one of Christ's followers, he denied it.  Three times he denied knowing Christ.
71But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, "I do not know this man of whom you speak."
How many times each day do we deny knowing Christ by the things that we say and do?  How about I buck up and acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Even if it makes me feel awkward or makes someone else uncomfortable.
Heavenly Father, I want to stand guard, keep watch, and pray.  I want to follow Christ so closely and operate in the spirit so that my flesh never gets the best of me.  Holy Spirit, please give me boldness and power to be a witness for Jesus Christ.  I ask in His Name, the great I AM who is coming on the clouds of heaven.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

faithfully waiting

Mark 13:21-37
32"But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake."
Heavenly Father, it amazes me that you know the timing of the end of the world and Jesus's return, but He doesn't. That boggles my mind.  Regardless, I want to be faithfully watching for His return.  I want you to find me faithful when He returns.  I want to stay awake and pray.  I want to be walking with Christ when He comes.  Please help me serve Christ diligently.  Holy Spirit, please help me listen to the specific instructions that you have given me to carry out.  I love you, and I need you.  Please draw me close to you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who is returning soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

fearless and faithful

Mark 13:1-20

Jesus said that wars, earthquakes, and famines will characterize the beginning birthpains of the end of the world.  Perhaps I am especially gullible after the 9.0 in Japan a few weeks ago, but it seems to me like a lot of the stuff happening around the world matches up with Jesus's predictions.  And it seems like it is escalating - like birthpains. 

I don't know if the following verses apply only to the disciples in the early days of the Church, during the persecution of Saul, or if perhaps they might also apply to us in the days ahead:

9 "When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 10 For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. 11 But when you are arrested and stand trial, don't worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Considering that many of our Brothers and Sisters around the world are suffering heavy persecution because of their allegiance to Jesus Christ, I think these verses might apply to us today and in the days ahead.  My prayer is that we will be fearless and faithful to Christ in the face of persecution.  You might think that such conditions would not be possible in the good ol' US of A, but this country has become so fickle and spiritually hollow.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word.  Lord Jesus, I need you, and I want to walk with you.  Holy Spirit, I want to be conscious of your movement today, and I want to keep in step with you.  Lord, please shine your light through me, and may I be a salty witness for Jesus Christ today and every day.  I love you, Lord.  May you be blessed today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Mark 12:18-44
I think these should be the first verses that I teach my children to memorize:
29Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
I also want to demonstrate what that looks like, so that they will love Him at an early age.
Heavenly Father, I believe that you are the one, true God.  I trust you with my life.  I want to love you with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength; please teach me how to do that.  And please help me love my neighbor as myself.  I want to bless others so that they will bless you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

the road to redemption

Mark 10:32-52
32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33saying, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise."
It impresses me more and more that Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen in Jerusalem, and He followed the plan.  Brandi mentioned yesterday that she is a little intimidated about delivering our next child, now that she knows how much work and how painful it is.  But she also knows the joy of having a child.  It is love and joy that pulls us through suffering.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your plan to redeem us from sin and death with the death of Jesus.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your love for us, which compelled you to walk that road to Jerusalem, knowing that you would suffer and die.  But you knew that you would rise again.  You were willing to go through the hard work and pain for my redemption.  Thank you for your love.  I love you, Lord.  And I want to follow you.  Please help me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Mark 10:1-31
26And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" 27Jesus looked at them and said, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God."
It is easy to take gifts for granted.  I have been trying to start my mornings with prayer, especially thanking Christ for saving me, for dieing to pay for my sin, and rising from the dead to conquer sin, death, and hell.  I think it has a big impact on my perspective the whole day if I begin with an attitude of thankfulness, especially for salvation.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and mercy.  Thank you for sending Jesus to purchase my salvation with His blood.  Lord, please help me live with a grateful attitude, and may my life be spent loving you and serving you in response to the great love that you have shown me.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

teach me!

Mark 9:30-50

31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise."

I want Jesus to teach me about His death and resurrection.  I want to spend time with Christ so that He will teach me because I am a disciple of Christ.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love.  Jesus, thank you for your teaching.  I want to know you and walk with you.  I want to understand your teaching, apply it to my life, and share it with others.  You told me that I am salt and light; Lord, please help me be salty and shine bright.  I love you, Lord.  Please give me joy and peace in your Victory today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

dirty heart

Mark 7:1-23

The Lord has been impressing me recently with the importance of acknowledging the things that are going on inside my heart and mind.  When I have an impure motive or thought, I need to notice it.  And then I need to be honest with the Lord about it.  He already knows the condition of my heart, but He will purify my heart when I tell Him what is going on inside and that I need Him.

20 He went on: "What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person."

Heavenly Father, thank you for your patience with me.  Lord, please help me be conscious of the issues inside me so that I can confess them to you so that you will heal me.  Lord, I love you, and I want to have the heart and mind of Christ.  Please transform me by renewing my mind, and please change the desires of my heart to match the desires of your heart.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

His presence

Mark 6:30-56
The disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, and they were terrified.

50 ... Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

It's the same statement throughout the whole Bible: "Don't be afraid; take courage; the I AM is here."  I have got to learn to peacefully and faithfully focus on Him and knowing Him instead of anxiously focusing on all of my responsibilities.
Heavenly Father, please help me gaze at you instead of my Goliaths.  Help me see that you are in control, and you are working out a good plan for me and through me.  Lord Jesus, you are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and you are the great I AM.  I want to share you with others; I want to lead others to you.  Please produce the fruit of the Spirit in me so that others will see road signs leading to you.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Mark 6:1-29
Jesus went back home, but the people there thought He was just a carpenter, so they didn't believe Him.
5And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And he marveled because of their unbelief.
Maybe we are like Herod Antipas and the way he dealt with John the Baptist.  "I am the king of my own life, basically doing what I want, but knowing that God has a standard for the way I should live.  I hear these preachers that talk about what God wants for us, but I just don't know if I really want to sell out, all out for God.  That sounds crazy and extreme.  I would rather stay here in the middle and pretend that I am a good person, and try to ignore my inner conscience that is anxious about spiritual matters."
20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
Heavenly Father, I want to give you my whole life and turn all control over to you.  Lord, I want to believe in Jesus as much as I can; please help me grow in my faith.  Lord, I need you, and I know that my life is a mess without you.  Please rescue me from myself and my own way of doing things, which ultimately leads to death.  I want to follow your way, and I want to heed your instruction from your servants.  Lord Jesus, I want to follow you and know you.  Please help me see you and seek you.  I love you, Lord.  Holy Spirit, please keep me in step with you today.  I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

fear versus faith

Mark 5:21-43
The results of faith are peace and healing:
34And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
But the opposite of faith is fear:
36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe."
I am realizing that I have been very anxious about my work these past few weeks.  I need to turn these matters over to the Lord and put my faith in Him instead of myself.  I want the peace and joy that typify the life of faith.
Heavenly Father, please help me.  Lord Jesus, help me cast all of my cares upon you.   Holy Spirit, please turn my attention to Christ and turn my heart toward Him.  Lord, I want to mediate on you and enjoy you so that I won't fear.  I want to trust you.  Please help me.  I love you, Lord, and I'm asking in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, March 4, 2011

seed of life

Mark 4:1-20
Seed, sower, and soils.  Jesus, as the Word of God, is the Seed of Life.
Heavenly Father, would you please grow your Life in me!  Lord Jesus, I want to know you, and I want to do everything I can to cooperate with you so that you will grow in me and produce your fruit in me.  Lord, please help me make my heart open to you to continue receiving your Word of Life.  Lord, please point out the shallow, rocky places in my heart and may I soften my heart to you.  I want to be open to your roots growing deep into my heart.  Lord Jesus, please show me the thorns that are competing against you growing in me.  Lord, may I submit to your Lordship so that I will not be distracted by the things of this world.  Lord Jesus, please produced an abundant harvest of faith and good deeds in my life so that I can be a faithful sower of your Word of Life into others.  Please keep your Word in the front of my mind and ready on my tongue so that I can be a faithful messenger of your love and kindness.  I love you, Lord.  Thank you for watering and cultivating my heart to know you and receive you.  I hope that my life is a blessing to you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

stronger man

Mark 3:20-35

26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

Jesus is the stronger man! He has bound up Satan, and we get to help Jesus plunder "his" house! I want to be a faithful plunderer today. I want to help people be released from the deception and bondage of Satan and experience the freedom, life, peace, and joy of knowing and following Christ.

Heavenly Father, please annoint me with your Holy Spirit today. Please wash my mind and my heart to turn toward Christ and pursue Him only today. Lord, please use me to help other people see the joy and life in Christ. I ask in the powerful and stronger name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

following Christ

Mark 3:1-19

It seems to me that this statement should be descriptive of all Believers:

14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach

While not everyone is given a gift of apostleship, perhaps every follower of Christ should (1) "be with Him" and (2) go out into the world as a witness of His love, light, and life.

Heavenly Father, please help me "be with Christ".  Lord, I want to know you.  I want to spend time with you in your Scriptures each day.  I want to spend time with you in prayer each day.  I want to be with you and aware of what you are doing and how you are leading me every moment.  Lord, please draw me close to you so that everywhere I go, I can be a witness of your mercy and grace.  I love you, Lord.  Thank you for loving me and saving me.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Mark 2:18-28
Jesus ate with sinners, and His disciples didn't fast.  These behaviors bothered the pharisees and disiples of John the Baptist.  How can the groomsmen fast when they are celebrating with the groom?   Our purpose is to enjoy Christ.
Jesus and His disciples picked some grain to eat on the Sabbath.  This bothered the pharisees.
Jesus said,  27..."The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath."
Switchfoot said, "We were meant to live for so much more."  It sure is easy to slip into religion.
Heavenly Father, please keep me from being a religionist!  I don't want to just go through life following rules; I want to follow Christ!  I want to know Christ and walk with Him.  I want to know the Holy Spirit and keep in step with Him.  I want to enjoy your company and live out your plan for me.  I love you, and I want to know you.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.