Tag Archive: bible devotions


 

Continuing our journey with Mark as we head towards the end of Jesus’ life as He heads for the garden where He will be arrested and then later tried.

i take some time to look at what He does or maybe more importantly what He doesn’t do – what He says and what He doesn’t say, to see where we can learn how we can and should respond in similiar flavoured circumstances:.

Join me as we take a look at Mark 14 from 43 to 65:

 

 

[For the next passage in Mark looking at Peter denying Jesus, click here]

this is a super great psalm and just one of those where virtually every verse can be looked at and appreciated and spoken into – for that reason i want to encourage you to go and read the whole psalm and then come back here and share what stood out for you. i am just going to be looking at two specific sections that stood out for me:

8 Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

what i loved about this first piece is the idea of the vocalisation, or declaration of the praise of God – let’s say it so people can hear it and let’s do it collectively – this speaks into the whole concept and need of church, the gathering of God’s people to lift His name up.

but then also the fact that it speaks into God being a presence in times of trouble as opposed to a protector from trouble or remover of it. phrases like ‘preserved our lives’ and ‘kept our feet from slipping’ indicate that the going has not been easy, but God has been there and His hand has been active and He has kept us from being overwhelmed by the life situations we faced which were not all comfortable and easy.

being refined like silver is a painful and uncomfortable process, but one that yields incredible and beautiful results.

and then God is even described as the One who was responsible for some of the trouble [an imagine none of us like to rush to or even consider at all sometimes?] – ‘You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.’

i really love the realness this psalm exudes – we give God praise because He is so worth it – while at the same time the acknowledgement that it has not all been easy, but perhaps it has all been good?

the second passage that grabbed my attention was this one:

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
    let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
    his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
    and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
    who has not rejected my prayer
    or withheld his love from me!

again it starts with giving God praise and lifting His name up and i love the simple phrases ‘with my mouth’ and ‘on my tongue’ and all they convey…

but what really stands out for me here is the phrase ‘If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.’

great note to get us to stop for a moment and examine our lives and ask if there is actually any sin we are cherishing right now – not fighting against or wrestling with or trying to overcome, but actively being ok with? it made sense to the psalm writer that if that was the case, then we could naturally expect God to remain silent in the answering of our prayers.

is there any sin in your life right now that you have been justifying using phrases like, ‘It’s only…’ or ‘Everyone is doing it’ or ‘It’s not that bad’? 

if God is seeming to be particularly silent , then maybe that is a good place to start.

but the psalmist here is confident that there is no cherished sin going on in his life and as a result of that he is able to once more raise some praise to the God ‘who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!’

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

If you are genuinely trying to follow Jesus, then there will be times when it gets confusing or difficult or a little overwhelming and this passage for me – Mark 12 vs 28-34 – is a good place to head back to and be reminded of the foundations that everything else is built on.

There is some great stuff in this reflection on focus and judging others [or not] and how centering our life on this Love thing might just inform the way you live the rest of your life… so this feels like one worth taking a watch of…

[To watch the next part which deals with Jesus and your offering, click here]

This is a rather interesting interaction between Jesus and the blind man known as Bartimaeus as Jesus when faced with the obvious, still takes time to ask the blind man what he wants Jesus to do for him. Join us as we read through Mark 10-46-52…

[For the next passage looking at Jesus riding into town on a donkey. click here]

this is a short psalm with a big focus on praising God:

‘Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.’
[verse 1-2]

which is a great thing to be reminded of.
especially when times are tough and we feel more at home reading how God is with us even when we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death [psalm 23] or that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit [psalm 34] – those psalms are great and a can be a really helpful source of comfort, but sometimes we just need to be reminded that God is great and just get loud and crazy and worshipful and lose it a little bit for Him

which brings me to the word ‘awesome’ – ‘For the Lord Most High is awesome’ – this is a personal thing, but i love sharing it with others in case anyone else decides to make it a personal for them as well.

a couple of years ago [in the midst of ‘awesome’ being quite the much used synonym for all things ‘cool’ ‘rad’ and even ‘wicked’] i decided that i wanted to reserve the word ‘awesome’ for God.

i think i might have gotten the idea from someone else but it hit me that i was using the same word ‘awesome’ to describe an ice-cream on a hot day and also to describe a movie i really liked and then also to describe the Creator and Father God who spoke a word and the whole Universe came into being… and who Loved the world so much that He sent His only Son to die that we might live… it just didn’t seem right.

and so i decided, from that day forward, that i would only ever use the word ‘awesome’ to describe God [or on the rare occasion something God-related as in ‘that was an awesome worship session’] and it has helped the word become more special for me.

i am not suggesting we take this to extremes and hold back all the other words we use to describe God, otherwise we would soon run out of words. but it does feel kinda special knowing that i have one word that is reserved for God. it becomes like an act of worship for me. a gift from me to God. this word is for You. You are the Lord Most High… and you ARE Awesome!

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

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