Re:Verse reading–Psalm 2, Psalm 110 (day four)
From the beginning of time, man has rebelled against God. All through history, kings and rulers have sought to eliminate God and His authority over them. God, the Sovereign ruler, simply laughs at their attempts. In Acts 4:25, after Peter and John had been arrested and warned not speak any more about Jesus, they looked back to Psalm 2. They saw that Herod and Pilate, along with the gentiles and the peoples of Israel, had been acting according to God’s plan. The disciples asked God to fulfill His promise in Psalm 2 and to extend His hand against His detractors. The result of their prayer was that the building was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. When you face persecution and see God’s kingdom assaulted by the world, have you prayed Psalm 2, asking Him to stand against the opposition. His Word still stands and will never be overcome by man. “How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”
Re:Verse reading–Psalm 2, Psalm 110 (day three)
“The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” Someone has said, “The man who poses the greater menace to others is not the one whose god differs from yours, but the one who fears no god at all.” As the centurion told Jesus, “I myself am a man under authority…” The most discerning among us know that each of us answers to someone, and that everyone will give an account for decisions and actions. Every action we carry out bears the clear markings of our loyalties—to God or to self. Every action we carry out proclaims whether we believe we are the master or the mastered. This is why wisdom—and with it life everlasting—begins with the fear of the Lord.
Re:Verse reading–Psalm 2, Psalm 110 (day two)
Everybody wants to be happy, and we all choose a path to that happiness. Our culture trumpets that the path to happiness is through freely expressing and pursuing my desires. Any restriction of my desires should be cast-off. And so Psalm 2:3 is fulfilled, “let us tear off their chains and free ourselves from their restraints…” The Scripture teaches another path to happiness. A path walked not by unhindered desires but by willingly surrendered freedoms. I can best pursue happiness not by being the master of my own fate but by surrendering myself to the Master. In this surrender, I find Psalm 2:12 fulfilled in me. “All who take refuge in Him are happy.” I can say, “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places” (Psalm 16:6).
Re:Verse reading–Psalm 2, Psalm 110 (day one)
“The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ ” (110: 1) Psalm 110 is quoted more often in the New Testament than any other Psalm. It figured significantly into the thinking of Jesus (cf Mark 12:35-37). Without some guidance, it can be confusing to modern readers. Two Hebrew words are both translated into English by the word Lord. In vs 1, the first name is Jahweh. The second is Adonai. Vs 2 and 4 also use Jahweh. Vs 5 translates the word Adonai. Jahweh is the God the Father. Adonai means master or Messiah referring to Jesus (even though David could not have supplied the Saviors’s name). What David reports (in the Spirit) is God the Father to God speaking to the Son. Over the next six days, I hope we can read this Psalm with new understanding and confidence. The Lord (Jahweh) made significant promises to our Lord(Adonai)!
RE Verse reading–Mark 15:40-47, 16:1-8 (day seven) ” Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.” (16:1) For a moment please think of the women who have figured significantly into the Gospel of Mark. The woman with the issue of blood–Mark 5, the little girl raised from the dead–Mark 5, the Syrophonecian woman–Mark 8, the Lord’s protection of women through His teaching on divorce–Mark 10, Mary’s anointing–Mark 14, the women who followed Him from Galilee to help with chores–Mark 15, Mary Magdelene and Mary and Salome who were first to know and first to tell the resurrection–Mark 16. Why (in a world as biased against women as the 1st century was) would the Lord have taken such bold actions? Why would the scripture be so faithful to report such culturally unpopular activity? Only two available answers. “Male AND female created He them” (Genesis 1:27) “There is neither male nor female. . .for you are all ONE in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28)
RE Verse reading–Mark15:40-47, 16:1-8 (day six) “And there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem” (15:41) I wonder whether they expected life to change permanently when they decided to go with Him. They must have known the danger. It must have been a sacrifice, a labor of love. Their tender/feminine hearts must have been particularly devastated to see Him arrested and crucified. Would they go home, now? No time to answer the question. Work to do. Then the empty tomb and the angel words, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee!” (16:7) Did they dare imagine that these words included them too? The adventure had not come to an end–a new, next chapter was just beginning. It has always been so for me, as I have followed Christ. Just as one door closes, another opens. There are no dead ends on this road, not with a Savior who is eternally alive and active. The adventure continues!
RE Verse reading–Mark 15:40-16:8 (day five) It’s a phrase that gets thrown around frequently these days. It’s an attitude of entitlement, selfishness, and comparison. It’s a word I often refuse to let slide when I hear it, often responding, “Fair (fare) is what you pay to ride a bus!” Our culture and own flesh will tell us life is supposed to be fair. One of most important lessons the gospel teaches us is that life is not meant to be fair. At the cross, an innocent “lamb” is killed in my place. The Lord Himself taking my sin, my punishment, and my deserving wrath of God. God’s Amazing Grace comes at a monumental cost! That’s not fair!! My own heart looks at circumstances and life in general and tries to influence me to think that life should be fair, that I deserve better. But, when the Holy Spirit reminds me of the cross, salvation, and the eternal promises of the Father, I am reminded that if “life is NOT fair” for Him, why should it be fair for me?
RE Verse reading–Mark 15:40-16:8 (day four)
“In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs.” The spirit within a man fears isolation. Part of what it means to be fully human is to live and move in a social context. From estrangement from family to solitary confinement to shunning by a community, isolation sets a person at the terrifying edge of the abyss of loneliness. God is the only person who will never lose track of you. Even in the midst of abandonment by friends, followers, and hangers-on—even as in the Pharisees’ eyes he became a pariah—Jesus knew God’s provision. Food, clothing, local arrangements for lodging—these women took seriously their privilege of caring for this man. At some point, “God with us” must manifest as “friends with us.” We can go to extraordinary lengths in excruciating circumstances if we know we’re not alone.
RE Verse reading–Mark 15:40-47, Mark 16: 1-8 (Day three)
“You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it. You’ve got to go through it.” So goes the kids book about a bear hunt. What’s true of bear hunts is also true of following Jesus. “There were also some women looking on from a distance” (15:40). These women learned firsthand that following Jesus requires you to stand and look at the cross. Try as one might to go over the cross on the precarious scaffolding of religious devotion or to go under the cross by relativizing truth and justifying sin, the path of Jesus stubbornly, persistently leads his followers face to face with the horror of the cross. You’ve got to go through it…and face the horror of your own sin. You’ve got to go through it…and accept a substitute Savior. You’ve got to go through it…and submit to a resurrected King. You’ve got to go through it…have you faced the cross?
RE Verse reading–Mark 15:40-47, Mark 16: 1-8 (day two)
16:5 – “they were amazed”…that is probably an understatement! The Greek word used here is an intensified form of ‘terror or rendered immovable.’ These women could not comprehend what they were experiencing. What is our response when we enter into the presence or power of God? Do we casually approach God’s throne? He is the Creator, Sovereign over all of the Universe…He is All Powerful, All Knowing, Ever Present! The children of Israel would not even approach the mountain where He came to meet with Moses. Is our ‘fear of God’ at the point of ‘amazement’? When was the last time that we trembled in fear at the face of God? Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” and Proverbs 10:27 says, “The fear of the Lord prolongs life.” Let’s remember the vast privilege we have to approach the throne of God in prayer through Jesus Christ, but let’s also remember Who we are approaching!