Re:Verse reading–Mark 1:21-39 (day three)

“He would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.”  The only proper context for truth is love.  Truth in the hands of anyone who does not love becomes a weapon.  Is Jesus the Holy One of God?  Yes.  That’s truth.  But what does it mean?  In the hands of one who does not love, that’s where the truth ends and the manipulation of people’s understanding begins.  For us, the most dangerous place to be is to be right.  We can lord that rightness over others, and we have done so many times.  Here’s a prayer that might be helpful: Lord, what does it look like for me to live out the truth in the presence of another?

Pray First

Re:Verse reading–Mark 1:21-39 (day two) Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 1:35

The day before was filled with healing, and that day was to be filled with preaching. Jesus was busy, but not too busy to pray. As our example Jesus knew that those who would follow him would fill their lives. Their lives would be filled with a call to family, to work, to serve, and to a thousand other things. Those who would come after Christ would be busy. So, Jesus demonstrated how to recalibrate one’s heart and mind during those times. He prayed. He began his day communing with the Father.

We have begun a campaign to “Pray First” as we search for the next under-shepherd to come and lead us. Our responsibility to pray first does not begin or end there. It is simply a reminder. This is how we walk, by first bending our knees. In this great season of Advent will you Pray First?

With authority

Re:Verse reading–Mark 1:21-39 (day one)

“The people were amazed at his teaching, because He taught them as one who had AUTHORITY, not as the teachers of the Law.”–v 22.

People noticed it.  So did demons.  Jesus was different.  Not like other religious leaders. He taught WITH AUTHORITY.

The Greek word (exousia) means, “out of his being” (ek=out, ousia=being)  His words came from who He was.  From His relationship with the Father.  They carried more weight than the opinions or ideas of other people.

For 13 weeks we will study the life of Jesus Christ as recorded by John Mark. Such privilege!  As we do, please remind yourself that, for the first hearers, what He said was inseparable from what He did.

“God after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets. . .in these last days has spoken to us in HIS SON.”–Hebrews 1:1

This is no ordinary man!  He should not be listened to with ordinary ears.

What will I carry away?

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-7,16-17 (day seven)

Important question.  What will I carry away from the study of Revelation?  We have spent 13 weeks, what will I remember next week, a few months from now?  What truth will change me?

I know the answer, at least part of it.  I will, going forward and with God’s help, live with “that day” in my mind.  That day of His return.  That day when he judges.  That day when He brings the Universe back into harmony with His clear, clean will.  That day when every eye will see Him.

I will evaluate my decisions against it.  I will care less that people judge me, more that He will (1 Corinthians 4).  I will join the blessed, joyful group that Paul describes in 2 Timothy 4, “those who LOVE His appearing”.

I will, God helping me, pray more often, and with more heart.  “Even so, COME Lord Jesus!”

You?  What will you carry away from the Revelation?


Re:Verse reading–Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-7,16-17 (day six) 

“Behold, I am making all things new.”-God

Maybe that was his plan the whole time. Perhaps, that is the very essence of the Gospel-making things new. We often only think of salvation in terms of forgiveness, but it is much more than that. To make things right, required much more than forgiveness (which the cross provided), it also required restoration, to bring things back to their intended purpose. That is the true aim of the Gospel, to restore all of creation. Jesus, the incarnate Son, was the very first recreative act of God that would bring a tidal wave of recreation to all the universe, of which we are partakers.

Our recreation is complete in Revelation 21, when the dead are raised to newness of life, a life without sorrow, or pain, or death-just life everlasting in full fellowship with the Father, Son, and Spirit. Now that is real life! So here is the question, are you being made new?

Christian Love

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-7,16-17 (day five)

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”

One of the sources of Christian love is the assurance and certainty of the age to come. The pictures and promise of eternal life give courage and conviction to the believer. The images and hope found in this week’s Re:Verse passage serve as a catalyst for the believer to risk and radically love, serve, and reach both believers and non-believers.
Paul gives the same explanation to the church at Collossae. 1:4-5 (“because of the hope laid up for you in heaven”). The hope of eternal security and comfort releases profound, unconditional love now.

The person who knows that his destiny is glorious and certain will be free to live the most radical life of love and sacrifice here on earth.- John Piper

Grateful Thanksgiving

Re: Verse reading–Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-7, 16-17 (day four)

Revelation has given us a glimpse of the future.  For the unbeliever, it is a grim and foreboding future…justice will be swift and complete.  For the believer, it is a future of hope and promise… a future of fulfilled promises and eternal peace.  But do we have to wait until the end before we can participate in and enjoy the fruit of righteousness?  The answer is no!

Today is Thanksgiving Day…a day set aside to give thanks to God for His many blessings.  Many in our nation today do not recognize or celebrate God’s goodness and provision.  Thanksgiving Day is just a day to eat lots of food and prepare for Black Friday.  Does your family reflect on the bountiful provision God has given you?  It may not be material provision… but look at the blessings of faith…the blessings of answered prayer…the blessings of fulfilled promises (Revelation!)…the blessings of family.  Pause this day to thank the Father…the Alpha and the Omega!


Re: Verse reading–Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-7, 16-17 (day three)

“Behold, the dwelling of God is with men.” 

Many languages of men have aimed to describe the greatness of God.  The words go only so far, and then they finally fail to capture the scope of that greatness.  No words can convey such complete beauty, power, and goodness…except the simple declaration that God is love.  And here, in the final book of the Bible, we see at last the fullness of that way of love: God comes to live with men.   Only love forgives and never looks back.  Only love restores and never ruins.  Only love moves toward and never runs away.  God moves toward you.  Are you moving towards God by what you desire, by what you think, by how carry out your physical existence, by how you live with others?

No More Night

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-7,16-17 (day two) 

And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. 22:5

Have you ever been in a “dark place?” Or have you heard someone describe their circumstances as dark or gloomy? There is more here than just colorful language. The idea of being in darkness has real spiritual significance. For John  to say that in the New Jerusalem there will be no need for lamps or sun means freedom from the things that have continually clouded our view of the savior. We will see him clearly, as we are meant to. Have you been to Alaska in the summer? People are outside at midnight walking, playing, enjoying the sun. It does something to your body and to your mind. The sun is life-giving. It is more than a metaphor: Jesus is the light of the world – Jesus is life. Look up, there is light in this dark world.

Enduring to the end

Re:Verse reading–Revelation 21:1-8; 22:1-7,16-17 (day one) 
“It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega. . .HE WHO OVERCOMES will inherit these things.”–21:6

“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”–Jesus (Matthew 24:13)

In the end, the story will have perfect symmetry.  Unspeakable beauty.  God who created the world in supernatural fiat, will also judge and restore it.  The narrative is not evolution.  It is faithfulness and fulfillment.  Justice and peace.

Patience is required.  None of us knows the day or the hour of the Lord’s return.  None of us controls that calendar.  His value, then, is on perseverance.  A daily assignment to overcome all challenges that hinder or prevent our faithfulness to Christ.   Overcoming doubt and temptation, prayerlessness, fear and pride. doubt.

What Goliath stands in your path, this day?  What challenger forbids your progress?  The fight required to defeat him will be well worth the price.  What must you overcome in order to endure?