Friday, March 09, 2012

Daily Devotional Friday 9th March

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
===
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Yea, he is altogether lovely."
Song of Solomon 5:16

The superlative beauty of Jesus is all-attracting; it is not so much to be admired as to be loved. He is more than pleasant and fair, he is lovely. Surely the people of God can fully justify the use of this golden word, for he is the object of their warmest love, a love founded on the intrinsic excellence of his person, the complete perfection of his charms. Look, O disciples of Jesus, to your Master's lips, and say, "Are they not most sweet?" Do not his words cause your hearts to burn within you as he talks with you by the way? Ye worshippers of Immanuel, look up to his head of much fine gold, and tell me, are not his thoughts precious unto you? Is not your adoration sweetened with affection as ye humbly bow before that countenance which is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars? Is there not a charm in his every feature, and is not his whole person fragrant with such a savour of his good ointments, that therefore the virgins love him? Is there one member of his glorious body which is not attractive?--one portion of his person which is not a fresh lodestone to our souls?--one office which is not a strong cord to bind your heart? Our love is not as a seal set upon his heart of love alone; it is fastened upon his arm of power also; nor is there a single part of him upon which it does not fix itself. We anoint his whole person with the sweet spikenard of our fervent love. His whole life we would imitate; his whole character we would transcribe. In all other beings we see some lack, in him there is all perfection. The best even of his favoured saints have had blots upon their garments and wrinkles upon their brows; he is nothing but loveliness. All earthly suns have their spots: the fair world itself hath its wilderness; we cannot love the whole of the most lovely thing; but Christ Jesus is gold without alloy-light without darkness--glory without cloud--"Yea, he is altogether lovely."

Evening

"Abide in me."
John 15:4

Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill. Whether it be the wormwood of woe, or the cloying surfeit of earthly delight, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will take bitterness from the one, and satiety from the other. Live near to Jesus, Christian, and it is a matter of secondary importance whether thou livest on the mountain of honour or in the valley of humiliation. Living near to Jesus, thou art covered with the wings of God, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Let nothing keep thee from that hallowed intercourse, which is the choice privilege of a soul wedded to the well-beloved. Be not content with an interview now and then, but seek always to retain his company, for only in his presence hast thou either comfort or safety. Jesus should not be unto us a friend who calls upon us now and then, but one with whom we walk evermore. Thou hast a difficult road before thee: see, O traveller to heaven, that thou go not without thy guide. Thou hast to pass through the fiery furnace; enter it not unless, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, thou hast the Son of God to be thy companion. Thou hast to storm the Jericho of thine own corruptions: attempt not the warfare until, like Joshua, thou hast seen the Captain of the Lord's host, with his sword drawn in his hand. Thou art to meet the Esau of thy many temptations: meet him not until at Jabbok's brook thou hast laid hold upon the angel, and prevailed. In every case, in every condition, thou wilt need Jesus; but most of all, when the iron gates of death shall open to thee. Keep thou close to thy soul's Husband, lean thy head upon his bosom, ask to be refreshed with the spiced wine of his pomegranate, and thou shalt be found of him at the last, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Seeing thou hast lived with him, and lived in him here, thou shalt abide with him forever.

===

Today's reading: Deuteronomy 4-6, Mark 11:1-18 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Obedience Commanded

1 Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.

3 You saw with your own eyes what the LORD did at Baal Peor. The LORD your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed the Baal of Peor, 4 but all of you who held fast to the LORD your God are still alive today.

5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?

9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” 11 You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. 12 Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.

Idolatry Forbidden

15 You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. 19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. 20 But as for you, the LORD took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.

21 The LORD was angry with me because of you, and he solemnly swore that I would not cross the Jordan and enter the good land the LORD your God is giving you as your inheritance.22 I will die in this land; I will not cross the Jordan; but you are about to cross over and take possession of that good land. 23Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. 24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

25 After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the LORD will drive you. 28 There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. 29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

The LORD Is God

32 Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of?33 Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? 34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

35 You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, and you heard his words from out of the fire. 37 Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength, 38 to drive out before you nations greater and stronger than you and to bring you into their land to give it to you for your inheritance, as it is today.

39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.40 Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.

Cities of Refuge

41 Then Moses set aside three cities east of the Jordan, 42to which anyone who had killed a person could flee if they had unintentionally killed a neighbor without malice aforethought. They could flee into one of these cities and save their life. 43The cities were these: Bezer in the wilderness plateau, for the Reubenites; Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, for the Manassites.

Introduction to the Law

44 This is the law Moses set before the Israelites. 45 These are the stipulations, decrees and laws Moses gave them when they came out of Egypt 46 and were in the valley near Beth Peor east of the Jordan, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon and was defeated by Moses and the Israelites as they came out of Egypt. 47 They took possession of his land and the land of Og king of Bashan, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan. 48 This land extended from Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Gorge to Mount Sirion (that is, Hermon), 49 and included all the Arabah east of the Jordan, as far as the Dead Sea, below the slopes of Pisgah.

Deuteronomy 5

The Ten Commandments

1 Moses summoned all Israel and said:

Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. 2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 3 It was not with our ancestors that the LORD made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. 4 The LORD spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. 5 (At that time I stood between the LORD and you to declare to you the word of the LORD, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said:

6 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

7 “You shall have no other gods before me.

8 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

11 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

17 “You shall not murder.

18 “You shall not commit adultery.

19 “You shall not steal.

20 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

21 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

22 These are the commandments the LORD proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.

23 When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leaders of your tribes and your elders came to me. 24 And you said, “The LORD our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a person can live even if God speaks with them. 25 But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer. 26 For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? 27 Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.”

28 The LORD heard you when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me, “I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. 29 Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!

30 “Go, tell them to return to their tents. 31 But you stay here with me so that I may give you all the commands, decrees and laws you are to teach them to follow in the land I am giving them to possess.”

32 So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Deuteronomy 6

Love the LORD Your God

1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the LORD said.

20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the LORD sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”


Mark 11

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna!"

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple Courts

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

===

Philip [Phĭl'ĭp]—warrior or a lover of horses.

1. One of the twelve apostles, a native of Bethsaida in Galilee (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18 ). Tradition has it that he was the one who requested of Jesus that he might first go and bury his father (Matt. 8:21, 22).

The Man of a Timid, Retiring Disposition

Unlike Andrew and John, Philip did not approach Jesus, but waited till He accosted him and invited him to join His company. Andrew and John found Jesus—Jesus found Philip, whose name is a Greek one both by custom and derivation. A Jewish name he must have had, since all the apostles were Jews, but what it was remains unknown.

In three lists Philip is bracketed with Nathanael as companion and fellow worker. Both were Galileans. This Philip must not be confused with Philip the Deacon, considered below. We never read of the later Philip before Pentecost, nor of Philip the Apostle after Pentecost.

The conversion and call of Philip are expressed simply: “Jesus ... findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me” (John 1:43). The call to faith and to follow came at once, and Philip was ready for both. The impressive feature of his conversion is that as soon as Christ found him, Philip sought to bring others to Christ. The convert became a soul winner. “Come and see,” he said to Nathanael, and he won his friend.

When the hungry multitude gathered around Christ at the Sea of Galilee, Philip was tested by Christ ( John 6:5). Philip was singled out for a test of his faith, and for a great opportunity, which he lost, and with it lost a blessing. Instead of telling the Master that He was able to feed the hungry crowd, Philip made a mental calculation of how much food would be necessary to give each person a portion, and how much it would cost, and declared the project to be impossible. The seeking Greeks were led to Philip but although he sympathized with their request to see Christ, he was afraid and almost lost another opportunity (John 12:21). Yet Philip experienced familiar friendship with Jesus, for did He not call him by name? Slow to apprehend truth, he missed much, but Jesus had nothing but kind words for him (John 14:8). Tradition tells us that Philip died as a martyr at Heirapolis.

2. A son of Herod the Great and husband of Herodias. This was the royal Philip, who, disinherited by his father, lived a private life ( Matt. 14:3; Mark 6:17; Luke 3:19).

3. Another son of the above Herod who was tetrarch of Iturea (Luke 3:1).

4. One of the seven deacons of the Church at Jerusalem who had four daughters (Acts 6:5; 8; 21:8).

The Man Who Loved to Evangelize

Philip was not content to serve tables, he loved to preach the Word, and was most successful in revival work. He was not a man to act on his own authority. He was a God-sent and Spirit-controlled evangelist (Acts 8:26-30). When the Spirit said, “Go,” he obeyed with alacrity.

I. After the martyrdom of Stephen, Philip preached in Samaria with great success (Acts 8:4-8).

II. He led the Ethiopian to Christ and was the means of introducing Christianity to a heathen country (Acts 8:26-39).

III. He preached from city to city until he reached Caesarea (Acts 8:40).

IV. His four daughters were also preachers.

V. He had a godly home (Acts 21:8), in which Paul loved to stay, for he and Philip were like-minded.

===

GiG Banner 2012 Big

March 8, 2012
Turning Aside to See
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
"Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you," (Matthew 9:22 NIV).

Friend to Friend
All day long God is working in and around us. It is so easy to simply go about the task of living without seeing God's handprints on our circumstances and footprints on our paths. When we see life as a "to do list" to check off, or random acts of fortune to celebrate or misfortune to endure, we miss seeing God and hearing His voice as the scarlet thread that connects the moments and the days of our lives.

Frederick Buechner noted, "All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance…"

When Jesus came to earth in human form, He had a definite plan and purpose. The Bible tells us, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work,"
(I John 3:8). Another translation says it this way: "The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen and dissolve) the works of the devil [has done]" (Amplified).

Even though Jesus' plan and purpose was clearly stated, He welcomed interruptions when His Father placed someone in His path. Jesus turned aside to care for the woman caught in adultery and spoke to the Pharisees about forgiveness. He turned aside to heal a blind man and spoke about the reason the man had been blind from birth. He turned aside to bless children even though the disciples tried to shoo them away.

He turned aside to question who had touched the hem of his garment and spoke words of encouragement and healing to a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. He turned aside to speak to a curious Zacheaus perched in a tree. He turned aside to woo a frightened insecure fourteen-year-old girl and welcome her with open arms – me.

Jesus paid attention to the circumstances of those around him as he went from one place of ministry to the next. He noticed a woman mourning in a funeral procession for her only son, a woman drawing water by a well, a lame man lying by a pool and a blind man crying out by the side of the road. To those looking on, they may have seen each of these situations as an interruption in Jesus' busy schedule, but Jesus saw them as divine appointments.

Today, as you go through the tasks of daily living, pay attention to those around you. You never know when someone in your path may be your special assignment from God.

Let's Pray
Dear Lord, I have so much to do today, but nothing is as important as what You have for me to do. Help me to pay attention to the lives around me and recognize any special assignments that You may have for me today.
In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Today, pay close attention to any unusual circumstances that happen your way.

At the end of the day, write down any special assignments that you had from God. Then I'd love to hear about it. Log onto www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and share your God-moment!

More from the Girlfriends
God is working all around us and in our lives. If you would like to learn more about how to sense God's presence and leading in your life, see my book, Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God. He's got a lot to tell you!

Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

===
P31Header
Micca Campbell

March 8, 2012

Loved, No Matter What
Micca Monda Campbell

"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

I don't recall what my son did. I just remember his reaction to my husband Pat's discipline. It was unlike any time before.

"You're not my dad!" Mitch screamed with rage. "I hate you, I hate you!" he added between sobs.

I was shocked as I watched the two of them battle out their affections. I had never seen our son behave that way before. He was completely out of control and overwhelmed with anger, fear and pain. He had lost one dad in death. Could he trust this one?

Pat fell to his knees and embraced our son. Mitch fought him. Without letting go, Pat spoke calmly, "You can hate me if you want, but I will always love you." Pat struggled to keep his arms around Mitch as he tried to pull loose. "You're my son. I will never leave you-no matter what."

With every word Pat whispered into Mitch's ear as he held him tightly, Mitch's fears began to melt away. Suddenly, his body relaxed and he returned his father's embrace.

It was a defining moment for us all. In that instant, our faces still wet with tears, we realized Mitch had let down his guard. He began to believe in his father, to accept his father's love, and to offer love in return. He didn't do it because Pat was his playmate or because he filled a certain role in Mitch's life. He did so because he had been loved even though he had rejected that love at first.

Pat mirrored the character of our heavenly Father when he vowed to always love Mitch and never let him go. Pat was saying to our son as God says to us, "No matter what, I'm here for you."

What a beautiful picture of our key verse. "We love because he first loved us."

Our heavenly Father is not some far away God. He is near to us and we can approach Him, regardless of our needs. Our Father wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. He wants to know and share in our joys and our pains. Mostly, God wants us to know He loves us and there's not a thing we can do to change that.

I find it interesting that the word "Father," referring to God, is often translated "Papa" or "Daddy" in Scripture. These expressions of endearment comfort me as I equate them to my earthly dad. But perhaps you've never had an earthly father to turn to in times of celebration or sorrow.

Maybe your dad was absent and uncaring instead of loving and available to you. If so, you've discovered that not all people love sincerely and you've been hurt. I'm so sorry and I'm praying today that you'll believe this truth: no matter what you've done, or what's been done to you, you have a heavenly Father and you can cry out "Daddy!" any time, any place, anywhere.

His love is unconditional. Will you allow God to wrap His loving arms around you and wash away all your fears as He whispers to your heart, "I'm here for you-no matter what" today?

Dear Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love. Please give me the grace I need to stop fighting and to receive Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Begin a relationship with your Heavenly Father

An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell

Visit Micca's blog and enter to win a copy of her Piecing It All Together (CD).

When you purchase resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity because your purchase supports the many areas of hope-giving ministry we provide at no cost. We wish we could, but we simply can't compete with prices offered by huge online warehouses. Therefore, we are extremely grateful for each and every purchase you make with us. Thank you!

Reflect and Respond:
Do you fight God's affections or do you accept His love daily?

Make this your prayer each day until you grasp the reality and wonder of knowing that God truly loves you!

I pray, Father, that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge; that I may be filled of measure of all the fullness of God. (based onEphesians 3:16-19)

Power Verses:
Psalm 36:7, "How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings." (NIV)

Psalm 136:26, "Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." (NIV)

© 2012 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

===

TT_Coramdeo_ttlogo

The Antidote to Worry

Matthew 6:25-34

Some of us are more prone to anxiety than others. Yet as we read in today's passage, persistent worry is not our calling as Christians. We need not be anxious about tomorrow if we are serving Jesus, for while we may not get all of our wants, He will certainly give us all of our needs. If you are struggling with anxiety this day, take your eyes off yourself and do a good deed for another person. Then, ask God to help you learn how to trust in Him confidently.

For further study:

1 Kings 19:1-8

The Bible in a year:

Deuteronomy 23-25

Coram Deo from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

===

TT_devotionswithrc_ttlogo

This Pornographic Life

Chris Donato

Well, you've done it again. Once more, you find yourself looking where you ought not. And this you have willfully done. Yes, you've begged God to remove this blight, these gross desires. You even made some headway. But you've gone off and done it again. Forget confession, God doesn't want to hear that same old prayer, especially not when you know you'll be breaking your commitment before long. On the other hand, maybe God doesn't care that much about all this. After all, He made you; He knows your natural desires, He knows what you need. Why would He make you this way and get all worked up when you act on it? It's not that big of a deal; He doesn't think you need to confess.

Well, you couldn't be further from the truth - on both counts.

We've just taken note in our last daily study how marriage is under attack (and, incidentally, we'll study in the coming days the importance of the vows we take). It is under attack from all sides, not least from within. Our failure to recognize that life is not about being happy but about bringing glory to our God, leads even us Christians to botch marriage up. And a great deal of this botching up comes by way of our society's addiction to pornography.

A quick glance reveals a few surprising statistics (taken from the Internet's Filter Review):

• 89% of porn is created in the United States.

• $2.84 billion in revenue was generated from U.S. porn web sites in 2006

• $89 per second is spent on porn

• 72% of porn viewers are men

• 260 new porn sites go online every day

This, of course, doesn't take into account the sex industry as a whole, which topped at around $13 billion in 2006. In the case of the Internet, this means that any and all types of pornography can be easily accessed, with spouses none the wiser - in this case, mostly wives. For those not willing to pay for such thrills, the number of free sites is equally staggering. All of this amounts to the ruin of the marital relationship - in the case of single men and women, before it even comes into fruition.

There was a time when pornography was a luxury reserved for the upper echelon, and there was a time, more recently, when one had to drive to a sleazy part of town, walk into a certain section in the video store, or ask the clerk behind the counter in order to find pornography. It was public. But no longer. All that has changed. Everyone can afford it now, and in the privacy of one's home too. And even though there are many "free" web sites out there, the cost is never free, for the toll it takes is destruction itself.

The reason for this is simple, and Scripture speaks to it clearly. When the Creator God commanded Adam and Eve to take care of His earth, part of that calling involved sexual intimacy (Gen. 1:28). Indeed, because woman was "taken out of man," a man therefore "shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (2:23-24 ). Holding fast, or cleaving, unites them as they become one - physically. At the least, this involves sexual intimacy, and it provides a wonderful picture of God's covenant commitment to His people as well. It ought not surprise us, then, that upon breaking God's command Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness (3:7).

From the narrative of Genesis to the poetry of Solomon's Song, we see that God has created and values sexual intimacy within the context of marriage. Saint Paul also assumes as much in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 when he writes of the mutually satisfying and God-glorifying intimacy between husband and wife, which models the very love Christ has for His bride. But all that can be trashed in moments. This is why the use of pornography is so dangerous - it's an act of hatred toward the spouse, toward the community of believers, toward the very God who has called us to covenantal commitment.

Like any addiction, it requires more from us the more we use it, which is why it cannot be dealt with alone, nor can it be ignored once confession has been made. Slaves are not freed on their own. Confession, repentance, accountability, openness with the spouse, and counseling must come into the equation. There is no quick fix for this, just as there are no quick fixes for the killing off of our sin in its entirety. Only through the everyday, rote, pursuance of the healing power of God's grace - in participation with other believers - can we avail ourselves to this cause.

This pornographic life must begin on our knees, agonizing over what God would have us do to deepen our love for Him, for our spouses, for our fellow believers, and, finally, for a world that hates our God, and us, by flaunting its twisted view of sex in our faces, in our children's faces, and in the face of our God, the Creator.

Chris Donato is senior associate editor ofTabletalk magazine.

INTO the WORD daily Bible studies from TableTalk Magazine, Matthew Studies. Copyright © 2008 by Ligonier Ministries.

Subscribe to Tabletalk magazine and receive daily Bible studies & in depth articles from world class scholars for only $23 per per year! That's only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free! Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

===

Spurgeon-MetropolitanTabernacle-Header-1

The gladness of the Man of sorrows

‘Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.’ Psalm 45:7–8

Suggested Further Reading: Zephaniah 3:11–17

As he sees us day by day more conformed to his image, he rejoices in us. Just as you see the sculptor with his chisel fetching out the statue which lies hidden in the block of marble, taking off a corner here, and a chip there, and a piece here—see how he smiles when he brings out the features of the form divine—so our Saviour, as he proceeds with his graving tool, working through the operation of the Spirit, and making us like unto himself, finds much delight in us. The painter makes rough drafts at first, and lays on the colours roughly; some do not understand what he is doing, and for three or four sittings the portrait is much unlike the man it aims at representing; but the painter can discern the features in the canvas; he sees it looming through that mist and haze of colour; he knows that beauty will yet beam forth from yonder daubs and blotches. So Jesus, though we are yet but mere outlines of his image, can discover his own perfection in us where no eye but his own, as the Mighty Artist, can perceive it. Dear friends, it is for this reason, because we are the work of his hands, that he takes delight in us. We are his brethren—and brothers should delight in brothers. We are his spouse—and where should the husband find his comfort but in his bride? We are his body—shall not the head be content with the members? We are one with him, vitally, personally, everlastingly one; and it is little marvel, therefore, if we have a mutual joy in each other, so that his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces of his church, wherein he has been made glad.

For meditation: As yet we do not see The Lord Jesus Christ or what we will be as the finished product of his work for us and in us (1 John 3:2), but that fact should not lessen our joy (1 Peter 1:8 ). Our Saviour is totally satisfied with the fruit of his work for sinners (Isaiah 53:11).

Sermon no. 498
8 March (1863)

===

Spurgeon-NewParkStreet-Header-3

A faithful friend

“There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

Suggested Further Reading: Proverbs 27:6-10

You have a friend, have you? Yes; and he keeps a pair of horses, and has a good establishment. Ah! but your best way to prove your friend is to know that he will be your friend when you have not so much as a mean cottage; and when homeless and without clothing, you are driven to beg for your bread. Thus you would make true proof of a friend. Give me a friend who was born in the winter time, whose cradle was rocked in the storm; he will last. Our fair weather friends shall flee away from us. I had rather have a robin for a friend than a swallow; for a swallow abides with us only in the summer time, but a robin cometh to us in the winter. Those are tight friends that will come the nearest to us when we are in the most distress; but those are not friends who speed themselves away when ill times come. Believer, have you reason to fear that Christ will leave you now? Has he not been with you in the house of mourning? You found your friend where men find pearls, “In caverns deep, where darkness dwells;” you found Jesus in your hour of trouble. It was on the bed of sickness that you first learned the value of his name; it was in the hour of mental anguish that you first did lay hold of the hem of his garment; and since then, your nearest and sweetest intercourse has been held with him in hours of darkness. Well then, such a friend, proved in the house of sorrow—a friend who gave his heart’s blood for you, and let his soul run out in one great river of blood—such a friend never can and never will forsake you; he sticketh closer than a brother.

For meditation: God offered us the hand of friendship when we were his enemies (Romans 5:10)—it cost the Lord Jesus Christ his life to make us his friends (John 15:13-15). How much do you display your side of the friendship in a world which has no time for the cause of Christ ( James 4:4)?

Sermon no. 120
8 March (1857)

===

How Did Jesus' Actions Support His Claims of Divinity?

Today's reading: Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus' words, although impressive, were sometimes ignored or dismissed; however, the miracles he performed were difficult to discount or dispute. Among Jesus' many extraordinary powers was his authority over the natural world.

Matthew 14:22-33 records the miraculous event of Jesus walking on the windy surface of a stormy lake to reach his disciples. In addition, with Jesus' urging, Peter was miraculously empowered to also walk on the water. When Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat, the wind immediately became still, which caused the disciples aboard the boat to exclaim, "Truly you are the Son of God" (Matthew 14:33). A similar passage in Mark 4:39 reports that with the simple phrase, "Quiet! Be still!" Jesus quieted the furious squall. The disciples were stunned and terrified (see Mark 4:41). What kind of person, they wondered, possesses such power that even the forces of nature obey him? They knew the answer: only God himself.

Although words can be compelling, actions provide powerful evidence to reinforce one's words. In Jesus' case, he made bold claims, and as his disciples could attest, his actions reinforced his authority as the Son of God.

NIVSocialicons
===

Finish Lines

This week's reading: John 19:28-37

Recommended Reading: 2 Samuel 22:32-23:5; Colossians 2:6-15; 2 Timothy 4:1-8; Hebrews 12:1-2

Climb inside the mind of a marathon runner. Listen to his thoughts.

You've run this race countless times in your mind and hundreds of times in practice. But none of those resemble the real thing. The course takes you cross-country, and the running surface changes constantly. You could stumble at any step. Every change in terrain brings new challenges. Each race offers a different combination of obstacles and difficulties. And even though there are people at the roadside water stations to refresh your body, and crowds of individuals standing by to revive your spirit with their encouragement, it's still just you out there-you, your two legs and your two feet. No matter which race you're running, all of them have at least two things in common: the pain and the finish line.

Ah, the finish line! It makes all the pain bearable. Sometimes you forget the idea of winning the race in your all-consuming effort just to reach the finish line. You face the challenge and embrace the pain of running for over 26 miles, and a surge of joy fills your heart as you see the tape stretched across the journey's end. Every last ounce of strength drives you across the finish line.

Jesus understood that intense drive to finish. With one of his last breaths, he cried out, "It is finished!" In the language of the New Testament, that's a one-word exclamation: "Done!"

Jesus had joined the human race for a very special and specific reason-to finish God's plan to provide forgiveness, salvation and eternal life for a fallen humanity. When Jesus shouted "Finished!" he was declaring that he had endured the judgment of sin on behalf of all humankind. He'd crossed the finish line for each of us. And in order to finish, he had to seal the arrangement with his life.

The cross represented the last hours in a long race marked out for Jesus. Even though he knew exactly how the race would end-with his sacrificial death-he still ran. Even though he had his disciples around him to provide companionship and support, not one of them knew exactly what he was going through in his final hours. Jesus knew that he'd experience excruciating pain. He knew that many would never accept his sacrifice, but he also knew that many would, and for us he ran. And finished. For this we'll spend eternity in grateful appreciation.

To Take Away

  • Do you see your life as a race? Why? How would you describe your progress so far?
  • When you think of Jesus dying on your behalf on the cross, how does it make you feel? What effect does this reality have on your daily life?
  • How can Jesus' sacrifice on the cross motivate you to run the race God sets out before you?

NIVSocialicons
===

700x184_BG_Header

Day 16

Jesus often used parables to teach the people. These stories, typically drawn from nature or everyday life, pointed out a central truth that called out an intended response from the listeners. On one occasion Jesus told three parables in response to the self-righteous complaints of the Pharisees and teachers of the law about the company Jesus kept.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

What can you learn from parables that you can use in your own life?

===

Today's Lent reading: Mark 4-6 (NIV)

View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
The Parable of the Sower

1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

A Lamp on a Stand

21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

The Parable of the Growing Seed

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Mark 5

Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man

1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her,“Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 6

A Prophet Without Honor

1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

John the Baptist Beheaded

14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”

And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”

16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”

17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled[g]; yet he liked to listen to him.

21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.

The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”

“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.

25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Jesus Walks on the Water

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.


Post a Comment