Tuesday, September 30, 2008


In verses 17-31, we learn that Jesus knows money can get in the way of salvation.

When you're financially independent, it's very hard to be spiritually dependent upon God.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Don't Mess With the Children!

In verses 13-16, Jesus makes it clear that he doesn't tolerate preventing children from experiencing his love fully.

Time and again, Jesus makes simple and important points of truth crystal-clear.

Don't mess with children when they approach Jesus with innocence and understanding.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jesus' Teaching on Divorce

In verses 11-12, Jesus teaches that anyone who divorces and has an ex-spouse who is still living ought not remarry.

Anyone in this circumstance who remarries commits adultery.

If the church is comfortable teaching that people who are homosexual must abstain from sexual activity, then why doesn't it teach that divorcĂ©es ought not remarry?  That would appear to be consistent.

Why isn't theu church consistent on sexual matters, especially when Jesus' teaching is explicit?

Is it convenience?  A misapplication of Jesus' teaching on marital unfaithfulness in Matthew 5:32?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Outline of Mark 10

  1. Once Divorced, Always Divorced

  2. Jesus Loves Children

  3. The Rich Young Ruler

  4. Sit at the Right & Left Hand of God

  5. Blind Bartimaeus Healed

Friday, September 26, 2008

Don't Mess With the Children

In verses 38-50, Jesus makes it clear that one of the worst sins is preventing a child from developing in a spiritually healthy way.

That is a major warning!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who Is the Greatest?

In verses 33-37, Jesus catches his disciples arguing about which of them is the greatest.

It's telling that the disciples immediately knew that they were busted.  How humbling to be caught doing exactly the wrong thing for exactly the wrong reasons!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rise Three Days Later?

How often do I, like the disciples in verses 30-32, get overwhelmed by the teachings of Jesus and refuse to ask for help or understanding?

There are no dumb questions, so go ahead and ask God for insight and wisdom.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Healing a Demon-Possessed Boy

In verses 14-29, we learn that some obstacles can only be overcome by prayer.

How often do I fast and pray before diving right in to solve a problem?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rise From the Dead?

Until after Jesus' resurrection, even his closest followers did not entirely understand what "rising from the dead" meant.

It seems crystal-clear today, but beforehand, the thought of coming back to life from death must have been incomprehensible.  As I think about it, if I actually saw someone rise from the dead, I'd be pretty freaked out and a bit sceptical.

Before criticizing the disciples for their reaction in verses 9-10, I should consider seriously how difficult a time I'd have beliving and understanding Jesus under the same set of circumstances.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Kingdom of God

In verse 1, Jesus mentions that some people in his presence will see the full power of the Kingdom of God on earth before they die.

Since the Transfiguration occurs just 6 days later, it seems odd that Jesus would mention people's deaths in this context.  I would imagine, reading verse 1 in isolation, that Jesus was referring to what we now refer to as the Second Coming.

Another possibility is that Jesus could be referring to his Resurrection.  That is a definite example of the power of the Kingdom of God.

If we accept Matthew Henry's interpretation of verses 1-13, then the Transfiguration is just one of many examples to which Jesus is referring.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Outline of Mark 9

  1. Jesus' Transfiguration
  2. Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy
  3. Jesus Predicts His Death
  4. Jesus Overhears His Disciples Arguing About Who Is the Greatest
  5. Jesus Teaches Openness to Help
  6. Jesus Says, "Better Maimed and Spiritually Whole Than Physically Whole and Doomed to Hell"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Impulsive Peter

In verses 31-38, Peter again reminds us why he's the most ADHD character in the Bible.

He's just announced that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

Then he begins contradicting Jesus and insisting that he will not die at the hands of the religious leaders and the Romans.

Who do I contradict impulsively and inappropriately?  When do I do this to God.

When do you contradict Jesus, dear Reader?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who Am I?

It's interesting that in verses 27-30, Jesus doesn't say directly that he's the Messiah.  He allows his disciples to come to this conclusion on their own.

Peter has the God-given insight, and shares it with Jesus and the other disciples.  Then Jesus commands them to keep this quiet.

It is interesting that God does not allow truth to be made public until exactly the right time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jesus Heals a Blind Man

In verses 23-26, we find Jesus healing a blind man.

One question I had when I read this chapter last Saturday was why it took two steps to heal the man's sight.

I believe that it is valid to conclude that Jesus will only heal us to the extent that we're prepared to be healed.  Until I'm fully prepared to accept his healing, I will only be partly healed.

This is not to say that a person who is not healed has done anything sinful.  The Bible doesn't teach this one-to-one correlation.  Job contradicts this conclusion.  Jesus himself contradicts this thought.

But if I'm not ready to be fully healed, Jesus won't fully heal me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Do You Still Not Understand?

In verses 13-21, we read that Jesus' disciples continued to miss the point, even after repeated exposure to his miraculous signs and teaching in parables.

No matter how hard we try, no matter how close to God's will, people will misunderstand us.  If the disciples misunderstood Jesus, how much more any one of us, even when we're in the bullseye of God's will.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jesus Sighed

It's a really bad sign when Jesus sighs in exasperation at you, isn't it?

The Pharisees, in verses 11-13, manage to get under Jesus' skin by asking him for a sign.

Jesus simply replies, "No."

When I get exasperated, how often do I offer a simple "No" rather than a justification and an explanation?  Sometimes, "No" is enough!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jesus Feeds the 4000

Again, Jesus miraculously feeds a huge number of people with a tiny offering.

This illustrates that although God can create something out of nothing, there is great value in our bringing our gifts and offerings to him.

God loves a cheerful giver. Am I a cheerful giver?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Outline of Mark 8

  1. Jesus Feeds 4000
    1. 7 loaves and 2 fish
    2. 7 leftover baskets
  2. Pharisees Demand a Sign
    1. Pharisees challenge Jesus
    2. Jesus tells his disciples to "beware the yeast of the Pharisees"
    3. Disciples get confused and think Jesus wants more bread
    4. Note: This is especially comical since Jesus just fed 4000!
  3. Blind Man Healed
    1. First sees trees
    2. Then sees clearly
    3. Question: Why does this healing include two steps? Jesus could have healed the man immediately.
  4. Peter Says Jesus Is the Christ
    1. Peter confesses Jesus' true identity
    2. Jesus explains that he will die
    3. Peter pulls Jesus aside to rebuke him
    4. Jesus calls Peter "Satan"
    5. Note: It's amazing how ADHD Peter is. He hits these amazing spiritual highs, followed immediately by incredible lows.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bold Leadership

It's a tense time at my school.  We're going through a time of transition.

I pray that we can come through this challenge stronger and bonded more closely, not broken and bitter.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Answering Yesterday's Question

Answer: My internet connection! My working relationship with a new boss. My preparation for a new community group on Saturday.

Each of these things alone is a manageable challenge, but together they feel really big.

I’m so glad that Jesus is my solution and the source of my strength, not my own efforts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mark 7:31-37

Jesus even makes spit miraculous! How amazing.

What in my life needs a bit of spit? What's clogged and not functioning properly?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An Odd Comment

It feels so weird reading in verse 27, "First let the children eat all they want," [Jesus] told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."

What a harsh comment when she begs Jesus to help her demon-possessed daughter.  It sounds cruel.

Fortunately, the woman has a wise answer and not a defensive one, so Jesus does in fact heal the child.

But what if she'd replied poorly?  I don't like considering this possibility.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Garbage Out

In verses 14-23, Jesus teaches that the measure of a person's spiritual health is what comes out of them, not what goes into them.

This is very similar to the concept of identifying Christians by their love for one another and by their fruit.

I pray that I will be known by my good fruit and by my love.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Forbidden Corban

In verses 1-13, Jesus strongly criticizes the religious leaders for their tradition of Corban.

It is simple to take rules created by humans and misapply them for selfish purposes, while making them sound spiritual.

How do I use the law of God to cover over my own sinfulness?  How do you, dear Reader?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Outline of Mark 7

  1. Jesus teaches the Pharisees and his disciples about what's "unclean"
  2. Jesus heals a Gentile woman's daughter
  3. Jesus uses his own spit to heal a man who is deaf and mute

Friday, September 5, 2008

Jesus Walks on Water

In verses 45-52, Mark describes the classic story of Jesus' walking on the water toward his disciples and their boat.

In verses 53-56, we learn that Jesus had a "rock star" following.  People came from all over just to catch a tiny bit of his miraculous power.

Jesus is a miracle worker today, just like he was on earth 2000 years ago.  But miracles will not convince anyone who doesn't want to believe.  It is always possible to explain away or ignore the reality of Jesus' power.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

5000 Hungry Men

In verses 33-44, we learn about how Jesus and his disciples miraculously feed thousands and thousands of hungry people with just five loaves of bread and two fish.

This was my favorite miracle when I was a kid.  It's still one of my favorites!

When I hit tough times, I can go to Jesus and ask him to help me.  If he can feed people physically, he can feed me emotionally and spiritually, too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


There are times, like when I read verses 29-32, that I suspect Jesus was an introvert.

It is so wise and energizing to get away from the crowds when accomplishing important goals.  But it seems to be a discipline that is easier for introverts.

I wonder if extraverts would agree with this assessment.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Head on a Platter

We learn about how John the Baptist met his demise in verses 14-28.

How weird that the girl who danced asked for such a gruesome prize.

And why is it that when kings in the Bible offer up to half their kingdoms, people never take them up on the offer?

Don't make a promise you're not willing to keep!  Don't set yourself up by offering an open-ended promise.

Monday, September 1, 2008


In verses 7-13, Jesus sends his disciples out in pairs.

This is great leadership.

Don't send your people out to accomplish great tasks in isolation.  Build up teams.