“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 30, 2022 – Leviticus 001

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Leviticus+001

 

Introduction

The books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers continue the story of how God formed the nation of Israel to play a special role in his plans for the whole world. When the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, God came to them and worked powerfully through Moses to deliver them. At Mount Sinai, God revealed his laws to Moses, including the Ten Commandments, and confirmed his covenant with the young nation. Israel built a “tabernacle,” or “tent of meeting,” so that God could live among them. The people then traveled through the wilderness to the land of Canaan.

The boundaries between the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers are not sharply drawn. The key structure throughout the books relates to the various places the Israelites stopped on their journey. Each location is noted, and the events at each one are described. The key location is Mount Sinai; the second half of Exodus, all of Leviticus, and the beginning of Numbers describe what took place there. Leviticus specifically contains the laws and regulations the Lord gave to Israel. Numbers reports how the people were organized into a fighting force and moved toward the Promised Land.

Numbers reaches back across Leviticus and Exodus and repeats the phrase that structures Genesis: This is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses (Num. 3:1). Appropriately, we hear this phrase for the twelfth time as the twelve tribes are being organized into a nation. Near the end of Numbers the prophet Balaam says to Israel, May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed. This recalls God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis, I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse. These references show that together these books tell a single story of the beginning of God’s redemptive work in the world.

 

www.bible.com/zh-TW/bible/111/EXO.INTRO1.NIV

Leviticus 1 ESV

 

1 The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock.

3 “If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. 4 He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. 5 Then he shall kill the bull before the Lord, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 6 Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, 7 and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8 And Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; 9 but its entrails and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.

 

REFLECTION:

  1. Pay attention to the procedure of burnt offering, the offerer and the sacrifices.
  2. The whole burnt offering, in which the whole animal was consumed on the altar, was the most common sacrifice of the O.T. It symbolized the commitment of one’s whole life to God.  Leviticus assumes that God and ancient Israel are in a covenant relationship, and that the relationship will be broken by the effects of sin and uncleanness.  This sacrifice provides a possibility for restoring the relationship between people and God.
  3. We have responded to Jesus fully only when we dedicate our lives to the Lord. Paul wrote in Romans 12:1, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you”. (The Message)
  4. Because the death of Jesus, I was atoned, my relationship with God was restored. How then, should I take my everyday life and offer to God as a burnt offering?  How do I live out God’s will and become mature every day?

 

PRAYER:

Read the above translation of Rm 12:1-2.  Ask for God’s help in truthfully offering my everyday life to God, not to identify with the world, but have courage and determination to live a holy and God-pleasing life.

 

HYMN:

I Offer You My Life – youtu.be/c-rntNG0xm0

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 29, 2022 – Mark 016

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Mark+016

 

Mark 16 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Resurrection

1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

Jesus Appears to Two Disciples

12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

The Great Commission

14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

 

 

REFLECTION

  1. For all of Christ’s promises, His followers did not expect the Resurrection. It took a long time for Jesus’ followers to take in the angel’s words. Then Jesus appeared to many followers, and they began to believe.
  2. But when at last, the disciples realized that Jesus was raised from the dead – proving that He was Lord – they boldly went out and shared the good news that not only traveled across the ancient world, but has kept on spreading for more than 2,000 years.
  3. The last verses of Mark’s Gospel (vv 9-20) are disputed. They are not in some earlier manuscripts, and some people are fearful of the miracle-working power Jesus promised the disciples, even though Acts testifies many such miracles in the early church. In any case, the words ring true. Jesus did show Himself risen to many.
  4. The conviction that Jesus lives has propelled His church to go out, and to preach Him confidently throughout history and all over the world.
  5. Spend time in praise and thanksgiving for Christ’s sacrifice and for His resurrection over death.

 

PRAYER

Dear Lord Jesus, You have risen with the nail marks on your hands and the spear pierced wound in your side! Thank You for shedding your precious blood for the incomparably precious salvation achieved on the cross, saving us from the power of death, so that we will not perish, but have eternal life! Thank You, the resurrected Lord of Life, for walking with me in this life, giving me courage and strength, healing and comfort, and filling me with hope to follow You. Lord, You are the glorious Lord of Life, You are full of love and power, You still live, and You will live forever, You went to prepare a place for us, You will come again to take us Your follower to Your eternal glory. Lord, I want You to come. Amen!

 

HYMN

It Was Finished Upon That Cross – youtu.be/PUGQNYm44hk

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 28, 2022 – Mark 015

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Mark+015

 

Mark 15 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Death of Jesus

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

 

REFLECTION

  1. The death of Jesus has been recorded in all four gospels.  Different people reacted differently.  Read this passage as if you were there in person, what did you see? Did you touch anything? Smell anything? Hear anything? What did you feel? How did you react?

 

PRAYER

With a prayerful heart, read the following poem slowly.  Then, with a grateful heart, read it very slowly as a prayer to God.

Thou has given so much to me, 

Give me one more thing – a grateful heart. 

Not thankful when it pleases me,  

As if Thy blessings had spare days. 

But such a heart 

Whose pulse may be Thy praise.  – George Herbert

 

HYMN

At The Cross – youtu.be/icmHBODALrQ

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 27, 2022 – Mark 014

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Mark+014

 

Mark 14 English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Peter Denies Jesus

66 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.”72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

 

REFLECTION

  1. In this chapter we find Jesus not only betrayed by one of his disciples but abandoned by all the others and ruefully denied by one of his closest friends. All this added to the cruel and unlawful treatment by the Sanhedrin. This account reveals how intense pressures can test the quality of our discipleship.
  2. What mix of motives brings Peter into the high priest’s courtyard yet keeps him from acknowledging his relationship to Jesus? How are your motives mixed in following Jesus?
  3. In what circumstances are you most tempted to be ashamed of Jesus or to deny him? What warnings and encouragement can you draw from Peter’s experience?
  4. We all betray Christ in the things we say or do. How have you betrayed him recently? Spend time in sincere confession. Hear the words of forgiveness.

PRAYER

Dear Lord Jesus, at this moment I seem to be in the Garden of Gethsemane, right by Your side, with Your disciples, and I seem to feel Your deep sorrow! You are saddened by the burden You are about to bear on the cross, and by the weakness and laziness of Your disciples. What a sacrifice it was that You willingly separated from Your beloved Heavenly Father for the sins of all of us, to bear His poured wrath on the cross, and to manifest His righteousness! Lord, I would like to remember Your sacrifice every day and think about the preciousness of Your salvation; I would like to keep watch and follow Your steps. Please support me when my heart is willing but my flesh is weak, so that I will not make You sad. Amen!

 

HYMN

Who Am I – youtu.be/3rT8Re1EIQc

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 26, 2022 – Mark 013

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Mark+013

 

Mark 13 English Standard Version (ESV)

Signs of the Close of the Age

And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

No One Knows That Day or Hour

32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

 

REFLECTION

  1. Many people throughout the ages have tried to make precise predictions about the return of Jesus. How does watching as Jesus urges differ from making such predictions?
  2. What is the most exciting thing to you about the second coming of Christ?  The most depressing?  What questions would you like to ask Jesus about it?

 

PRAYER

Read slowly the following paragraph.  Make this a prayer of anticipation and hope for Christ’s coming again.

The truth of the second coming of Christ transformed my whole idea of life; it broke the power of the world and its ambition over me, and filled my life with the most radiant optimism even under the most discouraging of circumstances. – R. A. Torrey

 

HYMN

Glorious Day – youtu.be/2ntwGWzdCwc

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 23, 2022 – Mark 012

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Mark+012

 

Mark 12 English Standard Version (ESV)

Beware of the Scribes

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

The Widow’s Offering

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

 

REFLECTION

  1. Jesus warned against those teachers of the Law who paraded themselves openly, whose prayers were a pious show, and whose greed was so great they would “devour widow’s houses”. Such men, Jesus said, “will be punished most severely.”  For contrast, Jesus praised a woman who freely placed her last coins in the treasury.
  2. What a study in values. The greedy rich man, who always wanted more, and the poor widow willing to give all.  The “great man” viewed with respect by society, and the insignificant woman, held in high regard only by God.
  3. While you may be neither rich nor poor, you choices are likely to be governed by the values expressed by one of these two. Which of the two will you choose to be most like?

 

PRAYER

Lord, thank you for reminding me not to be hypocritical like the scribes and Pharisees through today’s scriptures. Thank you for reminding me that I must devote myself to the pursuit of my faith, and if I want to be Your disciple, I must deny myself and take up my cross to follow You every day. Lord, thank You for keeping falsehood and lies away from me, so that I am not as rich as the rich people mentioned in the scriptures, nor as poor as the poor widow. Thank you for giving me my daily bread, so that I can follow You wholeheartedly. I would like to learn the spirit of this poor widow, dedicate all my best to You, and be willing to participate in Your ministry quietly, not to please others, but only to please You, please strengthen my will. Amen!

 

HYMN

My Worth Is Not In What I Own – youtu.be/05jKxv8ApuI

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 22, 2022 – Mark 011

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Mark+011

 

Mark 11 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “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!”

11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

 

REFLECTION

  1. The crowd shouted and waved and praised Jesus as their Messiah – the savior (v9-10).  But soon after, they became the crowd that wanted to nail Jesus on the cross.  It is easier to follow and praise God when everything seems to be going well, when God is meeting our expectations, and when faith is supported by those all around us.  The strength of our faith is tested when all of these supports and assumptions begin to fall away.
  2. Has your faith in God been tested through changes of time, location, community?
  3. Has anyone at church or cell group been going through this testing period and has not come out yet?  Write down his/her name on this page.  Commit to pray for him/her regularly for the whole month.  If possible, give him/her a call, write an email or send a card to encourage him/her and to accompany him/her to come through this process.

PRAYER

Lord, how sinful human nature is and how rebellious the heart is! Just as sweet and bitter waters spring from the same fountain, so do the words of blessing and cursing spring from the same mouth. Lord, those who cheered on You and praised You as the Messiah are also the murderers who shouted to crucify You! Lord, I will also meet such people in my life, please enable me to stand firm in my faith in such a crowd, and let me be like You to sympathize with them, love them, and pray for them, because they do not know what they are doing. Lord, please also have mercy on my weakness, walk with me, strengthen my dedication, don’t let me become such a person. I pray in Your victorious name. Amen!

 
HYMN

He Will Hold Me Fast – youtu.be/936BapRFHaQ

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 21, 2022 – Mark 010

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Mark+010

 

Mark 10 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Request of James and John

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

REFLECTION

  1. Jesus didn’t laugh or getting angry at James or John, but He did reject their requests.  We may want to ask for anything from God, but God wants to give us the best and not just anything we asked for.  So, it’s for our good that He may reject our requests.
  2. Take a time to reflect.  Is there any prayer request of yours that God still hasn’t answered, or has refused?  Right now, offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God, for He has or will have given you the best.
  3. In the kingdom of Christ, “serving” is the way to success.  This is the model Christ left us.  Prayer is one of the services for believers.  Make this your prayer for today and always: “Lord, help me to pray faithfully daily for pastors, the church, our community, needs of brothers and sister.”

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for speaking to me personally through today’s scriptures, admonishing me that being Your disciple is for serving and that I will be willing to pay the price. You are the Son of the living God, with a position of incomparable honour, but you came into the world in the form of a servant, humble and meek, and a servant of all. Lord, I would like to follow Your example, willing to bear Your burden, bear Your yoke, take up Your cross, and follow You. Only by doing this can I receive Your reward and have abundant life, because You have said that those who want to gain life will lose it, and those who lose their life for Your Word will gain life instead. Lord, please give me the extraordinary vision to understand what is most precious. Amen!

 

HYMN

Hear Our Prayer – youtu.be/t0aOG9AKbwg

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 20, 2022 – Mark 009

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Mark+009

 

Mark 9 English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

 

REFLECTION

  1. This passage clearly depicts Christ’s frustration with His disciples (v19), and the desperation of the father who believed, but doubted at the same time.
  2. We are often like both father and disciples. We believe, yet doubt. We act in Jesus’ name, but at times fail completely.
  3. This incident taught the disciples that they needed to serve God in constant conscious dependence on Him that expresses itself in prayer. Prayer serves to remind us who God is, and our dependence on Him. When we pray, we are reminded of who God is, and our faith is increased.
  4. Which do you struggle with more—believing that Jesus can or that he wants to answer your prayers? Why?
  5. Ask God to provide you with the encouragement you need in your life and to make you a channel of his grace to others.

 

PRAYER

Lord, I have often been like the father in the scriptures, believing, but not believing enough! Lord, have mercy on my weakness and little faith, please help me as You help this father. I have always acted in the flesh, and I have always been caught in sin and transgression. Lord, forgive my unrighteousness, forgive my transgressions, and may Your grace and love always be with me, so that my faith grows and my life transforms day by day. Please give me a strong and courageous heart, and think of Your grace in prayer every day; please walk with me in my busy life, so that I can understand that all things are possible for those who believe. As long as I rely on You and look to You, I will be able to experience Your power and be a good witness for You. Amen!

 

HYMN

Sweet Hour Of Prayer – youtu.be/sLV-imJxyo4

 

“Listening to God” Bible Reading & Devotion: Sep 19, 2022 – Mark 008

Read chapter in full: biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=Mark+008

 

Mark 8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

 

REFLECTION

  1. When Peter made this confession of faith “You are the Christ”, he has only taken the first step. The next step is a lifelong journey to live out this confession fully and authentically.
  2. That’s the same with us. After our confession of faith, Jesus calls us to live a life to “deny himself and take up his cross and follow” Jesus.
  3. In your journey of faith, which step have you taken? Are you still lingering at the first step?  Or are you walking toward the goal of being sanctified and made holy?  What is it that has kept you from moving ahead?  What are you afraid of?
  4. Pray for courage and faith to walk on this journey. Ask for God’s guidance that you may willingly follow.

 

PRAYER

Lord, I am a man of little faith and cowardice! I lack the courage to deny myself, nor the strength to take up the heavy cross to follow You! My eyes are often drawn to the splendor of the world, and I am often indulged in the pleasures of sin and cannot extricate myself. As Paul described it, to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not. In my journey of faith, I have wandered many times, encountered ups and downs many times, and even fell, but You never forsaken me! You have been pulling me, step by step forward. Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, even though I am not worthy, you still love me. Please continue to pull me with your loving cords, so that I have more courage and faith to follow You. Amen!

 

HYMN

Voice Of Truth – youtu.be/9cKm_mYVPQE