Mark 16

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’  … After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was take up into heaven and He sat at the right hand of God.  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, AND THE LORD WORKED WITH THEM…” (16:15-16, 19-20 NIV)

You came to this earth in a simple way: born as a baby.

You lived on this earth in a purposeful way: teaching and modeling Your plan for redeeming Your people.

You left this earth in a glorious way: resurrected from death and ascended into heaven.

You continue to impact this earth in a personal and vicarious way: working with and through those who follow You and by Your Spirit’s activity among us.

Thank You for exerting Your power over death to raise Your body from the grave.  Thank You, for that act brings me the assurance of one day conquering death alongside You by that same power being engaged in my own life when my body is no more.

Everyday there are dead areas in my life which need the force of Your resurrection power.  There are attitudes, actions, choices and opinions which are like corpses needing disposed.  Yet, You have the power to resurrect what is dead in me, to fill me completely with Your life.  Like Paul said, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11 NIV).

Here am I, Lord, take my heart, mind, …all of me, and make me fully alive in You… Let there be no part of me which has not been resurrected.  Then, guide me to breathe out life-giving words to others, as You continue to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

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Mark 15

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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How much You love me, Father!  In so many ways, You’ve gone all out to show me the extent, the depth, the richness of Your love for me!  There on a cross the body of Your Son hung as He bore every sin of mine.  So that I could know You personally and grow intimately acquainted with You, He died.  So that I could one day see You face to face, He rose from the dead.

You created this world.

You sustain this world.

You visited this world.

You died for this world.

You redeemed this world.

You loved this world …

and “this world”

includes me.

Thank You, Father, for Your love for me!  Thank You for holding me close, for calling me to follow You, for shaping my life to be just like Jesus one day.  Amen.

Mark 14

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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“While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard.  She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head … Some of those present … rebuked her harshly …”

“Leave her alone, said Jesus, ‘Why are you bothering her?  She has done a beautiful thing to Me … She did what she could.  She poured perfume on My body beforehand to prepare for My burial.  I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.'” (v 3-9 NIV)

Extravagance! … Going all out for someone you love! … not paying attention to the practical, logical ways; rather, choosing to “break the bottle” of myself, pouring out the best I have … all for the love of You, Jesus!

Could that be what David was getting at in Psalm 103, when he wrote, “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name” (Psalm 103:1 NIV)? …every muscle, every bone, every vessel, capillary, membrane, organ, cell, atom … every bit that makes up who I am in this body, wake up!  Come alive at this moment and praise the Lord!  Glorify the name of Jesus — the Author of my faith and the Savior of my soul.

Help me, Papa, to do whatever I do as an extravagant outpouring of love for you, and You alone.

“Papa, Father, …everything is possible for You.  Please take this cup of suffering away from me.  Yet I want Your will, not mine.”  (v 36 NLT)

“He came back and found them sound asleep.  He said to Peter, ‘Simon, you went to sleep on Me?  Can’t you stick it out with Me a single hour?  Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it.  Don’t be naive.  Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.'” (v 37-38 MSG)

Here’s that constant inner struggle between the flesh and the spirit … seen in You, Lord, just before You knew You’d be leaving this earth … and in Your disciples, who weren’t fully aware of what was about to transpire.

Paul describes this inward battle in this way:  “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members” (Romans 7:21-23 NIV).

In the face of this struggle, Father, help me to respond as Your Son did and not as the disciples.  Set my mind, body and spirit on choosing Your ways over my own or any other.  Take my life in Your hands and shape all of me to be just like Jesus.

(v. 43-72)

Talk about “having a bad day”!  But You had known all along that it was coming, lord.  You tried to prepare Your followers for it, but they didn’t understand.

All in one night You were betrayed, arrested, deserted, slandered, miss-tried, accused, condemned, mocked and denied … maybe just a BIT of stress there!  Things shouldn’t have been the way they were, but that’s the way they happened … and in the end, the events did what You said “… the scriptures must be fulfilled” (Mark 14:49 NIV).

Thank You, Jesus, for what You endured for me.  In so many ways, before and at Your death, You demonstrated Your love for me … even before I was born.  Thank You for choosing to call me Your own beloved.  Thank You for loving me and holding me close.  Keep right on shaping my heart and mind to be just like You.  Amen.

Mark 13

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (v 26-27)

Marana tha!  (Come, Lord Jesus!)  What a Day that will be when You return to take us all home!  In the meantime, You’ve called me to be focused on (1) preaching the gospel to all nations (v 10); (2) standing firm in my faith (v 13); (3) remaining on guard of false prophets (v 21-23, 33); and (4) helping watch for your return (v 33-37).

WORK — Preaching the Gospel to All Nations  (v 10)

Guide me in evaluating how I’m doing with this assignment. You called me to be part of doing this when I became Your child.  You gave me the task of “making disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:18-20).

How am I doing?  What’s Your will for me in this aspect?  How do You want me involved in reaching “all nations” — What kind of direct involvement? … What kind of indirect involvement?  Show me what You desire for me — how You want to use me.  Here am I, send me.

WITNESS — Standing Firm in My Faith (v 13)

“All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (NIV)

When my devotion to You is put to the test, fill me with Your strength, stirring my courage to always proclaim “YES, I Believe in Jesus” –no matter what the situation I face.  Make my faith strong, firm and steadfast regardless of what the world about me says or thinks of me.

WISDOM — Remaining on Guard of False Prophets (v 21-23, 33)

“For false christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect —  if that were possible.  So be on your guard … Be on your guard!  Be alert! …”

Father, fill me with Your wisdom and discernment.  Make me aware of the schemes of the deceiver.  The more I get to know You, the true Lord of all, the genuine Christ, then the more readily I’ll recognize any kind of counterfeit.

WATCH — Keeping Watch for Your Return (v 32-37)

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on Your guard! Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come … keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back … If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping … Watch!” (NIV)

In every choice I make as I follow You, remind me that I need to be about the work of building Your kingdom with an eye toward the sky … anticipating Your return.  Make me ready … and use me to help others be ready … leading them to know You and to encounter Your grace … or encourage others, who belong to You, to remain faithful and watchful too.  Keep making me just like Jesus as I await the Day I see You face to face.  Amen.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”  (1 John 3:2-3 NIV)

Mark 12

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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“Love the Lord your God

with all your HEART                   (emotionally)

& with all your SOUL                  (spiritually)

& with all your MIND                   (mentally)

& with all your STRENGTH         (physically)

Love your neighbor                     (socially)

as yourself                    (unselfishly)

(v 30-31 NIV)

Father, when I reflect on the gift You gave in Jesus, how You sent Your only Son to this earth for the purpose of dying for me, so that I could know You personally … I see how totally, completely You loved me in all that You’ve done … and keep on doing.  Because You love me so completely, You desire that my love for You be a total-love, that I give ALL of me as my gift of love to You (like the widow’s gift at the end of this chapter).

I’m at Your mercy, Lord, when it comes to being able to love others as You’ve loved me.  You see my humanness get in the way.  It’s in You alone that I can even consider loving others.  Praise You, Father, for how You are able to change a person’s nature, a person’s character, so that a more distinct reflection of Your Son emerges.

Lord, here is my HEART … revive it;

here is my SOUL … restore it;

here is my MIND … renew it;

here is my STRENGTH … use it.

Lord, there is my neighbor …

help me to love like You.  Amen.

Mark 11

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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“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. Then He said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And His disciples heard Him say it.” (v 13-14 NIV)

FAKE FAITH (v 12-17)

In the growth cycle of a fig tree, seeing leaves should mean finding figs.  Yet when You approached this fig tree, no figs were found.  Right after this, Lord, You entered a place that appeared from the outside as a place of worship, yet when You reached it, no fruit of worship was found (v 15-17).  As the tree was barren of nourishing fruit though appearing fruitful, so Your temple was barren of true worship, though structurally appearing to be a place where such activity were taking place.

Lots of pretending going on, lots of fake faith — yet You’ve said elsewhere “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  When my focus becomes set on myself or this world, what comes forth from my life is not the kind of fruit You expect to find in a life that belongs to You.

REAL FAITH (v 20-25)

“…Embrace this God-life.  Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you.  This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’ … and it’s as good as done.  That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large.  Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.  And when You assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all ASKING.  If you have anything against someone, FORGIVE — only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins” (v 22-25 MSG).

Teach me to pray, Lord, with a heart that earnestly seeks Your kingdom, that longs to see Your name glorified and Your people sanctified.  Shape my prayers into ones which are full of faith — not faith in the object of my prayers, or that which I pray for — rather, faith in You, the One who hears and responds to my prayers.  Keep my prayers from being motivated by my own interests and desires.  Instead, keep me desiring YOUR will above my own, as You continue to make me just like Jesus. Amen.

Mark 10:46-52

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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“What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”  Immediately, he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (v 51-52 NIV)

Blindness can be found in different forms, such as the physical inability to see the world around.  “Blinded by the light” sounds like a description of seeing too much of one thing and unable to see anything else.  “Blind spot” denotes an obstructed view by something else.  We put blinders on a horse to direct sight in a particular direction instead of allowing complete vision of the surroundings.  A hunter will sit behind a blind to keep from being seen by the prey.  Blindness can be physical and/or spiritual, occurring by various means.

Father, I have grown to know that You see me clearly, fully, inside and out.  Very often, my view of You, however, can be obstructed.  Concerns of things in my past, things in my present, things in my future can erect a blind before You, keeping me from fully seeing Your face as You look upon me with Your marvelous love and grace.

“Jesus, I want to see.”  I’ll cry it out with Bartemaeus as his plea echoes down the centuries.  Remove whatever it is that veils my view of You.  I want to see You clearly, vividly, fully.  I want that sense in me that knows beyond any doubt that I am Yours, that You love me fully, … that I am Your beloved.  Here I am … blinded from seeing You clearly, yet awaiting Your healing touch, as You continue to make me just like You.  Amen.