Day #38: The Secret to Greatness

"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whever wants to be first must become slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many."

Mark 10:43-45, NIV

 

It's popular whenever men come together to argue over who is the greatest of all time. It is true in sports, it is true in business, and, surprisingly, it was even true among some of the apostles. And though men may never settle the question as to who is the greatest in certain fields of achievement, Jesus settled once and for all what it takes to become great in the only area that really matters:

 

We must become a servant!

 

Do you still want to be great? If serving others is the standard, most people don't have a particular longing for greatness. But, for those who do, God has a lifetime of great service, and then an eternity of the same.

 

Today's reading is from Mark chapter 10. It will teach you all you need to know about becoming great in the eyes of the only One who truly matters.

Day #37: The Kingdom of God

And He said to them, I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power."

Mark 9:1, NIV

 

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin... and He is the head of the body, the church...

Colossians 1:13-14, 18, NIV

 

One of the benefits of reading the Bible is that it helps us to understand vital facts like the one we read about today: The Kingdom of God! Jesus and the apostles talk about the kingdom on many different occasions and in many different ways. Sometimes they appear to be taking about heaven after the Second Coming, but at others such as we see in the verses above, they seem to be talking about a kingdom here on earth... so which is it?

 

The answer, is both!

 

But how could that be? How can the kingdom be both here on earth and in heaven. The answer is that the kingdom is eternal. As is pointed out in Mark 9:1, it was something that some of the people that Christ was talking to at that time would see before they died. So, were there going to be a bunch of really old people living until the Second Coming of Christ? No, but there would be many people who would see the kingdom, because it has an earthly side to it - the church:

 

And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47, NKJV

 

The Scriptures reveal an important fact about the kingdom of God that will help us to better understand the eternal nature of the kingdom. First, God adds us to the kingdom when we obey the Gospel. Those who remain faithful (and therefore in the kingdom) on this side of Judgment, will surely be a part of the kingdom on the other side of Judgment throughout eternity. Obviously, we have not connected all of the dots in this short set of readings today, but that's one of the reasons you are reading - so that you can connect the dots for yourself, and better understand this kingdom of the saved, that extends from this physical life into life eternal. 

 

Today's reading is Mark 9. Aren't you glad that you have decided to read the Word!

 

 

Day #36: The Second Touch

And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Him and entreated Him to touch him. And taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands upon him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I am seeing them like trees, walking about." Then again He laid His hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.

Mark 8:22-25, NASB

 

Why the need for the second touch? Why do you think that the blind man was not fully healed the first time Jesus laid His hands upon the man? It clearly was not because Jesus somehow lacked the power to heal him the first time. Maybe it was a lack of faith on the blind man's part, but I'm not sure that would not explain why Jesus couldn't have healed him fully, all the same.

 

So, why the need for a second touch? Whatever the reason, a second touch was necessary and it was in fact given, and the blind man was in fact healed all the way.

 

When you think about it, aren't there times in all of our lives when we need a "second touch" from our Savior? I think we all have such deep struggles at times that we need more than just one touch from our Lord. One of the reasons that we need to read the Bible every day, and to think deeply about what it says, is because we need more than just a brief brush with God's Word - we need that second touch! I think this is one of the main reasons that we read!

 

Today's reading is Mark 8. Even if you have read it many times before, I know that the additional "touch" will help you to more clearly see God's love and His will for your life.

 

 

Day #35: The Heart of the Matter

"What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts..."

Mark 7:20-21, NIV

 

Have you ever said something that you wished you hadn't? Maybe you said something particularly unkind or maybe it was a profanity that just "slipped out". Whatever it was, you may have then asked the question, "Where did that come from?" The answer, of course, is that it came from the heart.

 

It has become a common excuse in recent years when someone in the public eye like a celebrity or politician has made some outrageous statement that got unwanted exposure for them to say, "That's not who I am. Everyone who knows me will tell you that that's not who I am" The fact of the matter is that that's exactly who they are. Scripture tells us that a man speaks from the overflow of his heart, but it's amazing that in our present day world that fewer people are taking responsibility for what the say as if they cannot help it.

 

So, what's the solution? Isn't it obvious from what Jesus said above? We have to take care of our hearts! Even a child knows if you store clean water in a dirty container that the water will become dirty, so you have to clean the container first, before you put the water in. It's the same way with our speech. If you want to make sure that unwanted words do not "slip out" of your mouth, you will first have to have a clean heart.

 

And, it's a lot easier to have clean words that come from the overflow of a pure heart, than it is to try and "clean up" the mess that occurs when evil words slip out of our hearts and into our mouths for the whole world to hear.

 

Today's reading is from Mark 7. It has all sorts of lessons that will help make our everyday lives so much easier.

 

 

Day34: Don't Be Surprised

"And they took offense at Him."

Mark 6:3(b), NASB

 

This passage struck me as odd for quite some time. The setting finds Jesus in His hometown, trying to help the people. He has been able to teach a little and perform a few miracles, but He was really limited in what He did because the people were familiar with Him, They knew His family, they knew what His occupation had been, and many had likely seen Him grow up. And while there was never anything in Jesus' life that would have caused offense, the people were offended all the same. Why was that?

 

Do you remember when you became a Christian, or at least began to actually live like a follower of Christ should live? Maybe you had people who were quite familiar with your past. Maybe, unlike Jesus, you had things in that past that you were not very proud of... and your friends and family knew it! So, when you started to actually live in the way that a Christian is supposed to live, people saw it, remembered what you were like, and were offended.

 

One of the hardest things for a Christian to do is to live down his past while living like he should in the present. While Jesus has certainly never done anything to disgrace Himself, His Father in heaven, or His family on earth, people still took offense at Him. So do not be surprised when the people who are most familiar with your past take offense at you. It is human nature! The only question is, how will we deal with it, for deal with it we must.

 

Today's reading is from the 6th chapter of Mark. I pray that God will richly bless your efforts to find out more about His will so that you can live the life He has called you to live.