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Today’s Devotional: Mark 8

You can download this week’s entire Daily Devotional in booklet form here.

Mark 8   Large crowds stayed with Jesus for three days and had exhausted whatever food they brought with them (vv. 1-3). Jesus then instructed his disciples to gather what food they had, told the people sit down, gave thanks, and dispersed it throughout the 4,000 present (vv. 6-9). Jesus and his disciples then sailed to the north western side of the Sea of Galilee (v. 10).  

Despite all Jesus’ teaching and miraculous works, the Pharisees’ spiritually hard hearts demanded yet more “proof” (vv. 11-12). What they needed was faith, not more miracles. Jesus warned his disciples of the danger of unbiblical teaching and living as illustrated by the Jewish religious and political leaders (vv. 13-21).  

Mark’s gospel is the only one that tells of Jesus’ healing the blind man in verses 22-26. Jesus touched the blind man’s eyes (cf. 7:33), and his eyesight miraculously returned (cf. Isa 35:5).  

Jesus and the disciples left Bethsaida and went north to Caesarea Philippi. On the way there Peter expressed his true belief that Jesus is the Christ, Israel’s promised Messiah (vv. 27–30). Most people wrongly viewed Jesus merely as a miracle working prophet.  

From this point Jesus began telling his disciples of his coming betrayal, rejection by Israel, death, and resurrection, but they failed to grasp the significance of what he said (vv. 31–33).   Jesus then taught what believing and following him means and involves (vv. 34–38).  

Truths to Nail Down and Apply

  1. “The leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod” (v. 15) is always present. “Leaven” works through dough, changing it entirely. Wrong teaching and living works through a person causing great, damaging change. Heed Jesus’ warning: “Take heed, beware”!!
  2. Jesus did not begin openly teaching about his coming death and resurrection (v. 31) until about a year before that happened.
  3. Jesus said that truly following him (which is just another way of saying believing in him) involves and demands willingly living according to God’s will, not your own (vv. 34–38).
  4. Jesus the Son of God describes those who do not believe him as “this adulterous and sinful generation” (v. 38).

Today’s Devotional: Mark 7

You can download this week’s entire Daily Devotional in booklet form here.

Jewish religious leaders came from Jerusalem to Galilee where Jesus was to see for themselves the reports they were hearing about him (v. 1). Pharisees followed the OT Law, adding hundreds of their own commands to it (“traditions”) and interpreting the OT Law by their commands. Scribes were leaders of the Pharisees.  

The Pharisees condemned Jesus and his disciples as Law-breakers because they did not follow their traditions (vv. 2-5). Jesus, however, condemned them for elevating their man-made ideas above God’s commands (vv. 6-13). Jesus also pointed out that one’s standing before God is not affected by the kinds of food one eats, but by the spiritual condition of one’s heart and life (vv. 14-23). (The correct location of the end of Jesus’ words in v. 19 is after “eliminated,” with Mark noting Jesus’ point: “Thus purifying all foods.”)  

In verses 24-30, a Gentile woman asked Jesus to deliver her daughter from demon possession. Jesus’ response in verse 27 emphasizes that the primary, not exclusive focus of his ministry at that point was to Jews, not Gentiles. Her belief that he was the Messiah, however, resulted in Jesus granting her request.  

Jesus then healed a man who could not hear or speak (vv. 31-35). Jesus’ actions in verse 33 helped the man believe in him—the fingers in the ears indicated they would be cleared, and the saliva on the tongue showing it would return to normal use. Jesus’ instruction in verse 36 were given because people needed to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah, not merely as a miracle worker.

Truths to Nail Down and Apply

  1. Whenever man makes his ideas “equal” with God’s, God’s truth is always rejected. Beware of falling into this trap!
  2. People must believe in who Jesus is—the eternal God who became man, the only Lord and Savior. Beware of focusing only on the effects of Jesus’ salvation at the expense of forgetting who Jesus is. 
  3. After his resurrection Jesus did command his followers to spread the message of who he is far and wide (Acts 1:8).

Today’s Devotional: Mark 6

You can download this week’s entire Daily Devotional in booklet form here.

The people of Jesus’ hometown, Nazareth, did not believe Jesus was the Messiah and because of their unbelief he did little miraculous works (vv. 1-6).  

Jesus sent out six groups of two disciples to proclaim throughout Israel that Jesus was the Messiah (vv. 7-13). He gave them the ability to do miracles which served as God’s “stamp of approval” on their message (vv. 7, 12-13). Jesus’ traveling instructions (vv. 8-9) were only for this “preaching tour.”  

Herod’s beheading of John the Baptist—who preached that Jesus was Israel’s promised Messiah—showed that he rejected Jesus as the Messiah (vv. 14-29).  

When the twelve disciples returned from their preaching tour they reported to Jesus, who then led them away for needed rest (vv. 30-32). Crowds, however, followed them so Jesus spent the day teaching them (vv. 33-34) and then miraculously feeding them all (vv. 35-44). 

Jesus then sent the twelve to the east side of the Sea of Galilee while he went alone to pray (vv. 45-46). Walking on the water, Jesus came out to them and calmed the sea (vv. 47-52).  

Arriving on the east side of the Sea of Galilee in Gennesaret, many immediately recognized Jesus and brought many to be healed by him (vv. 53-56). This was the result of the former demon-possessed man whom Jesus delivered and who told the locales about Jesus (5:18-20). The people’s response significantly contrasts with those of Jesus’ home town in verses 1-6.  

Truths to Nail Down and Apply

  1. Sadly, frequently those who “grow up” knowing about  Jesus do not believe in Jesus (vv. 1-6). We cannot assume that children of Christian parents will follow the Lord. Christian parents and the church must teach them, pray for them, live godly lives before them, and urge them to trust Christ.
  2. The objective of the twelve disciples’ traveling ministry was calling the people to repent—turn from their sins and believe that Jesus is the Christ (v. 12). Their “ministry goal” was not to improve people’s physical lives, but to call them to salvation. Christian, when you have opportunities to teach the gospel, you must tell unbelievers to repent!
  3. Before Jesus ate he stopped to thank the Lord for the food and ask his blessing on it (v. 41). Sadly more professing Christians do not do what their Lord and Savior did.

Today’s Devotional: Mark 5

You can download this week’s entire Daily Devotional in booklet form here.

Jesus and his disciples traveled to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which was a kind of Jewish no-man’s-land as evidenced by the residents’ herd of pigs (v. 11; cf. Deut 14:8). When a demon-possessed man saw Jesus he came near and though he acknowledged who Jesus was he essentially said to Christ, “Don’t bother us, leave us alone, mind your own business” (v. 7). Jesus’ total authority over Satan and demons is demonstrated here. Sadly, eyewitnesses to the miracle wanted nothing to do with Jesus (vv. 14-17), but the former demon-possessed man’s witness and testimony was effective (vv. 18-20).

Jesus then went back to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (v. 21). He was asked by Jairus—a Jewish layman in charge of synagogue activities and upkeep—to come and heal is near-dead daughter (vv. 22-24).

On the way to Jairus’ house, a woman with an incurable bleeding disorder (rendering her unclean and thus unable to live and worship among Jews, Lev 15:25-33) came to Jesus believing that he could heal her if she simply touched him (vv. 25-31). Jesus’ conversation with her showed that because she believed Jesus was the Messiah she was delivered not only from her illness but her sin (vv. 32-34).

Jesus then went to Jairus’ house and by that time the daughter had died, but Jesus encouraged him to believe (vv. 35-36). Jesus raised the girl from the dead (privately, vv. 37-42), and told them not to publicize this lest he be viewed simply as a miracle worker (v. 43).

Truths to Nail Down and Apply

  1. Human beings are physically powerless before Satan and demons. Demons hate God, and thus seek to destroy humans because men and women are made in God’s image.
  2. Demons are no match for Jesus, the Son of God.
  3. When the Lord saves a soul from sin and Satan’s power it is His gracious and merciful work, resulting in total transformation (vv. 15, 19). Have you been saved from sin and Satan’s power? What’s the proof or evidence of that?
  4. Faith is the one thing needed (vv. 34, 36). Jesus’ encouragement to Jairus, “Do not be afraid; only believe” means “Only believe in Me, that I am the Christ, and I alone can save and deliver from sin and death.”

Wise Conduct Before Superiors

This message from Ecclesiastes 8:1-9 was given by Pastor Dan Greenfield during our morning service, August 6, 2023.

Here we learn from Ecclesiastes that you need Christ’s wisdom to know how to act before your superiors.

You can download this outline to follow along and take notes. 

Today’s Devotional: Mark 4

You can download this week’s entire Daily Devotional in booklet form here.

Mark 4

Following the Jewish religious leaders’ public rejection and repudiation of Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus taught the multitude a series of parables.

Jesus taught about the nature of true faith (vv. 3-9, 13-20). While truth about Jesus would be widely spread, those who truly are saved are marked by faith, obedience, and growing godliness (v. 20).

Jesus taught so people would believe and understand. Those who hear and obey will learn more, but those who disbelieve will be hardened to Christ’s truth (vv. 21-25).

In verses 26-29 Jesus described the power of his word in the lives of those who hear, bringing repentance and faith.

Jesus then taught (vv. 30-32) that in the present age the number of those who believe and grow in maturity will continue to increase.

Mark then relayed Jesus’ miracle of the calming of the seas (vv. 35-41), which reinforced Jesus’ credentials as the Christ, the Son of God.

Truths to Nail Down and Apply

  1. Through parables Jesus concealed truth that his true disciples would either grasp or ask the meaning about, but his enemies would not understand (vv. 10-12, 33-34; cf. Matt 13:10-17).
  2. Each parable makes one point and the parable’s details must be understood in relation to that one point.
  3. The crucial issue with Jesus’ teaching is how will you respond? You will either believe or disbelieve. What your life is like (its character) and what you do (actions) show what your response to Jesus really is.

Today’s Devotional: Mark 3

You can download this week’s entire Daily Devotional in booklet form here.

Here Mark continues his account of Jesus’ ministry in the region of Galilee, especially noting how the Jewish religious establishment hated and opposed him.

When Jesus healed a man with a severely handicapped hand in a synagogue, the Pharisees (traditionalist Jewish leaders who did not like Rome) joined forces with the Herodians (Jews who aligned with Rome’s leader, Herod) to destroy Jesus (vv. 1-6).

When Jesus moved to the Sea of Galilee multitudes from throughout Israel sought him out (7-12). Jesus healed many and cast out demons, and though demon-possessed individuals knew and said who Jesus really was, Jesus would not allow them to give such testimony (cf. Psalm 50:16-17).

Jesus then chose from among all who followed him twelve men as his disciples. He trained and sent these out to proclaim throughout Israel that Jesus was Israel’s promised King and Messiah. Jesus gave them the ability to do miracles proving he was the Messiah (vv. 13-19).

As Jesus continued to do miracles—especially casting out demons—the religious leaders said that Jesus was able to cast out demons because he was controlled by Satan (vv. 22, 30). Jesus rebuked their foolish thinking (vv. 23-27) and judged them for their unbelief (vv. 28-30).

Only those who hear, believe, and obey Jesus will be blessed (vv. 31-35).

Truths to Nail Down and Apply

  1. God’s enemies may not like each other for any number of practical reasons, but they are united in their hatred of and opposition to the Lord.
  2. The “unpardonable sin” the “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” was when the Jewish religious leaders believed that Jesus was controlled by Satan, not the Holy Spirit (vv. 22, 29-30).
  3. Family is important, but they are not as important as hearing, believing, and obeying God’s will (vv. 31-35). Jesus did not let family keep him from doing God’s will.

Today’s Devotional: Mark 2

You can download this week’s entire Daily Devotional in booklet form here.

Mark focuses the readers’ attention on Jesus’ ministry in regions that included both Jews as well as Gentiles. In addition to Jesus’ ministry, Mark here also shows the Jewish leaders’ growing opposition to Jesus.  

Jesus entered Capernaum, a significant city in the region of Galilee and in Jesus’ ministry. While preaching in a packed home that he was Israel’s promised Messiah (vv. 1-2), Jesus told a paralytic that his sins were forgiven because the man believed that Jesus was the Messiah (vv. 3-5). Religious leaders present viewed Jesus as blaspheming, saying he was equal with God (vv. 6-7). Jesus rebuked them and proved he had the authority to forgive sins by healing the paralytic (vv. 8-12).  

Jesus then went to the Sea of Galilee to continue teaching (v. 13). On the way there he called a Jewish tax-collector, Levi (Matthew), to follow him as one of his disciples (v. 14). Matthew had a big dinner for Jesus and invited many other tax collectors and those who did not obey the Mosaic Law to join them (v. 15). This greatly offended the religious leaders (v. 16) but Jesus rebuked them and explained his purpose (v. 17).  

Some of John the Baptist’s disciples came to Jesus and asked why Jesus’ disciples did not fast like they and the Pharisees did (v. 18). Jesus answered in verses 19-20 by referring to how weddings were done then. The wedding party did not eat (“fasted”) until the bridegroom came, then they ate. Jesus used the Baptist’s own words to explain that he, Jesus, was the Bridegroom (cf. John 3:29), and so there was no need to pray and fast for the Messiah to come—he was here! Jesus then said (vv. 21-22) that he came to establish a new order (the Law of Christ, 1 Cor 9:21) that would replace—not be superimposed on—the old order (the Law of Moses).  

As Jesus and his disciples passed through a grain field on the Sabbath the disciples ate some of the grain (v. 23). The Pharisees had previously interpreted that as “harvesting” and thus breaking the command not to work on the Sabbath (v. 24). However, because Jesus is God he has the authority to say how the Sabbath command should be correctly interpreted and applied (vv. 25-28).    

Truths to Nail Down and Apply

  1. Jesus forgives the sins of those who truly trust in him. Do you? Are your sins forgiven?
  2. Verse 16 is sometimes used to justify Christians going to bars, etc. Jesus was in Matthew’s home and the “sinners” were invited by Matthew. The whole point of the get-together was to introduce Matthew’s unbelieving contacts to Jesus—a great pattern to follow!
  3. The law of Christ is Christ’s demands and expectations of his followers (the NT; cf. John 15:12; Rom 8:2; 1 Cor 9:21; Gal 6:2; Jam 1:25; 2:12; 2 Pet 3:2).

Today’s Devotional: Mark 1

You can download this week’s entire Daily Devotional in booklet form here.

Mark’s account of the life and ministry of Jesus the God-man (“Son of God, v. 1) began with the work of John the Baptist, who called Israel to repent of their sins and watch for the Messiah who would soon come (vv. 2-8). When Jesus the Messiah appeared he identified himself with the Baptizer’s message by being immersed himself (vv. 9-11). Jesus was then tempted by Satan in the wilderness (vv. 12-13).

From 1:14-8:26 Mark centers on Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, primarily focusing on his works and the growing opposition to him.

John the Baptist was imprisoned, his ministry completed, and Jesus began preaching in Galilee that he, the Messiah, Israel’s King, had come and all must believe in him (vv. 14-15). Jesus then called four Galileans to leave everything, follow and learn from him, and serve in the work (vv. 16-20). The legitimacy of Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah was proven when he cast out demons in Capernaum (vv. 21-28), healed Peter’s mother-in-law of sickness (vv. 29-31), and did many other similar miracles (vv. 32-34).

Jesus did not stay in Capernaum but went throughout Galilee praying, preaching, casting out demons, and healing the sick, all of which were part of his ministry as Israel’s King and Messiah (vv. 35-45).

Truths to Nail Down and Apply

  1. John the Baptist’s baptism (Mark 1:4) was for Jews to publicly announce their repentance and belief in the coming Messiah. Christian baptism (Mark 16:15) publicly announces a believer’s repentance and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.
  2. Miracles are supernatural acts of God that infrequently occurred in biblical history. Miracles served as supporting signs of God’s messengers and their message, verifying such were truly from him.
  3. Praise the Lord that Jesus is infinitely greater than any power or effect of sin!

Today’s Devotional: Introduction to Mark

You can download this week’s entire Daily Devotional in booklet form here.

Those whom Mark wrote this gospel to had a Roman background. In this gospel Mark shows that Jesus is the Son of God and suffering Servant.

Mark’s account of Jesus’ life and ministry focuses more on what Jesus did than on what he taught (“immediately” is used 42 times). Mark particularly emphasizes Jesus’ suffering. His gospel gives a summary of the basic points of who Jesus is and what he did, providing a thorough grasp of Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection.

Mark’s gospel helps Christians grow in their faith, follow Christ faithfully, and equip them to effectively point sinners to Jesus, the Son of God, who came to seek and save the lost (10:45).

From 1:14 to 8:26 Mark focuses on Jesus’ miracles, leading up to Peter’s confession of who Jesus is in 8:27-30. At that point, Mark’s Gospel turns abruptly, focusing on Jesus’ suffering and death (8:31-16:20). Jesus is thus shown as the all-powerful Son of God (1:14-8:26) and the suffering Son of Man who died for sinners (8:31-16:20).

Here’s a basic outline of the Gospel according to Mark—  

  1. Jesus’ miracles, 1:1-8:26
  2. Jesus’ suffering and death, 8:27-16:20

Truths to Nail Down and Apply

  1. The English word Gospel comes from the Anglo-Saxon word godspell which is composed of god (God) and spell (a story). This may then mean either God-story or good story.
  2. “Gospel” always refers to the message, the good news of what God has accomplished through Jesus Christ. Only here in Mark 1:1 is it used in connection with the record of that message (a book).
  3. When used with a book—“the gospel of Mark”—it refers to “the good news about Jesus Christ.”
  4. God gives the meaning and content of the gospel message in the Bible. All that God says about it must be taught and believed for one to be saved from his sins. God curses anyone who changes this message (Gal 1:8-9; Rev 22:18-19). Remember this when reading the Gospels!

Christ Alone!

This message from Philippians 3:9-11 was given by Pastor Dan Greenfield during our morning service, July 30, 2023.

Here Paul exhorts the Philippians and Christians today to trust in Christ alone!

You can download this outline to follow along and take notes. 

A Needle in a Haystack

This message from Ecclesiastes 7:25-29 was given by Pastor Dan Greenfield during our morning service, July 23, 2023.

Here Solomon teaches that neither righteousness nor wisdom is ever found among the sexually immoral: Flee Immorality!

You can download this outline to follow along and take notes. 

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