Day Fifty-Three with Mark: Mark 14:26-42

Today in Mark, we look at Chapter 14: 26-42:

26 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; 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 all become deserters, I will not.” 30 Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34 And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” 37 He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? 38 Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. 41 He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

A couple of things stand out to me about these passages.  First, let us remember, that it wasn’t just Judas that betrayed or didn’t stand up for Jesus in the moment.  Everyone (but for John) deserted.  And here is the thing to remember about Jesus in this.  He still loved them.  Even though the failed, even though they weren’t faithful, His love for them did not change.  Remember, Jesus love for us is not based upon our actions or our faithfulness, His love for us is based upon who He is.

We are not loved because we are good.  We are loved because He is good.  And it is His goodness that in time makes us good.

We see this the most in Peter.  Peter was the leader and after Jesus says that He will be left by everyone, Peter says, no, not I.  And Jesus says, you will deny me three times.

jesus-praysWe see the disciples begin to fall away, when Jesus was praying. And to me, that’s the second thing that stands out in this passage.  Look at how Jesus prayed.  Look at the passion, the pain, the hurt.  Remember that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.  He knew the cross was coming.  He knew what was going to happen.  He knew what awaited.

And He still chose it. Because He loved us.  He loved His disciples that would deny Him soon, and He loves us, who do much the same.  He knew what must be done for the salvation of the world.

No one took Jesus life from Him.  No one murdered Him.  He willing chose the cross.

So when you read the story of the Garden, remember the prayer He prayed, remember the help He sought from His Father, remember the passion and strength it took.

Remember the choice He made, for us and for the world.  Remember God’s plan, from the very creation for our redemption.

Remember how much you are loved.

Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 14:43-52.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Like a Child

Sometimes when you read a familiar passage of the Bible, you’ve really got to slow yourself down and pay attention.  Sometimes it’s so easy to just think, I’ve read this before, and quickly read through it, and then move on to the next passage.  When we do that, we can miss that unique thing that God may want to say to us today.

For instance, one of today’s readings was like that for me.  So I had to go back and reread Mark 10: 13-16 several times.  Listen to what it says:

13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

When I was reading today this is what jumped out to me.  In verse 15, if you don’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child, you will not enter it.  I just sat and stewed on that for a little bit today.

By the way, that’s one of the ways that you can really hear God’s voice in Scripture. When you are reading, what jumps out to you?  What catches your eye?  God back and stay there for a while.  Go and listen.  Keep going back to it.  And listen to what jumps out.  Pay attention to words. To thoughts.  To ideas.  To images.  What pops off the page at you?  That’s where God is speaking to you.

christmas-treeToday for me, it was receiving the kingdom like a little child.  Know what I thought about?  Christmas morning.  The excitement.  The joy.  The anticipation.  The “waking up at 3 in the morning” type of passion that every child has a Christmas Eve.  The fact that you can’t wait, you can’t can’t wait, you can’t wait to get that present.

Look out work, here we come!

Our kids feel that way about Christmas, don’t they?  Honestly, don’t we still?

Do we feel that way about the Kingdom?  Do we feel that way about grace, about mercy, about Jesus?

This world makes us grow up, doesn’t it?  And that’s a little sad. We can lose that that joy for Jesus and His gift. This world as a way of dampening that fire.

Jesus today wants to light that fire in our hearts.

Today, you are not condemned.  You are forgiven.  You are loved.  You are treasured.  You are valued.  You are His prize, His joy, His love.

And He wants you to receive that today.  With child-like joy!

Today, may we receive His love like a child.

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The Body is Like . . .

I guess I’ve started a trend of pop culture devotionals!  Yesterday we talked about how God calls use to places that we don’t want to go, and I used Doctor Who as part of my illustration.  Today, I’m talking about the Body of Christ.  And I’ve got a totally different pop culture reference.

Today, listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:18-21:

But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.

One of the things that we can be tempted to believe, as Christians, is that what we are passionate about is the most important thing.  And if you really loved Jesus like I love Jesus, then you’d care about my mission, or my passion or my whatever.

Or, if you really loved Jesus, you’d like my style of worship.

Or go to my church/denomination.

Or share my view point.

Or agree with me.

And, that’s simply not the case. Paul reminds us that we are body. We are all different. We all have our different callings, different passions, different likes, different dislikes.  We are all different.

But, we focus not on our differences, and focus on the Gospel, and focus on the things that unite us, we see this.  We all matter.  And the body needs all our passions.  It needs your passion.  It needs my passion.  It needs all of us. And all of us have a part to play.

Individually, we are ok. Together, we can do AMAZING things for the Kingdom. We are stronger united and together than any one of us are alone.

1545230_10153672258090043_1758123088_nLike Voltron.

Yes, Volton. Each of the lions has as different strength (and color) but they only achieve their true purpose when they unite. Then, they smash evil and accomplish good (all in 30 minutes, no less)!

So, today, let’s work together.  Let’s do great things.  Let’s unite for the kingdom.  And do amazing things.

When we do that, just like Voltron, we find our true strength, and are able to defeat the darkness, and bring forth the light.

By being the Body. And working together.

That’s our purpose.

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urlIt’s very easy in life to be live via our passions. What do I mean by that?

I’m not talking about things like I’ve got a passion for art. Or music. Or the outdoors, or things like that Those are “passions” that enrich our lives, things that give us joy, things we can enjoy with others, things that in many ways, we can see God in.

What do I mean?

It’s easy live to be live via our passions. To lose control of ourselves to our passions of anger. Or greed. Or pride. Or sloth. Or (my favorite) gluttony.

And the thing is, when we are living in these passions, we feel like we are doing what we want! We are in control! We are in charge! We can do whatever it is that we want to do, because it’s our life!

Here’s the thing about that. We aren’t really in control.

When we live a life of anger. Or hate. Or greed. Or lust. Or pride. Or well, a million different passions we struggle with, we are out of control.

We have given control of ourselves to something else. Listen to what Paul says in Romans 6:10-13:

For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

Do not let sin reign in your body. Do not give it control.

Now, listen, we are going to make mistakes. We are going to mess us. We are going to fall. That’s the way it goes.

Here’s the thing. Don’t give into that. Don’t be satisfied in that. Don’t feel like that’s alright and good enough.

Don’t allow sin to take control. Don’t allow yourself to be controlled by these passions. Christ died to defeat that.

He died so that He can be in control. So, today, what will control us? Will it be sin? Will it be Jesus?

Today, may we not live out of our passions. May we live, via the grace of God. And may Jesus Christ have control over all our lives!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Monday of Holy Week 2012

One of the conversations I was having last night with my Disciple Bible study was the conversation about the death of Jesus on Good Friday.

Did Judas have any choice in what was happening? (My answer, yes, all humans have free will). What if he’d have not done it? We were talking all the questions that so many have about the cross, the suffering of Jesus, and all that happened to our Lord.

On this Monday of Holy Week, listen to what happened on this day, according to John 12:1-8:

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

We see Him being anointed as for burial. We see Him say that He would not be there much longer. He knew what this week would hold for me.

And in reading it, the point struck me, that struck me last night in our conversation. In regards to his crucifixion, Jesus knew what He was doing. He chose to go to the cross. He chose to go to Jerusalem. He knew what was going to happen.

He knew that the cross awaited Him on Good Friday. He knew what was to happen. He willing chose it. Judas had a part to play, yes, but remember.

Jesus choose to lay His life down.

For you, and for me. He went to cross, suffered its pain an anguish. For us. For me. For you. For our forgiveness. For our salvation. For our hope.

Jesus knew what was happening. And He chose it. For us.

But, one other thing I stressed last night. No one killed Jesus. He’s not dead! He’s alive. He rose from the dead, He’s alive forever more.

On this Monday of Holy Week, let us remember that our Lord willing chose what was to happen, for my sake, and for your. And let us remember that even the pain, and agony of the cross could not defeat our Lord!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

There Ain’t No Stopping Us!

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite Christian Artists is Rich Mullins.  He did a song we all know and we’ve sung a million times, “Awesome God.”  In worship Sunday at Asbury Church we sang a song “He Reigns” which takes Awesome God and adds to it these words:

There ain’t no stopping us (naw)
Devil there ain’t no blocking us (naw)

I was thinking about that song this morning as I read this passage from Acts:

34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. 35 Then he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them-in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”

If it is of God, there is no stopping it.

Their ain’t no stopping God. There’s nothing that can stop God. Their’s nothing that can stop God’s people from doing what He wants to accomplish.


There’s nothing in front of you this morning that can’t be worked out by God’s plan and God’s grace. Nothing.

As Jesus told Peter, even the Gates of Hell will not stop the Church!

If God is for us, who can be against us.

You don’t have to live a life of defeat this morning.  You don’t have to live a life as it’s always been this morning. This is a new day. This is a new beginning.  This is a new gift from God!

Live in it.  Live this day to the fullest. Live this life to the fullest. There’s nothing that God can’t accomplish.

If it’s of God, nothing will stop it.  Or stop you.  You can live with courage and boldness today.

Don’t live defeated.  Live victorious.  There ain’t no stopping us! Though God.