Bible Reading Update #5
This week we began reading in Mark. You may recognize some familiar passages in Mark, Luke, and John that we read in Matthew because they are all accounts of Jesus’ life on earth written by different people.
Of course all of the Bible was written by the Holy Spirit, but it was through people and prophets that we have the literal writings of the Bible. While many stories we read in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are similar to each other, there are some key details that Mark includes, that Matthew doesn’t, and so on. Reading through each gospel will give us greater understanding of certain passages as they are repeated with unique details.
A friend of mine who is reading along with this Bible plan explained to me how, as she read Matthew last month, she used J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible series as well as a dictionary and concordance to study out the passages. I think this is a great idea that helps us to really grasp each concept we read.
~ In Mark 1:17, Jesus says, “Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Verse eighteen says “and STRAIGHTWAY they forsook their nets, and followed him.” That was their work, their means of supporting themselves, but they left all of that immediately to follow Jesus. Well, think of it, Jesus left everything He had so He could come to this earth and die so OUR sins may be forgiven. We should be willing to give our all for Christ and not hold anything back at all.
~ In Mark 7:9, Jesus says to the Pharisees (the teachers of the law), “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.” Wow! These people were so set in their own ways that they set aside God’s commands in order to keep their tradition. How often do we “set aside” or compromise God’s Word so we can stick to our own selfish ways? Because Jesus rebukes the hypocritical Pharisees for doing this, we should all be careful to never put any of man’s traditions before God’s Word.
~ In Mark 7, when Jesus enters the region of Tyre, a woman approached Him and begged Him to heal her daughter who had an unclean spirit. Now this woman was a Gentile (non-Jew) of the Syrophoenician race.
The Jews didn’t associate with these people which is why Jesus said to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” Here Jesus is explaining that He should
heal the children (Jews) first and not perform miracles on the dogs (Gentiles). The woman wisely responded, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs” meaning that, even though she wasn’t a Jew, she benefitted from the bread (Jesus’ teaching). Because of her response, Jesus told the woman to return home to find her daughter healed because of her great faith. None of us deserves God’s forgiveness and healing, but if we humbly ask Him, He will respond and have compassion on us.
I wanted to share with you a story, sent to me by a friend, about a young girl named Susan. Although Susan was persecuted for Christ, she has maintained a strong desire to share the gospel with her persecutors.
What a wonderful example of forgiveness and love. This story was published by The Voice of the Martyrs, a wonderful organization that is dedicated to assisting persecuted individuals and families worldwide. Here is their website: http://www.persecution.com/public/homepage.aspx?clickfrom=%3d6d61696e5f6d656e75
UGANDA: STILL STANDING
You wouldn’t recognize the healthy, smiling young woman in the photo from the undernourished 13-year-old girl who was tortured for her faith more than five years ago.
When Susan became a Christian in 2009, her father began beating her. He then locked her in a room for six months. Her brother secretly slipped roasted bananas under the door so she could survive.
Susan was rescued when neighbors became concerned and called the police. After her rescue, she was skeletal, weak and unable to walk or talk. The long-term lack of calcium while locked in the room affected her bones and disrupted her growth and function in her legs. After multiple surgeries, she can now walk with the assistance of crutches.
With the support of VOM, Susan is attending a boarding school where she will get a good education and help for her special needs.
“I love school and I work very hard,” Susan said. “I find difficulty sometimes, but I have learned to struggle through.”
A VOM worker regularly visits Susan at school, and on his most recent trip said she was happy for the visit and “still full of smiles.” Although Susan sometimes still feels pain in her knees, she pushes on and continues to smile and to try to walk on her own.
“I believe that one day I will be able to walk,” Susan said. “I sometimes try walking with one crutch and if I keep trying, I will eventually walk.”
In spite of what she went through and how she struggles physically every day, Susan hopes that one day she will make a difference for Christ in the world, and she wants to be able to witness to those who persecuted her.
Have a blessed week,