Daily Devotionals

 
 
 

Check back for a new series coming soon!

Week 10, Saturday, Mark 11:15-19

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 11:15-19

[Please read and meditate on the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

Reminder: There will be no daily devotion tomorrow, Sunday. Hopefully most of you will be in a House of Worship listening to God yourselves. Go prepared with open hearts, though!

 

A lot of emphasis has been put on Jesus’ clearing the temple because of what he saw happening there. There were booths set up to change the commonly used Roman money into the Jewish/Temple money required for offering. There were also sales of sacrificial animals/birds for those who came without them. But I believe Jesus’ focus was on what was not happening in the Temple – prayer! Hence his quoting from Isaiah, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations…” I wonder how passionate we are for our church(es) to be primarily known as a “house of prayer” – and consequently we be known as “people of prayer”. What Jesus did by disrupting the “business proceedings” in a house of worship was more than a “clean-up” job; (after all they would have come back the next day!). Jesus was prophetically showing what would happen to a worship place that did not manifest, or live out its primary reason for existing – worship, and prayer! Are we mindful of this?

 

Prayer: Father, you have often reminded me of the promise you gave Solomon and the Israelites when they dedicated the Temple: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). I know it’s not the same for us; yet the challenge is similar for us as well: we who have beautifully created structures we call churches. We too are called to use our “holy” structures for prayer – so that grace would flood down on us and from us to a world of need outside. Give us a passion to be a people of prayer so that your house will be known primarily as a “house of prayer for all nations”. Amen.

Listen to Song


Read more...

Week 10, Friday, Mark 11:1-11

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 11:1-11

[Please read and meditate on the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

 

Jesus went to unusual detail about the way he would ride into Jerusalem in that final week of his human life by sending 2 disciples to procure a specific mode of transportation. Thus when he rode into Jerusalem he was intentionally fulfilling the Messianic symbolism of Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus wanted people to know that he had no doubt about who he was (the Messiah), and what his (divine) purpose was (deliverance). True, everybody misunderstood both, trying to make him fit into what they wanted of him. But Jesus knew. What about you? Do you really know who you are? Do you know your divine purpose?

 

Prayer: Lord, I know you created me in a very special way (Psalm 139:13-14). Added to that there must be also some deeper reason why you redeemed me, saved me for yourself. Yet I am not always sure about who I am. Sure Lord, I know my name, my family; but sometimes I believe things and behave in ways that make me a stranger even to myself. I live my life without any higher purpose. Reveal to me O Lord the person that you want me to be. Show me your purpose in living that transforms not just me, but also touches every other person I meet in a positive (Godly) way. I want my choices to be meaningful because of what you are doing in my life. Amen.

Listen to Song

 


Read more...

Week 10, Thursday, Mark 10:46-52

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 10:46-52

[Please do read the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

 

“Your faith has healed you.” We sometimes think that means we need to have “x units” (or some God-calculated quantity) of faith in order to make things happen for us. But the Bible is clear about the fact that nothing we can do makes things work in our favor. Grace means that it is all God’s initiative, all His work; and He does it purely based on His love for us, and not on what have done/can do for Him. So what about blind Bartimaeus? I believe Jesus did heal him by his power, because of his love for him. But Jesus also wanted Bartimaeus to desire something he could not do himself, which only God (Jesus) could do for/to him. In a way, that is faith, because it is desiring the impossible from the only One that can make it happen. However, will God give us every impossible, faith-filled desire, like he did Bartimaeus’? Not necessarily. But with each of those desires comes a dependency on a loving God who surely reciprocates with a love that meets us at the point of our need, even if not always in the way we want.

 

Prayer: Lord, give me the faith to keep desiring the best that you have in store for me. I know that I may not always get what I want. But the more I desire from you, the more I will learn to depend on you for what is best for my life. I know you are a God of love. Your giving of Jesus for me shows me that if you did not spare your only Son, you will surely not hold back anything else that is good for me. So I will keep desiring of you, and asking you, my Lord, because only you have what I really need. And if I have to learn to wait, give the patience to be faithful even in the waiting. Amen.

Go to Song


Read more...

Week 10, Wednesday, Mark 10:41-45

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 10: 41-45

[Please do read the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

 

Imagine a (power) pyramid. Worldly achievement and authority/power dictates that success is measured by the extent you go higher, reaching the tip, or “apex”. As you get closer to the apex, there are fewer people above you, and more people below you. Until you reach the tip; you’ve made it – you’re the top boss! Jesus changed this picture of greatness, giving new meaning to spiritual success; and he showed the way. Yes, it is good to have an ambition to reach the tip; but Jesus’ pyramid is inverted – upside-down! The closer he got to the apex, the more did he feel the weight/burden of the world on him. Until reached the tip, there where on a cross “the Lamb of God carried the sins of the whole world”. The measure of “Christ-greatness” is following his kind of ambition – downward on an inverted pyramid toward the tip, where greatness to manifested in being the servant of all. How ambitious are you?

 

Prayer: Give me an ambition Lord Jesus to be just like you. I know the world looks up to people that achieve much, people that crave recognition. Forgive me when I sometimes “slip” and want the same things too. But when I look at your life Lord Jesus, I see someone that had so many opportunities to use your “fan following” for your own ends, yet you walked away and instead became as a servant to wash your disciples’ feet and even give your precious life as a ransom, a payment, for ours. Teach me to be a servant Lord, just like you. And when the burden , the weight of those I carry for you seem too much for me, please grow your strength in me. I cannot do this by myself. I need you, and the sisters and brothers you’ve given me. Amen.

Listen to Song


Read more...

Week 10, Tuesday, Mark 10:35-40

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 
 

Go to Mark 10:35-40

[Please do read the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

 

I’m sure that Jesus is a little amused by our heroic ambitions to do great things for him. James and John must have had such ambitions – after all they had left everything to follow Jesus, and now they wanted to be in positions of authority so that they could get things done for Jesus. I’m sure their reason for asking Jesus what they did had the best of intentions. But Jesus knew they were not ready for the “Kingdom way” of doing things. They would need to come to a place where they would willingly offer their very lives and embrace a life of suffering that Jesus embodied. Jesus knew they would, eventually. But that would happen after his death, resurrection, and the sending of the Holy Spirit into them. The question he lovingly asked them was, “Are you able..?” They didn’t really know what that question entailed, but they were sincere in their willingness to respond “Yes, we are able”. History shows that God did the rest. The question for us remains the same: “Are you able…?”

 

Prayer: Lord, I want to be somebody that you would be proud of; I want to do great things for you. But I mistakenly think I can do it on my own. But you have you way of preparing your servant for your purposes, don’t you Lord? The way to victory is always through a valley of some sort…often of suffering. Lord, hold my hand as I walk through those dark valleys. I know you are alive, ever Present, with me. In fact you have given your Holy Spirit to me when I first made you my Savior and Lord. So when my heart fails, and I am afraid, and the pain is too much for me to bear, hold me close to yourself. Give me the strength to be faithful so that I will indeed be able to say, Yes I am able, because of you. Amen.

Listen to Song


Read more...

Week 10, Monday, Mark 10:32-34

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 10:32-34

[Please do read the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

 

Why did the Gospel writers record Jesus talking about his death (and resurrection) three times to his disciples/followers? Some were beginning to fear as they neared Jerusalem, so why would Jesus keep telling them what they were not wanting to hear? It could be that Jesus saw his calling very clearly, a calling that involved death. But the event of death was not the only thing that he wanted his disciples to remember. I believe that Jesus wanted them (and us) to know that he knew what awaited him in Jerusalem, and willingly went to it, because it involved yours, mine and humanity’s destiny! Jesus wanted us to know that his love for us was so great, not even the worst kind of death would stop him – in fact that was the only way he could bridge the gap between a sinful humanity and a holy God (cf. John 10:15, 17-18). And besides, note that each time he ends the prediction with the promise of his rising – something he wants us all to look forward to.

 

Prayer: Thank you for loving me so deeply Lord Jesus, so that “no one took your life from you, but you laid it down of your own accord…” for me, your sheep. Remind me Lord that the deepest expression of love is to give your all, something that you did for a world of undeserving broken people – sinners including me. Forgive me for the times I have doubted your love, and allowed fear to choke me. You did not intend for me to be a victim of my circumstances, but a victor over them. That’s the message of your death and resurrection – your love will always win in the end. In the meantime grow my faith so that through my own times of suffering I will be reassured that you were there first. Amen.

Listen to Song


Read more...

Week 9, Saturday, Mark 10:24-31

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 10:24-31

[Please do read the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

Reminder: There will be no daily devotion tomorrow, Sunday. Hopefully most of you will be in a House of Worship listening to God yourselves. Go prepared with open hearts, though!

 

Jesus was not really saying that riches prevent a person from entering the Kingdom of God. He was really saying that anything and everything of this world prevents us from doing so. Unless God took the initiative we humans really were doomed! And God did just that. He made the impossible possible by doing the impossible – Creator becoming a creature, and actually dying as a creature. (How could Someone like God actually die? By being Jesus!) But even after all the work is done by God, we do need to respond. That’s all that’s needed- our response. And the man walked away. The disciples didn’t. And I guess that’s why they’re called disciples – they followed and the returns far out-weighed the investment. That’s Jesus’ promise. Always.

 

Prayer: May I never put anything before you Lord. Not even the good things you have given me. Thank you for your promise that what I will receive from you will far out-weigh I can ever put into our relationship. But I don’t really want to follow you for the rewards, Lord. I want to follow you because I love you. You did not give yourself for me Jesus because you thought of me as a “good investment”. Because I am not. You did it because you loved me, and your Word says that you will always love me. I want to follow you because I love you Jesus. And no other reason. Amen.

 

Read more...

Week 9, Friday, Mark 10:17-25

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 10:17-25

[Please do read the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

 

The young man who came to Jesus was rich, and sincere in the way he lived out his Jewish faith. Though I wonder whether he asked that question of Jesus because he actually felt he lacked something, or because he was trying to “cover all his bases”. But Jesus took his question at face value; Jesus never pre-judges people even though he knows what is in each person’s heart (John 2:24). Jesus answers the young man and told him what he lacked. I’m not sure if the man felt he lacked anything. Remember? He’s rich. And that emptiness could be filled only if he (ironically) emptied himself of what prevented him from receiving true treasures – a relationship with Jesus himself. Do you know what you lack? And do you trust Jesus’ prescription to fill it?

 

Prayer: Father, you have blessed me with so much. And yet I keep running after “things.” After all, if I was filled, satisfied, why would I want more – more “things”, more clothes, more food, more money, more respect, more power? Is it that I don’t know my own lack? Can it be true that the very same things I use to fill my “lack” are really what’s preventing me from being filled by you? Lord, show me myself. Show me what I lack. Then give me the faith and courage to follow your prescription. After all you are the Great Physician! Amen.

Listen to Song


Read more...

Week 9, Thursday, Mark 10:13-16

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 10:13-16

[Please do read the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

 

Jesus’ love for children is obvious in this passage. He refused to be too busy for them; in fact he took the time to bless them. As adults do we find time to “bless” the children that God gives to us, whether as parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, and teachers? Do we impart God’s fullness and goodness in ways that they understand that they (the kids) are actually receiving a gift – a gift from God? But Jesus went further. He used them as the standard for entry into the Kingdom of God. It was the simplicity, trust, and whole-heartedness of the little child that implicitly trusted God that Jesus wanted to see in His followers.

 

Prayer: Lord Jesus I remember the days when as a child I used to enjoy hearing stories about you. I remember how I would be filled with wonder on hearing about your miracles. I felt sadness when I heard they put you on the cross to die. Why is it that I no longer feel that way? When I “lost” my childhood, did I lose you too? Have I become so sophisticated that I no longer think you’re the greatest – King, Ruler, Creator? Forgive me, Lord. I make myself as a child before you. I want to feel the wonder and amazement once again of who you really are. Amen.

Listen to Song


Read more...

Week 9, Wednesday, Mark 10:1-12

 Mark Devotionals

by, Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 10:1-12

[Please do read the passage before (or after) reading the devotion.]

 

The marriage relationship was completely God’s idea! He built it into Creation, when He made everything else, and it is that same “creation perspective” that Jesus reminds us of when we bring up any issues that have to do with marriage. Jesus was reminding people that marriage was as much to do with a new identity as it had to do with procreation. It is true that marriage was to bring a woman and man together in order to do what the rest of Creation Days #5 & #6 living creatures were to do: to be fruitful and increase. But for humans it is so much more. Marriage would be the formation of a whole new identity – one from two. It was within this kind of marriage relationship that two individuals were to experience and behold a mutual transformation and pleasure of each other that God intended. So, before we find fault with any other person or relationship, let those of us who are spouses ask ourselves: What have I given of myself to contribute to this “new identity/creation” that God wants me to be an integral part of? How has every facet of our relationship – physical, emotional/intellectual, social, spiritual – been geared towards a “oneness” that grows…and shows?

 

Prayer: Thank you Almighty God, that you made us humans to be and grow in relationship with each other. You gave us the abilities and gifts to enjoy these relationships; most importantly you put inside us an essential ingredient – love. You know that the only way we can “grow up” is to use this love in our relationships – as you intend us to. But sin has messed up the love you created me with. I see relationships for what I can get out of them. I may not admit it Lord, but so often even my marriage is tainted with a selfishness that subtracts from that growing oneness and newness you intend for all married couples to have. Forgive me, Lord. I need your love in my heart so very much. Only with your love in me can I give of myself to another as you would want me to, according to your plan to make “two” a whole new “one”. Amen.

Listen to Song


Read more...