Daily Devotionals

 
 

Week 3, Wednesday, Mark 3:7-12

Mark Devotions

by Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go To Mark 3:7-12

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

It’s curious, but while Jesus was on Earth he never really wanted people talking about him and his healings. And he shut up those unclean evil spirits who knew without a doubt his identity as God’s Son. Does that mean that we shouldn’t tell others about him and what he’s done? There are three things to remember. Jesus does want us to talk about him with others, but first he wants us to have an intimate relationship with him. Sharing about anyone based on a superficial relationship is dangerous; besides, why will we want others to know him unless we ourselves have a growing experience of the wonderful Person that he is? Second, there is a matter of “timing” – you need to know when God wants you to do it. It’s like the farmer who sows the seed only after he has ploughed and cultivated the ground. And thirdly, if that person’s life reflects the world and its evils, Christ is not interested in getting “good press” from “unreliable sources.”

 

Prayer: Father, I am so often afraid to talk about you. But even if I did want to talk about you, what would I say? Lord, I realize that maybe I need to grow in my intimacy with you. Like Paul I want my prayer to be, “I want to know you, Christ” – the depth of your love, the wonder of you as Creator, the beauty of your holiness… I want to be so excited about you that every conversation I have with others will be an opportunity for you to manifest yourself. Help me understand that when I radiate your growing Presence in me, you will prepare the ground for people to want to know the Person that makes all the difference in my life. Amen.

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Week 3, Tuesday, Mark 3:1-6

 Mark Devotions

by Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 
 

Go To Mark 3:1-6

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

 

Jesus looks “at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts…” (v.5).

Jesus’ critics were waiting to find fault with him for doing the work of healing on the Sabbath. It’s astonishing how we can completely miss the obvious because of our preoccupation with our own agendas and distorted vision. What could be more obvious than doing God’s good work on God’s holy Day? Jesus does two things; first he shows anguish at his critics’ attitude – he knows that they are missing the point of religion, which was to experience a loving God even through the good He wants to do through us. Secondly he heals the man, criticism notwithstanding, showing he would rather face opposition and act in mercy than let someone continue alone in their suffering.

 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I wonder if my attitudes seem distorted to you, and thus cause you anguish. Help me understand that your love and my prejudice cannot co-exist; there can be only one or the other. Forgive me for the distress I cause you. Heal me of my blindness when I cannot see the suffering of a sister, brother, or neighbor. And thank you for never giving up on me, because I know you keep giving me opportunities to touch people outside my “comfort zone” with your love which has the power to change people, circumstances. And yes, myself too. Amen.

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Week 3, Monday, Mark 2:23-28

 Mark Devotions

by Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go To Mark 2:23-28

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

 

Sabbath keeping was/is an integral part of the Jewish faith. It was a day that was to be set apart for God, mandated by Old Testament Law, and the orthodox Jew insisted on keeping it. Unfortunately we in the Christian world have lost the meaning of the Sabbath, much like the religious orthodox had during Jesus’ time. Jesus was reminding them (and us) that it’s not about things that you should do or should not do on this special day. That was not why God ordained Sabbath for His people. God “gifted” us with the Sabbath (or “set apart”/ “special”/ “Holy” day) so that we could use opportunities that Day provides to draw closer to him, for him to restore us, refresh us. We should want to use the Day to fulfill the desire to grow in our experience of a loving God in every way possible – worship, study, prayer, family-building, neighbor-loving… Do we use our Sundays that way?

 

Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for a Day when I can focus exclusively on you. I know you take pleasure when I worship you with others in your house, and forgive me when I neglect to do so. But you also want me to take the Day to experience you in my family, with those you have put in my life. You want me to find ways to focus on you so much that your love spills out in everything that I do that Day. Maybe then I will learn to experience you more and more the rest of the week as well. Teach me to desire you more than anything else. Amen.

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Week 2, Saturday, Mark 2:18-22

MARK DEVOTIONS

by Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

GO TO Mark 2:18-22

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

 

Jesus is not doing away with fasting. In fact, he says that there will come a time when fasting will be needed. However important is the oft neglected Spiritual Discipline of fasting, Jesus is really talking about something else. With Jesus coming into the world people no longer need depend on ritualistic actions in trying to come closer to God. With Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God before us now, the question is, “Do I want to relate to him personally, directly, as MY Savior and Lord? Or do I still want to rely in doing the same thing over and over again with little meaning, and more out of habit? Things like ‘giving my dues’, or giving my attendance at worship at regular intervals, or doing a sacrificial deed now and then.” Jesus has provided a new and direct way (Hebrews 10:20) to know God, which makes doing all the above meaningful only after we’ve given ourselves completely to Him, and not the other way around.

 

Prayer: Forgive me Lord, when I think that whatever I do will win favor with you, however “spiritual” they may look. I realize that all you really want is for me to accept your grace (undeserved love) in faith and grow in an ever deepening relationship with you. Then everything I do will come out of that love relationship. Isn’t that what pleases you most, Jesus? So here I am: “break me, melt me, mold me, fill me…and use me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” Amen.

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Week 2, Friday, Mark 2:13-17

GO TO Mark 2:13-17

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

Jesus calls yet another unlikely candidate to follow him as a disciple! While walking along he calls Levi (also called Matthew, and a Jew) who is doing his work as a tax collector. Jewish tax collectors were hated by their fellow (self-respecting) Jews because they were thought of as betrayers, doing a despised job for the enemy – the Romans. Matthew obeys, leaves his job, and begins his new life as a Jesus-follower by throwing a party with other (hated) tax collectors and Jewish law breakers as invitees, and Jesus as the chief guest. When the respected religious folks found fault with Jesus’ associations, Jesus made clear his intention – his coming to earth as a human was to identify with all those lonely, excluded, despised, overlooked, broken, “needy” folk. Who do you think you are? Someone who is satisfied with their religion? Or someone who is “needy”?

Prayer: Lord, do you really care for how lonely I am, how broken and needy I am inside of me? I put on a face that shows “I’m okay”, but so often I’m far from okay. But your Word reassures me that you not only want to associate with me, you even call me to be your follower. I don’t feel worthy, Lord. But since it is you calling, I will follow. Just keep reminding me that it is not because of anything to do with me that you want me follow, it is only because you love me! Amen.

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Week 2, Thursday, Mark 2:1-12

MARK DEVOTIONS

by Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

GO TO Mark 2:1-12

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

 

The place was full, and there seemed no way the paralytic could get to Jesus. How wonderful to have four friends that were caring enough to make the effort, have the imagination, possibly incur the wrath and expenses from the house owners, and send him down through a hole in the roof so that he could meet Jesus! It is interesting, but Jesus sees their faith and does two things for the paralyzed man – forgives his sins (his spiritual need) and then heals him (his physical need). Please don’t think that Jesus is saying that our sickness is because of our sins. He recognizes the legitimacy of both needs, yet he knew that the spiritual need (that always involves forgiveness in some form or the other) is far more serious, and the consequences of not addressing them far more terrible than anything else. Do you know your spiritual need that he is waiting to heal?

 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the people in my life that have done everything possible to bring me to your presence so that you can touch me. Forgive me for being so ungrateful for their caring, so unmindful of their faith, and so resistant to your work of transformation in my life. Not only do I want to be “made whole”, I want to be a friend to someone else that needs you as well. So here I am: I open my life to your working, O Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Week 2, Wednesday, Mark 1:40-45

MARK DEVOTIONS

by Rev. Sunil Balasundaram

 

GO TO Mark 1:40-45

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

 

Leprosy (or any skin disease) was dreaded, with people having them being ostracized (excluded from) the community; it was even thought of as a sign of God’s punishment. So when the man begged Jesus for healing, he wanted more than to be well, he yearned to be accepted by his community; not live in isolation and disgrace. Notice three things that Jesus did: he showed his complete acceptance of the man even while he was diseased – he touched him (a scandalous act!). He assured the man he was willing to heal him (God’s assurance before He acts). He only then shows his power by actually healing the man (nothing is too small or impossible when God wills it). The man is healed! And all Jesus expects of him was to fulfil what was required of true worship – obedience. But does he do that?

 

Prayer: I praise and thank you Lord for being such a generous God. You give me more than I deserve and I have seen you doing the “impossible” in my own life, and in the lives of those around me. But forgive me for not recognizing you when you were indeed at work, or when I quickly forgot it, or when I just took it for granted. Forgive me that, like the healed man, I often am not obedient to worship you in obedience in the way you want me to – I want to respond to you in whatever way I feel like. Keep working in my life Lord. And will worship you your way (not mine), by being obedient to your leading. Amen.

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Week 2, Tuesday, Mark 1:35-39

MARK DEVOTIONS

by Rev. Sunil Balasundaram
 

Go to Mark 1:35-39

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

 

Jesus had spent a long day caring for and healing those in need. He must have been exhausted. Yet very early the next morning he wakes up, leaves the house and goes to spend time alone in prayer. I have noticed that both before and after times of great ministry Jesus would go alone to be in prayer. It was as if he couldn’t (and wouldn’t) do anything for God his Father unless it was with Him. We often think of prayer as important as food is to the body; but Jesus saw it as essential as breathing. And maybe it was because his relationship with the Father was so close, so intimate, that he wanted to pray, and didn’t just consider it a “duty.” It was like breathing…

 

Prayer: Father, forgive me when I see prayer as a chore, a weary task that you have forced on me. Maybe I don’t pray often because I’m not comfortable, it feels like a new language that takes too much effort to learn. Remind me Lord that just as a parent yearns for her child to learn to speak, and is therefore patient with her, so do you yearn for us to communicate with you – and you are patient, waiting for us to learn at our pace. Lord, I want to learn. I want to be that child that wants to speak your language, that of prayer, because I want to grow in my love for you Jesus. Amen.

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Week 2, Monday, Mark 1:29-34

MARK DEVOTIONS

by Rev. Sunil Balasundaram

 

Go to Mark 1:29-34

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

 

Now we know that Peter was married. And he was a responsible son-in-law, after all he had his mother-in-law living with them! He must have loved her too because how else would Jesus have learned that she was ill “with a fever” in order for him to go to Peter’s home and heal her after a worship service? The passage tells us of how Jesus never “prioritized” healing on the basis of their seriousness. Every medical problem and malady was as important to him. Jesus did not go looking for people to heal, but everyone that came to him received a gift of grace (God’s undeserved love). Does He still give that “gift of grace” to everyone that comes to Him? Yes! I do not completely understand why everyone that comes asking is not healed. There are many who are, but there are many aren’t. But that has never stopped me from asking.

 

Prayer: Great and loving God, my heart aches for those who need your power of healing in their lives and some of them do not receive it as they have asked. I know you love us, Lord Jesus; the Cross will always remind me of that. So please help my un-understanding (and maybe lack of belief) in the times you act in ways that are different to mine. I love you Lord Jesus; keep me trusting in your love and in your power. I will keep asking, even if it seems like I sound like a child who wants his way with a loving Father. You do what you have to, because that’s what you are (a loving Father), and this is who I am (your child). Amen.

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Week 1, Saturday, Mark 1:21-28

Bible Passage

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

 

Note: 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!

 

The Gospels record that Jesus never missed the opportunity to be in a House of Worship every Sabbath. And whenever asked he always taught, but always with a depth of understanding and humility that reflected his intimacy with the Father. But this time one of his hearers was a man tormented with evil. And Jesus immediately heals him. Whether or not you believe in evil spirits, you better believe that there are some whose lives are seduced and ruled by evil. They are not to be feared or despised, but instead we should have compassion on such people. Know that only a loving and powerful God can and wants to free them, and can give them a heart that responds to Him. But He wants to use you and me in this! Oh, by the way, did you notice where this event took place? A House of Worship! A reminder that we must be vigilant everywhere for the Evil one. We only need to be cautious, because he is already a defeated enemy!

 

Prayer: Thank you Lord for the assurance that evil cannot stand against you. But teach me to be faithful in my worship of you so that my strength is purely based on YOU! Yes, Lord, I am willing to stand in your strength, and as you did, against evil in whatever disguise it shows itself. Only give the eyes to recognize it, the courage to face it, and the faith to overcome it in your Name. Amen.

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