Wednesday, August 2
Mark 6:47-56 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth hour of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them? (v.48)
I have a question when I read this passage. I wonder why Jesus was about to pass by the disciples. It is curious to me that Scripture includes this phrase in the NIV. I don’t have an answer. Instead I see Jesus’ compassion in the next verse.
The next verse tells us that the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. It also tells us they cried out in fear, thinking he was a ghost. The NIV uses the word “immediately” to describe Jesus’ action. He calls out to them and gets into the boat with the disciples.
I can only think that Jesus saw his friends straining at the oars and the look of fear in their eyes when he was about to pass them by. He also heard the panic in their voices when they cried out in fear, thinking he was a ghost walking on the water. In his compassion, Jesus changed his mind of walking on water the rest of the way and got into the boat with the disciples instead.
And so it is with us. Jesus sees our struggles and fears and enters our “boat” with us, bringing calm and peace. I give thanks to Jesus for his former humanity and understanding my fears and struggles.
2 Samuel 3:22-39; Psalm 72; Acts 16:16-24
Thursday, August 3
Acts 16:25-40 He was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God-he and his whole family.(v.34b)
I belong to a small group of women who study the Bible weekly. Each of us are mothers and also have grandchildren. A prayer request that comes up often is the salvation of our family members-especially our children and grandchildren.
We believe the greatest gift and legacy we can pass down in our family is a saving knowledge of God and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This is our hope and desire for those within our families.
This passage is an encouragement that God also has the welfare of both individuals and families in mind. May we keep praying for our families to come to a saving knowledge of Christ no matter how impossible it may seem. God wants our family to know Him personally too. Thank God for His indescribable gift of knowing Him.
2 Samuel 4:1-12; Psalms 70, 71; Mark 7:1-23
Friday, August 4
2 Samuel 5:1-12 And he became more and more powerful because the LORD God Almighty was with him. (v.10)
When I first came to know Christ, I had a lot of bad habits. It was hard for me to say no. It was hard to say no to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and even other people. I wanted to clean up my life and stop the habits I knew were dishonoring to God. But I was weak. My Spirit was willing but the flesh was strong. I needed God’s help in many areas.
The more I said no to these habits, the stronger I became in following God. I had to do my part in saying no to certain things. As I asked God’s help and continued to read the Bible and quote it often, the stronger I got. My Spirit grew in the ability to say no to the “bad” things and yes to the right way of living. The Holy Spirit became more prevalent in my life and showed in the things I did and did not do. I did my part and the Holy Spirit gave me power when I needed it the most. And now I can say, with confidence, that the Holy Spirit is more powerful in my life than ever.
Psalm 69; Acts 17:1-15; Mark 7:24-37
Saturday, August 5
2 Samuel 5:22-6:11 David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” (v.9)
Before I came to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I was afraid of God. I was afraid God was angry with me. I was afraid God did not love me. I was afraid that God wanted to punish me for all my sins. I was afraid in other ways too. I was simply afraid of this concept of God in general.
I, like David, did not understand how God (the ark), could ever “come to me.” Then I heard the gospel and good news about Jesus Christ. I came to understand John 3:16. I began to understand God’s love for me through His Son Jesus Christ. I learned that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).
I came to understand God’s love for me. Now I am no longer afraid of God. I am certain of His love for me. I stand confident in the words of Jesus, “I no longer call you servants?Instead I have called you friends” (John 15:15).
Psalms 75, 76; Acts 17:16-34; Mark 8:1-10
Sunday, August 6
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth. (vv.11-13 NIV)
I love this promise of the Lord’s judgment of the earth. I know the emphasis is usually on man’s well-deserved judgment. But in this instance, it’s the earth’s turn. And, oh what a relief it will be. I believe man was given dominion over the world-as a husband, a caretaker, a gardener-but not as a destroyer. My heart grieves for the incredible damage I see inflicted upon our mutual home. Let’s name a few: global warming, deforestation, desertification, species extinction. Enormous issues that, to fix, will require the cooperation of vast groups of unrelated people who have conflicting interests and goals. I pray for the success and continuing support of all good men and women who work to identify and repair the damage which, in our ignorance, we as a people inflict upon our planet.
2 Samuel 6:12-23; Psalm 93; Romans 4:7-12; John 1:43-51
Monday, August 7
Mark 8:11-21 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.” (vv.11-12)
Right after Jesus has miraculously fed a crowd of four thousand with seven loaves of bread, the Pharisees come and seek a sign from Jesus. “He sighed deeply…” What an understatement, huh? Jesus did the miraculous in feeding the multitude. And that wasn’t enough. They wanted more. More certainty. More assurances. More conviction. A sign from heaven! I have given God many opportunities to sigh deeply over my performance in my life. I have asked the same foolish questions over and over despite having been “fed” by a daily abundance of miracles.
So now, when I contemplate the true miracle of my acceptance by God as one of His children, I know that there is no need for any further sign. I’ve been fed once and for all. The questions are now replaced by trust.
2 Samuel 7:1-17; Psalm 80; Acts 18:1-11
Tuesday, August 8
Psalm 78:1-39 Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return. (vv.38-39)
This psalm is all about the stubbornness and fickleness of the people of Israel as they worship and then fall away from God’s teachings. And the same thing applies to me, even to this day. I’ve heard the Word, been the recipient of His grace, enjoyed abundance, and still have sinned. And “yet he was merciful!”
I’ve been given a lot in this life for which to be grateful. Certainly, of great importance, is the realization that my creator has a full and complete understanding of my frailty. That God, in his mercy, withholds his just wrath against me. That my fleeting presence on this earth is one in which God wishes to communicate and embrace me in love. Amen.
2 Samuel 7:18-29; Acts 18:12-28; Mark 8:22-33