Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where from here?

For those who are looking for a written-fresh-daily-devotional...

I am writing one on the Gospel of Mark

Each day there is a scripture, practical thought for our day on that scripture, a prayer, and thoughts on the passage from an abridged and modern-English (my edition) from John Calvin's commentaries.

Five minutes a day. Come join us. Comments welcome.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

6/20/10- The Healing of an Evil Son Part 2 (Mark 9)

20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered. 22 "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." 23 " 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for one who believes." 24 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" 29 He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer. "

Thoughts: For this father's day we have a father who loved his sick son as an example for us all. He brought his son to Jesus. His son was not even conscious of it. His father wanted Jesus to help him but he had his doubts because he had tried many other remedies and none worked. Jesus used this occassion of a father bringing a son to say, "Anything is possible for one who believes." Those parents who have given up on hope for their children need to remember this verse. Those who have prodigal children need to hear it loudly. The father's response was "I do believe help me overcome my unbelief!" A truly honest and wise response from his heart. Each father should believe not only for his own good, but for the good of his family. God can strengthen our faith if we ask him to do so. Jesus' response was a miracle- a healing of the hopeless son. We should always have hope for our children- for anything is possible with the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, I believe, help me to overcome my unbelief. Bless fathers and children today.

John Calvin abridged: "If you believe?" The first foundation of faith is to embrace the boundless power of God; the first step of prayer is to raise it above all denial by the firm belief that our prayers are not in vain.
"I believe help my unbelief"- This may seem contradictory at first. Yet none of us has a perfect faith. But God forgives us and exercises patience towards us so that He acts on a small amount of our faith. We all should strive to throw off unbelief and to strive against the leftovers of unbelief, praying against them- and fly to God for aid in hardship.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

6/19/10- last post

My Israel trip blog is ending.

There will be a joint Sunday School class in the fellowship hall (Parents for Jesus, Quest, Romans, Bible Survey) tomorrow for those who wish to come and hear from the pilgrims and see a power point.

I continue to write a daily devotional- a brief Bible commentary.

This summer it is on the gospel of Mark.

Continue to post and edit pictures on the picasa web page:

Thanks for reading- and for all those who prayed for a great, inspiring, and safe trip!
Your prayers are random.


Friday, June 18, 2010

6/19- Fed in order to feed Jn. 21:15-19

First, let me say Praise God- for this trip. It was a growing, challenging experience for me. It was different and better because I felt surrounded by my church and family friends.

So, second- thanks to those who were brave enough and sacrificed their time, energy, and vacation to come on what I think is one of the most meaningful trips in the world.

Third, want to link you to most of my pictures:

Fourth want to think about a little devotion: I keep remembering Peter's primacy, and some of the words of Reverend Kathryn Coxe- that God calls us to do something for him.

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!" (John 21:15-19)

Jesus fed Peter- but then asked Peter to feed others-spiritually. It was very similar to when Jesus first called Peter with a miraculous catch- and then told them to leave their nets and become fishers of people.
We/I have learned a lot on our trip- we have been inspired- but hopefully we can now pass that light- that inspiration on to others. We are fed in order to feed. Jesus also pointed out that Peter would face a cross. We all will face crosses- but hopefully we can remember God's provision and help along the way.

This Sunday, during the Sunday School hour at Lake Murray Presbyterian, we will have a presentation of the trip. I invite all who can to join us!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

6/17,18- We're Back!

"The Lord will watch over your going out and your coming in from this time and forevermore."

We're back. A wonderful, meaningful trip- made more meaningful by the wonderful people going.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

6/16/10 Remember

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!"

Today we will be celebrating the Lord's Supper in the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Jesus said "Do this in remembrance of me." We will be remembering this trip for a long time. We need to remember where God has led us and what God has done in our lives. It is good to reflect on His providence.
Leave tonight- arrive in Charlotte about 10:30 am.
Yesterday Kay and Linda got their new (temporary) passports- so they can come home with us. Kay, Linda, Mark, and I went to the Bible Lands museum and Bethany (where Jesus was annointed, where Mary and Martha lived, and where Laxarus was raised from the dead- saw his tomb).

Prayer: Lord, today help me to remember you.

Monday, June 14, 2010


More picts are up on picasa:

Yesterday the group went to Jerusalem- Walked on the Via de larosa and went to the Church of the HOly Sepulchre. That is the church that most (90%) believe is the real tomb (empty) of Jesus that was built right below the golgotha hill where he was crucified.

Kay and I went to the US Consulate in east Jerusalemt to try to get her passport- hers was stolen from the safe in our hotel room in Tiberias- along with my credit cards, and two of our wallets and about $240 in cash.
The people at the consulate were just wonderful- proud-once again to be an American.

We were going to meet the bus and go to Jericho and Qumran. When the bus came, Mark and Linda got off- and said her purse was missing. Either she left it or someone stole it- with $300 and her passport and credit cards! I could not believe it. Wanted to stay and help them- but my big brother (whom I still obviously listen to) wouldn't let me. They did well.

Tomorrow most of the group will go to Massada and float in the Dead Sea. I think Kay and I, Mark and Linda will go to the consulate. If I can persuade them, and the consulate says it is safe- we will go to Bethany and visit Lazarus (empty) tomb. Big groups can't go there- because of narrow streets.

So here's some verses to think about today:
Shortest verse in the Bible: Jesus wept. (Jn. 11:35).
"When Jesus saw her (Mary sister of Lazarus) weeping he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" He said. "Come and see, Lord: They replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" (Jn. 11:33-37.
Thoughts: Death is our last enemy. It is hard- even for our Lord to face the death of those he loves-- even though he is fully aware of the resurrection. He weeps today for those who die and follow Him. The good news is- death does not have the last word.