Author: carmenhsu

October 8, 2020

Mark 7- 2020-10-08

  • Journal

    Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

    • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
    • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
    • List out all that you are grateful for.
    • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

     Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

  • Bible Text: Mark 7:14-23

    14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” [[1]] 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

    [1] Mark 7:15 Some manuscripts add verse 16: If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear

    Questions

  • The gospel of Mark opens with these words:

    Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  

    And Jesus’ first message to the world was:

    Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    Please choose from one or more of the prompts below to reflect over and apply today’s text.

    • What do I need to repent of? 
    • What false beliefs do I need to reject? 
    • What do I need to believe? 
    • How is the gospel good news for me?
    • What does this text reveal about Jesus?
    • What does this text reveal about me?

    Prayer 

September 4, 2020

Mark 3- 2020-09-04

  • Bible Text: Mark 3:22-27

    22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

    Questions

  • The gospel of Mark opens with these words:

    Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  

    And Jesus’ first message to the world was:

    Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    Please choose from one or more of the prompts below to reflect over and apply today’s text.

    • What do I need to repent of? 
    • What false beliefs do I need to reject? 
    • What do I need to believe? 
    • How is the gospel good news for me?
    • What does this text reveal about Jesus?
    • What does this text reveal about me?

    Prayer 

September 3, 2020

Mark 3- 2020-09-03

  • Bible Text: Mark 3:20-21

    20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

    Questions
  • The gospel of Mark opens with these words:

    Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  

    And Jesus’ first message to the world was:

    Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    Please choose from one or more of the prompts below to reflect over and apply today’s text.

    • What do I need to repent of? 
    • What false beliefs do I need to reject? 
    • What do I need to believe? 
    • How is the gospel good news for me?
    • What does this text reveal about Jesus?
    • What does this text reveal about me?

    Prayer 

September 2, 2020

Mark 3- 2020-09-02

  • Bible Text: Mark 3:13-19

    13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

    Questions

  • The gospel of Mark opens with these words:

    Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  

    And Jesus’ first message to the world was:

    Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    Please choose from one or more of the prompts below to reflect over and apply today’s text.

    • What do I need to repent of? 
    • What false beliefs do I need to reject? 
    • What do I need to believe? 
    • How is the gospel good news for me?
    • What does this text reveal about Jesus?
    • What does this text reveal about me?

    Prayer 

September 1, 2020

Mark 3- 2020-09-01

  • Bible Text:

    Mark 3:7-12

    7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

    Questions

  • The gospel of Mark opens with these words:

    Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  

    And Jesus’ first message to the world was:

    Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    Please choose from one or more of the prompts below to reflect over and apply today’s text.

    • What do I need to repent of? 
    • What false beliefs do I need to reject? 
    • What do I need to believe? 
    • How is the gospel good news for me?
    • What does this text reveal about Jesus?
    • What does this text reveal about me?

    Prayer 

August 26, 2020

Mark 2- 2020-08-26

  • Bible Text: Mark 2:15-17

    15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Questions

  • The gospel of Mark opens with these words:

    Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  

    And Jesus’ first message to the world was:

    Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    Please choose from one or more of the prompts below to reflect over and apply today’s text.

    • What do I need to repent of? 
    • What false beliefs do I need to reject? 
    • What do I need to believe? 
    • How is the gospel good news for me?
    • What does this text reveal about Jesus?
    • What does this text reveal about me?

    Prayer 

July 6, 2020

Ps46- 2020-07-06

  • Journal
  • Bible Text: Psalm 46

    To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah.

    According to Alamoth. A Song.

    1 God is our refuge and strength,

        a very present help in trouble.

    2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

        though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

    3 though its waters roar and foam,

        though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

    4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

        the holy habitation of the Most High.

    5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

        God will help her when morning dawns.

    6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

        he utters his voice, the earth melts.

    7 The Lord of hosts is with us;

        the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

    8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,

        how he has brought desolations on the earth.

    9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

        he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

        he burns the chariots with fire.

    10 “Be still, and know that I am God.

        I will be exalted among the nations,

        I will be exalted in the earth!”

    11 The Lord of hosts is with us;

        the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

    God

  • [What truths about God’s person, activity or character does the text reveal?]

  • Lessons/ Insights

  • Apply and Obey

    [How does today’s text apply to me? How will I obey or respond to the truths from today’s text?]

  • Prayer 

July 3, 2020

Ps37- 2020-07-03

  • Journal
  • Bible Text: 

    Psalm 37

    Of David.

    1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;

        be not envious of wrongdoers!

    2 For they will soon fade like the grass

        and wither like the green herb.

    3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;

        dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

    4 Delight yourself in the Lord,

        and he will give you the desires of your heart.

    5 Commit your way to the Lord;

        trust in him, and he will act.

    6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,

        and your justice as the noonday.

    7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;

        fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,

        over the man who carries out evil devices!

    8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!

        Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

    9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,

        but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

    10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;

    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be   

    there.

    11 But the meek shall inherit the land

        and delight themselves in abundant peace.

    12 The wicked plots against the righteous

        and gnashes his teeth at him,

    13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,

        for he sees that his day is coming.

    14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows

        to bring down the poor and needy,

        to slay those whose way is upright;

    15 their sword shall enter their own heart,

        and their bows shall be broken.

    16 Better is the little that the righteous has

        than the abundance of many wicked.

    17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,

        but the Lord upholds the righteous.

    18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,

        and their heritage will remain forever;

    19 they are not put to shame in evil times;

        in the days of famine they have abundance.

    20 But the wicked will perish;

        the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;

        they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

    21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,

        but the righteous is generous and gives;

    22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,

        but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

    23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,

        when he delights in his way;

    24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,

        for the Lord upholds his hand.

    25 I have been young, and now am old,

        yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken

        or his children begging for bread.

    26 He is ever lending generously,

        and his children become a blessing.

    27 Turn away from evil and do good;

        so shall you dwell forever.

    28 For the Lord loves justice;

        he will not forsake his saints.

        They are preserved forever,

        but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

    29 The righteous shall inherit the land

        and dwell upon it forever.

    30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,

        and his tongue speaks justice.

    31 The law of his God is in his heart;

        his steps do not slip.

    32 The wicked watches for the righteous

        and seeks to put him to death.

    33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power

        or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

    34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,

        and he will exalt you to inherit the land;

        you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

    35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,

        spreading himself like a green laurel tree.

    36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;

        though I sought him, he could not be found.

    37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,

        for there is a future for the man of peace.

    38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;

        the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

    39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;

        he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.

    40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;

        he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,

        because they take refuge in him.

    God

  • [What truths about God’s person, activity or character does the text reveal?]

  • Lessons/ Insights

  • Apply and Obey

    [How does today’s text apply to me? How will I obey or respond to the truths from today’s text?]

  • Prayer 

July 2, 2020

Nehemiah 3- 2020-07-02

Journal

Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Commentary:

Nehemiah 3

3:1–2 Confirmation of the community’s earlier commitment to the project (2:18: “Let us arise and build”) is supplied by the report here that Eliashib the high priest and his confederates “arose and built” (3:1) the Sheep Gate. This may well have been of particular interest to the priests along with the stretch of wall between the towers of “Hananel” and “the Hundred” (cf. 12:39) because of their probable association with the temple complex (2:8) in the northeast of the city. It is possible that the dedication and purification of the walls mentioned in 12:27–30 is to be identified with the “consecration” of the building work here (3:1), though a separate process of sanctification for repairs to the sacred precincts cannot be ruled out. […]

3:3–32 The Fish Gate—built by the sons of Hassenaah (3:3)—was likely located in the northwest corner of the city and marks the point at which the focus of the work shifted from the late preexilic wall to the earlier one. While the Tekoites are represented in the work party, the list makes a point of noting the Tekoan nobles’ lack of support and loyalty “to their lord(s)” (3:5). Whether or not their lack of support for Nehemiah’s initiative reflects Tekoa’s proximity to Qedar (and an allegiance to Geshem), this incidental note confirms that not all of those who might have been expected to contribute did so. […] Among those engaged in repair work beyond the Broad Wall in the direction of the Tower of the Ovens were two responsible for the two subdistricts of Jerusalem, Rephaiah son of Hur (3:9) and Shallum son of Hallohesh (3:12). The specific mention of the latter’s daughters simultaneously discloses Shallum’s lack of sons and celebrates the commitment of his daughters to share their father’s responsibilities.

[…] Others with leadership responsibility elsewhere (Nehemiah over Beth Zur [3:16]; Hashabiah and Binnui over half districts of Keilah [3:17–18]; Ezer over Mizpah [3:19])—some of whom were apparently Levites (3:17)—also make repairs on behalf of “their district” (3:17). The proximity of the work to the house of the high priest Eliashib (3:20–21)—already involved near the temple enclosure (3:1–2)—may well explain the involvement of the priests (3:22), whose number may have included Meremoth (Ezra 8:33). Others continue the pattern of working on the wall in the vicinity of their own houses (Neh 3:23). […] Whether the Tekoans who carried out the work on the next section (3:27) were the same as those already mentioned (3:5), it is not impossible that the extra investment by the Tekoans was motivated by a desire to make up for the absence of their nobles. [1]

[1] Sherpherd, David J. and Christopher J.H. Wright, Ezra and Nehemiah, The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018) 37-38.

Bible Text:

Nehemiah 3:1-32

1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Tower of Hananel. 2 And next to him the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.

3 The sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 4 And next to them Meremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired. And next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel repaired. And next to them Zadok the son of Baana repaired. 5 And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.

6 Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Gate of Yeshanah. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 7 And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, the seat of the governor of the province Beyond the River. 8 Next to them Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, repaired. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, repaired, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. 9 Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired. 10 Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph repaired opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah repaired. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. 12 Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters.

13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They rebuilt it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall, as far as the Dung Gate.

14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, ruler of the district of Beth-haccherem, repaired the Dung Gate. He rebuilt it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

15 And Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He rebuilt it and covered it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And he built the wall of the Pool of Shelah of the king’s garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the city of David. 16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, ruler of half the district of Beth-zur, repaired to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool, and as far as the house of the mighty men. 17 After him the Levites repaired: Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, repaired for his district. 18 After him their brothers repaired: Bavvai the son of Henadad, ruler of half the district of Keilah. 19 Next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section opposite the ascent to the armory at the buttress. 20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai repaired another section from the buttress to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him Meremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired another section from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib. 22 After him the priests, the men of the surrounding area, repaired. 23 After them Benjamin and Hasshub repaired opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah repaired beside his own house. 24 After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the buttress and to the corner. 25 Palal the son of Uzai repaired opposite the buttress and the tower projecting from the upper house of the king at the court of the guard. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh 26 and the temple servants living on Ophel repaired to a point opposite the Water Gate on the east and the projecting tower. 27 After him the Tekoites repaired another section opposite the great projecting tower as far as the wall of Ophel.

28 Above the Horse Gate the priests repaired, each one opposite his own house. 29 After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, repaired. 30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah repaired opposite his chamber. 31 After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster Gate, and to the upper chamber of the corner. 32 And between the upper chamber of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants repaired.

Go Deeper:

Questions to help us go deeper

Nehemiah 3:5

  • What can we learn from the Tekoite nobles, who “would not stoop to serve their Lord” in the work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem?
  • How does the nobles’ behavior contrast with the description in the rest of the chapter?

Nehemiah 3:6-12

  • Reflect upon the fact that the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall was done by men and women of all backgrounds, even goldsmiths, priests, merchants, and perfume-makers. How does this capture the essence of the local church? 
  • For all but a few, the task of rebuilding the wall was unfamiliar work, outside of their normal range of skills. What does this reveal about what it takes to build God’s kingdom?  How willing and available am I to doing whatever task is necessary to further God’s kingdom regardless of whether I feel comfortable doing such tasks, or whether it’s something I am already good at?

Prayer 

July 1, 2020

Nehemiah 2- 2020-07-01

Journal

Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Commentary: Nehemiah 2

Bible Text: Nehemiah 2:11-20

11 So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 13 I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. 15 Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 20 Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”

Go Deeper:

Questions to help us go deeper

Nehemiah 2:11-16

  • What can we learn about the kind of person Nehemiah was by the way he sets out at night to personally inspect the entire wall?

Nehemiah 2:17-20

  • How does Nehemiah describe the situation that the people have been used to for about 140 years? What are some troubling realities I have become accustomed to that I need to redefine as unacceptable?
  • Think about the beautiful response of the people, “Let us rise up and build,” and the words “So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” What does this passage show about the nature of “good work”? What good work has God given me to do, and what has been my response to it?

Prayer 

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