NT Reading – April 20

Mark 7-8

Mark 7

Followers of Tradition

The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) The Pharisees and the scribes *asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?” And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’

Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”

He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, is to be put to death’; 11 but you say, ‘If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),’ 12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother; 13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.”

The Heart of Man

14 After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. 16 [If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]

17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18 And He *said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) 20 And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

The Syrophoenician Woman

24 Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice. 25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered and *said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” 29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” 30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left.

31 Again He went out from the region of Tyre, and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of Decapolis. 32 They *brought to Him one who was deaf and spoke with difficulty, and they *implored Him to lay His hand on him. 33 Jesus took him aside from the crowd, by himself, and put His fingers into his ears, and after spitting, He touched his tongue with the saliva; 34 and looking up to heaven with a deep sigh, He *said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!” 35 And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly. 36 And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it. 37 They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Mark 8

Four Thousand Fed

In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and *said to them, “I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” And His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” And He *directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. About four thousand were there; and He sent them away. 10 And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples and came to the district of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12 Sighing deeply in His spirit, He *said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.

14 And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15 And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, *said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They *said to Him, “Twelve.” 20 “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they *said to Him, “Seven.” 21 And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

22 And they *came to Bethsaida. And they *brought a blind man to Jesus and *implored Him to touch him. 23 Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” 25 Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. 26 And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”

Peter’s Confession of Christ

27 Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 They told Him, saying, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” 29 And He continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter *answered and *said to Him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And He warned them to tell no one about Him.

31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and *said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Easter Devotional – March 20

Matthew 19:16-26

The Rich Young Ruler

16 And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 Then he *said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man *said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Notice that Jesus only mentions the commandments to the rich man that are actions, but leaves out the “heart” commandments… put no other God’s before me, honor the Sabbath. But Jesus knew that this was a heart issue. His reliance is on his riches, not on God — that’s his idol. His riches have formed a lining around his heart preventing him from full surrender to God. Yesterday we read about the need for forgiveness and today we read about the need for total surrender. What do you need to surrender? What idol are you hanging onto? Is there anything you’ve been putting before Jesus?

Prayer: Lord, make me grateful for all You give me, and help me to be ready to give it all back to You.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

August 18 – OT Reading

Proverbs 25-26

Proverbs 25

Similitudes, Instructions

25 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transcribed.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
As the heavens for height and the earth for depth,
So the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver,
And there comes out a vessel for the smith;
Take away the wicked before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.
Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,”
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.

Do not go out hastily to argue your case;
Otherwise, what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor humiliates you?
Argue your case with your neighbor,
And do not reveal the secret of another,
10 Or he who hears it will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.

11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
12 Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
13 Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.
15 By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded,
And a soft tongue breaks the bone.
16 Have you found honey? Eat only what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
17 Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house,
Or he will become weary of you and hate you.
18 Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow
Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.
19 Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot
Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.
20 Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda,
Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 For you will heap burning coals on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
23 The north wind brings forth rain,
And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.
24 It is better to live in a corner of the roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
25 Like cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a distant land.
26 Like a trampled spring and a polluted well
Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat much honey,
Nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory.
28 Like a city that is broken into and without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit.

Proverbs 26

Similitudes, Instructions

26 Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest,
So honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
So a curse without cause does not alight.
A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the back of fools.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Or you will also be like him.
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
That he not be wise in his own eyes.
He cuts off his own feet and drinks violence
Who sends a message by the hand of a fool.
Like the legs which are useless to the lame,
So is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
Like one who binds a stone in a sling,
So is he who gives honor to a fool.
Like a thorn which falls into the hand of a drunkard,
So is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 Like an archer who wounds everyone,
So is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.
11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit
Is a fool who repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
A lion is in the open square!”
14 As the door turns on its hinges,
So does the sluggard on his bed.
15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven men who can give a discreet answer.
17 Like one who takes a dog by the ears
Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.
18 Like a madman who throws
Firebrands, arrows and death,
19 So is the man who deceives his neighbor,
And says, “Was I not joking?”
20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.
21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels,
And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
23 Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross
Are burning lips and a wicked heart.
24 He who hates disguises it with his lips,
But he lays up deceit in his heart.
25 When he speaks graciously, do not believe him,
For there are seven abominations in his heart.
26 Though his hatred covers itself with guile,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
27 He who digs a pit will fall into it,
And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him.
28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

August 7 – OT Reading

Proverbs 19-21

 

Proverbs 19

On Life and Conduct

19 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool. Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries his footsteps errs. The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the Lord. Wealth adds many friends, But a poor man is separated from his friend. A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape. Many will seek the favor of a generous man, And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts. All the brothers of a poor man hate him; How much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone. He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good. A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will perish. 10 Luxury is not fitting for a fool; Much less for a slave to rule over princes. 11 A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression. 12 The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is like dew on the grass. 13 A foolish son is destruction to his father, And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping. 14 House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord. 15 Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger. 16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of conduct will die. 17 One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, And He will repay him for his good deed. 18 Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death. 19 A man of great anger will bear the penalty, For if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again. 20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. 21 Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand. 22 What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar. 23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil. 24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But will not even bring it back to his mouth. 25 Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd, But reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge. 26 He who assaults his father and drives his mother away Is a shameful and disgraceful son. 27 Cease listening, my son, to discipline, And you will stray from the words of knowledge. 28 A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity. 29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And blows for the back of fools.

 

Proverbs 20

On Life and Conduct

20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise. The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life. Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, But any fool will quarrel. The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, So he begs during the harvest and has nothing. A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, But a man of understanding draws it out. Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, But who can find a trustworthy man? A righteous man who walks in his integrity— How blessed are his sons after him. A king who sits on the throne of justice Disperses all evil with his eyes. Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin”? 10 Differing weights and differing measures, Both of them are abominable to the Lord. 11 It is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself If his conduct is pure and right. 12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made both of them. 13 Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food. 14 “Bad, bad,” says the buyer, But when he goes his way, then he boasts. 15 There is gold, and an abundance of jewels; But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing. 16 Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger; And for foreigners, hold him in pledge. 17 Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. 18 Prepare plans by consultation, And make war by wise guidance. 19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip. 20 He who curses his father or his mother, His lamp will go out in time of darkness. 21 An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning Will not be blessed in the end. 22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you. 23 Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord, And a false scale is not good. 24 Man’s steps are ordained by the Lord, How then can man understand his way? 25 It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!” And after the vows to make inquiry. 26 A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them. 27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the innermost parts of his being. 28 Loyalty and truth preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by righteousness. 29 The glory of young men is their strength, And the honor of old men is their gray hair. 30 Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts.

 

Proverbs 21

On Life and Conduct

21 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice. Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin. The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue Is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death. The violence of the wicked will drag them away, Because they refuse to act with justice. The way of a guilty man is crooked, But as for the pure, his conduct is upright. It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. 10 The soul of the wicked desires evil; His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes. 11 When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise; But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge. 12 The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, Turning the wicked to ruin. 13 He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered. 14 A gift in secret subdues anger, And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath. 15 The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, But is terror to the workers of iniquity. 16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding Will rest in the assembly of the dead. 17 He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich. 18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, And the treacherous is in the place of the upright. 19 It is better to live in a desert land Than with a contentious and vexing woman. 20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up. 21 He who pursues righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness and honor. 22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty And brings down the stronghold in which they trust. 23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles. 24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names, Who acts with insolent pride. 25 The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, For his hands refuse to work; 26 All day long he is craving, While the righteous gives and does not hold back. 27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, How much more when he brings it with evil intent! 28 A false witness will perish, But the man who listens to the truth will speak forever. 29 A wicked man displays a bold face, But as for the upright, he makes his way sure. 30 There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the Lord. 31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the Lord.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)