(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Mark Ch. 9 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv. 1-13) After Jesus had said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power”, Peter, James, and John had the opportunity to go up the mountain with Jesus. There they witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration, displaying his glory. Such a sight left the disciples baffled and terrified. Meanwhile a familiar voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” Not long ago Peter confessed the identity of Jesus as the Christ! Now the voice of the Heavenly Father once again confirmed Peter’s statement!
Also appearing with Jesus were Elijah (one of the prophets) and Moses (a teacher of the Law). As described in the Gospel of Luke, the disciples talked about what Jesus was about to accomplish in Jerusalem (Luke 9:30-31). God’s plan of salvation for the people had been revealed gradually and was fulfilled eventually! To these disciples, Jesus’ resurrection made their experience on the mountain even more unforgettable!
Are you like some of Jesus’ disciples that you still do not fully understand His resurrection? (Mark 9:10) It is true that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead. This is the foundation of our faith!
(vv. 14-29) Jesus showed his glory on the mountain and then manifested his power under the mountain. After that, he encountered a man whose son was possessed by a spirit that made him mute. Jesus’ disciples attempted to help this man, but they had no success in casting out this unclean spirit from his boy. Jesus himself demonstrated and taught the disciples how to drive out this kind of unclean spirit. As shown in this passage, his teaching focused on “faith”. At first Jesus said, “O faithless generation…”; then he said to the boy’s father, “If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” As illustrated in Jesus’ response, it’s not a matter of what Jesus can or cannot do (He is God. Nothing is impossible with Him!). It’s a matter of whether or not people believe in Him. The boy’s father quickly learned about this and humbly said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” This is the most concise yet powerful prayer indeed!
Similarly, the generation we live in, is full of unbelief. We are more or less influenced by the values and trends of the world. As we learned about the process of how Jesus casted out demons, let’s humble ourselves just like the boy’s father. We can admit our weaknesses and ask Jesus to help us overcome our weaknesses. Let us grow our faith first before we tackle the challenges in front of us!
(vv. 30-50) Jesus began his journey to Jerusalem, and once again he told his disciples that he was going to be killed there and after three days he would rise. In the incident where disciples argued with one another about who was the greatest, Jesus taught them to serve each other humbly. To set an example, Jesus took a child before them and reminded them that if they were willing to receive one such child, they would receive the one who sent him.
Such is wisdom in Jesus’ teaching! There is no greater or lesser ministry in serving the Lord, nor does your personal status matter. Know that what you are doing is for the Almighty King. Take the form of a servant in everything you do. Receive anyone whom God brings before you. Once you have the servanthood established in your heart, you might be able to avoid many unnecessary disputes, frictions and conflicts. Otherwise, you might suffer losses for yourself, impacting your co-workers and your services.
Jesus said, “Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” This reminds us of two things. First, when we indulge ourselves in the worldly matters, we will gradually be assimilated by this world and began deteriorating – like the salt that has lost its saltiness and its function. Secondly, only if we “have salt in ourselves”, we can be at peace with one another. Verse 49 says “For everyone will be salted with fire.” Only through refinement and purification, one can experience forgiveness, forbearance, acceptance, and peace within one another in his/her life.
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)