Mark 13: Lasting Words

Words matter. In fact, down the road in life much of what we remember are words, good or bad, spoken to us by those closest in our lives.

In Mark 13, Mark records Jesus saying, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

The Son of God again communicates His equality with the Father by stating His words are eternal. What He spoke then speaks to us today, as a comfort, a guide, and at times a warning for how we live in light of eternity.

Interestingly, we live in an age where many English-speaking people have several Bibles, yet read its words very little. With Twitter, Facebook, e-books, text messages, emails, and the myriad other forms of hyper-communication available, eternal words from Scripture are often neglected.

There is a value to the breaking news of our day; there is a much more sacred value to the good news of Jesus.

Maybe instead of reading the newspaper on the way to work or checking out CNN on our phones while in line for coffee, we could pick up a few lines from Jesus in the Gospels or read the Bible from YouVersion.com or one of the many wonderful apps offering Scripture on the go.

(As a reminder, I’m personally handwriting every word of the New Testament this year, one chapter every weekday. Maybe you could consider joining me!)

Words are important, but only the words of the Lord last forever. Let’s take some time to read them, and live them, today.

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.

Mark 12: The Greatest Commandment

Mark 12 includes what is known as the Greatest Commandment. It reads:

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Simply put, love God, love others.

Interestingly, Jesus was not saying these words for the first time.

Jesus quotes twice from the Law of Moses. This was not only the teaching of Jesus, but the teaching of God’s law from the beginning of the Jewish nation. In other words, what Jesus said, God said. What God had said, Jesus affirmed.

This Judeo-Christian view of life may be found in part in other spiritual traditions, but love of God (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and neighbor is the foundation for our Christian worldview. Our Christian view of God, furthered through our belief in Jesus as the resurrected Son of God, the Messiah, distinguishes Christianity from all other religions.

We are called to be known by our love for God and for others.

The question for each of us who follow Christ today is, “Are we?”

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.

Mark 11: Praying Requires Forgiving

Jesus used the example of a withering fig tree to teach about praying in faith. In the process, he also expressed that praying requires forgiving.

Verse 25 notes, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew reflects this same instruction. Jesus tells us to pray. He also tells us that to pray his way, we must forgive those who have hurt us.

This is often neglected in modern books and messages on prayer. Prayer is typically about connecting with God, worship, and, of course, asking for what you want, whether Uncle Joe’s broken toe or losing ten pounds next month.

But to Jesus, to pray with an unforgiving heart is inconsistent and unhealthy. We are called to let go of the hurts others have caused to us. Only then can we fully focus on the life God has called us to live.

We’re not commanded to forget, but we are commanded to forgive.

Only then are we praying the way Jesus taught.

Praying requires forgiving.

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.


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