Daily Reading: Mark 11

I’ve been slowly reading through the gospel of Mark over the last month or so and decided to start making a record of some of the things I am learning. If you read this I hope you are encouraged and that it spurs you on to study and love the word of God more.

Warning: these are just the observations of a simple man trying to read and apply God’s word to his own heart and life.

Mark 11

Opens with the triumphal entry. The crowds cry out:

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;
Hosanna in the highest!”

I’ve heard the word Hosanna before but to be honest I’m really not very familiar with it so I went back to a post I wrote a few years ago and found this very helpful explanation from John Piper, “[In the OT] It used to mean, “Save, please!” But gradually, it came to mean, “Salvation! Salvation! Salvation has come!” It used to be what you would say when you fell off the diving board. But it came to be what you would say when you see the lifeguard coming to save you! It is the bubbling over of a heart that sees hope and joy and salvation on the way and can’t keep it in. So “Hosanna!” means, “Hooray for salvation! It’s coming! It’s here! Salvation! Salvation!”And “Hosanna to the Son of David!” means, “The Son of David is our salvation! Hooray for the king! Salvation belongs to the king!”And “Hosanna in the highest!” means, “Let all the angels in heaven join the song of praise. Salvation! Salvation! Let the highest heaven sing the song!” The word moved from plea to praise; from cry to confidence.”

Cursing of the fig tree. Apparently when a fig tree has leaves it also begins bearing fruit. Jesus finds a fig tree with leaves but no fruit. It has the appearance of health and fruit bearing but in reality it is not bearing any fruit so He curses it.

Application: don’t be like the fig tree having only an external appearance with no internal fruit bearing reality

He then goes into the temple and cleanses it. No doubt there is a connection between the fig tree and the temple practices. They have the appearance of worshiping God but no reality.

At the end of the chapter Jesus exposes the religious leaders by asking if John the Baptist was from heaven or from man. They decide to say “We do not know” because they fear the people. This answer still exposes them. If everyone considered John to be a real prophet (v32) and they didn’t recognize that, then how can they recognize if Jesus is from heaven or man? They have disqualified themselves.




Isaiah 11

Love the opening illustration contrast. In chapter 10 the Assyrian army was like a vast forest that was hewn down when God swung His mighty axe, when He wielded His saw there was nothing left but stumps. With that fresh on our minds chapter 11 opens, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.”

V1 – a branch from Jesse. Back in 4:2 there is a reference to the Branch of the LORD. In Zechariah there is also reference to this branch: “I will bring my servant the Branch” (3:8) and “Behold, the man whose name is Branch…”(6:11). The Branch is the Servant, Isaiah will expand this Servant concept later

V2 – Jesus, the Righteous Branch, has the perfect resume to be a ruler. He is everything the King of Assyria is not. He is everything Ahaz wasn’t as well. He is wise and understands all things. He is righteous and good. He rules well and everything and everyone prospers under his leadership. Ray Ortland points out that we often think that Jesus is a very nice person but in real life an incompetent person. We think too highly of ourselves and we think too low of Him. The truth is “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ” (Col 2:3). Jesus is the answer to all of our problems. For proof just look at v6-9 and what happens when He reigns.

V6-9 the future reign of the Messiah is exciting and thrilling. It’s beautiful and interesting. It’s not boring and dull as most people think about when they think of life after death. (I am supposing that since this is describing the reign of Messiah on earth this is a Millennial reference). All things are rejuvenated. All wrongs made right. All social and political problems solved by the righteous reign of King Jesus. Isaiah is not telling us how to solve these problems or when they will be solved, instead he is telling us who is the only one who can solve all our problems.

V6 – a little child will lead them. Back in 10:19 it says that there will be so few Assyrians that a child can write them down. Interesting how a child can be such a great illustration.

V8 again the nursing child used to illustrate the innocence and peace of the reign of the Branch

V. 13–14 Israel and Judah will again be at peace with one another and will be united in serving the Lord and coming together. Strong divisions among God’s people are not eternal, that’s convicting for me, even these 2 are able to reunite.

Don’t Forget…

Deuteronomy 4-6
Don’t forget…

“Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.”Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:9‬ 

V10 “remember”

V15 “watch yourselves carefully”

V19 “beware”

V23 “watch yourselves, do not forget”

Reminds me of 1 Timothy 4:16 “pay close attention to yourself and your teaching”

Oftentimes we are more consumed with others and how they are living and what they are teaching, but we are reminded to pay close attention to ourselves, we are to be diligent about our own souls first

Though we are faithless, He is faithful 

“For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.”Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:31‬ ‭

Chapter 5

V1 “hear…learn…observe”

V29 – “Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!”

‭‭Notice the motivation – it will “be well with them” it is to their advantage. Obeying God is in my best interest.

Again in chapter 6:3 “O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”

V18 “do what is right…that it may go well with you”

V24 ““So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God FOR OUR GOOD ALWAYS and for our survival, as it is today.”

It is good to obey God

When you are really comfortable and enjoying Gods good and gracious provision be careful – 6:12 “then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” 

Don’t Forget

No Distrust

“No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” (Rom4.20-21)

This is so good. Distrust is at the heart of all unbelief, yet with regard to the promise of having a son, Abraham had no distrust. He did not waver at all but instead grew strong in his faith. I want that. I want a faith that believes God despite my feelings, despite my circumstance. I want to believe and live fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised.

Think about all of the reasons Abraham had to not believe God, reasons that could have been and probably were a great temptation for him to distrust and disbelieve God. Here are the 2 big temptations from the near context for him not to believe that he would have a son and that he would become the father of many nations :

1. He was old (about 100) and his body was considered as good as dead (v19)

2. Sarah was barren and old (v19)

These are huge factors when trying to conceive a child, and yet these realities did not weaken his faith. He did not distrust God with regard to the promise that they would have a son and Abraham that would be the father of many nations, that’s amazing, that’s convicting.

His old and as good as dead body and her barren womb (which are the two key physical components needed for them to have a son) did not suppress their faith, it increased it! I need faith like like. I want faith like that! If God says something in His word, if He has made a promise, I need to believe against hope, against experience, against feelings, that He will do what He has said He will do. I need to trust God and give Him glory. Great faith gives God great glory! Oh God give me this faith, help my unbelief!

Daily Reading 2.26.2015

Psalm 3
Many will say “there is no salvation for him in God” (verse 2 ) but we know that “salvation belongs to the LORD” (verse 8)

“I lay down and slept; I woke again for the LORD sustained me.” Jonathan Edwards said it this way, “There is no reason to be given why you have not dropped into hell since you arose this morning, but that Gods hand has held you up”.

Matthew 3
“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” – if you are a genuine believer there will be evidence, you will continually bear fruit in your life. A tree does not bear all of its fruit in its first year, nor is does it bear it’s best fruit. Instead as a tree ages the fruit gets bigger and better, the same should be true of all Christians.

All 3 members of the Godhead are present at Jesus baptism. Father speaks from heaven, Spirit descends like a dove, and Jesus is in the water.

Genesis 3
The serpent bypasses the man and goes straight to the woman. At this point Eve should have told the serpent to go talk to Adam or/and Adam should have stepped in and and protected his wife and talked to the serpent.

Satan sprinkles Gods word into his lies. He uses Gods word but twists it just enough to make it damning.

Some clues or hints at male headship: God calls to Adam and questions Adam, God holds Adam primarily responsible, in the dealing out if consequences Adam is reminded that he listened to his wife (not in the sense of counsel and care etc. But instead in terms if leadership, he wasn’t the leader as intended)

Once sin enters relationships are strained. First the relationship with God. Sin creates a huge gap between them and God. Second, because they are now separated from God they begin to separate from one another. They blame others for their wrongs.

The 1st promise of the gospel in 3:15

Romans 3
What advantage has the Jew? They were entrusted with the oracles of God, the word of God. Beig exposed to the word of God is an advantage

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, there is none who does good not even one.

1 Thessalonians 3
Again Paul reminds them to not be surprised by suffering

Job 3
Job laments the day if his birth

Proverbs 3
” trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths”

“honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce, then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine”

Joshua 3
The people of Israel cross the Jordan in a miraculous way

Isaiah 3
How scary – “For behold the LORD God of hosts is taking away his support and supply”

Proud and haughty women shamed

Acts 3
There is great forgiveness where there is repentance. Those who denied the Righteous One and killed the Author of life just weeks ago can have their sin blotted out if they repent.
Once again Peter uses many OT texts to preach Christ and explain what has happened
“God having raised his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness”

Daily Reading 2.25.2015

Psalm 2

I am more like the kings of the earth who plot against the LORD and against his Anointed than I would like to admit. I commit sin which God hates. I am like a potters vessel that should be dashed to pieces with a rod of iron. Like the kings of the earth, I must be warned and I must act wise. I should serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. I must kiss the Son. If I take refuge in the the Son I will be blessed.

Matthew 2

“Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?” That really sticks out today because of what Psalm 2 provoked above. Also interesting that the magi come to Herod and the Chief Priests and Scribes, the very ones who will plot and rage against the LORD and his Anointed One. They didn’t heed the warning of Psalm 2. The magi however serve the LORD and kiss the Son. They have great joy and they fall down and worship Jesus.

It’s pretty amazing that the LORD’S Anointed who will crush the nations with a rod of iron was once a baby who needed to be cared for by Mary and Joseph.

Another interesting connection with Psalm 2, Herod becomes furious when he realizes that he has been tricked by the magi. In his rage he commits mass murder. Imagine how much stronger Gods wrath is which is without sin and rightfully provoked where Herod was not. Herod was doing sin and got mad that his sinful plan was foiled. God is perfect and His perfect holy wrath is provoked every day, every moment. Hard to imagine the great eruption of wrath that is coming. May I heed the warning and hide myself in the Son.

Jesus fulfills so many prophecies at his birth and early life.  Born in Bethlehem. Called out of Egypt. Raised in Nazareth so He could be called a Nazarene. From the line of Judah. Prophecy is being fulfilled left and right. Jesus is the long awaited Messiah.

Genesis 2

“a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife”

Romans 2

“you have no excuse O man…in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself” reminds me of what Jesus said about taking the log out of your own eye before you try and remove the speck from your brothers eye. I better be careful how I judge and live.

“Gods kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.”

“Its not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God but the doers of the law who will be justified”

The conscience either accuses or excuses. What does mine do?

A day is coming when God will judge the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. What are my secrets? How will that judgement go for me?

Seek praise that is from God not man.

1 Thessalonians

Paul suffered and was shamefully treated because of how he boldly declared the gospel. I should expect the same result and not be surprised by it. If I am never treated this way then there may be questions I should ask myself regarding my faithfulness to the gospel.

Like Paul, I have been approved by God and entrusted with the gospel, therefore I must speak not to please man but to please God who tests the heart.

The prophets were killed. Jesus was killed. Paul was persecuted imprisoned and killed. The Thessalonians were persecuted and suffered. I should expect nothing less. And like their suffering, it must be tied to my allegiance to the gospel and the word of God. This also produces a longing for Jesus to come back.

Job 2

Satan is said to have been walking on and around the earth. Prowling around it seems, looking for something or someone.

Satan, like the kings of the earth in Psalm 2, plots a vain thing against the LORD and his anointed. Like Psalm 2, the LORD will laugh. God keeps putting Job under the microscope. Persecution and suffering, under the surveillance of and allowed by God.

“Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. – wow

His friends could not recognize him – Satan must have really did a number on Job for this to be true. Imagine not being able to even recognize someone because of sores on their body.

“They saw that his suffering was very great”

Proverbs 2

treasure the commands
make ear attentive to wisdom
incline your heart to understanding
call for insight
raise voice for understanding
seek it like silver
search for it as for hidden treasure
then – you will understand the fear of the LORD and
thenyou will find the knowledge of God
for the LORD gives wisdom

Joshua 2

The people of Jericho hearts melted when they heard about the great acts that God had done for Israel, Rahab says ” For the LORD your God, he is God…” – what a great statement from someone who knew so little

Isaiah 2

Beautiful language describing the mountain of the LORD and the house of the LORD, and how lifted and high it is and how everything will flow to it and people will say to one another “Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, that He may teach us his ways”

It appears to be a time when the LORD is reigning on the earth but sin still happens because the LORD shall “settle disputes”. There seems to be a partial lift of the curse. I wonder if this text is good support for the millennial reign of Christ on the earth, it appears so.

REMINDER: A day is coming when everything that is high and lifted up will be cast down. Mental note: I do not want to be an exalted thing on that day.

Acts 2

Pentecost – wow

Just finished studying the issue of alcohol myself and here in Acts 2 those who are seeing what is happening and hear these men speaking about God automatically think they are drunk. Alcohol was closely associate with god “talk”. In the temples getting drunk was how you communed with the deities. Not so with Christianity, and Peter quickly corrects the on-lookers.

Peter preaches the first sermon of the church and it is filled with OT texts and points to Jesus as the fulfillment.

The church grows exponentially.

Daily Reading 4.2.2014


Great word picture – “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God” – I can see that in my mind, O God make this true for me!

“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God”

The Psalmist twice poses the same question to his soul and preaches to himself – “Why are you in despair O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall praise Him for the help of His presence. ” – the Psalmist longs for, pants after, thirsts for the presence of God, does that describe me?

PROVERBS 8:30-32

Wisdom was beside God as a master workman. Blessed are those who walk in that same wisdom.

LUKE 6:20-49

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man” – Jesus says you are blessed when people hate you, ostracize you, insult you, scorn you, and call you evil for His sake…that is such a radical thought. My life is spent trying to make people like me. I need to have the attitude of Paul in Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel”. When we share about Christ and the gospel people will try and shame us with shaming behavior. But we must not be ashamed, Jesus says we are blessed. Which will motivate us? The world’s shame or Jesus blessing?

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you…” – Do all men speak well of me? Do some speak ill of me because of my testimony for Christ? Am I any different?

Jesus is so radical – “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” – this is how a person who is born again behaves, it’s radical, it’s supernatural, it’s not normal! It seems impossible because it is….apart from Christ. But I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13) and apart from Him I can do nothing (John 15:5).

No good tree produces bad fruit and no bad tree produces good fruit, each tree is know by it fruit. Men do not gather grapes from an orange tree or apples from an avocado tree. No you gather apples from an apple tree. In the same way my life must produce the fruit of what it really is. What kind of fruit is my life producing?

“The “mouth speaks from that which fills the heart” – how you speak reveals what’s in your heart. What is my speech telling me about my heart? Mouth problems are heart problems, the mouth is simply the megaphone for the heart.

“Why do you call me Lord Lord and do not do what I say?” – if you don’t do what He says then He is not your Lord.


The call to obedience is prefaced with what God has already done for them. Because God is the one who brought them out of Egypt out of the house of slavery they should do what He says. Because God has done something they must do something. This is a common formula in the Bible.

“Hear O Israel! The LORD us our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart with all soul and with all your might” – per Jesus this is the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) does this describe me?

Parenting principle – “These words shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” – for me to talk about it with my children and others that info needs to first be in me, I need to digest and apply it in my own life first.
When their children ask why they do all of these statutes and commandments they are to use that opportunity to recount all that God had done for them. I need to do this more with my own children, look for every opportunity to exalt God and share all that He has done. I often don’t do this and I forget all that He has done. Psalm 103 says “bless the LORD O my soul and forget none of His benefits”, may it be so in my life.