BY GRACE YOU ARE SAVED
Mark seems to take pleasure in contrasting the teachers of the law with the way of Christ. Here are two examples:
Jesus had just met a paralyzed man. His first words to the man were, "Your sins are forgiven." (Mark 2 v 5). Mark then contrasts the compassion and forgiveness of Jesus with what the teachers of the law were thinking: "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (v 7). And then right in front of them all, Jesus healed the man, proving that he truly did have the authority to forgive sins. The teachers of the law taught that only God could forgive sins. Theirs was a graceless teaching. But Jesus, by his words and actions, poured out a teaching of grace.
The second example was when Jesus went to eat with "tax collectors and sinners." (v 15). The teachers of the law were bewildered that he would even associate with such people. They were separate, standoffish, proud and believed tax collectors and sinners were not worth the time of day. But Jesus showed otherwise. Tax collectors and sinners are just as valuable to God as any one of us, it's just that they are sick and need healing from their sins, as we all do. The teaching taught by the teachers was to stand apart, to be separate and to keep others out of God's kingdom. The life and teaching of Jesus gives grace, draws in and heals.
Let's not become like the teachers of the law, but instead become more like Jesus.
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Pray For Each Other
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5 v 16.
I am leaving home in a couple of days to spend three weeks in places I have never been before, surrounded by cultures and languages that are foreign to me. I will be teaching the Word of God in Singapore and India and it will be my first time in both those countries. Unfortunately Sharon cannot come with me this time. Three weeks apart is going to be hard on us both, but I know there is one thing we can both count on. Sharon will be praying for me, and I will be praying for her. I know this, because even when we are together we make it a habit to pray for each other every day - and even more so when we are apart.
It was when Isaac prayed for his wife, Rebekah, that she finally became pregnant after years of being barren. (Genesis 25 v 21). Praying for each other really works. God answers prayer. For years I struggled with pornography, but since I shared my struggles with Sharon, and she began to pray for me, the struggles have eased hugely. In a similar way, Sharon has struggled with anxiety and I have been privileged to pray for her to help release her from it's bondage.
Our weekly date night is a great help in our prayers for each other. Sometime during the course of the evening we will ask each other, "How can I pray for you this week?" Sometimes there is not much, but other times it allows us to open up and share what is on our minds, allowing the other to lift us up in prayer.
I don't know what challenges I will face as I head overseas on Saturday, but I do know that with Sharon's prayers, and my prayers for her, we will both be in the best hands possible.
Put your spouse in God's hands by lifting them up in prayer each day.
1). Ask your spouse, "What can I pray for you this week?" Listen and take note of their prayer requests.
2). Pray for them each day as they have requested.
3). Pray for them as you see their needs.
4). Give thanks for what you appreciate in your spouse.
5). Pray that God would strengthen and grow your marriage.