18 March: Beheaded for Believing

With the death of the Malachi Messenger[a], Jesus is left on His own and today’s chapter shows the fulfilment of John’s own prediction…

READ MARK 6  Make notes, if you’d like, of what stands out for you. Feel free to use the “Leave a Comment” box below to also write some of your thoughts.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

With global news as it is, I can’t help but see John’s death in light of the recent beheadings committed by ISIS. I did a search of Scripture and found that, in all those centuries of graphic and barbaric history, John was the first “man of God” to be beheaded for speaking out God’s Word and for standing up for the testimony he maintained.

In an article run by The Mail Online, Pope Francis is said to have condemned the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya at the hands of ISIS militants.[b]  They died for no other reason than their faith in the testimony they maintained…

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained… Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God…”[c]

Purchasing Death with a Dance

Purchasing Death with a Dance

I’m certain that John wouldn’t have known the exact details of what lay ahead for his life, as harrowing as that was. [v14-29] However, he saw the broad strokes in the picture and knew clearly that Jesus must increase while he must decrease.[d] As it turned out, he was right as predicted. As soon as John literally “decreased down to zero”, we read of a huge increase in activity around Jesus in three fantastic stories:

He fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish! [v33-44]  He walked on water! [v45-52]  And, by the end of the chapter, the healings had increased so much that even if people reached out just to touch Jesus’ clothes, they were healed! [v53-56]

What both Malachi and John predicted, as they followed God’s lead, came true. Though not expecting to be beheaded for believing, nothing under the sun comes as a surprise for those who follow God. Our Michael felt sure that he was meant to have a future in worship music. None of us realised that this would be in heaven! By interpreting the signs around us in a way that we may want things to turn out – getting confused and hurt when they don’t turn out as we expected – can risk missing what’s deeper.

In a world where our future life, as we see it, is becoming more and more uncertain as moral boundaries are broken time and again. Nothing is uncertain for God. What’s ahead of us has been written before. So if I choose to go back to my guidebook and take note of the signposts along my way, I’m more likely to see that both The Word and the One who gave me His Word are still, and always have been, right as predicted. …Read More… CLICK on “18 March – Additional Notes”

But what about your thoughts – can you tell me what today’s “breadcrumb” is? Leave a note in the “Comments” box below to tell me what you think of today’s chapter.

Wondering what to say to God? The rest of this page uses the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray.[e]

THE LORD’S PRAYER: 

   1.   Praise: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven …”

May I praise You, Lord, among the nations. I’ll sing today the praises of Your name. [2 Samuel 22:50]

   2.   Ask: “…Give us today our daily bread…”

  • The World: Pray for God’s GRACE on Brazil[f]
  • Your Country: Persecuted Believers
  • Yourself: Better Use of your treasures[g]
  • Your concerns for today
Lord, as I make my requests of You, help me to remember to honour You with the wealth that You’ve given me – the first fruits of all I have. Then my stores will be filled to overflowing and my vats will brim over with new wine. [Proverbs 3:9-10]

   3.   Admit: “…Forgive us our sin as we forgive those who sin against us…”

Thank-you Lord that you are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. [Psalm 103:8]

   4.   Protect: “…Lead us not into temptation but delivers us from evil.”

You know Your sheep, Lord. They listen to Your voice and they follow Your lead. [John 10:27]

“For Yours Lord is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory now and forever. Amen!”

When Jesus was questioned, tested, tricked or in His hour of great need, He always spoke things that were previously written in God’s Word.[h] Following these memory verses from ten topics, will help you learn 52 verses from the bible in a year! THIS WEEK’S MEMORY VERSE: Giving God’s Good News

Jesus said: “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” [Matthew 28:19]

[a] Malachi 3:1

[b] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2955856/Pope-Francis-condemns-beheading-21-Coptic-Christians-ISIS.html

[c] Revelation 6:9 and 20:4

[d] John 3:30 (See also Numbers 21:4-9)

[e] Matthew 6:5-15

[f] http://www.operationworld.org/country/braz/owtext.html

[g] Matthew 25:14-30

[h] Matthew 4:4,6,7,10; 11:10; 21:13; and 26:24,31

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