Day 13-Mark 10

  • Meditation 1: When a wealthy young man came to Jesus seeking eternal life, Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples then asked who could be saved. (At that time, Jews considered wealth a blessing from God.) Jesus responded, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Could this answer be foreshadowing Jesus’ future redemptive work?
  • Meditation 2: Verses 29 and 30 contain a challenging concept: “Whoever has left everything for the Lord will receive a hundred times more in this life, along with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life.”
    • According to Mark, anyone who has forsaken everything for the Lord will receive a hundredfold in this world but will also face persecutions. This mention of persecutions seems to be an addition by Mark, possibly as a consolation for Christians who were experiencing severe persecutions at the time. Therefore, it’s likely that Mark added this. His record implies that while one receives abundant blessings, including family and material wealth, they will also face persecutions.
    • To summarize Jesus’ words, “Whoever gives up everything will receive a hundredfold in this life and also gain eternal life in the hereafter.” It means that by letting go of greed, one paradoxically gains everything.
  • Meditation 3: Verse 41 discusses James and John asking for authority, and the other ten disciples felt angry upon learning this. It seems that a desire for power existed among all twelve disciples. In response, Jesus said in verse 43, “Whoever wants to be great must become a servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all.” Even the disciples following Jesus had ambitions for power, suggesting that I might also harbor such desires.
  • Meditation 4: My lifelong challenge is to let go of pride, the desire to boast, and the longing for recognition. Even with a little knowledge, there’s a temptation to show off, to wish for a better position compared to others, and to be prideful. I pray today to surrender these in the presence of the Lord.

<Application>

1. When attending local community gatherings, I will practice not speaking boastfully about what I know.

2. I have arranged to meet Nina’s mother on Thursday, and this time, I plan to ask more about her daughter, Nina. This is because Nina’s mother often asks about Sam, and while responding, I sometimes feel pride in Sam’s school life. In this meeting, I will focus more on listening to Nina’s mother than on speaking myself.

Done: I asked many questions about Nina and spent more time listening.

Day 12- Mark 9

  • Meditation1: In Mark 9, it is recorded that Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a high mountain alone, where He showed them His transfigured form. Even then, Jesus only took His beloved disciples. I too, wish to become one of Jesus’ disciples today, to directly witness His deeds and the works of God right beside Him.
  • Meditation 2: Jesus said, “If I abide in the Father and the Father abides in me, I can know the works of the Father” (Mark 9:23). According to this saying, if I continue to live in fellowship with God, I too will be able to know the works of God. If I could know God’s plan, no matter what happens, fear will disappear. I want to live in that way. ‘To abide in the Father’ means ‘to live by keeping the words of the Father’ taught by Jesus.
  • Meditation 3: In Mark’s Gospel, it is written that a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him.” After this event, Jesus instructed the three disciples not to tell anyone what they had seen “until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.” Also, when healing the sick, He advised the healed not to tell others about their healing. Why did He do this? Perhaps it was to prevent the widespread knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God until His resurrection, which would prove it.
  • Meditation 4: Jesus said, “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23). The ‘faith’ mentioned here refers to the belief that God can do anything. When I have such faith, it means I can do all things.
  • Meditation 5: There was an incident where Jesus healed a boy possessed by a demon. Initially, people asked the disciples to drive out the demon, but they could not. However, Jesus did. After this, the disciples asked why they could not drive out the demon, and Jesus replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark 9:29).
  • Meditation 6: Then what were the disciples doing instead of praying? What does the mentioned ‘prayer’ mean? Considering the context of the entire Gospel of John, it seems that prayer without faith is not a proper prayer.
  • Meditation 7: A saying that I had not noticed before caught my eye. The disciples told Jesus that some people were driving out demons in His name but were not following them, and they had forbidden these people from doing so. Then Jesus said, “Do not stop him. For no one who performs a miracle in my name can soon afterward speak evil of me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:38-40)
  • Meditation 8: We cannot accurately judge the ‘doctrines of heresy’ condemned by society as “having no truth in them.” I think we cannot judge even the doctrines historically condemned as heretical in early or medieval Christianity. Only God knows their hearts.

<Application>

Let’s stop repeating ourselves in prayer and pray precisely once.

Day 11-Mark 6

  • When Jesus laid hands on the sick to heal them, Mark recorded that he found their lack of faith strange (Mark recorded their lack of faith).
  • Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs, giving them the authority to cast out unclean spirits. Afterward, the disciples went out and proclaimed, “Repent!” to the people. They also anointed many sick people with oil and cast out demons through prayer.
  • One of the miracles performed by Jesus was the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish, resulting in twelve baskets of leftovers.
  • The disciples were amazed when they saw Jesus walking on the sea. Mark explained that when Jesus performed this miracle, the disciples didn’t fully understand it because their hearts were hardened. Even though they had witnessed previous miracles when Jesus broke bread, they still doubted when faced with new miracles.

Meditation 1:

“If you can believe without doubting and pray, then what Jesus did, we can do too.” This statement can be found in various places in the Gospels where Jesus spoke. So, where does this unwavering faith come from?

  • Let’s reflect on my past experiences. By remembering what God has done for me in the past (responses to prayers), I can pray in faith for things that will happen in the future. For example, a prayer of unwavering faith might be, “Since God responded even in difficult situations in the past, if this current situation is also within God’s will, it will come to pass.” This attitude in prayer is the result of accumulating many experiences of faith.
  • Therefore, I always pray for my son Sam to have more experiences of faith (answered prayers, testimonies…). Those who have experienced God generally don’t easily waver in their faith. Such prayers help us move away from being fixated on the results of our prayers (escaping a faith roller coaster).
  • When praying, recalling the grace God has shown us in the past and the stories we have shared with God is a crucial aspect of following God’s path. I am grateful that I can remember these experiences and stories with God right now.
  • From now on, I am determined to recall and record the memories in my mind as much as possible. Blogging has become a great treasure to me. If I hadn’t started blogging, I probably wouldn’t even be recording this QT now. Animals leave behind leather when they die, but I want to leave behind a blog for my descendants. 😊

<Application>:

I recall one of the deeply impactful experiences from my past when the Lord worked in my life, and I write it down.

I remembered the experience when Sam first joined the university church’s worship team as an official member. Hanna’s family also came along at that time.

We have decided to attend the first praise and worship service led by Sam as a member of the university church praise team.

The university church is six hours away, so to attend the worship service, we had to leave early in the morning. However, we overslept, leading to a late departure. Due to this delay, my husband and I argued, and my angry husband drove above the speed limit. I had to hold my frustration while looking at my husband in that situation. I was able to hold it because I thought Satan was involved in this.

Fortunately, we arrived on time. As we saw Sam praising God, we offered glory to God and shed tears of thanksgiving. All the conflicts with my husband were resolved after the worship service of thanksgiving.

I have been praying for Sam to praise God since he was in first grade. Since Sam’s high school years, there has always been a recurring prayer topic when counseling with Sam about his college career. It involved the church, faithful seniors, faithful friends, the praise team, and the praise leader.

One day, in Philadelphia church, after a certain evangelist counseled with Sam and then called me to give advice, I recalled the words, “Steve’s faith is either all or nothing. His mother should pray a lot.” After that, I prayed more diligently for Sam.

There have been various difficulties along the way, but the result of continuous prayer for Sam for 12 years without doubting has been realized in Sam’s freshman year of college. God answered the prayer of hope that He gave me.

Since joining the praise team, Sam found it truly difficult to balance with his university studies. However, Sam persevered, relying on God, and successfully continued his service.

Day 10-Mark 5

Mark 5 primarily records the healing ministry of Jesus. It includes the story of a demon-possessed man, a woman who suffered from bleeding for twelve years, and the daughter of Jairus, a synagogue ruler.

Meditation 1: The Story of Jairus’ Daughter

When Jairus asked Jesus to heal his daughter, she was still alive. However, while Jesus was on his way to Jairus’ house, Jairus received news that his daughter had died. Let’s examine Jesus’ words and actions at this time.

1-1) Jesus told Jairus, who was with him, not to fear but to only believe.

1-2) Jesus went to Jairus’ house with only Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.

1-3) Jesus said, “The child (Jairus’ daughter) is not dead but sleeping.”

1-4) After sending out the people who were laughing, Jesus entered the room where the child was lying with her parents and the disciples he brought.

1-5) When Jesus said, “Arise,” the girl immediately got up and walked.

Meditation 2: Principles Discovered in the Healing of Jairus’ Daughter

2-1) Do not fear but believe – Jesus did not hurry even in a serious situation, possibly due to his confidence in God’s work.

2-2) Jesus took only his closest disciples – It seems he chose to be accompanied by those with firm faith, considering the seriousness of death.

2-3) Jesus entered the room with only those who believed and were ready to pray in faith, including the girl’s parents and the three disciples he brought. Jesus seemed to take the issue of death seriously and dealt with it with concern.

Meditation 3: Jesus said, “If you cannot believe in me, believe through the healing works I do, the demons I cast out, and the dead I raise, as they show that God has sent me.”

<Application>

1.In the future, when facing illness or situations that seem to be the work of Satan, I resolve to proclaim in the name of Jesus:

  • I declare that I am already a child of God, saved by the blood of Jesus.
  • I believe in the power of the blood already within me.
  • I am confident that the Holy Spirit dwells within me.
  • I remember that I have already been transferred from death to life.
  • Knowing that the living water flows from my belly, Satan cannot reside within me.

2. When important prayers are needed, I will gather with co-laborers who believe in God’s power and do not doubt, to pray together.

Day 9-Mark 4

Meditation 1:

Where the word of God is sown, it is heard by those who are willing to listen.

While reading Mark 4, I felt a calling to serve the saints at a local church in our area. Knowing our situation (mine and my husband’s personality), I prayed that if God wishes to start this work, let my husband be the first to suggest serving at the local church.

This afternoon, while listening to Pastor Rick Warren’s ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ audio file, which I listen to daily, I came across Chapter 29 about serving the saints. Encountering this message twice in one day, I felt it was more than a coincidence.

Meditation 2:

As my back pain returned, I believed in the words I recently heard, “If I abide in God, I can do the works Jesus did.” I laid hands on my back and declared with these sentences: “By the power of Jesus’ blood, Satan, leave my back,” and “Now, as a child of God by the grace of Jesus’ blood, I declare you cannot dwell in me.” With these declarations, I chose to focus on the Lord’s works without doubt. All believers in Christ can directly worship and fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit in Christ. Hence, today, I prayed directly for healing from my physical pain.

<Application>

1. Normally, my back pain would persist before gradually getting better, but the next morning, I felt the pain had lessened. For the past two years, I’ve had biennial back pain episodes, each lasting about six weeks. This time, however, the pain subsided quickly, for which I am grateful. (Done)

2. We began praying for a suitable home to live in, priced between $150,000-$160,000, with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, suitable for inviting the saints.

– Originally, we planned to rent our current home for a year and then move to a place with a monthly rent of $900-$1000 in the second year. However, upon reconsideration, if a down payment is possible, buying a small house might be a better way to save money. If planning to pay a monthly rent of $1000, with a down payment, one can live in a house worth about $1400 a month.

– If we can arrange a down payment for a house priced around $150,000-$160,000, we could save some of the $575 monthly amount we currently pay for our condo. Regarding this, let’s discuss the following two options for buying a house with my husband:

1) House Buying Option: If we buy a pre-built house priced at $150,000-$160,000, we plan to live in it and then sell it after 7-8 years.

2) House Buying Option: If we buy a newly offered house, we can expect a profit from its sale after 7-8 years.

Day 8-Mark 3

  • Jesus is shown healing the sick. In this scene, Jesus directly warns or explains about Satan (Beelzebub: king of devils, demon, evil). While Jesus was traveling, a demon-possessed person fell down and said, ‘You are the Son of God,’ but Jesus sternly ordered them not to speak like that (verses 11,12). This might have been because the time was not yet right. Perhaps, Jesus did this to avoid being captured by the Jews before completing his ministry.
  • Jesus chose disciples to preach the word of God and also gave them the power to drive out demons (verse 15). Reading today’s scripture, I discovered content that hadn’t caught my eye before. ‘The one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit’ seems to refer to Satan (verses 28, 29, 30). Associating the ‘sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit’ with pastors oppressing believers seems inconsistent with this scripture. Satan is considered to exist in some realms of this world. Jesus acknowledges the existence of Satan, warning, rebuking, or commanding him to be driven out.
  • Jesus said that ‘all who do the will of God’ are his brothers, sisters, and mother.

<Application>

1. Let’s explore the precise meanings and definitions of the terms Beelzebub, Demon, and Evil.

2. In the future, when praying to defeat Satan, let’s apply the method of ‘proclamation and command’ used by Jesus. Although we are already doing this, let’s continue with this approach. A missionary brother also taught me to pray in this way, saying, ‘By the power of the blood of Jesus, I command you to leave,’ or ‘Now that I am a child of God through the grace of the blood of Jesus, I proclaim that you cannot dwell within me.’

Day 7-Mark 2

  • Jesus said, “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” and he healed a paralytic. (After forgiving his sins first, He said, “Get up and walk,” and the paralytic walked.) Jesus stated that He came not for the righteous, but for tax collectors (perhaps meaning the marginalized) and sinners. He also said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Before Jesus, there were no people who spoke of sin, righteousness, man, or the Sabbath in this way. Therefore, Jesus’s perspectives signified a shift in a new paradigm.
  • While praying, I remembered the conversations from the neighborhood meeting last week and the words of Buddha I heard on a podcast recently. One of the locals, a scientist, argued that there is more evidence for the existence of aliens than for God, and if one believes in God, they should also believe in aliens. I couldn’t say anything at that time, but since yesterday, I’ve been contemplating both Buddha’s words and that person’s statement in my prayers. Today, I realized that this person’s view was based on their limited experience, thinking it to be the whole truth. This reminds me that in my long faith journey, I must always be careful not to be confined by my limited experiences.
  • While praying, I realized that clear evidence of God’s existence is ‘sending Jesus’. This evidence has been transmitted through Jesus’ disciples and countless people until now. Some claim there’s more evidence for aliens, but can we dismiss the evidence provided by witnesses who risked their lives? Jesus himself said that God sent him, and he spoke only what God commanded. After his departure, He said the Holy Spirit would testify within us. Despite numerous pieces of evidence (healing ministry, casting out demons) and witnesses, people still say there is no evidence.
  • From another perspective, believing in the existence of God is not a matter of scientific realm (proof, evidence), but of faith. Faith is an area accepted regardless of the presence or absence of evidence or witnesses. We explore how (How?) the given world (created by God) is made and proceeds. We can find principles and explain them to people with scientific proof. However, we cannot explain why (Why?) the universe came into being or why certain phenomena occur (e.g., why cells in my body act the way they do, or why oil floats on water). We can only explain the phenomena of the universe (How?) that have already occurred. Scientifically proving and explaining the birth and principles of the universe is truly amazing. However, the creator of the universe exists as a great being beyond. Accepting His existence is not a matter of proof but of faith. I believe in the evidence of modern science, and I also believe in Him, who can only be understood in the realm of faith. Just as Jesus brought a paradigm shift in faith with words people had never thought of at the time. Additionally, I should also carefully approach my established knowledge and experiences of faith.

<Application>

1.Reorganize the history that discouraged me last night (my computer data organized over half of last Saturday disappeared), study again about the civilization of Central and South America and read an overview of the Gospel of Mark.

2.Pray for Samantha’s growth in faith and include her in our family prayers.(Done)

Day 6-Buddha’s Teaching

“I listened to a podcast and took some notes.”

The common characteristics of individuals holding 62 views, according to the Buddha’s teachings, are:

<The 62 views arose from feelings and experiences>

1. Beings who do not know and cannot see can only hold views based on what they themselves have felt, and these feelings are merely influenced by their own views and experiences. Even when they elaborate on the past and the future, they are speaking of their limited experiences. They judge based on their experiences in the here and now.

2. All experiences stem from one’s own limited experiences, and they become firmly entrenched as feelings, leading to such judgments; in reality, they are limited. All experiences originate from one’s own limited experiences.

3. Through the six sense bases, we continuously experience the feeling of personal views due to the sensory contact that occurs when encountering various objects.

4. The feelings arising in these six sense bases, their occurrence, disappearance, sweetness, danger, and escape must be thoroughly understood as they are. This is what transcends all these views.

5. While discussing such matters, one should be able to praise the Buddha.

6. Lives asserting various doctrines about the past and future are all caught in the net of the 62 views. They seek to ascend but do so while ensnared in the net, truly becoming completely trapped in it as they try to rise.

7. Thoughts arising from limited experiences only serve as hindrances to achieving true enlightenment.

<Overcoming>

-One must detach from the clinging to experiences. (In reality, it’s not what I actually feel.)

-There should be an enlightenment about the pile of things (accumulations) stacked up like a heap

<Teachings>

  1. Do not get trapped in your own views.
  2. Do not cling to feelings that arise from your limited and confined experiences.
  3. Do not consider views that stem from your limited experiences as everything.

<My opinion>

In fact, it seems likely that many of the religious experiences people claim to have had are also caught in these 62 views that Buddha spoke about.

But how should one explain the following kinds of religious experiences?

Example) “How can one explain situations where things happen as a result of obeying the word? It was neither my will not something I wanted to do, but situations arose when I obeyed… cases of the sick being healed. These situations don’t seem to be views arising from feelings based on my experience.

<The teachings of Buddha, known as ‘The Net of Views,’ organized by an expert>

The Buddha’s teachings include a discourse on the 62 views that human beings can hold, known as the “Brahmajala Sutta” or “The Net of Views.” This discourse, found in the Digha Nikaya of the Pali Canon, categorizes various beliefs and philosophies into 62 types. These views broadly encompass the range of beliefs about self, universe, life, and beyond.

The common characteristics of individuals holding these 62 views, according to the Buddha’s teachings, are:

Attachment to Views: Individuals holding these views are often deeply attached to their beliefs, seeing them as absolute truths. This attachment can lead to a lack of openness to other perspectives.

Ignorance and Delusion: Many of these views arise from ignorance (avidya) about the true nature of reality. This ignorance leads to delusion, causing individuals to misunderstand or misinterpret their experiences and the world around them.

Suffering: The Buddha taught that attachment to views is a source of suffering (dukkha). Clinging to these beliefs, especially those related to the self or ego, can lead to conflict, dissatisfaction, and a continual cycle of suffering.

Impermanence and Non-Self: Many of these views conflict with the Buddhist concepts of impermanence (anicca) and non-self (anatta). Individuals often hold views that assert permanent, unchanging entities or self-identities, which Buddhism considers to be a fundamental misunderstanding of reality.

Hindrance to Enlightenment: Holding rigidly to any of these views can be a hindrance on the path to enlightenment (nibbana). They can bind individuals to samsara, the cycle of rebirth and suffering, and prevent the realization of ultimate truth and liberation.

The Buddha’s teaching in the Brahmajala Sutta is not just a critique of these views but also serves as a guide to understanding how attachment to any fixed view can impede spiritual progress. The Buddha emphasized the importance of direct experience, critical inquiry, and the development of wisdom and compassion over adherence to dogmatic beliefs.

Day 5-Mark Chapter 1

The Gospel of Mark is the first written record among the Synoptic Gospels. The other Gospels have referenced this book. Therefore, while reading this Gospel, I will also refer to a New Testament introduction to gain a deeper understanding.

In the chapter I read today, it describes various acts performed by Jesus after He was baptized. He primarily expelled demons and healed the sick. This includes healing a woman with a fever, a leper, and many other sick people. In the scenes of expelling demons, one can see that Jesus’ words are very concise and resolute. For example, His sayings like ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ or ‘I am willing. Be clean!’ are examples of this.

Furthermore, the text mentions that the demons recognized Jesus (the one sent by God), but Jesus did not permit them to speak. This might be because the time for Jesus had not yet come. Jesus specifically instructed the leper not to tell anyone, but to show himself only to the priests and testify to Jesus after being cleansed. Jesus clearly stated that Satan exists in our world, and we live in this world. Also, He said that if we abide in the Father, we can do the works He did. Therefore, every morning I declare the expulsion of Satan by the power of Jesus’ blood for our family and pray for protection from Satan’s power. Going forward, I will pray following the firm command of Jesus as I saw today.

<Application>

1.Samantha had a traffic accident last week. I will pray for her specific protection. She is still young in faith and needs special protection for the time being.

(Done): I have started praying from today.

After the uncomfortable incident that happened before, now my relationship with Samantha has completely recovered. I had been uncomfortable due to problems caused by my insincerity. I am grateful for the restoration of our relationship.

2.To understand the Gospel of Mark more deeply, let’s read ‘New Testament Introduction’ by Donald Guthrie. I plan to start reading the introductory part of Mark today.

Day 4-John 17

  • Today’s chapter is entirely about the prayer made by Jesus. I intend to summarize the Lord’s Prayer as I have understood it.
  • The prayer of Jesus is about the authority and eternal life given to Him by God. Eternal life means knowing the only true God and recognizing the fact that He sent Jesus (verses 2 and 3). Among the people of the world, those given to Jesus were originally with God. They lived without knowing God until the coming of Jesus, but now they have come to know Him (verse 6). However, since Jesus had to return to God and leave these people in the world, it became impossible for Him to remain with them any longer.
  • Since the disciples were left in the world, Jesus asked God (the Father) to protect His disciples. Until then, Jesus Himself had protected the disciples, but now He could no longer do so directly (verses 11 and 12). This situation brought concern to Jesus. Therefore, Jesus prayed to God (the Father) to protect His disciples from the evil of this world. The basis of this request is the fact that ‘since Jesus Himself had become holy, now His disciples who believe in Him have also become holy.’ Furthermore, Jesus emphasized that He prays not for the whole world, but only for those (the disciples) given to Him by the Father (verse 9).
  • This content up to this point can be understood as a prayer for the disciples who were with Jesus at that time.
  • In the subsequent part (the lower part), Jesus prayer extends beyond the disciples of that time to include all those who come to believe in Jesus through their (the disciples’) words (verse 20). Jesus prays that the relationship between Himself and God would also apply to us (those who believe in Jesus), and that all of us (believers in Jesus) may become one in Jesus and God (verse 21). This is to make the world believe that God sent Jesus. Moreover, Jesus prays that the world may know that just as God loved Jesus, He loves us (believers in Jesus) too (verse 23). Finally, Jesus prays that when we (believers in Jesus), whom God has given to Him, go to the place where Jesus was before the creation of the world, namely to God, we may see His glory, just as Jesus did (verse 24).

<My Prayer>

  • Father, now I have come to know You. I am grateful for being made aware of You and for the realization that You sent Jesus. Also, thank You for eternal life (since understanding that You sent Jesus is to obtain eternal life). Today, I have read the prayer that Jesus made before He went to You. Although I do not understand everything, I offer this prayer today as I have understood it.
  • While I live in this place (the world: Earth), I pray for protection from evil, just as Jesus asked for me. Also, I pray for protection for my husband (Kevin) and son (Sam), whom I pray for daily, so that they may not fall into evil, wherever they are. I hope that all of us become one in the Lord, always remaining in Jesus and the Father. I also pray for the strength and courage to live according to God’s will. Through such a life, may You reveal to the world that the father loves us.

<Application>

1. I will pray for our family to be protected from evil. This is an important part of ensuring our family’s safety and happiness. (Done)

2. Today, I was supposed to meet with Samantha. The weather is cold, and it’s snowing, so I feel like postponing it. However, unless Samantha cancels, I plan to go as scheduled. Since I agreed to teach her how to use Excel before the meeting, I will also practice that. (Done)

3. Today, I suggested baptism to Samantha, which is conducted at Chestnut Ridge Church, something I’ve been considering for a while.

Completed: When I met Samantha today, I recommended baptism. She said she would like to be baptized with her family’s blessing, especially her husband’s, who is currently in Texas. She promised to get baptized after moving to Texas.