Tuesday, June 25

22 They came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and brought him out of the village. Spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people—they look like trees walking.”

25 Again Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes. The man looked intently and his sight was restored and he saw everything clearly. 26 Then he sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.”

Mark 8:22-26

Summary: 

We expect Jesus to get it right on the first try! But here He shows us that even at times when His work in our lives seems confusing, He is right there to bring clarity whenever He desires to do so. This may happen immediately or very slowly, but He is always able to bring clarity in difficulty. Let’s also not pass right by this detail: He spit in the man’s eyes! Though we don’t understand exactly what He was doing we know that He healed the man from His own being.

Reflection:

Am I in the middle of a confusing season? What does it look like to trust Him to work in unique ways?

Prayer:

Father, thank You for this healing and how You work in such unexpected ways. When it feels like life is confusing or like I don’t know why You’re working this way, I trust You.


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Ben ShounComment
Monday, June 24

11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, demanding of him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 Sighing deeply in his spirit, he said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.”13 Then he left them, got back into the boat, and went to the other side.

14 The disciples had forgotten to take bread and had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 Then he gave them strict orders: “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 They were discussing among themselves that they did not have any bread. 17 Aware of this, he said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact you have no bread? Don’t you understand or comprehend? Do you have hardened hearts? 18 Do you have eyes and not see; do you have ears and not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of leftovers did you collect?”

“Twelve,” they told him.

20 “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets full of pieces did you collect?”

“Seven,” they said.

21 And he said to them, “Don’t you understand yet?”

Mark 8:11-21

Summary: 

The answer to Jesus’s question at the end of the passage is of course - “NO!” They just didn’t get it. Though the details are a bit obscure, the imagery is pointing to the fact that Jesus provides enough for everyone at all times. We do not have to wonder if He has enough. His supply is sufficient for us at all times.

Reflection:

What specific account of God’s provision can I point back to? How does it reassure my faith to do so?

Prayer:

Father, thank You for supplying my every need. Help me remember Your faithfulness in the future.


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Ben ShounComment
Friday, June 21

In those days there was again a large crowd, and they had nothing to eat. He called the disciples and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they’ve already stayed with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a long distance.”

4 His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread here in this desolate place to feed these people?”

5 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked them.

“Seven,” they said. 6 He commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground. Taking the seven loaves, he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people. So they served them to the crowd. 7 They also had a few small fish, and after he had blessed them, he said these were to be served as well. 8 They ate and were satisfied. Then they collected seven large baskets of leftover pieces. 9 About four thousand were there. He dismissed them. 10 And he immediately got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

Mark 8:1-10

Summary: 

Somehow, as Jesus feeds 4,000 people or more, this passage reads so nonchalantly, as if it was no big deal! He simply multiplied what was there. That’s not normal! Yet we can trust that He uses what’s in front of Him to accomplish His purposes in our lives today.

Reflection:

What gifts, talents, possessions would Jesus want to use in me today or in the future?

Prayer:

Father, use what I have today to multiply Your work in the world. I surrender it to You.


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Ben ShounComment
Thursday, June 20

31 Again, leaving the region of Tyre, he went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had difficulty speaking and begged Jesus to lay his hand on him. 33 So he took him away from the crowd in private. After putting his fingers in the man’s ears and spitting, he touched his tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”). 35 Immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly. 36 He ordered them to tell no one, but the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed it.

37 They were extremely astonished and said, “He has done everything well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Mark 7:31-37

Summary: 

This crowd was amazed at Jesus’s ability to heal physically, and rightfully so. They began to believe there was nothing He couldn’t do, which is of course true! He uses all means and methods to accomplish His purposes in the world. 

Reflection:

What limits have I attached to the power of Jesus? What do I believe He just can’t, or won’t do?

Prayer:

Father, amaze me once again with Jesus’s power toward me and through me to others today. 


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Ben ShounComment
Wednesday, June 19

24 He got up and departed from there to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it, but he could not escape notice. 25 Instead, immediately after hearing about him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she was asking him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, because it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

28 But she replied to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “Because of this reply, you may go. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 When she went back to her home, she found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone.

Mark 7:24-30

Summary: 

What a strange thing for this woman to say! Basically, her understanding was so clear and so sincere that she realized that at this point in time Jesus was focused on getting the news of His coming to the Jews and that she wasn’t included. Harsh, but true by human standards, though we know God had a plan to include all. Yet, she knew Jesus was so powerful that even just a small portion of His power could change her and she believed. Jesus loved her faith and blessed her.

Reflection:

Do I have the simple faith in my heart today to believe that Jesus will work in me and others?

Prayer:

Father, I know the power of Jesus is for me and for all around me. Help me believe today that anything is possible. 


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Ben ShounComment
Tuesday, June 18

The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him. 2 They observed that some of his disciples were eating bread with unclean—that is, unwashed—hands. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they have washed. And there are many other customs they have received and keep, like the washing of cups, pitchers, kettles, and dining couches.) 5 So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?”

6 He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.

7 They worship me in vain,
teaching as doctrines human commands.

8 Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition.” 9 He also said to them, “You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up your tradition! 10 For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; and whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. 11 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is corban’” (that is, an offering devoted to God), 12 “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. 13 You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things.”

14 Summoning the crowd again, he told them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”

17 When he went into the house away from the crowd, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, “Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don’t you realize that nothing going into a person from the outside can defile him?19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated” (thus he declared all foods clean). 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, 22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, self-indulgence, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person.”

Mark 7:1-23

Summary: 

Human beings love to label one another based on behavior. We love to play “us vs. them.” This is really true when it comes to comparing ourselves in our religious and moral performance. Yet Jesus had a different standard. What makes us evil is what’s inside, not what comes out. We’re not declared unrighteous because we don’t perform the ceremonies that the Pharisees demanded of people in their day. We’re not made right with God by church attendance or any other action. Only Jesus can cleanse our hearts and declare us clean.

Reflection:

How do I tend to define myself and others outwardly rather than what’s in my heart?

Prayer:

Father, thank You that You cleanse me! Purify my heart today.


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Ben ShounComment
Monday, June 17

45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray. 47 Well into the night, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them. 49 When they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, 52 because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.

53 When they had crossed over, they came to shore at Gennesaret and anchored there.

54 As they got out of the boat, people immediately recognized him. 55 They hurried throughout that region and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 Wherever he went, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch just the end of his robe. And everyone who touched it was healed.

Mark 6:45-56

Summary: 

Jesus walking on water is one of His most famous miracles. It’s fascinating to us from a scientific and practical perspective. It’s been said that though the water was liquid His call to Peter was solid! This is true, and it reminds us that Peter didn’t need to believe that he had any power himself, but that he needed to keep His eyes on Jesus. He will call us to uncomfortable places in our following Him. 

Also notice that as word continues to spread about Jesus into Gennesaret, every person who touched Him was healed. He is the one who works!

Reflection:

Is there any sense in which I have grown comfortable following Jesus? What is He calling me to in trusting Him today?

Prayer:

Father, move me out of my comfort zone out onto the water. I want to follow Jesus even into the uncomfortable places.


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Ben ShounComment
Friday, June 14

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

32 So they went away in the boat by themselves to a remote place, 33 but many saw them leaving and recognized them, and they ran on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them.

34 When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.

35 When it grew late, his disciples approached him and said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late. 36 Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.”

37 “You give them something to eat,” he responded.

They said to him, “Should we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”

38 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”

When they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 Everyone ate and was satisfied. 43 They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.

Mark 6:30-44

Summary: 

This familiar story brings up so many points for us to consider about who Jesus is and how He provides for us. Notice that He was trying to get away and get refreshed Himself when these thousands of people just simply won’t leave Him alone. He has compassion on them not just because they’re hungry, but because they have spiritual need. His provision is satisfying and abundant. 

Reflection:

How do I think about Jesus’s provision for my life? Do I see Him as selfish and stingy or as overly gracious? 

Prayer:

Father, thank You that Jesus always has time for me and provides all I need and more. 


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Ben ShounComment
Thursday, June 13

14 King Herod heard about it, because Jesus’s name had become well known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that’s why miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He’s Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet, like one of the prophets from long ago.”

16 When Herod heard of it, he said, “John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!”

17 For Herod himself had given orders to arrest John and to chain him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18 John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias held a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him he would be very perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him.

21 An opportune time came on his birthday, when Herod gave a banquet for his nobles, military commanders, and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 He promised her with an oath: “Whatever you ask me I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

24 She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”

“John the Baptist’s head,” she said.

25 At once she hurried to the king and said, “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head on a platter immediately.” 26 Although the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests he did not want to refuse her. 27 The king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring John’s head. So he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard about it, they came and removed his corpse and placed it in a tomb.

Mark 6:14-29

Summary: 

John the Baptist was a wildman! He spoke up anywhere and everywhere he felt like the Lord had called him to do so. He made a few enemies, in keeping with Jesus’s words that not everyone would like what He had to say. This cost John his life. 

Reflection:

Am I willing to speak truth or have I chosen to stay silent?

Prayer:

Father, make me bold like John the Baptist today.


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Ben ShounComment
Wednesday, June 12

7 He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits. 8 He instructed them to take nothing for the road except a staff—no bread, no traveling bag, no money in their belts, 9 but to wear sandals and not put on an extra shirt. 10 He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place. 11 If any place does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and preached that people should repent.13 They drove out many demons, anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Mark 6:7-13

Summary: 

Jesus sent out His disciples basically empty handed! He’s showing us that having our trust in what we have for ourselves will limit our ability to follow Him in dependence. When we depend fully, He is able to use our words and works.

Reflection:

Is my abundance causing me to trust in my stuff more than I trust in Jesus to provide all I need?

Prayer:

Father, help me depend fully on you today.


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Ben ShounComment
Tuesday, June 11

He left there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. “Where did this man get these things?” they said. “What is this wisdom that has been given to him, and how are these miracles performed by his hands? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t his sisters here with us?” So they were offended by him.

4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his household.” 5 He was not able to do a miracle there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief. He was going around the villages teaching.

Mark 6:1-6

Summary: 

It seems everybody that knew the earthly Jesus the best were the ones with the least faith. How can this be? The old saying goes: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” It’s too often the case that once we get around Jesus long enough we get bored with Him or even question His power. May this never be!

Reflection:

Where do I need to be rattled to believe Jesus is able and powerful?

Prayer:

Father, make me so unlike those in Jesus’ hometown! I want to know Him more and believe His power. 


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Ben ShounComment
Monday, June 10

21 When Jesus had crossed over again by boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the sea. 22 One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and begged him earnestly, “My little daughter is dying. Come and lay your hands on her so that she can get well and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him, and a large crowd was following and pressing against him.

25 Now a woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years 26 had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse. 27 Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing. 28 For she said, “If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well.” 29 Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

30 At once Jesus realized in himself that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”

32 But he was looking around to see who had done this. 33 The woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed from your affliction.”

35 While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue leader’s house and said, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 When Jesus overheard what was said, he told the synagogue leader, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.” 37 He did not let anyone accompany him except Peter, James, and John, James’s brother. 38 They came to the leader’s house, and he saw a commotion—people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 They laughed at him, but he put them all outside. He took the child’s father, mother, and those who were with him, and entered the place where the child was. 41 Then he took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum” (which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, get up”). 42 Immediately the girl got up and began to walk. (She was twelve years old.) At this they were utterly astounded. 43 Then he gave them strict orders that no one should know about this and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5:21-42

Summary: 

All these stories share one thing in common: confidence that Jesus can and will bring about His healing purposes. Jairus and the bleeding woman are both confident of Jesus’s power. The synagogue leader isn’t quite as confident, and the people around certainly aren’t. However, Jesus is confident enough that life isn’t over for the girl that He seems to make up for their lack!

Reflection:

Am I more likely to believe Jesus is able but not willing or willing but not able? How should this change? 

Prayer:

Father, increase my confidence in Jesus’s power over my situation. 


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Ben ShounComment
Friday, June 7

Today is a catch up day! If you missed a day this week, go back and read it. If you have read all this week's Daily5's, explore below other ways you can spend 5 minutes with the Lord.


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Ben ShounComment
Thursday, June 6

1They came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him. 3 He lived in the tombs, and no one was able to restrain him anymore—not even with a chain— 4 because he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!” 8 For he had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”

9 “What is your name?” he asked him.

“My name is Legion,” he answered him, “because we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the region.

11 A large herd of pigs was there, feeding on the hillside. 12 The demons begged him, “Send us to the pigs, so that we may enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned there.

14 The men who tended them ran off and reported it in the town and the countryside, and people went to see what had happened. 15 They came to Jesus and saw the man who had been demon-possessed, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs. 17 Then they began to beg him to leave their region.

18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged him earnestly that he might remain with him. 19 Jesus did not let him but told him, “Go home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed.

Mark 5:1-20

Summary: 

Demons are no match for Jesus. Even in the most extreme cases, He is more powerful than any power of the enemy. The people who knew the man in this account were afraid of him, and they knew he couldn’t be helped by any earthly power. Yet Jesus steps in and all the demons flee. Is there anything you’re facing that seems like the enemy is getting the upper hand? Be reminded that Jesus will always win!

Reflection:

What power have I given too much credit other than the power of Jesus?

Prayer:

Father, wow me with the power of Jesus against any and ever circumstance and demon!


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Ben ShounComment
Wednesday, June 5

33 He was speaking the word to them with many parables like these, as they were able to understand. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable. Privately, however, he explained everything to his own disciples.

35 On that day, when evening had come, he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.” 36 So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Silence! Be still!” The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he said to them, “Why are you afraid?Do you still have no faith?”

41 And they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!”

Mark 4:33-41

Summary: 

This storm is famous. We talk about it all the time when we think about the power of Jesus. We often think that the point of this passage is to make us feel better that the storms in our lives will never win. Look again at verse 41. This wasn’t the disciples’ response to Jesus’s power. They were amazed at His power. Instead of focusing on the storm, they focused on Jesus.

Reflection:

Am I in a storm? If so, how can I reset my eyes on Jesus today? If not, who is? How could I remind them of His power?

Prayer:

Father, in all the struggles and storms of my life, help me see how powerful Jesus is.


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Ben ShounComment
Tuesday, June 4

26 “The kingdom of God is like this,” he said. “A man scatters seed on the ground.27 He sleeps and rises night and day; the seed sprouts and grows, although he doesn’t know how. 28 The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the full grain on the head. 29 As soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it? 31 It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown upon the soil, is the smallest of all the seeds on the ground. 32 And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the garden plants, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”

Mark 4:26-32

Summary: 

The kingdom of God seems like a small thing in our world. Jesus likens it to the smallest of all seeds. Yet as we surrender to Jesus and follow Him, our faith grows and others come to believe and it expands. We shouldn’t think that today is small! It has huge potential for the kingdom’s expansion. 

Reflection:

Am I more prone to think of each day in following Jesus as ordinary or to expect it to be overblown? How can I do the small things well today so that He can produce kingdom fruit in me?

Prayer:

Father, I woke up today thinking it doesn’t matter much. Expand my view of today’s potential!


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Ben ShounComment
Monday, June 3

21 He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.” 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you. 25 For whoever has, more will be given to him, and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

Mark 4:21-25

Summary: 

Grace doesn’t mean we don’t have to serve Jesus. Because He forgives us as an act of His will, we too often think it means we aren’t responsible for following Him. He has given us a light, and we are to use it! He intends to use us to show Himself to the world. As we do so, He entrusts us with more. 

Reflection:

How does God’s choosing of me cause me to respond? Is it humbling, as it should be? What should I do today as a result?

Prayer:

Father, thank You for choosing to make Jesus known to me. It is all an act of Your grace. I ask you to strengthen me to live strongly for Him today.


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Ben ShounComment
Friday, May 31

10 When he was alone, those around him with the Twelve, asked him about the parables. 11 He answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those outside, everything comes in parables 12 so that

they may indeed look,
and yet not perceive;
they may indeed listen,
and yet not understand;
otherwise, they might turn back
and be forgiven.”



Mark 4:10-12

Summary: 

We usually think Jesus told stories so we could more easily understand than if He had simply used straightforward teaching methods. This passage teaches the opposite! Jesus spoke in parables because stories cause us to have to reflect. For us to understand what He’s saying we must pause and ponder. For instance, when you read yesterday’s story of the sower, did you really pause and consider if there are beliefs you are holding onto that are keeping the Bible from taking deep root in you, or did you move too fast? Parables remind us that Jesus wants us to really think. Our thinking as Christians is guided by the Holy Spirit guiding us in our thoughts, but we must listen to what He says.

Reflection:

Am I prone to moving too quickly through my time in God’s Word? What needs to change to allow this time reading the Daily5 to be less hurried?

Prayer:

Father, I know I need to slow down and consider what You’re saying. I move too quickly. Help me by Your Spirit.


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Ben ShounComment
Tuesday, May 28

20 Jesus entered a house, and the crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard this, they set out to restrain him, because they said, “He’s out of his mind.”

22 The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons.”

23 So he summoned them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house.

28 “Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for all sins and whatever blasphemies they utter. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”


Mark 3:20-30

Summary: 

We criticize what we don’t understand. We criticize even more what seems to be a threat to us. Jesus tells these Pharisees that all He is doing is good, not evil. As people are healed and demons are cast out, Satan can not stand this! The Pharisees had no answer for what they saw Jesus doing. We too often think we’ll understand everything when Jesus shows up.

Also here we hear Jesus speak of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is the “unforgivable sin.” To blaspheme, or speak against, the Spirit is to say we don’t need Him - to hold Him off as He speaks personally to us. The Pharisees were resisting the work of Jesus, and thus resisting the work of the Holy Spirit. They refused to believe, and those who refuse to believe can not be forgiven of sin. 

Reflection:

Am I following Jesus so closely that I see supernatural things happen? Am I submitted to the voice of the Holy Spirit in my life?

Prayer:

Father, make me uncomfortable with how You are working in the world around me today. I believe if Jesus is at work, I won’t have all the answers!


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Ben ShounComment
Friday, May 24

18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. People came and asked him, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast, but your disciples do not fast?”

19 Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the groom is with them, can they? As long as they have the groom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. 21 No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new patch pulls away from the old cloth, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost as well as the skins. No, new wine is put into fresh wineskins.”

Mark 2:18-22

Summary: 

Fasting is a practice of abstaining from something we want for something we want more. It involves self-discipline and focus, and Jesus advocated it for seasons of stretching our own hearts and minds to know Him more. There are seasons, weddings for instance, where celebration and joy reign. 

Reflection:

Do I need to fast? When do I need to fast? What do I want God to do so badly that I would be willing to give up something else in order for that to happen?

Prayer:

Father, increase my hunger for You. I want to know You more, so if there is a time I need to pull away from earthly comforts and ask You to increase my vision of You, when might that be?


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Ben ShounComment