Legacy Church

Day 13

Read: Mark 5:1-20

“My name is Legion, because there are many of us (evil spirits) inside this man.” Mark 5:9 (NLT)

In today’s scripture, Jesus comes across a man possessed by many evil spirits. As Jesus approaches this man, the evil spirits requested to be allowed to enter a large herd of pigs (about 2,000) which then plunged down a steep hillside and drowned in a lake.

As I read today’s scripture, I have more questions than answers:

   This man lived among burial caves. What did he eat to survive?

   He cut himself with sharp stones. Why didn’t he bleed to death?

   Why were there so many evil spirits inside this man? Wouldn’t one have been enough?

Why did the evil spirits have to enter the whole herd of pigs? If they were inside one man, couldn’t they have just entered one pig?

Who did the evil spirits think they were to negotiate with Jesus to be allowed to enter the herd of pigs instead of being destroyed?

Did someone own the herd of pigs?

What about the pigs themselves? They were innocently going about their day and then drowned in a lake.

What about the man? What was his life like after the demons were gone?

What are we to learn from this story? Do each of us have many evil spirits inside of us such as selfishness, greed, hatred, envy, lust, etc.? In verse seven, the demon screamed at Jesus, “Why are you interfering with me?” Do we feel that God is interfering with us? Do we want to live our lives without interference by God?

Pray and ask God to live inside of you and to remove anything that hinders your relationship with Him.

Bruce Walth

Day 12

Read Mark 4: 26-41

As we read this iconic scripture at the end of Chapter 4, what portion stands out to you?  

At different times in my life I hear many different messages. I hope that today you are not questioning why Jesus is sleeping while you are in a serious storm, but most of us have been there. Maybe you wonder why Jesus didn’t know a storm was coming. Have you been thinking he should have been your weatherman before taking a life journey that seems doomed by stormy weather? Are you the one waking Jesus or are you bailing water with neglect to even waking him?

Are you in a place where you have just seen Jesus calm the storm? Are you standing in awe? Are you surprised? Have you asked him to do so? The Word is here so you can know He is always in the boat with you.

I hope that you know He can calm any storm in your life.  Call out to Him. You won’t have to shake Him from slumber, but you may need to rattle your faith. Are you willing to accept His answer and trust Him as though He was sleeping while you were tackling the world without Him?

Kenton Carlson

Day 11

Read Mark 4:1-25

Growing up as a farm kid, I always loved the parables where Jesus spoke of growing crops or raising livestock as he did here in Mark 4. I could understand these parables and Jesus didn’t seem 2,000 years away on the shores of Galilee. Even if you have only grown vegetables or a lawn, the meaning of this story seems rather straightforward. We might wonder like Jesus did out loud in verse thirteen though. Don’t these disciples get anything? 

Our Bibles clearly explain the parable of seed falling on different soil types. In fact, the red typeface indicates Christ explained directly to the disciples it depicted how some received the Word of God.

Easy for us to judge them, yet should we probe a bit deeper?

I tend to think of this scripture as a daily guide, not just a growing season or the life of an individual. In fact, we can apply it to even portions of our week or day. Since we have received the good Word of our Savior, what will we do with it today? Will we allow it to temper our rock-hard hearts?  Will we share the message despite our timid personality? Will we work as though the seed (the Word/our God) was blown away Monday through Saturday and go looking for it again next Sunday?

Before we think this parable was placed in our Bibles only to reason the hatred and sin of unbelievers, I suggest we place it at the heart of our daily walk. What kind of soil will you be today? 

Kenton Carlson

Day 10

Mark 3:20-35

“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mark 3:24-25 ESV).

Although these verses illustrate the illogic of Satan acting against himself and how a house or kingdom divided cannot stand, it’s a wise caution for us as individuals as well.

The world constantly pulls us in one direction while God seeks to pull us in another. Sin versus righteousness. Yet how often do we want a little of both? Surely God won’t begrudge me a little taste of this sin over here as long as I practice some righteousness over there, will he?

Sometimes I am like a dog who chases a ball and sees a squirrel. I freeze, torn. Should I keep my eyes on the ball or go after the squirrel? I am double-minded, uncertain.

James warns against being double-minded: “he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”(1:8) And, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy with God.” (4:4). Revelation 3:15-18 further warns against being double-minded: “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

To pause can be good when tempted by the squirrel (the world), however. As long as we don’t pause too long. That moment can remind us that the ball (God) is safer. Unlike the squirrel, it doesn’t bite or scratch, and there’s no potential for rabies.

God’s ways may not always be as exciting, but they are eternally safer.

Andra Marquardt

Day 9

Read Mark 3:13-19

  1. What did it mean to be called by Jesus in Bible times?
  • What does it mean to be called by Jesus now?
  • What does it mean to “go into the world” to share the good news under the authority and power of Jesus (see also Matthew 28:16-20)? What might similar work in our own strength look like?
  • Who is in your “world?” 
    Pray: Heavenly Father, I pray for _________ (fill in the blank with the name of someone who comes to mind) today. I pray that he/she would grow in the grace and knowledge of you, for your glory. Use me to point him/her to the cross and to your word. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Amanda Rue

Day 8

Read Mark 3:1-12

“Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.” (Mark 3:1 NLT)

This is from the portion of Jesus’s story where the Pharisees are trying to catch Him doing something terrible, like doing good on the Sabbath. While teaching the Pharisees a lesson, Jesus goes on to heal this man’s hand. What I love about this story is that Jesus did not ask this man first if he believed Jesus to be the Messiah, or who he believed Jesus was. His faith, or even lack of, wasn’t discussed. Jesus healed this man on the Sabbath because it was right.

In many of the stories we have of Jesus, He healed people first and they believed second. Sometimes as Christians, we wait for people to walk through the church doors before we take care of them or show them Jesus’ love. However, for some, they need to be loved first in order to believe second. If you see some good that needs to be done, even on the Sabbath, Jesus modeled what to do — love others, whether they are fellow believers or not.

Bethany Whitworth

Day 7

Read Mark 2:18-28

“And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’” (Mark 2:27 ESV).

It’s easy to get caught up in the letter of the law. I sometimes think that I need to do all the things, to abide by all the laws. After all, we have the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions. As a land surveyor, I am supposed to know all the rules and regulations of the state, and various counties and municipalities with regard to property. I love math which has set, concrete rules that can’t be violated without consequences. As such, I understand the importance of following the law in my spiritual life as well as my physical life. When I fail (inevitably), I mentally flagellate myself for not doing better. For not being better.

But am I missing the point?

The Pharisees did. By making sure they and everyone else followed the letter of the law, they forgot the spirit of the law.

Exodus 20:8-10a says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” (ESV)

The point of the Sabbath is to keep it holy. Not working is supposed to be an expression of that holiness. One can keep the Sabbath holy while still doing what’s necessary, just as the disciples did. They worked alongside Jesus, God in the flesh. What could be more holy than that?

The same goes for the rest of us. We must be ever mindful to avoid the trap of focusing on the letter of the law. It often ends up at the expense of both the intent and spirit of the law, and we lose sight of God’s grace.

Andra Marquardt

Day 6

Day 6 – Read Mark 2:13-17

“He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he rose and followed him.” (Mark 2:13-14 ESV)

I wonder what I would do if Jesus, a man who I had never seen before, came up to me and said, “Follow me.” Would I be like Levi, and drop everything without any consideration of family or work obligations? To trust a stranger so completely? Sure, I claim to follow Jesus now without never having seen his face, but He also didn’t ask me to give up my livelihood or my family to do it.

At least not yet.

Truth is, I don’t identify with Levi or the other disciples as much as the many others in the gospels who declined Jesus’s offer. Had I lived back then, and 

if I were the same person then as I am now, I would weigh the pros and cons 

of following Him, and in the end the worldly cons might outweigh the spiritual pros.

For now, the worldly cons are not as scary as in Jesus’s time or in other parts of the world. I live in a country where following Jesus isn’t a life or death decision. I don’t have to sacrifice anything to do it—other than some pride now and then (and that’s hard enough, thank you very much).

I hope if that ever changes, and Jesus asks me to follow Him without hesitation or qualification—and knowing the consequences could be dire—I will be like Levi: a sinner who understands the spiritual pros far, far outweigh anything this world can offer.

Andra Marquardt

Day 5

Day 5 – Read Mark 2:1-12

As I sit here, imagining what this scene must have looked like I find myself mulling over the places of each character and their roles in this story.

Jesus is in a house and speaking to a large crowd of people. He is speaking truth into their lives in a way that they had not encountered before, and it enraptured them. Are we enraptured with the truth of Christ even yet today?

As the friends of this man were trying to get in, the crowd, hearing the Gospel from the very mouth of Christ, was apparently unmoved by the needs of the man on the stretcher.  Do we notice the needs of those around us as we gather to “do church?”

Finally, the most powerful part of this story for me came in Jesus’s interaction with the religious leaders. When I considered his response to those who rebuked him for reaching out to this man with the gift of forgiveness, I realized perhaps for the first time, that this wasn’t a “gotcha” moment. He was not trying to “shove it” to the religious leaders. Rather, it may have been an olive branch to those of us who struggle with faith. Some of us have a continuous mental dialog of doubt and uncertainty. People like me who don’t want to be taken in by the newest false teacher, approach anything new and exciting with skepticism. Rather than responding in anger, Jesus chose to offer proof of his message. Through this act of grace and compassion, the entire community is brought closer to the Father: the person whose needs were all encompassing, the four hopeful men who made a huge effort for their friend, and also the skeptical, lifelong religious people like myself who needed just a little extra help with their faith. 

Willow Hall, in collaboration with Amanda Rue

Day 4

Day 4 – Read Mark 1: 40 – 45

God asks a lot from his people. When I read that Jesus told the leper to “Say nothing to anyone” after he was healed, my first thought was — well, that’s never going to happen. I cannot keep a secret.  I tell all of my friends – don’t tell me secrets, please! I try, but often I fail. Personally, I would have blasted my healing out on Facebook, texted all of my friends and relatives, and possibly put an ad in the Tribune. Who can keep news like that to themselves? Just take a moment to think.  Leprosy isn’t all that prevalent in this age, but if Jesus had touched me and removed all wrinkles and age spots — I wouldn’t have been able to keep that quiet, either.

Following the leper’s big reveal, Jesus has to live the life of a celebrity – hiding from people, no longer able to move about freely.  That was an unfortunate byproduct of a public, splashy, no nonsense miracle. I wonder if, even though the celebrity was unwelcome, the knowledge of His divinity was a secret that had to come out.  It was time for people to begin to think of Him as the Son of God.  By performing this miracle, Jesus is aligning himself with His Father’s house.  He was letting people begin to think that He was the Son of God they had been waiting for.

God does ask a lot of his people. Keeping secrets will never be one of my virtues.

Diane Dyk