Devotional: Mark 16:16

Jesus describes two groups of people, and he gives each assurance of the end they can expect for their current course of life.

Jesus has commissioned his disciples to go into all the world, preaching the gospel. Those who believe the good news of Jesus Christ and publicly profess their faith are given assurance of their salvation.

This was not a new revelation, because Jesus had been affirming the same truth throughout his ministry. He had already declared “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15), and “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (3:36), and “he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life” (5:24).

Likewise, Jesus had emphasized the seriousness of persistently rejecting his message, saying, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18), also “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (3:36), and “if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (8:24).

However, the astute observer may notice that there is another group whom Jesus seems to leave unaddressed in Mark 16:16 — those who believe but are not baptized. What of the “secret” believer, who joyfully receives the gospel but never publicly follows Christ?

It seems Jesus purposefully leaves them wondering what their end will be, and perhaps that is the way we should leave them as well.

What about you? Does Jesus’ description of those who will be saved describe you?

Spiritual Disciplines for the New Year 2023

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YOUVERSIONSeeking God every day.
POSTED ON2022-12-26
Spiritual disciplines for the New Year

The start of a new year brings so many possibilities, which makes it the perfect time to focus on developing spiritual disciplines.

If you’re hoping to make 2023 a year for intentional connection with God, check out these 4 tips to build Bible habits that stick:

Make it accessible
Stay connected to Scripture by making sure YouVersion is installed on all of your devices. That way, wherever you go, God’s Word goes with you.

Tip: Have kids? Make sure you install Bible App for Kids, the free app designed to help children fall in love with God’s Word.

Make it stick
The easiest way to create a new habit is by linking it to something you already do consistently. If the first thing you do in the morning is reach for your phone, try reflecting on YouVersion’s Verse of the Day.

Tip: Make YouVersion the first app you see, and get instant access to the Verse of the Day, by enabling the Verse of the Day widget on your phone. Learn how to enable widgets here.

Make it automatic
The best way to build a habit is just to start. And as you get started, don’t focus on the amount of time you’re reading or listening to Scripture, just focus on doing it regularly.

Once you complete two days in a row, go for three. Once you complete three days, try for five, and keep going until you’ve built a Bible streak.

Tip: Keep up your momentum by viewing your Bible streak on your YouVersion Home Feed. You can also set up Plan, Prayer, and Verse of the Day Reminders here.

Make it a place for community
You’re more likely to keep studying your Bible if you do it alongside someone who cares about your spiritual growth.

Plans with Friends offers a simple, easy way to make sure you continue building your Bible study habit.

There are thousands of Plans in YouVersion, so simply pick a Plan that interests you, and start it with Friends. At the end of each Plan day, you’ll be given a space to chat with your Friends about what you learned.

Tip: You can do a Plan with anybody! Simply share a Plan link on social media, or share a Plan with someone within the app. Get started by choosing a Plan, and follow the prompts to invite Friends to join you.

Making the Bible a part of your everyday life doesn’t have to be daunting—and thankfully, we don’t have to do it alone.

God loves to come alongside us to encourage and empower us by renewing and transforming our minds. He reveals Himself to anyone searching for Him.

The more you build your habits, the easier it becomes to recognize God’s voice and understand what His will truly is.

As you commit to studying Scripture regularly, remember that the God who created you can also enable you to break through the resistance that holds you back, so that you can consistently engage with His living and active Word.

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