Mark 6:6-13, 30-44

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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How fun it is to see this part of You, Jesus! So often You do the unexpected and bring about the unimaginable.

After You’d sent the twelve out to preach “with joyful urgency that life can be different,” (6:12 MSG), You gathered them together.  You listened to what they’d been doing, where they’d been, what they’d said, and so on.  Then, You decided to take them on a retreat, away from all the folks You’d sent them to serve, “to a quiet place and get some rest” (6:31 NIV).

Yet those plans for a retreat were changed.  People saw You and the guys leaving.  Their hungry hearts, minds and bodies fervently sought You out.  They ran from everywhere to be where You were headed when You arrived.  Then, Mark wrote of Your reaction, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (6:34 NIV).  Another version says “… At the sight of them, His heart broke — like sheep with no shepherd they were.  He went right to work teaching them” (6:34 MSG).

Somewhere along the way, the disciples came to You to point out how late it was, that it was nearly time for the evening meal and that location was pretty far from any place to purchase food.  Here’s when You did what they hadn’t fathomed!  You responded to them with, “You give them something to eat.”

Oh boy!  THAT threw those boys into shock.  They instantly calculated the cost to purchase all that food and nearly dropped their jaws at what they heard You asking them to do.  Of course, THEY were only thinking in the “natural” — they forgot Who they were with.  It must have slipped their mind that they had recently witnessed Your power over the winds and waves.  In addition, they’d learned that You are Lord over demons, disease and death.  Surely, You are also Lord over dinner!   😉

You asked them what they had, then You began with that to show what Your power could do with it.  You took a small lunch and stretched it to feed a crowd.  Plus, some food was left over!

You ask me the same question really: “[What] do you have?”  You take my little and make it a lot.  You ask for what I have, calling me to give it to You.  Then, You bless it, and hand it back to me in order to share it with others.  Here I am, Lord.  Take what “lunch” I have.  Use me to touch the world in which You’ve placed me, as You continue to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Mark 6:1-6

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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“…On the Sabbath, He gave a lecture in the meeting place.  He made a real hit, impressing everyone … But in the next breath they were cutting Him down … They tripped over what little they knew about Him and fell, sprawling.  And they never got any further … Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there … He couldn’t get over their stubbornness…” (6:2, 3, 5, 6 MSG)

You are all-powerful, Lord Jesus.  Yet it tells me here that my stubbornness can get in the way of the wondrous things You’d like to do in my life.  If there are times when I allow my own logic, human reasoning, and practical thinking to be my guide, then my faith takes a back seat, and I’m no longer trusting in You.  Hmmm … reminds me of the words You had the writer of Proverbs pen:  “Trust the Lord with all your heart and LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct Your paths.” (Prov 3:5-6)

Help me, Father, to remain attentive to You, to not lean on what I know, but to trust in what You know, do and desire.  Keep on making me like Jesus, guiding me in His footsteps.  Amen.

Mark 5

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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In this passage, Lord Jesus, Your power is revealed once again.  You are Lord over demons, disease, and death.  There is none like You.  You are Sovereign and in total control.

The demons recognized You and trembled at Your authority and power.  They feared You: “What do You want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  Swear to God that You won’t torture me!” (v 7 NIV)  They submitted to You: “And he begged Jesus … The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them” (v 10, 12 NIV).  They waited for You to give them permission then made their move.  Even the man who’d been possessed and the people who witnessed and heard of his newfound freedom were in awe and afraid.  Something so out of their control turns out to be something over which You have total control — that could be spooky for those who didn’t yet really know You.

Two people recognized Your power over disease and sought You out.  Later, one of those learned the greater extent of Your power.  A woman who’d been sick for such a long time had lost a lot of her money on medical care that didn’t even help her.  She heard about You, Jesus, and just knew and believed that a simple touch would heal her.  She recognized that You had total control over disease.  When You noticed the power that had gone out from You, You persistently sought the one who believed in that power.  When You discovered her, You affirmed her strong faith, assured her of her healing, and blessed her with peace and freedom.

Distressed by the terminal condition of his daughter, a father recognized that You held the power to save her.  He sought You out and pleaded for Your help.  He was looking for healing, hoping You’d spare her from death.  But, He got to see Your power over death as he learned to trust You even more than he had at the start.

Oh, Jesus, there is nothing in this life that I will face which cannot be handled by You.  Continue to increase my faith in You, so that I am assured and unshaken by the woes of this life.  As Amy Carmichael once said, “Of what account is anything if my King knows?”  Thanks for letting me know You — Continue to make me just like Jesus.  Amen.

Mark 4:35-41 – What You Don’t Know . . .

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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[This devotion was originally written for the program booklet for the 1999 Jr. High Connection held in Effingham, IL.  The theme was “The Storm”  Unlike yesterday’s post, this one has not been edited to fit the devo-prayer style of first-person prayer.  Instead, its original format has been retained … So, yes, you might want to imagine you’re in jr. high as you read it.  🙂 ]

What You Don’t Know . . .

It’s the first day of your fall break.  Your parents have let you sleep in.  When you finally wake up, you crawl out of bed, feel your way out the door, to the bathroom, then out toward the kitchen.  By this time, your dad has already left for work and your mom is gone running errands.  As you pass the doorway to the family room, a large “something” catches your eye.  You turn to investigate.

Your jaw drops to your knees!  There in the middle of the room is a new mountain bike bearing a card with YOUR name on it.  But it’s not your birthday for several months yet, and it’s not Christmas time either.  You’re thoroughly curious, so you open the card.  In your mom’s handwriting you read, “We just wanted you to have something special to enjoy on your break—just because we love you.  Have a great time … and be careful!  Love, Mom & Dad” Wow!

You hurry to get dressed, grab your helmet, and head out to ride your gift.  As you leave your driveway, you’re SO excited!  You spend all morning traveling around your neighborhood and connecting roads.  There are lots of hilly places where you live.  Many of those are tough areas for riding.  Sometimes you have to stop and rest, even push your bike up a few.  The pedaling is demanding!  But nothing is going to stop you from having fun with your gift today!

At one point you’re going along a road that’s in the direction of your house.  You can sort of see the tree line near it.  Soon you hear sirens.  They’re coming from behind you, getting louder and closer quickly.  You pull off the road just in time to feel the “whoosh!” of wind from a fire truck.  Before you can get back on the road, a second one comes by, then another emergency vehicle, and then a police car flies by you too.  You get back onto the road to follow their route.  As you near your neighborhood, you can see big black clouds of smoke.  They appear to be right where your house stands!

With your mind racing now, imagining all sorts of possibilities, and your heart pounding, fearing even more that could be happening, you strain every muscle to get home.  This route however has a particularly long hill that becomes more and more difficult the further you go.  You’re growing more afraid that your family’s home is going to be a heap of ashes soon.  Your worry is turning into anger.  You’re becoming upset that your parents aren’t around to take care of stuff.  Your body aches from the strain of pedaling to get there.  You let out a yell and keep on pedaling.

Read the Book:            Mark 4:35-41

Boat in a storm?  Bicycle in a hilly hurry with a crisis on the horizon?  ‘Sounds a bit similar … Keep in mind what was going on with Jesus and His disciples as we return to your story:

You’re almost to your block when, around the corner comes your dad.  You can tell he’s hurrying to get home.  He waves and yells out the car window, “See you at the house!”  You finally get to your block, and now you can see it.  The fire is at your neighbor’s house, two houses over. (Whew!)  You’d breathe easier now if it hadn’t been for the harsh ride back.  You learn from your dad that your mom had returned home, had seen the other house burning, and had called him to come home in case it spread and would endanger your house.

When your dad had come up to you, he could tell that you’re close to being exhausted.  He asks how you like the bike.  You actually remember to thank him for it, then tell him how hard the ride had been, especially the hills.  Plus, you let him know about being afraid that your house was engulfed in flames.  He takes a look at your bike, examining the back wheel and the pedal sprocket area.  He asks, “Didn’t you shift gears?”  You look at him with a big question mark all over your face, “Shift gears?”  He says, “This is a twenty-one-speed bike.  You could’ve shifted to a different gear, so that your pedaling would’ve been easier on those hills.”

At this point, you’re feeling really, really silly.  You had a crisis and a challenge that you worried over, struggled with and wore yourself out through.  Yet, there all the time, you had the power or means to handle it differently.  You just didn’t know your bike well enough and the crisis brought you to a point of panic.

Remember the boat? … in the storm?  The disciples in that boat freaked out because they feared the storm would destroy them and the boat.  Even though they were familiar with Jesus and He was with them, they underestimated Him.  They’d seen Him do a lot of powerful acts, but they didn’t recognize that His power applied to their own situation.

How well do YOU know Jesus?  Have you just been riding along, content with the little you know of Him, and only focused on having fun, doing whatever you want to do, getting through life?  At some point in your life (maybe more than once), you’ll face a crisis or “storm.”  Storms come in all sorts of forms.  Think about the storms in your life—the stuff that causes you the most worry, fear, concern.  Whatever you face, you have two choices: 1) You can worry, assume Jesus no longer cares, and try to cope with whatever means you know how to use; or 2) You can resist fear, confess your need for Him, and put your trust in His ability to care for you.  What will YOU do?

(c)1999 Kat Kreations   Jr. High Connection ‘99   Saturday Night Devo

Mark 4:35-41 – Trust No One Else

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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[This devotion was originally written for the program booklet for the 1999 Jr. High Connection held in Effingham, IL.  The theme was “The Storm.” This will help you figure out why it sounds like part of it is addressed to a jr. high student. :-)]

Trust No One Else

Just like any other day, you leave home, get to school, and head to your locker, or the place where you keep your stuff.  You get ready and go to your first class, talking to your friends along the way.  When you reach your classroom, that’s when the day takes a turn toward the out-of-the-ordinary.

There’s a new teacher and, for a change, your first impression is a good one.  He’s fun (the first item on your checklist) and he’s real.  With each school day, you can tell the guy knows what he’s talking about, that he honestly likes being there every day, and that he really cares about each student, including you.  When you’ve not understood something, you’ve been able to ask this teacher. You’ve experienced his spending time helping you get it straight in your head.  You’ve grown to know him and trust him to do his job well, to be there for you and for the entire class.

One day in class, you’re working on a difficult exam, and your teacher has stepped outside the door for a short time.  You thought you had studied, but you can’t believe how hard it is!  In addition, the grade on this test is worth more than any other has been, and will be a major part in determining your grade for the semester (and you actually care about all that).  Plus, you woke up with a killer headache, your allergies are driving you crazy, and the annoying kid in the back row is throwing Skittles at the back of your head, chanting “loser” remarks at you.  AAA!  It’s too much!  It’s too much!!  Where’s the teacher?!  WHY isn’t he doing something?!  Why isn’t he there?  Doesn’t he care?!!

Read the book:            Mark 4:35-41

These disciples had been following You, Jesus, for less than a year.  They’d seen You show Your power over evil spirits, sickness, and disease.  They’d witnessed You came across with such great authority, and how that ticked off the religious leaders who thought they were in charge.  These disciples in the boat mentioned in this passage had been given special authority too and a special task of preaching Your truth.  They heard You teach powerful lessons that You helped them understand.  They knew You, Jesus, but when the storms came upon them, they freaked out.  The big test question they faced was, “Do we really trust Jesus to save us?”

That’s the same question before me on my own faith journey.  No matter what elements make up the “storm” I might be facing in any season of life, the main question for me to honestly answer is “Do I trust Jesus to save me?”  For some “storm” types, this might be the first time I’ve needed to face that question.  Or, it might be a repeat situation and/or challenge to deepen me faith in You.

Whatever my circumstances are, I can picture myself in that boat with the disciples, as the waves and the winds beat against it.  I need a Savior.  You’ve been right there all the time.  You have the power to handle the storms of my life — whether You calm the storm or calm me in the midst of it.  Do I trust You, Jesus?  Will I trust You to save me?

(c)1999 Kat Kreations   Jr. High Connection ‘99   Friday Night Devo

Mark 4:30-32

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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FAITHFUL FARMER – Issue 1 Vol 1, Article 3

“Small Commencement Brings Huge Results”

In the movie called “Simon Birch,” a young boy, who is extra little for his age, grows up with a firm belief that God has a purpose for his life, believing he’s been called to be a hero.  Indeed, a tragic incident occurs and it is Simon who ultimately helps several lives to be saved.  He was able to do so BECAUSE he was so small.  Although he was born just a tiny little boy, he grew to have a huge heart and to make an immense impact on several other lives.

You spoke in this passage of a mustard seed, Lord.  One of the smallest seeds in nature, when planted it can become a big treelike shrub.  (Some have even been found to be about ten feet high.)*  You likened this seed’s beginnings and results to Your kingdom.  In this portion of Your life on earth, Jesus, You were just beginning Your ministry here.  You began, with twelve ordinary men, what would grow to be Your expansive Church that it is today around the globe.  Thank You for drawing me in to be part of this growth from such a small commencement.  Keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

* Walter W. Wessel, Mark, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Zondervan, p. 653.

Mark 4:26-29

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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FAITHFUL FARMER – Issue 1 Vol. 1, Article 2

“Seed Cultivation Brings a Harvest Realized”

Father, thanks for the word pictures You use to offer understanding of Your kingdom, Your will, and Your own nature.  Thank You for even the privilege of being able and allowed to know You personally — all because of Jesus’ death on the cross, which opened the way to You.  (Heb 10:19-22; Mark 15:38)

In this passage, You tell of a farmer who goes out to sow seed.  The most he can do is sow it and possibly try to keep pests away.  Once sown into the ground, the rest is up to You.  Making it grow is Your department.  You supply the sunlight, the rain, the genetic make-up of the seed, the nutrients in the soil.  The growth of a seed is primarily slow, certain, and continual, with You as the Source of it’s power and design to grow.  The farmer can only wait in faith for You to ripen the seed for harvest.

You have used many “farmers” in my lifetime to “sow seeds” in the soil of my heart.  My Sunday School and VBS teachers as a child and teen regularly sowed Your Word.  Various other extended family members, adults, and peers in my early years sowed the seeds which produced fruit in interpersonal relationships.  Others sowed the seeds from which vocational interests grew … and on and on.  The seeds were sown and You’ve been the one to tend them and grow them, so that a harvest can be realized.

In taking a different perspective, I can look back over the years of my journey with You and see ways You’ve used me to sow seeds into the lives of others.  You placed me into Bible-teaching roles even as a young teen who’d recently accepted You as Lord and Savior.  You drew me, sent me, and sustained me through Bible college, giving connections with row after row of lives in the fields of Your kingdom.  Beyond college, You have done the same, expanding further with each passing season.

All this sowing — both in me and by me — is something huge to consider.  Yet, there’s that little fact You convey in this parable: My role is to sow it; Your role is to grow it.  You are the life source, the life force, setting each life’s course, as You bring about that slow, certain, continual growth in each person.

Thank You for what’s been sown in me.  Grow it into a reflection of Jesus.  Amen.

(This issue of “Faithful Farmer” wraps up this series on Kingdom Seeds next with “Small Commencement Brings Huge Results.”)

Mark 4:1-20

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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My sister has worked for two different printing companies, handling several different magazines.  One of the periodicals for which she used to manage the press plate set up was called “Progressive Farmer.”  Suppose this passage in Mark’s fourth chapter had its own version of a magazine.  Let’s call it “Faithful Farmer,” and this issue would include the first of three devo-prayer “articles” in a series called the Kingdom Seeds:

FAITHFUL FARMER – Issue 1 Vol. 1, Article 1

Soil Condition Brings a Heart Ripened

When You were telling this parable of the sower to Your audience back then, Lord, they had no clue what a John Deere was, let alone any kind of implement that’s pulled behind such a machine.  Maybe they could picture a John Oxen 😉 or something, but a lot of the farm planting would’ve been done with a simple sack of grain hung on a shoulder and flung by hand to the soil all around.  Since the farmer had no control over where it landed, he’d sow generously all around, hoping for seed to fall where it could grow best.

You described four kinds of soil.  I’ve often heard this considered to be describing four different kinds of people.  But, what if it’s also portraying four different kinds of areas in my heart?  Perhaps in one area I have good soil, but in another area it’s pretty thorny.  Then, some of Your Word that You’ve sown in my heart by various means would grow and flourish, while other bits would be growing but getting choked out.  Some parts of my heart may receive the seed of Your Word quickly, but the rocky soil doesn’t let it take root and it falls away.  Or, parts of my heart may be like a path, with the seed just sitting there doing nothing, nothing being done with, and along comes the enemy to snatch it away.

But I want all the soil of my heart to be good soil.  To use the words of the psalmists as my own prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Ps 139:23-24 NLT).  “Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps 51:10 NLT)  “… give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.  I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart…” (Ps 86:11-12 NIV).

You alone, my Creator and Sustainer, can change the condition of my heart.  Check all the areas of soil and make them good … like You said You’d do in Your people long ago when they sought You:  “And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them.  I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts instead, so they will obey My laws and regulations.  Then they will truly be My people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20 NLT).  “And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.  And I will put My Spirit in you so you will obey My laws and do whatever I command” (Ezek 36:26-27 NLT).

Do that in me, Lord.  Make it ALL good as You keep shaping me to be just like Jesus!  Amen.

(Later in this series of Kingdom Seeds in “Faithful Farmer,” find thoughts on “Seed Cultivation Brings a Harvest Realized” and “Small Commencement Brings Huge Results.”)

Mark 3

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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“…Some days are just like that…even in Australia.”  That’s how that fun little book “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No-Good Really Bad Day” ends.  All day long Alexander faces frustrations and challenges, while continually wishing he could move to Australia to get away from it all.  By the end of the day, he learns to accept that some days are just like that no matter where one lives.

Lord, from this chapter, it looks like even You faced some challenging and frustrating days, when lots of little challenges kept coming at You.  Thank You for living out what You call me to live when it comes to getting along with others.

In this third chapter, Mark starts out describing another Sabbath’s day encounter with some Pharisees.  They were actually hanging around, “looking for a reason to accuse” You (v 2).  You gave them a chance to speak up regarding Your healing people on the Sabbath; but they kept silent.  Mark described your response as You “looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts… “ (v 5 NIV).  You understand the times I face the “same ol’ same ol’ ” oppositions again and again, don’t You?

The next thing Mark records is when You drew away with Your disciples to the lake and a large crowd followed.  He wrote, “Because of the crowd He told His disciples to have a small boat ready for Him, to keep the people from crowding Him” (v 9 NIV).  So many were seeking healing from You that they “were pushing forward to touch” You (v 10).  You know what it’s like to face many demands all at once.

You finally got to get away with Your disciples, though You had to find a mountainside to do it (v 13).  You spent time with the ones close to You; that was essential for them.  You appointed, commissioned, and empowered them.  Sure, You ministered to the public, but You also took time to focus on Your companions — right in the midst of a busy frustrating time!

Verse 20 says, “Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that He and His disciples were not even able to eat” (v 20 NIV).  So much to do, so many lives to touch, so little time (and in Your case then, so little space! Yet You kept going, Jesus — How did You do that?  Is it that You knew exactly why You were here on earth and You just did that everywhere You were, as You went?  Please ingrain in me, like an embedded compass, that purpose You’ve given me, that reason You created me as I am, where I am, when I am (in the human time line), so that I might face the frustrations and challenges that come in any given day as opportunities to see YOU make a way to accomplish Your purpose through me.

Throughout Your entire ministry here on earth, You faced challenges and cheers; You were reviled and respected, loathed and loved … Still the bottom line is this: You came because You love us all.  You came to die for us all.  You desire for all of us to be with You for eternity.  The bottom line for me is this: I chose to accept Your loving sacrifice for my sin; therefore, I follow in Your footsteps.

It’s not a matter of pondering “What would Jesus do?”  It’s the reality of looking at what You did and doing that!  (Like the slogan for a new youth small group curriculum: “HCYAWJWDIYDKWHD?” or “How Can You Ask What Jesus Would Do If You Don’t Know What He Did?”)  So, help me do what You did, Jesus — I wanna be just like You!  Amen.

Mark 2

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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After being raised with so many prophesies about the coming Messiah, the people expected an earthly king to come set up a new empire, take over their rulers, and redeem the land.  They couldn’t see past the bounds of this visible creation around them … except a few!

There were those who saw with new eyes the One who had come to save, to bless, to reign.  That was You, Jesus!  While those so bound by all they had known couldn’t see who You longed to be to them, there were others who saw You and believed.  Those followers knew and freely acknowledged Your AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE, Your POWER TO HEAL, Your DESIRE TO SAVE, Your INTENT TO CHANGE, and Your SOVEREIGNTY TO REIGN.

AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE (v 1-12)

“…that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” (v 10 NIV)

Thank You for offering forgiveness when I deserve none, for extending grace when wrath should be my portion.  Thank You for You mercy that You renew with each new day.

POWER TO HEAL/DESIRE TO SAVE (v 13-17)

“…Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do.  I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.” (v 17 NLT)

Here I am!  Right here!  Yes, me, the sinner sitting here.  I’ll gladly accept Your healing, especially the kind that heals the wounds and scars caused by my sin.

INTENT TO CHANGE (v 18-22)

“…new wine needs new wineskins.” (v 22 NLT)

When You step into a life, into a circumstance, into a culture, there’s no doubt that something new and better will follow close behind.  You take every little detail of my life and weave it into that which is the very best for me.  Here’s my heart … Renew, renew, renew it, Lord!

SOVEREIGNTY TO REIGN (v 23-28)

“The Sabbath was made to benefit people, and not people to benefit the Sabbath.  And I, the Son of Man, am master even of the Sabbath!” (vv 27-28 NLT)

Your aim in establishing a Sabbath was to guide Your people into a regular time of rest and worship.  Your intention incorporated the opportunity for our bodies and spirits to be rested, refreshed, and renewed.  Your focus wasn’t on all the “don’t do’s” (like the Pharisees and such), but rather on the “do do’s,” like resting in You, being still and acknowledging You as God of all, worshipping You … simply for who You are, regardless of the wondrous things You do.

Thanks for calling me to follow You, Lord.  Thanks for extending Your hand, so I can hold it as we stroll along.  I’m with You.  I know You know the best route, so I choose to follow You, merciful Healer, mighty Savior, Sovereign King!  May my heart be moldable so You can form me into the likeness of You.  Amen.

Mark 1

Show me Jesus, Father, and show others the Jesus in me.

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A COUSIN TO FORETELL (v 1-8)

“It is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘I will send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way'” (1:2 NIV)

You let me know, Lord, in Luke’s gospel that Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, and Mary, mother of Jesus, were relatives (Luke 1:36).  And here in Mark’s gospel, You reveal the plan You had for using John to prepare the way for his cousin Jesus’ ministry.

A COMMENT TO FORTHTELL (V 9-13)

“And a voice came from heave: ‘You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.'” (1:11 NIV)

There’s a proud Father proclaiming His love, affirmation, and approval of His child to all who can hear … You have told me elsewhere in Your Word that I’m Your child too now, because I’ve believed in Your Son.  (Jn 1:12-13; 1 Jn 3:1)  Thank You for Your love and Your affirmation.

A CALL TO FOLLOW (V 14-20)

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come with me.  I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you.  I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.'” (1:17 MSG)

You called out to a handful of men to leave behind everything they’ve known and go with You.  They did it “at once.”  Dropping their belongings, leaving their father, their lives, they set out to follow You down any road, at any cost.

A COMMAND TO FLEE  (V 21-28)

“‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly.  ‘Come out of him!'”  (1:25 NIV)

You spoke, Jesus, and demons jumped.  They recognized You and Your authority and power.

That’s how it goes with the Lord of the universe, the Creator of all things, the God of all creation — whether fallen or forgiven.  It’s YOU who are in charge and by Your power all things live, move, exist, hold together, etc.

(Interesting though, how those You called back then, heard Your call and followed at once.  Plus, those demons heard Your command and obeyed right then.  What happens today?  When we hear Your call to follow or a command to do, do we “at once” follow or do?  Hmmmm.   Was there a difference in actually hearing You say it from “hearing” You today by reading it?)

A CLASP TO FIX  ( v 29-34)

“So He went to her, took her hand and helped her up.  The fever left her and she began to wait on them.” (1:31)

Here, Jesus, You showed me Your power over sickness and Your compassion for the sick.   With just a touch, as You clasped this woman’s hand, You fixed her body, healing her condition.

A CHANCE TO FELLOWSHIP (v 35-39)

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” (1:35 NIV)

Whenever You found the opportunity, You stole away to be alone with Your Father.  You found a place in which You could converse with the One who sent You here to die for me and everyone else.  Throughout Your ministry, there are moments like these recorded in which You took the time to spend alone with Your Father.  Thank You for Your example.

A CHOICE TO FREE (v 40-45)

“Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.  ‘I am willing,’ He said. ‘Be clean!’” (1:41)

A man recognized that You held the power to free him from a life of disease and rejection.  He sought You out and laid the choice before You.  You chose to heal him, to free him, to cleanse him.  What joy You brought to his life!  What restoration — not just to his body, but because You healed and cleansed him, he could return to live with his family!!

What a picture You’ve drawn through Mark’s pen as he began his story of Your life here on earth, Jesus:

Your arrival was anticipated.

Your Sonship was affirmed.

You call was answered.

Your authority was respected.

Your power was revealed.

Your relationship with Your Father was manifested.

Your compassion was confirmed.

Thank You for opening my eyes to see You!  Continually open my heart to allow the You I see to be alive and reflected in and through me, as You make me just like You.  Amen.