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January 16, 2019, 11:39 AM

A Desolate Place



Mark 1:35

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Jesus, the Son of God, awoke early in the morning to spend time with his Father. Jesus was not talking to himself. He was communicating with God the Father whom Jesus has known in perfect loving, joyful co-existence and fellowship for all eternity.  Jesus desired to be alone with his Father in a remote place away from people and distractions. He sought to be in the presence of the One he as always known to talk and commune together.

  • If you know Jesus as your Redeemer and Lord, you too will desire to spend time with alone with God your Father.
  • When is your optimal time to spend time alone with God?  Have you made this your regularly scheduled appointment?
  • Where is your isolated, remote spot?  A quiet room void of distractions and electronic devices?  A closet?  A place outdoors?
  • What is your plan?  You do need a plan. Anytime two people meet together, they have a plan or agenda to discuss. When meeting with God, you need a plan. Where in the Bible will you be reading, studying, reflecting?  What will you talk about?  Who will you pray for?

May the Psalmist’s prayer be your heart’s desire; One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”  Psalm 27:4




January 14, 2019, 10:00 AM

Late Night Ministry



Mark 1:29-34

And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the preceding verses, 21-28, Jesus cast out a demon in the synagogue. And as soon as this was made known to others, Jesus became known and his popularity spread to the neighboring regions of Galilee. Suddenly, Jesus is a celebrity.

After the service, Jesus went to the home of his new disciples where he learned that Simon Peter's mother-in-law was ill. And we see that Jesus has compassion for her and heals her; after Peter's mother-in-law gets up, she prepares dinner for everyone.

Jesus and his disciples likely did not recline and rest for very long. By evening, the entire town had gathered at the front door. Folks brought any who were sick or demon oppressed. And how did Jesus respond? We're told that Jesus healed many. And when Jesus drove out demons, he wouldn't allow the demons to speak. Why? Because the demons knew perfectly well who Jesus was. They feared him because they knew Jesus could destroy them at any time. The appearance of Jesus - God who became a man - was both a declaration of war on Satan's domain of darkness and an assault upon the devil's power grip. Moreover, Jesus wanted people to get recognition and praise from people, not demons.

  • Reread and reflect on this passage. 
  • Note how Jesus cared and treated people.
  • Praise Jesus for who He is - the Son of God, the Son of Man - who came to destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:8 says: "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil."

 

 




January 9, 2019, 6:00 AM

Jesus calls men to be His disciples



Mark 1:16-20

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. 

Extraordinary. Jesus sees two fishermen casting a net into the sea and calls them to follow him. Consider what Jesus is asking these two brothers to do. "Leave your vocation. Leave what you know. Abandon the familiar. Walk away from the security of what you have been doing."  Does Jesus offer something that would be financially rewarding? Did Jesus promise them an easy life with fame and prestige?  Nope, not at all.  Jesus simply tells them to be his followers. To go where Jesus goes. To become his learners. And Jesus tells them that they will become fishers of something bigger and greater than fish; they would become fishers (catchers) of men.

And what did these two brothers do?  Did they discuss it together firstt?  Or did they ask Jesus about conditions and guarantees?

No. We're told that IMMEDIATELY they abandoned their nets and followed Jesus. Same thing happened with the two sons of Zebedee. Jesus called James and John to follow him. And they got out of the boat to join Jesus, while their father and hired men watched.

God is a calling God. Jesus comes and says, "Follow me."  "Leave behind the familiar and normal." "I'm going to lead you away from your comfortable life of convenience into the unknown where you will trust me for everything." "And you'll be catching men for me!"

  • Have you responded in faith to Jesus' invitation to follow him?
  • What have you abandoned for the sake of knowing and following Jesus?



January 7, 2019, 2:00 PM

Jesus' ministry begins



Mark 1:14-15

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

It is important that we make a few observations about this passage.

  • John the Baptist had been arrested. Why? Because John had publicly stated that Herod Antipas had violated God's commands b taking his brother Philip's wife, Herodias, to be his wife. The Bible defines this as adultery. John the Baptist declared to Herod that it was not lawfiul for him to have his brother's wife. (Mark 6:17-20)  So John was arrested and bound in prison.
  • After John's arrest, Jesus went into Galilee and began preaching.

What was Jesus' message?

  • Jesus proclaimed the gospel of God. What does "gospel" mean?  Gospel is "good news."
  • "The time is fulfilled." Everything that the Law and Prophets had said was here. God's promises of sending the Messiah, HIs Servant had been accomplished. 
  • "The kingdom of God is at hand." God was establishing his sovereign kingship over His creation. This would involve the inner transformation of human hearts that would love and desire God with an ability to keep God's commands. 
  • And Jesus called for people to respond to this good news: "repent and believe in the gospel." Repentance simply means to change one's mind, to reconsider one's course and go in another direction. Repentance would involve acknowledging that our ways are sinful and wicked in God's sight; thus, we turn from our ways to pursue God and His ways. "Believe in the gospel" refers to accepting what Jesus has declared, trusting that God has promised to redeem and make new what was once broken and cursed.

Do you believe that Jesus is the One whom God promised would redeem people and make them new and right with God?

Have you turned from your way of living to pursue knowing God and to pursue what pleases and honors Him?




December 31, 2018, 12:00 PM

New Beginnings, New Creation



New Year celebrations look forward to what lies ahead. Advancement, progress, prosperity and promises that might come with a new year. We bid farewell to the past year: the joys and lows experienced. When the 2019 calendar begins, we have this hope that it will be better than 2018. 

God delights in making things new. He loves to show mercy and lavish grace on people so that He might draw people to know Him by faith and experience all that Jesus' death, burial and resurrection offers to men and women separated from God by their sin and rebellion. God wants to rescue us from our enslavement to sin and to bring us into His glorious kingdom of light, where we can enjoy knowing Him and the privileges of being His people for all eternity. 

2 Corinthians 5:17 says: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

God sent Jesus on a rescue mission to save those alienated from God because of sin. Any who believe that Jesus is God's Son and that Jesus died and rose again to obtain our pardon and eternal life with God are given the privilege of becoming children of God. John 1:12. And, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, those who trust in Christ are made new. God carts away the garbage of our past and sees us as His new creation. 

Have you come to Jesus believing that through His death, burial and resurrection your sins are forgiven so you could be made right with God?

This new year of 2019 could be the start of a new journey: knowing God and all that He has done for you in Jesus! Come to Him now!


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