Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 22 March 2022:
Here is a message on Exodus 29 by Chuck Missler — https://www.blueletterbible.org/audio_video/popPlayer.cfm?id=3032&rel=missler_chuck/Exd
Here is a short video overview of the Book of Mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGHqu9-DtXk
Mark 1:8 – “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
God’s people are those who have the Holy Spirit.
Mark 1:12 – “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.”
The Spirit knows you will be tested, but the Spirit does not leave you alone in temptation.
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.”
“Repentance is one of the most positive of all words. John the Baptist centered his preaching on repentance (Matt. 3:2, Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3). Jesus also preached repentance, commanding His disciples to do likewise (Mark 1:14-15; Luke 24:47). The angel predicted that the Messiah would save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). The requirement for this salvation would be repentance.
To repent means to stop going one direction, to turn around completely, and to go the opposite way. Repentance involves a dramatic and decisive change of course. God urges us to repent when the path we are taking leads to destruction. Repentance will save us from disastrous consequences! What a wonderful word! How comforting that the Creator loves us enough to warn us of impending danger!
Our problem is that we think of repentance as something negative. When we recognize our sin, we prefer to “rededicate” our lives to God. We may even tell others we have resolved to be more faithful to God than we were before we failed Him. Yet the Bible does not speak of rededicating oneself. It speaks of repentance! Repentance indicates a decisive change, not merely a wishful resolution. We have not repented if we continue in our sin!
Repentance involves a radical change of heart and mind in which we agree with God’s evaluation of our sin and then take specific action to align ourselves with His will. A desire to change is not repentance. Repentance is always an active response to God’s word. The evidence of repentance is not words of resolve, but a changed life.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Mark 1:17, 18 — “’Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
We all have a choice to make: will we surrender our careers and lives to follow Him, or will we continue to seek what to pagans pursue hoping that God will bless us while we subordinate His Kingdom agenda for the American dream? In Acts 28, we read that Paul worked in order support the spreading of the Gospel, sacrificing all in the process. We cannot serve both God and self. It’s time to leave the nets and follow. Surrendering your careers and live to the Lord does not mean to stop working and living. After all, God gave Adam a job before God gave him a helpmate; and then they worked together. There wasn’t a problem until Adam and Eve started working and living for self rather than for God. You were created to work for and glorify God in partnership with others, to love God in love relationship with others. In most cases throughout the Bible, when God called people to work for Him, to join Him in what He was doing, those people had to stop doing what they were doing in order to join Him and serve Him. Are you willing to go where God leads?
Mark 1:18 – “And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
Obedience is instantaneous. Jesus will call you out of your comfort zone, away from the plan you had for your life. You must be ready to “go” immediately, no looking back. The word immediately is used nine times in Mark 1.
Mark 1:19-20 — 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.
“We have a natural tendency to find our “comfort zone” and then position ourselves firmly in place. If you are in a situation or lifestyle where you are perfectly capable of handling everything, you have stopped growing in your understanding of God. God’s desire is to take you from where you are to where He wants you to be. You will always be one step of obedience away from the next truth God wants you to learn about Him. You may experience a restlessness whereby you sense that there is far more you should be learning and experiencing about the Father. At times, this will mean that you should move to a new location or take a new job. It could indicate that you need a deeper dimension added to your prayer life. Perhaps you need to trust God to a degree you never have before.
The fishermen could not remain in their fishing boats and become apostles of Jesus Christ. Abraham was seventy-five years old when God gave him his major life assignment. These men had to disrupt their comfortable routine in order to reach new heights in their relationship with their Lord. Likewise, in order to experience God to the degree He wants you to, there will be adjustments He will ask of you. Are you prepared for Christ to reveal Himself to you in dimensions that will change your life? Are you willing to abandon that which makes you comfortable?” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Mark 1:23, 24 – “And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?’”
Sometimes the demons are more responsive to Jesus that we are. James says that the demons believe in Jesus and “shudder”, do you?
Mark 1:31 – “…she began to serve them.”
A genuine encounter with God leads to service.
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.”
For a while it became very popular for people to wear bracelets, shirts, and other clothing items with the acronym, “WWJD,” which stood for, “What would Jesus do?” The general idea was this message would be a visible reminder to help people stop and think at a point of decision, helping them choose to act more like Jesus rather than the way they normally would. The intent was good, but unfortunately, the visible reminder cannot make up for what should have been done before the point of decision. What would Jesus do? He would consistently, throughout his whole life, rise up early in the morning, while it is still dark, to pray. Is that what you habitually do? Do you want to experience Christian power without Christian disciplines? Let Jesus counsel you. Remember the Principle of the Farm mentioned above. What you do at the moment will be the product of what you did consistently before the moment. As Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” You will not trust the Jesus you don’t know that well. You will not obey the Jesus you don’t really trust. Dedicate the “first fruits” of your day to growing in your love and trust in Jesus so that you will be ready to obey when the time comes, and it is coming – today.
Mark 1:38 — “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”
Jesus did not lead small group in a comfortable living room with snacks and comfortable conversation about biblical ideas. He led them into the streets, one day at a time, and showed them how to spread the word. What do you do in your small group? How many people has your group ministered to, led to Christ, disciple?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 March 22: Don’t hesitate to preach the Gospel to others while you minister to their needs. Tell people about Jesus today. (Mark 1)