Mark 11 [Part Two]

What I’m Listening to: God Will by Johnny Cash

I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to talk about into one post, so here is part two to wrap up this mini-series. 

Now, I want to talk about the two stages we see in Mark 11. We talked before about how we have this emotional “downswing” from the jubilation of Palm Sunday. This is because after Jesus is essentially lauded as a king, He makes some judgements, He points out the failures that the Jewish community has. In a way this is a real life parable. 

When we learn of God, it is an awesome day! We celebrate, we cry out with joy. But after that initial happiness comes one of the hardest periods that every Christian faces. When we invite God into our lives, He starts to look around and point out where we need to improve. And in a lot of cases, that can make us angry, make us plot to make Him go away, much like the Pharisees. This is because now that we are being called to make difficult changes and choices we begin to think it might not have been so bad without Him. That’s our sinful, evil nature of course, to seek our old, threadbare comfort rather than letting God guide us to a new, better, eternal comfort. Now, this is most pronounced when we first know God, but we feel this rebellion all the time; in fact I would even go so far as to say most of us believers feel this discomfort almost all the time, we just push it into a corner of our mind so we don’t have to think about it too much. We live most days trying not to think too hard, we look at our Bibles and our religious Facebook posts and we reassure ourselves that that’s what God wants from us. 

Is it? Because I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t tell the disciples to go to church and only half-listen for fear they might feel called out or to exchange uncomfortable conversations with God for buying a pun-based Christian shirt. God is not a nanny, our immediate comfort is not His only concern. He cares about our forever, He wants us to spend it with Him. So yes, He is going to push us outside our comfort zone, He is going to point out the sin that clouds our life but He is also going to rebuild us so much better and stronger than we ever were before (if we will just put ourselves aside for literally two minutes). 

So, today, just take a moment to ask God what He actually wants you to do. Don’t shy away when you start to feel uncomfortable, realize you can’t live for yourself and recognize what God’s calling you to do. Don’t face this conversation or the  next steps He’s going to have for you with fear, because He’s right there with you and He is so excited to help you. He literally has the best of intentions for us. 

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

            ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10 (KJV)

Peace, 

Kathleen-June

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Week Three: Strength & Sin

What I’m listening to: Human by The Killers

Welcome back to week three of my month long weekly devotional series! As always, if you’re new, be sure to check out my previous posts in the series. The intro post has some additional information about our September of Peace devotionals. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

                          – James 1:2-3 (NIV)

I know that the Bible teaches us many things that may seem to go against the grain of what we have both learned and know it our lives, but this verse is extremely difficult. Endure? Yes. But “pure joy”? That seems crazy. However, as with most things in the Bible, the next verse clarifies. We should rejoice, not because bad things are happening, but because we are becoming better Christians. The benefit of living in a sinful world is becoming a stronger Christian. God has promised to never lead us astray. Anything that the Lord sets in our path He has also set a way through, through Him. It is because of this that we must persevere and attempt to find joy, because God can save us from anything.

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. 

                      – Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

Prayer Prompt: That we may find peace in the Lord, even if the world is working against us right now, for we know that His light will shine in the morning.  

Advent Day 3

What I’m Listening To: Jingle Bells by Frank Sinatra 

Today is Day 3 of our continuing Advent Reading series! If you missed the first two posts, go ahead and check them out, the first one also explains a little more. If you’re all up to speed already, welcome back! Now for today’s devotional. 

 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

                             Luke 1:29-33 (NIV)

As we get closer to Christmas, it’s easy to lose focus of the true meaning. Whether we get caught up in trying to impress Christmas guests, or distracted by desire for all the things we want, it can be easy to forget the true importance of the season. We are reminded here in Luke of the true awesomeness of Jesus. We celebrate his birth, not just for the worldly things we receive, but to remember the humble way that the Son of God entered this world. This Christmas season, instead of focusing on yourself and the things you want, focus instead on the things that Jesus can provide in your life. While you may know your wants, Jesus knows your needs. 

Prayer Prompt: Ask Jesus to guide you towards the things you need, instead of those things that you don’t. 

Advent Day 1

What I’m listening to: A Marshmallow World by Dean Martin

It’s day one of our Advent Reading Plan! For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram or Facebook, here’s what’s going on. 

For the next 24 days, I’ll be posting daily devotionals leading up to Christmas. They will use verses that tell the Christmas story from Matthew, Luke, John, and Isaiah. 

So now let’s get started! 

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

                                   John 1:1-5 (NIV) 

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the Lord anticipates all things. We think that a break-up, hurtful word, or mistake has come out of left field. However, we have to remember that just because we didn’t see it coming, doesn’t mean God didn’t. In the these verses from John, he makes the point that since the beginning of time, God knew that he would send his son to die for our sins. It wasn’t a last minute decision  by a God out of options, it was the carefully  crafted plan of an omniscient Creator. Is it possible to have a more encouraging thought to kick off the Christmas season than knowing that we have an all-powerful God who has loved us so fiercely since the beginning? 

Prayer prompt: Today turn something that has been weighing on your heart over to the Lord and ask Him to show you the path and solution that he has created.