Long Summer Off

1 Sep

Hello Friends,

Well, I have taken a long summer off and I hope that I will get back to blogging on a regular basis.  Actually, I think about blogging quite often, but don’t get the focus and energy to get it done.  Does that ever happen to you?  Well, at least I know it happened to Paul (the apostle, not the Beatle).

Romans 7:17-20  The Message 

17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

Of course, for Paul, the something more is God’s presence working within him.  The power to be transformed from the inside out.  This is always my desire.  BUT, I have already blogged about Romans.  AND, if I try to talk about just want is floating around in my head, it is hopeless.  SO, I have been wanting to blog on the gospel of Mark.  It is my favorite.

The reason that the gospel of Mark is my favorite is that it was the first written and it goes straight to the point.  There is a sense of urgency.  Folks who study Bible things think it was because everyone thought that Jesus was coming back next week and they need to get the stories about him out there.  Also, that he hadn’t come back fast enough and they need to get some of the stories written down.

My linear self will begin at the beginning.  Mark doesn’t begin with a birth story, but with Jesus first public appearance.  Actually, Mark begins with the man who introduces Jesus, John, who was Jesus’ cousin and a baptizer.


Mark 1  The Message

1-3 The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you;
He’ll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!

4-6 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

7-8 As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”


John was a powerful figure, and thought by many to be the Messiah.  In all the gospels it is made clear that John was a great prophet, but it was the one who was making the way ready for the Messiah.  It must an intense time in history to have two men who spoke with such authority from God and be an occupied people.  Everyone looking for a sign, for hope, and here are John and Jesus at the same time.  Amazing!

This lesson points to a truth about our faith.  John was performing a baptism of forgiveness, but Jesus is going to change us from the inside out.  How often do we settle for relief from our pain, without going to the source for complete healing?  The thing is, if we go just for relief of the pain, we will have to back again and again to get the same respite from the baggage/pain we continue to carry.  But if we let God’s holy presence consume it, free us from it, then we wont have to go back to it again.

I think that’s really cool.  And I think that what God intends; that the work of Jesus would supplant the old life we had with him.

Here’s to letting the spirit fill us and heal us and free us.007

Peace, Mary


One Response to “Long Summer Off”

  1. Phyllis Terwilliger September 1, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    Welcome Back!!

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