Granbury First UMC Blog Posts

Lent Devotionals: Monday, March 6

Mark 1:9-15, CEB


About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.  While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him.  And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”  At once the Spirit forced Jesus out into the wilderness.  He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among the wild animals, and the angels took care of him.  After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!”
 
There is a divine movement in these six short verses in Mark’s gospel.  Jesus comes to his cousin John to be baptized, numbering himself with his sinful brothers and sisters.  As he is rising from the water, the Father affirms Jesus’ identity; “

You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”  Then, instead of spending time celebrating this sacramental event, Jesus is cast into the wilderness for forty days.

Why Jesus was sent into the wilderness after his baptism but prior to his public ministry?  Was this time a time of preparation for what lies ahead?

Prayer:

Holy and loving God, may we find solace in the baptism of Jesus Christ.  May his loving submission to your will be for us, not only a connection to him, but an example of strength and faithfulness to us all.  May we find his time in the wilderness to be a testament to his solidarity to us, his sisters and his brothers.  In Christ’s holy name we pray.  Amen!

 

 



Lent Devotionals: Friday, March 3

Wilderness Time

Being a pastor comes with a lot of perks.  No, I don’t necessarily get front row tickets to a movie premier, or preferential treatment at the finest restaurants, or even my own personal driver, but I do get to participate in a very holy time in the lives of our children through the sacrament of baptism.

A couple of weeks ago Evie was baptized in our church.  She was remarkable.  As I held her in my arms, I placed my hand on her head, the Holy Spirit washed through her, and we received her into Christ’s church.  We, as a church, promised to help raise her to learn about and follow Jesus.  It is my belief and my prayer that we will do so in a way that is glorifying and honoring to God.  But there may be times when either we or Evie drops the ball.
When God had Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt he promised to take care of them.  He promised to feed them, give them water, keep them healthy, and provide for their every need.  But, not long into their wilderness journey, they began to complain and to doubt.  When they couldn’t find potable water early enough in their journey, they fussed.  When food wasn’t readily available they’d protest.  They even got to the point where they were ready to throw it all away and go back to the captivity they once knew.
Evie is only beginning her life.  A life journey that will take her many places, to see and do many things.  A journey of good times and bad.  A journey of hardships and abundance.  Only God knows what lies ahead for Evie.  Only God knows how smart she will be.  Only God knows where she will go to college.  Only God knows what career path she will choose.  Only God knows the lives she will touch.
How many times in your life did you begin to give up on God and God’s promises?  How much hardship have you been willing to endure before complaining and going back to your old ways?  
During this season of Lent, spend time reflecting on the times when God has provided for you, when he has given you everything you need.
 

God’s richest blessings to you all,
Pastor Scott

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.  Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.  When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart….”
(Jeremiah 29:11-13a)

Rev. Scott Goodfellow

Senior Pastor