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Driven By the Spirit

Daily Reading: Mark 1

Scripture Focus: 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. (Mark 1.12-13)

Devotional Thought: The gospel of Mark starts out, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ…” What better book to begin our journey through the Bible! Mark’s style is straightforward, and he has a focus on immediacy. The word ‘immediately’ appears 35 times in the 16 chapters of the book, 9 times in this first chapter! In verse 12, we read, “The Spirit immediately drove him [Jesus] out into the wilderness.” In the wilderness, Jesus encountered temptation (from Satan) and danger (from wild animals). But, he also enjoyed the presence of ministering angels!

Entering a new year feels a little like going into the wilderness, doesn’t it? Political upheaval, border uncertainty, international instability, religious intolerance, and economic uncertainty - these and many other doubts crowd our minds. Other, more personal, temptations and dangers are sure to be encountered. We do not know what the new year holds, but we know that we have been driven to it. We have no choice!

We also know something else - a very important game-changer. We know that God will be with us! He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13.5). Jesus himself told his disciples when he was returning to heaven, "behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28.20). Don't you imagine they were feeling a little uncertain about their future at that moment when Jesus seemed to be leaving them on their own?

So, in the new year, do not let uncertainties rule over you. Instead, remember Jesus is walking with you! Let's get in step with him immediately.

Prayer: Father, I do not know what the future holds, but I know that you hold the future. Help me to face the temptations and dangers of this New Year with peace and confidence. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1.1-6

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