Digging in Deeper: Mark 8:34

“Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the lessons in English class that was always a bit more challenging than the rest for me was identifying various figures of speech. The reason for this is that there are so many different kinds of figurative language and the difference between some of them can seem pretty slight. The real trick, too, is that all of the different categories of figurative language are simply multiple ways of saying the same thing: the author didn’t mean what he wrote and he wrote it that way to more effectively and creatively make his point. Does it really matter if this sentence functions more like a simile or is a metaphor being slapped down on the table for you to understand what I’m saying? (Did you see what I did there?) Well, while naming various kinds of figurative language is good to be able to do, recognizing them when we see them is better. And in this verse, Jesus is using figurative language…or is He? Whether He is or not, He certainly got the attention of His audience. He should have ours as well.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 1:11-12

“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.’ Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Growing up is hard. It’s hard on every level. Your body changes and stretches and that doesn’t always feel good. It seems like just when you get really comfortable with one phase, another one comes along and bumps it out of the way. You manage to overcome one set of challenges, to ascend to the top of a hill, only to discover that there is a whole other range of mountains still waiting to be climbed beyond that one. Yet climb on we must because the path to the best stuff is always forward. This is exactly what we see Jesus experiencing here in our next step forward into Mark’s Gospel.

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Morning Musing: 2 Chronicles 14:11-12

“And Asa cried to the Lord his God, ‘O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.’ So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This is a simple point, really, but one worth repeating over and over again because of how easily we forget it. When we face problems that both seem and are in fact beyond what we can handle, we need to turn to the Lord in prayer. There and only there will we find the hope and help we need to overcome whatever is before us. Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Joshua 2:9-11

“and [Rahab] said to the men, ‘I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.  For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction.  And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

When we set out to follow God’s lead into new and challenging places, what we often don’t think about is that the place we are going is not new to Him.  He’s been there ahead of us, preparing the ground for our arrival. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Daniel 6:10-11

“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem.  He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.  Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Daniel had been doing this three times a day in this same place for years.  This time, though, had to feel a bit different.  This was the first time he knew he was actively breaking the law by doing it.  And yet, the place and the pattern were both well-worn in his life.  At the time to which he was very much accustomed, Daniel got down on his knees in front of the window in his upper room and prayed.  Shortly afterwards–as he knew would happen–he was arrested and hauled before the king. Read the rest…