Gleanings in Mark

Personal devotions are not always my strong suite. 

I say ‘not always’ because it just depends.  Sometimes, I’m like prayer warrior super woman…and sometimes I voluntarily crack my Bible maybe once a week.

But I just recently wrote an article with a blurb about the weapons God provides against sin.  “If a soldier entered battle unarmed and defenseless, we would think him beyond stupid,” I write, “and we would expect his immediate death.  Yet all too often we think we can face our daily battles without the aid of God’s strength or His armor!”

The worst part about writing such fiddle faddle is that it saddles me with a bit of responsibility: I really out to be practicing what I preach, eh?

So here I am this morning with my Bible cracked.

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

That little gem can be found in Mark 1:35.


It gets better:

And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it.  But without a parable He did not speak to them.  And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.

That’s Mark 4:33-34.

Sometimes, because I know that regular personal devotions aren’t essential to salvation and don’t increase one’s rank in the kingdom of heaven, I’m tempted to minimize their importance.  I reach the end of a day and think, oops, never made time with God in His Word today.  Oh well.  Better luck tomorrow.

But they are important, and today I’m being reminded of two of the reasons why:

1. Jesus did it.  You know, of all the people I’d think wouldn’t need to go out of his way to make time to spend alone with God, it’s Jesus.  Right?  Because, after all, He IS God.  So he could totally have slept in, eaten a leisurely breakfast, checked facebook, combed his hair, picked up his bedroom, and then spent a little time with His Father.  Right?!

2.  Am I taking things too far out of context to say that there’s a principle here about what Jesus does in our time alone with Him?  And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.  Um, I’m dealing with a couple huge, major, life-changing issues right now re: His Word + My Life = ____…and so far my less than satisfactory answer to most of them is one big fat ?  Hello, God?  There are things about, say, your criteria for a valid baptism that I just don’t understand.  And man, would I love some clarity before I get kicked out of my church.  Thanks.  Hello, God?  There are some things about, say, unconditional love and submission and selflessness and forgiveness and reconciliation and honesty and self control and basically just how I’m supposed to respond to all this sin in me and around me that I’m just really struggling to put into practice.  And boy, would I love some resolution before it’s too late to right some of these wrongs I regret the most.  Thanks.  Hello, God?  …  I think I’ll spare you the rest of my eternal list of questions, but I guess that’s a pretty good indicator that I need a bit more time alone with Jesus, isn’t it? 

Even if it’s just to learn to trust that the God I serve is greater than all my fears and questions:  But He said to them, Why are you so fearful?  How is it that you have no faith?  And they feared exceedingly and said to one another, Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!  (Mark 4:35-41).



  1. #1 by Joy on December 7, 2010 - 7:47 pm

    I went to a Christian school one year (7th grade) and our teacher required us to spend at least 10 minutes every day in Bible reading/prayer. When he called the roll we had to answer yes or no to let him know if we had done this. At first it was hard to get up a little earlier for a devotional time, but as time went on it stretched to 30 minutes, then 45, and became a permanent part of my early morning –and still is, all these years later. When I wake, I look forward to it even more than that first cup of coffee, and you know how much I need my coffee! So maybe you should find someone who will ask you every day if you have had your devotions…

  1. Bible Reading 101 « DoubleKnotted

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