Mark 9:38-41 – Using the Name of Jesus

Read Mark 9:38-41

We see another misunderstanding here on the part of the disciples. They may have been part of Jesus’ “inner circle” of followers, but they were not the only ones Jesus would use to benefit the kingdom. This was a teachable moment for them in that regard.

I imagine they were a bit surprised, and even put off, that someone outside their little band of followers would be casting out demons in Jesus’ name. But their exasperation was not that this man was using Jesus’ name so much as that this charismatic prophet was not in “their group.”

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1 Peter 4:12-19 – Doom and Bloom

Read 1 Peter 4:12-19

I assume Peter is talking about Jesus’ glorious return and our everlasting life with him when he describes, “seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.” But I got a little glimpse of that “glory” this week. Anytime we see God move in our midst or help us in our struggles, we get a peek into the glory of God.

We know the joy that bubbles up inside us when we see God’s hand at work in our lives or community. Peter encourages us to persevere despite the unpleasant situations we face in life. It really resonated with me in a fresh way when I read Peter’s words, “for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering.” Take a moment to let that truth sink in. Partners with Christ. Partners.

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December 22 🌟 Mary’s Visitor (Luke 1:26-38)

Read Luke 1:26-38

An angel visiting Mary

In a moment, Mary learned from her visitor (the angel) how her life, and ours, would be changed forever. As we prepare our hearts for Jesus’ coming, both his birth and return, this passage will always be pivotal and precious.

Imagine a young bride-to-be caught up in the excitement of planning a wedding and starting a new life with the man of her dreams. Now in Mary’s time and culture, it’s not necessarily a given that she would be head over heels in love with her husband to be. But in my imagination of the scene, she was feeling a bit giddy for the big day. This visit from the angel would have been quite a game changer, leaving Mary with so much to ponder.

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