Two down, fifty to go !

We’re two weeks into the new year already !  How’s your “year” going so far?  Happy? Sad? Slow? Fast? Sickness? Lots of colds going around in our area with the students return to the university here. With them comes germs from all around the country, we’re one big petri dish !  But once we get through the first couple of weeks we’re Immune City !  Anyway, time for a quick look back – did you set any goals?  How are they working out for you?  As a sinner you may drop the ball but as a saint you have the grace available to pick it up and run, and run well !

If you have gone to church much and read your Bible a bit you know the story of John Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark.   Paul wasn’t too pleased with him dropping the ball on their first missionary trip so when it came to the second one he wasn’t too keen on taking him again. Paul wanted someone he could rely upon in this important endeavor for Christ.  Dr. Luke records it thus, “And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought it not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.” (Acts 15:37-38).    The disagreement led to a parting of ways between Barnabas and Paul !

Yet by the time Paul writes his final book , 2 Timothy, Mark has changed.  Paul wrote this knowing he was about to be martyred and so he gives some of his final instructions:  “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” (4:11). Like Mark, maybe you have “dropped the ball” recently in some way.  Pick it up and get back in the game. By God’s grace you can be profitable to God !  Maybe you are struggling with some past failing, confess it and stand tall and run true. God is desirous to forgive and use YOU despite a less than perfect past, that’s grace !   Maybe you have been right about someone who has let you down, but be more right about picking them up and encouraging them today and showing God’s grace to them as He has to you each day this year and will the other !!  Grace extended when others fall is a powerful way of building people up to serve God with the proper motivation: His love !!

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