Mark 1:9-11 – The Baptism of Jesus

•June 30, 2007 • Leave a Comment
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galile and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.”

As a little girl I remember being fascinated with the thought that Jesus needed to be baptized by a human being. It’s still an astounding thought to me today, and I am 47 years old.

Here’s Matthew Henry’s word’s on this passage:

Christ’s baptism was his first public appearance, after he had long lived unknown. How much hidden worth is there, which in this world is not known! But sooner or later it shall be known, as Christ was. He took upon himself the likeness of sinful flesh; and thus, for our sakes, he sanctified himself, that we also might be sanctified, and be baptized with him, john 17:19 . See how honourably God owned him, when he submitted to John’s baptism. He saw the Spirit descending upon him like a dove. We may see heaven opened to us, when we perceive the Spirit descending and working upon us. God’s good work in us, is sure evidence of his good will towards us, and preparations for us. As to Christ’s temptation, Mark notices his being in the wilderness and that he was with the wild beasts. It was an instance of his Father’s care of him, which encouraged him the more that his Father would provide for him. Special protections are earnests of seasonable supplies. The serpent tempted the first Adam in the garden, the Second Adam in the wilderness; with different success indeed; and ever since he still tempts the children of both, in all places and conditions. Company and conversation have their temptations; and being alone, even in a wilderness, has its own also. No place or state exempts, no business, not lawful labouring, eating, or drinking, not even fasting and praying; often in these duties there are the most assaults, but in them is the sweetest victory. The ministration of the good angels is matter of great comfort in reference to the malignant designs of the evil angels; but much more does it comfort us, to have the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
I’ll write more tomorrow! It’s late and I need to go to bed.  

Mark 1:4-8 Two Baptisms

•June 28, 2007 • Leave a Comment
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (ESV)

So, who would you rather get baptized by, John the Baptist or Jesus? He says that there is one coming who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Do you suppose any of those coming to get baptized may have wanted to wait for Jesus’ baptism? I think I would have wanted to. Maybe it wasn’t clear exactly when this Mighty One would be coming. But, the fact of the matter is that Jesus never did baptize anyone individually. So, John the Baptist would be offering both baptisms. A baptism of repentance and the baptism of the Holy Spirit which would be accomplished by the work of Jesus Christ.

In my theological background, two baptisms would be a reference to salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I know there is much discussion and debate about the mechanics and innerworkings of these baptisms; however, I will just leave it at that. This is referring to salvation and indwelling. Jesus Christ offers something that John the Baptist couldn’t. Yes, I believe that John the Baptist and his followers were true believers, but it seems clear from this passage that Jesus had another baptism to offer. It would seem to be something that John the Baptist couldn’t give and that his followers didn’t have at this point. It must be something that no one up to this point has had.

Maybe this is what John Cook of Blackberry Cottage was referring to. John the Baptist didn’t have the baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ was to offer. But John believes that John the Baptist never did get that baptism, if I understood him correctly. I’m still not sure I’m totally comfortable with this thought, however. I don’t know if we can fully understand the action of the Holy Spirit. I will no doubt be revisiting this post as I understand more about it.

But to the question of speaking in tongues……no, I don’t believe baptism of the Holy Spirit requires speaking in tongues. I think the tongues speaking was a special unction at that particular time in the formation of the early church, and has no real purpose in our lives today with the complete revelation of God already in place.

More later.

Mark 1:1-4 Additional Thoughts

•June 28, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Joan Lutz took me to Blackberry cottage yesterday. We were talking about the action of the Holy Spirit in relation to John the Baptist, when John Cook walked up. He overheard Joan talking about how she would be prompted by the Holy Spirit to write a card to someone and would actually be waked up in the middle of the night. She would walk over to the post office in her robe and mail the card to make sure they got it the next day. In tears she told me of the hundreds of times people would say, “How did you know? How did you know I was going through such a hard time?” She didn’t know, of course–it was the Holy Spirit’s prompting her. John said this was called the “synchronization of the Holy Spirit.” Yes, I can see how that word would work, although I have never heard it before. The Holy Spirit synchronizes us to do things at a specific time.

Then we started talking about John the Baptist. He said something that I need to think about and ask some questions. He said that John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets. As such, he did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, although he was Spirit led. I’m surprised to hear that actually, because I was thinking that he was very much indwelt by the Holy Spirit to have done the amazing work of being the forerunner of Christ. John Cook said that the people John the Baptist baptized were baptized and indwelt of the Holy Spirit, but not John the Baptist. Very interesting. I’m not sure the distinction is necessary or accurate. I would think that if the action of the Holy Spirit were different, it would be after Pentecost. I can’t imagine that there would be some infusion of the Holy Spirit that John the Baptist would not be privileged to have attained. I would like to do some more study on this subject.

But whatever the case, I remain amazed at John the Baptist’s ability to fulfill the work of the Holy Spirit. Maybe that should not amaze me at all because the Holy Spirit is certainly all powerful and can do anything. On the divine side of things, I am not amazed. It is on the human side that I am amazed. I guess my questions center around how did John the Baptist attune himself to the Holy Spirit? How did he know for sure what words to speak? It must take a heart that focuses on the things of God. Elizabeth and Zechariah must have been very diligent parents to make sure their son was thoroughly taught the Old Testament scriptures. John must have paid close attention and allowed his mind and heart to be attuned to God. Scripture does teach that some of this happened before birth–no doubt of divine work–because John the Baptist lept in his mother’s womb when Mary came to tell Elizabeth the news of her pregnancy.

My concern and burning desire is to make sure that my life is Holy Spirit led. I want to be like Joan Lutz and be waked up in the middle of the night to accomplish the Holy Spirit’s purpose, if that is what He so desires. I want to be like John the Baptist and be so certain of the Holy Spirit’s leading that I could proclaim a message that is completely new and almost totally outrageous if that were how He were leading.

Lord, I give you my heart anew today. Take my thoughts, my actions, my life and use it for you. Help me to be a blessing to my husband, children, and friends. Help me to minister to them as unto you. Help me to be led by your thoughts and help me to be faithful to do your will. I pray that you could trust me to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Lord, give me a divine filling of your Holy Spirit in my life today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Vision Improvement Site – improve your eyesight naturally!

•June 28, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The Vision Improvement Site – improve your eyesight naturally!

I wonder if it is possible for an almost 50-something year old to be able to improve her eyesight. It sure gets annoying to keep looking for the glasses I have lost.

Mark 1:1-4

•June 27, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Today I start a devotional in the gospels. My fascination with the words of Jesus continues, and I know that I need the encouragement from His life. I often wonder what “Jesus would do” or “think” in many of my mundane or perplexing situations.

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.[a] 2As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,[b]

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare[c] the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,'”

4John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

You just have to wonder how John knew to do what he did. No mentoring, no schooling, no examples, just the leading of the Holy Spirit. I think we forget about the activity of the Holy Spirit pre-pentecost, but there was obviously communication here. John had just limited access to Scriptures (being out in the wilderness) but was still sure of what he should do. What a rebuke, and what a lesson. I tell myself I need more assurance–more knowledge, more help, more guidance. If I just had the faith and the tuning in the John did. He is amazing and truly an overlooked astounding example of doing God’s work.

Lord, help me to follow the leading of your Spirit. Help me to truly be tuned into your will and your desires.

Sacrificial Thanksgiving — Jonah 2

•June 25, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I just opened my Bible and there it was…..Is that carelessness or the leading of the Holy Spirit. One of the Wesley’s had something to say about that. (Don’t worry, I will check that out soon and get the exact details here. I don’t like vaguenes either.) But my Bible did just fall open this morning to Jonah chapter two. Verses I had previously highlighted jumped out at me, specifically Jonah 2:9: But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed., Salvation is of the Lord.My first thought was, is this a command or a personal thought from the author? I am always a little bit confused about that. I looked it up on to see what I could find. BTW, I will be bookmarking that site for future reference. Wow!I think of the sacrifices we make as humans, mothers, wives, and employees. Are those the type of sacrifices that are being talked about? Probably….since there should not be a distinction of secular vs. sacred. And all these sacrifices should be done with thanksgiving. Everything should be done with thanksgiving. And I guess that was the Aha thought for this verse.And the next part of the verse, “I will pay that that I have vowed.” Wesley’s notes for this verse suggests that the “vow” was to go to Ninevah and preach what God commanded him. If I understand this correctly, then Jonah is saying that he will go to Ninevah sacrificially and thankfully. Something that was detestable to Jonah.I think of the most sacrificial time in my life–other than as a mother of newborns. That is when I was working at the largest fundamentalist university in South Carolina–working full time with six children still at home. I worked for five years and counted every moment as a sacrifice. Yet this was a sacrifice I was thankful to make. Very, very thankful to make. And it was a sacrifice. But more on the context of the verse. We need to remember that Jonah was in the whale of the belly. Yes, maybe he was “brought to his knees,” so to speak. But Matthew Henry reminds us that God is always listening and waiting for our cry.

Also, where he prayed; in the belly of the fish. No place is amiss for prayer. Men may shut us from communion with one another, but not from communion with God. To whom he prayed; to the Lord his God. This encourages even backsliders to return.

There is no place that is outside the boundary of God’s hearing us. And there is no situation that can cause us not to be able to pray to God. No matter how bad we are, how horrible the sin is, how worthless we feel, we are still welcome to pray. We are encouraged in Hebrews to come boldly before the throne of grace. Not just when we have had our devotions and have done “good” things, but when we have sinned terribly and are “in the whale of the belly.”Praise God for his kindness!

Off to Greenville!!!

•November 21, 2006 • Leave a Comment

For Thanksgiving dinner one more time at our Travelers Rest house. Everyone (I think) is going to be there. We still need macaroni and cheese and Green Bean casserole. Do you know anyone who wants to bring a dish for an entire Thanksgiving meal?

Arthur Tinsley and Leslie Blakely came to Dalton yesterday and had lunch with Andy. My prize was two pounds of pecans which I am munching on now. Mr. Tinsley has been very good about keeping us supplied in pecans every fall!

I’ve got to figure out what I need for cooking, so I will get my pans out. That’s the problem with two kitchens. Not sure what exactly I have at T.R. So I will take pans I think I need to Greenville.

We’re going to get a Truck and take more stuff to Dalton……..sounds like a lot of work. Not sure how that will all happen.

Must keep working. Andy will be here in a bit, and I must have stuff done.