I’ve had a request to try something different. In my two churches we use a guide to weekly scripture known as the Revised Common Lectionary that provides a Psalm, Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel reading in accordance with the liturgical season. I was asked if I could use each of them during the week for this devotional and I think it’s a good idea. Beginning Monday 1/11 we’ll cover each of these in order through the week. You can find the list of lectionary readings on the web at https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu.

Our Gospel scripture this week is Mark 1:9-13, taken today from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him; and a voice came from the heavens: “ You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” And immediately the Spirit brought Him out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving Him.

It seems we have all been in a desert place with everything that has happened recently. We hear of the virus that has infected our world, we read news stories that upset us and we see a growing separation between people. It is a difficult time, and if we put our trust in our own strength, we will surely fail.

Jesus likely had similar feelings during His time in the desert. He was hungry and thirsty, pressed upon by Satan. In Matthew’s description of this event, the devil quotes scripture to Jesus, but with the emphasis on human desires rather than God’s true word (Matthew 4:6). Satan knows scripture and tries to use it to trick us into disbelieving God.

During these trying times we need to be especially careful not to be led astray by false application of scripture. Listen for God’s voice, not that of humans, and remember how Christ met every challenge through prayer and faith.

Loving Lord, we feel a desperate sense of being alone in our world. Help us to know Your presence and Your will for us, even when times are hard. Amen.

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