Jesus’ wilderness time “immediately” followed his baptism and the powerful affirmation of who he was: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." (Mark 1:11). The Gospels say that the Spirit who descended on him at his baptism drove him out into the bleak, lonely, and dry Judean wilderness for forty days of testing. Wilderness time is a part of our lives too. We cannot live and love and engage life in meaningful ways without sometimes ending up in the wilderness. Wilderness times are those times when we feel we are tested to our limits, and we describe those times in wilderness terms: dry, desolate, lonely, trying, difficult, agonizing. We speak of hunger, thirst, and longing in the wilderness. This series explores this reality in a Believer's life.
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SUNDAY, February 18 - A Time for Learning
Mark 1:12-15 - Life presents us with many options—a myriad of ways to use our resources, time, abilities, and influence. Without a clear sense of what is most important, we can spend it all and at the end of the day find that we have not taken care of what matters most.
SUNDAY, February 25 - A Time of Challenge
Mark 1:12-15; 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 - Mark says that there were wild beasts in the wilderness with Jesus. Aren’t our wilderness times complete with wild beasts? Fear - Temptation - Despair. These are times of challenge. Our faith, our values, our trust in God, what we believe, are all tested in the wilderness.
SUNDAY, March 4 - A Time of Dependence
Mark 1:12-15; Hebrews 4:14-16 - Remember that Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Jesus was telling us that every day we should acknowledge who the source of everything is. Jesus was telling us to acknowledge every day our dependence on God.
SUNDAY, March 11 - A Time of Doubt
Mark 1:9-15; Mark 9:24 - Our cry in the wilderness is often the cry of the father recorded in Mark: “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) The cry of that father seeking healing for his son was not the first such cry, nor would it be the last. People of faith down through the ages— including the greatest Christian leaders—have experienced doubt in the wilderness time. The truth is doubt is a part of our faith journey.
SUNDAY, March 18 - A Time of Comfort