Fresh Hope – Day 63

I love to collect recipes.

Some of the dishes that I love to cook come from recipes that have been passed down through many generations.

Equally so, some of the best recipes that i’ve acquired have come from people that I have met in other parts of the world.

I picked up a recipe for some amazing bran muffins, from a family that I stayed with in South Africa in the 90’s.

Our daughter Esther loved them so much, that I had to make them for the last breakfast she had at home… her wedding morning.

Recipes are simple guidelines to follow, that enable us to have a level of skill and success in cookery. Follow the recipe and you should get consistent results every time. That’s the theory anyway!

One of the things that I love about reading the Bible is that you start to see recipes or ‘patterns’ for living. Ignore them, and your life is left to chance… Follow them, and the results will be amazing.

One such pattern is found in the New Testament, where in Mark, Chapter 1 we read…

Mark 1:9-13 ‘At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.’

Notice that God says to Jesus, ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’

But then notice what seems to be the total opposite of what has just been said; It feels like the ‘I love you’ has been forgotten when the next move goes like this…

‘…AT ONCE the Spirit SENT him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan’.

How can the same God that says, ‘I love you’ then turn around and in the next breath lead you into the wilderness for over a month?

The answer lies in a simple recipe for significant living. Here is a pattern that needs to be understood if you want to make your life count.

1) Acknowledge that God loves you and that will never change.

2) Appreciate that God not only leads you into amazing places, but He also leads you into some fairly dire ones too.

3) Understand the significance of the number 40 in the Bible. It’s the number of maturity. God’s pattern for a significant life is to lead you to a place that will cause spiritual maturity.

Many times we are asked… ‘Do you trust God?’

Today, the question is reversed… ‘Does God trust you?’

He will at times lead you into some very barren places in life, where you get challenged to the core, in order to bring out the very best in you and to deal with any internal issues that could get in the way of your future.

If you want to see the result of such a recipe, then the old saying, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ makes complete sense.

In the very next verses, after being in the wilderness, Jesus calls His first disciples, casts out an evil spirit from a man and sets him free, heals Peter’s Mother in-law and then heals ALL the sick people that came to Him.

Could God trust you with all that right now, or would it go straight to your head?

If you feel that you have been ‘led’ into a dry and barren place for a short season, then remember… it’s not how you enter, but it’s how you exit it that makes all the difference.

Enjoy the journey, or shall we say… hold on for dear life.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.