Journal Mark 1 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way…the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight…’” Mark 1:1-3
Observation: God is good to reveal his word, always. There are clues to direct; clues to clarify; clues to wonder and reflect.
Where are they found? In his word…
Application: Every year I try to make the same resolution successful: Be a man of the Word.
Looking back, I take comfort in knowing that God makes this a cumulative journey. He also makes this a miraculous journey—mostly because using the space between my ears, any progress in holiness that I might have attained must surely be the result of a miracle.
Once upon a year in the past, I vowed to emulate Jesus by prefacing any reference to the Scriptures with, “As it says…” or “As it is written…” or any derivative of those.
A few years later, I attempted to make the Bible integrated in my life and especially, speech—remembering and applying the scripture, “from the mouth flows what is in the heart…”:
“…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt 12:34), and,
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil heart produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…” Luke 6:45
Paul wrote to Timothy, “…Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” (1 Tim 6:11b) If I look up “pursue” in my handy-dandy ESV.orgsearch engine, I see a number of things the Bible indicates to pursue or chase. The thesaurus function suggests a clever description: Hunt it down like a hound dog after a scent.
This year for me suggests a new outline in pursuing Godliness: Gap management. The idea comes from:
- The Holy Spirit, duh.
- Reapplication of work training documents.
- And the scripture 1 Tim 4:7b-8a:
o “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come…”
Sounds like a return on investment now and later…
Gap management, applied to walking worthy of the Gospel, is for me to identify one or two things this year that is supposed to occur in my CHARACTER and performance relating to CHARACTER,
“…asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…” Col 1:9b-10
I aspire to this in 2023. What are my gaps? How to address them? What will be my plan and effort to address them? I cannot do this alone, but I will put EFFORT into the pursuit.
Prayer: Father, help me to review basic doctrine again. You have reminded me that doctrine shapes how I think, how I act, how I make decisions, how I think about you. From there, doctrine shapes my character.
I want to be of good character and please you in every aspect of my life until that Last Day.
Ricky Two Shoes