After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”     Mark 1:14-15 (NLT, my emphasis)

“Repent” comes before the believe. The Good News that Jesus came to fulfill is the next step that we often jump to after Christmas. We want to stay in the feel good place and so we pick and choose what we want to study in the Bible. We tune in to the some sermons but not all sermons because they might say words or phrases I don’t want to hear – like repent.

Jesus says that I definitely must repent. No shortcuts. That means I have to make a turn and head in a different direction, away from sin. There’s another word that I do not like to hear in a sermon: sin. On what self-absorbed, me-planet do I think that I do not sin??! Oh, how I wish I did not sin! The ‘sin’ in my life comes when I set my feet and decide that I know and my way is best. I step on to the slippery slope that has me making decisions with myself in mind first. Making judgments about other people. Grabbing all I can for me. My mind is filled with “I” and “me”. My study time and prayer time is no longer a priority. I can justify it by making long lists about how busy I am and how much people are counting on me.

Jesus had three years, a finite amount of time, to begin and finish His ministry. I do not think that I can compare busy lists with Jesus! And yet, Jesus spent time in quiet with the Father. The gospels record many times that Jesus went up a mountain or somehow stepped apart from their others to get quiet and have time with just the Father. Even Jesus did not think He could run forever!

Last week and this week have been a time where I am on track. I have read, studied, prayed, and listened and I am feeling great! So why don’t I do this every week? Because I sin! I take my eyes off the Father and those He puts into my life to serve – and look at myself! This week God has been so close and when my mind strays…He is there and I make the turn and repent. And faith rises in this atmosphere. Times may be tough but faith speaks to me with assurance that God sees and knows my needs.

I believe because I have repented. The path between God and me is clear.

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”      Mark 1:17 (NLT, my emphasis)

Two words that are life! The ministry that I have been called to do; the way that I serve others; how I live an abundant life – all begin and end with Jesus and His follow me command. It is Good News.

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