Happy Groundhog Day! Only in America can a superstitious ritual involving a hibernating rodent become a pop-culture phenomenon. If you have never read the history of Groundhog Day, this is a quick read. Whether winter last six more weeks or longer really has never mattered to my family. The furthest north I have ever lived is Savannah, GA, so we welcome all the “winter” we can get before we just have to deal with sweltering heat for the rest of the year. I think I would love living in the cold, but I have only ever had to deal with snow on vacations where I sought it out. Today’s devotion might feel a little like the movie “Groundhog Day“ because we have studied a similar verse before, but I challenge you to spend a lot of time in thought about this topic today.
7And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:7-8)
I hope this passage sounds familiar. If not, by the end of April it should (Hint: I am going to reference it two more times). As a Christian, baptism is a cornerstone of our faith. Jesus personally demonstrated His own commitment to the act of water baptism by having John the Baptist submerge him in the Jordan River. Reading Mark 1 yesterday gave us a brief overview of the Baptism of Jesus, but this is the second account from a completely different author that describes the voice of God blessing Jesus and the Holy Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove to rest on the Son of God. As you hopefully noticed from Chapter 1, Mark is a completely different kind of writer. He is very short and to-the-point. Which works out great in this shorter month. As we continue on, I’ll be slowing the primary reading plan down, breaking some chapters of Mark into two days. This would be a good time to back track into the Old Testament and try to catch up. By the end of February, we will have all the Mosaic books complete.
But back to baptisms. If you still haven’t been bold enough to be baptized anew in this decade, make this month the month! If you still need more time, then make February the month you curb your bad habits, so when you are washed clean, you don’t go dirty up your new digs the very next weekend or festive holiday. Remember, baptism is about washing away the sins of your past life and rising clean, born again in the spirit to live a life like Jesus from that moment on.
Reading plan: Mark 2
Deeper reading plan: Leviticus 24-27(Congratulations! You have read through your third book of the Old Testament!)
Prayer and meditation: continue to pray for your request from day 1 and pray for God to prepare your heart and soul for a thorough cleansing this year.
Fitness challenge: Rest
Journal: How can being baptized help you grow closer to Jesus and God?