Friday, April 27, 2012

Today's Devotion: Speaking Plainly - Mark 8:32

Mark 8:32       He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

Some people never grow up. In my many years of ministry, I’ve come across sad people who live as if they’re still adolescents and take no responsibility for their actions. When things get tough, they ignore the crisis and avoid the issues. Some of them retreat into a petulant corner; others become addicted to alcohol, drugs, or porn. Instead of seeking God’s help or good counsel, they carry on their reckless ways. It usually ends in tragic circumstances or bitterness. That’s what makes it all so sad.

I think Peter the disciple had a similar problem. When things were going well, he was probably the life and soul of the party. However, when Christ spoke about arrest and execution, defeat and death, Peter desperately sought to avoid the impending reality. He didn’t want to listen to negative words. He didn’t want to accept Christ’s fearful prophecies. He wanted the sacred circus and miraculous merry-go-round to continue. He couldn’t face the obvious truth that Christ was expressing.

Within all of us, there’s a similar pattern. We want life to be jolly, our hearts to be happy, and our days filled with gladness. We have made the pursuit of happiness our reason for living, instead of enjoying God and praising Him forever. We don’t want to change our ways or be challenged by Christ’s words. We want our faith to be warm and fuzzy, instead of confrontational and life-altering. In other words, we really don’t want us to be focused on Christ; we want Him to be focused on us.

Question for personal reflection

Do I shape Jesus into what I want Him to be, or do I allow Him to re-shape me?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, speak plainly to our hearts and minds. Grant us a better understanding of what You want to do in our lives. Keep us from deluding ourselves and help us to devote our lives to You. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. if you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Psalm drawings. It’s based on Psalm 121 and features the word “I to the hills will lift my eyes.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link:

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