Week 38   Day 2


One Sunday in December, the lesson was about John the Baptist
the people who left their homes in the towns and villages to go
into the desert and hear this unusual spokesman for God.  They
heard about repentance and the kingdom of God in their midst,

about the Jordan River and washing away the old and becoming new.


In class we talked about wilderness experiences as times of suffering,
struggle, hardship, testing and training. 

Someone quoted from  Isaiah 35, that the desert shall bloom, and said

something about beautiful things happening when we least expect them.


After class, as often happens, people who get stuck on certain ideas

usually can find others with insights of their own to share. 

So with an odd assortment of people apparently waiting around for

something more to happen, one brave soul tested the waters by saying,

"This business of the wilderness--it seems some of us spend more
time there than anywhere else!"


That comment was all it took for the rest of us to reveal what was

on our minds too.  It went something like this: 

  ----When you are struggling through something, simple things take on

       such beauty and meaning, comfort and strength; just little things

        like a smile or hug or kind words from a stranger or friend.

  ---The desert holds a richness all its own, a closeness to God

       you never experience anywhere else.

  ---There are wildflowers growing in my wilderness, like the ones

       Jesus referred to when he said, "Solomon in all his glory

      was not arrayed like one of these."

  ---The flowers are there, but you have to know how to find them

      and where to look.  Sometimes you need a helping hand.


And so it went, all of us knowing that there is always some life

in the bleakest part of the wilderness, because God is there.


Oh, I forgot to mention, I almost didn't get to class that day because

the medication I was taking made me groggy and unfit for functioning

properly in public; my leg hurt me so much I couldn't sit still.  I wasn't
any sign of improvement, but would rather lie than admit
to being in pain; 
 . . . . .    The desert blooms,
the wildflowers hold
a rare beauty, and at times we need
a friend to take our hand.




                               WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

          Share, be just, be content, and watch for Jesus.

                                                Luke 3


    2John the son of Zacharias 3went into the region around the

Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of

sins, 4as it is written in the book of Isaiah the prophet, saying: 

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  'Prepare the way

of the Lord; make His paths straight.  Every valley shall be

filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked

places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and

all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"

    7He said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized,

"Brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee from the wrath

to come?  8Bear fruits worthy of repentance and do not say,

'We have Abraham as our father.'  God is able to raise up

children to Abraham from these stones.  9Even now the ax

is laid to the root of the trees.  Every tree which does not

bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

    10People asked, "What shall we do?"  11He answered

them,  "He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has

none; and he who has food, let him do likewise."

    12Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him,

"Teacher, what shall we do?"  13He said, "Collect no more

than what is appointed for you."  14Soldiers asked him,

"What shall we do?"  He said to them, "Do not intimidate

anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages."

    15As the people were in expectation, and reasoned about

John, whether he was the Christ or not, 16John answered them,

"I baptize you with water, but One mightier than I is coming,

whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.   He will baptize

with the Holy Spirit and fire.  17A winnowing fan is in His hand;
He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor
and gather the
wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn." 

18With many other exhortations he preached to the people. 

    21Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven

was opened.  22The Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like

a dove upon Him, and a voice from heaven said, "You are

My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased."

     19Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by John concerning

Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which

Herod had done, 20also added this, above all, that he shut

John up in prison.  

    23Now Jesus began His ministry at about thirty years of age.
              This Bible passage was condensed from the NKJV

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