The Lord is His Name

When you meet someone for the first time, the first thing you usually learn about them is their name.  You might chat for a bit, walk away and then think, “what was their name?”  My husband is a master at learning and remembering names.  When we moved to Arizona years ago he had to manage 150 employees and he was determined to know their names before he started his first day on the job.  He sat for hours with pictures and names and memorized them all.  I remember him telling me  how impressed the people were when he actually knew their name before he even met them.  Now I on the other hand am really bad and don’t usually make an effort at knowing someones name.  I should probably work on that.  

Names are important.  There is nothing more personal to you than your name.  To execute a legal document, you have to sign your name.  No matter what you fill out on a form, it is not final till you end with your signature.  Your name is what identifies you.  Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches”.  People associate your name with your character.  

Regrettably, 3000 years ago in the book of Amos, the people of Israel got so caught up in their prosperity that they lost their connection with the Lord and His name.  Likewise, we today are not much different.

Over the years, Israel lost touch with the Lord.  Each generation moved farther and farther away from who the Lord was.  So Amos had to introduce them to the Lord them all over again.  They had to start with His name.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name;

Amos 5:8

Amos wanted to do more than tell the Israelites about the name of the Lord.  He  wanted them to know that the Lord is at work and is actively involved in their lives.  In the book of Amos, the Lord is active.  52 times in this book the Lord says, I WILL:

I will send

I will break down

I will destroy

I will not let

I will slaughter

I will turn

I will not

I will make

I will bring

I will give

I will test

I will no longer

I will not delay

I will never

I will kill

I will reach

I will search

I will command

I will never

I will give

I will restore

I will repair

I will rebuild

I will bring

I will firmly plant

People today might believe that God created the Heavens and the Earth, the stars of Pleiades and Orion, the day and the night, the rain and the seas, but they are not convinced that He is directly involved or active in their everyday lives.

If you look back over your life, can you see things that occurred, and say that was the Lord?  In Amos 2 we see that God has the Israelites look back to see what He has done in their lives.

“Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks;  I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath.  Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.  And I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites.  Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?”  declares the Lord.

Amos 2:9-11

We may not know it at the time, but isn’t it amazing to look back at your life and see the hand of God who directed your steps and decisions?  

In today’s society many if not most people know about God.  They have heard about Him and His power, but they don’t know His Name.  Paul tells us in John 17:26 that we are to make His name known to others.

I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

His name is the Lord and He is active in our everyday life!

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

16-Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, 17-and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Exodus 3:16-17

Do you believe God’s promises?  It is a matter of yes or no.  If you do, the above verse says, “I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction…to the land flowing with milk and honey.”  God promised this to our forefathers, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.  He promises the same to us.  

God promised Abraham land, many descendants, and blessing.  He repeated this promise to Isaac, Abraham’s son.  And then he also gave the same promise to Isaacs’s son Jacob.  Because of this multi-generational impact, God is rightly known as the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The first three words of verse 16 are Go and Gather.  It made me think of the past week and what we are all facing with Covid-19.  How much have you ‘gone and gathered’ over the past week?  Have you been preparing for a longer “shelter at home” than the media is speaking about?  Obviously, many Americans have gathered way more than their share as grocery store shelves are empty of many items.  

Besides gathering needed items to physically survive these weeks ahead, I think this verse is pertinent for exactly where we are.  Go and Gather.  Yes, go and gather physical items you may need, but more importantly, Go and gather your people!  Obviously this will be a small group (under 10) in you home.  But, with the vast opportunity  of social media, gather people online.  Tell them the stories and promises of the Bible.  The stories where God brought His people out of trials.  God has prepared us for such a time as this.  Look to our heroes of the Bible and how God provided and made a way out for them.  

Wont he do it again??!!

First Born of Many Brothers

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29

God’s number one purpose for each of us is to bring us into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.  To accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus.  It is God’s intent for Christ to be the first born among many brethren.

In Jewish culture the term first-born always referred to a son.  The first-born male child in a Jewish family had a privileged status.  Being first-born represented preeminence (superiority or distinguished).

The term brethren is a synonym for believers.  God’s primary purpose in His plan of redemption was to make His beloved Son “the first born among many brethren” in the sense of Christ’s being uniquely preeminent (superior) among the children of God.  Those who trust in Jesus become adopted children, and Jesus, the true Son of God, graciously deems us worthy to be called His brothers and sisters.

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

Matthew 12:50

What an honor it is to be able to say that we are brothers and sisters of Christ!  It will certainly be an honor on that day we enter Heaven and are welcomed into the grand family with Jesus.  

We are blessed because the “first born among many brothers” is not ashamed to call us His brother or sister.

The End

I would never pretend that I am adept with knowledge about our political system.  But, it does not take in-depth knowledge to know that we are at a cross roads in our current situation.  If you happened to watch the Democratic Debate on Wednesday evening you might be where I am at today, questioning what in the world can come from all of this.  

I imagine that is how the Jews felt during the time that the book of Revelation was written.  The Jews were God’s special people.  They were the great family, which had been promised to Abraham in the desert eons ago (back in the first book of the Bible, Genesis).  But now, the Roman Empire seemed to be taking over.  The Jewish people were questioning their identity as the Roman Empire continued to rule their power over all the people.

The Jewish people were yearning for a different kind of government.  They longed to be ruled by a savior.  God gave the people a new vision in the following verse,

And he said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.

Revelation 21:6

In times of confusion and tension we can imagine that our kingdom is breaking down.  Or, we can imagine that God’s kingdom is coming to fruition.  We can sit back and watch our government, schools, neighborhoods or families change and struggle.  Or, we can lean into God and be the change we wish to see in the world around us.  

God is in EVERYTHING, even in the political instability we see today.  He is in all the areas of our life where we feel unsettled.  We have a choice in all these matters as to how we respond.  

It is Jesus who is the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  Jesus is the one who died, rose from the dead and is alive forevermore.  

Thank You Jesus for Your gracious plan of redemption.  This plan starts and finishes with YOU.  Today, may we share Your living water with all around us so that they may know who You are and what You have done for us.  

The Consolation of Israel

 

What is it that you are waiting for?  I can think of things I wait for daily, such as: my coffee to finish brewing, my dog to do her business outside, waiting in drive—thru lines, waiting for my husband to get home from work, waiting for dinner to be ready, and waiting at night for my kids to get home before their curfew.  Those are not huge things that take over our thoughts, but what about waiting on things that make our hearts weary?  Waiting for healing, a restored relationship, a prayer to be answered, and many other heavy burdens that we face in this life.  Jesus tells us…

“In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

This leads us to our name of Jesus for today.  Jesus is the Consolation of Israel.  Consolation is another word for comfort.  The Jews had suffered much oppression from others and because of their own rebellion against God.  Because of this, they longed for comfort.  

Luke chapter two tells of us of a man named Simeon.  Simeon was a Jewish man who was waiting on the Consolation of Israel.  

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.  He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on Him.

Luke 2:25

It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.  Day after day Simeon waited for the knowledge that the Messiah was here.  Finally, moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.  When he arrived he saw parents with a baby boy.  The parents brought the child to the temple because this was the custom that the Law required. Simeon took the child in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.  For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations;  a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

Luke 2:29-32

I can only imagine the comfort and joy that flooded Simeon when he saw the baby Jesus and knew immediately that He was the fulfillment for all the longings the people of Israel had for many centuries.  

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

Isaiah 40:1 &2

Simeon was looking for the consolation of Israel.  He was waiting for the Messiah.  Yet, Simeon did not realize that Jesus would die on a cross like a common criminal to  pay for the sins of all mankind.  On the third day He rose from the dead, defeating both sin and death.  Jesus would rule over all nations.  Jesus would defeat Israel’s true enemies, sin and death.  This is how Jesus represented the consolation of Israel, He showed the way of light and truth, the way of the Father.  He showed the way of eternal life, free of sin and death.  

Jesus is not just the consolation of Israel, He is the consolation of the whole world.  

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world.

1 John 5:4

How blessed are we that we no longer have to wait to be with Jesus?!!  We can commune with Him daily through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  In Jesus, we have God’s consolation, his comfort, that we have been forgiven.  Let the consolation of Jesus dwell in your heart as you bring his comfort to the world around you.

Bridegroom

The groom is waiting for the bride in a gray suit. Groom holding bouquet and waiting for bride. Wedding day.

I can picture the day almost 25 years ago, July 9, 1995, when I married my bridegroom.  It was the perfect day and celebration to be marrying the man I loved.  If you are married, think back to the waiting.  The waiting from the moment you were engaged to the moment you saw your future spouse for the first time on that big day.  After spending so much time preparing for the ceremony.  All the preparations from inviting guests, finding a venue, to finding the perfect dress. How excited and nervous I remember feeling.  My bridegroom and I had both done everything possible to look our best and be our best for that moment in time.  From the tip of our head to the soles of our feet we were ready to be bound together that day.  

As Christians we recognize that Jesus is the Bridegroom.  Bridegroom (often shortened to groom) is a man who will soon be or has recently been married.  A bridegroom is typically attended by a best man and groomsmen (wikipedia.org).  Jesus revealed the identity of the Bridegroom when John the Baptist’s disciples asked Him why His disciples didn’t fast like they do.

Jesus replied, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”                              Matthew 9:15

Jesus’ point was “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them” (Luke 5:34), meaning that He was with them right now!  For now, (before the bridegroom was taken away) it’s a time of feasting, not fasting.  Right now, the bridegroom is preparing for Himself a bride and the bride of Christ is the church.  The disciples sitting there with Jesus were part of the bridal party.  They were waiting for the actual wedding.  We are the chruch, the bride of Christ, and Jesus is the bridegroom.  

The marriage between Christ and the church really is a marriage made in heaven.  It was the will of God as we see in the book of Isaiah we get a glimpse of the coming kingdom,

“For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”                                           Isaiah 62:5

Just as in a wedding today we send out invitations and invite our friends and family.  We are to invite everyone we can to the wedding with Jesus.   We should be focused on telling everyone about Jesus, the bridegroom.  Just as I waited for 6 months to marry my bridegroom in real life, we who believe in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior are in the process of waiting for the eternal union with Him.  While we wait for that day we are instructed to be faithful to Jesus.  

We are the bride of Christ (the Church) and Christ is our Bridegroom.  We are now living in the “engagement” period.  During this time we are to prepare ourselves for the Wedding Day by living in a way that is righteous and faithful to Him.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.         Ephesians 2:10

When will this union between the bridegroom (Jesus) and the bride (the Church) take place?  We don’t know , but we are instructed to be ready.  

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.                                                                                          Matthew 25:13

Consider Jesus

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,  Hebrews 3:1  (ESV, bold mine)

Today the two names of Jesus we will focus on are Apostle and High Priest.  But, before we do, let us consider the word consider that is in our text for today. 

The word consider (katanoeo in hebrew) means literally to put the mind down on something and so to observe or consider carefully and attentively.  The idea is to think about something very carefully consider closely which denotes the action of one’s mind comprehending certain facts about a thing so as to give one the proper and decisive thought about the thing considered.  (preceptaustin.org)  In Hebrews 3:1, the focus is on the action of the mind comprehending certain facts about Jesus.

In this passage, the word consider is a command.  It calls for them to “Do this now!  Don’t delay!  The need is urgent!”  We are so distracted by other things in life, we need to turn our gaze to Jesus and consider Him.

Today lets focus and think upon Jesus being the Apostle and High Priest.  What does it mean that He is the Apostle?  

This is the only time that Jesus is called an Apostle.  We are used to thinking of Paul or James as the apostle.  The word apostle means “one sent as a messenger.”  When applied to the twelve apostles, it means that they were chosen by Jesus and sent into the world in His name and bringing His message.  When applied to Jesus, it means that He was sent from the Father to be the Savior of the world.

Jesus is also our High Priest. The office of priest was an important one in the Old Testament.  In many OT readings we see that the priest mediated between the people and God.  Most importantly, it was the high priest who entered into the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement.  Only the high priest could enter and, before doing so, he was required to make a sacrifice for himself.  When he did this the high priest was cleansed and could then go on to offer the cleansing sacrifices for the people.  

Rather than a yearly (or daily) atonement as in the OT, Jesus’ sacrifice is once and for all.  Jesus, like the high priests of the OT, stands in the gap between us and God.  He made the necessary sacrifice for us.  Those who have put their faith in Jesus have been made righteous by Him and are now able to enter into God’s presence.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.                               2 Corinthians 5:21

The most important thing for us to consider is that since Jesus is our High Priest, we can approach God with confidence.  

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.                                             Hebrews 4:15 & 16

We no longer need to go through earthly mediators.  Jesus has broken the barrier, made the sacrifice, established a new covenant, and reestablished our relationship with God.  Because of our High Priest, we are free to come to God.

Today, let us consider Jesus, our Apostle and High Priest.  When life gets rough and problems seem to have no solution, we need to put our gaze on Jesus and keep it there.

One Day at a Time

I find myself pondering many thoughts the week between Christmas and New Years.  

What went well this past year?

What were the highlights?

What did God teach me?

What does next year hold?

What does god have in store for me?

I could go on and on with these questions.  And especially this year as we enter into a new decade.  I hear people focusing on the past 10 years and the next 10 years.  That is a lot to take in and process, especially as an internal processor.  

And then add to it a word for the year.  Do you have your word ready to go for 2020?  And how about last year?  Did you have a word and what did that look like?

Although this is such a good time to reflect and plan, it can be overwhelming and we can get caught up in the planning and scheming of what next year might bring.

The quote in the above picture brought me such peace at this time of year when I get thrown into the rat race of trying to figure out my New Years Resolution and new Word for the Year.

“The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it is has to be lived – not always looked forward to as though the ‘real’ living were around the next corner.It is today for which we are responsible.God still owns tomorrow.”                                 Elisabeth Elliot (Dec 1926-June 2015)

It is fun to dream and think about 2020 and what may come.  But often, in the dreaming we might forget to live in the present.  These 3 Bible verses below can help us to live in the present:

Matthew 6:33-34 — Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Philippians 4:6 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Isaiah 41:10 – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

As we plan for 2020, let us let God guide our future.  As we think about the new Year and the new 365 days in 2020, we cannot forget whose hand needs to be in our future plans.  We may not always understand the plans God has for us, but these verses may remind us:

Proverbs 3:6 – Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Joshua 1:9 – This is my command – be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

This time of year is so good to reflect and ponder, but don’t forget that only today is what is in front of us and what we are responsible for.  

Have a Blessed final Saturday of 2019:) Make the most of today and everyday, one day at a time.

Jesus, Our Kinsman Redeemer

 

As we prepare for Christmas in this advent season it is amazing to look back through the Old Testament and see that God was already foreshadowing the coming of Jesus.  He was setting the scene and timeline for when our True Redeemer would come for us.  The stories we read teach us about faith and encourage us to know that God provided for His people even before Jesus entered the world.  This past week I have been studying the book of Ruth.  I had no idea that this book would foreshadow the coming of Jesus!  In this book we see the redeeming work of God in the lives of Ruth and her mother Naomi.

Ruth was a Moabite.  She married the son of Naomi and Elimelek, who was originally from the tribe of Judah in the City of Bethlehem.  Because of  famine in the land, Elimelek and Naomi went to live in Moab where they had two sons who married two Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah.  Then, Elimelek died, leaving Naomi a widow.  And, both of his sons died, now both of the daugher-in-laws were both left widowed.  

The plight of a widow in that culture was bleak.  Now there were three women from the same family with no husband.  Naomi decided to go back to the land from which she came, Bethlehem.  She gave her daughters-in-law the option to remain in Moab, the land in which they were born.  Orpah decided to stay, but Ruth said, 

“Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back.  Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live.  Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.  Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.  May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”  (Ruth 1:16 &17)

I imagine how hard it was for Ruth to leave her life in Moab.  The Bible does not tell this part of her story, but she left the town she was born, her family, friends, and all that she knew.  She was willing to give it all up to go back to Bethlehem with Naomi.  This decision took great conviction and courage.

In God’s perfect timing, Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem at the time of harvest.  Back in those days God’s people were commanded not to pick or harvest the outer edges of their fields, but to leave food for the poor to eat.  (Leviticus 19:9 & 10)  So, Ruth went out to pick leftover grain for her and Naomi.  

So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters.  And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech.   Ruth 2:3

Boaz was a relative of Elimelech.  We see that God already had a plan, it was no coincidence that Ruth ended up finding food in this particular field.  When Boaz sees Ruth in the field he asks who she is.  The foreman tells him that she was Naomi’s daughter-in-law, a Moabitess.  Boaz told Ruth that she should stay in his fields to find all the grain that she could.  He told his workers not to harm her and whenever she was thirsty to drink from the water jars in the field.

Boaz did not have to treat her so kindly.  Ruth was an outsider and a Moabite, she was not one of God’s chosen people.  Boaz chooses to show her great kindness because of her devotion to Naomi.  (Ruth 2:10-13)

At the end of a day in the field, Ruth went home and gave her roasted grain to Naomi.  She told her of all that the day held in the field of Boaz.  Naomi responds,

“May the Lord bless him!”  Naomi told her daughter-in-law.  “He is showing his kindness to us as well as to your dead husband.  That man is one of your closest relatives, one of our family redeemers.”Ruth 2:20

A family redeemer is a kinsman redeemer.  Kinsman means family or relative, a man who is one of a person’s blood relations.  A kinsman redeemer was a relative that would buy the property of his deceased family member and marry his widow if she had no children.  This was a law that God had given His people to provide for widows so they would not be destitute.  A widow without children would have no one to help provide for their needs. 

We read throughout Ruth chapter 3 and 4 of how Ruth became the wife to Boaz.  He became her kinsman redeemer.  

At the end of chapter 4 we see that God blesses Ruth and Boaz with a son.  They named their son Obed.  When Obed grew up he had a son named Jesse and Jesse later had a son named David.  Through David many years later the true kinsman redeemer was born.  JESUS!!  

We are all like Ruth.  We are outsiders.  We all have sin and reasons that we do not belong to Christ.  Because of this sin we are separated from Christ.  Our sin leaves us lost and destitute, just as Naomi and Ruth were when the returned to Bethlehem as widows.  With out a redeemer we will face death and punishment for our sins.  BUT GOD!  Jesus came to earth!  Christmas!  Through Jesus we have our ultimate kinsman redeemer!  He came to earth to die in our place to pay for our debt of sin.  He bought us back to be part of God’s family and save us from all sin for all eternity.

We have 11 more days to prepare for Jesus to be born as our True Kinsman Redeemer.  Thank You God for your plan of salvation through your Son.

John Mark

Can you recall a time in your life when you failed?  Did you rebound from that failure and learn from it?  Or did you let it dictate your future and decide that you would never amount to much?

Today in our reading, Acts 13:1-13, we see how John Mark recovered from a failure.  We have to read beyond our reading for today to see the full story, but it is sure nice to know that his story does not end at the end of Acts 13.

John Mark was brought up in a prayer filled home.  In Acts 12:12, we read that after Peter was miraculously rescued from prison                          

“he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer.”  

As a young man, he was surrounded by the greatest men and women of the New Testament church.  He grew up listening to these men and their stories of the times they had spent with Jesus.  All of their prayers and struggles would have been shared with him.

John Mark may have grown up dreaming of the day that He too would be able to travel throughout the world preaching the gospel.  His uncle was Barnabas, and so when Paul and Barnabas were appointed to go on their missionary journey, John Marks’ opportunity to preach the gospel came to be.

There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God.  John Mark went with them as their assistant. Acts 13:5

He would accompany them on their trip to take care of the work behind the scenes so that Paul and Barnabas could focus on their ministry.  John Mark had to be so excited to be doing what he had only dreamed of!

But, only 8 verses later in Acts 13:13 we read

Paul and his companions then left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at the port town of Perga.  There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem.

The word translated as “left,” in the original means “to desert”.  It means to leave in a negative way and to willfully abandon.  We do not know exactly why he left.  Maybe he was homesick?  Possibly he missed his wealthy lifestyle at home with servants to meet his needs.  Maybe he found he preferred to be served rather than to serve.  Or, maybe like many of us, he had unrealistic expectations.

No matter the reason he left, sometime later we read,

Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark.  But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work.  Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated.       Acts 37-39

Paul thought that he had messed up too bad the first time and was not prepared to give him a second chance.  John Mark probably thought that he had messed up so bad that he ruined his chance at ever being used by God on a missionary journey again.  

Thankfully John Mark did not give up even after a failure.  In the years ahead, John Mark proves himself over and over again.  Paul forgives him and goes on to recommend him to others.  We see this in Colossians 4:10 and 2 Timothy 4:9-11.  

John Mark had wondered if he would ever have another chance to fulfill his calling and be involved in ministry.  Now we see Paul confirming this, “He will be helpful to me in my ministry.”  From John Marks life we can take encouragement that failing at ministry or at anything in life does not erase the possibility of future use.  People may give up on us, but God never will.