Friday, November 17, 2017

Obedience Told

Mark 5: 11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.

14 So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16 And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17 Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.

18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.

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“Take this test” were the instructions given to me by a teacher. I obeyed and when I got the results, I actually got into the school I desired. I had no fallback plan had I not passed. I ran to my small circle of friends and family to tell them the great news!

  • When I have obeyed in the past, great things have happened.
  • When I have trusted in the past, wonderful results were achieved.
  • When I have followed something that I did not understand in the past, I was put on a road of amazement.


Obedience to JESUS was clearly told in this passage. The demons begged HIM for permission and HE granted their wish. The herders begged JESUS to leave, so HE did. But the demon possessed man begged JESUS to allow him to come along and JESUS gave him another task. HE says the same to me.

  • JESUS says to me “Go home to your friends and tell them about ME.”
  • JESUS says to me “Tell people about the great things the LORD has done for you.”
  • JESUS says to me “Proclaim the message of compassion to as many as you can tell.”


When the man obeyed CHRIST, he went and told everyone he knew about JESUS. Everyone marveled at the power of GOD. JESUS is quite amazing! HE wants me to tell everyone about HIS amazing compassion.

  • Are you telling people about JESUS?
  • Will you obey HIS command and tell others about HIS compassion for you and everyone?
  • Can you trust and obey JESUS today?


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Powerful Mercy

Mark 5: Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?”

And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.

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Driving on a sunny day made me feel great. I was on my way to a friend’s house to enjoy some company. As I drove through the intersection near his house, a car ran a stop sign and hit my old junker. With little apology they threatened me instead of providing their insurance. I wanted them arrested for the rest of their lives!

  • Sometimes I want revenge!
  • Sometimes I want “justice!”
  • Sometimes I want “that” person to get what’s coming to them!


JESUS does something absolutely amazing in this slice of history. A legion of demons, whose job was to torment people, asked for mercy.  JESUS had the power to immediately speak them into being eternally tormented but restrained for it was not the right time.

  • JESUS says to me “Vengeance is MINE.”
  • JESUS says to me “I AM full of mercy and grace.”
  • JESUS says to me “Judge not lest you be judged.”


This conversation between the demons and JESUS shows me that HE can give mercy to anyone who asks. I need to follow HIS example of giving mercy to those who may be against me.

  • Did someone do something to you?
  • Did they deliberately hurt you?
  • Can you accept the power GOD is giving you by showing undeserved mercy on them?



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Acquired Skill


35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”  41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”


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“Impossible” I said. I mean this task placed in front of me was way too hard. The person tried explaining it to me and even showing me but I still could not see how to do this humungous feat. I acquiesced to try again. I got on the bike and rode past 4 maybe five houses this time! Maybe I can do this!

  • Sometimes life seems difficult.
  • Sometimes life seems hard to master.
  • Sometimes life can have tasks that seem impossible.


JESUS was and is the ultimate teacher. As the boat was tossed about, HE laid silently asleep on a pillow. These skilled fishermen had seen storms before and probably knew of people who had died in similar squalls. “Don’t you care?!” is a familiar exclamation I use to GOD when times get tough and it is the same question the disciples used.

  • JESUS says to me “I AM teaching you little by little to have faith in ME.”
  • JESUS says to me “Do not focus on the storm, focus on ME.”
  • JESUS says to me “I AM right here so do not worry.”


After reading this passage in the past, I thought JESUS was a little unreasonable. I mean this is a life threatening crisis, “Why aren’t YOU sending out legions of angels to save the people who follow you?” is my first thought. JESUS says “I AM not worried” IS your lesson.

JESUS knows more about the situation than I do. HE knew the storm would not harm the disciples and the storms of life cannot harm me. Somehow, through all the worry, fretting and doubting, JESUS has ALWAYS come through. HE wants me to grow up to accept HIS way of doing things and grow my faith as an acquired skill.

  • Are you worried, fearful and doubtful?
  • What has GOD brought you through in the past?
  • Is GOD trying to mature you by appearing to be asleep during your crisis?
  • Will you calm down for a moment to observe how HE can sleep even though HE is getting wet in the waves of life with you?


Alone


Mark 4: 33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.

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Waving at people on the convention floor was the norm for my coworkers, but not me. This was my first convention and I did not know anyone. It was time for dinner and everyone made plans with one another. I ate in my room.
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  • Sometimes I can be in a crowd and feel alone.
  • Sometimes I can open my mouth and say something to people and still feel alone.
  • Sometimes I can sit in a room with another person and feel more alone than when I am by myself.


Being alone can sometimes feel devastating, especially when I want to be around those who appreciate what I am doing and saying or even better, know who I am. GOD spoke in parables or analogies and did not speak directly to the crowd. But when HE was alone with HIS disciples HE spoke directly to them.

  • GOD sometimes takes me to a place so HE can be alone with me.
  • GOD sometimes wants to speak directly to me so HE moves me out of the crowd.
  • GOD sometimes desires for me to quiet down instead of screaming while I am alone with HIM.


Maturing to understand “alone” time is important to GOD. HE wants me to spend some very important time with HIM to see HIS power on a daily basis. The world’s worries can be noisy and deafen me to HIS voice. It seems like the harder I try in life, the more GOD wants to spend time with me. HE sets me down besides still waters and speaks directly to me with HIS promises.

  • Do you feel alone?
  • Are you worried and feel alone?
  • Can you remove your worries for a moment and listen to GOD’s voice through HIS word today?


Monday, November 13, 2017

Herbs and Spices

Mark 4: 30 Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? 31 It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32 but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”

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“You should learn this new way of doing things” exclaimed one of my coworkers. Yes, the world had changed and a new way of thinking had emerged. I now had to go on a new road and learn. “I wonder when this road will change” I thought to myself.

  • Sometimes I get busy chasing new philosophies.
  • Sometimes I get entrenched into learning new ways of doing things.
  • Sometimes I get involved with new thinking, new values and new beliefs.


Out with the old and in with the new was my way to stay ahead of the crowd. I would learn new ingredients to success by attending philosophical discussions and grab a new herb of knowledge. Many birds would flock with me to these spicy meetings. BUT GOD had another plan for me.

  • GOD says to me “Tell people about the simple message of MY love for them.”
  • GOD says to me “MY kingdom’s message is simple, just believe that JESUS died for all of mankind and you will be saved.”
  • GOD says to me “MY yoke is easy and MY burdens are light.”


What a tiny seed GOD gave me. I mean HIS message of grace far exceeds any new herb and spice I could ever learn. In fact, GOD’s message of grace grows in me and in the hearts of mankind stronger than any other way of thinking. Branches of joy, love, forgiveness and peace flow from this simple message of HIS grace. GOD’s message is simple, HE loves me.

  • Are you busy trying to learn the “new” thing?
  • Do you think the new way of thinking will save you?
  • Can you turn your thinking towards GOD for a moment and absorb the simple message of HIS love for you?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Helpless and Mighty

Mark 4: 26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

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When the car stalled out for the fifth time it seemed like we would never get home. The two hour journey had now turned into six. My cousin and I sat there waiting yet again for something miraculous to happen. After fifteen minutes I started the car again. This time it made it all the way home.

  • Sometimes I have problems I cannot fix.
  • Sometimes I have a desire but no solution.
  • Sometimes I have an immediate need but have no way to meet that need.


Helpless is never a fun feeling but it is definitely useful. Looking back on the car situation, I can truly say that it was only GOD that brought me through that situation. I had nothing to offer, no power to give.

  • JESUS says to me “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
  • JESUS says to me “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”
  • JESUS says to me “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see GOD.”


In my weakness GOD’s might is made perfect. GOD is the one who knows how seeds sprout in this story. JESUS lets HIS disciples know that the power comes only from HIM. I am supposed to go out and plant seeds of love, knowledge and faith to many and let GOD grow the seeds.

As much as I may want someone to believe in CHRIST, I am helpless BUT GOD is mighty! HE wants me to be ready for HIS harvest so HIS glory will shine bright.

  • Are you ready for GOD’s harvest?
  • Can you stop fearing and allow GOD to deliver you the way HE wants to?
  • Will you continue to spread the seeds of GOD wherever HE sends you?


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Shining Light on the Subject

Mark 4: 21 Also He said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

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“Ooo… I’m telling” were the words I dreaded to hear. It meant that I was caught in the act and this person was going straight to the top, namely the teacher or the parents. “Wait, don’t tell!” were my begging words. “I could get in trouble.” They told and I got in trouble.

  • Sometimes I try to hide my sins.
  • Sometimes I try to pretend I am good when I really am a sinner.
  • Sometimes I want to keep my sins to myself and let others think more highly of me.


My sins had come into the light and I received the consequence for them, but what about the person who told on me? I mean, they just wanted to get me in trouble so they could gloat. GOD has an answer for that.

  • JESUS says to me “With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
  • JESUS says to me “Judge not lest you be judged.”
  • JESUS says to me “Pray for your enemies.”


All of my sins will be brought into the light, so it is better for “me” to bring them into the light than for GOD to do it. By confessing my sins, I realize they actually do not have power over me. This enables me to have a tiny amount of grace that understands why others may hide their sins.

GOD wants me to be extremely careful when shining light on someone else’s sins. Instead of saying “This person has sinned” I can say “We have similar sins” this way GOD is placed as the judge and I am not the accuser rather I am an advocate for forgiveness.

  • Are you hiding your relationship with GOD from others?
  • Are you hiding sin so you can look good in front of the crowd?
  • When you “tell on someone” do you desire to feel superior to “that” person?
  • Can you stop talking about others so GOD will stop taking even what little you have from you?