They Could Not Tame Him

Mark 4:36
“When they had left the multitude . . .”

Mark 4 ends with the story of a dangerous journey on which Jesus took His disciples. Knowing all things, He knew they would face a storm on the sea. He knew this storm would be so great that those who had grown up fishing those waters, and experiencing rough conditions, would fear for their very lives. However, it is not until we venture into Mark 5 that we understand the reason for the journey was just one man. Jesus left the multitudes and took twelve men on a death-defying trip across dangerous waters, in order to reach this one man. Multitudes were flocking to Him, but in the country of the Gadarenes, a man was in need. This becomes even more amazing when we understand who this man was. We read of him,

“. . .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.” Mark 5:3-4

As sad as that description is, I am struck by the final phrase, “neither could anyone tame him.” Tame him! What a word. It seems so out-of-place to be used of a man. It is a word I reserve for animals; yet, it is so appropriate for this man. His lifestyle, whatever that was, had ruined his life. The world had done all they could do to help, but to no avail. He was now chained in a graveyard, and people simply avoided him. That is, until Jesus, not only went out of His way to rescue this man, but took His disciples on a trip they would never forget, for the purpose of saving this one lost soul.

When the story ends, we find the man in His right mind, sent out to tell His friends what Jesus had done for Him. No doubt, he would explain how Jesus crossed a turbulent sea to save him. Let’s learn the lesson the disciples were meant to learn: Jesus places the highest value on the human soul, even if he is living like a wild animal.

Pastor Jim.

Raging Rapids 

Ephesians 2:1
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”

When I was a child, my family lived in a house located at the bottom of one hill, and the top of another. Whenever one of the neighbors up the street would wash his car, a flowing river would form in the gutter outside the house. I can vividly remember using the debris to create obstacles, rapids, and even dams. I would run up the street with small plastic boats filled with passengers and drop them into the river. As they traveled downstream, they would be tossed about by the currents heading towards the rudimentary dam designed to stop them. Often, the flow would become so strong the dam would burst, sending the toy boat and its occupants rushing toward a large drain that went deep underground to the sewers. Frantically, I would run after the small boat, hoping to rescue it from impending doom. Whenever I read Paul’s description of the world, found in Ephesians 2, I am reminded of those toys heading toward destruction, and my frantic attempts to rescue them. Paul describes every person who has not yet received Jesus Christ, as being like a dead body floating downstream, and heading for eternal loss. He also describes God as the great Savior, who reached down to rescue all who will cry out to Him.

Ephesians 2:4-5
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
. . ”

Every person alienated from Christ is dead in sin, and destined to live eternally separated from God. Although it is impossible for us to understand the true danger we are in, we can get a glimpse of our horrible condition by observing God’s actions to rescue us. Paul describes God’s great love producing rich mercy, and stirring Him to come to the aid of man, by sending His only Son. The cross is nothing short of a rescue mission. God does not want anyone to suffer the horror of spending eternity apart from Him. He has done all, to make a way for each and every one of us to be saved. All that is required of us is to believe and receive.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. .”

Unlike the plastic passengers in the gutter river, we have all been given free will, and the ability to choose for ourselves. Many, realizing their hopeless state apart from Christ, cry out to Him, and are delivered from spiritual death and eternal loss. Others, seem to be enjoying the thrill of the ride so much they are unwilling to cry out for deliverance. They may see the dam breaking, yet think they can ride it out just a little longer, failing to realize how short life is and how suddenly death appears. Still others refuse to believe they are in any danger. They make up their own reality, removing God, sin, and judgment from their thinking. They carry on in life as though they will never answer for the sins they have committed. Acting like Jonah, and going to sleep in the storm, does not remove the reality of where the boat is heading. It is high time we all wake up and cry out to our loving Savior to rescue us from wrath.

If you want your sins forgiven join me in prayer. “Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and recognize that You are the Savior. I ask that you would forgive my sins, enter into my life, and help me to follow after You.”

If you prayed that prayer contact me at jg@ccvb.net

Pastor Jim

 

Facing Giants 

2 Chronicles 14:11
“And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, ‘ Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!’”


King Asa, and the nation of Judah, were facing an obstacle much too great for them to overcome. An army from North Africa numbering over a million soldiers, had gathered to fight against them. Knowing their own resources were inadequate for the challenge, Asa cried out to the Lord for assistance. From his prayer we learn four important principles.

First, when facing challenges, the right thing to do is to go to the Lord. Instead of thinking we can handle it on our own or blaming God for the difficulty, we should cry out to God for help. He is, after all, a present help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Second, God is not limited by our limitations. It is no more work for God to aid Asa’s small army, than it would be to aid a massive army. The limits of man do not limit God. He is only limited when we do not trust Him and fail to cry out for His help.

Third, in the midst of their trial Asa declared they would rest in the Lord. Instead of allowing the uncertainty of circumstances to fill us with anxiety, fret, and fear, we should turn to the the Rock, and trust in His provision and care. No matter how turbulent the waters may get, we can always rest in the Lord.

Finally, they went forward declaring “. . .in Your name we GO. . .” They knew they had been called to move forward, rather than turn back. The book of Hebrews declares that we are not those who turn back. No matter what challenges you might be facing, the answer is found in moving forward with the Lord, rather than turning back.

Pastor Jim

 

Crying Out 

2 Kings 13:4-5
“So Jehoahaz pleaded with the Lord, and the Lord listened to him; for He saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them. Then the Lord gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Syrians; and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as before.”

Even a casual reading of Scripture should reveal a pattern; when things get dark, God will raise up a deliverer. We see this when Israel was enslaved in Egypt and God raised up Moses, when they were oppressed by the Midianites and God called Gideon, and here, when Israel was harassed by Syria. A few things are worth noting.  First, God responded to the cry of the king. Jehoahaz was not the godliest of men, but he knew enough to cry out to the Lord when things got difficult. We find that God responded to his pleading and sent a deliverer.

As we look at the darkening conditions in our world, we must follow suit and faithfully cry out for God to intervene. The work of God is closely connected with the prayers of His people. Second, God raises up an unnamed deliverer. With the nation on the verge of destruction, God calls upon an unknown. What makes a great deliverer is not natural ability, clout, or even position. Instead, God will use those who respond to His call. Names like Joshua, David, Daniel and Paul are known to us because they are men who responded to the call of God, trusted in the Word of God, and faithfully performed the work of God.

We are often looking for famous, powerful, or wealthy people to come on the scene and make a difference, while God is in the business of using the unnamed to accomplish His purposes.  Every time we turn on the news we are reminded that our world is getting darker. The world’s moral compass has been damaged, and people are doing what is right in their own eyes. Perhaps more than ever, we need people who will cry out to the Lord and make themselves available to the call of God.

Pastor Jim