MARK 5 : 18 & 19
Region of Gerasenes:
The demon possessed man’s life underwent a dramatic
change in a single encounter with CHRIST;
Yesterday, an uncontrollable, self injuring and howling man;
Today, a humble, Christ honoring and word sharing man;
Yesterday, the most cursed and hated person of that region;
Today, the most blessed and listened person of that region;
One encounter with JESUS; Who can measure that impact?
Tortured again and again by the same secret sin?
Not having the boldness to take a stand for TRUTH?
Confused by the triple attack of world, flesh and devil?
Lost hope of a life of deliverance?
Read the chapter Mark 5 carefully;
If that kind of person’s life can get an U TURN,
Why not our lives?
But, you need an encounter with CHRIST, THE WORD;
How you approach, appreciate, appropriate and apply
The WORD is going to determine your level of victory;
Read and pray;
Pray and read;
Read with prayer;
Pray with reading;
Have frequent, planned encounter;
Let the WORD of GOD dwells in you richly;
That is the one and only way to have an
CHRIST CENTERED, SPIRIT CONTROLLED
I WILL WALK IN FREEDOM, FOR I HAVE DEVOTED
MYSELF TO YOUR COMMANDMENTS! (PSALM 119 : 45)
LUKE 1 : 36
Elizabeth means GOD is an oath.
With what kind of expectations, her parents gave her that name?
Her name seems to have lost its meaning in her life;
She is from the priestly family of Aaron; her husband, from the
Levite division of Abijah, serving in the Jerusalem temple;
But she was barren; Biblically speaking, cursed;
Was she a sinner? Why then this curse of barrenness?
Or was he a sinner? some kind of secret failure?
But the Bible is very clearly stating;
‘they were both righteous before GOD’ and
‘walking in ALL the commandments and ordinances’!
Then why? Why this barrenness?
Their side they keep the covenant in a blameless way,
But from GOD’s side, whether he remembers the covenant?
If so why Elizabeth, GOD is an oath, silently suffers?
Right questions need right answers, but those right answers will
be given only on the right time; wait!
Some curses will not be visible outside; but this barrenness will
disturb the life like a plague in the society; Public humiliation;
More than the husband, the wife will be forced to approach the
gate of reproach and disgrace; Clear sign of GOD’s disapproval;
A physical problem becoming an emotional problem and then a
psychological problem and then a social problem and…….
Poor woman, living with that label in this society, facing the subtle rumors, hearing the piercing explanations, avoiding the hate campaigns, receiving the verbal attacks even from the loved ones and crying all alone;
Oh, The most unkindest cut of all;
From a city in the hill country of Judea, Zac going to Jerusalem;
So aged, but travelling to serve in GOD’s temple!
Think about Elizabeth! What she got from GOD for their devotion?
Their righteousness before GOD? Their blameless walk?
Their sincere service for so many years?
Their most important prayer request yet to get the answer,
but this lady sending Zac, well advanced in years, to serve GOD!
You know, a man serving GOD wholeheartedly and faithfully in the
absence of his woman’s cooperation is almost impossible!
But this dear old lady, how was it possible for her to cooperate?
A wondrous woman!
With a broken heart, unanswered questions, unexplained reproach
and battling mind living in this society itself is so painful, but being
steadfast in serving and supporting her man’s service to GOD,
Oh, only a wondrous woman can do that!
When others are boasting about receiving supernatural blessings
so naturally and when she is crying about even her natural blessings
getting blocked supernaturally, is it possible to continue the faith walk?
Oh, only a wondrous woman can do that!
We serve Him and worship Him, not because of the received blessings,
because He is GOD!. A wondrous woman knows that.
You know, a wondrous woman always remains wondrous!
When Elizabeth became pregnant, Mary greets her;
Wait a minute! Is this not again an injustice?
Her son becoming a forerunner, a servant to Mary’s son?
Elizabeth and Zac proved their faithfulness by obedience, by
blameless walk and by selfless service; But Mary and Joseph yet to prove anything; Mary just a teenager and Joseph a carpenter, not even a priest;
Who deserves to be the parent of Jesus? Is it acceptable?
But see Elizabeth’s response; “Why is this granted to me, that the mother
of my Lord should come to me?’ Oh, the humility and gracious attitude!
Oh, only a wondrous woman can do that!
Dear Elizabeth, crying because of the blocked blessings?
Don’t worry, you are special, a wondrous woman!
You know, GOD always assigns the toughest assignments to His dearest
saints! He is not just a covenant making GOD, but covenant keeping GOD!
He knows your pains, frustrations and reproach;
You may not remember your prayers but He remembers!
Your tears and times are in His hands!.
Surely He will bless you!
Please continue your faith walk and good works!
Be a wondrous woman!
O YOU AFFLICTED ONE, TOSSED WITH TEMPEST, AND NOT COMFORTED,
BEHOLD, I WILL LAY YOUR STONES WITH COLORFUL GEMS, AND LAY YOUR
FOUNDATIONS WITH SAPPHIRES. I WILL MAKE YOUR PINNACLES OF RUBIES, YOUR GATES OF CRYSTAL, AND ALL YOUR WALLS OF PRECIOUS STONES. ( ISAIAH 54 : 11 & 12).
GENESIS 16: 9.
Hagar: A slave from Egypt; a maidservant of Sarah;
No great expectations; No pride and prejudice; But
Because of the momentary decision taken by the frustrated Sarah,
Hagar’s life and Sarah’s frustrations gained momentum!.
You know, decisions taken at frustrated moments will surely beget more frustrations; Enter His rest before making decisions!
Sarah suffered, felt inferior; not willing to accept even her own expectations about her family’s future;
Late revelations: Abraham’s baby is not my baby!;
Sarah went to the next extreme; dealt harshly with Hagar and she fled;
Abraham? So silent; father of faith had a black spot of doubt?
Silently accepted Sarah’s suggestion; Silently enjoyed Hagar’s embrace;
Silently supported Sarah’s madness; Silently watched Hagar’s escape!
But Poor Hagar,
What was her mistake?! Why she had to suffer for their foolishness?
She was used, misused and abused; treated like a wooden toy;
No respect for her personality, her feelings and emotions;
Better to quit; resign; escape; Her decision to run away justified!
But God? Is He watching? Why He allowed this?
GOD, who was silent up to that moment, sent an angel;
To acknowledge her decision? To console her?; No!
To send her back to her mistress; to submit herself under her hand!
Is it not cruel? Is this visitation and the message from GOD’s angel?
Is it logical? Will they accept? Even if they accept, how will they treat?
Will they punish, the punishment for a runaway slave?
See Hagar, no questions asked; no ifs and buts; simply obeyed!
The secret: The assurance she got ‘ YOU ARE THE GOD WHO SEES’.
Submitting to Sarah may become suffocating, but it does not matter!
If we have the assurance ‘ EL ROI’, no submission will be suffocating!
Hagar didn’t think about the wisdom in that command, like most of us.
But see the consequences and the rewards!.( Genesis 16 & 17 ).
1. Abraham’s house, even if Sarah was fuming, was the safest place for the delivery.
2. Her son was acknowledged as Abraham’s son; in the wilderness,
nobody would have accepted that as a legitimate child!
3. Abraham named the child Ishmael, meaning GOD hears; even the name
selected by GOD.
4. Because of the intervention of GOD, through the angelic visitation,
her status got changed; from just a slave to mother of ‘GOD hears’.
5. Her son Ishmael got circumcised as a mark of a covenant with GOD.
6. At least thirteen more years of peaceful dwelling in the land; no more
torture mentioned in the Word.
7. Specific blessings to Ishmael were uttered to Abraham by the angel.
8. Silent Abraham becoming struggling Abraham, struggling to send her away when Sarah revolted the second time. A bond created. Oh! the assurance of being loved( Genesis 21 : 11).
A name, a bond, a place, a status, a covenant, a blessing, a prophecy,
an assurance and much more; just because of single act of blind obedience; ignoring the temporal suffering by reckoning the great truth;
‘ EL ROI- GOD SEES and ISHMAEL – GOD HEARS’.
Praise the Lord, Hagar obeyed!
Tell me friends; Which costs more, obedience or disobedience?
No one to understand your sufferings?, no one to wipe away your tears?,
Feeling just used and thrown away? frustrated by passive Abraham?
Tortured by selfish Sarah? Bewildered by GOD’s silence?
GOD is silent, but not blind and deaf;
HE SEES, not just you, even your future!
HE HEARS, not just your voice, even your afflictions!
HE KNOWS, and HE wants to protect and bless you!
Don’t doubt GOD’s wisdom and instructions!. Just obey!.
You may not understand The INFINITE’s plan with your finite mind;
But, one day you will surely testify: EL ROI!;
Man’s manipulations and Satan’s subtleties won’t touch you,
If you dwell in the secret place of the MOST HIGH!
You know, the surrendered life is always a successful life!
FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE ON THE RIGHTEOUS,
AND HIS EARS ARE OPEN TO THEIR PRAYERS…(I PETER 3 : 12)
MATTHEW 9 : 9 – 13.
Matthew, also called Levi, a tax collector;
An official post in the Roman empire, but a hated position in
the Jewish land. Tax collectors were labelled as worst sinners;
His faithful attempts to please the Government in his job always
increased the number of his enemies in his land; Nature of Job!;
But, like most of us, he had his own circle, a peer group;
A group of fellow tax collectors!
One day, the Word called him when he was in his office;
No hesitation, he just left everything and followed JESUS;
So happy, so enthusiastic, Matthew celebrated this with a dinner;
A dinner to honor his new Master, The Word, Jesus;
As usual, he invited his group, fellow tax collectors!
Lifting his head high, Matthew looked around expecting appreciation
from Jews for his stand;
The way he quit the hated job of tax collection and accepting JESUS
as his new Master deserves some impact on the Jewish society?
The accusing arrows of the society attacks JESUS participation in the
Matthew and his friends were unacceptable to them.
Matthew left his old way of life and JESUS accepted him,
But the society?
So called society!
How many sincere people were labeled and rejected by it!
How many enthusiastic people were haunted by the comments,
about their past, of it!
How many beginners became backsliders because of it!
How many forgiven souls were tortured by false guilt injected by it!
His very first attempt to honor JESUS backfired because of his past!
The enemy, the accuser, subtly manipulating the so called society to
hurt, sideline and silence the soldiers of GOD’s army!
Dear friend, are you in the company of Matthew?
Enthusiastically entered but emotionally crippled by the society?
Wish to excel, but somehow your guilt traps you just to exist?
Your vision, burden and concern are humiliated by the society?
Don’t worry! Just stand still!
Watch, Matthew did not justify any thing; but his Master spoke;
Beautiful explanation about JESUS’ mission!
Silencing the society! But that is not the end;
After few days JESUS honors Matthew by naming him as an apostle!
Imagine the shock waves felt in the society;
Beauty of GOD’s grace;
That is also not the end, you see!
The assignment of writing the Kingdom Gospel given to Matthew;
You Know the uniqueness of this gospel? It is targeting Jews;
Yes, the same so called Jewish society; That is why Matthew Gospel,
Unlike other gospels, quotes extensively from the old testament,
the tool that society used to attack JESUS and his followers;
Oh, the beauty of grace!
His first attempt to honor JESUS was questioned; but his proofs using the
prophesies of old testament, nobody can question!
Dear friend, never allow the accuser to remind you your past;
Failed?, Confess them; Sincerely confessed sins GOD never remembers!
If your past limits your potential and your future,
Just remember Matthew! His Gospel is the living proof that
‘ our qualification cometh from HIM’.
YOU PREPARE A FEAST FOR ME IN THE
PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES ( PSALM 23 : 5 )
ACTS 15 : 36 – 40.
Mark helplessly, painfully witnessing a division;
Opinions; Arguments; Shouting; Division; Separation;
So common everywhere, but nobody expected that in between
Paul, a man with a mission and Barnabas, a man with compassion;
Witnessing a division itself is so painful, but, if in addition, the direct or
Indirect cause for that is that witnessing person, think about the pain;
Paul checking the track records; Barnabas picking the grace regards;
Mark, whose house was a house of prayer in Jerusalem(Acts12:12)
Mark, who committed his life to serve the Living God(Acts 12:25)
Mark, who left Jerusalem to help Paul and Barnabas(Acts 13: 5)
Mark, who accompanied Paul and Barnabas in their first mission work,
Now agonizing over his one failure!
Some how, he changed his mind and went back home!(Acts 13:13)
For the next mission trip, he is ready, available, but
Paul puts him in the rejected list; Not just Mark, Paul’s mentor
Barnabas also enters that list because of his recommendation!
Do you think overcoming this guilt so easy?
ACTS forgets Barnabas and Mark after this event;
It revolves around Paul and his mission.
A committed youth silenced by a sincere senior?
But , Praise the Lord, our God is having a different plan!
See, the same Paul, after so many years writing to Timothy,
‘Bring Mark with you when you come, ( II Timothy 4 : 11).
Why? ‘ For he will be useful to me’. Yes, the second chapter!
How it happened?. By another second chapter person, Peter!
Peter, who fell from his stand just before Jesus’ death,
Got a second chapter after the Lord’s resurrection!
See, Peter in his epistle writes from Rome church
‘Mark, My son in Christ’ ( I Peter 5 : 13 ).
Peter’s influence and mentoring in Mark’s life resulted in
” The Gospel according to Mark”.
Again, in Paul’s epistle to Philemon, we see Paul mentions
‘ Mark, my co worker’ ( verse 24).
Failed?, tortured by guilt?, rejected?, left out and ignored?
Just open the book of Mark! You need not even read it;
Just open it; It is a witness to the great truth that
Our God gives us all the second chance, the second chapter;
Your first chapter may have loose ends; open questions;
Doubts; fears and frustrations; loses and broken lines;
Fear not, that is not the end, Never give up, stand still;
God will give you a second chance;
Start writing the second chapter; Come on, You can!
Mark, poor track record, rejected by Paul,
Cause of a conflict: The First Chapter;
Mark, the Gospel writer, Peter’s son in Christ,
Paul’s co-worker: The Second Chapter!
God providing lamb at Moriah:
The Second Chapter starts for Abraham and Isaac!
God giving the dreams to Pharaoh:
The Second Chapter starts for Joseph!
God speaks from the burning bush:
The Second Chapter starts for Moses!
God disturbing king’s sleep:
The Second Chapter starts for Mordecai!
God sending an angel to shut the lion’s mouth:
The Second Chapter starts for Daniel!
God giving John the Baptist:
The Second Chapter starts for Zechariah!
God sending His Son to the cross:
The Second Chapter starts for the mankind!
Search the Bible, you can find many more.
Reached the end?. Yes that is an end but not the end!
End of the first chapter, but you also have the second chapter;
Remember Mark, get up, fight back, finish well!
IN YOUR STRENGTH I CAN CRUSH AN ARMY;
WITH MY GOD I CAN SCALE ANY WALL.( PSALM 18: 29)
Scene 3: NUMBERS 2: 3 – 10
God gives instructions about the order to be followed;
Camping discipline; Warfare strategy;
But strangely the first born Reuben by-passed;
Judah shall lead from the east!, Reuben in the south!
A sharp cut and a strange order;
Scene 2: GENESIS 49 : 3 & 4.
Jacob’s final blessings to his twelve sons;
Just before his death; Sons eagerly waiting;
Starting with Reuben, carefully selected words;
‘First born; Jacob’s might, beginning of his strength’;
Oh, very good introduction; Jacob continues;
‘The excellency of dignity;
The excellency of power’.
Power; dignity; strength; might; the first born!,
Oh, what a combination, surely a special person!
Jacob is going to declare more than the double portion;
But, suddenly Jacob’s face and tone changes;
“Unstable as water; You shall not excel!” ;
A sharp cut and a strange curse;
Excellency of dignity and power, but he can not excel!
Reuben painfully listens, the next eleven sections;
All blessings! Curse only for Reuben the first born!
Not even to the brothers who schemed against Joseph!
Scene 1: GENESIS 42 : 37.
Joseph as a ruler in Egypt; Simeon in his custody;
The nine brothers are expected to bring Benjamin,
To prove their identity and to free Simeon;
Going back to their house, the first born Reuben,
Father of four sons trying to convince his father;
‘Send Benjamin with me, I will bring him back safely’
‘If not, kill my two sons’. Oh what a surety!
But, Jacob straightaway rejects that!
After some time, Judah proposes;
‘ If not, let me bear the blame forever’
Strangely his father accepts that!
“Life of two sons; or accepting the blame,
Which is an in- depth security?”
Reuben painfully asks himself.
A sharp cut and a strange rejection;
Scene 0 : GENESIS 35 : 22.
Why? Why only Reuben again and again?
You know it; Yes his sexual immorality;
Experimentation; Defiling the bed;
Behind the scene and the screen:
Do you know?. It is Reuben who prevented
his brothers from murdering Joseph!
So compassionate; so talented; So mighty;
So excellent; so powerful; so responsible;
Dignity; the first born Reuben;
Reuben means ‘ Behold a son!’
But, poor Reuben ‘ Behind a sin!’.
Want to excel in your calling?
Need one more message; no;
Write your own message; your own story;
By remembering sex infested poor Reuben!
BUT I SAY TO YOU THAT WHOEVER LOOKS AT
A WOMAN TO LUST FOR HER HAS ALREADY
COMMITTED ADULTERY WITH HER IN HIS HEART.
( MATTHEW 5 : 28 )
MARK 6 : 20
John the Baptist in the prison;
Imprisoned because of his commitment to the truth;
His preaching ministry in the wilderness got disturbed;
Is it temporary or permanent? No idea;
From the wilderness to the prison, and not to the palace!
Is it a shortcut to the palace, like in the case of Joseph in Egypt?
A chance to become the official priest of Herod’s kingdom?
Ministry expansion?, Chance to preach from palace?
God’s time to reward John’s faithfulness in the wilderness?
Herod’s hatred slowly becoming acceptance, is it a sign?
A sign that a deliverance and promotion are waiting?
King’s frequent visits and willingness to obey John’s words,
A confirmation to a comfortable future?
But, at what cost?
A slight change in his conviction?
Little compromise? A single word of approval?
Approval of the illicit affair of Herod?
See the possibilities; A silent nod can change everything;
John the Baptist got tempted?
We don’t know, nothing mentioned in the Bible ;
But, surely he got disturbed, he got confused,
To the extend of doubting even Jesus,
To the extend of sending his disciples to Jesus,
To question Jesus and His mission!
A desert trained prophet getting depressed? distressed?
Confidential conflicts and confusing attacks in his mind?
Prolonged imprisonment and loneliness breaking his will?
Silence of Jesus suffocating his inner man?
John suffered, but how cruelly he suffered? Who knows?
But he won; he never gave up; never compromised;
Never came down from his convictions to win any favor;
In fact, even in prison he shows favor to Herod by his teachings!
Lost his life in the end, but never lost his calling;
What about you?. Entering February, the month of valentine!
A month of temptation to the singles and the married!
To the singles, to prove to their group ‘ I got my Valentine’!
To the married to show to the world ‘ Even now, I can get a valentine’!
At what cost? By compromising what?
Eros eroding your convictions in this e-world?
Preparing yourself to sleep with the serpent?
Compromising the privilege of walking with THE LION?
Ask Samson; He will tell you the bitter truth;
Walking with the Lion and sleeping with the serpent
Made him a clown in front of the crowd!
Ask Herod and he will tell you the same!
But ask John the Baptist, he will tell you;
Better to be lonely than to compromise;
Better to be faithful than famous;
Better to face the prison wall than to dance in the seducer’s hall;
Better to WALK with THE LION than to sleep with the serpent!
Planning to celebrate valentine’s day?
Go celebrate, not with the world but with THE WORD;
Enjoy an extended time of embrace with your Eternal Lover;
The soft and silky, smooth and silent , seducer calling you to bed?
Remember, The WORD, The LION, your Lover crushed its head!
Advanced Valentine’s Day wishes!
…I AM CONVINCED THAT NOTHING CAN
EVER SEPARATE US FROM HIS LOVE……
…….. . FROM THE LOVE OF GOD THAT IS
REVEALED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD ( ROMANS 8 : 38, 39 )