Jesus left a crowd of people where He was appreciated and valued so He could help a raving lunatic. In Mark 5:1-20, we read about a man who was completely undone and thoroughly tormented by loads of demons. He was demon possessed and was living a very tortured, painful and isolated life. When he was described in these verses, I was deeply moved by his tragic existence. He would roam the tombs & mountains with no human contact, gashing himself, screaming and unclothed with no hope of reprieve or help – until Jesus came.
When we come across people in our lives who are broken, hurting, dysfunctional, crazy, hostile, erratic and even barbaric, let’s be willing to see past these descriptions and difficulties to see a human in need of love and redemption. Let’s remember that the enemy of humanity is seeking to torture, deceive and destroy humans in any way possible. On the other side, Jesus wants to work through us to bring love, healing and redemption! Let’s make sure we stay on Jesus’ side 🙂
I’m a wannabe basketball player. Having watched the NCAA men’s basketball championship last night, I’m all the more convinced that I’m a mere wannabe when it comes to playing basketball.
I also wannabe other things, but nothing more than a genuine follower of Jesus, full stop. And for this goal, I have endless hope for the sole reason that Jesus has given me the Holy Spirit, as my Helper, in this supreme goal. Indeed, the closer I draw to the Holy Spirit:
the more I make choices that reflect Jesus,
my conversations are filled with truth & love,
my perspective changes to a divine outlook rather than filtered by my flesh.
Would you join me in this adventure to be a Jesus wannabe?
Gal 4:19, ” . . . until Christ be formed in you.”
Sometimes I’m smart, but more times I’m a dingbat. I forget stuff, don’t pay attention well, I’m insensitive & definitely say dumb stuff from time to time. But I deeply appreciate God’s grace.
Indeed, God’s face redeems my dingbat & makes it into something good & helpful! When I try to camouflage my dingbat actions, it usually backfires & makes things worse. So i figures that I have a divine treasure in this earthen vessel (2Cor 4;7), being conformed to the image of Jesus through God’s grace & the redeeming help of the Holy Spirit!
I’m a very competitive person and that can be really bad. For example, I used to play in our church’s an annual flag football tournament. After a few years, I decided to remove myself from playing because I couldn’t find a way to compete with a friendly demeanor. So when Paul says in 1 Cor 9:24, “. . . , run in such as way as to win the prize, ” I would use this phrase to justify my poor behavior. Of course I took the verse out of context and this verse can often be misappropriated & rationalized to accommodate personal success rather than transformed redemption. But as followers of Jesus, winning the prize doesn’t align with the world’s definition of victory & success. Indeed, consider the recent Olympic illustration of “winning the prize”: running to win
Let’s enedeavor to be successful by the definition of following Jesus rather than letting our flesh or the world define success for us!
I read this morning about how Jesus helped a man who was demon possessed. Because of the demons who tormented him, this man:
lived isolated among the tombs
couldn’t be chained or contained
He was clearly deranged & without hope.
After meeting Jesus & receiving His freedom from the demons, the man was dramatically changed – so much that when the townspeople came out to see what was happening, they found the former tormented lunatic:
interacting with Jesus & His disciples
seated & serene
It never ceases to astound me that the townspeople ran off Jesus because they were afraid of His power to change everything. They seemed to have become more comfortable with demons than Jesus who brought freedom from all things demonic.
Let’s fully welcome Jesus into every area of our lives to restore order, serenity, salvation & the ability to engage & connect with others in healthy ways!
We do alot of our shopping at Walmart because it’s cheap, close and convenient. The quality, however, can sometimes be a little questionable. For example, when I buy socks for my boys, I’ve learned that if I buy them from Walmart, I’ll usually have to buy 2-3 times the number of socks (holes, rips, etc) as if I buy a higher quality & little costlier brand from a different store. Consumer grade socks for my boys from Walmart usually have a pretty short lifespan in the world of boy socks 🙂
Unfortuanately, I think we sometimes treat Christianity with the same level of function. We want cheap, close and convenient: Jesus in the manger, candle light service in less than an hour, the cross, tomb, July 4th and the next thing. With this kind of thinking, it’s not a surprise that someone could easily be disillusioned, misled and / disappointed with the consumer grade version of Christianity, if such a thing really exists.
So here are some thoughts to consider:
does your faith facilitate more function from or attachment with Jesus?
is your faith in Jesus based on consumption, sacrifice and / or transformation?
is Jesus an accessory or a necessity in your life?
maybe consumer grade Christianity is only a Satan contrived deception to the authentic, daily and life-changing relationship with Jesus that will most certainly include sacrifice, fertilizer and resurrection 🙂
I like Autumn because all the transformations and changes that happen: leaves turning colors, weather cooling off, schedules getting more routine & lots more. Autumn reminds me that life is continually changing, even if slowly. Autumn also encourages me that change is possible because sometimes I can get discouraged with myself when I don’t see the changes that I want in my thinking, etc. If you’re like me, we like to be involved in changes that are improvements, so here’s an opportunity for you to bring transformation and be transformed at the same time:
Saving Moses is hosting a severely space limited team trip to Cambodia in July 2015 & I’m inviting you to check out this transformational possibility for your schedule: Saving Moses Team Trip 2015
This morning I read about Zacheus, the wee little man who climbed up in a syacmore tree, so that he could get a better glimpse of Jesus. In this very brief story, we see that Zacheus was a tax collector & not popular with the general public (maybe like our IRS – smile). Nevertheless, his interest in Jesus compelled him to do something that was out of the ordinary – maybe he was used to doing these kinds of things since he was a wee little man ,)
Whatever was his normal behavior, he caught Jesus’ attention and Jesus was happy to visit Zacheus’ house – the beginning of Zacheus’ transformation. When we genuinely look for & accept Jesus for Who He really is, then our lives change. Our relationship with Jesus is about living a transformational life more than being a religious follower of Jesus 🙂
I was recently in Haiti for some work with www.savingmoses.org. It was deeply moving experience for me – even from the time I landed at the airport. You see, the airport at Port au Prince was damaged & so every passenger was led to a large warehouse to go through the immigration process. I was pleasantly surprised to be almost totally surrounded by missions groups who were coming to help Haiti in a variety of ways. Everyone was very friendly, chatty & I could tell they were eager to jump into doing some good, hands on missions work. I love to be with people when they’re hearts are intent on helping others – such a rich experience!
My return to the States was a bit of a contrast. As we entered the US, we were going through the normal immigration formalities & had collected our luggage to finish going through customs. There were some long lines & it seemed like one line was shorter than the rest, so we jumped in that line. Unfortunately, we cut in front of a group of people unknowingly. One of the girls in the group proceeded to say something really rude to us. I turned around to see what was wrong & realized what we’d done. When I asked her where she had been, she explained that they were returning from a missions trip to Haiti. I don’t think she caught the irony of the situation – she had gone to Haiti to be part of something altruistic, benevolent, unselfish & nice. Now that she was back to the US, she was in “normal-ville”. I’m left wondering how often we miss opportunities for God to transform us. Just something to consider