Acting Out & Acting Up

Unclean & unruly, acting out and acting up.

“Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes. As soon as He got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met Him. He lived in the tombs. No one was able to restrain him anymore—even with chains— because he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had snapped off the chains and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. And always, night and day, he was crying out among the tombs and in the mountains and cutting himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before Him (Mark 5:1-6 HCSB).”

The man was about to go through total transformation.

Legion to liberty…

“And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do You have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You before God, don’t torment me!’ For He had told him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’

‘What is your name?’ He asked him.

“My name is Legion,’ he answered Him, ‘because we are many.’ And he kept begging Him not to send them out of the region.

Now a large herd of pigs was there, feeding on the hillside. The demons begged Him, ‘Send us to the pigs, so we may enter them.’ And He gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs, and the herd of about 2,000 rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned there. The men who tended them ran off and reported it in the town and the countryside, and people went to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the man who had been demon-possessed by the legion, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. The eyewitnesses described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs. Then they began to beg Him to leave their region.

As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed kept begging Him to be with Him. But He would not let him; instead, He told him, ‘Go back home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you.’ So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed (Mark 5:7-20 HCSB).”

Tombs to testimony!

 

 

 

Prancing for the Prince

{image:SnappyGoat.com/flickr}

The Prince of Peace lifts the downtrodden. He puts a spring in the step of the discouraged.

“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer
and sets me securely on the heights (Psalm 18:33 HCSB).”

Today, I was lifting my legs and feet while walking in place; prancing horses came to mind. They move across a track or circus ring with pageantry and precision. The imagery is exhilarating. 

A beggar found healing, lost his inhibitions and put his legs to the supreme test.

“But Peter said, ‘I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!’ Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. So he jumped up, stood, and started to walk, and he entered the temple complex with them—walking, leaping, and praising God (Acts 3:6-8 HCSB).”

Note the progression. The man was healed in the name of Jesus. With miraculous healing, his feet and ankles were instantaneously strengthened. He jumped up from his place of hopelessness, stood and walked. God transformed lame legs into legs of leaping. In response, he praised God!

In Uniform

{My Dad: Franklin F. Ford}

Do you have a family member serving in the military?

My Dad served in the Army before and during World War II.

Our Son-in-Law is retired career Air Force.

His youngest is now following in his father’s footsteps.

I have extended family in the military too.

I like to see a man or woman in uniform.

Some are basic duty uniforms, suitable for daily wear. Dress uniforms are for formal occasions and yes… there are combat uniforms.

We are in the LORD’s Army.

He gives us His Armor, our uniform. We need to wear it daily.

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
and your feet sandaled with readiness
for the gospel of peace.
In every situation take the shield of faith,
and with it you will be able to extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word.

Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18 HCSB).”

Hannah Prayed…

{image: commons wikimedia.org}

 

                                          Hannah prayed for a son.

“Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears.  Making a vow, she pleaded, ‘Lord of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut (1 Samuel 1:10-11 HCSB).”

The LORD God gave Hannah the desire of her heart.

“Hannah prayed:

My heart rejoices in the Lord;
my horn is lifted up by the Lord.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
because I rejoice in Your salvation.
There is no one holy like the Lord.
There is no one besides You!
And there is no rock like our God.
Do not boast so proudly,
or let arrogant words come out of your mouth,
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and actions are weighed by Him.
The bows of the warriors are broken,
but the feeble are clothed with strength.
Those who are full hire themselves out for food,
but those who are starving hunger no more.
The woman who is childless gives birth to seven,
but the woman with many sons pines away.
The Lord brings death and gives life;
He sends some to Sheol, and He raises others up.
The Lord brings poverty and gives wealth;
He humbles and He exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the garbage pile.
He seats them with noblemen
and gives them a throne of honor.
For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
He has set the world on them.
He guards the steps of His faithful ones,
but the wicked perish in darkness,
for a man does not prevail by his own strength.
Those who oppose the Lord will be shattered;
He will thunder in the heavens against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give power to His king;
He will lift up the horn of His anointed (1 Samuel 2:1-10 HCSB).”

 

Down in the Valley…

“Down in the valley, valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow
Hear the wind blow, love, hear the wind blow
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.”

[Public Domain/Henry Marvin Belden-1909]

 

Step back in time; look down into the valley of Elah…

“Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.

And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders.  Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, ‘Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.’ And the Philistine said, ‘I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.’  When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid (1 Samuel 17:1-11 NKJV).”

The valley was a place of confrontation.

“Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines (1 Samuel 17:19 NKJV).”

The valley was the perfect place for a valiant young man.

“Then David said to Saul, ‘Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:32 NKJV).”

The lad prepared to meet the giant.

“Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine (1 Samuel 17:40 NKJV).”

David relied on the LORD.

“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.  Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.’

 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David (1 Samuel 17:45-50 NKJV).”

Victory in the valley!

 

 

 

 

 

Listen!

‘Listen!’

Dr. Charles Stanley voices the command repeatedly.

Was the crowd listening to Apostle Peter that day?

Did they hear the truth?

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know. Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it (Acts 2:22-24 HCSB).”

Death had no hold on Him. King David had prophesied…

“Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah:

He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay.

“God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear (Acts 2:31-33 HCSB).”

Did they hear; were they alert and listening?

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36 HCSB)!”

 

 

 

Women, They Were First

                     {image:crosscards.com}

Resurrection morning is not scripted by any of the disciples…  
 
Before full daylight, faithful women begin a mission of love. Laden with spices to anoint His body, they approach the Master’s tomb contemplating how to remove the large stone barrier.  

Finding it open puzzles them. The stone lay off to the side, affording them access to the burial place. Consider the women’s frame of mind as they discover Jesus is not inside His place of burial. Where is He? 
 
Suddenly, they encounter two men dressed in radiant clothing. Fright grips them as they fall to the ground. The men ask a pertinent question.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead (Luke 24:5b NKJV)?” 

A messenger continues. “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again (Luke 24:6-7 NKJV).” 

But… They saw Jesus die. Three days have passed since His lifeless body had been placed inside the sealed tomb. Yet, hope and joy rise in their hearts as the rays of the morning sun.  

“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word (Matthew 28:8 NKJV).” 

On their way with their witness, they meet the risen Christ who calms their fears.  

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me (Matthew 28:10 NKJV).” 

The message is true; Jesus is alive! 

In the current culture, prejudice against women prevails as they share their experience with the disciples. 

“And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them (Luke 24:11 NKJV).” 

The disciples receive their own affirmation of Jesus’ resurrection in the remainder of the 11th chapter of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus is indeed alive and the women’s message is verified. 
 
Don’t lose track of the women’s prized privileges. They are the first to see the open tomb, first to hear an announcement of His resurrection, first to behold the risen Savior. They are first appointed messengers to carry the gospel, the good news of Jesus conquering death.