Exalted In Due Time (1 Peter 5:6)

Life is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes the causes are understandable, but at other times it seems that everything is against you, nothing makes sense and all hope for recovery is nowhere in sight. What should a person do? Should they fight? Give up? Run away? All of these plausible solutions are representative of our efforts to deliver ourselves, but God’s solution is different.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (1 Peter 5:6)

Instead of fighting, try humbling yourself before God. Kneel before, yield your will, desires and goals. As you place them before God, you allow him complete liberty with your life. You know that God is omnipotent: meaning that he can do anything, but there are some things that he will not do. He will not rob you of your will. He will speak to you, move your heart and even chasten you, but he will not make you do anything. When you are humble before God, you give him liberty to do his perfect work in your life. Many believe yielding to God will limit the joy that can be had in life, but in reality, by yielding to God, you open up to yourself doors of joyful opportunity that you in no other way could possibly experience.

When you do humble yourself before God, he will lift you up. He is not saying that he will promote you to a higher position among men–although he may do that–but he will lift you above your circumstances in life.

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Like The Maniac (Mark 5:1-15)

I remember the 1992 USA Olympic basketball team called “The Dream Team”. Whenever they entered the court, they played circles around their opponents. They easily executed plays with minimal resistance from the other team and on some occasions had their opponents dumbfounded. They simply dominated the court. This type of domination could not compare to what was experienced by the maniac of Gadera.

Mark 5:1-15 is a very familiar passage of scripture on the account of this man. How this man came to be possessed with devils is unknown, but the bondage and control that he experienced was described. These fallen spirit beings had a heyday. They did to him whatever they wanted with minimal resistance and completely dominated his life.

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. (Mark 5:5)

This too was your life before salvation. You may not have been possessed by a demon, but your life was under the dominating control of sin, your flesh and the fallen spiritual influences upon your life. No matter how hard you tried, you were unable to break free from their grips. Your life was crushed under their domination and spiraling out of control. Then you met Jesus. His love and power shattered the grip that was upon you and set you free. He clothed you in with his righteousness and gave you a new right mind.

Jesus’s miracle was great when he set the maniac free, but even greater when he set you and me free.

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Peace In The Storms (Mark 4:37, 39)

The waves were rolling high and every effort to prepared for them was useless. They pounded upon the sides of the vessel, flooded over into the boat and lowered it deeper into the grips of the sea. Frantically the disciples tried to bail out the water, but their efforts were met with the dismal blows of the storm. Unless help would arise, the ship would go down and all would be lost.

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full…
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:37, 39)

Some 30 odd years ago, my life was in a similar state. As life pounded upon my empty heart, the swirling sea began swallowing it into despair. All my efforts towards happiness, were useless. Pales of success, possessions, and ways of escape were unable to remove the water from my vessel. Unless help would arise, I would have gone down and been lost.

And then, I finally heard Jesus calling me. He had been working all the while, but I didn’t recognize him. My sinful heart and religious efforts drowned out the soft tender voice of his calling. It was only when I fell broken and hopeless that I heard him. I responded to his call and immediately he was at my side. He lifted me from the storm and placed me upon a solid rock in the midst of the waves. No longer could they flood my upon heart. As they dashed upon the rock upon which I was placed, I experienced no fear. The storm clouds parted and rays of God’s shining love brought warmth to my heart. The storms of life were still all around me, but as peace and calm are in the eye of the storm, I enjoyed a similar peace and calm in the eye of his care. For over 30 years , he still brings peace in the midst of my storms.

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Living To Meet The Needs Of Others (1 Kings 17:7)

Elijah had just given the mandate that it would not rain endless he spoke that it would. Needless to say as the rains abated and agricultural conditions worsened, he became very unpopular. For reasons unexplained, God directed Elijah to the brook Cherith. While there, The Lord provided water, bread and meat for the sustaining of Elijah. God could have kept Elijah there and continued to meet his needs for the duration of his judgment upon Israel, but he choose not to. When the brook dried up, Elijah’s life conditions became poor. When these occured, God directed him to go to Zarephath. His trial came because of needs in the widow at Zarephath’s life.

And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. (1 Kings 17:7)

The widow had two great needs: food and the ability to trust the man of God and that his word would be truth. Elijah’s trial put him into the place where he could be used by God to meet the widow’s food need. As time transpired, her son became ill unto death and once again, Elijah was in the right place to be used by God to resurrect him. Both of these opportunities were the direct result of the brook Cherith drying up and a trial beginning for him.

Our lives are the same. God prepares us to be used by him and and moves us into the exact location for his purpose. As your brook dries up and your trial begins, submit yourself to his will and recognize that he is moving your life into a position where you will help others by providing what they greatly need. You may not be able to perform miracles as Elijah did, but your faith will perform a miraculous effect on their lives.

He Saw Their Faith (Mark 2:5)

This miracle focuses more on faith than some other events. Faith is important in every aspect of our lives, but in this account it becomes the focus more so because of the audience and the events taking place. In reading this story, I get stuck on these words about Jesus.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (Mark 2:5)

Faith is not merely believing that God can work things out, but that God is the only solution. Because of this, we must have the attitude to do whatever it takes to gain access to him so that his miraculous work can be performed. For these men, the crowd and building needed to be overcome in order for access be made to Jesus. For us and the trials that we face, the obstacles may be drastically different. Nonetheless, we must overcome obstacles to our faith so that our faith may be seen and the petitions of it may be experienced.

Did you ever wonder why Jesus, who knew that these men were bringing a crippled person to him for healing, did not meet and teach in a different location so that they could more easily access him? I guess the answer to that may be that he wanted others to see their faith and recognize the results that their faith brought.

Many years ago while working in the steel mill, I was sitting in the shop waiting for an assignment. The men were talking around the table and the term “born again Christian” came up. At that time I did not know Christ and everybody around me knew that my life was as vile as they come. I asked, “What’s a born again Christian?” I was told that it is a person who gives all of his money to the church. Well, I was taken back and thought that I would have gotten a better answer than that. I wrote it off that they didn’t really know what they were talking about. Needless to say, less than a year later I would become a Christian. My transformed life would be on display for all who knew me before. Just as the lost sat in the house, saw Jesus recognize people’s faith and then perform a miracle, the lost men in the shop saw the same. They didn’t like it, but they couldn’t get away from it. They may have despised Jesus, but they could not explain away what he had done in my life.

Several years later, I sat and talked with a man who was my foreman at that previous time. In conversation he remarked that back at that time, I was basically worthless as a worker, but had somehow turned into a good one.”

Remember, Jesus sees your faith and he wants others to see it too. When this happens, he gets lifted up before men. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32). So, live a life for God and allow all to see your faith.

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Healed Like The Leper (Mark 1:40-41)

Leprosy was a terrible disease, which most often lead to physical disfigurement and eventual death. Those with the disease were banished from society and forced to live in colonies. Not only were these people forced to face the physical struggles associated with the disease, but also the emotional upheaval caused by the longing to be loved and accepted by people that they loved and by others. In this account, Jesus is confronted by the leper who believes that he has the power to heal him. To me, the greatest aspect of this miracle is that Jesus was moved with compassion for the man and healed him.

And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. (Mark 1:40-41)

As I read this account, I tried to see how this miracle relates to me and my salvation. My first thoughts were that I, like the leper, was not wanted. Oh, I had many friends, but their friendship was only based on what I could bring to them. Everybody was concerned about themselves. I was alone in the world, lost and empty in my heart.

But Jesus saw my yearning heart. He looked past my sin, which he terribly hated, and saw me and my needs. Because he is a God of love, he was moved with compassion instead of vengeance. His bowels yearned for me instead of a desire for satisfying judgment. As a parent hurts for their children, God hurt for me and reached out his loving hand with the offer of salvation. It was then that my life was healed. I was healed from the inside out. He first healed my heart, he then healed my wounds and eventually my life. Praise be to God!

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He Lifted Me Out (Mark 1:30-31)

I have read the gospels countless times and each time that I read the words and account of Jesus’s life, my heart is moved. As I read of how Jesus healed Simon’s wife’s mother, I can identify with a similar miracle that he has done in my life and hopefully in yours also.

But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. (Mark 1:30-31)

To have a fever in that day was much more serious than it would be today. This woman, who was loved by her daughter, was in peril of death. When Jesus entered the house, they desired for him to perform a work of healing. As the scriptures tell us, he took her by the hand and lifted her up. It is amazing how Jesus by his touch can lift somebody from the depths of peril and establish them in good health.

It was not long ago when you and I were in the depths and peril of sin. There was no hope to be found and then Jesus came. He reached out with his tender loving hand, grasped your heart, lifted you out and established your feet to walk a new life. The world cannot explain what happened and for me, even after all these years, I cannot explain how it happened. As the blind man said, “I once was blind, but now I see”, I too can say, “I once was in the depths of sin, hopelessness and despair, but Jesus lifted me out.” It was a miracle that changed my life and destiny forever. Praise be to God.

Immediately after her healing, Simon’s wife’s mother ministered to others. God desires for us to do the same. He lifted us up and set is free for a purpose. Our purpose is to fulfill our part in his work. Years ago a bible college teacher defined “The Work” as God using man in his plan for the ages. God has a plan for the ages and he lifted us out of the pit to be a part in that plan. As you walk with The Lord today, seek how he may want to use you in ministry to others. When you recognize the opportunity, step out and be the part of God’s that only you were meant to be.

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