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Mark 4: 37-38 ” A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ “

In the midst of a fierce life storm, have you ever echoed the disciple’s words, “Lord don’t you care?”  But if we stop to think through this question…Jesus cared about us long before we cared about Him.  For His loving concern was evident as He was nailed to that Cross on Calvary…intervening on our behalf as He willingly gave His life for ours.  So the next time you’re tempted to question the Lord’s concern, just remember I Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

Jeremiah 15:19 ” Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve Me; if you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be My spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.’ “

In this verse the Lord lays out very clearly what’s our responsibility and what’s His.  For starters, this relationship can’t happen until we have that “coming to Jesus moment”, a time when we finally stop, admit our sinfulness, repent, and turn back to Him.  He says that at that moment He will restore, renew, and revive our old self into a new one that is  worthy of carrying His Message to others.  But there is also a warning in this verse, a caution to not allow compromise to creep into our message – however enticing it is – to merely win the approval of man.  As Zechariah 3:7  tells us, we are to continually walk in His ways and keep His requirements…not what we think others want to hear.

Jeremiah 33:8 ” I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against Me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against Me.”

God’s mercy is great.  It’s His amazing mercy that compassionately addresses our plight and wretchedness as broken human beings here on earth.  For only God can forgive and cleanse sinful man when we fall short of His standard.(Which is very often)  And it’s only God that can forgive us of our willful defiance, and disobedience directed towards Him.  But it is only through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus, that we can attain this Divine forgiveness.

Acts 1:8 ” But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The early Church was comfortable in Jerusalem.  They were one big happy family – united in loving God and one another.  But then persecution broke out against them after the stoning of Stephen, and they were forced to scatter.  Would the Church have ventured out on their own to spread the Gospel if it hadn’t been for this persecution?  Was this possibly the Lord’s way of saying, “I’ve given you the Great Commission, now go do it!”  For the most part, Believers today  are just as comfortable in our square box Churches…we’re one big happy family, loving God and each other.  But we rarely go outside the walls, and never think about venturing to unknown places with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We’re basically too comfy to care.  But the same Great Commission applies to us… the same command to proclaim the Gospel Message to a lost and dying world pertains to us too.  And it may take the same kind of persecution of the Church to get us off our backsides.

Deuteronomy 18:21-22 ” You may say to yourself, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.”

Even now it’s sometimes very difficult to discern whether a Word from the Lord we hear is accurate.  At face value it may sound good…especially the warm, fuzzy ones that predict peace, prosperity, and a new Cadillac in every garage.  But to separate truth from falsehood we have to weigh these words in context with all prior revelations from the Lord.  Is it consistent with God’s word?  And when put up against the truth already received from the Lord, does it measure up to its standard?  When we filter all we hear through these notions first, we’ll be less likely to accept the words of someone who’s overstepping their boundaries and taking smug and arrogant liberties with God’s word.

Psalm 57: 2 ” I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me.”

If I told you that God has a wonderful plan for your life, would you agree, or would you refuse to believe He could use what you see as only worthless and empty.  I would then point you to the Book of Hosea.  God told the prophet Hosea to marry, but not just any woman, God told him to take a faithless prostitute by the name of Gomer.  Now to add a extraordinary element to this story (that only God can do), her name Gomer is derived from the Hebrew word for fulfills -Gamar – which is used here in this verse.  Unbeknownst to Hosea or Gomer, God was using their rocky marriage as an illustration of His dealings and love towards the faithless nation of Israel.  In other words, God used the prostitute Gomer to fulfill His plan and purpose for all of Israel.  God has a wonderful plan for your life and He will fulfill and accomplish His perfect plan and purpose in it.

Mark 5: 18-20 ” As Jesus was getting into the boat,the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with Him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.”

Jesus had just stepped ashore when this demon-possessed man ran up to Him.  Between Mark and Luke’s account of this we can get a good description of this tormented person.  For a long time he hadn’t worn clothes or lived in a house but rather dwelt among the tombs in the graveyard … the nearby towns-people had tried to restrain him physically with chains, but he always managed to break free and would spend the nights wandering, crying out, and cutting himself with stones.  So you can imagine the astonishment of the towns-people when they came out to see what had happened and instead found this man sitting quietly, dressed, and in his right mind.  They probably couldn’t believe their eyes, but there he was…undeniably healed.  And this was the reason Jesus refused to take him along.  This man’s testimony was far more important and powerful in the area where he lived…for he was indeed living proof of what the Lord had done.