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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.