Jesus Stops an Outer Storm and an Inner One

9D6FAE04-5F14-49FE-B311-73F72407B375
Photo from the movie, “Jesus”

At evening, Jesus and His disciples were headed to the Gadarenes, across the sea. A storm arose and began to fill the boat with the wind-whipped waters of the Galilee.

Jesus was asleep in the stern in the midst of it all when His disciples cried out with fear. “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?”—their lack of faith being made clear.

Jesus stood up and rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, saying, “Peace, be still!” Then the disciples were amazed to see the wind and the waves conform to His will.

After the Lord questioned them why it was that they had no faith, they wondered aloud together. “Who could this be?” to have such authority over the power of wind, sea, and weather.

At their arrival at the Gadarenes, they would see the Lord do a work of another kind. There, Jesus was met immediately by a man who had an unclean spirit and whom no man could bind.

He stayed among the tombs and mountains and would cut himself with stones, crying out both day and night. Even shackles and chains couldn’t hold him, but he’d break them, due to an evil, inner might.

Seeing Jesus from afar, this man ran to Him and worshiped Him, and then he said… “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” He indicated fear of what was ahead.

Jesus told the unclean spirit to come out of the man and asked its name, which was Legion. “For we are many,” it said, and begged Jesus earnestly not to send them out of that region.

Then all the demons begged Jesus to permit them to enter a herd of about two thousand swine, which were feeding in the mountains there. At once, Jesus gave permission. The demons entered the pigs, which then ran violently down a steep place to drown in the sea, giving those who saw it a troubling scare.

The men who had fed the swine fled and told others in the city and country what had transpired. So, many came to see for themselves and were shocked to find, clothed and in his right mind, the madman whose life had been so degraded and mired.

Afraid, they pleaded with Jesus to depart from there, even though such a great deliverance had been shown. The man who’d been delivered very much wanted to leave with and follow Him, but Jesus said that, instead, his story should become more known.

He told him to go home and tell his friends of God’s compassion on him and what great things the Lord had done… So he departed and began to share in Decapolis, and the people marveled as he spoke about his life-changing encounter with Jesus, God’s Son.

P. A. Oltrogge

…from Mark 4-5

Thanking God that today, also, we hear of and have ourselves experienced
God’s love and power through faith in Jesus. Find encouragement by reading some of the praise reports at http://www.josephprince.org

There’s Still Light in Goshen

D5E7C051-B87B-4910-93DB-52674BEB3375

The Lord was working out a major plan to set free–the captive Hebrew people of old. There would be ten plagues, so the actions of Moses and Aaron would need to be brave and bold.

When they came before Pharaoh, they had commands from the Lord on what to say or do, to warn him of, or initiate, every plague that his nation was soon to go through.

The ninth plague of darkness was so severe that the Egyptians couldn’t get around. For three days, the darkness was “felt” and thick, in the air and on the ground.

One of Egypt’s chief deities was the sun “god,” so such darkness proved the Lord’s might, to prevail over any of the “gods” of the Egyptians. Only His power could end the dark night.

But the Hebrews were under God’s protection; and, in the midst of that constant night, there was light in Goshen in their dwellings because God was in charge of their fight.

Today, people experience darkness, not of God and not a kind where you can’t visibly see, but darkness in their minds when they’ve not recognized “the door,” through which anyone’s able to go free.

Jesus pointed the way, saying, “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” You can experience “Goshen” through God’s Son yet today, and you’ll have all of the light that you’ll need.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt. So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” Exodus 10:21-23

“If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 KJV

“Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.’” John 10:9-10

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

A Paralytic and Four Faithful Friends

Jesus had been back to Capernaum for some days, and the news of this became known. Many people gathered at the house to hear Him speak, and the crowd had really grown. In fact, there were so many who wanted to come inside that you couldn’t get near the door. But there was a paralytic, with four friends who had a goal–to hear Jesus say, “Restore!”

So fervent were they in their earnest goal, that though it didn’t seem possible to get through, they weren’t downcast, but instead looked up–gaining entrance through the roof was what they’d do. Their faith in the Lord, their tenacity to attain, moved them to hoist their friend and his pallet up. They made a rooftop hole and let him down to the Lord–it didn’t matter to them to interrupt.

Jesus, seeing their faith, immediately was moved. “Son, your sins are forgiven,” He then said. This prompted thoughts in some scribes who were there, that He was blasphemous and clearly misled. Jesus knew in His spirit the things they were reasoning and confronted them before they could talk. He asked which was easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or “Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk”?

But so that they would know He really did have this authority, He further went on to say–that the man who’d been paralyzed should get up and take his pallet and be free to go on his way. Immediately, the man arose and picked up his pallet and walked out in the sight of all who were there. The people were amazed and glorified God, saying they’d never seen anything like this anywhere.

After that, Jesus went out to the shore of the sea, which can bring to mind the “waves” of God’s grace. The people followed Jesus to the shore, as well, and He continued to teach them at that place. A fitting scene it was to conclude this narrative, for God’s grace does come in wave upon wave. If a problem seems insurmountable, look up, not down–He’ll help you, just be bold and be brave.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.”
Psalm 43:5

“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33

Scriptures NKJV
From the Biblical account in Mark 2:1-13

31B9B999-2BBD-46A8-99CC-1FD3BB999C88

Triumphal Arch

02A0B671-A31B-481D-97CF-17EDDDC49E20

“And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.”
Genesis 9:12-17 KJV

The rainbow is a token of the covenant that God promised to fulfill.
It can be called an arch or an arc; choose whichever you will.

But an arch can be formed over a doorway–and that gracious bow
speaks of the entrance to God’s kingdom, through which anyone can go.

To enter, requires putting faith in His Son, Jesus, who said, “I am the door.”
The “door” leads to all of God’s covenant promises and life forevermore.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I am the door: If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and he will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:9-10 NKJV

“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-15 from 11-15 NKJV

“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 8:14 NKJV

“But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6 NKJV, and Hebrews 7:22, Hebrews 12:24

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” …spoken by Jesus in John 17:3 NKJV

“And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”
1 John 2:25 KJV

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” 1 John 5:11 KJV

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and are in him that is true, even in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20 KJV

Doubly Blessed

500E9E0F-AA81-4BFB-BFDA-F5D9B8B24E7C

Lord, how I love to see the rainbow.
It seems one of the closest things
to You directly speaking to us upon earth
of Your faithfulness–the reminder it brings.

And who but You could have created its design,
with pastels or bright colors displayed,
in a beautiful arch in the heavens,
following the life-giving rains that You’ve made.

It’s always magnificent–the sight of a rainbow;
and a double one is especially thrilling.
Though it usually doesn’t last for a very long time,
it reminds of a covenant You’re still fulfilling.

Though the rainbow fades, leaving only a memory,
it speaks, too, of Your love, that doesn’t fade–
for You gave your Son, Jesus, as Savior for us all.
Those who believe, find the greatest covenant You’ve made.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then God said, ‘I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.’ Then God said to Noah, ‘Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.’” Genesis 9:14-17

“He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.” Psalm 147:8

(The Lord will restore His people) Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture.” Zechariah 10:11

“Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:3

“(Patience and Endurance) Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.” James 5:7

“As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, ‘Take it, for this is my body.’ And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And he said to them, ‘This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.’” Mark 14:24

(“In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people–an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.’” 1 Corinthians 11:25)

“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6

Above Scriptures NLT

Psalm 91:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most high will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day;

Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not approach you.

You will only look on with your eyes, and see the recompense of the wicked.

For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place.

No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.

They will bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down,

Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.

With a long life I will satisfy him, and let him behold My salvation.”

Psalm 91 NASB

The Power of Jesus’ Blood

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Matthew 1:23 KJV
_______________

“Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Pick out and take lambs for yourselves, according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your house to strike you.’” Exodus 12:21-23
_______________

The significance of the blood of Jesus, God’s Holy and unblemished Lamb,
is questioned or rejected by some as being objectionable, or even a sham.

But the Bible speaks of its life and its shedding for the atonement of the soul. We can refer back to ancient Egypt and a lamb’s blood in a basin or bowl.

After the slaying of an unblemished lamb, the Israelites were given instruction, to dip some hyssop in the basin of blood to keep their lives from destruction….

The Pharaoh of that day, despite plagues God had sent throughout his land,
refused to let the Israelites go free, though Moses had said it was God’s command.

Despite rivers turning to blood, plagues of frogs, lice, flies, and livestock that died…boils, hail, locusts, and darkness, Pharaoh still felt their God could be defied.

Then God told Moses of the tenth plague, which would be the decisive blow–
death of the firstborn from Pharaoh’s home, and throughout the land it would go.

The Israelites, therefore, were to take the blood-dipped hyssop, using it to apply…to the lintels and doorposts of their homes, so that death would pass them by.

In the same way, Jesus’ blood must be applied to the “door” of every person’s heart, for without the shedding of blood, the wages of sin and its death won’t depart.

So, blood, which seems offensive to some, gives life eternal as God has ordained. Jesus’ blood is cleansing and powerful, to all who have been sin-stained.

And the blood of Jesus “applied” today protects against adverse things; and every Christian can claim that blood covering for the safety and security it brings.

Thank God for the “Lifeblood” of Jesus, which offers abundant life here and now…but will, one day, open for us the gates of heaven, where, before the Lord, we’ll bow.

P. A. Oltrogge

“In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22 NIV

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11 NKJV

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NKJV

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV

“If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7 NKJV

Of Moses, “By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” Hebrews 11:28 NKJV

“No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”
Psalm 91:10 NKJV

“…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.” from 1 Peter 1:1-2 NKJV

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 KJV

Matthew 26:28
John 6:53-56
Revelation 12:10-12

…further reading in the book, “The Blood and the Glory,”
by Christian author, Billye Brim

Great encouragement at:
http://www.emic.org
to view the latest message by Mark Hankins
“Fill Up Your Praise Basket!”

Thomas’s Moment of Doubt

When Jesus had risen from the dead, His first appearance was to Mary Magdalene. On the evening of the same day, where the disciples were gathered, He came again upon the scene.

“Peace be with you,” He shared with them, showing them His hands and side.
“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you,” was the immediate instruction from their beloved Master, teacher, and guide.

He breathed on them, saying to receive the Holy Spirit, and that He was sending them out to declare…the forgiveness of sins through His shed blood for all with whom they would ultimately share.

Thomas hadn’t been present at that wonderful moment, so only later, was he told. His fellow disciples were saying that they, too, had seen the Lord–but Thomas’s reaction to this was cold.

“Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Eight days later, Jesus again appeared to the disciples; but this time, Thomas was there. Again, Jesus greeted them with His peace but turned to Thomas with words of faith that He began to share.

“Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Of course, Thomas declared, “My Lord and my God!” He now believed with every fiber of his being. Yet Jesus wanted him (and us) to understand that believing is seeing!

Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Lord, may this teaching of Yours on faith, and faith in You, be one that’s wholeheartedly received.

Some people today, too, have doubts that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead actually took place. But be blessed to believe, as Jesus said, in the miracle of His resurrection–the unmerited gift to us of God’s love and grace.

P. A. Oltrogge

(Based on the account in John 20)

“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:30-31 NKJV

Consider the Birds and the Lilies

B0742184-23E6-48EF-A52A-6208C16FC691

Look at the birds of the air…
They don’t sow, reap, or gather
Their needed food into barns—
But are dependent upon God, rather.

Consider how the lilies are clothed—
They toil not, nor do they spin,
But to the heavenly Father’s care
They’re blessed to give in.

Yes, consider these,
And consider giving in,
To the message of Christ’s love
Above this world’s din.

Partake, through the Bible, from God’s table
Of spiritual food fit for a King’s heir,
And be clothed in the love of Jesus,
the finest thing you could wear.

Consider the children,
So gentle and so tender—
What kind of faith
To them will you render?

One that speaks dislike
And contempt of others—
Or one that speaks love
And draws all men to be brothers?

The heavenly Father gave Jesus
To tell of God’s care and to guide.
When we take Him as Savior, He gives love
For all others for whom He has died.

So just like the lilies
Or the birds of the air,
May people of all nations be blessed to give in
To Jesus—the way to the Father God’s care…

P. A. Oltrogge

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies….” Luke 6:27

“And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’”
Matthew 22:37-40

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious, can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.

“But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:25-34

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

More Precious than Silver and Gold

(From Acts 3)

Peter and John went up together to the temple at the ninth hour, which was the hour of prayer. There was a man laid daily at the gate, lame from his mother’s womb, who asked charitable alms from those who entered there.

Seeing Peter and John about to enter, he asked alms of both of them, too. Then Peter, with John, looked directly into his eyes, telling him to look at them; and he began to tell the man of something better they could do.

That through faith in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he could rise and walk–a far better gift than silver or gold. Then Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. He received strength in his feet and ankle bones upon Peter’s hold.

The words that Peter said to the man were “Silver and gold have I none…” And he told him of that which he did have to give–a gift of healing, through the name of Jesus, God’s Son.

The man who’d been lame began leaping, walking, and praising God at the temple’s “Beautiful” Gate. He entered the temple with them, and Peter went on to share with the people that it was the power of Jesus’ name that had changed that lame man’s fate.

Excerpt from Acts:

“Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, and faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.’” Acts 3:11-16 NKJV

Peter continued, saying that Christ had been crucified by them in ignorance, but that He had fulfilled all that the prophets had foretold. Now, forgiveness of sins and salvation could be theirs through Jesus–again, a gift from God far greater than silver or gold.

P. A. Oltrogge

Psalm 91 (protection from pestilence/plague)

Psalm 103 (forgiveness of all sins; healing of all diseases)

You may want to do an internet search for messages
regarding this by Joseph Prince.