Matthew speaks (part two)

When we arrived on the opposite shore from Galilee in the Gadarenes, a man which had been living in the tombs came upon us quite suddenly! He was wearing no clothes and was possessed by devils and had not lived in a house for a long time. There were pieces of chains on his arms that showed that he had been bound but had loosed himself by breaking them.

¬†When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and with a loud voice he said, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high. I beg of you, torment me not!” For Jesus had commanded that the spirit come out of him. It seemed that the spirits had caused him to cut himself and do other injuries to himself, yet Jesus asked the spirit, “What is your name?” The spirits within him said, “Legion, for we are many.”

The demons begged Jesus not so send them into outer darkness. At that place there were some herders which had a large number of pigs eating on the mountainside. The devils pleaded with Him to send them into the swine, so Jesus said: “Go!” When they did, the entire herd ran off down the mountain and into the sea where they drowned! Those who were herding them ran back to the town and told what had happened to their herd.

The people came and found Jesus and saw the man who had been possessed of demons in his right mind sitting with us and talking. They asked Jesus to leave ¬†because they were afraid of Him. Isn’t that weird? The man that was healed of the spirits wanted to come with us, but Jesus sent him away saying: “Return to your house and tell of the things which God has done for you.” So, he did exactly that. He went round about telling everything that Jesus had done for him!

So, we got back into the boat and traveled back to Galilee and the people greeted Him gladly for they had been waiting for Him to return. Later, a man named Jairus who was a ruler of the synagogue found Jesus and fell at His feet. He begged Him to come and lay His hands on his daughter because she was ill and at the point of death, and she was his only daughter! He said that she was about twelve years of age too, so we set off toward his house but the people were crowding around Him as He went. A woman, who had an issue of blood for about twelve years, who had spent all that she had on physicians yet none had healed her, came up behind Jesus. She had thought to herself that “if I can just touch His garment, I will be healed”.

When she did this, Jesus noticed power issue out of Himself and asked, “Who touched me?” We were all astonished at this for the crowd was all around Him, yet the woman came forth and told Him of her plight and that it was she who had touched Him. He said, “Daughter, be of good faith and go your way. Your faith has made thee whole.” About this time, someone came to the ruler and said, “Don’t bother the Teacher anymore, your daughter is dead.” But Jesus heard it and said, “Fear not, but believe only.”

When we came to the house, he did not allow anyone to go in except Peter, James and John and the father and mother of the girl. There were many who were weeping and wailing and He told them to “Weep not, for the girl is only asleep.” They laughed at Him because they knew that she was dead, but He put them all out and took her by the hand and called out to her saying, “Maid, arise!”

Her spirit came again unto her and she got up right away! He told her parents to give her something to eat and they were astonished. Although He told them not to tell anyone what He had done there.

Prologue: Our Lord, Jesus, can still do miracles even today. Prayers are answered every day in ways that we may not know and in some we do. The point of this story is that Jesus can do all things. He did them when He was here with His disciples and He can still do them today. All that we have to do is believe and have faith in Him. As Jesus said, “If you have faith, even as small as a mustard seed, all things are possible”! Won’t you place your faith and your life in Jesus’ hands today?

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Are there any “nots” in your life?

Have you ever wondered whether you are good enough for God? Have you asked Him if you are good enough to get into Heaven? The answers to these questions are simple: yes, you are good enough for God and no, you are not good enough to get into Heaven!

Well, why not? Why am I not worthy to get into Heaven? It is because of our human nature and the fact that we are sinners from the time that we know right from wrong.

Can we change? Yes, but not on our own. Only by accepting Jesus into our lives and allowing Him to change us from our heart outward can there be any lasting change. This kind of change makes a difference not only in our lives but through our lives we are able to touch others because of it.

The change in us will be evident to others and they will want what we have because it gives us hope and peace. A peace that those in the world cannot understand.

Your life can be so much more than it is with Christ in it and yet, many people don’t want Him in their lives. To me, that doesn’t make sense but that is how life with Jesus is. If you have Him you can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want Him. If you don’t know Him, you can’t understand why anyone would want to.

Is the Bible outdated? I don’t think so!

Nearly every important document in our nation’s history has some reference to the Bible. Our ancestors came to this country for religious freedom, to serve and worship as they chose to do. The Bible is not a “human inspired history or made up tale”, it is the inspired Word of the Living God. The Creator of the universe and of every human being since the beginning of time.

I do realize that the stories recorded in the Bible are hard to accept since the educational system in this country has been pushing the Bible out of the classroom for the past eighty years or so. In some areas of the country, even trying to teach “intelligent design” may get you fired if you are a teacher.

The Bible is the one guide which all mankind can turn to for guidance and truth, and it has stood as such for over two thousand years. The advice given in most, if not all, of the self help books on bookshelves today is echoed in the Bible. The words are different, but the message is the same. Psalms and Proverbs are two of the most influential books in the Bible, with advice about almost any topic contained in both.

Our children and their parents and teachers need the wisdom found in this “outdated” book, and need it desperately. If our society is to survive much longer as a society, our government officials would do well to go back to the practice of opening sessions of Congress with prayer and reading from the Bible.

The Bible is the only religious book which shows that our God loves us and cares for us, all of us. It should be one of the first books required to be read and studied in school from elementary through college. It doesn’t have to be the major point of study, but all other studies should branch from its principles. I know this is not going to be a popular view of education, but it would serve our world much better, and we could serve Him better as well, if it were the center of education rather than being pushed out as “antique” and outdated.

The stories in the Bible reflect the human condition and our struggle with ourselves and the struggles we all face on a daily basis. The nation and people of Israel went through these struggles while on their way to the land which God had promised them. The fought Him almost every step of the way. God would get angry at them like a father does with his children, they would repent. Then “not many days hence”, they would be off on another rebellious antic doing something they were told not to do. Exactly the way we behave today, as children and as adults.

What has always puzzled me is that they SAW the miracles that God performed with their own eyes. How could they possibly have been so disobedient? Because they were human and until we realize just how much we depend on God’s grace and mercy just to get through every day, or even to wake up every morning, we will always be just as disobedient.

His love for us is like that of a parent for a child, unconditional. Without regard for our faults, our foibles, or our sinful nature. If God had not loved us, all of us, He would not have sent His son, the perfect Lamb of God, to cleanse the world of its sins. “He became sin who knew no sin.”