Help for the Helpless

Someone once said, “God helps those who helps themselves.” I’m sure in the context of that conversation some well meaning person was possibly looking at a lazy individual who refused to work, but was also struggling financially. However, that statement has been used in all kinds of ways and has been used to lead many people away from the Lord. In reality, the greatest help we need is not something we can do to help ourselves at all. The greatest help we need is to be reconciled to God…and we are helpless to make that happen. God helps those who realize they can’t help themselves and turn to Christ for the solution.

We cannot work our way to reconciliation and forgiveness. We cannot do enough good things to make reconciliation or forgiveness take place. It is only God’s mercy and grace that will enable us to experience the help we need that comes as a result of placing our faith in Christ.

In Mark 5 we see three helpless situations. These people could try to help themselves, but nothing was changing. The answers they had hoped for had only left them empty and hopeless. They needed a touch from the Master, and they needed His touch desperately!

The first individual we are introduced to is found in Mark 5:1-20. Jesus interacts with a man who is demon possessed. We will find later that this man is possessed with a multitude of demons. He is a terror to his community. He runs around nude, cutting himself and has super human strength. He is living in the graveyard. Imagine trying to bury a loved one with this guy running around. But then Jesus steps on the scene. The man runs and bows before Jesus and as Jesus sends the demons into a herd of pigs that jump to their death. It isn’t long before this man is clothed and in his right mind. And just like anyone who has been forgiven and changed by the power of God, this man has a desire to spend time with Jesus. However, Jesus has a mission for him. Go back home and let your friends and family know what I’ve done for you! That’s our mission too.

Then Jesus gets word that Jarius’ daughter is deathly sick (v. 23). Immediately Jesus begins to head to Jarius house, but before he can get there he meets someone else with a desperate need (vv. 25ff). She has had a disease for twelve years. She has spent all of her time and money looking for a cure, but no one could help her. She had heard of a man named Jesus. She heard that He was able to touch blinded eyes and maybe she had even heard what He had done for the man possessed with demons. She thinks, “If he can help them then surely He can help me. I won’t bother Him, I will just touch the hem of His garment and I will be made whole.” As Jesus passes through the crowd she stretches out her arm and touches his clothing and immediately she is made well. Jesus rewarded her faith with healing!

But then tragic news! Jarius’ daughter has died. Jesus got distracted and He is too late. No! Jesus is never too late, He is always right on time. Jesus reached down on this little girl’s death bed and raised her back to life (v. 41).

You see friend all of these people were helpless to help themselves! There was nothing they could do to change their circumstances. The needed the touch of God! The same is true for us! Sin has separated us from God and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, we can do to change that. However, Jesus came and took upon Himself the curse we deserved because of our sins and offers to us forgiveness, reconciliation and peace with God. You may look for it in other places, other things and other people, but Jesus is your only hope! Turn to Him today and let Him make you whole!

Overcoming Sinful Obstacles

Scripture reveals to us that we are in a spiritual warfare. Satan would love nothing more than to destroy our testimony so that we become ineffective for God. He and the demons of hell place obstacles in our path that appeal to our flesh. We must constantly be on guard against these obstacles and learn to walk close to Jesus. As I was reading this morning I began to notice a pattern developing among the verses I was reading. I wanted to share some devotional thoughts from my time in the Word this morning.

First of all I was reminded from Romans 13:12 that our time to glorify God and live for Christ on this earth is rapidly running out! Can you believe that one half of 2012 is already in the books? Time seems to be rapidly passing us by. We must take advantage of the moments we have the opportunity to live for Christ. Paul says, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (KJV)

Secondly, we need to “cast off the works of darkness.” The idea here is to lay aside a filthy garment. If you were to put on a coat and then you felt insects crawling on you within the coat what would you do? If it were me I would unzip it as fast as I could and get it off of me! Crawling insects may not be your phobia but I think you get the picture. “The works of darkness” do far more damage than crawling insects, however the “children of light” should be repulsed by them just the same. We should take the “garment of darkness” and throw it off as quickly and permanently as possible. Our flesh will always long to pick it back up and put it back on, but we can overcome this temptation through Christ who gives us strength.

Thirdly, the strength to overcome is derived from God’s Word. Notice the words from Psalm 119:9-11-“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (ESV) “[The blessed man’s] delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2, KJV) The word of God is “stored” up in our hearts by delighting in and meditating upon the Word of God!

What are the things you need to “cast off” like a filthy garment? When you do a vacuum will be created. Love for and obedience to the Word of God must fill the vacuum or the filthy garments have a way of showing up again!

What we Were, What we Can Be

In today’s devotion from Fusion (p. 18) (http://www.randallhouse.com/shop/fusion/) we are reminded that SIN keeps people from the Kingdom of God. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul lists several of these sins that were prevalent in the Corinthian culture.

Corinth was a sex saturated culture (sounds like our society). They had taken God’s gift of sex and had deviated from His plan. The same is true today. People are taking fire (God’s gift of sex) out of the fireplace (marriage). Because of this people are getting burned and getting burned bad. Paul reminds the Corinthians that sexual immorality, adultery and homosexuality keep people from inheriting the Kingdom of God.

Paul also deals with some others sins that were prevalent in the Corinthian culture. He mentions idolatry, thievery, greed and drunkenness among other things. Sin keep us from God’s Kingdom! Paul wants to make this perfectly clear.

But then listen to what Paul says in verse 11:

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Did you get that? Paul is writing to a group of people who WERE (past tense) sexually immoral, drunks, crooks and the list goes on. However, they are not that anymore! Something happened! What happened?

  • They were washed! Praise God for the precious blood of Jesus Christ that washes away our sins! (1 Peter 1:18-19)
  • They were sanctified. Because of their faith in Jesus Christ they had been adopted into the family of God and were “set apart” from the world unto God.
  • They were justified! The penalty for their sin was removed because the righteousness of Jesus Christ had been credited to their account. God now looked at them “just as if” they had never sinned! (Romans 5:1)

It is easy for us to point out sin and point at people who are guilty of sin, but may we never forget where we would be today without Jesus Christ. The fact of the matter is we are ALL SINNERS in need of a Savior. We like to categorize our sin as “little” compared to some, however any SIN breaks fellowship God regardless of what category we would like to place it in. It needs to be forgiven and cleansed and this takes place through faith in Christ and Christ alone!

Let us offer this hope of forgiveness to those who are still bound by sin. Let us remember the forgiveness that we needed and hopefully have already experienced through our relationship with Christ.

If you would like more information about this relationship please contact me or read http://flagshipchurch.org/truth-will-set-you-free/