UTTERLY HELPLESS

Rom.5:6 – When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

I wonder who really believes this verse? I wonder if you believe this verse? Utterly helpless; really? Have you thought of yourself as utterly helpless. These are the ones Christ died for, those who have no way to ever help themselves out of their dilemma. Several people come to my mind when I think of this verse. First, The demonized man in the cemetery in Gadara. Why would they chain this man up in the cemetery? Obviously he was left there to die. His life was over, he had no hope. That is until Jesus stepped off of His boat and onto the shore. “Come out of him”, Jesus cried. The foul, dark spirits came out and that man began a new life. What about Lazarus? He was pretty helpless, rotting in his tomb. Jesus stood outside of Lazarus tomb and cried, “Lazarus, come out!”. In a moment, Lazarus was hopping out of the dark cave into the glorious light of a brand new life.

If you think about it, all of us are utterly helpless. We are born in a state of sin, separated from God, with no way to save ourselves. Sin has dominated and destroyed us and we were perishing until we too heard the cry of Jesus’s voice, “Come out of darkness, step into the light”. Here is how Adam Clarke described this powerful verse.

“They were without strength; in a weak, dying state: neither able to resist sin, nor do any good: utterly devoid of power to extricate themselves from the misery of their situation.

They were ungodly; without either the worship or knowledge of the true God; they had not God in them; and, consequently, were not partakers of the Divine nature: Satan lived in, ruled, and enslaved their hearts. They were sinners, aiming at happiness, but constantly missing… And in missing the mark, they deviated from the right way; walked in the wrong way; trespassed in thus deviating; and, by breaking the commandments of God, not only missed the mark of felicity, but exposed themselves to everlasting misery.”

Yes, we were all aiming for happiness but happiness escaped our grasp. We had no way to come out of misery, we were utterly helpless until… Until the day He called our name. Christ died to save sinners. His help is available when you realize you need Him desperately.

I AM MOB

“I AM MOB”

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS

“And Jesus asked him, What is your name?” He replied, My name is Legion, for we are many.” Luke 8:30

What a story we read in the gospels about the man from Gadera! This man passed his days “howling in the tombs” and cutting himself and no one could bind him. He had a mob in his brain that wouldn’t stop. Sound familiar? I am sure many of us have met or have known MOB personally. Christ is forever on a mission seeking people that have been visited with MOB. I too have encountered the “voices in minds” over the years in women that darken our door here at Marysong or our church. Their stories make me go to the same carpenter from Nazareth, so I don’t end up with my own MOB in my head. He isn’t surprised, put off, or ill prepared to take on the army yelling up in our heads. HE IS ABLE.

Matthew Henry said, “We are not a match for our spiritual enemies, in our own strength; but in the Lord, and in the power of his might, we shall be able to stand against them, though there are legions of them. When the vilest transgressor is delivered by the power of Jesus from the bondage of Satan, he will gladly sit at the feet of his Deliverer, and hear his word, who delivers the wretched slaves of Satan, and numbers them among his saints and servants. The man joyfully proclaimed what great things Jesus had done for him.”

We must remind ourselves when we are told we can never be free even Mary Magdalene was possessed (Luke 8:2) with “seven other spirits”. He comes to conquer and liquidate out of us all the garbage of the past.

What makes the gospel so amazing? He is able to deliver the MOB out of us- he says go and it is gone. It takes effort on our part to stay clean and walk it out but my friend its possible and more than possible. When Christ walks into the room he makes the crooked straight. These folks are not meant to be thrown away, put away or drugged into zombies.

I don’t know the man from Gadera story nor what happened to Mary that got 7 devils, but I can surely guess. It’s hard to live on planet earth these days and not be affected by the blast of sin. Jonathan Edwards said that his wife Sarah had “been subject to unsteadiness, and many ups and downs, in the frame of mind, being under great disadvantages, through a vaporous habit of body, and often subject to melancholy, and at times almost over-borne with it.” But in a human’s greatest weakness, God proves sufficient and visited her because she said; she was able to profess that “The sweet language of my soul continually was ‘Amen, Lord Jesus! Amen Lord Jesus!'”

HELP

John 14:26
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you

Have you ever needed help? I have, all kinds of help. We needed help when we were born, we couldn’t do anything. We needed help in school, and as teenagers, we needed all kinds of help, we just didn’t realize it. We needed help getting started as adults, we needed help in our marriages and raising our children. We really needed help after Katrina, we were in need of lots of help for a very long time. Let’s face it, we are very needy people.
All of us have needed the Lord’s help all of our lives, like immature adolescents, we avoided God at all costs. “We have everything handled”, we silently muttered, at least we thought we had it handled. Then, inevitably, the bottom fell out of our lives. The day had finally come when we saw we needed help. We became painfully aware of our greatest need, we are sinners in need of a Savior. In that moment, He came to our rescue. As soon as we turned toward Him, He was already there, ready to move on our behalf. After all Jesus called this unseen person the Helper. He is always there, always ready to show Himself as the Helper in our lives.
What kind of help do you need? He is the Counselor, to those who need guidance. He is the Great Physician to those who need healing. He is the source of all things for those suffering financial lack. He is the greatest of all friends to those who are lonely. He is the faithful High Priest when we need forgiveness. He is Unspeakable Joy to those imprisoned with depression. He is the Opener of prison doors to those captive to alcohol or substance abuse. For those caught in the world of lust and immorality, He has mercy and freedom in His touch.
He is the Helper and there is no problem too big, no sin too dark, no chain to strong that He is not able to overcome in your life. The term Jesus used in greek for Helper is Paracletos, one called alongside to help. When does He come?; when He hears someone calling. Today, I think He heard your cry. He will come Himself to bring His supernatural help into your life.

LEAD ME TO THE ROCK

Psa. 61:1-4 Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.

This was one of my favorite scripture songs in Bible school. Honestly, I think the reason I liked it then was the catchy melody and beat that we sang it with; nevertheless, the Lord used it to keep that scripture in my heart. David saw the Lord as his rock (or better-high ridge), to him, this was a place of refuge. When I think of this passage today, I think about an experience Parris and I had when we went to the Serengeti game park. We actually saw a quite large pride of lions on a rocky ridge overlooking the plain below. This was their home. It was a place of safety for their young, a place easily defended from their enemies. That is one of the ways David saw the Lord. While he was in exile, running for his life from Saul and his army, he would hide away in these mountain high places. David recognized that the Lord was actually his place of refuge.
Many times we look for the solutions to our problems or the satisfaction of our heart’s longings in the things of this world. They offer temporary help and satisfaction at best. Here is Edwards talking about the heavenly substance found in Christ.

“But Christ Jesus has true excellency, and so great excellency, that when they come to see it they look no further, but the mind rests there. It sees a transcendent glory and an ineffable sweetness in him; it sees that till now it has been pursuing shadows, but that now it has found the substance; that before it had been seeking happiness in the stream, but that now it has found the ocean. The excellency of Christ is an object adequate to the natural cravings of the soul, and is sufficient to fill the capacity. It is an infinite excellency, such an one as the mind desires, in which it can find no bounds; and the more the mind is used to it, the more excellent it appears. Every new discovery makes this beauty appear more ravishing, and the mind sees no end; here is room enough for the mind to go deeper and deeper, and never come to the bottom. The soul is exceedingly ravished when it first looks on this beauty, and it is never weary of it.”

CHRIST CAME FOR THE UNGODLY

Mark 7:25-26 But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.

If you really think about it, this verse is a prophetic glimpse into the future of the church. Jesus was called “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” but sometimes He couldn’t help Himself. He just had to reach out to the hurting that came to Him. He spent most of His time in Israel, this is one of the few occasions when He ventured to the edge of His homeland for rest and reflection. This desperate gentile woman was desperate for a miracle. She said all she needed was a crumb of children’s bread, just a crumb to set her daughter free. Like the Roman centurion, her faith caught the attention of The Lord. Her miracle could not be denied. Here are some thoughts by Matthew Henry on this passage.

“She was a Gentile, a Greek, an alien to the covenant of promise; she was by extraction a Syrophoenician, and not in any degree proselyted to the Jewish religion; she had a daughter, a young daughter, that was possessed with the devil. How many and grievous are the calamities that young children are subject to! Her address was, Very humble, pressing, and importunate; She heard of him, and came, and fell at his feet. Those that would obtain mercy from Christ, must throw themselves at his feet; must refer themselves to him, humble themselves before him, and give up themselves to be ruled by him. Christ never put any from him, that fell at his feet, which a poor trembling soul may do, that has not boldness and confidence to throw itself into his arms. It was very particular; she tells him what she wanted. Christ gave poor supplicants leave to be thus free with him; she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. The greatest blessing we can ask of Christ for our children is, that he would break the power of Satan, that is, the power of sin, in their souls; and particularly, that he would cast forth the unclean spirit, that they may be temples of the Holy Ghost, and he may dwell in them.”

Most of the church today is gentile. We were all godless pagans, without hope and without God. Like this Syro-Phoenician woman, Jesus just “happened” to come by her way. Because of His unexpected visit her life would never be the same. None of us had a claim on God, He came to us indiscriminately. He came into our lives and His kindness changed us forever. That’s why I say this miracle was prophetic, it was a glimpse into things to come. Maybe your past wasn’t so great, maybe you have no Christian heritage. That’s okay, Christ died to save sinners, He came for people like you and me.

UNPRECEDENTED ACTS OF GOD

Unprecedented Acts of God are Always on the Horizon!
Merry Monday by Parris Bailey

Psalms 32:7 “You are my hiding place; you shall per-serve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah”

Dick Mills gave me this scripture verse when I was a 17 year old brat, trying to raise a child and go to Bible School with my husband Frank. I laugh when I think about what it meant to me back then. Would I be able to sleep better or something? haha- or not have nightmares? But 37 years later this scripture holds so much more. I guess after all these years I have found the hiding place, or it has found me. It is the secret place of His presence which protects a reviving soul from plots, expectations, and destructive proud attitudes which could destroy the soul. In the Old Testament, His presence was practiced and found in the Holy Place of the tent of the tabernacle of worship. There, in that candle-less environment, the glory of God brightly lit the secret dwelling and the person was oblivious to anything and everything that would contradict his Shekinah glory. Christ and Christ alone becomes a shelter from the howling wind, a rock in a shaking world. He encircles us with a song, and it becomes the song of life. It is learning to find the hiding place in our everyday, storm filled life.
Let’s read in Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, “In that he will not be content only with thanks, but also will have them conjoined with songs, he letteth us see how high all the strings of his heart are bent that he cannot contain himself for the mercies of God to his church, and for his manifold deliverances for the same. Many sing praises to God with an half open mouth; and, albeit, they can sing aloud any filthy ballad in their house, they make the mean, I warrant you, in the church, that scarce can they hear the sound of their own voice, but David bent all his forces within and without to praise his God.” Archibald Symson.
He also gives us “songs in the night”- Job 32:7. I believe that in order for us to “run through a troop and leap over the wall” we have to learn to find the song in the night seasons. Some call it the silver lining. I love to look through scripture and see “coincidences” but you know they are not. In Esther 6:1 there is a good one, “That night the king could not sleep, so one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the Chronicles; and they were read before the king. And it was found written that Mordecai”….. and the story goes on to say that Mordecai wasn’t honored for saving the king. Esther and Mordecai were Jews and were facing annihilation but the king couldn’t sleep. Another time was in 2 Kings 7:3 Four lepers were facing starvation and decided to go into the Syrian camp to surrender only to find that the Syrians had fled for their lives leaving behind a wealth of food, clothing, and riches. He surrounds us with songs of deliverance and gives us songs in the night. Spurgeon says that “Providence ordered it.”
There will have to come a point in your life that you give your life over to the hiding place. It is hard to live your life kicking so hard against the things in your life. When you are in the night seasons you have to learn not to treat even the little things small. In Isaiah 48: 6, “You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, Behold, I knew them.” Unprecedented acts of God are always on the horizon-unprecedented, lest his own people treat his deeds dismissively. I pray as you move into 2012, that each day becomes an overflowing song of deliverance and a wonderful act of God!