I love Jesus Culture. Great music, great heart. This song is just so-so to me until it hits the 5 min mark. That's when it becomes a So Strong Song. 

Thank God He won't relent. 

Go in Peace?!

Part 2 of "She had Issues"

Since I found out that I can add video here is a little P/W before we dive into the Word:

I had thought of moving on from the Woman with the issue of blood but I just had to take another look at the story. There is something rich here. This time let’s go with the Doc’s account. I wander if Luke knew who treated this lady before her healing. I also wonder why Luke left the part about “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” (Mark 5:26). Did Luke work on her before she got a hold of Jesus? Aw Kidding, I believe all scripture is God breathed so the Holy Spirit just must not have given that puff of air to Luke. Let's read Luke's account.

 Luke 8:42b As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
  45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” 
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

 “Go in peace.” That got my attention. Jesus told her to go in peace. Why? Of all the things He could have said to her, but He choose to say “Go In Peace.” That was His parting words to this lady. Come to think about it, I don’t know if there is anything better He could have said to her. Peace is what she really needed. Peace is what we all really need. Not world peace, that’s a pipe dream, but she/we need a peace that only Jesus can give. Jesus said the same thing to someone else, another lady who needed peace. That lady is found in Luke 7. She’s the lady who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointed them with a very expensive perfume. In Luke 7:50 Jesus says to her “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” The Luke 7 lady was labeled a sinful woman by the Pharisees. Jesus labeled her Forgiven.

I did a limited word study on the word Peace used here in Luke 7 & 8. It was limited because all my study books are packed up in boxes for a little bit. Blueletterbible.com helped me out with this study. The word Peace used in Luke 8:48 was the original Greek word eirēnē (εἰρήνη). Eirēnē shows up in 92 verses in the New Testament. I skimmed over most of them, but one stood out the most to me. It’s Eph 2:14. It states “For He (Jesus) Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Now in light of Eph 2:14 think about what Jesus said to these 2 ladies: “Go In Peace.” He is our Peace and without Him we can go nowhere. Without Him we can go nowhere near God, nowhere near the thrown, and nowhere near a life of full health. Do you need peace? Then reach for the true Peace: JESUS.

Stay blessed y’all, It’s your choice


Revelation 12:11a (NIV)

They triumphed over him 
   by the blood of the Lamb 
   and by the word 
of their testimony;


Exodus 15:13

In your unfailing love you will lead 
the people you have redeemed. 
    In your strength you will guide them 
   to your holy dwelling.

Forever Reign

Just found out I can add videos to the blog entries. I guess I could have figured this out a little sooner. This is a great, GREAT song. Enjoy!

Found in Transition

 I originally posted this entry in the fall of ’09. At that time I was feeling "Lost in Transition." Now I feel like I’m Found in Transition because my life is constant transition. With the big move to Wichita on the horizon I thought this was a good entry to re-post. Plus I have not had much time lately do dedicate to Busted Thoughts. This fall I should be back at my desk doing some more studying. I have been typing down plenty of notes on a few subjects that I do want to get to; until then have fun reading this re-post.

Have you ever felt lost in transition? I almost feel like I am in a perpetual stated of transition. Just when I finally feel like I’m hitting my flow it’s time for transition again. I think the worse is when we (Kesha & me) commit to a transition and a great position opens up, a position that we can’t fill because we’re in transition. I went on BibleGateway.com to find something on the subject of transition. It brought up this great article by Ron Hutchcraft. I have no idea who he is or how he is doing as a minister. I guess I could do a Wiki search but I half way trust Wikipedia as anyone can edit it. I’m just going to copy and post his article. I could try to re-write it but something would get lost. Speaking of editing I’m also going ahead and posting this without my editor's approval. Kesha is super busy and it may be weeks before she can look at it.
"And now, in the center ring, high above the big top..." Or something like that. When we took our kids to the circus, that was how the ringmaster would introduce those stars of the big show, those death-defying artists on the high trapeze. They're amazing! I mean, they leap with perfect poise and grace from one trapeze to another until they end up safe on that platform across the arena. Now, I can imagine someone with lots of practice eventually getting used to hanging onto a trapeze. And maybe even then feeling relatively secure as soon as they reach that next bar. But it's that time between trapezes that would bother me - that does bother me.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Living Between Trapezes."
Now, that may be where you're living right now. One phase of your life is behind you; you're counting on a new one ahead. But right now you're in one of life's great "in between" times. So were the people God was advising in our word for today from the Word of God beginning in Jeremiah 29:5 .
The Jews are in a temporary spot between two permanent spots. They started in their homeland of Israel. They'll end up back in Israel, but right now they are experiencing the "in between" of captivity in Babylon. And God gives His instructions for people who are hanging there between trapezes. Listen. "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."
The message to God's ancient people may be, in essence, what He wants to say to you today. When you're in between, don't hold back. Live as if you'll be there your whole life. In the words of missionary martyr Jim Elliott, "Wherever you are, be all there." God says, "Build... settle... plant... increase... work for the good of that place."
You may be saying, "But, Lord, this isn't where I want to be. I just want to get by until we get to our destination." Listen to this statement from verse 11 in the same chapter, Jeremiah 29 . "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" It seems that God's good plans for tomorrow come out of your living wholeheartedly today.
You may very well not be where you hope you'll end up. You're between jobs or in one that's just a stopgap. Maybe you're single hoping to be married, you're living in a temporary situation or you're waiting for some breakthrough. Like the Jews of old, you're in an "in between" place. But also like them, God expects you to build there, to plant, to increase, to improve it.
And as you do, you give God the attitude He can use to bring you to His very best. If you're in between trapezes right now, remember - this is a terrible place to lose your concentration. Bloom where you're planted. Be all you can be right where you are. Make the greatest possible difference you can there. It's the best way to end up safely at the destination that you want so much.
Back to me: "Build... settle... plant... increase... work for the good of that place." I once heard a minister on the radio say “God never called us to be successful, just faithful”. None of this transition is going to matter 500 years into eternity, but the faithfulness will count for something. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite scripture. Eph 3:20 says “now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” That's almost the New Testament equivalent of Jer 29:11. I’m gonna let Him do His work as I go about doing His work, even if I feel like I'm in transition. I just want to stay faithful to Him, how about you?
Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice!

She had Issues pt. 1

Reaching for Salvation or 12 4 12

Welcome in #12. There’s a cool little number thing happening with #12 on the Chronological Healing list. Officially #12 is dealing with the woman who had an issue of blood. You might remember the story from children’s church or maybe you’ve just read it recently. It’s found in three of the Gospels: Matt, Mark, & Luke. For the first entry I’m going with Mark’s account. Before we go on I better give you some background.

If you remember from the last healing Jesus was leaving the shores of Decapolis at the locals’ request. They freaked out a little because Jesus set straight the local menaces and a bunch of pigs decided to go cliff diving. Now we find Jesus and crew arriving on the west side of the Sea of Galilee. Read Legion Pt.1 & 2 if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Now, on the West shore is where we pick up this story. Let’s read Mark 5:21 and 25-34. I’m skipping a few scriptures in there because they are dealing with healing #13. Let’s read on.

Mark 5:21
When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake…25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

When prepping for this story I ran across a note in one of my study Bibles. This particular Bible is special to me. A friend gave it to me over 10 years ago. I love this Bible and the testimony behind it. Anyway, in this Bible are some left over side notes that my buddy wrote in the margins. Next to Mark 5:28 is written the word “Sozo.” Sozo is the Greek word from which we get the word salvation. Ok, looking at verse 28 in this study Bible the phrase “will be healed” is underlined. Sozo and “will be healed” don’t seem to go hand in hand. Time to do some research! Checking the Greek translation I found that, sure enough, the word Sozo is used in this verse. This is not the normal Greek word for being healed. Mark 1:34 states “and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.” The Greek word Mark used was Therapeuo which means to heal, cure, restore to health. It seems that word would have worked better in Mark 5:28. In Mark 1:42 the word Katharizo was used in the verse that states “Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.” That’s the NIV translation; it usually get’s the translation correct. Katharizo means to make clean or cleanse. I would assume that also would work better in Mark 5:28 because according to Leviticus Law this lady was unclean. But Mark didn’t use either of those two words; he used Sozo instead. Back to the Leviticus Law thing: in Lv 15:19 it states that “When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.” It goes all the way down to verse 33 of Lv 15 stating that anything or anyone she touches becomes unclean. Now back to Mark 5:25 which states that this lady had 12 years of this uncleanness, 12 years of sickness. 12 YEARS! Mark 5:26 states “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” She had been poked and probed, she was broke financially, and she was lonely. So she didn’t need a cleansing; she didn’t need a healing; she needed salvation! The funny thing about the word Sozo is that it’s the same word recorded that Jesus used when was quoted in Mark 5:34. Jesus said: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Let’s mess with the translation a little bit. A little New King Jimmy style here.

Mark 5:28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be SAVED.”
Mark 5:34 Jesus says: “Daughter, your faith has SAVED you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

So for you, do you need a healing, a cleansing, or even salvation? I love what Mark 5:27 states: “When she heard about Jesus.” Have you heard about my Jesus? He still heals today, He still cleanses today; and He most definitely still SOZOs today. I meant to say He still saves today. All you need to do is just reach for Him.

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.

Oh wait a minute. The 12-4-12 thing. The short of it is she was sick for 12 years and this was the 12th Chronological healing. That’s kind of cool. Now stay blessed!!

Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to Busted Thoughts. Back in the summer of 2008 I started this blog thing. At that time we had a little Bible study at our house and I figured the blog was a good way to keep the discussion flowing. Well that little Bible study started and stopped a few times till finally we just stopped it all together, but the blog remained. Not only did the blog remain but its focus stayed on the Word of God. Busted Thoughts is really just a Bible study.

At first the blog entries covered a variety of biblical subjects. Most topics focused on what I called “Living It.” But as of late the entries have been more focused on subject studies. The subject study titled “Jesus’ Healing Touch” is a study of the healings performed by Jesus in chronological order. I was once asked why it had to be in chronological order. The reason for the chronological study is not to just focus on the healings Jesus performed but also on His life/ministry and the lives of those around him. There will be other subject studies in the future. I love subject studies of the scriptures simply because they give me a deeper understanding of the character of God.

So what about the name “Busted Thoughts”? Well, my last name is Buster. I have been very blessed with the name Buster. I’m proud of that name so I might as well use it. Also I do not claim to be a complete authority on the Word of God but rather a discoverer of the Word of God. I simply love discovering what It has and sharing what I discover. So that’s the reason for the name “Buster Thoughts.” Another very good reason for the name is because of Romans 12:2. It tells us to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” In other words, we need to continually bust our thoughts. Ah, that was a good one.

It is almost silly to me to say, “Join me in this Bible study called Busted Thoughts.” It has that Mr. Roger’s kind of feel to it, but I don’t really know a better way to put it. Maybe I should put up my coat and nice shoes, and put on my sweater and canvas shoes. . . Anyway, come discover with me. I welcome all input.

Only One has done that for me! ~ repost from Apr '09

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Heading into Easter Weekend we are going to hear that scripture a lot. It really is an awesome statement but stop to think about it. A lot of people have laid down their lives for us. All those in the military are laying down their lives everyday for us. That really hit home the day that I swore into the Air Force. As I took that oath, I realized my life no longer belonged to me. I became the property of the U.S Government. For 8 years my life was laid down for freedom. During the Civil War my great – however long ago- great- grandfather died as a Union soldier fighting for the cause of setting my wife’s great –how ever long ago- great grandparents free from slavery. He laid his life down for someone he had never met. He laid down his life so that now, nearly 150 years later, Kesha and I are free to be married without being considered criminals. My story and my family’s story are just very small drops in a huge bucket of the stories of those who have and are laying down their lives for others. It’s always good to stop and say thanks for those actions. But with my next statement I want us to really think about this coming weekend. Many have laid down their lives for us, BUT ONLY ONE RAISED FROM THE DEAD FOR US. Look @ what Romans 10:9-10 says: “9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” There was a religious group combing through our neighborhood this last weekend. This time they did not stop at my house for whatever reason but usually they invite people to come celebrate the death of Jesus but say nothing about His resurrection. Do you realize that if Jesus stayed dead we would have no life? Sure for joy He endured the cross, Heb 12:2 tells us that, but the joy was not in the cross but in the victory over death. Last time I checked the gospels during the crucifixion he never yelled out “thank you sir may I have another”. I want to celebrate His raising, His victory, our victory. The next blog I’m going to cover Ephesians 1:19-20 more deeply but for now I’m just going to scratch the surface. Here are the scripts: “19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms”. Those 2 scriptures quite possible could be the most powerful scriptures in the whole Bible. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, I’ll save that for the next entry. So to scratch the surface of Eph 1:19-20, more power was exerted with the resurrection of Jesus than at creation. I have to admit that sounds strange at first but listen, there was no reason for Lucifer (Satan. . . he got his new name at the fatal fruit buffet) to try to stop Creation. There was no reason for Lucifer to try to stop Adam and Eve from being created because he, Lucifer, had not yet learned that Eve’s seed would stomp on his head. But Satan and & hell had every reason to try to stop Jesus’ resurrection. It’s with that resurrection I have life. It’s with that resurrection I have salvation. It’s with that resurrection I have eternal fellowship with God. Many thanks to those who laid down their lives for us, but THANK GOD FOR THE ONE THAT RAISED FROM THE DEAD FOR US. THANK YOU JESUS!
Side note: when you hear this weekend “Greater love has no one than this” remember Jesus laid down His own life in ABSOLUTE LOVE.

Stay blessed y’all, it’s your choice.

In His Presence

Because of the recent challenge to theology I’ve been combing the Scriptures about the subject of hell. In that, last night, I read Chapters 20 thru 22 of Revelations. Awesome passages! I am so glad I’m sealed. And it’s not because I just want to escape hell. Heaven without the presence of God would be hell. It’s in His presence that I am destined to dwell!

Rev Up your reading:

Revelation 20:11-22:21 (The Message)

11-15I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned. Nothing could stand before or against the Presence, nothing in Heaven, nothing on earth. And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there—before the Throne! And books were opened. Then another book was opened: the Book of Life. The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived. Sea released its dead, Death and Hell turned in their dead. Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived. Then Death and Hell were hurled into Lake Fire. This is the second death—Lake Fire. Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire.

Revelation 21
Everything New

1I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. 2I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. 3-5I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate."
6-8Then he said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I'll be God to them, they'll be sons and daughters to me. But for the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—for them it's Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!"

The City of Light
9-12One of the Seven Angels who had carried the bowls filled with the seven final disasters spoke to me: "Come here. I'll show you the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb." He took me away in the Spirit to an enormous, high mountain and showed me Holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God, resplendent in the bright glory of God.
12-14The City shimmered like a precious gem, light-filled, pulsing light. She had a wall majestic and high with twelve gates. At each gate stood an Angel, and on the gates were inscribed the names of the Twelve Tribes of the sons of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, three gates on the west. The wall was set on twelve foundations, the names of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb inscribed on them.
15-21The Angel speaking with me had a gold measuring stick to measure the City, its gates, and its wall. The City was laid out in a perfect square. He measured the City with the measuring stick: twelve thousand stadia, its length, width, and height all equal. Using the standard measure, the Angel measured the thickness of its wall: 144 cubits. The wall was jasper, the color of Glory, and the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. The foundations of the City walls were garnished with every precious gem imaginable: the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate a single pearl.
21-27The main street of the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. But there was no sign of a Temple, for the Lord God—the Sovereign-Strong—and the Lamb are the Temple. The City doesn't need sun or moon for light. God's Glory is its light, the Lamb its lamp! The nations will walk in its light and earth's kings bring in their splendor. Its gates will never be shut by day, and there won't be any night. They'll bring the glory and honor of the nations into the City. Nothing dirty or defiled will get into the City, and no one who defiles or deceives. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life will get in.

Revelation 22
1-5 Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they'll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age.

Don't Put It Away on the Shelf
6-7The Angel said to me, "These are dependable and accurate words, every one. The God and Master of the spirits of the prophets sent his Angel to show his servants what must take place, and soon. And tell them, 'Yes, I'm on my way!' Blessed be the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
8-9I, John, saw all these things with my own eyes, heard them with my ears. Immediately when I heard and saw, I fell on my face to worship at the feet of the Angel who laid it all out before me. He objected, "No you don't! I'm a servant just like you and your companions, the prophets, and all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"
10-11The Angel continued, "Don't seal the words of the prophecy of this book; don't put it away on the shelf. Time is just about up. Let evildoers do their worst and the dirty-minded go all out in pollution, but let the righteous maintain a straight course and the holy continue on in holiness."

12-13"Yes, I'm on my way! I'll be there soon! I'm bringing my payroll with me. I'll pay all people in full for their life's work. I'm A to Z, the First and the Final, Beginning and Conclusion.
14-15"How blessed are those who wash their robes! The Tree of Life is theirs for good, and they'll walk through the gates to the City. But outside for good are the filthy curs: sorcerers, fornicators, murderers, idolaters—all who love and live lies.
16"I, Jesus, sent my Angel to testify to these things for the churches. I'm the Root and Branch of David, the Bright Morning Star." 

 17"Come!" say the Spirit and the Bride. 
 Whoever hears, echo, "Come!" 
 Is anyone thirsty? Come! 
 All who will, come and drink, 
 Drink freely of the Water of Life!
18-19I give fair warning to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this book: If you add to the words of this prophecy, God will add to your life the disasters written in this book; if you subtract from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will subtract your part from the Tree of Life and the Holy City that are written in this book.
20He who testifies to all these things says it again: "I'm on my way! I'll be there soon!"
Yes! Come, Master Jesus!
21The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you. Oh, Yes!

Colossians Chapter 1 prayer.

Col chapter 1 prayer:
From verses 9-12
Pray this prayer for someone close to you. Place their name in the...well, where it says Name.
Happy praying!

We thank you God for (Name) and ask You to fill (Name) with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that (Name) may live a life worthy of you Lord and may please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of You God, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that (Name) may have great patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the You Father, who has qualified (Name) to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

Legion Pt. 2

…and by the Word of his testimony

In the last entry we covered Matt’s account of the men possessed with a whole mess of demons. It’s found in Matt 8:28-34. If you have not read that entry then stop right now and read Legion Pt. 1. Ok go. . .hey, you haven’t read it all, go back and finish reading. Are you all caught up now? Ok, whatever.
Here’s a quick review of Legion Pt.1:  
1. Jesus and crew showed up ashore minding their own business.
2. Two men possessed with a whole mess of demons start yelling about Jesus being the Son of God.
3. The demons want to make some pigs fly.  
4. Faith was not denied--ah, if you read part 1 then you would know what I’m talking about.

Matt doesn’t tell us what happens to these to guys after they were delivered,  but Mark does. So below is Matt’s record again and the part of Mark’s record that finishes the story.

Matthew 8:28-34 
 28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
 30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
 32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whol town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. 

Mark 5:18-20 
 18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

There are so many things to cover here but I’m just going to focus in on one thing--ONE BIG THING. That one big thing could be about the pig issue. A lot of gentiles lived on this side of the lake; but still this was the land of Israel and there was this strict no-pork rule.*

Or, that one big thing could be about how the locals wanted Jesus to split after He freed up these two possessed dudes. That just seems crazy to me, but they got theirs, you’ll see.

Or, that one big thing could be how the two guys obeyed Jesus and stayed where they were at. Hey, that’s it! That is the ONE BIG THING and it truly is BIG. 

In Legion Pt. 1 I covered the subject of two versus one. Again, if you have not read Pt. 1 then go back and read it already. Mark 5:18 states that the guy wanted to follow Jesus into the boat. The other guy must have jetted, maybe that’s why Mark only recorded one. Mark 5:19 say’s “Jesus did not let him.” I could just stop and preach on that for a minute...pressing on. Jesus told this guy to “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Mark finishes the story in verse 20 stating “So the man went away and began to tell in Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.” The same people that he used to terrorize, the same people that pleaded with Jesus to leave their area. Decapolis was a group of about 10 to 18 cities that included Gerasenes and Gadarenes. So this guy did not just tell his story in Gerasenes or Gadarenes, he went throughout the whole area spreading The Word. The Word was: “I was a BIG MESS until I met Jesus on the beach.” What do you think the result of this guy’s message was? How did the people react? Remember Matt 8:34 states “Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.”  But when this guy starts giving his testimony Mark 5:20 states “And all the people were amazed.” The Amp Bible translates 5:20 this way: “the people were astonished and marveled.” This is how astonished and marveled they were; the next time Jesus came to the area of Decapolis they hung onto Jesus’ every word. Jesus had to do a quick food multiplication miracle to feed 4000 of them because they didn’t want to stop to eat. They didn’t want to miss one word that Jesus was sharing.  Why? I believe it goes back to this guy. He actually obeyed what Jesus said. He went back to his own people and told them all what the Lord had done so the next time Jesus showed up in the region the people didn’t beg him to leave; instead they wanted to stay close by Him.  The result of this once demon possessed guy sharing his testimony didn’t stop with just the feeding of the 4000, this area became known as a Christian hub.

The end question.

So, why do you want to be healed? Relieved of pain? I get that. But what are you going to do with your testimony? Keep it to yourself? Rev. 12:11 says “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” This guy set Decapolis on fire by the word of his testimony. Both Mark 8 and Matt 15 record the feeding of the 4000 but I don’t think it was just 4000. The New Testament writers had this habit of just counting the men, so the number could have been as much as 12,000, maybe higher. This is what we know: the Decapolis area was never the same after this guy/guys were delivered. Are you going to leave you area unchanged after your healing?

Stay blessed y’all; it’s you choice.

*One theologian stated that as much as $250,000 worth of pork jumped off the cliff that day.

Legion Pt 1 of 2

Two for the Price of One

Controversy!!!! Conspiracy!!!! The Gospels are fraudulent! Matt, Mark, and Luke all recorded this same story and Matt said there were 2 guys possessed but Mark and Luke only recorded one. Controversy!!!! Conspiracy!!!! The Gospels are fraudulent!
If I were weak in my faith for the word of God then that would throw me off; it would cause me to reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Bible as a whole. But I have tasted too much of God’s goodness to be thrown off. Wait, that sounds to Christian-y. Let’s just say I have experienced so much of God’s goodness. . . no, no, no, that’s still too Christian-y sounding. Well, God has been really cool to me. That works, I guess. God has been so cool to me that such a simple “controversy” cannot and will not make me change my life course. So I must investigate.

You know, I just realized I never gave y’all the subject that we are covering. We are on the 11th Chronological healing that Jesus performed. This is the Legion possessed, crazy cliff diving pigs story. In short, it’s about the guy(s) possessed with a whole mess of demons. He’s (they’re) hanging out in the tombs when Jesus and crew storm the beach. Jesus frees him (them) of the wickedness and the pigs, the forbidden meat, fail at their attempt to fly. As I mentioned before, the Gospels named Mathew, Mark, and Luke all record this story. Matt kept his story pretty short so I’ll post that one for the first entry. Both Mark and Luke gave more detail, but they left out one big factor, so I’ll only reference and pull from their accounts. Mark’s record is found in Mark chapter 5 verses 1-20. Luke’s, is found in Luke 8:26-39. Now on with Matt’s record and after reading his account we’ll talk about the 2 vs. 1 issue:

Matthew 8:28-34
Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed Men
28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32 He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

So Matt points out that they have just arrived at the other side. Well, what side did they come from? Luke 8:26 states “They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee.” It was on that 3-hour boat tour (ok, that was a bad shout out to Gilligan’s Island) that Jesus shut up the storm. That is a story I would love to cover but it’s not a healing and this series is about the healings so I must move on. While on the other side—the Galilee side—Jesus was doing story time from town to town. Now, according to Matt, Jesus and his crew are storming the beach of Gadarenes. Mark and Luke state it was Gerasenes, but to clarify, the area that Jesus and gang landed can be known by both names. From reading several theologians’ perspective Gadarenes and Gerasenes were two separate cities that shared the same beach.

Now on with the controversy: Two guys verses one. Out of the 3 that recorded the story only Matt was there to witness it first-hand. Out of the four authors of the gospels only Matt and John where disciples; Mark and Luke where later converts. Mark most likely received his records from Peter. Luke investigated each story told. So out of the three Matt would have been there to see, firsthand, these two insane minds set free. I fully believe it was 2 guys possessed with a whole mess of demons. How many? A whole lot. Both Mark and Luke record Jesus asking for the demon’s name.
Mark 5:9 “Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Legion,’ he replied, ‘for we are many.’ 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.”
So the name Legion gives us the possible number of demons that were in these 2 dudes. A Roman legion, the ruling Government of the day, was made up of 6000 men. That’s a lot of demons. Now it is a demon stating this so the number may not be exact—they have a tendency to lie—but we do know that it was a whole lot of demons. Mark also lets us know how many swine were nearby. Mark 5:13 “He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.” So it had to be at about 2000 demons that Jesus was dealing with. That’s still a lot of demons, and that’s a whole lot of crazy pork right there. Talk about mad pig disease! But the original question is how many men were set free on that beach. Mark and Luke do not say is that there was only one man; they just only record one man in this story. So that leaves room for two men here. John Wesley said this of the subject: “St. Mark and St. Luke mention only one, who was probably the fiercer of the two, and the person who spoke to our Lord first. But this is no way inconsistent with the account which St. Matthew gives.” Several other theologians state the same. Barnes Notes on the New Testament went further by stating, “had they (Mark and Luke) denied plainly that there was more than one, and had Matthew affirmed that there were two, there would have been an irreconcilable contradiction. As it is, they relate the affair as other men would. It shows that they were honest witnesses. Had they been impostors; had Matthew and Luke agreed to write books to deceive the world, they would have agreed exactly in a case so easy as this. They would have told the story with the same circumstances. Witnesses in courts of law; often differ in unimportant matters; and, provided the main narrative coincides, their testimony is thought to be more valuable.” That makes sense to me.

Faith Factor: Faith Can’t Be Denied!
The reason these men were set free was because they got their problem into a position of confrontation with the Messiah. He/they faced his/their problem and handed it over to our Christ. One commentary stated that it was the demons that pursued the conflict with Christ but I don’t agree with that. They obviously knew who Jesus was and if they had complete control over these guys then they would have gone the opposite direction. It’s not like they were confined to the tombs. Mark 5:3 states “no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain." But here is the Faith in Action/Problem in conflict with Christ: Mark 5:6 says: “When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of Him.” It was not the demons running to Jesus, but the man/men. If you want to be set free from sickness, disease, sin, or even debt then you need to bring you problem into a position of conflict with Christ. And the bonus is the devil and all his demons can’t stop you. Whether it was 6000 or 2000 or just one demon, they could not stop these men from being set free. A PROBLEM CANNOT STOP YOU FROM BEING SET FREE! Faith, true faith, can’t be denied.

I am so excited about the next entry. If the people in the area of Gerasenes/Gadarenes thought these guys were a terror before, wait till you see what they do after their deliverance.

Stay blessed y’all; it’s your choice.

And when you slowly rise back up yell, “POP”!

August 4th ‘92 I swore into the United States Air Force; Aug 5th my world changed. On Aug 5th 92 I found myself in San Antonio, Texas at Lackland Air Force base sweating like crazy. Some dude with a cool hat was yelling in my face about breathing wrong. The dreaded Air Force Boot Camp had begun. OK, it’s not as dreadful as the rest of the services, but it was hard enough. Oh the memories! Boot camp was just that: boot camp. I am proud I made it through it, but I never want to repeat it. It was within that fun filled 6 weeks that I found out how great my aim was; OK, I was not even close to a decent shot. I also found out what I looked like at 140lbs; it was not a pretty site. Now I make 200lbs look good--real good. Here is one memory from B.C. that has always stuck with me.

One morning our T.I. (training instructor) had us out on the tarmac practicing our marching. We had a tough time getting the commands/cadence down. Who knew a right turn could be so hard? This day he was getting pretty frustrated with us so he stopped us mid march, told us all (about 40 of us) to bend over and grab our ankles. He then instructed us to slowly rise back up and when we were fully upright yell, “POP!” He said the “POP” was demonstrating us pulling our heads out of our--I’ll keep it redeemed even though he didn’t--butts. The POP worked; the rest of the day we marched just fine. I don’t know about you but every once in awhile I need a POP moment.

I think in the Christian world one of the most popular scriptures to preach from is Romans 12:2. Romans 12:2 is a “POP” kind of scripture. Back when I was a youth pastor/leader I preached from Romans 12:2 a lot. It’s just so easy to preach from with youth. It’s a script that tells us not to bend to the world, not to give in to peer-pressure. Before we go on I better show Romans 12:2 for our reference point.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

I said this was a pop kind of script so lets put in some pops.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [POP, that’s your head becoming unstuck]. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good [POP], pleasing [BANG] and perfect will [CLEAR AIR].

The end of Romans chapter 1 demonstrates what a un-conformed [head up the butt] mind thinks like. But the problem is if we focus in on how we’re not to think then we end up thinking just like that, a butt. Paul wrote of this in Romans 7:7-21 “I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law.” If we, instead, focus in on what we are conformed to then we prove the pattern of God’s will: the good, pleasing and perfect pattern. Ok, great, but what is that pattern, what is that good, pleasing and perfect will? This is where we ministers, or maybe just me, usually start filling in the blank on how a redeemed minded person thinks. If we want to know how a redeemed mind thinks then we just need to keep on reading Romans 12. Check out what the very next verse says: “Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Is that not the total opposite of how an unredeemed mind thinks? A sinfully minded person thinks of himself as more highly than he should. “Give me what’s mine.” I’m guilty as charged on that one. Thank God for His mercy so that I don’t actually get what’s owed to me. Check out Romans 12:14: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” I can bless those who supposedly persecute me but I don’t know about not cursing them, or even using a few curse words to describe them. Is that a little too real?

The rest of Romans 12 gives more goodies on how a renewed mind thinks. As a matter of fact, the renewed theme carries on through chapter 13, 14, and onto 15. Sometime in the near future read through Romans 12-15 to check out the Godly pattern. That’s starting to look like a pretty good study to do after I’m done with this healings series. Happy reading y’all and go ahead and yell out a few “POP’s” every once in awhile. I know I still need to at times.

Stay blessed y’all; it’s your choice.