Pastor Daniel Storm
Jeremiah 32:27, “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”
Each one of us has our own limitations in life. Many times, we don’t like to admit it but this is the reality. No matter how strong, smart, or how much money one has we are still limited. About 7 years ago I had a very interesting medical situation. My wife and I were living in England at the time. I woke up in the middle of the night (July 4th was the date) in extreme pain in my wrist. I went to the doctor earlier in the morning but after hours of waiting they just brushed it off as nothing to worry about. As days went on the pain got worse and spread to most of my joints (wrist, knees, jaw…etc.). So much so that I couldn’t really walk and my wife had to help me get around. It was only over the next month that I was diagnosis with Reactive Rheumatoid Arthritis. I wrestled with what this meant for my life. Would I be like this forever? Would I be able to run again? Could I be a Youth Pastor at all? The doctors were limited in what they could do and I was put on some medication to help. Overtime it began to get better and eventually went away (though not for 9-12 months). Long Story short my RA went away and I was able to (after a while) get back to normal activities. I note this story in my life because I have never known my limitations so clearly as when this took place. For those that know me I love to exercise but when I had RA I could hardly even walk. No matter how strong I thought I was this reminded me that I was extremely limited.
When we open the book of Mark we are hit right away with all that Jesus could do. He healed a demon possessed man (1:21-28), he heals many (1:19-33), He heals a Leper ( 1:40-45), he heals a paralytic (2:1-12), he heals a man with a withered hand (3:1-6), and heal many others and casts our demons (3:7-12). These are just the first three chapters of Mark but it is impossible to miss that Jesus is not limited at all. He has power over sickness, disease, and the demonic. What is truly amazing to me is that Jesus is not struggling to “cast out demons” or “heal the sick” he just does it. Why? Because Jesus has authority and he is not limited.
We know our limitations or maybe we have been put in a life situation (like I was) that reminds us or shows us that we are more limited that we realize. Jesus however has power and authority and nothing is too great for Him, be it sickness or demons. Just let that sink in this week for you. Whatever you are going through, yes you are limited, yes there is only so much you can do, but God is not limited. The understanding that God is not limited is clearly seen throughout all of Scripture. From creating everything out of nothing, to giving a child to a couple too old to have children (Abraham and Sarah), to splitting the Red Sea for the Israelites…God is not limited. So, whatever you are going through, lay it before God and realize that our God is not limited.
“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17
This past Sunday we looked at a passage in Mark 2:1-12 where four faith-filled men bring their paralyzed friend to a house where Jesus is teaching. The place is so crowded, inside and out, that they are forced to carry the paralyzed man up to the roof of the building and then lower him through an opening that they create in order to get the man to Jesus.
It’s hard not to be amazed at the sheer determination and faith it takes for these four individuals to get their friend into the presence of Jesus. I don’t know if they had permission from the owner of the house to dig a hole in his ceiling, but it’s a safe bet that they would have had to return at a later date to do some much needed home repairs. As they lowered their friend to where Jesus was, there are wonderful lessons for us to learn about their faith.
Their faith was an active faith. Lesser, more conventional friends would have waited for a more convenient time to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Or maybe just waited for Jesus to come to them. But these four knew that time was of the essence, and that their friend wasn’t getting any better just laying around. They realized that there was no time like the present to encounter Jesus and his healing power, and so they put their faith into action.
Their faith was in the power of Jesus. I was inspired this past Sunday as people lined up for prayer at the end of our worship service. There were requests to pray for physical ailments as well as spiritual sickness. What a blessing it is to be in a place where God is moving among us and to realize that Jesus alone is the source of hope and healing for whatever it is that holds us back in life. He is the Son of God who has come that we might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
Their faith was rewarded with the complete healing of their friend. Mark 2:5 tells us that when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son your sins are forgiven.”And then he said to him, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Jesus responds to the faith of these ‘Fearless Four’ and heals not just their friend’s body, but also forgives him his sins.
This story reminds us that we should never take lightly our role in bringing people into the presence of Jesus. So many people we encounter find themselves paralyzed by fear, failure, and unforgiveness. They are literally frozen in place, and have no way of moving forward. Our faith might be the lifeline they need to help them get unstuck. Whether by praying for them, offering a word of encouragement, inviting them to church, or even lowering them through a hole in someone’s roof – it might be just the help they need from a faith-filled friend like you or me.
Pastor Perry Engle
In our world today, everyone seems to be fighting for a position of authority. Meaning they want to be the one in charge, the one to call the shots, the one whom people should listen to. Many times, we are stuck in between people or political parties fighting, trying to show why they either should have authority or do have authority. When reflecting over the idea of authority I was struck by Jesus in the first chapter of the gospel of Mark. In 1:22 and 27 it states:
“The people were amazed at his (Jesus) teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority…What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”
Did you catch what is happening here? Jesus is traveling around preaching and healing. People are in shock and awe because Jesus is not just doing this because he has some skill or training but rather because he has true authority. I want you to note that when Jesus encounters a demon possessed person, both in the first chapter of Mark and all other situations they know that Jesus has ultimate authority. In fact, Jesus doesn’t even speak at first, the demons beg him for mercy. The very presence of Jesus shouts to the demons who is really in charge.
Why do I want to note this today? It is easy to be caught up in all the battles in our world and culture for who has authority and who is in charge, but this passage is a reminder of who really is in charge. Jesus has ultimate authority and one day every knee shall bow.
“…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father…” (Philippians 2:10-11)
No matter what is happening in your life right now, trust in King Jesus is the one really in charge and with real authority. One of my favorite Psalms in Psalm 2. In the Psalm it talks about all the nations and how powerful they think they are. In response to how powerful they think they are the Psalmist states, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs…” Why? Because He is the one on the throne, He is the one with authority, He is the one in charge…no one else. It doesn’t matter how smart, powerful or political someone is, no one stands above God and no one can take over God’s throne. He sit enthroned forever.