Casting FOR Fish, and Casting OUT Fiends

November 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Mark | 3 Comments
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Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

Mark 1:16-18

Mark stressed the active service of Jesus and His Disciples with the use of the word “straightway.” Jesus called fishermen. Perhaps He knew they would need patience in winning souls. Fishing for recreation can be relaxing; fishing for a living is a get-up-and-get-moving business. But, at the same time, fishing often involves perseverance and waiting.

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 1:21-22

People were astonished when Jesus taught, because of His authority. He was Truth personified. He didn’t need to quote other teachers, and when He quoted Scripture, He was quoting Himself.

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out;

Mark 1:23

It is not clear whether this demon had revealed himself in this man before, or whether the Jews in the synagogue believed he was mentally ill, but still allowed him to remain. In either case, the demon was exposed as soon as Jesus entered.

Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

Mark 1:24

The use of plural pronouns (“let us alone; what have we to do with thee”) may have revealed how closely the man identified with the demon. There are church members today who have some knowledge of Who Jesus is, and they will even confess His name with their mouths, but they are terrified of Him because He is their enemy.

And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine [is] this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

Mark 1:25-28

Accurate Timing

March 11, 2013 at 9:48 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 3 Comments
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Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.

Ecclesiastes 8:3 (emphasis added)

There are going to be times when we find ourselves under the authority of someone whose orders do not seem like the best ideas to us in the circumstances. When this happens, do not be in too big a hurry to try to get out from under that authority.

Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.

Ecclesiastes 8:5 (emphasis added)

Wisdom is more than just knowing what to do. It’s also knowing when to do – or not to do – it.

Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.

Ecclesiastes 8:6 (emphasis added)

It’s not easy to have good timing. What helps is remembering that God has a purpose in what is happening.

For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?

Ecclesiastes 8:7 (emphasis added)

Even things that are fairly certain to come to pass are often unknowable as to when they will come to pass.

There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

Ecclesiastes 8:8 (emphasis added)

Often we are forced to realize that it’s not up to us whether something will happen, nor is it as much up to us as we sometimes think to determine when it will happen.

All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.

Ecclesiastes 8:9 (emphasis added)

It’s not a question of whether you are going to be under authority – or even whether the one in authority over you is going to abuse that authority. The question is the timing of it

And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.

Ecclesiastes 8:10 (emphasis added)

Forgetfulness is sometimes simply the byproduct of the passage of time. Time can heal wounds or it can cause us to repeat our mistakes.

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 (emphasis added)

When a famous celebrity commits a crime, and then, due to the skill of his or her legal team, or a technicality in the law, he or she seems to “get away with it,” we must remember that, in God’s economy, no one really gets away with anything. If a condemned person’s sentence is not executed “speedily” enough for our liking, it would still be evil for us to execute it ourselves.

Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:

Ecclesiastes 8:12 (emphasis added)

God may “prolong” the days of “sinners” to give them a chance to repent, but we do not have a guarantee on how long the prolonging is going to be. Every second after a sin is a prolonged second, so it is safer to live in fear before God.

But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

Ecclesiastes 8:13

The prolonged days of the wicked will not seem prolonged from their point of view.

Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 8:15 (emphasis added)

Mirth means enjoyment. It can mean eating, drinking, having fun, even working – if we do it in the fear of the Lord. Trust God’s timing. He’s never late and He’s never early.

Up for the Count

July 27, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Biblical Violence | 2 Comments
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When a boxer is badly beaten, knocked down by his opponent, and cannot get up, the referee counts to ten, and the fight is over. This is the idea behind the common expression we use for someone who appears to be defeated, when we say he is “down for the count.”

The Bible, however, says that Christians – even when the powerful punches of life are landing relentlessly – are not “counted out.” Instead, they are counted “up” (happy) if they endure.

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

James 5:11

“But wait,” says the skeptic, “I thought Christians were supposed to claim their blessings by faith… Isn’t suffering a sign of faithlessness for a believer?” Dear friend, be not deceived. Faith is not blindly grabbing for rewards. True faith is obeying the Lord in spite of consequences, and enduring – like Job did – by depending on His grace, His time, and His Word.


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