DayBreaks for 10/11/19 – Lessons from Legion

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DayBreaks for 10/11/19: Lessons from Legion

From the DayBreaks archive, October 2009:

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

In my opinion, this is one of the more intriguing miracles that Jesus performed.  I have often pictured this encounter taking place in broad daylight, but a close reading of the text would indicate that it was probably not the case.  Jesus and his disciples had left the other side of the Sea of Galilee late in the evening, encountered a storm, and had finally made it to the other shore.  Chances are it was dark – the time when ancients believed demons were especially active.  They also believed demons frequented dirty, filthy places – graveyards, especially.  It seems as if they had just reached shore when this man, who was so strong because of his possession, that he could break metal chains, comes charging out of the graveyard to confront Jesus. 

I won’t go into the details of the story except to make several observations.  It is interesting how the man switches back and forth between singular expressions of speech and plural.  This clearly was a seriously possessed man – and a very confused one, too.  It is interesting that the demons were fearful that Jesus would torture them.  This probably refers to him sending them back to the pit of hell.  What a contrast to the rather comical view of hell that is often presented by many today that would have us believe that the demons shriek with laughter in hell over the plight of the damned.  Such is not the case – it is a place of torture, not just for the condemned, but for the demons, too.  They want no part of it.  How foolish of those who reject God because they think that they’ll be happier with their friends in hell – picturing it as an eternal beer-bust party!

But here’s what really has me thinking about this passage: having stood in the place where this transpired, I’d never tried before to put myself in the place of the possessed man.  No, I am not possessed by demons that cause me to break chains or wander unclothed, yelling and cutting myself with rocks.  But, are we not all possessed at some level by demons that haunt us – be they ghosts of past failings or the present specters of temptation?  I know within myself rage temptations that would want to have nothing to do with Jesus.  And sometimes, I feel as if I’m losing the battle – as this poor man must have felt from time to time.  I need to understand that it isn’t just those foaming at the mouth or who are derelict that need what Jesus has to offer – I, too, am in desperate need.

Here’s what really scares me and bothers me: just as this man didn’t want his demons sent too far away, I have to ask, “Do I want my temptations sent so far away that I can’t recall them and invite them back into my heart when I want them?”  I fear that I can’t always answer in the affirmative to that question.  There is a part of me that longs for that very thing – and another part that longs for the status quo, temptations and all.  And that dichotomy haunt me.

The good news is that the demoniac, once his demons were gone, sat quietly and “in his right mind” at the feet of Jesus.  When I am in my right mind, I will do the same.

PRAYER: Free us, Lord, from the demons of temptation that haunt and pursue us, and for our love of sin that causes us to hold tightly to our temptations when we should be casting them away.  Have mercy on us and clothe us in our right minds that we might sit at Your feet!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

DayBreaks for 1/28/15 – Jesus, Demons and God’s Design for Us

DayBreaks for 01/28/15 – Jesus, Demons and God’s Design for Us

In Mark 5, Jesus encounters Legion – and the man that was possessed by Legion.  Interestingly, that man with the unclean spirit (or at least Legion!) understood who Jesus was better than anyone else Jesus had encountered in the gospel up until that point in time. This poor man was on the very margins of society and perhaps even beyond the margins of sanity, but make no mistake – he knows exactly who Jesus is. Even the disciples don’t figure it out until Mark 8, when Peter says, “You are the messiah, the one sent by God.” This man of unclean spirit is way ahead of everyone, and he wants to know, in essence, “What are you going to do with people like me? Are you going to destroy us?”

“Be silent and come out of him!” Jesus commands. And then the man convulses and cries out loudly and the unclean spirit leaves him. I’ve had some interesting discussions about spirits with other Christians, and while I may not fully understand what an unclean spirit is, it is clear that Jesus believed in them – and I am impressed with Jesus’ power over them! Mark’s gospel still hasn’t told us a thing about what Jesus taught, but he has showed us that Jesus had a power over things that people label as unclean.

I believe Mark is making this point: that God’s will and purpose as present in Jesus is engaging and fighting against all the purposes of evil that exist among humanity. This battle is not fought just at the highest levels of government or industry, but right in the middle of common folk like us. The battle of good versus evil, right versus wrong, life versus death even happens amidst the people who are gathered for worship.

Christ came to shatter all the domineering designs and forces that shackle people to lower standards for life than God intends for us. Christ has come to free us not just from real demons like Legion, but also from demons like prejudice and pride, greed and guile.

Christ is among us, whenever we gather in church, to demonstrate a power among us. If we devote ourselves to anything less than a divinely directed destiny, we have missed the goal of faith.

PRAYER: Help us to see, understand and grasp by faith all that You intend for us!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations! Your support would be deeply appreciated!

DayBreaks for 8/11/14 – The Demons of Assyria

DayBreaks for 8/11/14 – The Demons of Assyria

I am struggling.  I’m conflicted at the moment.  And, I’m uncomfortable about where I am in my attitude and heart.  But at the moment, I’m filled with anger and indignation.

What’s going on?  Let me just put it this way: did you see the news articles and photos from this past 2-3 days that show the carnage that is being perpetrated by ISIS (or the “Islamic State”) in Iraq?  The US was finally moved by a potential catastrophe caused by people fleeing these brutal, blood-thirsty, hateful people to launch air strikes to help prevent what some are calling “genocide”.  But I don’t think it’s necessarily genocide: they seem to want to kill anyone and anything that doesn’t agree with their religio-political ideology.

They have been beheading young children – young children!  There are numerous photos (and videos) of them slicing open people’s throats and cutting their heads off.  The people who have fled to a mountain near the Turkish border are so terrified of ISIS and the abominations they have perpetrated that they have reportedly even thrown their children over the cliffs so that they would die mercifully and quickly rather than being taken, raped and sold into slavery or butchered by these mongrels.

This is why my attitude and emotions are in such conflict.  I am afraid that I hate them.  I know that Jesus said to love our enemies…but I cannot find it in myself to love those who are doing such things.  I prayed during the night last night for God to rise up in His righteous indignation and destroy those who are perpetrating this holocaust.  I don’t know if I can stop praying that prayer.  I feel that I should be praying for the conversion of these monsters (someone called them “rabid dogs” and noted that you can’t make rabid dogs well by reasoning with them or feeding them better kibble – you can only deal with a rabid dog by killing it.)

Another article that I read noted that ISIS is claiming the territory once ruled by the ancient Assyrians – a group that was notably brutal in war, vicious – a people who gouged out eyes, cut off limbs, flayed people alive.  The author of that article noted that the actions of the ancient Assyrians seemed to have been driven by a demon god that they worshipped, and they wondered if perhaps ISIS was also being controlled by that demon.

Recall the story in the NT that Jesus taught about casting out demons?  They must have a place to inhabit, and if they are cast out of someone then something else must take their place or the demons will return with even more power and numbers.  Could it be that ISIS is under the same demonic influence that controlled Assyria?  The actions of ISIS are so closely parallel to those of ancient Assyria that one must ponder the question.

Scripture says that we aren’t fighting against flesh and blood, but against powers in the spiritual realm.  I know that.  I get it.  But how do you not hate someone who points rifle barrels at a terrified little girl before they go about sawing off her head and then photographing her headless body as some sort of perverse, obscene, bloody trophy?

There is much that I don’t know.  But I do know this: all believers should be down on our hands and knees imploring God to put an end to this!!!  And we shouldn’t stop praying that until it is over, one way or the other.

Psalm 94:1-7 (ESV) O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve! O LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. They crush your people, O LORD, and afflict your heritage. They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless; and they say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

PRAYER: Lord, I know that I am FAR from a perfect man.  I know that I, too, am a sinner, saved only by grace.  But Lord, how can You look down from heaven and not act?  We plead with You, we beg of You, to rise up in Your power and holiness and put an end to this barbarism!!!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!