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February 2006 Archives

February 5, 2006

Set Me Free!

So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. Mark 5:20

I've had a song on my mind for days, Set Me Free, on the Lifesong CD by Casting Crowns. The first time I heard it, I was easily caught up in the powerful instrumentation. There is something about an electric guitar and bass that can tap into some primeval part of us. Like a tribesman lost in the music dancing around a fire, this song carries me somewhere else.

However, no matter how many times I have heard it, the depth of the story Mark Hall is telling in this song has escaped me until this week.

I have always connected with the main theme of this song, to be set free from the dark ones, but this week I felt it. I could literally feel myself standing next to a man once plagued by a legion of demons begging Jesus to set him free. This song seems to be written from the perspective of man we read about in the book of Mark. He was set free from a life among the tombs - a life where others literally chained him like a wild animal - a life where he cut himself in hopes of releasing the pressure built up inside.

Sadly, I can relate to this man.

Have I ever lived in a cemetery? Or been chained hand and foot? Or cut myself?

No. But I have felt like I lived among the dead. I have felt bound by the chains of addiction to sin that wrapped around my very soul. I have longed to somehow release the pressure of a spirit that felt it might burst from the strangulation hold of the enemy.

From these, Jesus can free me. All I must do is ask.

The tough part about freedom, though, is what to do next.

The man freed from the legion of demons seemed to be unsure. And others who saw him were frightened. They knew the man as he once was. They knew he had been a mad man. But now, he was whole. He was sane. And they were frightened. Maybe he reminded them of themselves. If he could now be one of them, could they somehow become like the mad man he was?

This man begged to go with Jesus, but Jesus told him to stay - to go home and tell his story.

One of the most interesting aspects of this story isn't so much the fear people had for the man set free but the fear they had for Jesus Himself. They pleaded with Him to leave the region. A man with His power was more frightening than they could handle.

There are times that I wonder why Jesus doesn't simply show Himself to the lost. The truth is: the lost are often frightened by Him. A man with such power - to heal the sick and raise the dead - would also have the power to destroy. The lost, in truth, feel worthy of destruction.

Yet, the lost can understand the story of a man set free. There is hope in his words. If he can be freed from a legion of demons, so might I.

So the next time I feel like I would rather leave this world for the next - to be with Jesus Himself, I need to heed His words: "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." We all have a story to tell. It is a story of hope that can bring life to the lost.

Lord, help me to know what to say and when to say it. Help me to share my story of hope with a frightened world. You are so awesome. Help me to reflect Your glory in all that I do.

February 6, 2006

Walk Your Talk

"Far be it from me!" Joab replied, "Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy!" 2 Samuel 20:20

Joab was the commander of King David's army. He was also the king's cousin. He was very successful; however, if I had him on my team, I would be careful about trusting him.

His success came with a price. Most who threatened his place in David's kingdom met an untimely demise.

The former commander of King Saul's army, Abner, was murdered by Joab. Although it was done to avenge the death of Joab's brother Asahel, it is interesting to consider the fact that Joab killed the primary threat to his position. When Absalom rebelled against the king, it was Joab who ignored David's order and killed him. And now, Amasa, the man appointed by Absalom to replace Joab as the commander of Israel's army stood in his way. King David had determined that Amasa would remain as commander, but Amasa died at Joab's hand.

Although Joab said the right things and succeeded in his endeavors, I wouldn't have trusted him. However, David did.

No matter how much I think of King David (he is a man I want to emulate), this is an area of disagreement. Too often I feel David didn't fully consider how others reflected upon his leadership. A man of integrity would be wise to surround himself with other men of integrity. Yet David's primary focus was on success. Joab delivered, so David looked the other way at times. How would things have been different if David had taken the high moral ground? Would there have been the same turmoil in his kingdom?

Lord, help me to learn from David's liaison with Joab. I don't think Joab was trustworthy, but I don't know if I would have had the courage to replace him. David was a great leader, but even great leaders make poor choices. Help me to make the right choices. Make me a man of integrity. Surround me with others of integrity. Surround me with men who walk their talk.

February 12, 2006

Failing Crops

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Lately, I've felt overrun by an enemy. Busyness, fatigue, lack of motivation - all these things seem to be getting in my way. The Word has seemed like mere words on a page. It feels like my crops are failing; my inspiration has waned. Every day is met with more to be accomplished, and I lack the desire to accomplish it.

Why is it so difficult to find the Living Water these days? Like West Texas, I feel I have dried up. How many months can we go with virtually no rain?

Lord, no matter how dry I might feel, I will choose to praise You today. Every fiber of my being wants to flee. I want to run to where I can find something to drink. Help me to wait for Your refreshing rain. Make me holy as You are holy. I feel alone. Where are You?

February 15, 2006

Trapped by the Ignoble

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some are ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21

I think I've been trapped by the ignoble. The Apostle Paul said, "'Everything is permissible for me' - but not everything is beneficial."

Lately, I feel like I've been far too focused on the permissible rather than the beneficial. Life has been completely overwhelming. My wife even told me I seem to be on auto-pilot.

So how do I cleanse myself of "the latter"? How do I become a noble vessel when it seems I have been overtaken by ignoble tasks?

Lord, there are far too many things on my plate. Every day is overwhelmed with the trivial - with new tasks that are passed my way - with the busyness of success. It seems the better I do, the more I am given. Now I can't do anything! Give me a bigger plate. Make me a noble vessel. Cleanse me from the ignoble things in life.

February 17, 2006

One Row at a Time

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Sometimes I want to simply give up! How much more can one person take? It seems that far too many weeds have overtaken the good things in life. How will I ever reap a harvest?

One row at a time.

Lord, in the past I would have searched for an escape hatch. There are so many things pressing down on me - so many things I need to finish. I don't have the strength to work the garden anymore. But You do. Send harvesters to help. Show me how to ask for help. Help me to not give up.

February 20, 2006

Overflow

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

What kind of story do you have?

Do you struggle to find the words?

I do.

Maybe I'm trying too hard. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places to discover it. Too often I consider the audience when I think of sharing my story. I think about what it is that they need to hear, rather than simply saying what I need to say.

"For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

If I don't know what to say, maybe I haven't stored up enough in my heart. Maybe I'm too worried that the truth will come out - that there isn't much to tell.

Lord, I feel so caught up in the circumstance of my life. I seem to be bouncing about - tossed by the waves, rather than steering a course You have plotted. Help me to store good things in my heart. Let my life story overflow from Your goodness. Be my constant Guide in the storms.

February 28, 2006

Extinguished Fire?

"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled." Luke 12:49

Fire is on my mind this morning.

Yesterday, there was an enormous fire in town. A series of explosions at a propane distributor filled the sky with the blackest smoke you'll ever see. Almost eighteen thousand pounds of propane burned for several hours. Fighting the fire was almost too dangerous. Firefighters could only watch, spraying cool water on other tanks to keep them from exploding as well. Small propane tanks, like missiles in battle, rained down on anything nearby. Amazingly, no one was injured. Having purchased my propane from this company several times, I was concerned about the employees. Praise the Lord. They are safe!

Today, I wonder about another fire, a fire of passion that burns within me. Has it quit burning? Do I have a desire that still burns within me to change the world - to share the hope of Christ with the lost? Or have I grown too weary? Have I become so overwhelmed by the smoke, that I can no longer stoke the fire?

Lord, I know most of the answers. I know that You are the Source of the flame - that to burn brightly I need to draw near to You. But truthfully, I'm tired. Even now as I am closer to starting new journeys, I question my strength and ability to complete them.

Has the fire been extinguished?

Everywhere I turn, I seem to be putting out fires, but it seems the very fire in me has died to nothing. There are embers, but I have no means to purchase the fuel I need. The places I once bought it are gone. Help me to find the fuel of Your choosing. Rekindle the fire that burned in me.

Draw me close to Your flames.

About February 2006

This page contains all entries posted to The Potter's Hand in February 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2006 is the previous archive.

March 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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