VIDEO The Difference: The Demon-Possessed Man

Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you. Mark 5:19

In Mark 5, Jesus took a boat to the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, where He encountered a wild man who lived among the tombs. The man was possessed by demons. Jesus cast out the demons, and the difference that came over the man was astonishing. When Jesus boarded the boat to leave, the man begged to come with Him. But Jesus told him to go home and tell his friends what great things the Lord had done for him. And the man did so. He became one of Christ’s first evangelists, proclaiming the Lord Jesus to the ten cities of the Galilean Decapolis—“and all marveled” (Mark 5:20).

Few things glorify the Lord more than the changed lives of His people and their testimonies about His amazing grace. If Christ has made a difference in your life, tell others about it. Go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you!

Let the world know the difference Jesus makes. The psalmist exhorts, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” H. B. Charles, Jr.

Mark 5:1-35 – Skip Heitzig

The Fruit Sells the Tree

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22–23

A nursery owner set out to sell peach trees. She considered various approaches. Should she line up leafy saplings in burlap sacks in a beautiful display? Should she create a colorful catalog picturing peach trees in various seasons of growth? At last she realized what really sells a peach tree. It’s the peach it produces: sweet-smelling, deep orange, and fuzzy-skinned. The best way to sell a peach tree is to pluck a ripe peach, cut it open until the juice dribbles down your arm, and hand a slice to a customer. When they taste the fruit, they want the tree.

God reveals Himself in a wrapper of spiritual fruit in His followers: love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). When believers in Jesus exhibit such fruit, others will want that fruit as well, and, therefore, will seek the Source of the fruit that’s so attractive.

Fruit is the external result of an internal relationship—the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Fruit is the dressing that beckons others to know the God we represent. Like the bright peaches standing out against the green leaves of a tree, the fruit of the Spirit announces to a starving world, “Here is food! Here is life! Come and find a way out of exhaustion and discouragement. Come and meet God!”

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

What first drew you to Jesus? How are you exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in your life so that others are attracted to its Source, God?

Holy Spirit, I welcome You to continue to grow Your fruit in my life that others might see You and want You in their lives.

Learn more about walking by the Spirit.

Praying in a Crisis

Even when we feel small and helpless, we can change lives through prayer

Numbers 21:6-8

When was the last time you cried out to God about something other than personal issues? We’re often so absorbed in our own life that we fail to see the crises others are facing. But whether a hardship impacts total strangers or hits close to home, do you ever feel some matters are just too big for one person’s prayer to make a difference? 

Well, don’t believe it. James 5:16 assures us that “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (ESV). And the next verse gives a powerful example: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” 

Almighty God is able to heal, bring peace, and change circumstances. And He has chosen to let His children participate in the process through prayer. In fact, He wants us to talk with Him about everything (Philippians 4:6).

The next time you hear of a tragedy or problem—regardless of whether it affects you or perfect strangers—resist the temptation to distance yourself from it. You can influence the lives of others when you intercede on their behalf. Let crises become a catalyst for prayer.

Be Content

“I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)

The English word “content” can bring up thoughts of indifference and mild temperament. Modern usage tends to give “content” a negative connotation, as though such an attitude has little ambition or drive.

Not so of the Greek term that the Holy Spirit chose for this passage. It is composed of the pronoun for “self” and the noun for “sufficiency.” Both in Scripture and in secular Greek literature, the word demands an ability to conquer whatever circumstances that may oppose one’s purpose or goal and to continue through in spite of difficulties.

The context of our text is a prime example. Paul had experienced hunger and satisfaction. He knew what it meant to be obscure and to be a celebrity. There were times when he had more than enough resources to accomplish what he understood God had called him to do, and other times when resources were very scarce. In whatever state he found himself, Paul had learned to be self-sufficient.

Our problem is that we often are looking only at the physical and circumstantial issues and have not learned that our Lord Jesus provides grace that “is sufficient for thee: for [His] strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). The resources of the omnipotent Godhead are enough for us to “be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

The self-sufficiency of the twice-born rests on the eternal fact that God “worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). HMM III

God Himself and Nothing More

I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

—Isaiah 6:1

Brethren, when we finally have our meeting with God, it has to be alone in the depths of our being. We will be alone even if we are surrounded by a crowd. God has to cut every maverick out of the herd and brand him all alone. It isn’t something that God can do for us en masse.

If it takes a crowd to get you converted, you have not been converted! If it takes a crowd to get you through the fullness of the Holy Ghost, you are going to be disappointed.

I know that people do not want to be alone with God, but if your longing heart ever finds the living water, it will be alone. We humans want to help each other and that is good insofar as we can, but God wants us to press through to His Presence where there is no natural or artificial help….

He asks that we come with a naked intent unto God. We must want God Himself—and nothing more! ITB106

The love of God is paramount to every other principle…every desire subservient to that of promoting his glory. DTC072

Safe and Sealed

He will show Him greater works than these so that you will be amazed.—John 5:20

In Ephesians 1:13, we see that those who “heard” and “believed” were “sealed”: “When you heard the message … you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” Does the “sealing” take place at conversion or at some point beyond it? I believe it takes place at conversion. A seal is a mark of ownership, and when the Holy Spirit comes in to regenerate our beings at conversion, He produces the assurance in our hearts that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

I know that some believe that the “sealing” takes place subsequent to conversion, such as at one’s baptism by total immersion, or at a crisis point of sanctification, or, as some would describe it, when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. But how insecure life would be if we had to wait for “this” or “that” experience in order to know that we are safe in Christ.

One historian says that it was customary in Ephesus for certain traders to send their slaves into the marketplace to make purchases for them and, once the transaction was complete, the slaves would mark the item with their master’s seal, whereupon it was delivered to the master’s home. In something of the same way, the Holy Spirit in our own hearts seals, once and for all, the question of His ownership over our lives, and also acts as a pledge, or guarantee, that one day we will be safely delivered to our Father’s home in glory. In Wales, many years ago, I heard a frail old Christian say: “The envelope (meaning his body) may be a bit tattered, but the letter inside is quite safe.” It is!


O Father, what endless blessings follow the coming of Your Spirit into my life. I am saved by grace, sealed by the Spirit, and supported by eternal love. What more could I ask for this side of glory! Amen.

Further Study

Jn 5; Rm 8:16; Gl 4:6; 1Jn 4:13

How does the Holy Spirit “bear witness”?

What confidence does this give us?

A Noticeable Difference

When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and knew that they had been with Jesus.—Acts 4:13

There is no mistaking a life transformed by God! The disciples had been vain and fearful when Jesus enlisted them. James and John sought to outmaneuver their fellow disciples in order to gain the places of greatest honor next to Jesus (Mark 10:37). Over and over the disciples’ actions showed that they did not truly understand who Jesus was (John 6:7–9; Mark 6:49). Even after three years with Jesus, Peter was afraid to confess Christ before a young servant girl (Matt. 26:69–75). Anyone who knew these men would realize they were not the kind of people on which you build a worldwide kingdom. Yet something happened to them as they were with Jesus. The Holy Spirit transformed them, giving them new boldness and wisdom. Now they could perform miracles and preach fearlessly and persuasively to multitudes. Even their enemies noticed in their changed lives the same power they had witnessed in Jesus.

Sometimes we desperately want others to believe that we have changed, that we are more godly, more devoted, more Spirit-controlled. It is not necessary, however, for those who have been truly transformed by Christ to convince others of the difference; the change will be obvious.

Don’t become too introspective, always focusing on yourself and the small changes you see happening over time. As you walk with Jesus daily, let the witness of the changes taking place in you come from others and not from you. If you have to prove to someone that God has really changed you, He has not. Those around you will surely notice when your life has been transformed by your relationship with Jesus.