Posts Tagged Philippians 4: 13

Wait Lifting

Hebrews 4: 11

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

No, I didn’t misspell the word “wait” in the title. There is a concept imbedded in those two words. It is the precept that in our quiet contemplation with the Lord there is power to lift great weight and succeed in every calling of the Lord.

I was speaking with some friends last week when this idea, this principle came to the foreground of my thoughts and I have been unable to shake it. The awareness that we are meant to glean from this passage is that our labor, our effort is in entering into the rest of the Father whereby we cease from our striving. In Him, we are able to do all things (Philippians 4: 13). Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15: 5). Therefore, the purpose of our effort is to become integrated with Him and thus be “in Him.” The King James Bible says it this way, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

We have become such externalists that our faith and the expression of our faith has become largely external rather than internal. Contrast this ideology with some of the great historical icons of our faith. People like Thomas á Kempis, Martin Luther or Julian of Norwich. These and others, noticeably the Apostles John and Paul, believed and argued that the labor of our faith was to come to know God in the quietness of our spirits. Our faith is not in the things we do but in our connection internally with the Father, Son and Spirit. This is our works, extending our faith, believing with our hearts. Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6: 29).

We should not “do” works at the cost of sacrificing the quiet contemplation of our souls. Instead, external work should be at the direction of our Father and as an extension of the quiet, meditative connection with the Father. As in all things, balance is key. I know people who are so spiritual that they are no earthly good. What do I mean? They spend all of their time feeding themselves but it never has any expression beyond their own gorging. The true unity with God ought to show. It ought to spill over on to others but not by mere works but rather from the overflowing grace of the Lord.

When we rest in the presence of the Lord we gain substantively. This is not all subjective. It has real world consequences that can be objectively observed. We are empowered in the presence of the Lord and through communion with His Spirit we are guided; directed. He imbues us with power and then directs that power to His good intentions. “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40: 31). He fills us up to overflowing, speaks to us in our spirits and directs our paths. He gives us the power to do all things. All of this comes from spending time and investing our effort in “knowing Him” and the power which flows from just such a knowing (Philippians 3: 10). 

When Moses died and Joshua was appointed by God to take over the leadership of the nation of Israel God’s advice to Joshua was, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success (Joshua 1: 8). I think that same advice will serve us well today. We should wait upon the Lord in the meditation of the Word, prayer and in the contemplation of the Lord. In that waiting, that quiet communion spent with the Lord, is great power; great strength. As we rest in Him, as we wait in His presence and in prayer He performs the works; His power goes into action rather than our limited power. He assigns angels and directs ministering spirits. His is the power which does all of the heavy lifting while we meditate in Him and the authority of His grace. In Him, in our rest, we become powerful ministers of the gospel of grace. In Him we become mighty “wait lifters”.

Please share your thoughts with me. How did this Word of the Day impact you? We always appreciate your comments. Thank you.

Driving on Empty

Ephesians 3: 8            God’s Word Translation

I am the least of all God’s people. Yet, God showed me his kindness by allowing me to spread the Good News of the immeasurable wealth of Christ to people who are not Jewish.

I have now taken this title from Paul, being the least of God’s people. Yet it is to your advantage that I am so flawed because in my weakness, God shows His strength and He then passes on the lesson through my experience so that you won’t make all of the mistakes that I do and have.

Recently you were with me as I learned to allow God to be the master of my calendar, schedule and appointments rather than allowing my schedule and obligations to rule me. He taught me to begin my day turning my face to Him and connecting with Him in my heart the very first thing. So I began giving my day and my schedule to the Lord before I even picked up my devotionals. Wow! What freedom that granted me and I found that I was getting everything done when I began it in this grace that He has given.

However, before many weeks passed I found myself in a new struggle of my creation. I am trying to lose weight, improve my diet and my health for the long haul. I have a coach who is helping me and together she and I set some objectives. Everything clicked along fine for about 4 weeks. It wasn’t perfect, of course, but there were changes taking place, improvements made and that was the main thing. Then all of a sudden I hit a wall and while I mean that metaphorically I will also say that I felt this wall. All of a sudden I was completely run down and spent. Monday’s exercise that week was challenging though I had done tougher workouts in previous weeks. My eating habits began to deteriorate and my body began to hurt. Every old sports injury reared its ugly head to torment me. It was a bad week. I just couldn’t seem to do anything right and I did not have the strength inside me to fight back. I was bankrupt physically, mental and emotionally.

It took me a couple of days to sort out what had gone so wrong but finally the light bulb came on. Although I had prayed about this project, I was really proceeding through it in my own strength. Well, my strength gave out. Thank God for weakness because that is when He came in. Finally I was in a place to hear Him. Once my tank was empty I listened to Him and He gave me plenty of guidance. Immediately things began to improve and I really do mean immediately. The old injuries began to recede back into the past where they belong. My eating habits improved without any real effort on my part and my exercise changed abruptly. I had more strength in my body and just “knew” the right things to do. 

If we would begin every project by giving it over to God and letting Him be the project manager then we would find life so much easier. One of the interesting lessons in here is that simply praying about a matter is so not the same as giving Him control. I don’t just want to ask for His help. I want to do it with Him, through Him. Philippians 4: 13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Interestingly enough it does NOT read, “I can do all things once I have prayed about them.” We need to learn to yield the whole project to His guidance and strength. Then we shall have good success.

Loving the Unlovely

Romans 12: 14

Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.

This is grown-up Christianity. We have gone into the deep water. We know that if we love Christ we will keep his commands. Paul is preaching Christ here. Besides, we know that Jesus is the word, the entire word. But if that is not good enough let us see what Jesus said when he was still in the earth. Matthew 5: 44 reads, “But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” One translation says, “… bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (KJV).

If you do not like these two verses, I don’t blame you. It is just not natural to heap blessing on those who persecute and hate us. But then, we weren’t called to be natural, were we? We are called to be supernatural through the power of Christ at work within us. These circumstances are when we most need the miracle working might of Christ Jesus ministering in us and through us. Jesus said that all things are possible with God (Mark 10: 27) so the key here is that we must be with God. We are not going to succeed in praying for and blessing our persecutors without God’s strength. The Apostle Paul received this revelation as well. In Philippians 4: 13 he wrote, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” With God all things are possible which is a really important thing to know when you believe that He has called you to the impossible like saving a country or forgiving your obnoxious brother-in-law. I wonder which is more difficult. Regardless, you are going to need God’s power and strength in order to do what you are supposed to do. We know that we are to follow all of Jesus’ teachings and obey his commands. If you have made a quality decision to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and be obedient to the calling within you including obeying all of Jesus’ ordinances then you need the power of God at work in your life. But, fear not. Father God has created a foolproof way for each of us to operate in that awesome power that can only be obtained through Him. He just comes and lives inside of us. We take off the grave clothes of our former lives and don the glory of the living God. He, God, becomes again our covering just as in the Garden of Eden when humanity was surrounded by the glory of God.  

There is nothing God cannot due and by extension there is nothing you cannot do when you are joined with the Holy One. You can even pray for your enemies and bless those who persecute you. Your glory is the Lord himself and He will lift you up and He will enable you to do all things. You are half of an unbeatable team. Now, what will you do?