Posts Tagged power

Peace with Power

Psalm 29: 11          God’s Word

The Lord will give power to his people. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Last Friday we looked at the awesome power of God. He is so powerful that His voice can shake the earth. David spends the greater part of Psalm 29 describing how powerful God’s voice is. What a surprise to get to the last verse and discover this nugget. All the power of the universe, a being so powerful that His voice has the capacity to cause earthquakes, tsunamis, strip trees bare and break them in half, all of that power and His will is to give it to His people. Why does God whisper? He wants to bless us with His peace.

The Passion Translation reads, “This is the Lord giving us his kiss of peace.” What an image that conjures. How is it that this almighty, supreme God bows to kiss us with profound peace? Does that even make sense in your mind? It is an overwhelming concept. He is so powerful that His voice could rend our planet yet He bends time and space to kiss you with peace. His voice, in all its magnificence and power, created this entire universe. He speaks blessing to you. His words fill every need and every void. Peace is, quite literally, on His lips. Brother, when He kisses you goodnight, that really is a blessing of peaceful sleep.

David mastered seeing God simultaneously in His omnipotence and His gentleness. There is nothing lacking in God. He is the kindness we need and crave while giving us great fortitude and power. His universe creating power is ours to wield through the grace and love He has for us. He is our strength and our strong shield. He is a towering fortress in which we hide ourselves and our bold courage. He truly is all in all, everything we need, everything we want. No place is safer or more fun than that space in Him.

Tonight, as you lay your head upon your pillow, preparing to sleep, take a moment to allow Father to tuck you in. Think on Him as He lowers Himself to give you the sweet kiss of peace.

The Voice of the Lord

Psalm 29: 3 – 9

The voice of the Lord: is powerful, is majestic, breaks the cedars, hews out flames of fire, shakes the wilderness, makes the deer to calve and strips the forests bare.

This psalm begins by directing us to ascribe to the Lord the glory and strength due His name. In other words, attribute to Him, give Him credit for, the power and might of who He is. David is reminding us, that although Yahweh is our love and Father, even our most intimate friend, He is still God Almighty, with the emphasis on All Mighty. The Passion Translation reads, “Be in awe before his majesty. Be in awe before such power and might!” It is a good reminder that even in our intimacy, there can still be reverence.

God is closer to you than a friend, closer than your relatives or even your spouse. I encourage you to call Him Dad and to bask in that close, personal relationship. We do so, though, not minimizing how enormous He is. In other words, in order to have a very close kinship with the Father, we do not need to make Him smaller. The task is to raise our self-image up to His throne room not to bring Him down to human size. He sees us enthroned with Him. The dichotomy of God’s power and majesty and His willingness to abide with us can be challenging to the human mind. As much as I wish for you to embrace Him as your own Dad and your very best friend, the thing which makes this so marvelous and miraculous is that He is so powerful, beyond comprehension powerful. That is your own Father and He doesn’t need to be small to be with you.

Sometimes I think we conceptualize God as just another person whom we can accept or reject. We speak with such arrogance. It is laughable at times when I hear people talk about Him. “I don’t believe in Him, there is no God,” you hear people say. However, there is coming a day when He will show Himself and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, the first born of the Almighty. People will kneel in awe and the splendor of our Father.

Did you ever wonder why God whispers to us? He is so powerful that the mere sound of His voice shakes the earth. If He were to yell, I suppose the earth would disintegrate. There is a comic book character named Black Bolt. Black Bolt is the leader of the Inhumans. He is so powerful that he can’t speak around mortals. His voice is destructive in its might. I wonder if Stan Lee got his inspiration for this character from today’s psalm. If God walked the earth today and spoke with a loud voice, there would be no one on the planet who would doubt any longer. The trees would be stripped bare, the mountains would crumble and rivers would change course. We have this arrogant attitude that we get to deny God’s existence, but a day is coming when we will see Him as He is. You will be overjoyed but others will quake in fear. You will marvel at His beauty while the foolish will cower. God won’t have to do anything threatening, and that is not His nature, but His mere presence will reduce the doubters to quivering piles of jelly. His voice will cause them to shudder at their own mortality.

When He comes, He is coming to gather all the sheep into His arms as a mother. He will show you incomparable love. However, don’t doubt for a moment that He could speak and end this earth and all life upon it. You shouldn’t fear because He is love and made all of this for you to enjoy. I wonder, though, if we might show Him a little more respect, acknowledge that for all His might He is so very gentle with us. Even to those who speak poorly of Him, He is kind and generous. He has withheld judgment because humanity couldn’t survive His voice, much less His judgment. He is doing all just so every human being can avoid judgment. God wants everyone in heaven. He didn’t sacrifice His son so that people would go to hell. He sacrificed him so we would all end up in heaven with Him. So, don’t worry about your unsaved family and friends. Pray for them. Show them God’s love for them but don’t forget how powerful our God is. One day He will speak and the earth shall bow its knees before Him and then all people will know that God reigns supreme and that Jesus is Lord of all.

Rebellion, Ha!

Psalm 2: 1 – 3             (TPT)

How dare the nations plan a rebellion. Their foolish plots are futile! Look at how the power brokers of the world rise up to hold their summit as the rulers scheme and confer together against Yahweh and his Anointed King, saying: “Let’s come together and break away from the Creator.”

This psalm was written circa 1044 B.C. That is a long time ago, and yet, doesn’t it sound like it was written for now? I recommend you read the entire psalm in The Passion translation. It isn’t long. Despite these rulers’ intentional attempts to root Yahweh out of life and government, God has it well in hand. Verse four says He laughs at their vanity.

Let us not be fooled. There is intentional conduct aimed at tearing God’s influence out of our lives. For our part, the first thing we can do is pray every day for our countries and rulers. Don’t mislead yourself, or others into thinking, that every governmental official is an unbeliever. That’s just not true. What is perhaps true is that we probably do not support those believing governmental workers and officers sufficiently with prayer. I confess my guilt but today is a new day and we get a do over. We can start today praying for our government and countries. Secondly, pray for the leaders who are not saved. It’s not important that you decide who is who, just pray for them all. That makes it easy. Our efforts are best employed blessing people.

That is not to say, however, that we shouldn’t push back a little. How do we do that? It is never by speaking against someone. It is in becoming a blessing. If you walk around blessing people and flowing in the power of God then you will become an attractive force in your town. People want success. They want to be happy. If you can bring them that, then they will not wish to divorce themselves from God. This is the most important thing we can learn.

We have gone awry trying to flex political muscle by our numbers. We need to become a spiritual powerhouse rather than a political one, and this from a political science major and attorney. I have a new revelation of political power and it is minuscule and trumped by spiritual power. That is why Yahweh sits upon his throne and scoffs at the efforts of rulers and principalities. In the end their effort is in vain. However, in the meantime, people lives can be so much better if we will stand upon our covenant and proclaim the name and the favorable year of the Lord. If we will stand up and walk in the power, and the grace, of our dear Lord, then we will not have a political battle on our hands. We will only have the thousands of thousands seeking what we have. Let us come together and proclaim the good news of our Lord through demonstrations of his love and power.

Foolishness and Power

1 Corinthians 1: 18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Let’s talk about evangelism a bit today. When you find something good, don’t you want to share it with others? The news about Jesus is good news and we often want to share it with others so they can experience his goodness as we do. Beyond that, though, there is a certain expectation in the church that we share this gospel of good news. After all Jesus did say, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” (Mark 16: 15). So, we try to do our part to share the gospel to those we know and people we meet. Unfortunately, it is utter foolishness to them. One version says it is nonsense. To the unregenerate mind the things of God cannot be understood. For that reason, people need to see Christ in addition to hearing of him.

Paul said that Jesus sent him to preach the gospel but not in cleverness of speech that the cross of Christ might be made void, or meaningless (1 Corinthians 1: 17). What do you think he meant by that? How can the preaching of the gospel void the testimony of the cross? In the second chapter of First Corinthians Paul wrote, “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power,” (v. 4). Using the word demonstration, he intimates that people need to see the Spirit of God at work, not just be preached to about it. This is where most of us fail in our evangelistic efforts. We don’t let the Spirit of God be seen.

You see, it really is the Spirit’s job to evangelize. We are, as they say, boots on the ground, but the master architect of salvation is the Spirit of God. Paul reveals in verse 2 of First Corinthians: One, that people are called to salvation. By whom are they called? They are called to Jesus by the Holy Spirit. We are the light which, going into all the world, people see and are subsequently called to Jesus.

You and I can save no one but we can be light bringers. We can have testimonies. We can tell of God’s goodness, but we can never convince anyone because it is all foolishness to them. Secondly, Paul said the gospel, to us, is the power of God. This goes along with verse 4 from chapter two, “My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power.” The power of God can be demonstrated; it can be seen. That is our part in evangelism. We are to demonstrate the power of God. Think about this for a moment and let it sink in. Does this make sense to you? Is this what Paul is saying? If you agree that this is the point Paul is making then we need to each ask ourselves, “When was the last time the power of God was demonstrated through my life?” I grant you this is a challenging question and I think most of us will have to admit we have been living powerless lives. Powerlessness in not God’s will for our lives. Would you agree with that? If so, then what are we to do? Are we to continue in our drab existence doing nothing to show God’s power and love to the world? Shall we simply continue going to church on Sunday but keeping our heads low all the other days of the week? Or maybe we will continue to convince ourselves that when Jesus told us to go into all the world he meant for us to preach at the unbelievers until they are persuaded. Do we believe we will find the persuasive speech which will evangelize the world?

It is time we, the church, each one of us, began to take this gospel seriously and allow it to rock us out of our comfort zones. It is time we call upon the name of Jesus to be Lord in this world. It is our time; time to lay hands on the sick and heal them, time to mend broken hearts, but not by persuasive speech, rather by the power of God. Jesus, it is not me who heals, mends, and saves, but rather you. We need to get ourselves out of the center of this dynamic so that Jesus can step in and wield his power. We need not be so concerned that we cannot perform but be convinced that he can. What would it take for you to pray for someone? What kind of miracle is required for us all to begin walking in the earth like the early disciples did? Are you a disciple of Christ? Are you filled with God’s Spirit? Let the goodness and the power of God flow from you. Don’t be a hoarder. God is the God of overflow meaning that He wants His power to overflow from you onto others.

Look, evangelism is easy when people get healed. It is not difficult to convince people of God’s love when you raise their child from the dead. Let’s all get busy. Let’s fulfill the commission Jesus gave us. Go into all the world and share the good news of Jesus.

Power Generator

Acts 10: 38

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Let’s talk power! Power is what we all need for our lives. We need to overcome obstacles, defeat enemy attacks and we need to create. Jesus went about doing good, healing and delivering ALL who were oppressed by the devil. This verse reveals that it was through the power of the Holy Spirit that he was able to accomplish these things.

God has given you a vision. You need creative power to complete it. The Holy Spirit is that creative power. Let’s look at the creation of the earth in Genesis 1, “The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light,” (Genesis 1: 2 – 3). What is the purpose of disclosing that the Spirit was hovering over the formless earth before God spoke? Through it we learn that the Holy Spirit is the creative power of God. God had a vision, spoke The Word, who we know to be Jesus, and the Holy Spirit brought the vision into being.

The Holy Spirit is the power of God. Micah 3: 8 reads, “I am filled with power—With the Spirit of the Lord—And with justice and courage.” Micah understood that the power he exhibited to prophesy was the power from the Spirit of the Lord. Of course, Jesus was well aware of the source of his power. “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you,” (Matthew 12: 28).

Paul described his ministry in 1 Corinthians 2: 4, when he wrote, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,” (NIV). His desire was that all believers would know this same power that is in the Holy Spirit. He prayed, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” (Romans 15: 13).

That which Jesus had, which Paul embraced is what we also need. That is the Holy Spirit and the power that comes with him. There are more scriptures in the New Testament that reveal the Holy Spirit as the source of power. Go to www.Biblegateway.com and search “power” in the New Testament for further study. More importantly though, make it a point to search out in your heart and with the Father what you can do to increase your daily fellowship with His Spirit. Seek the Lord and His Spirit.

Hot Yoga

Psalm 46: 10                          KJV

Be still, and know that I am God.

Today’s Word of the Day is dedicated to my friend, Marco Gravino. This past weekend I attended my high school class reunion. Marco and I attended school together from middle school until high school graduation. I am happy to know and happy to say that Marco is a man of faith. What a joy it is to discover after so many years that people you knew and cared about all those years ago have grown up to have strong faith in God. It is nourishment for the soul.

Marco was, and still is, an athlete. As we talked, we realized that we both have participated in hot yoga. The revelation we gained in yoga is that power is not the answer. In many western societies, the adage, “If you can’t fix it, get a bigger hammer,” is symbolic of our response to problems. We tend to apply power to fix a problem and if that doesn’t resolve it, we apply more power. In yoga, the typical athletic approach of using more force, more muscle simply does not work. When I could not get into a pose, I would muster more strength out of my muscles and try to force my body into the correct position. As all of you who practice yoga know, that is completely counter-productive. Learning to relax into a pose challenged everything in my athletic mindset.

The use of breath is completely different as well. As we muster strength out of our muscles we tend to hold our breath for a big exhalation at the end of an exertion. Yoga, which comes from eastern thought, would have you breathe smoothly and freely. When a pose challenges, you concentrate on relaxing breaths rather than focusing on muscle strength. It is completely counter-intuitive and yet it works.

Marco and I talked about how this is a metaphor for life and Marco said it would make a good Word of the Day to which I heartily agreed. I have found that my life has been punctuated by this tendency to try harder, strive more, push harder. As I am learning to be still and let God be known, I find the secret is very much like yoga. I needed to learn to breathe and relax. This has been the single biggest revelation in my Christian life in the last fifteen years. It has been especially critical in my ability to hear God speak. The New American Standard Version of this verse reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Well, “strive” was my middle name. My characteristic response to a challenge was to work more hours, work faster, work harder. In other words, apply more strength and more power. In my attempts to hear God’s voice, this straining and striving actually made it more difficult. I had to learn to be still. I cannot express what a challenge that was for me. First I would get my body still only to have my mind run rampant. Then I would try to quiet my mind. Before five minutes passed I was usually bouncing my leg or off thinking about all the things I needed to do.

The secret for me was in learning to breathe and even learning how to breathe. I found that in my striving mode, I tended to breath shallowly and from my chest. I learned, though, to breathe from my diaphragm and to breathe deeply and slowly. Now, with one deep breath and a full exhalation, I can instantly calm down my physiology and my mind. Sure, it took practice but I have finally discovered that when I am still and quiet, God can be God. There is room for Him in my mind and heart when I pause long enough to breathe. He is waiting to impart wisdom to me but I must be still so I can hear. When I calm my physicality, when I cease striving, then I give Him the space to act for me. He gets to be God instead of me.

Life is happening all around us every day. Life lessons are in the next breath. From learning how to relax into a yoga pose rather than trying to muscle into it, I learned a valuable spiritual principle and life skill. Relax, be still and let God show Himself. Thanks Marco for pointing out how God is teaching and leading us, giving us valuable life lessons in our everyday walk with Him. Be still, cease striving and let God ease you into your yoga pose and your new revelation with Him.

Least of All

Judges 6: 13

“O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about?”

An angel appeared to Gideon calling him a “valiant warrior.” Gideon was not buying into it though. You see  his response above.

This could easily be our response today. We keep hearing about the greatness of God and all of his miracles but where are they? Gideon accused God of having abandoned his people. Has our God abandoned us? Well, if He has not, then where is His power? Where are His miracles? Why doesn’t He deliver us from the oppression all around us?

Gideon was the least of the least. He was the youngest of the least influential family. You know, David was the youngest also. God isn’t looking for a person the world adorns as mighty or influential. He is looking for someone who will put their faith in Him. When you are least of the least, you recognize you need God if you are going to accomplish anything. Gideon had some audacity though. He challenged the angel as I doubt I would have the courage to do. The angel wanted to enlist Gideon to lead the people of God against their enemies. Gideon had a hard time believing that God would show up on the scene. Too long had he witnessed the mediocrity of his situation. Too long had the God of Israel been silent.

How similar was Gideon’s situation to that which we all face today. Are you like Gideon, wondering where the power of God is? If He loves us so much, why isn’t He showing His power? Where are the miracles? We need our God today. We need some kind of stirring up like the angelic visitation of Gideon. What will it take for us to see the moving of God on the earth in our time?

Are you small, insignificant and unimportant? Are you not so wise, not so learned, not known for your great influence? Are you least of the least? Then maybe you are the person God can visit with a message of deliverance. Maybe you are the person He can use to set us free.

Would that we all cry out to God for His manifestation in the earth. Yahweh, show your face. Send us a message, an angel, your spirit and give us the simplicity of faith to be used of you. Cause us to hear your voice and do your bidding. Send your power Lord. Send your strength. Hear our call and find us worthy by the blood, faith and love of your son. Heal our lands, O Lord. Hear the voice of your people.