Posts Tagged power

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.

Flip the Switch

Acts 1: 8

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

Like yesterday, we are talking about being witnesses to the whole world. Our lives become the testimony of God’s greatness and His absolute devotion to His people.  How, though, do we let Jesus’ victory shine through our lives?  We have seen verses over the last couple of weeks that indicate that we must be agents of God’s power in the earth.  In today’s verse Jesus tells us, rather plainly, that God’s power comes to us through the Holy Spirit.  He is the power of God.  It is not a difficult proposition to believe because we have seen the truth of it since Genesis chapter one.  The challenge has been embracing our role in God’s moves in the earth.

Last week we saw Moses parting the Red Sea.  How did he do it? Miracles are performed through a partnership with God.  He provides the power but we are His hands, feet and mouth in the earth.  Here is some key language from the Bible which helps us to understand this partnership, “The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, But the earth He has given to the sons of men” (Psalm 115: 16). God has given us authority in the earth. He will not violate our authority. Jesus told the disciples to feed the multitude.  He expected them to perform the miracle but we are powerless in ourselves.  Jesus knew how to perform miracles, he did it all of the time.  So, how do we perform miracles when we haven’t any power ourselves? I can show you how.

Do you have electricity in your house?  Where does the power come from to power your lights and appliances?  You don’t produce it, do you?  There is probably a power company nearby that has run lines from their power source to your house.  The effect is that you have electric power though you did nothing to produce it.  Okay, so go home tonight and do not flip on any switches.  You can sit in your living room and pray to God to turn on the light.  You can pray to the power company to turn on the lights.  My guess is that neither is going to accomplish much.  Alternatively, you can flip the switch on yourself and take advantage of the power that has already been delivered to your house.

That is exactly how it works with God.  He has given us the power but it is we who must flip the switch.  What good does it do to have electricity wired into our homes if we never plug into it or turn on the switches? We will end up sitting in the dark all night. In just the same way, God has given us His power. Our prayer should be, “Father, how do I flip on the switch in this situation?” That is what we do when we inquire of the Lord in every situation.  It’s not about getting Him to do something.  It is about receiving instruction from Him as to what we should do.  He has already given us everything we need to live the victorious life.  He has given us miracle working power.  We just need to plug into it and flip on the switch.

Loaves and Fishes

Matthew 14: 15

And when it was evening, the disciples came to Him, saying, “The place is desolate, and the time is already past; so send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” And ordering the multitudes to recline on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes.

There are any number of observations to be made from this text but you will have recognized it from when Jesus fed the five thousand. The first point to pull out of this passage is the recognition of who Jesus expected to feed the multitude. He told the disciples, “You feed them.” Then recognizing that their faith and understanding limited them he took on the task of feeding the five thousand, which, by the way, scholars tell us was more like twenty-thousand because the five only represented the number of men as it did not include women and children. Anyway, the point is that Jesus fully expected the disciples to feed the multitude. This goes right along with what Yahweh spoke to Moses. “You lift up your hand and do what is needful,” is the message the Father and Jesus communicate to us. You are seeing this, right? The workers of miracles are you and me.

However, we do see a difference between this story and Friday’s recounting of Moses and the Red Sea. When directed by God, Moses stepped up and performed. The disciples did not respond with the same trust and courage, so Jesus had to do it for them. Notice, though, Jesus’ actions. He did not hold the bread up to heaven and pray, “Oh heavenly Father, multiply this bread so that we may feed this great multitude.” In fact, he did not pray at all. Isn’t that just a bit mind blowing? He blessed the food and he multiplied it.

Now, if you ask Jesus right now if he multiplied the food and fed the twenty-thousand in his own strength and power he will answer with a resounding, “No.” He performed the miracle but he did it in the Father’s strength and power.

This is not an isolated instance. It was Jesus who changed the water to wine. He didn’t stop to pray. He didn’t ask God to produce wine from water. He just told the servants to fill the wash pots and then dip some out and take it to the head steward. Read through the gospels and you will see that He didn’t pray for healing; he healed. He rebuked the waves (Matthew 8: 26) and seemed perturbed that the disciples didn’t handle the problem themselves. To the leaper he said, “I am willing,” and he healed him (Matthew 8: 3). Again, He didn’t pray asking God to heal the leper.

Jesus didn’t stand around waiting for God to do something. He did it himself and we are supposed to do the works he did and even greater works according to him (John 14: 12). If we will meditate on Jesus’ life in this context, I believe we can experience a great breakthrough. The healing power of God is in your hands. The miracle working power of God is in your hands. What will you do with it?