Highly Combustible

Ephesians 1: 18 – 20         Complete Jewish Bible

I pray that he will give light to the eyes of your hearts, so that you will understand the hope to which he has called you, what rich glories there are in the inheritance he has promised his people, and how surpassingly great is his power working in us who trust him. It works with the same mighty strength he used when he worked in the Messiah to raise him from the dead and seat him at his right hand in heaven.

Although we looked at verse eighteen yesterday, I included it here for continuity’s sake. You might also like reading it from this version. I do.

Paul’s purpose in verse nineteen is to divulge the might of God’s power at work in our lives. There are two very telling items in his statement. First, this surpassingly great power is working IN us. That’s interesting. In other words, the power of God is not external. It is internal. That might be eye opening. God’s power is at work in us. That means we are a party to this surpassingly great power. We have a role to play with His power working in us and through us.

Here is the caveat and the other interesting bit. God’s mighty power is working in those who trust Him. Now wait a minute. I thought His power was on hand and particularly in His hand for all who confess Jesus as Lord. Why didn’t Paul write it that way? Let’s look at the Passion Translation for a clue to answering this question. “I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you!”

Notice the addition of faith. It is our faith mixed, in trust, with the Father’s power that brings about desired results. This surpassingly great, immeasurably vast power is yours by faith. Does that sound like a cop out? Well, maybe a little because it means that we have to mix faith and trust with Father’s power in order to have it working in us but that is why Paul prayed for the eyes of our heart to be opened. God’s power works in our hearts by faith and trust. It is like an internal combustion engine. You see the output of the engine on the exterior, but the power is actually generated on the inside. Within the cylinder of your heart, faith and trust mix and explode like the gasoline and air when the spark is introduced in an engine. The power of God is ready to combust. Just add some belief and trust and you have the workings of a power generator right inside you. The power for every goal to be achieved and every dream fulfilled is inside you right now. Ignite your passion and Dad’s power with a bit of faith and trust and your engine will take you anywhere you want to go.

No Power to All Power

Matthew 28: 18          NMB

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, all power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

So, if, as Jesus said, all power was given to him, then why could he do nothing in and of himself? Is this a perplexing problem or a simple question? Remember from yesterday’s Word of the Day that John 5: 19 records Jesus as saying that he could do nothing of himself. So how was he able to perform so many miracles? The answer is, he was given all power when he was given the Holy Spirit. Recall that the Spirit of God came and rested upon him at his baptism. From then on, he walked in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than in his power.

I hope that brief recitation paints a picture in your mind. It can be very perplexing to think of walking as Jesus did, living as he did and carrying on his ministry, which is what we are all called to do. We try, in vain sometimes, to imagine what walking in and with the Spirit looks like. The good news is that we can look at Jesus. He has already modeled it for us. He was just a man, and by his own admission a powerless man. He couldn’t do miracles in himself. He was so aware of human shortcomings that he said that in and of himself he could do nothing. I can relate to that, can you? Doesn’t it seem sometimes that even the simplest things take more power and energy than we can produce?

The brilliance is in understanding we were never meant to stand on our own. It turns out, even to my chagrin, that individualism is a farce. We are not individuals. We are constituent parts of a whole and meant to be woven into the very fabric of our father. Actually, you know that we are called the body of Christ, each of us an important part of the whole. We are also the house of God; “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 2: 5). Jesus is the high priest who will offer spiritual sacrifices to God in the temple. It turns out that we are that temple.

My point is this. You were never designed to function on your own. That’s like a one person basketball team. You were created to function as a team; with all the rest of us but more importantly, in harness with the Holy Spirit of God. If we, as the body of Christ, as his spiritual house can grasp this, we can, and I mean this literally, change the world overnight. When we lay hold of this concept our lives will change dramatically as well as the lives of every person around us. You will not be able to contain yourself or that power resident within you. You become a world changer like Jesus. Everywhere you go, he will exude from you. I want so much for us to be that functioning body that Jesus is looking for. It isn’t only up to me. More importantly, it is up to “we.” The world changing phenomenon is in us, and we are learning to walk in the Spirit and emulate Jesus. If we are to ever be true disciples, that is what is called for.

Of yourself, you can’t do much, but then, Jesus said the same of himself. He was given a gift, though, a gift which not only changed him but changed the world. That was the gift of the Holy Spirit. If there is any one message of this age it is that we need to embrace the Spirit of God and walk with him daily. We need to meet this third part of the Trinity and know him as we know and love Jesus. Though you can do nothing on your own, you can do all things with him. That includes caring for your family and being successful in what God has called you to do.

Make this your Spirit day. If you don’t feel you have a relationship with him, make this your day. If you know him, decide to go deeper with the Holy Spirit today. Determine to walk every step with him and purpose in your heart that he will be in your every breath.

Spirit Power

Zechariah 4: 6

This is the word of the Lord . . ., ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Last week we spent a little time with the prophet Habakkuk, and he taught us about partnering with God and not being prideful. Habakkuk told us that leaning on our own strength, might and power, is a result of a prideful soul, a soul which is not right within us. The good news was that our Father has prepared a way for us to renew our souls and make them right. It is about immersing ourselves in Him and part of Him is His Word. That means to bathe ourselves, be baptized in the Father and the Son, since Jesus is the Word and nothing happens apart from him.

Today we are reminded that the power we need was never meant to come from our hands or even our own minds. Our strength and our success is in Him, more specifically in His Spirit. We are to work, think, walk and even breathe by God’s Spirit. We know that anything we do that is not done by and in faith is unpleasing to God. Only by faith in the Son are we justified and it is that faith which guides us.

God sent His Son to redeem us and to establish His family. Then Jesus sent us the Spirit to walk beside us and show us the way. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the way and that is where the Spirit always leads. The Son is the way to the Father. So all culminates in the Father and in His love. It is His master plan. A plan by which we were saved from eternal damnation, made heirs to His riches, given success here in the earth, and restored to Him as a body, whole and perfect. However, it is only in walking with and in the Spirit of God that we function as ordained. Anything not done in the Spirit, by faith, is frankly, an abomination. That sounds harsh but that word keeps ringing through my mind as I write.

An abomination because it is by our works, which is repugnant to God. When we look to our hands, education and wisdom, eschewing God’s gifts, it is to make ourselves Gods. This is the very thing which caused the downfall of humanity. We feign to know good from bad, right from wrong. We decide what is right to do, making ourselves righteousness judges. This is the way that leads away from God. In every sense, it is idolatry because we set ourselves up on the throne of our lives. We succeed or fail by our might, rather than recognizing the true God. Sure, we go to church on Sunday and pay homage to Him but how distasteful must that be to Him when we served ourselves and our needs all week long. We get up each morning and decide what we will do that day when God clearly tells us that it is not by our minds or decisions that we are to labor. We are supposed to turn to Him. We are to trust Him as our superior in intellect, wisdom, and experience. He is supreme in every way but most of us have yet to learn that worship is walking in His ways rather than by our sight and might.

Everything we do is a Spiritual matter, I mean right down to pumping gas into your car. You never know what might be on the mind of the Spirit. He might want to tell you that pump isn’t safe and to go to a different one. There is no part of our day that is not rightfully lived in the Spirit of God. We are to be baptized into Him as we are in the Father and Son, immersed fully in him.

It’s a simple thing to do but it must be done in faith. Simply ask the Spirit to come to you and take up his proper place in your life. Ask him to be your leader, teacher and constant companion. Invite him to be your business partner and your closest confidant. Ask him to come live in you and to be with you. Ask him to fill you to overflowing and to be with you always. There is no one with more power yet it is tempered with the greatest compassion. He is the breath of God, the very breath in your lungs. That’s what the Bible says about him.

How close is your breath? That is how close you are to hold the Spirit of God. Every breath is to be spent with him. We have had little actual contact with the Spirit. We’ve not taken today’s scripture to heart fully. Let’s change that. Make this the day that you invite God’s Spirit to be the power in your life. Relinquish your control and gain true freedom in him. Not by might, nor by power but by God’s Spirit. Let that be your calling card.

Power, Reward, Recompense

Isaiah 40: 10

Behold, the Lord God will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.

This Word of the Day is for me because yesterday I was feeling very selfish. I didn’t want to look for a verse for you or a Word from God for you. I just wanted to do what I always tell you to do, hang out with Dad. So, I did and this is what he gave me. I do hope it blesses you too.

As is typical, when Dad wants to minister to me, I usually end up in the books of John and Isaiah. I’ve got a fair bit of Isaiah 40 highlighted, you know, the typical verses. I can’t say I have ever seen this one quite like this before.

Isaiah was a visionary. He saw things, especially about Jesus and the New Covenant, that few saw and even fewer comprehended. For the first time, I see the New Testament miracle in this verse. I have written about the power of God before. In this verse Isaiah calls it God’s might. The NIV Bible says He comes with power and rules with a mighty arm. If you do a study on the Holy Spirit you will find that he is the power of God.

This prophecy reveals the coming of the Holy Spirit. It tells us that when God comes as the Holy Spirit, He comes in power. You need God’s power in your life as do I. That is not all, though. When Yahweh sent the Holy Spirit into the earth (See Acts 2) He sent His reward with him. To phrase it differently, the Spirit has come to your life, and mine, with power and reward. Recompense means to make reparation to.

Yahweh God, the Father, sent His Spirit to you so that you would be reimbursed for the years the locust stole, so you would have the power you need for your mission, and to reward you for your devotion to your Father. All good things. So, embrace this verse and cast it forward into your life as prophecy fulfilled.

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.