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?

The Red Sea

Exodus 14: 15 – 16

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. And as for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.”

I want to share something important today, something we don’t talk about often. Who was it that divided the red sea? When confronted with the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptians chasing behind them, the Israelites cried out to God. Take a close look at God’s response to Moses. Yahweh told him, “You reach out your hand.” This is a critical point. Most of us think that God parted the sea but it isn’t true. Moses divided the sea per the Lord’s instruction.

Jesus said, “Nothing will be impossible to you” (Matthew 17: 20). What he did not say is that nothing shall be impossible to God. While that is true, it is interesting that Jesus did not tell his disciples to pray because everything is possible with God. He told them their failure was due to their own lack of faith, because if they had even a modicum of faith nothing would be impossible to them. Another time he said, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19: 26). The key word in this quote is “with.” God was with Moses as He is with us but it was Moses who had to step out and part the sea. God wants to do amazing things “with” us too.

I truly believe this is a major principle in Kingdom dynamics and one we have mostly overlooked. There are revelations embedded in here that if we were to flesh them out would change the body of Christ overnight. We believe we are awaiting God but the truth is that He is waiting for us. I have written before about Christian bravado and I believe this is where it comes into play. Sometimes we have to act in boldness. We have to take a chance and take God very simply at His word. It takes a person of courage and faith to boldly believe God and act on it. Wouldn’t we rather God show up of His own accord and work miracles in our lives? Apparently, that is not how it works.

The real wake-up call for me is that Moses lived in the Old Testament Age. The Holy Spirit, who is the power of God, had not yet been poured out. So, in truth, we have more than Moses had. We have the life of Jesus, both the historical record and his life within us, and we have the Holy Spirit. All that Moses did, we ought to be able to likewise do. We must inquire of the Lord and allow Him to lead us in these miracle producing acts. Nothing is impossible to us because we have God. It is just a matter of are we “with” Him. Seek the Lord; seek His counsel. I believe He will give you good advice and lead you into a victorious daily existence.

Greater Works

John 14: 12

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this verse. I love the idea that we can do the same things Jesus did. All the miracles, all the victory he walked in continually is available to us. Not only can we live the life of Christ but also we discover that we should. I hate that I am falling so short. Sometimes when I read this chapter of John, I want to skip over this verse.

We all know that Jesus is our example; that we are supposed to walk in the earth as he did. When it comes to his miracles, though, we usually, in humble tones, say, “Oh, but that is Jesus.” We make him the exception when it comes to the power of God in operation even though we readily admit that our lives are supposed to mirror his and that he himself has said that we should do even greater works than he.

Jesus did not live on earth as God. “Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans,” (Philippians 2: 7). Jesus’ humanity is very significant. He could not have taken humanity’s sin to the cross without being human himself. Of course, the other side of the coin is that the miracles which occurred all around him were not a result of his deity. Then he says that we should do the same and even better. That seems to be a tall order but he also told us that his leaving allowed him to send the Holy Spirit. So, Jesus exited the earth taking our sin with him and arriving in his father’s house, he sent the Spirit to us who is the power of God. Now we have the Holy Spirit with his attendant spiritual gifts so we have all we need to live a victorious life. We have miracle working power living right within us. We have all we need in order to do the works of Jesus and even greater.

Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12: 1, 4, 7 – 11

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues and to another the interpretation of tongues, but one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

I wrote to you last week about the power of God and how it seems to be minimally operational in our culture today. We read 2 Corinthians 2: 4 which says, “My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” This is not the claim, unfortunately of many Christians today, and sadly not even of many ministers. We need to change this.

A couple of years ago I undertook to find every scripture in the Bible which refers to the Holy Spirit. As I looked them up I created a spreadsheet indicating what each verse was about. I also used a keyword for many of the scriptures because I began to notice recurring themes. One of the words which repeatedly occurs in tandem with the Holy Spirit is the word “power”.

In the beginning the Holy Spirit was hovering over the surface of the deep and when God spoke, the power of God through the Holy Spirit manifested and created everything we see and know. He, the Holy Spirit is the power of God. That is why today’s verse is a good response to “The Power is Out.” If we wish to see the power of God manifesting in our lives and in our cities then we must tap into the source. Paul teaches us that these manifestations come through the Spirit of God and they take the form as described in today’s verse. From the word of wisdom to the effecting of miracles, all this is ours in the Spirit. Paul goes on to teach that these manifestations are given to every one of us. They all operate through the Holy Spirit of God; they are His gifts but he is not the one who effectuates the manifestation in the earth. We are the hands and the mouth of God in the earth. The Holy Spirit works in harness with us to bring the power of God to effect in the earth. Miracles, healing, words of wisdom and knowledge are all gifts of the Holy Spirit given to each one of us. You have the ability to prophesy if you have the Holy Spirit because all of the power of God and all of these spiritual gifts are in him.

The conclusion is that the power of God isn’t being seen in our lives because we are integral pieces of the dynamic. Once we understand that the power can and should flow through us then we have the opportunity to step in the realm of manifested gifts. You don’t have to be someone special. You don’t have to be a minister. The gifts are already available through your Father’s Spirit.

Ignorance of these gifts and our operation of them has crippled the body of Christ but we can change that. In fact, in just reading this Word of the Day devotional we are collectively moving towards a renewal of the spiritual energy that is ours through Christ our Lord. I was thinking, it takes a bit of courage or perhaps bravado to move forward, to challenge the status quo and importune God for the operation of these gifts in your life. It is much easier to sit in the stands and watch for someone else to step out. However, on the heels of that thought came another. It truly only takes one person to start and the whole body of Christ can begin to grow in the power of God. It’s like the wave cheer at a football game. It begins with just a few but only is fulfilled when others join in. None the less, someone must begin.

Let’s you and I determine not to be afraid but rather to embrace God’s Word, Paul’s teaching and step out into the things God has made available. God gave us power when He gave us His Spirit. Let’s walk in that power and move some mountains.

The Power’s Out

1 Corinthians 2: 4 – 5

My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

A friend of mine helped me to see that the church of God, the body of Christ has a problem. That problem also expresses itself in our evangelistic attempts. The problem is that we have lost the power. Unlike Paul, we do come in persuasive words trying to talk people into being Christians. As pastors, perhaps we spend too much time talking and not enough time actually letting God move by His power. Although Jesus was a great miracle worker, we have divorced ourselves from miracles and the display of God’s power.

All of us, every single Christian, are supposed to walk in the sustaining victory of Christ. Perhaps you, like me, look back at the Israelites and think we could and would do better but as I look around I see that we are not where we should be. Are we the victorious church? We were destined by God Himself to live in the fullness of the blessing. Our lives are supposed to be full of everything Christ is and yet I see us sick and broke, our relationships are a mess and we have become the disfavored stepchild instead of kings and princes. What happened to us? What happened to the glory of Christ? Where is this power that the Bible tells us about? We are not casting out demons and healing the sick. Jesus said that the things he did we should do even greater yet I certainly haven’t walked on water or fed 5000 people. Sometimes it’s hard to feed myself.

Every one of us is meant to walk in the spiritual power of Jesus. We are supposed to see Jesus’ miracle working power daily. Where is the power of God in our lives? How is Jesus’ victory being experienced or demonstrated in our lives? There are dozens of verses on prosperity. Are we enjoying the prosperity God set aside for us? There is an equal number of scriptures on healing but how is our health?

The heathen look at us and scoff the way we have belittled the Israelites. They don’t want any part of our God because they don’t see any victory in our lives. They see weak, mealy mouth people instead of the giants we should be. Why, even most Christians these days are not discernable as such. We live the same worldly lives as our pagan friends. We too have lost the allure of a mighty God. Sure, we pray when the chips are down but that is about the end of it. Where is the power? Where are the miracles? Where is the overcoming victory that Jesus promised us? Is he a liar? We certainly aren’t living it so something is clearly amiss.

I wish I had the answers. I don’t but I sure don’t like the way our Christianity has become a watered down version of faith. I don’t see us standing like Stephen or delivering people. We are supposed to be living a life in Christ but this certainly does not look like a Christ experience to me. And how did we get here? How did we fall so far?

You are the body of Christ. Are you satisfied? Do you want a whole lot more of Christ than you are currently experiencing? Are there things in your life which a touch from Jesus would resolve forever? I believe, I truly do, that we are meant for much more. I believe in my heart of hearts that there is power in the name of Jesus, that devils must flee, bodies must be healed and I believe there are angels all around us just waiting for something to do. I say again, you are the body of Christ and I am the body of Christ. We are Christ in this earth now. What must we do in order to walk in the earth as he did? What are you going to do about it? What are any of us going to do about it?