Posts Tagged ‘power’

As Jesus followers we have access to the most powerful force in the universe.  Paul writes about it in his salutation to the church in Ephesus.

‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, ‘   Ephesians 1:18-20

My last post discussed how our emotions can lead us to believe a lie.  There is so much information being disseminated that is not accurate, whether intentionally or simply in error, that it is easy to absorb, believe, and emote based upon untruth.  Once we have believed a lie, especially when it has evoked strong emotion, it becomes easier to believe supporting lies and harder to discern the truth from the lie.

I do not believe it coincidental that the word in my quiet and prayer following that post was power.  Repeatedly yesterday the reality of God’s power was emphasized… beginning with God’s power demonstrated in raising Jesus from the dead, continuing with the power Jesus exhibited in healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, and ministering to the humble and meek.  That power was then compared to our sun which provides our light, warmth, and sufficient energy to sustain life on this big, blue ball we call home even though it is over 93 million miles away.  While the sun in powerful, the One who created it had to be even more powerful to create it and all that is.

Finally, I saw the power of God in the ability to change a mind… to direct us onto the right course… to deliver the opioid-addict and bring them to health and wholeness… to turn a prodigal toward home… to open our eyes to the lies and half-truths we have embraced and to see and seek truth… to bring us ever closer to Him Who is the Lover of our souls.

That same power is continually available to us as Jesus’ followers.  We are encouraged to embrace that truth and to allow Him to guide us into how He wants to make that real in us and through us.  You are saved for a reason – to know Him and to make Him known.  The Holy Spirit living within the believer is the direct connection to God’s power.  In Jesus’ last recorded words before His ascension into heaven He said,  ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ‘ Acts 1:8

I encourage you this morning to lean into Jesus more and more.  Trust in His power which saved you, sustains you, and guides you.  Read the Word and allow the truth of it to saturate your mind and spirit.  As you do so, you will become more aware and dependent upon His wisdom, His grace, and His strength to live the life He has called you to.  You will learn to discern His promptings and respond to them.  I have been fortunate to participate in miracles He has brought about.  My role was 1% of the work which was accomplished simply by being obedient to what I sensed the Holy Spirit wanted me to do.  It was God’s power that did the work – healing in some cases, deliverance in others, salvation at times. In every case God was glorified and people were blessed.

Wherever you are in your faith walk, God has next steps for you which are for your good and His glory.  He will not leave or abandon you, but rather He is right there with you encouraging you to take that next step.  I don’t know exactly what your next step is, but I know God is cheering you on, whispering words of peace, hope, and guidance.  Let today be the day you take that next step in faith.  Let today be the day you take hold of the power Paul said is available.  Let today be the day you experience joy in a new and exhilarating way.  Seize the day my friend by saying yes to Jesus and stepping out in faith.

If you are interested in watching some excellent sermons, our church broadcasts the services on Sunday and they are also saved and accessible free online.  Just go to newspring.cc/sermons.  We are in a series on the Holy Spirit right now which is very balanced and biblically accurate.  Check it out.

With the benediction today, I think I will do a throw-back to the 1970’s and say:

“More power to you!”

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The unbridled pursuit of power has resulted in destruction and carnage throughout history.  Actions resulting from the struggle for power and domination headline the news today.  Whether it is Iran pursuing nuclear capability, ISIS striving to extend its realm of influence, or political leaders in the US seeking to push their agenda, the wielding of power comes at a great price.  Following these three conflicts too closely has a power of its own.  It is easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the real and potential consequences of these conflicts.  All three of these headline-dominating topics fall short of the most powerful force in the universe though.  And that makes all the difference.  That of course is the power of God available to and through His children through intercessory prayer.  From Ephesians 1:19b and following.  “That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”

The point today is not to spend a lot of time discussing God’s power.  From creating the universe, raising Jesus from the dead, and guiding the fledgling Church from 12 frightened disciples to the worldwide instrument of good that it is today – His credentials are solid.  Ultimate power resides in the Lord God Almighty.  I have been stirred lately that the Lord has a message for the Church today that we have a role to play in releasing His power in our day.  And that comes when we enter into intercessory prayer.

Prayer is simply communication with God.  It is meant to be a dialogue.  It is not meant to be a rote recitation of sacred words.  It is not meant to be an obligation we dutifully fulfill.  It is a conversation between two parties who love and respect each other.  God condescends to meet us where we are.  And through our time together He lifts us bit by bit to a higher place.  The more time spent with God in intimate fellowship, the less the cares and worries of this world hold and control us.  This intimacy is flooded with the Word of God.  Repeatedly the scriptures come to mind as I fellowship with the Father.  This is a primary way the Lord will speak to us.  He makes His Word come alive in our hearts.  The end result is that more and more we transformed and the mind of Christ takes shape within us.

As we spend time together with the Father, His desires become our desires.  This is where intercessory prayer begins.  It is as simple as longing for and expressing God’s desires into being through our lives and with our mouth.  We ask for those things that God desires to see happen in the world.

Jesus modeled this in His ministry.  He would begin the day in time alone with the Father.  He would then come down with purpose and launch into the day’s activity.  His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane is instructive.  He knew what God’s plan was long before he entered that final private time with the Father.  He had foreshadowed to the disciples what was going to happen on numerous occasions.  Yet when the time actually arrived His disciples didn’t recognize it.  Jesus himself agonized over what was to take place offering up one more petition for a Plan B.  He even asked, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  He communed with His Father consistently. He understood what the Father’s plan was.  He acted upon it and He spoke it into being.  In John chapter 17 Jesus begins with a brief petition for Himself and then intercedes for His disciples and then all who would become believers.  Through His obedience the world was forever changed and lives continue to be transformed to this day … salvation, deliverance, healing, restoration, death to life all through Jesus’ life, death, and faithful obedience to the Father.

When Jesus ascended into heaven He promised to send the Holy Spirit to the Church.  The Holy Spirit is God living and abiding in the believer.  He is our counselor who always points the way to Jesus and the Father.  Jesus speaks to who the Holy Spirit is and what He will do in John chapters 14 – 16.  In John 14:12 Jesus tells His disciples, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”  Jesus is passing on His mantle to whoever believes in me.  That is us!  And that is amazing!!

One of the less visible, but vitally crucial roles God has given the church is that of intercessory prayer.  Missionaries are absolutely dependent upon the financial support from home to continue their work.  I would argue that it is an even greater need for the prayer support from home to remain unceasing.  The same God who was able to put a coin into the mouth of a fish for Peter and Jesus’ taxes is the same God who will meet the needs of a missionary in the field if the intercessory prayer is taking place.

Rees Howell was the President of the Bible College of Wales during WWII.  His greatest calling though was that of an intercessor.  During the war there were numerous times when the Holy Spirit would lay the burden of intercession heavy upon Mr. Howell.  One instance the burden was so great that He was moved to cancel classes and call for the entire school to enter into intercessory prayer.  As the hours marched on, hundreds of students and faculty were on their face before God, interceding for God’s hand of protection upon those in great peril.  At times the mood in the chapel would shift as the Lord’s Spirit impressed the urgency of the situation upon the group gathered together.  Late at night the Holy Spirit let Rees know the work was completed.  A few days later news came from Italy of a miraculous intervention as the Allies moved across the Island of Sicily.  The Allies were surrounded and facing certain annihilation. Reinforcements were not going to arrive in time and the German and Italian bombardment was taking a tremendous toll.  It was simply a matter of time before the outgunned Allied soldiers were decimated.  The commanders had considered surrender, but decided to hold until they could hold no longer which wouldn’t be long.  Suddenly and inexplicably the bombardment stopped.  The bombing ceased in the night at exactly the time that the word was given to the intercessors that their immediate work was through.

Now this begs the question – does God take sides in a conflict?  The answer is simple.  God is Holy and He is His own.  We need to seek His face, grow in our intimacy with Him and then we join His side.  In the present conflict with ISIS, just like in World War II there is a very clear evil at work on one side of the conflict.  While it is surprising that a clear plan of action has not come forward to deal with ISIS this simply means we still have time to intercede.  You and I are called to pray the desires of God into existence.  He wants us to partner with Him in the redemption of the world and intercession is one of the ways we do that.

Go back to Ephesians where we started.  Pick it up at Ephesian 1:18 – 19a.  “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”  Friends I encourage you to ask God to put a burden on your heart to join Him in intercession.  Consider a healthy dis-satisfaction with evil as a starting place and ask God to give you the words and perseverance to pray through.  When He does launch into it with all you are.  When we do we are tying into God’s incomparable great power for us who believe.

Be blessed and be a blessing to those the Father puts in your path and on your heart today.


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