Posts Tagged ‘ Power ’

Grace That’s Truly Amazing

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NRSV

By definition, grace is amazing. It’s amazing because it’s undeserved. But that’s just the beginning.

If I got a gift that I didn’t want or need, the gift would be of little value or use. Even though I didn’t deserve it, it didn’t really impress me as amazing.

beautiful girl portraitGod’s grace is amazing not just because it is freely given, but also because of what it does. Even when we least deserve it, God steps in with grace to heal and lift, to cleanse and renew, to encourage and strengthen, to guard and to guide, and to set us right. That’s why God’s grace is so amazing!

This idea is powerfully illustrated in today’s video. You will hear the familiar words of amazing grace, while seeing what makes that grace so incredible. Please click here for the video.

Then take a moment to thank God for the grace given you, and its transforming work in your life!

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Out of Obscurity

…for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 NRSV

MP900442283[1] I received an email recently that asked a good question. The question was: Can you name the five richest people in the world? Other questions followed. All of them asked for the names of people who had achieved various kinds of worldly fame and recognition. The interesting thing about those questions was I didn’t know the answer to any of them. All those famous people were blank faces, who went unnamed on my questionnaire.

Then the email closed with the question, who was the most influential teacher you ever had? I could answer certainly answer that question!

Those questions reminded me how fleeting fame and notoriety really are. They also made me realize it’s often the person who operates in the background that has the greatest and longest lasting impact.

MC900444830[1] After Jesus rose and went up to heaven, his work was left to a group of mostly poor, uneducated men and women. They had no wealth to buy advertising time, no political platform from which to launch their message, no popularity to help them get the attention of the people. All they had was the truth about Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in them. Of course that was all they needed to turn the world upside down!

You and I can be people like that. We can work to faithfully serve our Lord and love those around us. We probably will not win any awards. I’m pretty sure we will not get our pictures on magazine covers. But God can and will use our lives to continue changing the world for Jesus Christ!

Jill Carattini writes, “In the kingdom of God, there are none so obscure as to be hidden, no life lived for Christ that goes unnoticed.”

Whether famous or not, the truth is that God knows us. God knows us very well. Our names are written in the annals of heaven. There is no obscure life in God’s family. We each are a vital part of the body.MP900406708[1]

We are also people of influence. We have the truth and the power to proclaim it. We have the message the world so desperately needs. Now it’s time for us to come out of obscurity, and be known for doing the work Christ is calling us to do!

Personal Power?

MP900182676[1] We can praise God from the rising of the sun to its setting. We can give God glory, and tell God’s mighty acts. But when push comes to shove, how do we live? Do we live like we are in control, or like God is?

Jill Carattini talks about the fable of personal control. If she is right, and personal MC900115916control is nothing more than a fable, then it’s a story lots of people are living by. The problem is that a fable is just a fable. It’s based on principles at work in  imaginary worlds. Also, fables grow out of belief systems that may or may not match the principles of our faith. So those who spend their lives trying to take control of their own destinies are living by the fable of personal control, which can be a bit like chasing rainbows.

For the Christian, Carattini says, “The subtle fable of personal control is confronted by a story of life and death, a remarkable beginning and a far more remarkable end.” In other words, we may think we are in charge, but once we meet Jesus Christ we realize that’s a misguided notion. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ reveals that God is alive and at work in creation. Jesus is the proof that God’s hand is guiding history.

There is nothing you or I can do to change God’s plan or the coming rule of Jesus Christ over all creation. What we can do is to exchange our fable of personal control for the truth of God’s perfect plan for our lives. Those who do, abandon the constant struggle for control, and begin to relax into a life of humble and joyful obedience. They take their place with all whose destinies are defined by their faith in God, and with those whose lives are driven by their love for Jesus Christ!MP900438632[1]

Robert Firestone says that “Personal power is based on strength, confidence and competence…” Those who follow Jesus Christ discover all those things and more!

Why not turn your life more fully over to Jesus Christ. Look to him for your strength. Let him be your source of confidence. Let him equip you, empower you and lead you to victory!

Leave the fables and fairy tales behind. Make Jesus be the Lord of life and your source of power!

Power & Might

“Therefore I am surely going to teach them, this time I am going to teach them my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the LORD.” Jeremiah 16:21 NRSV

MP900422120[1] Despite God’s faithfulness, mercy, patience and generous blessing, God’s chosen people repeatedly turned their backs on God.

God had not failed to give them everything God had promised. God’s love for them had been steadfast and God’s patience abundant. But everything God gave this people, and all that God had revealed to them, failed to secure their love and devotion. Perhaps that’s because they had failed to learn the most important lesson of all, how to love the Lord God with all their hearts, minds and souls, and their neighbors as themselves.

God’s people had failed to learn.

So God told Jeremiah that it was time to bring this people back into the classroom. God had prepared a new lesson plan, and there was going to be a whole lot of teaching going on. But this wasn’t going to be the same old kind of teaching.

Up to now God had used Moses, dedicated leaders and prophets to bring the message to the people. The problem was that God’s people were not very good auditory learners. They had heard the Law and been taught God’s ways. But that information seemed to have gone in one ear and out the other.MP900447467[1]

Neither were they good visual learners. God had revealed God’s self in many visible, tangible and amazing ways. But seeing was not believing for God’s people.

Now it was time for some experiential learning. God’s people were going to have a first-hand experience of God’s power and might. That experience would take a heavy toll on them. Many would die. Others would be taken captive to foreign lands. God’s people would pay double for their sinful ways. God would cleanse the land by cleansing the hearts of the people.

God cleanses the hearts of God’s people.

The purpose here was not just to exact a penalty, but to teach a lesson. God needed the people to know that they had mistaken God’s patience as indifference. They had also focused on the promises God had given them, while ignoring God’s requisite call to faithfulness and devotion. Because of that, they saw God as no different from all the other gods being worshipped in that day. Eventually, their belief in the one true God was washed away in a sea of idolatry.

MP910218796[1] So Jeremiah was ringing the school bell. School was back in session. It was time God’s people learned that with the great blessing and promises they had received, came great responsibility.  It was also time for them to learn that God alone was the one true God.

These were painful but necessary lessons. What happened to Israel serves today as a reminder that God does not want to become irrelevant in our lives. God does not want to be worshipped as one of many idols. God wants our single-minded, whole-hearted devotion. In fact, that is the only kind of faith that makes any sense. Anything else robs us of enjoying the benefits of God’s power and love at work in our everyday lives.

God wants our single-minded, whole-hearted devotion!

So, school is still in session. The lesson is that God is full of power and might. God is the Lord of all, the one and only true God.

Let’s use what we have learned about God to draw closer to God, to deepen our devotion to God, to strengthen our faith in God and to redouble our efforts to serve God in everything we do!

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Prayer:

God of power and might, you are the one true God! You are the God of creation, the God who gives life, and the God who calls me to faith and devotion. I am ready to learn. Teach me your ways. Let your power work in me. Let your might guide, sustain and protect me. Be the Lord of my life, and make me into the person you created me to be!

Amen.