Power of the Resurrection

...And the power of his resurrection… Philippians 3:10

Resurrection power. The power that raised Jesus from the dead. The power to heal and mend and protect and loose from bondage. The Apostle Paul sought to know this power, to know the “power” behind the power.

In a real sense, the power of the resurrection is that 2000 years removed from the actual event, people are still coming to know the One who was Resurrected! Lives are still being changed. Marriages are being restored. Addictions are being broken. Proud men are being humbled. Truly evil men are changing their lives completely. The world is changed each and every time someone believes in Jesus.

Yeah, it’s that resurrection power.

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I Want to Know Christ

I want to know Christ… Philippians 3:10

Paul’s passion after his dramatic conversion experience was that he wanted to know Christ. Period. Nothing else seemed to matter. Sometimes that meant that he had to preach the Gospel. Sometimes he had to teach. Sometimes he just had to fellowship with his fellow believers. In all of those actions, he was learning more and more about Christ because God was using those people to teach him.

Obviously we know that people can teach us what to do and what not to do by their actions and words. But I think we need to be receptive to hearing and learning. “What can this person teach me about Christ?” is probably a fairly common prayer we should have. Even the vilest of people can teach us great things about Christ.

One such man in my past would call me to task every time I did something that he thought that Christians shouldn’t be doing. He didn’t know Christ but he did know that we as Believers didn’t have to stoop to his level to prove a point. In his own way, he was teaching me that Christ cared even in my speech and course jesting.

I’m not saying that every single person you come across will teach you something about the nature of Christ.

Or maybe I am.

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The Tower

The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The Righteous run to it and are saved. Proverbs 18:10

I used to work in the Hancock Tower in Chicago. It was 95 floors straight up. There was an express elevator that went from the Ground Floor to 95 in about 45 seconds. When you looked out over Lake Michigan to the east, and the city and suburbs to the north, south and west, you felt invincible, like nothing could ever shake your world.

The name of the Lord is like that. You don’t have to defend it; it’s solid. You don’t have to excuse it nor do you have to run from it. In fact, this verse tells us that we should run to it.

When you’re afraid, it’s your safe harbor. When you’re lonely; it’s your friend. When you’re hurt and wounded, it’s the salve that will heal.

Run to the Tower of the Lord; run often.

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Central Character

And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Mark 9:4

So much could be said about the Transfiguration: the dazzling brightness, two Bible characters we have read about all our lives, His disciples’ reaction, and The Voice.

To be certain, all of those are important and could cover many in depth lessons and sermons. I could see myself as one of the three disciples who came with Jesus, looking in awe at the Elijah, Moses, and Jesus after Jesus was transfigured.

The important entity in this story isn’t Elijah, Moses, James, John, or Peter. That’s right, the most important person in this passage is Jesus himself. We lose sight of that when we’re in the nitty gritty of the Bible.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the central character in the Bible.

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Scattered by Persecution

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Acts 11:19

Church history books are filled with stories of the growth of the Church because of persecution. It’s a paradox that Satan himself must still be puzzled over. If he persecutes and kills many in the Church, it should die. He couldn’t be more wrong. The more the Evil One persecutes and kills those in the church, the more there is growth, and sometimes in great numbers!

We have this idea that those in the early Church were filled with the Spirit and tirelessly proclaimed the Gospel far and wide. They did. But in some instances, they were forced to go (and persecution is what drew them out).

We in the Western world find ourselves in a similar situation. For the most part, we’ve become lax and lazy. We don’t sense the urgency. We like our creature comforts. A day will come, though, when we may be persecuted for what we believe. I don’t wish it to happen; I don’t want it to happen, but it may nonetheless happen.

It will also be a time when those who are true followers will be weeded out from those who are religious and have no desire to be persecuted for him. When will that time be? I don’t know, nor does anyone know. Pray that when that time comes, we’ll hold strong and steady to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Tap on That Door

…knock and the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7

The previous two devotionals are related to this one. We ask; we seek, and we knock. Not much difference really. The idea is one of being desperate for God. Not asking for the sake of getting; not seeking for the sake of getting; not knocking for the sake of God opening the door for a prize in return.

God Himself is the prize.

When we get that prize, the rest pales in comparison. No amount of wealth, no mirage of fame, not the most beautiful appearance could compare to the ultimate prize of God. A newer car and bigger house seem so shallow and meaningless.

Sure, we get the First Place prize of salvaton when God truly enters our life, but the Grand Prize awaits us daily. The door to His study, so to speak, is cracked open and awaits our little knock. He’s waiting for us to knock.

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Seek

…seek and you will find… Matthew 7:7

To seek is to search, to overturn things, and to look for. People seek many things: peace, truth, riches, fame, popularity, things, God. Even as Christians we seek things: wisdom, counsel, peace, truth.

What do you seek from God in prayer? That your life will go well and that there will be no problems? Do you question the things that God does or just accept them blindly? Of course we question God, though we don’t easily admit it. We’ve been taught that it’s a weakness to question God. After all, the world does enough of that, right?

But throughout Scripture, God wants his people to seek Him. David sought after God hard. Elijah sought God and found him in the still small voice, and quickly after that questioned God’s very existence. He thought that God had forsaken him (1 Kings 19).

There is more to be gained by seeking and searching and hunting Him down than by having all the answers handed to us on a platter.

Now read Genesis 3:9 and tell me who is actually doing the seeking.

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Keep Asking

Ask and it will be given to you… Matthew 7:7

My friend used to say, “if you don’t ask, the answer’s ‘no.'” He always paused, then said, “and the answer just might be’‘yes.'”  In other words, you need to ask before you think that something could never happen.

But Scripture doesn’t stop there. Further in the passage, Jesus states, “For everyone who asks receives…” This has to be one of the most abused Scriptures in the New Testament.

“Claim your mansion!”
“You deserve a BMW because God told you to ask!”
“God wants you rich.”

We call it the “name it and claim it Gospel.” And it is totally unbiblical. So what is this passage teaching us? Pray. Keep asking. Keep knocking on that door. Keep praying for breakthroughs in your life. Keep asking for wisdom and direction and clarity and faithfulness and love. If you keep asking for those things, you will have no need to ask God for the BMW or the mansion.

You will be richer than that.

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Too Perfect

But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. Matthew 12:14

No matter how perfect you are, there will be people who are opposed-even violently opposed-to what you do. Jesus is our example in this. He did nothing wrong. On the contrary. Everything he did was good.

He healed; they got upset. He taught; they got upset. He talked to women of ill repute; they got upset. He confronted their hypocrisy; once again they got upset.

I think that’s what ultimately angered them, confronting their hypocrisy. They couldn’t stand that he was right on target with his message.

So, what does all that have to do with us? Think about this: have you ever tried to do what you absolutely knew was the right thing and were opposed by seemingly good people? What did you do in response? Did you stay the course or did you give in? It’s easy to quit when you’re opposed on all sides. But if it’s the right thing to do and you know God is on your side, then what do we have to fear?

Here’s something someone told me many years ago: never question in the dark what God told you while it was light.

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