That Power

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know…this incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him 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 title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-20

Yesterday we touched upon the power we have as Believers. Today I will elaborate on that power, just as Scripture does. God has given his children power; that much should be obvious. If we realized Who was giving us that power, our lives would be radically different. I think it’s very difficult to grasp God and his infinite power, else why do we still sin, and harbor bitterness and strife?

If we realized the God who raised Jesus from the dead was giving us mighty power, for example, would we:

  • Gossip about a co-worker?
  • Be greedy?
  • Tell people what we “really think of them?”
  • Curse a fellow driver?
  • Covet what isn’t ours (people, things, titles, power)?
  • Get angry at little things?
  • Be impatient with our family members?

So I would encourage you today to pray for God’s incomparably great power in your life. God wants us to have that power, not so that we would lord it over others but to be able to live a holy and just life. With that power we can love more, be more just in our dealings with others, overcome weaknesses and sin, and encourage and strengthen others more, etc. That’s the kind of power that the world just doesn’t understand.

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How’s Your Serve?

Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” Matthew 20:26

James, John, and the remaining ten disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. Actually, the ten were upset at James and John for trying to secure a special place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Though the text doesn’t say it, I presume at least a few of the ten were indignant because they weren’t quick enough to ask! It’s a very human thing to want.

But Jesus set them all in their places. If you want to be great, serve others. That’s it. It’s certainly not what the world teaches. The world tells us to be great first then you’ll be able to serve humanity. Or “look out for Number One because no one else will be looking out for you.” What an upside down kingdom we’re a part of.

It’s a very basic lesson to us all: if you want to be great in the Kingdom, serve.

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Finding Strength

Sudan map, courtesy of BBC NewsDavid was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

At this time in David’s reign—to put it mildly—he wasn’t well liked. We’ve all had those kinds of days. And to be fair, there are times that we haven’t liked people that much. Those who were against David wanted blood. Amidst all that anguish and strife, David could say that he found strength in the Lord his God. The correlation to our own lives is obvious but I think we need to step it up a notch.

As I’ve written in this space before, millions of Christians face situations similar to David’s. Many want the blood of Christians. We need to pray for our Brothers and Sisters that they will find strength in the Lord their God. Their very lives may depend on our prayers.

Pray for the nation of Sudan. Darfur gets most of the attention out of all the news coming out of Sudan, but Sudan is a very large country. After 20+ years of civil war, there is trouble once again. Pray for those in the towns of Wau, Bir Di, Bor, Rumbek, Waat, Akelo, and the capital of the South, Juba (to name a few).

Pray that they too will find strength in the Lord their God.

Voice of the Martyrs

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Sing for Joy

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Psalm 5:11

Here are two related questions. (1) How do you sing when no one is watching? It could be a song on the radio or a worship tape or a song that just pops into your head. (2) Now how do you sing when people are around, say, perhaps in a congregational setting? Are the two manners different? (sorry, that was 3 questions)

This evening the barbershop chorus I sing with went to a nursing home. We sang to two different audiences: the first was to “regular” residents as they were dining, and the second in the Memory Care Section (Alzheimer’s Unit). What a contrast. The regular residents were polite and cordial. Then we sang to the Memory Care residents. One woman in particular took it upon herself to join in with us to the tunes she knew. She was off key, shrill, and a half second ahead of us in our singing. No problem.

Then it happened. A quartet began a medley of three Gospel songs and I watched this woman in amazement. She sang (almost) in tune and in tempo with the quartet. The words came alive to her. She was halfway between tears and smiles. She wasn’t singing for our benefit, even though we were all standing in front of her. No, she was carefree and joyfully singing for the Audience of One.

And I suspect He was pleased with her worship.

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God of Comfort

I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass. Isaiah 51:12

When God is our comfort, what do we have to fear? Nothing. And yet, we fear a lot.

  • We fear about not having enough money “to make ends meet.”
  • We fear about the type of society our children are growing up in.
  • We fear that the global economy will come crashing around us.
  • We fear old age.
  • We fear death.
  • We even fear that God doesn’t love us sometimes.

We could easily add to the list if we're honest with ourselves. The list is as real as our fears. However, the God who set the mountains and lakes in place, the God who threw out the stars in the heavens and sprinkled the sand on the beaches, the God who knows the number of water molecules in all of the oceans, yes, that same God will comfort us.

Sometimes we just need to ask. Often it’s the hardest thing to do.

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