John 1:12 But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.
One problem we face in the Church today is that many Christians don’t really believe that God can do what He says He can do. We believe what we read in the Bible, but in practice, we don’t trust God to come through on His promises. This fear that God won’t fulfill his promises is a lack of faith in the power of God. On one hand, we believe that God can do all things, and on the other hand when we see situations that look impossible to conquer, we don’t believe He can handle all things.
Beyond that, we don’t believe that we have any power or authority. The Bible says that to all who received Christ, He gave power to become children of God. If Christ gave us power, then we can do all things. Paul said to the Philippians that we could do all things through Christ who gives us strength. If we are truly children of God, then we are not impotent, but very powerful. We have the Creator of all things working through us.
Don’t be afraid to act when God calls you to do something. He won’t ask you to do something that He hasn’t given you the power to do. If you are called to do it, the Lord will equip you for it. He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
We’re here and then we’re gone. So short are these lives we live on earth, but we seem to think we’ve got forever. We think that we can solve all of the world’s problems, if only given enough time. But none of us has that kind of time. It was designed that way. We’re here, and then we’re gone.
We weren’t made to live in these bodies forever, they’re our temporary homes. We give witness to the death of Christ through the death of our own bodies, but our spirits live on and bear witness to His resurrection with our own resurrection. We depart these jars of clay and trade them in for the real vessels our souls belong in.
To some, death is a terrifying, sad thought. But to those of us who belong to Christ, it’s only the beginning. Our knowledge, our strength, our capacity to love, all of these things are limited here on earth, in these bodies. What God has in store far surpasses anything we know here. This is just a warm up for the main event!
Psalm 66:20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
We’ve often heard testimonies given of miracles that have taken place in the lives of those who tell them. On many of those occasions, the recipient of the miracle gives credit to “the power of prayer”. The question is: Is this putting us in the place of God? Are we, if only in a veiled way, taking the credit for the miracle because we prayed for it?
Just to be clear, prayer is in fact quite powerful for those who believe (James 5:16). There are many instances throughout the Bible in which we are called to pray, with faith. The issue is not the effectiveness of praying, rather it’s about who gets the credit after the prayer has been answered.
We must recognize that when a prayer is answered it is because God chose to respond with favor. The sovereign Lord is the one who decides what is right for us. It’s not the act of prayer itself that has granted us what we desire. It’s not we who have manifested this miracle. The real power is God’s.
Colossians 2:20-23 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
What is Christianity all about? Have we vowed to follow Christ only to replace the Old Testament law with new law? Is this new life just about more rule-following? Observing some of today’s churches, you would think so! Sermons so often focus on behavior modification or bettering the life of the Christian through specific actions. We trade in the true power of the gospel for the belief that being a good Christian means listening to the right music, wearing the right T-shirts, not swearing or drinking, and being “nice.” Congregants lack the joy of Christ because they fail to keep up with all of the things they are “supposed” to do. Moralistic, therapeutic deism fails to deliver.
The truth is that no formula for behavior modification will ever work because the root of sin is in our hearts. No amount of keeping up with strict law or disciplines or rituals will keep us from being what we are: fallen and sinful. Religion seeks to justify the believer through their actions. True justification comes from Christ (Romans 4:25). Only He can liberate us from sin.
It can make us feel good for a while to try to earn our own merit, but in the end we will always fall short (Romans 3:23). We’ll never be good enough, do enough, deprive ourselves enough to be free from sin. If we fully rely on Jesus it means we trust that His sacrifice was good enough, that we don’t need to be under the law in order to receive forgiveness from God for our transgressions, that He died once, and for all (Hebrews 7:27-28). Nothing we could ever do could make Him love us more. And nothing we fail to do could ever make Him love us less.
1 John 5:1-5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Our faith is the victory that has overcome the world. And what is it that comes from faith? Good works. A natural response to faith is obedience. When we know God and experience His love for us, we want to keep His commandments and follow everything He says to do. If we remain faithful in this, nothing can stop us.
This passage says that everyone who has been reborn overcomes the world. Are you overcoming the world? Have you taken the time to actually evaluate whether or not you’re overcoming the world? What does it even mean to overcome the world? Does that mean we don’t ever fall into temptation or that we don’t sin?
Sadly, most of us don’t think in terms of victory when we look at our lives. We’re not operating in our spiritual gifts or showing any fruit out of the faith we proclaim. Some of us aren’t even showing love to our fellow Christians, let alone to the people out in the world.
But we’ve been equipped. We’ve got the victory already if we’ll just do the next thing God calls us to do. That’s what obedience is. It’s not some lofty, unachievable goal. Obedience is doing the next thing God calls you to do. And when you’ve done it, do the next thing He calls you to do. Then the next. Obedience is a lot like walking. It’s one foot in front of the other.
Walk in victory, knowing that Jesus has already won the battle. The odds are in your favor. You can’t lose.
Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In Christ, the many promises of God to His people, the Jews, came to pass. He encompassed all that God had chosen to reveal to man. In the Holy Spirit then, all of the promises of Christ to His people, the Christians, were fulfilled. Jesus had told His followers to go and wait for Him after He had resurrected and reappeared to them. He promised if they waited they would receive power.
And so they waited. They hid, really. They were all together in one place on that day, the day of Pentecost. And when they received the Holy Spirit they all were given the power to speak in languages they didn’t know, for the purpose of evangelizing to others in his/her own tongue. Those who heard them were amazed that these uneducated men were able to speak many languages. Some scoffed, some mocked…but they listened.
As they listened, the previously timid disciples who were in hiding boldly came out among them and preached the gospel. Peter delivered a sermon that brought around 3,000 to Christ that day. It wasn’t a “here’s how to get a better life” sermon, or even a “Jesus loves you” speech. Peter simply pointed to the truth through events that had taken place and then let the conviction of the Holy Spirit do its work in the hearts of the people. They heard it and were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). Then Peter gave them a chance to respond, which they did.
The work of the Holy Spirit in believers on Pentecost is the same power He employs today in us. Things may not always be so drastic as to see thousands of people saved in one moment, but His conviction in their hearts and His work in us to be bold in speaking the truth is still very real, just as it was for Peter and the eleven. He may not ever urge you to speak in tongues or to preach in front of a massive crowd, but He will empower you to do God’s will in whatever situation you do find yourself in.
To God be the glory.
Ephesians 3:16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
What comes to your mind when you think of gifts from God? Is it health? Wealth? Something else entirely? Sometimes we really limit God by not realizing just how much He has to give. This isn’t about money or possessions, this is about riches beyond compare.
There are two very important things to remember about God: First, He is a Father who loves His children and wants to give to them. Second, He has ALL things to give. There is nothing that you could need that God does not possess. Everything is His to give.
What’s more, He doesn’t give from His riches (that would mean He would be depleting His stash). He gives according to His riches. He’ll never run out, He doesn’t give to each of His children in percentages, He isn’t stingy. He has all things to give and He freely gives.
But most of the Lord’s blessings are not material, but rather spiritual blessings. His greatest blessing of all is himself. He has given, according to the riches of His glory, His own Spirit to dwell in those whom He calls His children. With that gift comes all the power that is included with having God dwelling inside you. Now, how thankful does this make you for the Father’s blessings?
The Commands of Jesus Series
Luke 24:49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere–in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Those of us that know the Lord have an awesome source of power that we need to be sure doesn’t come unplugged.
The Holy Spirit takes care of us directly and he gifts us gifts so that we can do things that we couldn’t have imagined doing. (1Cor 12:11). Check out what he does for us:
- He is our Advocate that will always be with us (John 14:16).
- He will be there to lead us into truth, he will teach us and he will remind us of the things that Jesus already taught us (John 14:26).
It was not intended for me to follow Jesus commands without any help. I need to be sure that I am as powerful as I can be by staying in the word each day and praying for God’s direction in every detail of my life.
- True Repentance Is A Matter Of The Heart (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
- Was Jesus The Messiah (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
- Can You See Me Now? (diggingtheword.blogspot.com)
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Christmas isn’t over. No, the message of Christmas is relevant throughout the entire year. Pausing to honor the birth of Jesus is a good thing, but it’s not enough to stop there. He is alive and active today, calling His people to carry out the mission He has for them. That’s us.
He’s at work in us and through us to bring about things we can’t even imagine and only He deserves any of the credit for it. How can we claim credit for something we didn’t even do apart from the power of Christ working in us? He’s the one who is worthy of all glory and honor. He’s the one that’s able to do far more than we can ever ask or think.
To Him be the glory in our lives, in our relationships, in our churches, our workplaces, and our decisions. To Him be the praise and honor, now and forever. He’s the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Praise Him. Praise Him for He is good!
Have a blessed 2012.