What does God’s power mean to you? Do you think of thunder and lightning? Earthquakes? Floods? Forgiveness? God’s power is in all of these and more.
But wait a minute, someone asks. How do I know this is true? “God’s power is very great for those who believe,” Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:19-20. “That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead.” So, the next time you wonder if God can forgive you, read that verse again.
Remember, the power that raised Christ from the grave is the power that resurrects hope in our hearts.
When Paul says that God fulfills our good resolves by his power through our faith, he means that we defeat sin and we do righteousness by being satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Christ in the next five minutes, five months, five decades, and into eternity.
Here are three examples of how this might look in your life:
If you set your heart to give sacrificially and generously, the power of God to fulfill this resolve will come to you as you trust his future grace in the promise: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). And the promise: “Whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). And the promise: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all-sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
If you set your heart to renounce pornography, the power of God to fulfill this resolve will come to you as you trust his future grace in the promise: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). “It is better that you tear out your eye than that your whole body be thrown into hell” (Matthew 5:29). Much better. Wonderfully better. All-satisfyingly better.
And If you set your heart to speak out for Christ when the opportunity comes, the power of God to fulfill this resolve will come to you as you trust his future grace in the promise: “Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour” (Matthew 10:19).
May God increase our daily faith in his inexhaustible, blood-bought, Christ-exalting future grace.
I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment—but I’m still stunned by his grace! David the psalmist becomes David the voyeur, but by God’s grace becomes David the psalmist again. Peter denied Christ before he preached Christ. Zaccaeus, the crook… the cleanest part of his life was the money he’d laundered, but Jesus still had time for him. The thief on the cross…hell bent and hung-out-to die one minute, but heaven-bound and smiling the next.
Story after story. Surprise after surprise. It seems that God is looking more for ways to get us home than for ways to keep us out. I challenge you to find one soul who came to God seeking grace and did not find it. Search the pages. Read the stories. Find one person who came seeking a second chance and left with a stern lecture. I dare you! You won’t find it!
When you see a flock of sheep what do you see? Exactly—a flock. A rabble of wool…all alike. But not so with the good shepherd. To him every sheep is different. Every face is special. Every sheep has a name, and that includes you! The Shepherd knows your name and he will never forget it.
He says in Isaiah 49:16, “I have written your name on my hand.” Your name is on God’s hand. Your name is on God’s lips. Perhaps you’ve never seen your name honored, or heard it spoken with kindness. If so, it may be more difficult for you to believe that God knows your name. But he does! Written on his hand. Spoken by his mouth. Your name! Keep listening…be sure to hear when God whispers your name.
God is there for you. Night and day He is watching over you just like the shepherd described above. Let the fact of God’s presence in your life be fully embraced by you. It is never ending. He loves you very much.
If you have sin in your past and you are worrying and condemning yourself for those wrongs, don’t. It doesn’t accomplish anything. Constantly focusing on your past mistakes will crowd out any positive feelings you can have about yourself. Some of the things that happen to us in our past are outside of our control but, I think you’d agree, can still have an impact on who we are today.
At my age I’ve come to realize I haven’t really accomplished anything noteworthy because of my worrying and condemning myself. I just didn’t have the confidence. As a matter of fact, I’ve made myself pretty miserable at times. But, you know what, I’ve also managed to do some good things in my life that I can reflect on and be happy about.
What’s my point here? Almighty God made you and God doesn’t make junk. Even if you think you are. God looks upon you with so much love that we don’t have the ability or capacity to take it all in. The most appropriate story I can think of that addresses the issue of our sinful past and being forgiven today is the one about the prodigal son. If you’re not familiar with the story it basically says the prodigal son got his inheritance ahead of time and then went out and spent it on a sinful lifestyle. When the son realized how messed up he was and had hit rock bottom, he decided to return home to his father hoping that he would at least hire him as a slave.
The father in this story receives the prodigal son with open and joyous arms and even throws a feast in his honor. The father in this story is our God, who loves us without abandon. He doesn’t look at our past. He looks at us now and forgives us of our sins if we ask him. God does not want us worrying about our past but instead focusing on Him and His love for us.
When we accept God’s love and stop worrying about what people think or worrying about our past, we can have the confidence to move forward and live in peace. Remember, God made a great sacrifice to insure that we are forgiven so we can live in peace and in His love.
The next time you find yourself worrying about something, stop and take a moment to focus on Jesus hanging on the cross. Why? Because He said, “It is finished.” What’s finished? All of your past.
Your past is done and you can’t do anything about it but Jesus did. So, start living today.
Can you see the cross on the hill? Can you hear the soldiers laughing as they pound the nails into Jesus’ flesh? Jesus’ enemies smirk. “This time,” Satan whispers. “This time I will win.” For a sad Friday and a silent Saturday it appeared he had.
What Satan intended as the ultimate evil, God used for the ultimate good. God rolled the rock away and Jesus walked out on Sunday morning. And if you look closely, you can see Satan scampering from the cemetery with his forked tail between his legs. “Will I ever win?” he grumbles. No…he won’t.
Do you believe there is any evil beyond God’s reach? Do you believe that He can redeem you from every pit, including the one in which you find yourself? Trust God. He will get you through this. Will it be easy or quick? I hope so, but it seldom is. Yet, God will make good out of this mess. That’s His job.
Where do you live mentally, emotionally and physically? All those areas in our lives are bombarded on a daily basis with all sorts of persuasive arguments…think advertising. In Colossians 2:8 it says, “See to it that one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men and the elementary principles of the world…”.
Why would Paul say something like that? Well, if you think about it, it’s easy to be defrauded of the prize of Christ through self-abasement and the worship of other idols such as TV, sports, actors, music or whatever occupies most of your time.
If you have died with Christ through baptism, then the elementary principles(activities) of the world should hold no sway over you. Therefore, do not submit yourself to all sorts of decrees (advertising, movies, etc.) as if you were living in the world. Instead, live for Christ in all that you say and do.
It’s easy to get trapped into thinking it’s okay to have the world’s wisdom and self-religion, or participate in self-abasement or severe treatment of your body but there is no value in fleshly indulgence.
Put Christ first in your life in all that you think, say and do and then watch God’s blessings unfold in your life.