GRACE MAKES ME POWERFUL BY FAITH

Posted: November 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

10-Forms-of-Freedom

‘You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.’

– Romans 5:6 NIV

When you reread the account of Creation in the book of Genesis in chapter 1, understand God’s intent in creating mankind was for us to rule over and subdue the world He had so graciously placed us in. When you think about the words ‘rule over and subdue,’ what comes to your mind? How would you describe what those words mean? When you consider the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray that included, ‘Thy kingdom come, Thine will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ consider how, or who would be involved in helping God’s will to be done in the earth. From Genesis to Revelation, especially in the acclaimed ‘hall of faith’ of Hebrews 11, we read account after account of how faith enabled and empowered individuals to do the impossible, experience the extraordinary, and perform the miraculous.

Salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ, is not just about securing an eternal reservation in heaven, but it’s also about experiencing the ‘kingdom of heaven’ while we are living on earth. Salvation is an ongoing encounter with the person, presence, and power of God in the earth, whereby I have access to God directly, through prayer, His word, and His Spirit living within me that affords me access to experience His grace in its various forms to live and thrive. Nothing from my past, not even the reality of the condition of my current circumstances, can inhibit, or prohibit God’s grace from bringing forth healing, deliverance, restoration, renewed strength, a revived soul, and reconciliation from a lifestyle of sin that held me hostage to isolation, fear, shame, guilt, grief, and condemnation.

As He traveled the countryside, during His earthly ministry, Jesus would teach about ‘the kingdom of God.’ In Luke’s Gospel alone, there are 13 references to the ‘kingdom of God.’ One such reference, Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.’ – Luke 17:20-21, is Jesus’ reply when asked when to expect the coming of the kingdom of God. Careful inspection of Jesus’ reply specific to the phrase, ‘in your midst,’ suggests that the kingdom of God is near you, currently present with you, in your company, in close proximity to you. I believe Jesus was referring to Himself. Faith in Jesus Christ allows the grace of God (His person, presence, and power) to manifest within me and then through me to live victoriously (rule over and subdue) in areas of my life I was once held captive, victimized, and tormented by. Whether it was something external (circumstance), internal (mental/emotional/habit), or both, grace sets me free to live as God intended in the beginning when He declared I was to be made in His image.

Father, thank you for the privilege of being made in Your image and to experience an intimate, personal relationship with You through faith in Christ that positions me to live, thrive, and be victorious over circumstances and sin.

OutOfTheDarkness Click on the book to purchase your copy today!

Read to learn more about God’s plan, purpose, fulfillment, power, and glory revealed in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Learn insights to experience the elevated, expanded, exponential lifestyle encountered walking by faith.

 

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‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ – 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Walking by faith involves the process of recognizing my inadequacy and acknowledging God’s sufficiency. Understanding, in my own strength, I fall short in being fully what God intended no matter my affluence, influence, independence, position, status, or power; I am compelled to see my humanity was created to rely upon God’s power. Even the rich young ruler was cited by Jesus as still lacking one thing. In all that the Apostle Paul accomplished, he still had a weakness and saw a need for God. David, a man after God’s own heart who defeated a lion, bear, and Goliath proclaimed the Lord as His Shepherd who led him and provided him rest.

In response to Paul’s need, we understand our weakness invites God’s power. Our deficiencies, inadequacies, and limitations allows room for God’s sufficient grace to perfect, strengthen, and empower us to live and thrive. Walking by faith is about surrender, humility, accepting my need for God and then demonstrating the proper posture, in my heart and mind, that allows God to extend me beyond myself and exceed my limitations.

The rich young ruler’s encounter with Jesus ends with him walking away sad, despite being rich, still lacking the one thing he desired most that his wealth and status could not acquire for him. David, from his childhood, encountered an amazing journey and life, with highs and lows, that afforded him the privilege of seeing God elevate him, expand the reach of his influence, and exponentially bless him beyond his ability to achieve on his own. Forsaken by his parent and disregarded by his family, David’s devotion to God made him powerful in his faith walk and experience God’s person, presence, and power in inexplicable ways. Give God the opportunity to do in and through you what He did for David and let Him be for you who He was as Paul’s sufficiency. No matter what I accomplish in this life, as the rich young ruler discovered, I don’t have the ability to go to heaven on my own.

Father, bless us and help us to remain in a posture consistently that allows us to encounter Your person, presence, and power to help us live and thrive and be a light and salt to make the world around us a better place.

OutOfTheDarkness Click on the book to purchase your copy today!

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‘An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.’ – 1 Corinthians 7:34b

What does it mean to be concerned about the Lord’s affairs? How would you explain ‘to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit?’ Two questions I posed to my daughter in reading and reflecting on this passage written in 1 Corinthians 7. Transitioning into adulthood, the challenge for the teen is learning to engage in an interactive relationship with God as a priority over pursuing intimate relationships and friendship relationships. A challenge for men and women, youth and adults.

For the adolescent the typical growth and development for them is to pursue interpersonal relationships with their peers in their desire to continue to gain independence from their parents. As I explain to parents in the monthly NFRC parenting seminars, teens are familiar with ‘parent love.’ Since birth, they have experienced the love that comes from the parent-child relationship. Now, their desire is to go out into the world and learn more about this ‘love’ they hear sung about in their music, acted out on television and in the movies. The love they begin to visualize in their own hearts and minds and hear discussed amongst their peers. Lack of ‘parent love’ only heightens their desire for this ‘love’ they seek to encounter as they go out into the world.

1 Corinthians 7:34 is simply saying that the priority purpose for the ‘single’ male, or female, is to be focused on living for God, doing what God requires to demonstrate devotion to Him in one’s personal relationship with Him. Before they learn to do this, the average teen is pursuing their concept of love through peer relationships before they ever learn to develop an intimate, personal relationship with God to learn about love according to His word that would help them better navigate through the trials and temptations of ‘looking for love’ in all the wrong places in this world.

Power from God is receiving grace, or ability from God to live in a right way before Him that fits the Biblical description of being devoted to the Lord and being concerned about His affairs. ‘For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.’ – Philippians 2:13 God helps and empowers the faithful follower to live and thrive in the context of ‘being devoted to Him in body and spirit concerned about His affairs.’ More than the subject of power, I believe this speaks to the heart of ‘living with purpose.’ Discussing this with my daughter, my thinking is that it is God’s desire that we take ownership of our understanding of what He desires of us and requires in walking by faith so we can encounter His power in a way that allows us to live and thrive.

Taking ownership of our ‘purpose in being devoted to God and concerned about His affairs,’ sharpens our focus and helps us to consistently avoid being distracted by and dissuaded from living for God. I believe it allows us, even as a teen, to experience a measure of power from God that can only be encountered through prioritizing to walk in that purpose He desires and requires of us. It is a power and lifestyle that is always accessible and available for us to encounter, but it must be pursued passionately.

  • Power from God begins with prioritizing His purposes for how we live.
  • Power from God begins with a passionate pursuit of a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord.
  • Power from God is accessed in that passionate pursuit through prayer and intentional persistence in applying the principles of scripture.

God works in us to want to and to act in living with purpose according to Philippians 2:13. The moment we make up our mind to live with purpose, according to His will, God will enable and empower us to live and thrive. Male, or female, teen, or adult, the purpose of the person who is single is found in pursuing a personal, intimate relationship with God.

Father, bless us and help us to live with purpose, according to Your word, passionately pursuing You in walking by faith that we may exemplify being devoted to You and concerned about Your affairs.

OutOfTheDarkness

Click on the book to purchase your copy today to discover how to experience the elevated, expanded, exponential lifestyle encountered walking by faith. Learn more about God’s plan, purpose, fulfillment, power, and glory revealed in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

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‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ – Acts 1:8 NIV

Reflecting on the subject of power in relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, my mind’s eye visualizes  Bruce Almighty starring Jim Carrey. What would you do if you were endowed with all of God’s power? How would you make use of unlimited power and resource? The movie, Bruce Almighty, pokes fun at the reality of how our selfishness would get in the way of taking advantage of such a tremendous opportunity and great responsibility. What is most interesting about the movie, is the irony that in all the power and ability Jim Carrey’s character had, he could not possess the one thing he desired most. Jim Carrey’s character, Bruce, could not influence his girlfriend, played by Jennifer Aniston, to love him. His selfishness in making use of his power to amass, attain, and negotiate things to work out in his favor caused him to lose sight of what mattered most.

‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ – Uncle Ben, Spider Man Question? Power from God is power to do what? What is the purpose of that power? Uncle Ben’s words to his nephew Peter Parker were a foreshadowing of what ultimately led to his destiny in donning the blue and red tights after a ‘moment of selfishness’ disabled Peter from using his powers to catch a criminal who later became the culprit in the murder of his Uncle Ben. Peter’s remorse and grief in not capitalizing, in that moment when it mattered, is using his powers for a greater good than to serve his own pleasure compelled him to transcend beyond his individual concerns to the broader concerns of humanity in the use of his power.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. highlighted in his sermon, The Drum Major Instinct, as well as other famous speeches, that the Good Samaritan was a good man, if not great man, because instead of asking what would happen to him if he stopped to help the man on the side of the road, he pondered, ‘What will happen to this man if I do not stop to help him?’ This sermon is inspired from the passage of scripture that involved the dialogue between two of Jesus’ disciples, with jesus, about having the privilege of sitting as his right and left side of his throne when Jesus establishes his kingdom. James and John were thinking about what they could gain from being in a powerful position, or status, as followers of Christ.

When I discuss with my children the notion of their purpose at this stage in their lives, I use my hands to illustrate my desire to see them ascending and moving in an upward direction, climbing, rising, and excelling. I explain to them my desire to see them succeed and get a great head start in life by being resolved and determined not to make choices that would greatly hinder, halt, or impede them in continuously rising above and moving towards what would allow them to be successful in life and thrive. As I talk with them and share this, on the subject of power, I sense and see God saying the same thing to me. I hear the still, small voice of the LORD reminding me and reinforcing to me, as I talk with my children, His desire for me as I share mine with them. Power from God is to live and thrive in a manner that reflects God as the source and resource. Power from God allows me to ascend above and transcend the reality of the condition of my current circumstances to live victoriously. Power from God enables me to be a light to inspire and influence others to come out of the darkness, to serve and support those who are in need of help. An invitation to walk by faith is a tremendous opportunity and great responsibility in making use of the power of God for His glory and the good of others.

Father, bless us and help us to learn to make use of the power we receive from You to bless and benefit others as You bless and benefit us, being careful to do with Your power what You intended for us to do with it in making the world around us a better place.

OutOfTheDarkness

Click on the book to purchase your copy today! Learn insights to experience the power of God to live and thrive. Experience the elevated, expanded, exponential life encountered walking by faith.

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‘For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.’– 1 Corinthians 4:20 NIV

A recent talk with my daughter has inspired my desire to post reflections from the content of those words shared. As I consider how to organize the thoughts in a context to be read in this post, my mind’s eye envisions me hearing from God in conversation with me on the subject of power, as I communicated these same thoughts to my daughter. As it is important to me my daughter takes ownership of the concept of being ‘powerful’ in who God created and intended for her to be in walking by faith, I understand it is His desire for me to take possession of this concept too.

When you hear the word ‘powerful’ in the context of walking by faith, or in association with being a child of God, what comes to your mind? How does one exemplify what it means to be powerful? Being powerful, from the perspective of Scripture, means I have power to do what? Why is it important to see one’s self as powerful? Does it really make a difference?

In reflection to the final two questions I posed in the previous paragraph, I will say this. In conclusion to the Bible study and discussion my daughter and I had on the subject of what is written in 1 Corinthians 7:34 regarding a ‘single woman’ being devoted to the LORD in body and spirit, her take away from the lesson was the reality of being powerful. The reading, reflection, and discussion from the Scripture left her feeling empowered with a sense of purpose and significance. Ever feel that way after spending quality, quiet time alone with God and His word? That Bible study and discussion led to a later extended conversation that, together, led me to consider posting those reflections.

Understanding the ‘why?’ behind my desire to post content on the subject of ‘powerful,’ I close with a story I shared with my daughter that aptly summarizes the theme of this content. I have a former student, I’ve known since she was in 7th grade, who is now a happily married mother of 3 darling daughters. She is a professional, who works from home, and enjoys being a wife and parent. As we were concluding a recent phone conversation from catching up on how life was going, she affectionately referred to her 3 daughters, one newborn, as ‘amazons.’ We laughed discussing how she had 3 minime’s to prepare for the world when she made the affectionate declaration of how she saw her daughters that resonated with me.

My explanation to my daughter was that conversation was inspiring to me, as often my talks with this former student have consistently been throughout, because it is a reminder and reinforces how parents should be preparing and training their children to go out into to the world. Empowered to go out and live, thrive, and conquer (be victorious). To make use of their god-given power to affect positive change and make the world around them a better place. To adhere to God and the power of wisdom and self-control, to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel and walk worthy in the calling of being a child of God. I passionately translated that dialogue with my former student, in conversation with my daughter, on the subject of the upcoming release of the movie Wonder Woman. An amazonian princess, born of the gods, who comes to earth and makes use of her ‘power’ to make the world around her better.

The discussion of Scripture with my children is a most enjoyable moment for me. Engaging them in dialogue about the principles of faith and learning to encounter an intimate, personal relationship with God is inspired from my personal faith walk I seek to leave as a legacy for them to pass on to their children. Even so, I am reminded of how much God desires for me to take to heart what I seek to pass on to my children so I may live, thrive, and experience the power of Christ in a way that allows me to be powerful as I desire for my daughter, my children to be.

Father, grant us the courage, wisdom, and self-control necessary to allow the power of Christ to manifest in, through, and around us in a manner that allows us to be powerful in the way You intended and created us to be.

OutOfTheDarkness Click the book to purchase your copy today!

Read to gain insights on experiencing the elevated, expanded, exponential lifestyle encountered walking by faith. Grow in understanding God’s plan, purpose, fulfillment, power, and glory revealed in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

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‘Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”’ – Exodus 33:18 NIV

What would it take to go in a way that is unfamiliar to you? What would be required to help you summon the courage to take a path that is filled with uncertainty and instability? What source of inspiration would help galvanize sufficient resolve within you to step out into dark circumstances believing light will manifest?

This is what is at the heart of the dialogue between God and Moses in the book of Exodus in chapter 33. In your faith walk, have you ever felt compelled to be direct with God about being assured He is present with you and His presence with you will result in what He promised? Ever felt within yourself the determination to be distinguished as one who lives for God? Has the thought ever entered your mind, or your dialogue with God in prayer declared, ‘Unless it’s of God, I don’t want it?’ All of this is involved in this intimate conversation recorded for us to participate in reading that occurred between Moses and God.

If you can identify with any of the inquiries proposed in this post, then rejoice in knowing you are in good company. During his sojourn with God in walking by faith to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, Moses was willing to disclose from his soul what was most important to him in experiencing the fulfillment, reward, and outcome of what compelled him to follow God versus going his own way. In his final public speech, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, ‘It doesn’t matter what happens now. I just want to do God’s will.’ In the gospel of John, chapter 4, Jesus stated, ‘My food is to the do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’

At the core of these two statements by Jesus and Dr. King, I hear the sound of passion. The same passion I hear when I carefully read and inspect the intimate conversation had between Moses and God. All 3, Moses, Dr. King, and Jesus, had a resolve that what walking by faith would allow them to encounter was of greater value, significance, and importance to the fulfillment they desired to see manifest in their life than anything else. They were driven by a passion greater than themselves to fulfill a purpose beyond their capacity to accomplish on their own. The journey towards the extraordinary, impossible, and the miraculous requires us to be fueled by a passion and filled with a purpose greater than our capacity to initiate in our strength.

My previous 5 posts involving the lives of Joshua, Gideon, the 3 Hebrew Boys, the sick woman, and Peter all share a distinguishable commonality. Each were in a context of improbability that, by outward appearances, would not have resulted in encountering something extraordinary, rewarding, or fulfilling. To move towards, experience, and encounter something greater, better, new, they each had to summon courage and demonstrate a resolve that did not waver in unbelief, but was established in confidence that God will do it.

What is God challenging you to be courageous in walking by faith to act, believing He will do it and show you His glory?

Father, grant us the courage, resolve, and passion required to continue our journey of walking by faith believing You will do what You promise to move us towards the fulfillment of experiencing something greater, better, new with You.

OutOfTheDarknessClick on the book to purchase your copy today!

Read to gain insights on how to experience the elevated, expanded, exponential lifestyle encountered walking by faith. Grow in understanding of God’s plan, purpose, fulfillment, power, and glory revealed in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

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And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.’ – Mark 5:25-26 NIV

To truly appreciate the story of the ‘sick woman’ immortalized in the Gospel of Mark and Luke, I invite you to take a closer look at her circumstances and her response to them that aptly describes the meaning of ‘walking by faith.’ I pray this will inspire you to keep going towards your breakthrough, blessing, and better place.

First, the reality of her current condition of suffering with her ailment for 12 years. Being ‘subject to bleeding.’ Some of us can identify with being subject to a condition that may have lasted longer, or maybe not as long, but consider the mental and emotional duress being subjected to anything undesirable for an extended period of time. Second, consider the feelings of despair and exhaustion, including feeling disillusioned, when you seek professional help, spending all you have in financial resource to invest in your recovery, well-being, and health, and the condition you were subjected to worsens instead of getting better. So now the emotion associated with the 12 year condition you are subjected to is complicated by the mental and emotional anguish of the conditioning worsening, you have no more access to resource to aid you in recovery, so your hope in resolving your circumstances dim and chances of healing are grim. Is there even a word to describe how this would feel? The probability of being in a better place is being overshadowed with the inevitability that things will never change, get better, or hope for improvement is waning.

Somewhere in the midst of this great darkness, the ‘sick woman’ has hope. I believe this, because the moment she hears that Jesus is within proximity to her, she moves with urgency towards her breakthrough. Though eternally, everything about her circumstances spoke of death, internally she was driven by the hope that ‘life’ was still within her reach. She refused to ‘accept’ that the current state of her life was all that she would know. She refused to believe that what she was subjected to would be all that she could ever know ‘life’ to be. She was driven by hope and determined to reach out for and possess the possibilities of what her faith in God and the power of Jesus promised.

This is important and significant to understand, because it’s not just that she got up, went to Jesus, saw Him and reached out for her miraculous recovery. In the Gospel of Luke, you have to read carefully, or you will miss the significance of the description of her journey to Jesus that led to her healing. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.’ – Luke 8:42b-43 NIV The hope that sustained the ‘sick woman’ in being subjected to her condition for years empowered her to navigate her way through a crowd that almost crushed Jesus. How many times have we allowed a ‘crowd’ to deter, or discourage us from going to the store, to an event, to church? How many times has a ‘crowd’ of thoughts, or emotions dissuaded, or discouraged us from acting on faith? There was an urgency, hunger, and passion for what she desired that would not allow any obstacle to prevent her from her destination and destiny in encountering the extraordinary power of Jesus working in her life.

Father, bless us and help us to live with the hope, hunger, passion, and determination as the ‘sick woman,’ fueled by confidence in You and the courage to act to take possession of the extraordinary fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

OutOfTheDarkness Click on the book to purchase your copy today!

Read to receive insights on how to experience the elevated, expanded, exponential lifestyle encountered walking by faith. Learn more about God’s plan, purpose, fulfillment, power, & glory revealed in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.