Almighty God

The Shepherd’s Staff – October 11, 2013

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ShepStaff     Over the years of our lives in Christ, cycles tend to emerge as we go up and down in the level of our willingness to trust the Lord.  The difficulty of maintaining a constant faith is linked directly to our understanding and affirmation of the very nature of God.

Although we believe what the Bible says about Him, on any given day we may find that certain aspects of His character seem to us to be distant from our experience.  While we wholeheartedly agree that Jesus Christ healed the blind man and raised Lazarus from death, we cannot grasp that power as operable in our lives to heal our hearts and meet our needs.

     Therein lies a problem that must be overcome if we hope to establish constancy in our trust in Christ.  The transfer from head to heart results in increased confidence in God’s faithfulness regardless of the visible circumstances challenging us.

Instead of looking for reasons which could encourage us to greater boldness of belief, more often we look for excuses to relieve the Lord of His promised faithfulness to all of His people in every generation.  We are likely to read of miracles in Scripture and wonder why God’s power was uniquely released in that situation.  But, why should we not presume to think He will work in our day in the same way? Is He not the same yesterday, today, and forever?

Granted, the Lord does not always do things the same way because He is creative and a God of wondrous variation and abundance!  Nonetheless, He is not different in character and will still bring His might to bear in our circumstances in order to accomplish His will and glorify His name.

Paul exhorted the Ephesians to “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (6:10).  When we face the difficult choices and know that the way we are called to follow will prove to be filled with obstacles, we know that this promise of strength can be real for us.

As long as He is the Lord, as long as He makes “the strength of His might” available to His children, we can truly be strong and do everything He sets before us.  Whenever we confront the impossible, we can take heart and grow in excitement for in just such times will the glory of Christ become most evident. olordmystrength

The greater the obstacles confronting the body of Christ, the greater the opportunity for us to be encouraged that we will see the powerful hand of the Lord.  Long periods of waiting sometimes precede the intervention of the Almighty God on our behalf in order that His powerful solution cannot be confused with man’s feeble efforts.

     William Gurnall, the great Puritan pastor and author, said, “He lays the scene of his providence, so that when he hath done it may be said, Almighty power was here…yea, he suffers a contrary power many times to arise, in that very juncture of time, when he intends mercy to his people, that he may rear up the more magnificent pillar of remembrance to his own power.” 

So when we see the way blocked, we are compelled to rely on the Almighty power of the strength of His might.  All may look its darkest and then out pours the power of His might to the glory of His name.

Can you think of how often He has done just this in His word, in this church, in your life and mine?  Therefore, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”  Great days of praise are ahead!

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God promises power to His people.

Yet with all the power of God available to those who belong to Him, why do we choose so often to live as if we were impotent people with no recourse but just to muddle through life?  God is mighty and no power in heaven or on earth can stand against His strength.  But the power of sin has overcome us for so long and the power of God escaped us so long that we find it almost inconceivable that His power can really be ours in full measure.

When Paul wrote about the gospel message, he often spoke of the demonstration of its power, not just the persuasiveness of its truth.

“And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

Why would we ever choose to live as if the power of God has not become ours through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit?  If the power of God prevails over everything, then you and I are not powerless

…in the face of sin and temptation
…to forgive others
…to love unconditionally
…to walk in holiness
…to worship fervently
…to rejoice with inexpressible joy.

No, through Christ we are no longer powerless, so let’s no longer live that way!  Because of the power of God at work in you, you no longer have to settle for half-way faith, passionless worship, gospel-abusing behavior, or unmoved hearts in the face of unbelieving people all around you.

Paul is not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.  Jesus told His disciples after the resurrection and right before He ascended to heaven that they must remain where they were until they had received Holy Spirit, resurrection, God-sent power from on high.  We who know Him can know and walk in the fullness of that power.  He has canceled the power of sin and broken the chains of darkness…so now let’s live like we are empowered people on mission for the glory of Almighty God and His great name!