Tag Archives: God’s Power

God’s Power In Me (Joshua 1-4)

Rahab’s testimony spoke to me today. She was a prostitute living in Jericho. She most likely had never met a Jewish person before. But when Joshua’s two spies came to her house, she welcomed them based on Israel’s reputation. Hear what she said to them:

I know that the Lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts sank and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth below. (2:8-11)

Rahab went on to save the lives of the two spies, and later we’ll find out her faith and obedience saved her own. But what spoke to me today is what she said about God.

She told the spies that she and everyone around her trembled in fear because of the great things God had done for Israel. They had heard about Israel’s great victories, the crossing of the Red Sea. Israel’s reputation as the children of God made them realize how weak and helpless they were against Him.

In fact, in the case of Rahab, she put her faith in the God of Israel in response to the power she heard about in the lives of the Jews. Which got me to thinking.

Is God’s power seen in me? Is God recognizable in my life to people who are lost without Him? I don’t want people to see me and think what a religious, good person I am. I want people to see what a great God I serve.

The world is experiencing something in this virus outbreak that I don’t think has ever brought us together before on common ground in such a way. It’s not just the US who are practicing social distancing. Countries all around the world share the same restrictions, face the same challenges, and are searching for that last roll of toilet paper. For the first time in my lifetime, I feel we are one in something.

And that puts a responsibility on the shoulders of we who know the Lord. And believe me, people all over the world are watching how Christians handle this pandemic. Let me ask you, what are your family members, neighbors, friends, coworkers learning about God as they watch how you act and react to what is going on? Do they see a powerful God, the God of hope, the God who saves? Or do they see a God who can’t be trusted because you are in a panic, wringing your hands, and hoarding the TP?

Rahab came to faith in God by watching Him demonstrate His power through the people of Israel. Let’s pray that people will come to faith in God by watching Him demonstrate His power through each of us.

It’s A Miracle! (Genesis 30)

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t set Jacob straight when he thought putting strips of poplar and almond branches in the water trough would cause perfectly white mating sheep to produce striped and spotted lambs? Does it surprise you that God increased Jacob’s flock in spite of this ridiculous practice?

I remember a well-meaning Sunday School teacher saying the branches in the water frightened the sheep, and the trauma from that shock caused the offspring to be spotted and striped. Interesting.

But does the Bible actually teach folklore or hocus-pocus? Of course not!

I went to Google and found several different theories about this. But most of the articles I read agreed to some degree. Here’s what I found:

First, let me ask you this: How many of you take herbal supplements? Have you ever eaten a handful of almonds for their health benefits? I think Jacob, through God’s leading, might be the first recorded herbalist. (If you want to know more about it let me direct you to answersingenesis.org; Jacob’s Odd “Breeding Program” of Genesis 30. I found that article very interesting).

However, setting all the science aside, the best explanation of Jacob’s breeding program  is found in 31:6-12 when he describes his vision. The bottom line is…

it’s a miracle.

It was God who caused the increase. It was God who strengthened the sheep and produced striped and spotted offspring. God did that, with or without the medicinal benefits of the branches.

God has given us doctors, medicines, even herbs to aid in healing. But do not be misled, healing is a miracle. It is of God, not science, not medicine, not hocus-pocus. If God uses the science He created to bring about healing – it’s a miracle! If God heals apart from any scientific explanation – it’s a miracle!

We can spend all day trying to figure out the “why and how” of Genesis 30. I’ve spent too much time on it today, myself, when I firmly believe God just wants us to see Him in this passage. Period. God could take two perfectly white animals whose genetics would naturally produce perfectly white offspring, and create a spotted lamb in order to bless Jacob. That’s the bottom line.

It’s a miracle!

 

December 28; What Will It Take?

Revelation 6-10

What will it take for people to turn to God? John’s vision contains some frightening events like hail and fire, a blazing mountain thrown into the sea, stars falling to earth, locusts as big as horses, death and destruction all around, yet 9:20 tells us:

The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood…

The people in John’s vision had witnessed unimaginable horror, seen evidence of the mighty power of God, yet held on to their worthless beliefs, idols that cannot see or hear. They would not repent.

What did it take for you to admit your sin and your need of a Savior? Was it hardship? Loss? Devastation? Or were you drawn to God because of love, a realization that life is incomplete without Him?

If you haven’t dealt with sin in your life, if you haven’t accepted what Jesus died on the cross to give you, what will it take for you to do that? The Bible tells me God will stop at nothing to get your attention, to prove Himself to you. Don’t be like the people we read about today in John’s revelation.

What will it take?

I Kings 18-19; Where Is God?

Sometimes I can read God’s Word and almost believe it was written to describe the USA in 2017. Did the writer of I Kings watch Fox News before he wrote this?

God instructed Elijah to stand on the mountain and get ready to be amazed “… for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then, a great and mighty wind tore the mountain apart, shattering rocks. But God wasn’t in the wind.

An earthquake hit, shaking the ground beneath Elijah’s feet. God wasn’t in the earthquake, either.

A fire broke out. Was the Lord in the fire? Not even the fire.

Verse 12 tells us: “And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” When Elijah heard that still, small voice, he covered his face. That’s where Elijah met the Lord.

In the last few weeks we have been devastated by a great and mighty wind called, Harvey, another called Irma, and now Maria is knocking at the door. Just a few days ago, Mexico was hit with a powerful earthquake, destroying buildings and taking lives. California has been dealing with an uncontrolled wild fire recently. And some people will tell us God is in it, punishing the US for ungodliness.

I don’t want to debate “why” things are happening. If God wants to punish us in this way, we deserve it. But I am not going to read this Scripture, wipe my hands, and say “The end is near,” and leave it at that. I’m just not.

We can, of course, see the Almighty in the fury of a storm, in the shaking of the earth, or the heat of a fire. In fact, I hope we do. Don’t miss the fact that God is very powerful. But I think the Bible teaches us if you want to meet God, if you really want to see Him, just shut up for a minute.

Get alone and open His love letter to you. Let Him whisper how much He loves you, that He gave His life to save you. Quit telling Him what you think you need, or bombarding Him with questions, and thinking you have a right to the answers. Just be still and know that He is God. He wants you to know Him.

HE wants you to know Him.

He WANTS you to know Him.

He wants YOU to know Him.

He wants you to KNOW Him.

He wants you to know HIM.

Shhhhh. God is speaking.

October 11 – It’s Obvious To Me

Matthew 8:1-13; Luke 7

According to the Beth Moore Bible study I’ve been attending, healed lepers weren’t common back in the day. In fact, since Moses wrote the law concerning leprosy and what a person was required to do when healed, NO healings of the disease are recorded until Jesus. For thousands of years, Jews were taught what to do if they were healed of leprosy. And none of them were able to fulfill the requirements because none of them were healed.

I would think that, if Jesus had performed no other miracle, healing a leper should have been proof enough that He was the Messiah. Who else but God could heal that deadly disease with a word? It seems so obvious to me.

But there is ample proof of God yet today. And there are still many who refuse to acknowledge the proof, who still deny His existence, and who still do not bow to Him.

I don’t get it. It’s obvious to me.

August 10 – Rejected Silver

Jeremiah 4-6

Several of Team USA’s Olympic athletes have given God the glory for their successes. That’s not unusual in sports, as often you’ll see a ballplayer point to heaven after getting a hit or scoring a touchdown.

But a couple of athletes have gone a step further and said their identity isn’t in being an Olympic medal winner, but rather in Christ.  There is some meat in that testimony.

I remember watching an awards show a while back where several of the winners began their acceptance speeches with a shoutout to God. Six or seven people stood in front of millions and said something like, “I want to first thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I always pray that testimonies like these will speak to hearts and draw people to the Lord.

But that night I cringed, when one award winner began her acceptance speech holding the statue in the air and said, “First of all, I am NOT going to thank any god. I did this. Me.” And it made me sad when she received a thunderous applause for her statement.

Being anti-God has become more commonplace these days. It seems God haters are bolder, more vocal, and accepted more and more. That’s why I think it’s refreshing when people like we’re seeing in the Olympics publicly and sincerely proclaim the Lord.

I thought about that when I read Jeremiah 6:16-17. That’s an in-your-face defiance of God. I shake my head and wonder how anyone could be that blatant in their rejection of the Creator Himself. That’s a bit like Chad le Clos shadowboxing in front of Michael Phelps before their race. Like saying, I’m not afraid of you, you’re nothing to me.

But instead of taunting a swimmer, you’re taunting the Sovereign God of the Universe. That is serious business.

Jeremiah tells us those who continue to deny God are “rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them.” (6:30) Those who continue to deny God will never have the last word.

le Clos looked mighty foolish when Phelps won that race; his grandstanding meaningless in light of the superior swimmer. And that’s nothing compared to those who continue to deny God in light of His Power.

You’ve got to know who you’re dealing with here.

April 12 -It’s A Giant!

I Samuel 15-17

So often Scripture gives us examples of God’s power demonstrated through individuals. Like Moses through whom many miracles were performed. Like Gideon who took only 300 men into battle and won the war. Like what we read yesterday about Jonathan, and again today as we read about David’s victory over Goliath.

When David heard Goliath’s threats and saw the reaction of the Jewish soldiers, he didn’t get it. “Who is this Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”

I think that, in a sense, we 21st century Christians are a bit like that army David was talking to:

The media is against us. The government is against us. The laws are against us. People say mean things about us.

Scripture says that when faced with the giant, the Israelite army “fled from him and were greatly afraid.” (17:24)

It took one person – David – to recognize that God is greater than anyone. David could face Goliath with confidence, because David’s confidence wasn’t in himself.

David’s confidence was in the living God!

We are facing a giant here in 2016. Do we believe God is more powerful than our enemy? Just where have we put our confidence?

April 11 – One + God = Victory

I Samuel 13&14

Most of us have probably felt a time or two: What can one person do?

What difference does it make if I speak the Truth at work when I’m the only believer there? What can my measly little offering do when I drop my few dollars in the plate each week? Does my one vote really matter? Does my opinion count for anything? I’m just one person. How effective can I be?

Jonathon and his armor bearer were getting ready to take on the Philistine army. Just the two of them. Hear what Jonathon said: “… perhaps the Lord will work for us, for the Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few.” (14:6)

We can all probably agree that we need a revival in our churches. And it could start with

YOU!

God can use one yielded heart, one voice to do amazing things in His children. He is not restrained by numbers.

One + God = Victory

You + God = Anything He’s calling you to!

Feb 1 – Plagues and Purpose

Exodus 7-9

If God wanted the Israelites to move to Canaan, why didn’t he just kill Pharaoh and his army? Why didn’t God just turn the Israelites invisible and let them walk right past the enemy? Why bother with all the plagues? Does God like to play games?

The answer is in Exodus 9:15-17:

For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go. (I added the bold)

Yes, God used Pharaoh’s response to the plagues to fulfill His promise to Abraham, to free the Jews and send them toward the Promised Land. But, according to the verses we just read that’s not the only reason God sent those plagues.

God gave the Egyptians, including Pharaoh, multiple opportunities to bow down to Him. He demonstrated His power through every plague so the whole world would recognize He is the One True God. God, who is not willing that any should perish, put those plagues out there because of love.

I know because we read what happened after the fact, we might come to the conclusion God orchestrated the events, pulled strings to make Pharaoh reject Him. But that implies God wasn’t interested in Pharaoh’s soul, and that’s not consistent with God’s nature.

Had Pharaoh believed in Israel’s God after recognizing God’s power, we would be reading a different account. And someone would assume God pulled strings to make that happen, too.

Reading about the plagues today reminds me that God will stop at nothing to reveal Himself, to draw people to Himself. And I am also reminded that everything that happens in this life happens for the sole purpose of saving souls.

That’s the message here. It’s not in the details of the plagues. It’s in the love of God who is in the business of showing Himself to a world that needs Him.

I pray none of us will miss His purpose in the events of our own lives.

Jan 14 – Answers From Questions

Job 38-39

When I was getting my Masters Degree in School Counseling, we had to study many different counseling theories. Some I liked and used. Some I didn’t. But I learned to ask questions of the person sitting in front of me to help them find the answers they were often looking for.

In the chapters we read today, God finally speaks to Job. The very thing Job wanted to happen happened. But instead of getting answers, Job hears God ask dozens of questions. Questions like: Were you there when I laid the foundation of the earth? Have you ever in your life commanded the morning? Have the gates of hell been revealed to you? Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Who can count the clouds by wisdom…? Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars?

There must be about fifty or so such questions in these two chapters. And, of course, none of them are answerable by Job. But in the asking, God is helping Job understand some things about himself, and about God.

God laid the foundation of the earth. He can tell you the number of clouds in the sky. That’s the reality Job is learning. Our Creator is not our equal. Our Creator has rights we don’t have. Our Creator can do what He wants without your permission or approval.

I hope you read the chapters in Job today. You will come away feeling pretty small in light of who God is. As you should. But hear me when I say, if you keep reading God’s Word you will find that this great God loves you, died for you, and wants you close to Him.

Let’s keep reading! This is good stuff.