Monthly Archives: October 2017

UNDERSTANDING GOD–Our Power Source–Part III

light-bulb-376922_1920

GOD HAS CHOSEN TO WORK THROUGH US

We learned God has three super powers: omniscience (wisdom), omnipotence (might), and omnipresence (ever-present). So it’s pretty obvious that with these three superpowers, He could do anything He wanted to do at any time. But here’s an interesting fact: God has chosen to work through you and me. Now I’m not implying He is not present and working in this world, but when it comes to building the kingdom of God, He’s given us the keys. You’ll recall in Matthew 16:19 Jesus gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven because of Peter’s statement that He believed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Likewise, as fellow believers, we have been given kingdom work to do. Fortunately, He also intended for us to have His power to accomplish the work before us.

WE ARE EACH UNIQUE

It is a great encouragement that God’s plan (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 37:3-7) is to give us an abundant and radiant life and His powers are available to accomplish His will. But the life He plans for me will no doubt be completely different from the one He has chosen for you. He will reveal different aspects and attributes of His character, wisdom, and power to each of us in different settings and through unique circumstances. For example, Jesus not only taught the disciples as a group, but also taught each individually, providing unique experiences and interactions with Him based on what He felt they needed and the plan He had to use them for Kingdom purposes.

OUR PURPOSE IS TO REFLECT HIS RADIANCE

He will likewise deal with each of us. It is the reflection of what He uniquely shines into each of our lives that we in turn reflect to the world. Thus each and every one of us is a refreshing and vibrant reflection of Him. We are not the Light but have been commanded to reflect His light to the world, so others might see Him (John 1). Like the moon, we have no light of our own. Any light we have will come from Him: He is our source of light, our power.

Considering this reflecting privilege reminds me of a stained glass window with so many colors and various shaped pieces. If you sit beside me in a sanctuary at night, it would be hard to discern what the twelve stained glass windows portray. They appear dark and grey. Yet when the sunlight illuminates the various sized and brightly colored pieces of glass, the pictures of Christ take your breath away.

My piece may be dark blue and oddly shaped. Yours might be green and a perfect oval. He may use me to reveal His power and you to reveal His mercy or love. We are each a unique piece and may be parts of different pictures of His attributes and perfections, but our purpose is the same: to let others see Him through us. As you search for truth, His Spirit will reveal wisdom and provide power for your very personal story and journey. Then, as each of our lives reflects His Light to the world, together we provide a beautiful and complete picture so the world can see Him in ALL His beauty and majesty. May our reflections of Him take their breath away, as the sun streaming through the stained glass windows do for me each time I see them. Oh, that the world may stand in awe of our glorious Savior.

GOD’S POWERS MUST WORK TOGETHER

As beautiful as it would be to paint a complete picture of who God is, there is no way we can tackle the will, qualities, perfections, and the powers of God in this study. So we are going to focus our attention on His three super powers. At a minimum it should take at least three studies to tackle these very big subjects, but it is impossible to understand the powers of God as separate and distinct from one another. They work in tandem; they are inseparable. So, yes, we are going to tackle all three of them and see how and why they work together to reveal and execute His plan to light and power our lives.

As we begin our study, let’s first agree with Packer that God has three distinct powers: His omniscience (His wisdom), His omnipotence (His might), and His omnipresence (His presence). We will focus our study on these three distinct elements of His power.

Let’s first try to imagine His powers separate from one another. Suppose you need God’s help today and call upon Him. He shows up because He’s omnipresent, but He left His wisdom and might back in heaven. He could empathize with and comfort you, but He wouldn’t know what to do to help you. And, He would not be able to access His power to fix your problem (Romans 8:28). I don’t know about you, but I can call on friends for empathy. But when I call on God, I want Him to show up with His wisdom and might. I need Him to do what I cannot do.

Likewise, if He knew all about your problem and knew the solution, but wasn’t around to do anything about it, and didn’t have any power to do what He knew was best, what good would omniscience be?

And can you imagine Him having power to intervene in your life, but He hadn’t been around to see personally what was happening and how your struggle was affecting you? Worst of all, He might do something, but without wisdom would it be the right thing for Him to do? Would His actions actually be fixing things or making them worse?

We need to dwell in God’s wisdom, His might, and His presence if we are going to effectively experience His power(s) at work in our lives.

Now I must admit there have been times I wanted God to show up with His might and use my wisdom, because, like the disciples in the storm, I had a preconceived notion of the right course of action and a vision of how things should turn out. But praise God, He is patient and kind. He has taught me His ways are not my ways; they are ever so much better (Isaiah 55:8-9). When He works, His work is a complete work (Phil. 1:6). And it will never cease to amaze me that He has chosen to work through you and me (I Cor. 1:27). But get ready: when you unleash all that He is and all of His powers to work in your life, you should probably buckle your seatbelt.

GOD USES THE MEEK TO ASTOUND THE WISE

We recently saw the movie Risen. As I watched the disciples, their humanity struck me like never before. There in fine robes were the members of the Sanhedrin. And, the Roman soldiers rode through the dusty streets on magnificent horses, resplendent in their armor, with mighty swords by their sides–the perfect picture of might. But when Jesus chose His twelve, He looked past those who looked the part of wisdom and power. Instead, He chose some very common-looking, drably dressed, cowering, confused, and afraid men to tell His story to the world through all the ensuing generations. They were ordinary men by anyone’s standards. And for most of their journey with Christ, they had not a clue what God wanted to do through them. Yet, when His Spirit fell upon them, they were empowered and became unstoppable. The light He shone through them has transformed the world.

GOD’S POWERS FUEL OUR GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE

This encourages me because He apparently didn’t give up on the disciples. He kept working with them until they got it. Then He used them to set the world on fire for Him. What has God chosen to do through you by the presence of His Spirit, through His wisdom and might? Underline and highlight this question; write it on the first page of your notebook. Hold onto and ponder this question. Ask God to reveal the answer to you before you finish this study with me. We are not going to focus on finding our God-given purpose because Rick Warren has done a magnificent job of this in his book “The Purpose Driven Life.” I highly recommend you read or reread it as we need to be ever mindful of His plan and purpose for our life as we seek to understand His power(s) available to us to fulfill our God-given purpose.

The more we learn about how He works, the more confidence we will have in Him and what He is doing in and through us. So let’s take an in-depth look at His wisdom, His might, and His presence. Let’s try to understand how God wants to use all that He is, through you and me, to impact the Kingdom for eternity.

I’ve organized the study into three sections for obvious reasons: His omniscience (wisdom), His omnipotence (might) and His omnipresence (presence). Since they work together it will be hard to separate them, so don’t assume I can’t stick to an outline if they seem to be intertwined at times. Be assured we will learn something unique and new about each of these attributes of God’s power. We will seek the key to activating each of the powers of God in our lives.

Join me again next week as we delve into His wisdom.

Understanding God–Our Power Source: Part II

light-bulb-376922_1920I wrote Part I over a year ago fully expecting to write Part II the next week. . .then life happened. Let’s just say the enemy doesn’t want me to share with you who God really is because if we all learn how to tap into His power, it’s going to unleash us on this old world to make a difference for eternity’s sake. So I apologize. I was sidelined, but not cast down. Let’s keep digging in.

If we want to experience His power, we first have to understand it. For example, you can have the prettiest lamp and the best bulb around but if you don’t screw the bulb in and actually plug in the lamp, they won’t work. Now I’m not suggesting you have to know everything about electricity to make it work; you’ll never know everything about God either. But we can understand Him enough to have the confidence we need, and an understanding of how to plug into His power.

So let’s tackle a little theology. Don’t fret–I know that sounds lofty, but I’m a common, ordinary housewife so we aren’t going to lose anyone here. Theology is just a fancy name for the study of God. We can handle a little of that together.

In his book, “Knowing God,” J. I. Packer describes the attributes of God, dividing them into three subsets:

  • QUALITIES (the things that mark the difference between the Creator and His creation): His self-existence, His infinity, His eternity, and His unchangeableness.
  • PERFECTIONS (aspects of His moral character manifested in both His words and deeds): His holiness, His love and mercy,His truthfulness and faithfulness, His patience and justice, His goodness and grace. You and I may have some of these attributes present in our life but He has them to perfection.
  • POWERS: His omniscience (wisdom), His omnipresence (presence–God with us), and His omnipotence (His might). Let’s call these God’s super powers.

To this list I’m going to add another important aspect of who God is:

  •  WILL:  He uses all of the first three attributes to accomplish His will.

So let’s look at this in chart form (visuals always help me and we want to see God).

**Note that God’s will, qualities, and perfections influence the way He uses His powers. Those three powers are intertwined for a reason: they can’t exist apart from one another. Think about it: if God showed up today to help you with a problem but only brought his wisdom (no power), what good would that be? He might empathize with you but He wouldn’t be able to do anything about your situation. Likewise if He showed up with His power but forgot to bring His wisdom, He might do something but would it be the right thing? And face it, if He doesn’t show up, there’s just no way His power and wisdom are hanging out with you today. His super powers come as a package deal.

Graphic Bordered

So many times we are satisfied to stand in awe of who He is and what He has created or to simply dwell in His presence–we just choose to hang out on one of those circles. None of those things are wrong, but it’s not what we were created to do. We were created for a kingdom purpose; He has work for us to do. It is our goal to live and walk in the center of His will–which means we must be in the very center of His three powers. Yes, God intends for us to have His powers available to us for each and every step we take.

Think of the lame man Peter and John told to rise, take up his bed and walk. He’d never used those leg muscles once in his life, so no doubt he didn’t have the strength or ability in his legs and feet to walk. . .even babies need time to learn to balance and walk. But the Word tells us he leapt to His feet–God’s healing includes giving us the strength we need even though we’ve been sidelined for a long time. It was time for this young man to accomplish his purpose. Likewise, when God tells you it’s time to rise up and walk in His power, you’ll have everything you need to accomplish the task you’ve been assigned.

When God chooses to use His power(s), His will, qualities, and perfections both advise and constrain any action. As His is an eternal nature, He is interested in His long-term goal: He is not willing any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). Christ demonstrated this when He chose to endure the cross for you and me for the glory that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:12). Even though He was mocked, scoffed, and crucified, He didn’t use His power to call a legion of angels to rescue Him nor did He deny the Father for selfish gain when tempted in the desert. His actions were determined by His eternalness, unchanging will, love, mercy, grace, and omniscience. God cannot separate His powers from who He is; He embodies His qualities and perfections in every action. Furthermore, God uses all of His qualities, perfections, and powers to accomplish His will. This is why it is so important we pray within His will, for He alone is sovereign, just, and the embodiment of love. Our plans are finite and flawed; His actions are pure and perfect.

As I look at this chart I realize God has all the power He needs to accomplish His will. It’s then I fall on my knees because He has chosen to do His work through me. . .and you. When He told Peter He was giving Him the keys to the kingdom He was entrusting the work that needed to be done to Peter (and likewise to us who believe He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God), to do His work. What an awesome and yet terrifying thought. Me?He trusts me/you? His answer is yes; He works through you and me. See why it is an imperative that we understand and tap into His power(s)?

Come back–we’ll tackle His each of His three super powers so we know what they are, how they work, and how to plug into them.