God’s Power


Zechariah 8-14 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He is the God who does the impossible

One of the highlights of my life to date was a trip I took several years ago to visit the Holy Land.  It was a thrill to look out across the Sea of Galilee and imagine Jesus viewing the same scene so many years ago, to walk the streets of Jerusalem where He walked and visit the Garden of Gethsemane stained by His tears.  At the Wailing Wall, I felt as though I heard the prayers of God’s people through the ages, prayers for peace and safety.  Will it come? 

@Zechariah 8
Returning to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon, the Israelites saw utter devastation to their beautiful city and Temple.  The controlling forces in Jerusalem had no desire to see Jerusalem rebuilt by the Jews, but God’s people rebuilt their Temple by the Spirit of the Lord (4:6).  Now their prophet gave a declaration from the lord, “I am returning to Mount Zion, and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be called the Holy Mountain.’  This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: ‘Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares.  And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play.’” (3-5)

These words were difficult to accept because of the dismal reputation that Israel had in the eyes of its neighbors.  Zechariah was a great Messianic and end-times prophet and the words that he shared from God will come true.  Throughout the ages, God enabled the Jews time and again to return to their Jerusalem, but because of their rejection of Him as in the day of Zechariah, they had been scattered throughout the world.

In 1948, Israel was once again before the eyes of the world when they were recognized as a nation, and just as in the past, their neighbors did not accept them.  Zechariah continued the message that has carried Israel through these many years of turmoil, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (6)  Nothing speaks more clearly of God performing the impossible for Israel than does the six day war of June, 1967, where Israel fought against countries much larger and better equipped, yet came out the victors.

One day the prophecy of Zechariah will come to pass and the Lord will return to Mount Zion and live in Jerusalem.  Until that day, those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior have been grafted in to the vine as His chosen people and can claim His promises to Israel as well.  Circumstances that seem impossible to us now – our healing, a job, our unsaved loved ones, or whatever it is – must respond to the question from the Lord, “Is it impossible for me?”   Israel is our example of how the hand of God moves in the impossible areas of our lives.  “With God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27) 

Moving Forward: Believing today for the impossible things in my life to be touched by the God of possibility.

Tomorrow @ Acts 17-18

Zechariah 1-7 (NLT) 

Discover His heart:  He provides all the power we need to accomplish His will

Traveling in Europe presents an interesting set of challenges for someone from the United States.  Besides the language barrier from country to country, there is the whole electrical outlet mismatch.  I’m able to do without a lot of conveniences, but please don’t ask me to forgo my blower dryer and flat iron – a girl has to do what she can to look her best.  The bottom line is that U.S. appliances have flat prongs conducive to 110 current, and European outlets have round holes for 240 current, a problem similar to a square peg in a round hole.

Now I could try to force my plug into those round holes, I could stand on my head and whistle Dixie and or I could even recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but it’s just not going to fit.  However, with some outside help from a transformer when necessary and a little object called an adapter, I am able to plug right into that current that is much more powerful than I am, and voilà! I have power! 

@ Zechariah 4
After the Israelites returned home to Jerusalem from Babylon, Zerubbabel was put in charge of rebuilding the revered Temple.  The hindrances and opposition were so great that the building was put on hold for ten years because of discouragement and conflict.  God sent along two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, to encourage Zerubbabel and the Israelites to finish the project in order to receive the blessing of the Lord.

The refugees had done everything in their power to move past the opposition, but they were unsuccessful.  They needed to plug into a higher source of power to get the job done, the power of the Holy Spirit.  “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.  Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him!  And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’?” (6-7)

The Spirit of God is neither enhanced by our strength nor hindered by our weakness, but we do need to plug into the flow of the Spirit to receive His power.  Zechariah’s vision of the lamp and two olive trees depicts an unlimited reservoir of the Holy Spirit that we can plug into for a constant source of power in our lives to do whatever He has called us to do.

We don’t need to rely on our own force and strength that come and go and are often short-circuited when we are weary, but through the Holy Spirit we can plug into an unlimited reservoir of His power that never fails and never flips a breaker.

I join with Paul in praise to the One who provides all the power to us that we will ever need and deserves all the praise for it, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Moving Forward: By His grace, I’m plugged in and flowing in the Spirit today.  With His power and strength, I can do all things! (Philippians 4:13) 

Tomorrow @ Acts 15-16

Acts 1-2 (NLT link)

Discover His heart: He has promised us a gift, and He keeps His promises! 

The check is in the mail, the package is on its way or any similar promise will send us running to the mailbox each day until it arrives.  I was working on a project one time and needed additional resources so I contacted an individual with the information and heard the promise, “It’s in the mail.”  After several days, I realized that it wasn’t.  Quite upset by this, random thoughts flooded my mind about the possible hazards in starting one’s car or 1000 camels, but then who hasn’t failed at one time or another to keep a promise?  Well, the answer to that would be God – He always keeps His promises!

@Acts 1 – It’s in the mail!
“Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.  John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (4)  Jesus reminded the disciples before He left for Heaven that the promised gift would soon arrive.  I think Luke, the writer of Acts, was the perfect believer to give to us the historical account of Pentecost and the early church.  As a doctor, his writing may not have been very legible to those who had to transcribe his words, but he sure did manage to present a methodical and descriptive accounting of the early church. He let readers know from the start that this baptism in the Holy Spirit was not some fluke.  It was promised by God, and it was expected!

Jesus went on to explain what this Holy Spirit baptism was all about, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”(8) Power!  The disciples would be receiving power, taken from the Greek word dunamis where we get our word dynamite.  I, for one, am hesitant to receive a gift of dynamite, but if it’s coming from the Holy Ghost, bring it on!  The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an explosive power, empowering us to be an unstoppable force, obliterating darkness around the world and spreading the light of the Gospel.  Have we used our dynamite power today? 

@Acts 2 – Promise Delivered!
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (1-4)  God’s promised gift was delivered!  The power of the Holy Spirit was the gift and speaking in other tongues was the evidence that the gift had been delivered, the Delivery Confirmation if you will.

The Holy Spirit plays so many roles in our life – convicter, comforter, counselor and teacher – just to name a few, but in Acts 2, He is our baptizer.  Has your Gift been delivered…with your Delivery Confirmation?

Moving Forward: I’m so thankful to have received God’s promised gift long ago, but I’m reminded that it’s not a gift to be placed on a shelf.  It’s a powerful gift to be used every day in sharing His Gospel. 

Tomorrow @ Hebrews 5-7

Psalms 114-116 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He alone deserves our praise and worship

I have never been a big American Idol fan. There I’ve said it! I realize I’ve opened myself up to much ridicule and rejection; but that’s alright, I can take it.  From the limited Idol I’ve watched, I’ve mostly heard very bad singing and mindless pontificating from semi-qualified judges at best.  Due to its vast popularity, I’m assuming very few share my viewpoint.

Moving past entertainment, I don’t really understand the whole idol thing in general.  The worship of icons, statues or any tangible thing seems so limiting.  Would something I could hold in my hand or control in any way really deserve my worship?  I don’t think so.  The writer of Psalm 115 didn’t get it either. 

@Psalm 115
“Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands.  They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell. They have hands but cannot feel, and feet but cannot walk, and throats but cannot make a sound. And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.” (4-8)

The one thing these idols can do, and do very well I might add, is collect dust.  But idols come in many different shapes, from long sought-after objects to individuals who require much of our attention.  The reason we’re drawn to the tangible to give our respect and devotion is due to our humanity, our desire to touch and to hold.  But any person, place or thing that we can hold or manipulate in any way disqualifies itself of receiving our worship and devotion.

Although these counterfeits scream for our attention and affection, the One who deserves our worship cannot fit in a box, on a shelf, in a room or…anywhere.  “How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!  All who delight in Him should ponder themEverything He does reveals His glory and majesty.  His righteousness never fails.” (111:2-3)  “He hears my voice…He bends down to listen…The Lord protects…He has saved me from death…The Lord cares deeply…” (116:1-5) “Who can be compared with the Lord our God, who is enthroned on high?” (113:5)  He hears, He protects, He saves, He cares – just to mention a few of the limitless attributes of our living God.

“Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!  He is to be feared above all gods.  The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens!…Give to the Lord the glory He deserves!…Worship the Lord in all His Holy splendor.” (Psalm 96:4-9) Worship the Lord, worship the Lord alone! 

Moving Forward: Let idols and counterfeits entice all they want, I will give my devotion today to the only One who is worthy, the true and living God. 

Tomorrow @ Proverbs 26-27

Proverbs 17-18 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He is our place of safety in the time of trouble

@ Proverbs 18
Most everyone has faced at least one moment in life on the verge of an accident, fall or catastrophe.  If not, I trust your insurance premium is low because you deserve it!  I faced one of those moments several years ago while driving my little black Volkswagen bug, the first model.  This is important to note in that it really wasn’t much bigger than I was.  As I was making a left turn from a dead stop, a full-size van ran the stoplight, crossed in front of me and the front of my little car collided with the rear end of the big van.  Save yourself the headache of trying to figure out how it all happened and just trust me that it did. I just hate the sound of crunching metal, especially when it’s mine.

Although time seemed to hang in space as my life flashed before me, it all happened in just a split second.  There wasn’t time to brace myself, phone a friend or recite the 23rd Psalm.  The only thing I had time to do was to say Jesus. And He answered.  It was at the moment when I said His name that the left rear end of that van broke through my windshield and ended up where my head should have been from the impact.  Instead of flying forward, I was glued to my seat as if a supernatural airbag had filled the space and I couldn’t move.

Never was the scripture that I had memorized as a five year old and quoted over and over more precious and more real to me than at that moment, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” (10, NKJV)  At the time of crisis, I ran to the only name that could help me, to Someone who knew me, and it was as if He lifted me high above the scene, safe and secure.  Proverbs goes on to say, “The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety.” (11)  How foolish they are!  At the moment of impact, the biggest bank account on the planet could not have done for me what the name of Jesus accomplished in a split second.

Before the police arrived, I managed to get out of my totaled bug and went in a nearby home to call my husband.  When I returned to my car, I heard a young policeman ask a bystander as he walked up to the car, “Well, have you seen any movement in the car?  Anyone alive?”  To his amazement, I ran over to him yelling, “Here I am, here I am.”  Not a scratch on me.  What a miracle!  To Him be all praise and glory.

In the storms of life, when the enemy’s agenda is in full force, run to the strong tower of safety.  David had been there time and time again and understood God’s place of safety when he wrote, “Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.” (Psalm 61:3)  I am living proof, dear friends, that He’s as close as the mention of His name. 

Moving Forward: No matter what I face today, whether a trial or simply a desire to be near Him, He’s as close as the mention of His name…Jesus!

Tomorrow @ Daniel 7-12

Colossians 1-2(NLT link) 

Discover His heart: The Creator of all things hears and answers our prayers

There’s just something really good that happens inside of me when family and friends tell me they are praying for me – if I’m discouraged, hope builds within me; if I’m sick, faith starts to mount and if I’m fearful, peace floods my soul.  We all need prayer, and we’ll take any and all that are offered to God on our behalf.

On the flip side, I love to pray for the needs of others with hopeful anticipation of answered prayer, watching our creative God bring solutions.  I’ve learned that promising someone to pray for a need can be easily sabotaged by a busy life and those mental notes to pray for someone cannot be found as effortlessly as they once were.  Keeping a prayer journal is helpful and simply asking God to bring to our remembrance those needs we’ve committed to also brings results.

Then there is the specific prayer request that comes my way now and then that challenges me to find the will of God in how I really should be praying about that need.  I know, I know.  God is bigger than all this.  He remembers all the needs that I forget, and He, of course, knows how to answer every need; but like most believers, I take prayer seriously because I want my prayers to be effective. 

@ Colossians 1
Paul certainly understood the importance and impact of prayer in the life of a believer and focused on it in all of his letters. He was writing to the Colossians, a group of believers he had never met, to encourage them and to help them stand against an onslaught of heresy that he had heard was mounting in the church.  In verses 9-12, Paul shared a great example for us of how to pray for others, whether we remember the exact need or not.  I don’t know a missionary, leader, friend or anyone on the planet who would not appreciate this prayer.

When we pray for others, ask that God will help them:
1)  Know His plan for their lives (9)
2)  Grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding (9)
3)  Understand how to honor and please the Lord (10)
4)  Produce every kind of good fruit (10)
5)  Grow in the knowledge of who He is (10)
6)  Have endurance and patience through His glorious power (11)
7)  Be filled with joy and thanksgiving (11-12)

When we pray to God, we pray in Jesus’ name, and Paul gave one of the most powerful endorsements of Him in verses 15-20 that is found anywhere. “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation…He holds all creation together…Christ is the head…Christ is the beginning…through Him God reconciled everything to Himself.”  Almost impossible to believe, yet true – the Lord hears and answers my prayers! 

Moving Forward: With humility and awe that He hears my requests, I will pray for those dear ones in need of His touch today. 

Tomorrow @ Leviticus 13-15

1 Kings 14-18 (NLT link)

Discover His heart: He wants us to do what He wants us to do

My 7 year-old granddaughter talks a mile a minute and has me wrapped pretty tightly around her little finger. This adorable little girl is intelligent beyond measure and carries enough charm to bring the world to her feet – all facts that are irrelevant to the point I am making but needing to be shared.  I’m sure you understand.

Our reading today reminded me of something she said when she was just two years old.  If you remember, two is the year of the terrible when our precious, cooing little bundle of joy discovers its own will.  When asked to do something by her mother, our normally compliant little girl responded, “I don’t want to do that!  I want to do what I want to do.”  I had to turn my head away to hide my smile because her mother was doing a little reaping at the moment. But just as the commitment to training helped transform our daughter through her terrible twos into the beautiful Godly woman she is today, her instructions and disciplines are doing the same for her daughter.

Today’s reading is about a nation that did not want to do what God wanted them to do and wanted to do what they wanted to do.  God sent someone along who helped them understand who really was in charge so they would be without excuse when discipline for this attitude came to them.

The nation of Israel was now a divided Kingdom – the ten tribes of the northern Kingdom, ruled by rebel leader Jeroboam and the two tribes of the southern Kingdom, Judah, ruled by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.  Neither of the kings served God and both led the people in worship of other gods.  What a sad state of affairs.

Idolatry is a self-serving form of religion that has the mentality, “If it feels good, do it!” The Israelites chose to leave the restrictions of the law and chose to worship gods that offered no restraint on their physical, social and personal passions.  They wanted freedom to do as they pleased without fear of punishment, an attitude that sounds very…current.

After years of idol worship, Israel was now led by wicked King Ahab.  Like a good parent, God sent the hand of discipline through the prophet Elijah who declared to Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!” (17:1)

1Kings 18
“So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?” (17) asked Ahab when Elijah returned for a visit after his prophecy of no rain.  Elijah replied, “I have made no trouble for Israel…You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the Lord and have worshiped the images of Baal instead.” (18) The showdown on Mount Carmel proved that Baal and Asherah were no match for the true and living God, and Ahab’s 850 pagan prophets were useless against Him.  Apparently Ahab did not know Who he was dealing with, but Elijah knew His God, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel…Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones and the dust.  It even licked up all the water in the trench!” (36,38) I love it when God shows up BIG to defeat the false gods of this world.

These false gods promise freedom from restraint and appeal to our fleshly passions to do what we want to do, but they are no match for the fire of God.  The only requirement is that we submit to His discipline and call on His fire to come down and burn us up completely with the Fire of Holiness.  He will show up BIG in our lives and bless us with His grace and wisdom to do what He wants us to do.  We will be the men and women of God that He desires us to be! 

Moving Forward: My heart cries, “Burn me up, Lord, with your Holiness that I may stand in your Holy place. 

Tomorrow @ Psalms 72-74

Next Page »