Posts Tagged ‘Power of God’


God’s Power Shows Through the Cracks

1973spiritboostersWhen I was in Bible College I thought Christians were supposed to be happy all the time. I thought we should always be filled with joy, after all, we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. My concept of true Christians was that they smile 24/7. If they cry or frown they are not living a victorious life in Christ. They should never worry or fear, for these are emotions that signal a lack of trust in Jesus Christ.

Tompkins Clan circa 1985Bible College gave way to real life, real problems, real babies (6), real sickness, real struggles. I discovered the Real Christian walk is actually very different. It is a display of power in weakness, joy amid pain, faith in the presence of doubt. I discovered that when I thought I was strong in the Lord, I was very conscious of my inabilities and inadequacies. When troubles came thundering upon me I was on the one hand confident of God’s purpose and power but on the other filled with fear and doubt. Even those moments of joy came with a realization that stress and worry were lurking behind the door. I have since learned to rejoice and even praise God for my weaknesses. God brought the power of 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 to bear on my life.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed– always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NKJV)

hunk-of-mudI now realize that Christians are just hunks of mud blessed with the indwelling of the most amazing Treasure. We are filled with God Himself. God can only reveal His EXCELLENT Power through the cracks and broken pieces of my life. When I am weak He is strong. Every day my Christian walk is a quest to discover and experience the “exceeding greatness of HIS POWER! (Eph 1:19)

It is OK to cry, to feel stressed, to worry, to get down, but only as long as it reveals less of me and more of God. God wants me to realize how powerful He is, and how weak I really am.we-are-hunks-of-mud-in-gods-hands

Prayer: Father, thank you for breaking me and showing me how weak I really am. May You reveal Your Power through my life. Keep me very aware that I am just a hunk of mud being shaped by Your masterful and loving hands.

From PathwayofBlessing


hannahHannah proclaimed “My heart rejoices in the Lord” (1 Sam 2:1) She had just taken her son Samuel to the temple. He would live there the rest of his youth. She “lent him to the Lord” as she had promised four or five years earlier. Instead of dreading this moment, she relished in it! She had even looked forward to this! For Hannah was fully the Lord’s. She knew the joy that comes to those who are fully committed to the Lord God. Everything she possessed, even her son, was God’s. As verse one declares: Her heart rejoiced in Him, her strength was exalted in Him, she rejoiced in His salvation, and as a result she could smile at her enemies.

When we are confident in God’s Power to the point of giving everything to HIm, we will have continued confidence in His Power no matter who we face! Be it enemy or comrade, friend or foe, we can smile, for we know there is no one like our Lord. In Him the weakest, feeblest, most fearful saint is exalted and made mighty.

Is there anything you own that is worth more than knowing such a God as that? Are you holding on to something so tight that it blocks you from an intimate confidence in the Power of God to protect and control your life? Do you share the confidence of Hannah? You must share in her commitment of all she has to our Lord!

Prayer: Lord, show me what I’m keeping from you. May every fear, worry and concern serve as Your call to rejoice in Your Power! Allow me to boast in You! Teach me to smile at my enemies because You are my God!

from pathwayofblessing



God is in TroubleGod is in trouble again, at least in Kentucky. Read the story here.

Seems some atheists are afraid for their safety (at least in Kentucky). They are suing the State of Kentucky to overturn recent Kentucky legislation “stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth.” In addition to seeking to have the legislation overturned, the plaintiffs are seeking financial damages, saying they “suffer anxiety from the belief that the existence of these unconstitutional laws suggest that their very safety as residents of Kentucky may be in the hands of fanatics, traitors, or fools.

KentuckyhomelandsecuritybrandingAt issue are two clauses inserted in a floor amendment by state Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, and approved by lawmakers. One clause says the “safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God” and cites statements to that effect by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. A permanent plaque quoting that text is posted at the state’s Emergency Operations Center, as required by the clause. The other clause, listing the executive director’s duties, begins with a requirement to publicize “the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth.”

These atheists have suffered “somatic discomforts, and mental pain and anguish, from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who share the belief in a god that is required by the challenged statutes.” Rabbi David Saperstein, national director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued a statement saying the law amounts to religious discrimination because the Homeland Security office’s director is required to credit “God’s power as protector of the state.”Security by God

Edwin Kagin, a Boone County lawyer and the national legal director of American Atheists, said he was appalled to read in the Herald-Leader last week that state law establishes praising God — and installing a plaque in God’s honor — as the first duty of the Homeland Security Office. “This is one of the most outrageous things I’ve seen in 35 years of practicing law. It’s breathtakingly unconstitutional,” Kagin said.

The requirement to credit God for Kentucky’s protection was tucked into 2006 homeland security legislation by state Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, a Southern Baptist minister. “This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky,” Riner said last week. But state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, said Homeland Security should worry about public safety threats instead of preaching religious homilies. “It’s very sad to me that we do this sort of thing,” said Stein, a frequent critic of efforts to mix religion and government. “It takes away from the seriousness of the public discussion over security, and it clearly hurts the credibility of this office if it’s supposed to be depending on God, first and foremost.

Most everyone on the web is siding with the atheists. After all, it does seem stupid to depend upon “God’s power as the protector of the state”.  God doesn’t even have a gun. He didn’t do anything to stop the terrorists on 9/11, so why should we depend on Him now?

proclamationofgodsthroneI thought it was most interesting as well as a sign of the times that a Jewish rabbi (David Saperstein) would object to being required to credit God’s power as protector of the state. If anyone should know God’s ability to protect, it should be those familiar with the history of Israel.

In Deuteronomy 32 we find Moses singing his Song to Jehovah God who delivered the Jews from Pharaoh. He is on the verge of bringing them into the promised land and has set before them blessing and cursing. Whichever they receive depends upon the God they chose to obey. The Song of Moses has four distinct divisions: the character of God (Deut. 32:1-4); the kindness of God to His people (vv. 5-14); the faithfulness of God to chasten His people (vv. 15-25); and the vengeance of God against His adversaries (vv. 26-43). The song traces God’s dealings with Israel and is a concise review of the nation’s history, from their wilderness sojourn to the judgments in the end times. It has both historic and prophetic aspects.

I believe Deuteronomy 32 verses 34-43 speak directly to this issue of ultimate protection. When God chastens His people because of their infidelity to Him and His Law, He allows adversaries to come in and exact the judgment God has ordered. This happened many times in the course of Israel’s history. You can read about it in Judges, the Chronicles, the Kings. Much of the Prophets is devoted to warning Israel and Judah about their waywardness and the judgment to come.

However, God warns in 34-35 that even though He would let enemies execute judgment on Israel, He would still hold those enemies accountable for their wickedness and repay them for their evil. (cf 41, 43). Even these who would have conquered God’s people are not safe from the judgment of God. God’s power is absolute. He controls events upon His people, and he controls events upon those he uses for judgment.

In verses 36-38 God says he will have compassion on Israel in judging their enemies. The statement in verse 36 “The Lord will judge His people” means that He would judge for them (i.e., vindicate them). However, Israel would not experience His compassion till they relinquished all trust in their own efforts (when… their strength is gone) and in the false gods in whom they took refuge. Moses ironically called on Israel to turn for help to the false gods, knowing, of course, they would be unable to help Israel.

In verses 39-43, God says His goal in judging Israel was not to annihilate her. It was to bring her to the point where she understood that there is no god besides the Lord Jehovah and that He alone has the power over death and life (verse 39). When in verse 40 he refers  to raising His hand, He is taking an oath. He is saying in verse 41 that he will use the enemies sword to carry out His justice. God will then take revenge on his enemies and repay those who reject Him.

Dwell in SafetyLeviticus 25:18 says “So you shall observe My statutes and keep My judgments, and perform them; and you will dwell in the land in safety.” Safety is the Hebrew word בֶּטַח, (beṭaḥ). It means ‘securely’. In its first occurrence beṭaḥ emphasizes the status of a city which was certain of not being attacked: ” … Two of the sons … took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males” (Gen. 34:25). Thus the city was unsuspecting regarding the impending attack. In passages such as Prov. 10:9 beṭaḥ emphasizes a confidence and the absence of impending doom: “He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known [faces certain judgment].” Israel dwells in security apart from any possible doom or danger because God keeps her completely safe (Deut. 33:12, 28). This condition is contingent on their faithfulness to God (Lev. 25:18-19). (Vine’s)

This hope in the safety provided by God is not naive wishing, but a confident expectation. Unlike the pagan religions where anxiety was the rule, the Hebrew religion knew a God whose chief characteristic was faithfulness and trustworthiness (Deut. 33:28; 1 Samuel 12:11; Psalm 27:3). This contrast between anxiety and confidence becomes all the more striking when one recalls that the pagan was never left without mechanisms whereby he felt he had some control over his destiny, while the devout Hebrew knew himself to be utterly without personal resources. In general, the Old Testament contrasts the validity of that sense of confidence which comes from reliance upon God with the folly of any other kind of security. It is made plain that all such trust will end in disgrace and shame, whereas those whose hope is in God alone will be delivered from their enemies (“In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.” Psalm 22:4 ) —(Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

So a rabbi that refuses to credit God’s power to protect is not a rabbi of Jehovah God. He must follow another god. He must teach another bible.

American’s who refuse to credit God’s power to protect are doomed to experience the judgment of God, who in His mercy works all things to bring His created beings into a loving relationship with Him.

Of course, we refuse to acknowledge God’s power and authority to judge, so we might as well refuse to acknowledge His power to protect. Only time will tell. However, I believe with all my heart that the words of Psalm 2 are being set in motion:

Psalms 2:10-12 (NLT) Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities— for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

ps4_8blueAs for the mudpreacher and Tom Riner, we will sleep like babies, because Psalm 4:8 is our pillow: “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” Sleep Like a Baby

Even if they do away with this provision in Kentucky’s Homeland Security Act, I doubt that atheists will sleep any better. Only fools say “No” to God!


Moses Parts Red SeaGod is described in the Old Testament as El GibborThe Mighty God. Moses called Him Gibbor as he was encouraging the stubborn Israelites to submit to the God of Gods and Lord of Lords.

“For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty (Gibbor), and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. (Deut 10:17-18) Moses prefaced this revelation of God’s Might with this exhortation: Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked (STUBBORN).”(Deut 10:16)

Certainly the Israelites saw His Might and Power when God delivered them from the clutches of the mightiest ruler on Earth – Pharaoh. Not only did God deliver them, but He rescued them by a Mighty Miracle that ended in the destruction of Pharaoh and his mighty army.

Moses had discovered that our view of God’s Might directly influences whether we submit or rebel.

Moses wanted his people to see God’s Power and hopefully soften their stubborn heart towards Him. He assumed that they had seen His power and would submit to God’s commands. He even wrote: “But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did. Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it;” (Deut 11:7-8)

Golden Calf of RebellionWhat is so amazing is how the Jews continued their stubborn, selfish, whining ways. They had witnessed the greatest miracle of all time and still they were stubbornly resolved NOT to submit to God. They were in TOTAL DENIAL of EL GIBBOR. They had to learn a horrible lesson.

When we humble ourselves to the Mighty God, we actually become strong. When we rebel and stiffen our neck to His will, we become weak, we become lost. Just like the Hebrews who wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. They became weak and died off, for God would not allow them to find His rest in the Promised Land.

James reveals this secret to success in these New Testament verses:

Humble before God

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (Jas 4:7-10)

How do you view God? Is He weak and powerless? Then so will your life be! Is He Strong and Mighty? Then humble yourself before Him and He will make you strong! You shall be as the Gibborim – David’s Mighty Men!

I am on vacation in Kissimmee Florida. I went to a Baptist Church yesterday. They have a beautiful facility and have been without a Senior Pastor for a few months. They are an Elder run church. The Sanctuary (Auditorium in today’s language) seated 500 or so, but the attendance looked about 150-165. This did not include the children who worship in two separate services. There was a good blend of people, but I did notice the “more mature” crowd seemed to be about 25%. They were pretty friendly during Sunday School (Adult Bible Fellowship), but during the transition and the worship I felt very much an outsider. I would give it a 6 on the 10 point “Guest Comfort” scale.

Seeker ChurchLike so many “Traditional” churches, they are trying to find themselves in this hip-hop media run world. An elder announced that they were beginning a three month trial toward what seemed to me a “Seeker” style worship experience. They had a young preacher who had come to Orlando to start a church and it seems that now they are folding his church plant into their traditional church. He is very talented (leading the praise-style songs) and then going right into the sermon. Almost a one man show. He is young and energetic and exactly the kind of person who would appeal to a younger audience. I pray the transition will work well, but there are a lot of Baptist Churches near there. Sometimes older folk like the way they used to worship. They don’t want the music very loud. They don’t want to hear a watered down, practical, relevant discourse on time management or some other ‘seeker’ topic.

My problem is that I still believe in the Power of God’s Word. I believe in the Power of the Gospel. I believe in the Power of the Cross. I hate to think that God’s Word as it is written is irrelevant to this generation. I believe that in trying to appeal to the masses we are in danger of building the “First Church of Simon”.

 

In Acts 8:9-12 we find a man named Simon who had built quite a following. He presented himself as someone great, doing amazing things that got people’s attention. People declared that ‘This man is the power of God that is called Great”. In reality he was a sham, a flim-flam man, having the appearance of godliness but not knowing the power thereof. Along comes a man named Philip preaching the good news about the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ. People believed and were baptized. Even Simon played along to get in on the action. He saw the power of the Gospel, the works of the Real Holy Spirit, and he said in Acts 8:19-20 “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!”

First Church of Simon

I fear that many preachers are spending a great deal of money on fancy multi-media stages and sound systems and extravagant Worship Centers and all they are really trying to do is buy the power of the Holy Spirit. They are building the “First Church of Simon”.

I know most of the arguments. People have to be entertained. People today reject the old-fashioned church. There is so much competition for People’s time. We have to offer a competitive product presented in a way that gets people attention in the media savvy world. I look for people in the year 2021 to not even go to church but have the service streaming over their phones. Offerings are taken by tapping in the amount on your phone and pushing ‘send’. If the church has a physical building, the offering amount is displayed instantaneously on an electronic tote board. Pastors won’t count bodies but will count downloads and RSS feeds.

Does God’s Holy Spirit still have Power to convict men today? Does the Holy Spirit still have the Power to Draw men to Jesus Christ. Is the Gospel still the Power of God for salvation? I know we need to communicate effectively, but isn’t that what the whole issue of Pentecost was about. The Holy Spirit took the message of ignorant fishermen and convicted the hard hearts of stubborn people! The Holy Spirit provided the communication. Peter spoke in the Power of the Holy Spirit! As Bill Gothard said, communication is getting your ideas past the roadblocks of another’s mind. We must be aware of the roadblocks, but we must rely on the Power and Wisdom of God! Paul realized that we don’t rely on the wisdom of men: “that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. “ I Cor 2:5. Preachers need to return to the Power of God in our proclaiming. We dare not go into the pulpit without it. We don’t rely on slick PowerPoint’s, we don’t rely on cute skits and object lessons. We don’t rely on others sermon outlines.

We have hearts that have wrestled with God, and now have power with God and man. Our hearts are on fire with the power of God’s Word, the Power of the Holy Spirit. We are only lumps of mud. We are mudpreachers. The Power Must be of God. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Cor 4:7)

Paul preached in truthfulness and by the Power of God. “by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; “ (2 Cor 6:7) “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” (I Cor 4:20) For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (I Cor 1:18)

Is it any wonder that these verses on the Power of God were written to a young church that was having a problem with the flesh. Their worship, their communion feasts were going the wrong direction, the way of the flesh and what man thought was right. Paul had to set them straight with the Power of the Word of God.

It is time that Preachers get back to what Paul was willing to die for-the Power of God in the Cross of Christ. It’s time we cry out for the Power of the Holy Spirit in our pulpits.