Month: January 2014

All by His power in us

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Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

As we prepare for this year, the realization that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to His power that works in us is giving us an expectation of living richly in His grace. I talked to a man yesterday who told me that he is surviving. I told him that there is a difference between surviving and enjoying God’s riches.   A survivor has a few dollars in his pocket and nowhere to sleep tonight and no plans for dinner. By morning, they have survived another cold night. If you had $100 million in the bank, you would not be surviving, you would be living. So it is in Christ. We are not surviving. Our church is not surviving. No, we are living on the riches of God’s grace!

All of this is possible because of His power that works in us. He is the one who does exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think and it is His power at work in us that accomplishes this. We do not try to dream up a way to make this work, no, it is God who works in us bot to will and to do of His good pleasure. Then what God does God gets the glory for. We, dependent upon Him, learn that He is the able one and trusting Him we see Him enable us to live by His riches. No, I am not wealthy with this world’s money, but I am rich in grace and peace.

Already this year we have seen God doing more than we could have asked or thought. He is saving souls and bringing them to us. He is meeting needs and showing us His power. He is already doing more than we have asked for. What more will He do? This is the awareness I am hoping to spark in you. I want you to live this year asking God for spiritual and physical needs and then I want you to be acute to His provisions above what you asked or thought. I want you to be prepared to give God glory in the church so that all of us can be encouraged by His power at work in us. We need to get way past survival mode and into living with the awareness and enjoyment of His riches available to us.

Earlier this week I received a call about a boy at Victory who was defiant, belligerent, had punched another boy in the face, and was rejecting the Lord Jesus. The message was to pray for this boy that he might repent before he was going to be asked to leave the program. An hour and a half later I received another message that this boy had repented, had given his heart to Jesus Christ, had gotten saved and his whole attitude had changed. This is the power of God at work doing more than we asked. Hallelujah!

God can

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Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

As we are working through this passage, this verse is the climax of it all. Today we are going to meditate on the first eight words. When Elijah was challenging the prophets of Baal, they found out that their god was not able to do anything. They gave it their best shot. They even offered their own blood in hopes that it would motivate Baal. But since Baal was only a figment of their imaginations he could not do anything. But when Elijah told them all to sit down, then soaked his alter with seven times with water until it was impossible to light, he prayed to the only real and true God who did answer and did show to all of all ages that He is able to answer, even by fire.

There are countless human testimonies of men and women and children crying out to the God who is able and then seeing Him do what no man could do. I personally have seen God meet our families’ needs as we stepped out by faith to start Victory Homes and New Life Baptist Church. When there was no human answer God was able to do exactly what needed to be done for the furtherance of His work and the exaltation of His glory.

You have trusted God for salvation. He has heard your soul’s cry and has redeemed you with the blood of Jesus Christ. The indwelling Holy Spirit of God has taken up residence in you and confirmed the power of God for your salvation. This is the greatest miracle that God could ever do for you. Do not doubt that He can meet your other needs of body or soul. Put God to the test. Trust Him to keep His word to you. You will see that He is able to do exactly what He said He would do.

Exceeding Abundantly

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Ephesians 3

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

We have spent a month focusing on these verses.  Please take time today to meditate on them rethinking the lessons that you have learned from them.

I would like to focus on the phrase, in verse 21, “…to all generations, forever and ever.”   God’s desire is to do good to all people of all ages.  He wants to dwell in them all for all ages and forever and ever.  He wants people of all ages to know the width, length, depth and height of His love.  He wants people of all generations forever and ever to be filled by His fullness, that is, the fullness of His love.

The book of 1 John is filled with admonitions regarding the love that is supposed to be evident between Christians and in Christians toward the lost.   Only when we are filled by the fullness of God can we live His love through us.  Furthermore, it is God’s desire that His love, His fullness, be lived in us in all generations, forever and ever.

So, how is that fullness of God in you going for you?

Sunday morning will be the continuation of this meditation.  Don’t miss it!

What Endures?

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1 Corinthians 13:8  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

There may be several ways to read this verse but my favorite method of interpretation is to take the most obvious meaning first. 

The most obvious meaning here, based on the context of the chapter, is that godly love never fails.  Everything else that is important will fail, cease and vanish away but godly love never will, it will endure forever.  Elsewhere we learn that knowledge puffs people up.  When we learn something we get proud of what we have learned.  We try to teach someone else our new-found smarts and if possible put them in their place for their lack of knowledge.  On the other hand, love builds people up.  When love and knowledge are mixed people feel better.  

We can spend the majority of our lives increasing in things that will pass away.  Shouldn’t we instead spend our lives increasing in that which will endure both this life and eternity?   Do people care how much you know or how gifted you are if you are filled with yourself?  Or do people enjoy you because you are filled with love for them?   Do people’s eyes light up when they see you because they are glad you are there?  If you are bringing something of value to the room, then yes, they will be glad you are there.  And what is the most valuable gift you can bring into a room?   Yep, godly love, that self-sacrificing care for someone else that they know is going to build them up, encourage them, make them feel special, ask how they are doing, be happy with their success, and grieve with their sorrows.  Godly love is ever giving, never taking.  Godly love cares when no one else has time to care.  Godly love is not on a clock or a calendar but is always available to give. 

When we love someone with godly love they are receiving from us that which they will never lose for it will endure forever.  Therefore, love, godly love, John 3:16 love, is the best gift we can give and should accompany every tangible gift we place in another’s hands. 

Last night the men finished the video series, “Not a Fan.”  In it we were brought face-to-face with the reality that God wants us to be followers of Him not just admirers of Him.  Fan’s sit in the stands and watch the game, cheer the team, and go home without any real commitment to the team.  Followers give everything to follow Christ.  They hold nothing back at any level and do so because of their love for the Lord Jesus.  Love is the defining action of a follower.  Fan’s love themselves and try to make themselves feel good by their service and participation.  Followers are in it because of God’s love to them and having forsaken all to follow Him serve with His love flowing through them.  When others see the love of God in a follower of His they can then believe that God is real.  It is our prayer that we all become and live as followers of Jesus Christ until we die.

Pray for a friend named Julie who has been given four –six weeks to live.  She has been to church and is a close friend of Barbi.   Pray for God’s grace and peace for Julie and for her family and friends.

Have a great day in the Lord,