Monday, May 7, 2018

Called to Receive His Power

This month's Call is like a glorious minefield of promise and encouragement. I pray that it motivates, encourages, and inspires you to take up your cross and trust God on whatever path you are walking.

We are Called to Receive His Power.

Honestly, when I look at the different Calls I see in the bible and chose for this year, I was a little stumped with this one (and a few others). I kind of forgot why I chose it or how it linked to the other calls, but after sitting with my bible for just an hour and thumbing through prominent verses, I was amazed at how much promise there is in this, and how little we talk about it!

When you think about receiving God's power, what comes to mind first?

Moving mountains? Healing people? Overcoming insane obstacles and precarious situations? You're not alone. I believe we all tend to think of God's power in ways that seem fantastical or impossible. But God's word says so much more about His power than just miracles and healings.

First, the power of God comes through the Holy Spirit. Next, it is for giving us life, strength and an understanding of Himself. Last, it glorifies Him and reveals Him to others.

After the resurrection, when Jesus is having his last few words with His disciples, He addresses their question about when the restoration of all things will occur. Jesus says that it is not for them to know the seasons the Father has determined. He continues on...

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

Power is the gift of the Holy Spirit. You cannot receive God's power without receiving His Spirit, and you cannot receive His Spirit without also receiving power. They are inseparable.

But what is it for? How is this power supposed to be used?

Here in Acts, Jesus says it will enable them to share the gospel with those around them, and the same is true for us today. Just as Peter received power from the Spirit about what he ought to say while on trial and amid persecution (promised in Luke 12:11-12, fulfilled in Acts 4:8), the Spirit offers us the same power. And while I want to dive into that more, most of what I found in the bible about receiving His Power is about giving life and providing strength.

This doesn't just start in the New Testament either. Even just in reading through a small portion of His Word, not even asking for help or feeling desperately discouraged, I find strength and encouragement from these ancient words. Read with me in Isaiah 40:28-31

"Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might He increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint."

Photo by James Chou.

Beautiful. Refreshing. Encouraging.

When I read these verses it allows me to set my burdens down and trust God to provide the strength I need for my day, for my life. And this strength is brought up in several other places too. Not the kind of strength simply for doing exceptionally difficult tasks or enduring extreme hardship, but for living, for continuing on in His work, and to keep fighting for joy.

"May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." Colossians 1:11-12

"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7

Paul even shares with those in Ephesus that he is praying for them to receive the power of the Spirit, that they may know God, the hope He gives, and His immeasurable power.

"I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious in inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might..." Ephesians 1:15-19

I also love how Paul prays for the Ephesians here...

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19

He goes on to say that this power at work in us is able to do far more abundantly beyond what we ask or think! Which for some is pretty significant, right? But ultimately, he finishes that declaration by saying "to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, forever and ever, Amen." (Ephesians 3:21)

I want to challenge you not to assume God's power is to be used only for magnificent, miraculous events, but rather for your own strength and benefit, and ultimately, for His glory to be seen in your living in unity and love with other believers. In turn, that same Spirit that gives you life and enables you to know God and understand His love also moves you to be able to share that with others. It is His power working in you that does this. Not your natural wisdom, not all the random blessing you seem to have inherited (though all things in our lives can point to Christ), but His Spirit gives us daily sustenance and enables us to keep living for Him. What a gift!

I want to memorize some of these verses this month, so I will list out a few references for you to read and I encourage you to pick at least one and memorize it. We need to remember that the power of the Holy Spirit is not something to be taken lightly. It raised Jesus from the dead! And it is in you too.

One book I listened to forever ago really encouraged me in trusting the power of the Holy Spirit and I plan to listen to it again. It is Girls With Swords by Lisa Bevere. When I listened to it before, I was reminded of the great power God has bestowed on us and what a threat that is to Satan and his work. I was able to stop seeing my failures or frustrations as roadblocks or allow them to discourage me, but I was actually encouraged when I found myself wrestling with them! I began to see discouragement as an arrow from the devil and was able to remember to pray and ask God's Spirit to help strengthen me. It makes such a difference!

So here is my game-plan:

1 - ask God's Spirit to strengthen me first thing, every morning. That's His job! We need to be ready and attentive to His work and ask God to fill us up.

2 - memorize Ephesians 3:14-21. This set of verses contains most of what this month is about for me; what the Holy Spirit does, why, and what it will produce. I never want to forget these things.

3 - be aware of Satan's hindrances and ask the Holy Spirit to move me through them. I want to be more specific in asking Him to help me battle discouragement, self-doubt, laziness, and the other things that seem to lead me into sinning toward my family or cause me to not be as invested in others as I'd like.

Will you join me? I hope so! Make sure you join our Facebook group to stay with us and see how this month goes. And if you're brave, share with me your game-plan for May. How are you hoping to see the Holy Spirit work in power in your life?

Verses about the Power of the Spirit:

Ephesians 1:15-23

2 Peter 1:3-4

Romans 15:13

Ephesians 3:14-21

1 Corinthians 4:20

2 Timothy 1:7

Romans 8:11

Colossians 1:11-12

Isaiah 40:28-31

Acts 1:8