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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A POWERFUL LESSON

Some of you may have heard, Southern California experienced a power failure last week.  It didn't last as long, and we didn't have the problems that our east coast family and friends had recently because of the hurricane and storms, but never-the-less, we got stopped dead in our tracks!  We learned in a hurry how very dependent we are on a source of power. 

We were grateful that the power went off during the  daytime so we had plenty of time to gather candles, find the flash lights, and prepare something to eat for dinner.  Our son and his dog joined us for a candlelight meal.  We have a battery operated radio so could keep abreast of what was taking place in our community.  We enjoyed big ice cream sundaes after dinner thinking the ice cream would melt and we'd have to throw it away.  That seemed like a good excuse to consume extra calories!  We took a long walk with our confused dogs.  The neighborhood was kind of eerie, no lights anywhere.  Then we sat on our patio and roasted marshmallows over the gas fire ring.  Even the dogs shared in the gooey mess. 

Even though we tried to make the whole experience fun instead of frustrating, we were acutely aware of how dependent we are on a source of power. Every room we walked into we hit the power switch, and then, stood in the darkness feeling a little foolish - no power, we knew that!  Life without the power of the Holy Spirit can be frustrating, futile, stressful, and unfulfilled.  Most of us experience this until we remember, the Lord never intended for believers to live this way.  He wrote (through the hands of chosen scribes) a whole book about it - the Bible.

The last chapter of Luke, 24, is all about the resurrection of Jesus.  Interesting to note in 24:10-11 that when the women came back from the tomb and told the apostles that Jesus had risen, "they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense."  Oh really?  These were the men who were with Jesus during his entire three year ministry. They'd heard His words, had a 'one-on-one' relationship with Him, traveled with Him, ate with Him and been told what was to come.....and yet, 'it seemed like nonsense'. This passage reminds me of I Corinthians 1:21 that says we didn't come to know God by our own wisdom, but rather by the 'foolishness' of what was preached to save those who believe. 

Are you ever frustrated by those you love who will not listen to the gospel message, do not want to hear truth, do not want to walk in the light instead of stumbling in the darkness?  I know I am, and yet, even though tears may be shed and  sadness and frustration may be overwhelming at times, I know God's Word says that in order to believe we must be born spiritually, John 3:3, and when we experience this, we are given the power of the Holy Spirit. We can't 'believe' unless God has given us the power to do so. He is in full control.  Do you hear this verse read in churches and Bible studies very often? 

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One (Jesus) he loves."  Ephesians 1:4-6.

This is an amazing passage.  It says.....

* God chose us before our world was created
* We are holy and blameless in His sight (see also Jude 24)
* In love, He pre-determined us to be His child by the     sacrifice Jesus made on the cross
* It is for His pleasure and His will and because of His grace
* Freely given in the person of Jesus - the One He loves

As you read through the first chapter of Ephesians, you can see that we who believe have been 'marked with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit'.  Remember that Jesus said in Acts 2:8 that 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'  This is nothing we can do for ourselves, God does it, but you can know that God keeps His promises and if you recognize Jesus is the Lord and has personally forgiven and paid for ALL your sins, past, present and future, you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2 speaks about 'the day of Pentecost' - a feast that the Jews celebrated on the first day of the corn harvest, the last crop to ripen.  The Christian Pentecost fell on the same day as the Jewish Feast of Weeks, and the coming of the Holy Spirit on this day marks the beginning of the Christian church.  The Old Testament ends with Malachi, the New Testament begins in Acts 2.  The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written for the Jews, those who were under 'the law'.  Consider this.....

Old Testament = the old covenant
The old covenant = the law (10 Commandments)
The law = works (trying to please God by our good behavior, good deeds, etc.) Interesting to note Isaiah wrote in Is. 63:6 that 'all our righteous acts are like filthy rags'.  We cannot attain the level of perfection God requires, we need a Savior!

New Testament = new covenant
The new covenant = grace, 'we are saved by grace', Eph. 2:8
Christ = the fulfillment of God's law - "Christ is the end of the law" Romans 10:4. 
Salvation = having the power of the Holy Spirit in us

POWER!  We need power in our lives, power to overcome this world and be able to be at peace and experience the joy of being 'in Christ'.  As Jude 24 points out so beautifully, it is Jesus (who is God) who is able to keep us from falling and to present us before the Father's throne without fault and with great joy!

The Trinity - the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit are One God.  1x1x1=1, the fullness of God!

Lord, I'm continually amazed at how you grab my blog away from me and so often it turns into something I hadn't intended.  That's OK, I know it's Your blog, just my hands flying over the keys.  I thank you daily for your guidance and wisdom, I'm so inadequate on my own and need your power in my life - daily!

My book, Blogging God's Word: Seeing Ourselves Through God's Eyes, is available on Amazon.com, on Crossbooks.com, and also as an E Book.