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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians 3:20-21’

Weakness and Strength

June 20th, 2017

Weakness does not limit God as much as your proud strength.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Weakness and Strength.”

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness.” Hebrews 11:34 NIV. 

We have a three year old great grandson, who is a typical boy, full of energy and self confidence. His insistent, “I can do it myself,” is part of his ample vocabulary. Of course, there is more that he can’t do than he knows. But his growing confidence is important as he tries new skills and challenges, and grows by his discovered abilities and exposed inabilities. In life, he will recognize that he needs and wants help. Obviously, with assistance he can do more than he is yet capable of doing without our help. Independence is not limited to preschoolers. He will learn that he needs help, and he will discover that he learns and achieves more when he accepts help.

We are all a mixture of weaknesses and strengths. And you possess more potential than you have yet comprehended. You are more capable than you have imagined or chosen to believe about yourself. I have observed that people who achieve remarkable things may not have been others’ obvious choice to do so. The difference is this. In God, they learned He could turn their weakness into His strength.

The Bible describes ordinary people making extraordinary achievements, “Who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” Hebrews 11:33-34 NIV. Without God, they could have done none of those things.

Paul wrestled with some malady that he felt limiting. Desiring to serve God more fully, he earnestly and repeatedly sought God to remove the source of his self-perceived weakness. Finally, he understood when, “The Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’” Paul discovered, Therefore, . .  when I am weak, then I am strong.” Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV. That may seem to defy logic, as we understand it. Your weakness does not limit God as much as your proud strength can. Will you dare to believe that God is almighty enough to be undiminished and unhampered by your weaknesses, inadequacies, and limited abilities? “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10 NKJV.

Consider this. You are more limited by reliance on your perceived strengths than God is limited by what are your known weaknesses. When you understand your lack and limits, you will rely more upon God. However, when you feel self-sufficient like my grandson, you insist, “I can do it myself.” Weakness and strength are not mutually exclusive, as is often assumed. Everyone of us is ordinary. But our God is extraordinary. The secret is to entirely commit your ordinary self to an extraordinary God; “To Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to have persistent faith in our God Who is Omnipotent.

Christian Communications 2017-7307

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Being Extraordinary

September 20th, 2016

Extraordinary is all about who God is rather than who you are.

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We are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” Romans 8:37 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being extraordinary.”

Whether it’s a sports competition or a friendly, family game at the kitchen table, it feels good to win. But winning does not seem to come so easily in the area that matters most, everyday life. The world, as the Bible describes this daily arena of the spiritual conflict of culture and values, can be a formidable adversary. But do not be anxious; victory is possible, even assured for the true child of God.

John affirmed, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even your faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5 NIV. Obviously, it is very important that you establish that you are born of God, therefore empowered to overcome. “Loving God means keeping His commandments, and really, that isn’t difficult.” 1 John 5:3 NLT. Conviction and obedience are the evidences of the person who is born of God.

Jesus said this in the most plain and simple way, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15 NIV. When just a teen, my heart was pierced by a question Jesus asked, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I say?” Luke 6:47 NIV. Jesus equates love with obedience. Aren’t we all capable of accurately acknowledging who God is, yet doing things inconsistent with our proclamation of faith? That inconsistency will allow the world to overcome you, rather than your overcoming the world.

Ordinary is a good word to describe any of us, but not God; extraordinary describes and defines our God. Extraordinary is all about who He is, not who you are. See Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV. The good news is this: the most ordinary person convinced of the authority and ability of their extraordinary God can successfully overcome a world system that would otherwise confront, confuse, and seduce them. We miss the point when we try to do extraordinary things when we just have to be ordinary people who allow God to be extraordinary in us. If ordinary is all that’s required, I would say that most of us are prime candidates to be extraordinary in Christ. Hebrews 11 is a litany of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things. See Philippians 2:13 NLT.

Ordinary is not so bad when you believe extraordinary accomplishments are within the reach of your faith, a faith that is safe and secure in His love so that nothing can defeat you. Paul was certain, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” See Romans 8:35-39 NIV. I am not sure what “more than a conqueror” is, but it is surely enough to make you victorious over all, and with some to spare. Now that’s extraordinary.

Today, I pray for you to be confident that you and Jesus will always be more than enough.

Christian Communications 2016

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The Minimum Is Never Enough

March 21st, 2014

“You should abound more and more . . to walk and to please God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NKJV.

Minimum effort will never bring maximum benefit.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “the minimum is never enough.”

Aren’t we strange creatures? People want to receive the maximum benefit from a minimum effort. Life just doesn’t work that way. There is an equity to life. Extra effort is rewarded. Your dividend is directly proportional to your investment, whether made in the coin of time, energy, abilities, or finances. A marriage does not endure with minimum investment. Children do not thrive with minimum love and care. A family does not grow close with minimum time together. A friendship does not deepen with minimum communication. Your spiritual life will not mature with minimum time and attention. The minimum is never enough.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38 NIV. When you examine the context of this familiar verse, you discover Jesus’ instruction regards giving mercy and forgiveness, but provides a Godly principle that applies broadly to all areas of life. Give minimally and you will receive minimally; give your maximum to God and others and you will receive maximum blessings from God. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NIV.

A favorite verse of mine has been and remains, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. To Him be glory . .” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV. God lavishes the sufficiency of blessing and provision – “immeasurably more than all [you] ask or imagine.” God neither gives nor does the minimum. 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV. You abound as a recipient of the blessings of God because God abounds in the grace of giving abundantly. John 10:10 NKJV.

There is a lovely story in the Old Testament. Nearing the end of his life, Abraham entrusted his oldest servant to bring a wife from Abraham’s homeland for his son, Isaac. (Read Genesis 24) He took ten camels and gifts of Abraham’s wealth for her and her family. Arriving at his destination and stopping at the well outside Nahor, he prayed that God’s choice for Isaac would be known to him by her generous response when he asked for her help, “. . And she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink.Let her be the one You have appointed for Isaac.” Genesis 24:10-15 NKJV.

Rebekah could have done nothing; she could have shown minimal courtesy to a weary traveler. But Rebekah quenched his thirst and then as only God could script, she volunteered the extra effort to water all of his camels, as well as offering feed for the camels and a place where the servant could rest. Minimum effort will never bring maximum benefit. Little did she know she would soon ride on those same camels to meet and marry Isaac. See Genesis 24:61-66. As with Rebekah, your extra effort may be the instrument God uses to bless you and exceed your expectations.

The Bible says it best, “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God . . Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NKJV/1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that extra effort and doing your best is your lifestyle.

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Prayer and God’s Providence

March 5th, 2014

“Our Father . . give us our food for today.” Matthew 6:11 NLT.

With providence, God provides sufficiently for daily needs.

My thoughts and comments today are about “prayer and God’s providence.”

We are such worriers; having enough for today, we still prefer a little extra to be more sure we will have enough tomorrow. So how much is enough? Since you cannot know what tomorrow will bring, you really cannot know what tomorrow will require. There is wisdom in balancing spending with a little savings. My Dad’s advice to me about finances was both practical and to the point, “Trust God’s provision; give generously; spend sensibly; save wisely; never spend all that you earn.” I do not recall my Dad spending foolishly nor worrying needlessly. Our family never had much, but God provided all we needed and my Dad set aside a little extra as he could.

Jesus addressed needless worry about material things. “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or . . what you will wear . . your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Read Matthew 6:25-33 NIV. Providence is a great word describing, “the foresight of the care and provision of God.” You cannot foresee tomorrow, but God does. With providence, God provides sufficiently for each day’s needs – spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially. The way your God does so is by prayer, not presumption. Prayer is trusting each concern to God’s providence, without worry or doubt. Jesus said, “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father . . give us our food for today.’” Matthew 6:11 NLT. Jesus’ words may seem so simple but are profoundly significant. 

There is a spiritual progression in Jesus’ model prayer. First, prayer acknowledges God, elevates His Name, and submits to His authority and will. Only then does your prayer rightly turn to your needs, all well-known in God’s providence. Prayer celebrates the appropriate trust of an intimate relationship. Here are some observations about prayer. Prayer invites God’s provision, not informs Him of your need (Matthew 6:8 NKJV). Prayer asks, not assumes (1 John 5:14-15 NKJV). Prayer acknowledges God as source, not yourself (Philippians 4:19 NIV). Prayer asks for what sustains, not what is frivolous. (James 4:3 NKJV). Prayer asks for enough, not excess – “our food for today.”

The Psalmist remembered when God, “rained down manna for [Israel] to eat; He gave them the grain of Heaven . . He sent them all the food they could eat.” Psalm 78:23-25 NIV. According to Moses’ instruction, each family was to gather only enough for each day, “some gathered much, some little . . he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.” See Exodus 16:14-26 NIV. Whatever they gathered was enough; nothing extra they gathered lasted beyond that day. On the sixth day, their trust was further tested and proven. Only then were they to gather enough for that day and the Sabbath as well.

Maybe there is a lesson here for those who want to have more than enough for the day, needing no further faith. Your needs are new each day, as must your faith and prayer be. Here is why you pray, “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed . .  Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask . .” 2 Corinthians 9:10/Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV.

My prayer for you is that you come confidently to your Father with your needs today.

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Beyond Measure

March 15th, 2012

“To Him who is able to do immeasurably more.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV

“If you are not doing much with what you have, you likely wouldn’t do much more with what you lack.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “beyond measure.”

We are accustomed to limitations, in ourselves and others. Those limits, real and perceived, are often allowed to govern your life, marginalizing expectations and attempts, and setting boundaries. People face limitations of resource, time, energy, opportunity, talent, experience, knowledge, understanding, and more, extending to “ad infinitumto infinity/continuing beyond limits.” The only thing unlimited may actually be the extent and number of limitations with which we all deal.

Almost everyone has at one time said only to themselves, “If only I had more ______.“ Fill in the blank. The story is the same; only what you lack at that moment changes – time, money, help, education, etc. Jesus captured a profound truth in His comparison of people’s similar responses to little or much; “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” Read Luke 16:10-12 NASV. Truthfully, if you aren’t doing much with what you have, you likely wouldn’t do much more with what you lack.

When you bring your life to God, the story changes for the better. “To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Ephesians 4:7 NKJV. Jesus takes your meager, insufficient “loaves and fish” and blesses, breaks, and distributes a sufficiency of surplus beyond any measure imaginable. Read Mark 6:31-44 NKJV. When you think your need is more than your means and feel you have barely enough for yourself and nothing with which to share, in Jesus’ hands miracles of multiplication occur and there is plenty for yourself and all others with whom you have opportunity to share.

Resources and money go further with God’s blessings than without it; that’s why it’s wise to tithe, and to give and live generously. Read Malachi 3:10-12/2 Corinthians 9:6-15 NKJV. Time is ample because of efficiencies God provides. Energy is extended when you are doing God’s work. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV. Wisdom and understanding rise from the truth in your heart when you hide God’s Word there. Read 1 Kings 3:5-14 NKJV.

What you trust into God’s hands is no longer restricted by your previous limitations. Paul marveled at a truth with so much power to exceed every limit ever known by you: “That Christ may dwell in your heart through faith . . (through) Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV. God whose providence and power are beyond every measure or limit is immeasurable! What could happen – in your life, your marriage and family, your career and relationships – if you gave yourself entirely to God’s will and service? Read Romans 12:1-2 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you experience the immeasurable goodness and mercy of God

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