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Power of God

"Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power"

(Revelation 4:11)

As I studied Revelation 4, this verse caught my eye. We are so used to giving God the Glory. And we are no strangers to giving God the Honor. But Power? Really? God receives power? Why does God need to receive power, isn't He already all powerful?

Well think about this:
We give power to unforgiveness;
     We give power to our finances;
          We give power to peer pressure;
               We give power to worry and fear and anger;
                    We give power to the lies of the enemy;
and we actually give the enemy power over our baggage - in the choices we make.

As human beings we have the God-given authority to give the power to whatever and whomever we choose!

Shouldn't we be giving GOD the power??? We're use to giving God the Glory and we're used to giving God the Honor, but how often do we give God the Power? 

The only way we can give God the power is by keeping our eyes fixed on Him-- through worship, the Word, and obedience--and in the power of the Holy Spirit!
 

Gratitude

In our Christian lifestyle we are used to hearing the words “Praise the Lord” when good news is shared. Some of us are even used to saying “Praise the Lord” or "Hallelujah!” or “God is good” whenever we hear a wonderful testimony of protection, provision, or healing. In fact most of us will likely be relatively comfortable uttering “Thank you Jesus,” when a prayer has been answered. 
 But what about when the news is bad, the protection or finances or healing didn’t come, or the prayer hasn’t been answered the way you thought it should be? When your circumstances deeply test your faith and make you ask “Where is God?” can you praise Him? If you are still suffering in pain, struggling to make ends meet, or worried about your security, can you praise Jesus? Can you be thankful to God when a close loved one passes away or you find yourself homeless or you are diagnosed with the Big C?
  When we perceive our hearts hardening due to fear and hopelessness and confusion there’s only one thing left to do: Make a sacrifice. 
  • “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” Hebrews 13:15.  
What is the importance of acknowledging the Name of God? 
 El Shaddai, Adoni, Yaweh, and our Savior Jesus Christ, Son of God, Immanuel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords. HE IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED – DESPITE OURCIRCUMSTANCES! 
 
He says He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and we need to acknowledge His presence and praise his name…even in the darkest of circumstances! Gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving are weapons of spiritual warfare! If we don’t “sacrifice praise,” which means to praise God anyway, just because He’s worthy, then the devil can use our circumstances to cause fear, confusion, doubt, and strife. And we know that when the enemy gets a foothold in our lives, we take our eyes off Jesus and place them firmly on the “logical and necessary.”
 
How can gratitude be a weapon of spiritual warfare?
 When we are praising God despite our circumstances, we are acknowledging that God is with us (even when it doesn’t seem like it), and that He is worthy to be praised (even if He never did another thing for us!). 
 When we declare God’s presence and God’s worthiness, the lies of the enemy can’t take hold on our hearts. We are declaring that “Whatever happens in my life in this 5-senses physical realm won’t remove the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit, and the salvation of Christ from my life.” And that’s a powerful spiritual warfare weapon! 

What about being thankful to people?
 Whether you’re thankful for a friend you can confide in, a favor that was granted, a raise at work, a kindness extended, a chore completed, a gift given, or a simple smile, your gratitude to people can also be a powerful tool in the Kingdom of God…a tool that allows the Light in you to shine, or the Love in you to spread. By saying “thank you,” you may be revealing something good to someone who needs to see the Good. You may be speaking Life into someone by appreciating them. 
 Light, Love, and Life—Awesome potential for just saying “Thank you!” But tell me, how does it feel when someone appreciates YOU? 
 
But how do you cultivate a grateful heart amidst dire circumstances?
  • “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Phil. 4:8.  
 Despite your circumstances in the physical world, you can enter your Father’s courts in the spiritual world, just by thinking on the things that are worthy of praise and thanking HIM!  Keep your eyes open to the true, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy. God is near. God is here.
  • “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Ps 100:4  
Activity
 After praying the following prayer, read the quotes. Keeping Jesus in focus, let them inspire you. Let the Holy Spirit impart Gratitude into your heart! Write out your gratitude to the Lord on the following page. Then, write a Thank You card to someone. Mail it or give it to them, if you know where they are.
Heavenly Father,
By the Holy Spirit impart to us a Grateful Heart! Forgive us for needing perfect circumstances in order to be thankful. Open our eyes to the spiritual implications of appreciation and praise. Thank you for never leaving us and for always wanting YOUR best for us!
In Jesus’ Precious Name, AMEN! 
 
  • "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie 
  • When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” Erma Bombeck 
  • “Seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving.” Hannah Whitall Smith
  •  “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward
  •  “Gratitude is twin sister to humility; pride is foe to both.” James E. Talmage
  •  “You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon 
  • “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise Him, all creatures here below; praise Him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Thomas Ken

Revelation

Mark 1:34 is an example of God NOT revealing stuff until it is time:
 
"and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was."
 
In this verse we see that it is too soon for Jesus to be revealed as the Christ. God is preparing the way before our Savior and Jesus is in unity with that. On many occasions in the Gospels we see how God prepared the way for Jesus, prepared the hearts of those Jesus would encounter, prepared the situations in which Jesus would enter.
 
 And even though revelation was yet to come, the miracles didn't wait. Jesus healed and delivered many people before they knew who he was. Today God is working in the lives of lost loved ones--preparing hearts and doing miracles - healing and delivering, orchestrating situations.  For instance, I once heard someone say that hundreds of years before Jesus was born, God caused a sycamore tree to grow where it did so that the short tax collecter, Zacchaeus could climb up into it and see Jesus.
 
When God chooses to give revelation – of who Christ is, of His saving or healing power, of God’s plans for you, of the path you are on – it is in His timing and for His purposes and for His glory. He goes before us and prepares the way – every single time – so we don’t want to guess or get ahead of Him in His plans. I do not want to be going down my path, even if it’s the right path, if God has not yet gone before me and prepared the way.
 

Apology

When asking for forgiveness, remember: it's not about how stupid you feel for making a mistake, it's about how wrong you were and about how sorry you are for your mistake. Do you regret your sin and want to be forgiven, or do you want to be forgiven so you can stop feeling stupid?

When Peter goofed up (John 18), he regretted DOING wrong and wanted to be forgiven (John 21); when Judas Iscariot goofed up (Luke 22), he regretted BEING wrong and wanted to be right.

For Peter it was about being restored in relationship with Christ; for Judas it was about Judas.

Rumors or Glory

God is able and He is all-powerful.All things are possible with God. As Christians we must be careful about our witness - we must be discerning and cautious about sharing other peoples' stories and possibly spreading rumors about what God has done, for if they are proven false, it discredits our Lord. Personal testimony is always best. If you want to give God the Glory, tell your OWN story. Truth wins souls, not wishful thinking.

Choices

OH, GOD! REVEAL YOUR HOLINESS TO US!
REVEAL YOUR GLORY!
REVEAL YOUR MERCY TO US, OH LORD...
FOR IT'S IN THE DEEP-DOWN, HOLY SPIRIT REVELATION OF YOUR  
    HOLINESS,
         GLORY,
                AND MERCY
THAT WE ARE ABLE TO MAKE GODLY CHOICES!

Stronghold vs. Submission

As I listened to the testimony of a friend, one of the most important things I heard was when he said he had unresolved places in his heart that he hadn't given to the Lord. It appears to me that because of those unsubmitted areas, the devil already had his foot in the door when my friend became discouraged and disillusioned. That vulnerability allowed Satan to persuade him to walk away from a life of and future in ministry. That tells me how imperative it is to make sure we have ALL AREAS of our lives submitted to the Lord. After processing this for a little while, I encouraged others to ask the Lord if there are any places or issues in their lives that they haven't held out to Him. Asked them, "Is there anything you're holding back?" 

That's what I've been doing this week: asking the Lord to reveal to me anything I need to submit to Him or open up to Him, thinking once I get the rest of my areas cleaned up, I'll be good to go and won't have to think about it again! Seriously?

Through a process of prayer and figuring it out, I have come to the conclusion that "submitting all areas" of my life isn't something I do once and then it's done. This turns out to be a day to day thing. As God reveals each unresolved issue, each unsubmitted area, each brick wall that stands between me and Him, I need to be ready to lift that issue, area, or wall to Him. When I do, He will be faithful to help me deal with it, let go of it, or tear it down...whatever the case may be. But if I hold back, I will allow a stronghold to form, and then when I am discouraged, disillusioned, afraid, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, I will find myself vulnerable to the enemy's will. 

Prevent potential prodigalism...be open and honest with the Father. Give Him what He wants...EVERYTHING.

Doubt

  Have you ever doubted your own faith? Sometimes I find myself doubting my own faith. I wonder if I'm truly saved or if I just "know all the words." I ask myself if my motive is pure or if it's got a personal agenda attached. I worry that I might be using the Christian lifestyle to make myself feel better about myself.

And then I realize I haven't asked God about it. 

Mark 14: 18-19 says, "While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, 'I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me--one who is eating with me.' They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, 'Surely not I?'"

The disciples loved Jesus, yet all of them asked Jesus, "Surely not I?" All of them wondered if their hearts were true, if their motives were pure, if they were strong enough. All of them needed reassurance.

When I asked God about it, I realized I can only ask Him if I believe in Him. And I can only be concerned about having a real faith if my faith is real. 

It's wise to evaluate yourself every once in awhile. It helps you grow. Scripture will reassure you. The Holy Spirit will reassure you. Listen...

"We know that we have come to know Him if we obey his commands" | 1 John 2:3. 

"Come near to God and he will come near to you" | James 4:8a.

" Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" | Romans 8:1.

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life" | 1 John 5:13.

God will reveal the areas where you need work, where you need healing, where you need to submit.

 Listen to Him.

Perspective

 This morning it occurred to me that when we forget to cherish the Lord, when we forget to express our love to Him through praise and worship and obedience and gratitude, our perception of Him becomes askew: we begin to see a mean, legalistic, distant, uncaring God, instead of an imminent, Holy, forgiving, loving, healing God. God doesn't changeā€¦but our perception does.

Shield of Faith

 Isn't it funny how we can often have faith for someone else? In other words, I can have faith that God will provide for or heal someone else...and pray for them. Yet when it comes time for me to have faith for myself, sometimes the doubt comes in and I don't have the faith that God will provide for me or heal me. 

Why?

It's just so natural to feel that way...to have faith for others but not for ourselves. But God, in all His mercy and grace has made a way...He has made it okay. Here's how: The shield of faith that is spoken of in Ephesians 6. We each take up our shield of faith which can extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one. Well, the other thing we can do with our shields is hold it for the one whose faith is faltering. 

Let me draw you a picture. Ten soldiers are in a battle stance, each holding their shields high, but one weakens and his shield begins to come down. The weak one is hit by the enemy as a result and he begins to go down. Unable to hold his shield, he is at risk of being destroyed by the enemy. Now the other nine warriors notice the weakened brother and hold up their shields on his behalf...they may cover him protectively with their shields until he can be restored.

The shield of faith works the same. When a brother or sister is weakened, we can hold up our shields of faith on their behalf...we can cover them protectively until they are strengthened in their faith. How imperative it is to continue to pray for others--after all, our shield of faith can be moved to cover ourselves or others. 

Praying for others actually strengthens our faith so that we can more effectively pray for ourselves. Do you need prayer? I'd be happy to pray for you!

 

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