(The storm comes, and the storm goes. God was there for you before the storm. And He is there for you after the storm is gone. God never fails to be with you) .
If the Son of God has been born into my human flesh, then am I allowing His holy innocence, simplicity, and oneness with the Father the opportunity to exhibit itself in me? What was true of the Virgin Mary in the history of the Son of God’s birth on earth is true of every saint. God’s Son is born into me through the direct act of God; then I as His child must exercise the right of a child— the right of always being face to face with my Father through prayer. Do I find myself continually saying in amazement to the commonsense part of my life, “Why did you want me to turn here or to go over there? ’Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ ” (Luke 2:49). Whatever our circumstances may be, that holy, innocent, and eternal Child must be in contact with His Father.
Am I simple enough to identify myself with my Lord in this way? Is He having His wonderful way with me? Is God’s will being fulfilled in that His Son has been formed in me (see Galatians 4:19), or have I carefully pushed Him to one side? Oh, the noisy outcry of today! Why does everyone seem to be crying out so loudly? People today are crying out for the Son of God to be put to death. There is no room here for God’s Son right now— no room for quiet, holy fellowship and oneness with the Father.
Is the Son of God praying in me, bringing honor to the Father, or am I dictating my demands to Him? Is He ministering in me as He did in the time of His manhood here on earth? Is God’s Son in me going through His passion, suffering so that His own purposes might be fulfilled? The more a person knows of the inner life of God’s most mature saints, the more he sees what God’s purpose really is: to “. . . fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ . . .” (Colossians 1:24). And when we think of what it takes to “fill up,” there is always something yet to be done.
|AUGUST 8, 2014
Finding His Power in the Midst of Our Storms
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10 (NIV)
It was a dark and stormy night. Alone in my writing study, I pounded away on my laptop computer, while the air conditioner hummed in the background, holding the summer heat at bay.
A glance at the clock confirmed the late hour, with many pages yet to be written. After several extensions on my book deadline, the pressure was intense. Like having five college term papers due the same day.
On my calendar I’d circled July 22, the day my family and I would head to Pennsylvania for a reunion my sister had planned for two years. If it meant writing around the clock, I had to finish my manuscript before we left town.
All at once a deafening crack of thunder sounded overhead, and the lights blinked out. After saving my work on the laptop’s hard drive, I located a candle and made the most of my waning battery.
Our power returned the next afternoon, but not for long. A second storm left our old farmhouse in the dark — this time for two days. My editor called to check on my progress. “Not good,” I confessed. “We’ve lost power. Again.”
Although my laptop was portable, my many bookshelves full of resources were not, which ruled out moving to a hotel room or a friend’s kitchen table. When the electricity finally returned, I brushed away tears of relief and fired up my computer.
One week later, a third storm struck.
The blackout was so massive our city made the national news. Five powerless days dragged by. Meals were fast food, showers were cold, and tempers were short. After my husband tracked down an overpriced generator, I had electricity flowing into my laptop. What wasn’t flowing were words or ideas, as my stress mounted.
When July 22 dawned, I still had two dozen chapters to go. Genuine panic set in. My siblings and I hadn’t gathered in one place for nearly a decade. How could I miss my own family reunion? Yet how could I go, when my publishing contract required a completed manuscript — right away, if not sooner?
I didn’t dare phone my editor and ask for more time. Heartsick, I called my sister instead and begged for mercy.
Guilt washed over me as I helped my family pack. My husband promised he would hug all my relatives, especially my understanding sister. But I still felt awful.
With a heavy heart I watched our car disappear down the driveway, then returned to my desk, determined to write nonstop. I’d paid a terrible price for this time, and I wasn’t about to waste it.
My fingers flew over the keys. By nightfall, I’d almost completed another chapter. Then the unthinkable happened: the lights blinked out again.
“Nooo!” I shrieked, fumbling for my cell phone. With trembling hands I called the utility company, only to hear, “Could be an hour, ma’am. Could be tomorrow. Sorry.”
I sank across my desk, tears flowing in earnest. Sorry? I was the sorry one. Sorry I hadn’t started sooner and worked harder. Sorry I’d sent my family off without me. Sorry I’d once again put my work first.
I closed my eyes, afraid of the truth. Are You punishing me, Lord? I didn’t really think He was; blackouts from summer thunderstorms are business as usual in Kentucky. But I still felt the weight of regret. Lord, can You help me? Please?
In the silence of my study, I was unprepared for the sudden whir of the air conditioner and the lights blinking back on.
Through the Bible
2 Chronicles 18:19-21 (NIV) 19And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that.20Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “‘By what means?’ the LORD asked. 21″‘I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it.’
This passage is troublesome to many. God is not a man that He should lie. What is happening here? Ahab was one of the wickedest kings of Israel. His wife, Jezebel, was the wickedest queen. Jehoshaphat had become the king of Judah and was his ally. Though Jehoshaphat was a godly king, he must not have had much discernment. Many prophets declared that Ahab would win the battle, but Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from a prophet of Jehovah. When he was called, he first told him to go and win the battle. When Ahab pressed him for the truth, he told what he saw in the halls of heaven, today’s passage.
God was asking the angels how to get Ahab to go to his doom in a battle against Ramoth-Gilead. The text suggests the angels made suggestions, but all were declined. Finally one angel said, “I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.” I believe this was a fallen angel. They are always seeking to harm mankind. God’s hand of protection holds them back unless it serves His ultimate purpose in which he allows them freedom to act. We see the same kind of scenario in the beginning of Job.
Ahab had Jehoshaphat wear royal robes while he dressed in normal soldier attire. When the Aramean army went after Jehoshaphat’s chariot, he fled. A stray arrow found the joint in Ahab’s armor and mortally wounded him. You can’t get away from the decrees of God. A fallen angel and a heathen army were used to bring judgment on the murderer, Ahab. Tomorrow we’ll see how God dealt with Jehoshaphat for befriending Ahab.
Consider: Be sure your sin will find you out.
Romans 4:19-21 (NIV) 19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
The Apostle Paul makes the case that Abraham is the father of all believers, both Jew and Gentile. Since he trusted in the promise of God and was counted as righteous before he received the covenant of circumcision, he is father of those who have not entered into Jewish ritual but still trust in God. His example clearly shows us that it is not by works that we are made right with God, but by believing and trusting in God.
His faith is an example to us all. Even when his body and that of his wife’s were incapable of producing a child, he believed God’s promise that they would have a boy. If God told you that a 100-year-old man and a 90-year-old woman would have a child, would you believe it? Faith believes what cannot be seen or reasoned with the natural mind. Faith pleases God.
What has God promised to you? He has promised all believers that He will transform them into the likeness of His Son. You may look at your thoughts and actions today and think it is impossible, but God has promised. Won’t you be like Abraham who looked beyond the natural and was fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He promised? Once you are fully persuaded, begin to act by faith on the promise.
Consider: Live in the confidence that what He has begun, He will bring to completion. It will keep you from wallowing in your failures.