Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 10, 2011 … Empowered for Service

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 3: 20 … 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, …

My Journal for Today: Sometimes, when I read the Pauline epistles, I’m awed – maybe “overwhelmed” is a better word – by the Apostle’s strength in the face of all Paul endured [see 2nd Cor. 11: 23 – 29]. In essence, in this latter passage, we read of Paul who was boasting of what God had given him to endure all that he had gone through; and today’s verse, as well as 2nd Cor. 12: 7 – 11, documents how that could take place in the face of all the weaknesses imposed on him by his life. I became especially impressed by Paul’s fortitude this past month when my wife and I were blessed to travel to Athens, Ephesus, and other sites where Paul traveled in his three missionary journeys to the Asia- Minor and Europe. What the Apostle went through to carry the Gospel to the Gentile world, as documented in 2nd Cor. 11: 16-33, shows us that any person can endure much more than we think we can with the power given to us by the Holy Spirit to deal with our weaknesses (again see 1st Cor. 10: 13 and 2nd Cor. 12: 9 and Phil. 4: 13).

Yes, having stood on Mars hill in Athens, where the Apostle preached to lost Greek intellectuals about their idolatry; and having been in Ephesus where this missionary of the Gospel was almost stoned to death, I’m awed by Paul’s strength in the face of human weaknesses. But then I realize the truth in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, from which today’s verse is extracted. Paul, by contextual extension was praying for all believers (you and me included) to have the same power exhibited in our lives which was exhibited in his … that power activated when we surrender to God’s Spirit in the same way as Paul was Christ’s bond-slave.

So, when you or I surrender our lives in faith, as did Paul, the same infinitely powerful Holy Spirit, Who raised Christ from the dead and Who indwelt the Apostle Paul, is there for us … to empower and enable us to be overcomers as was Paul. Go to 2nd Cor. 4: 8 – 9, 16 and Rom. 8: 38 – 39; and from God’s truth you will see that the same Holy Spirit Who gave Paul his power is God’s Spirit, Who will allow no temporal circumstance to claim victory over us, in spite of our human weaknesses.

The Spirit of God, Who dwells in me, is the same Spirit whom Peter recognized would (and does) give any believing Christian all the spiritual resources necessary to face anything this life can dish out (see 2nd Peter 1: 3). And the only thing that limits the expression of God’s Spirit in and through me is ME. It is only my disbelief or my broken fellowship with Christ which limits me from becoming the Spirit-empowered Christian God wants me to be.

God, the Holy Spirit, is in me; and as Paul prays and declares in today’s verse, God can do, and will do, far more than I can ever ask or even imagine. So, it behooves me - and you if you’re reading here - to think big, …to ask big, and …to act big … because we have a big God in us, Who wants to do big stuff through us!

My Prayer Today: Lord, mold my belief to be big like You! Amen

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