Saturday, June 22, 2002

The True Look of Power

Of all the miracles God has ever done, which would you give first place on your top ten list? Creation of the world? Parting of the Red Sea? (Charlton Heston got some mileage out of that one). Tearing down Jericho? Saving Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace? Feeding thousands with several sardine sized fish and some biscuits? Perhaps one of the many healings Jesus provided? Putting the guard’s ear back on his head after Peter swung his sword? There are so many to choose from.

Did you know God has one at the top of His list? Yep. Here it is…

"17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." Ephesians 1:17-23 (NIV)

The greatest display of God’s power is putting life back into a very, very dead body. The power of God is best displayed in bringing life where death appears to reign.

The human race has been able to accomplish the incredible. Banish diseases, communicate without wires, walk on the moon, even make “food” out of chemicals. But we cannot put life back into a body that has surrendered it. Perhaps our power in so many other places causes this powerlessness in the face of death to frustrate us more deeply. We stand beside the body of a loved one and feel so powerless, are so powerless because there is nothing we can do to bring him back.

Ah, but God. God. GOD is not limited as we are. He brought Jesus back to life with no trouble at all. And some day, will bring all back to life. No matter what conditions those bodies are in. The power of God is best displayed in bringing life where death appears to reign.

It is still happening today. No, we don’t see people crawling out of caskets very often. But we do see God bringing life where death appears to reign.

A man who has pursued position and pleasure, neglecting his family and hurting his friends turns to God for forgiveness. Life comes where death appeared to reign.

A woman has given up on a marriage that is stone cold dead. She turns to God because nothing else has worked. God brings life where death reigned in her heart and over the course of time brings life to her husband and their marriage. The power of God is best displayed in bringing life where death appears to reign.

A teen is on the brink of ending it all. Nothing seems to matter or make sense. When all seems lost, God’s love penetrates to bring life where death reigned.

God wants to give us His power. More than we want to receive it. So what is the hold up? Look at the scripture again. When did Jesus receive God’s power? Only after surrendering to the Father’s will, going to the cross and dying. He had to die first, then the life giving power came to bring life where death had reigned and seated Him on the throne of heaven. No surrender, no death, no power. Great surrender, great death to self, great power.

Same with us. When does life come to our souls, our marriages, our churches, our dreams? Only after we surrender them to God in trusting obedience and die to ourselves. And only then. As long as we want control, we will remain dead. Even when we think we are alive. (There are a whole lot of walking dead people around us). But at the point of giving ourselves in obedient surrender to God, we experience the life giving power. No telling God what to do. No making deals with Him or attempts at manipulation. Simply giving ourselves unconditionally.

One other thought. That power is most often funneled through a Christian in whom God’s power is at work through His Spirit. Don’t look for it “out there,” watch for it to come through one of God’s kids. And those of us who are God’s kids must allow that power to work through us.

So, what do you need God’s power for today? He’s willing and ready. Don’t tell Him what to do, just give Him yourself and your circumstances. No conditions, no preconceived ideas, no timelines, no fine print, no buyout clauses. Just surrender into the arms of your loving heavenly Daddy and let Him work.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002


The popular acronym, WWJD, has been around for several years. It’s a good one. What Would Jesus Do? A good question to ask when contemplating any plan of action.

I have another one. I think we should make bracelets and jewelry to remind us of a different question to ask when facing all circumstances. WIGS? What Is God Seeing?

I happened across this question in the past few weeks as I’ve thought about situations that make me go, “hmmm.” Those circumstances that appear wrong, upside down and sideways. That frustrate us and anger us and make us cry and challenge our faith. I’ve realized that our first impression of those is nearly always from a human perspective. And that the human perspective never gives us ability to see what is really happening. Only God’s eternal perspective gives us the ability to see the true picture. Thus, “What Is God Seeing?” is the question to ask.

The king of Aram was ticked at Elisha, (2 Kings 6). His majesty was trying to defeat the nation of Israel and Elisha continually warned the king of Israel. When the army of Aram set an ambush, Elisha warned Israel. When Aram planned to attack, Israel knew of it because of Elisha. The king of Aram became so enraged he gathered his leaders and asked, “Which one of us is on the side of Israel?” "None of us, my lord the king," said one of his officers, "but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom."

Now you would think, wouldn’t you, that since Elisha had demonstrated such incredible ability his majesty would pause just a bit before charging headlong against such a prophet. Nope. The king of Aram immediately sent troops to capture Elisha. The prophet’s servant woke up the next day to see the chariots and horses of Aram surrounding the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.

Press pause for a second. What was the servant seeing? Horses, chariots, soldiers, danger, impossible odds. Were they real? No question. The result was fear and panic. He thought it was over, curtains for them all.

Back to the story. Elisha seemed far too calm. Instead of fear he exuded confidence. Unruffled, he replied, "Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Press pause again. What did Elisha see? Soldiers, chariots and horses AND horses and chariots of fire straight from Heaven. I wish I could have seen the look on the servant’s face! That would have been priceless. Were the horses and chariots of fire real? Oh, yeah. Just as real as the army of Aram. Why could Elisha see both armies? Because Elisha was seeing what God sees. When God opened the servant’s spiritual eyes, he saw what God sees.

Most of the time we only see part of the picture. Not even the best part. Because we are only viewing what we can touch. The human perspective. Pretty stupid, huh? Yep. Me, too. This is where the acronym comes in. When we look at life, we need to ask WIGS -- What is God seeing? Then we need to pray as Elisha, “Open our eyes so we may see.” When we do, God will pick us up, put us on His shoulders to see our lives as He sees them. The big picture. Not all the details and results, we are finite after all. But enough of His eternal perspective to give us confidence and trust in Him no matter what we’re facing.

So what are you seeing these days? What are the soldiers of Aram in your life? Would you like to be flattened by fear and panic, or would you like to watch unruffled as the forces of heaven are unleashed into your life? I thought so. Then ask … WIGS? And allow God to open your spiritual eyes.

For the rest of the story read 2 Kings 6:8-23.