Brokenness to Beauty

Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life


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Goliaths and Greater Things

In my last post I pointed out that David was faithful in his everyday, ordinary life as a shepherd, guiding and guarding the sheep, and sometimes fighting lions and bears at great personal risk. It was there, in his everyday life, that he grew strong wielding the weapons of his trade—the staff and sling and stones—and he grew strong in faith in God. He knew God and could confidently say, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …”

We too live ordinary, everyday lives. We too face our lions and bears, those trials and difficulties that come into our lives, perhaps threatening our livelihood, our health, our families or even our very lives. These are the enemies that come to defeat us, enemies that threaten to destroy us.

Prayer

Are we being faithful to fight them with the weapons given us—prayer and praise and the Word of God? Are we becoming adept in their use and growing in strength, growing in our trust in God? Can we say as David did, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …”?

 

Praise

It is only in our ordinary, everyday lives, faithfully facing the enemies that would destroy us—our lions and bears—that we learn to fight, becoming skilled and strong to defeat the enemy.

Word of God

Ordinary life is where we learn to know and trust the LORD, bringing him glory as we fight our personal enemies.

This, too, is where we learn to recognize another kind of enemy: Goliath.

Goliath wasn’t David’s personal enemy and he isn’t ours, though most of us have heard the story in those terms.

Considering the biblical text (I Samuel 17), Goliath is a different sort of enemy. Goliath comes against and defies the armies of the living God; he defies the LORD of Hosts, the Lord Almighty.

Goliath is anything that is contrary to the person and purposes of God and he must be fought with weapons, not of this world, but weapons that have “divine power to demolish strongholds … and everything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God …” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). What are these weapons?

Prayer and praise and the Word of God. The same weapons we use in our everyday lives. Powerful weapons that we only become skilled at using by fighting our lions and bears, the trials that come to us in our ordinary, everyday lives.

The power of these weapons is spiritual, not of our flesh or the world, not originating with us but with God’s Spirit who lives in us.

Unlike David, who refused to wear the armor given him by King Saul because it didn’t fit and David hadn’t tried it to become skilled in its use, we do have full armor given us by God. It fits us; it is powerful and effective when we become used to using it in our everyday lives. Paul outlined this armor in Ephesians 6:10-18 (TLB):

10 “Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.

13 So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up.

14 But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s approval15 Wear shoes that are able to speed you on as you preach the Good News of peace with God. 16 In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. 17 And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the Word of God.

18 Pray all the time. Ask God for anything in line with the Holy Spirit’s wishes. Plead with him, reminding him of your needs, and keep praying earnestly for all Christians everywhere.” (Emphases added.)

When Jesus was on earth he fought many Goliaths. When he was about to leave earth and return to his Father in heaven he said to his disciples, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. … And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. … For he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:12-17, emphasis added).

Jesus obviously expected that we too would fight, not only lions and bears, but Goliaths. All over the world. Else what did he mean by saying, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8)? (Notice the triple “and.” We as God’s people are to be witnesses  in Jerusalem, and …, and …, and ….)

Or this, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20)?

The Spirit was given for specific purposes. He gives us strength to combat our bears and lions in our ordinary lives. And he empowers us to bear witness to who Jesus is, what he has done, and teach others what he taught. Fighting Goliaths. The Spirit fighting for us for God’s glory.

The questions we must ask ourselves are:

  1. Do I recognize Goliath when I see him? He defies the armies of the living God. He mocks God to his face.
  2. When I do see him, do I have the spirit of David that says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
  3. And do I have the chuztpah to reply to the naysayers as David did, drawing on his experience of trusting God and finding him faithful to deliver, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:34-37, emphasis added).”
  4. Do I have the jealousy for God’s Name that makes me willing to put “skin” in the game, my skin, for his Name and glory?

The greater works we are to do, that Jesus expects us to do, are waiting to be done. They are there waiting for us to step forward, as David did, in the Name of the Lord Almighty, that the Father may be glorified in the Son—through us.

“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, … and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands’”(1 Samuel 17:45-47 NIV, emphasis added).

Let us get stronger every day wielding the weapons of our warfare—prayer and praise and the Word of God—fighting our everyday lions and bears so that we may be strong in the Spirit and fit to recognize and fight Goliath—doing those greater things—for the sake of his Name, for the glory of the Father.

Let us fear God more than men.

How have you fared with your lions and bears? Are you growing stronger and more confident in the Lord through your trials? Have you discerned the Goliath, who defies the living God, that you should be challenging him for the sake of God’s Name? How is it going?

Send me your questions and comments about this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scriptures copied from https://www.biblegateway.com

Photo credits:

Photo of woman praying at a conference, Centerpoint Church, 2017

Photo of man (Praise) by Oleander IMG_5787

Photo of Bible by pt1wzi-by-jclk8888-img_7190_p.jpg

Adapted and reposted from original blog post of November 3, 2015.

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Fighting Everyday Lions and Bears

Fighting lions and bears. That’s what David said.

“When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.” He went on to declare, “When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.”[1]

Now, I’ve seen a bear close up. Sure, it was at night and all I could see was a big round, furry looking thing lumbering swiftly away from me, but I knew it was a bear. We saw its tracks in the snowy yard the next morning and followed the trail of garbage up the hill into our neighbor’s yard. No sheep, just garbage. Hungry bears apparently are not fussy about their meals. From the size of that behind and the paw tracks it left, I’m glad it wasn’t running toward me!

Bear! by sgarton

A lion and a bear. Running after it. Grabbing the sheep from its jaws and then grabbing the beast by the hair and killing it. That is an amazing feat. Done not once but twice. All in the line of duty. Just part of the ordinary life of a shepherd.

David was responsible and dependable. He could be trusted to take care of business, in this case, sheep keeping: guarding and guiding.

David was faithful to guide and guard and fight, doing what he had to do; he did the right thing, even at great risk to himself. He may have had the scars to prove it. He used the weapons of his profession—the sling and stones and staff—becoming adept in their use. In the process of fighting the lion and bear he grew skilled and strong.

His faith in God grew as well, for David knew he didn’t do his fighting alone. “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear ….”

David was faithful in his everyday, ordinary life. He trusted in God.

We all live ordinary lives. We all face our lions and bears, those trials and difficulties that come into our everyday, ordinary lives, perhaps threatening our livelihood or even our life. These are the enemies that come to snatch away our lives, enemies that threaten to destroy us. Are we being faithful to fight them with the weapons given us—prayer and praise and the Word of God? Are we becoming adept in their use and growing in strength, growing in our trust in God? Can we say as David did, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …”

It is only in our ordinary, everyday lives, faithfully facing the enemies that would destroy us—our lions and bears—that we learn to fight, becoming skilled and strong in spirit.

Ordinary life is where we learn to trust the LORD and become adept at wielding the weapons he has given us—prayer, praise and the Word of God.

What bears or lions are you facing today? Health issues, fearful job or financial challenges, death or disease of a loved one, divorce, addiction? So many beasts that would tear us apart and destroy us. Only by wielding the weapons of prayer, praise (yes, praise) and the Word of God, in the power of God’s Spirit, can we successfully defeat such enemies.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15)

But that’s not the end of the story. Fighting lions and bears has another vastly important function in our everyday, ordinary lives. For only as we learn to rely on God and fight those enemies successfully will we, like David, recognize and be fit to face the giant, Goliath, who defies the armies of the Living God.

More on that in my next blog post.

 

[1] 1 Samuel 17:34-37

 

Adapted from original blog post of October 27, 2015

 


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It’s all a matter of the Will

Springtime in Georgia is beautiful, with many flowering bushes, large and small. I was there the middle of April and watched the buds on my hostess’ rhododendron bush open into full bloom. It reminded me of the large rhododendron in the yard of my former home in West Virginia. Gorgeous.

Almost heaven, West Virginia, where everything is green ... and grows!

Almost heaven, West Virginia, where everything is green … and grows!

 

While I was in Georgia representing Mustard Seeds and Mountains at a missions conference, I was able to attend three book signing parties for my book, Brokenness to Beauty, put on for me by long-time friends.  I so appreciate each of these host ladies! I got to visit with them, share about the ministry of Mustard Seeds and Mountains with the guests, and then had readings from and discussion about my book, Brokenness to Beauty. One passage we read was from Chapter 5—The Scriptures, Our Life:

“I remember well my daily struggles with fear, pain, and uncertainty in the days of cancer treatment, crying many tears as I talked to God. Though Randy was able to be with me for a few months at the beginning of my treatment, most of that year and a half he was back in West Virginia working while I stayed in California. Every day I turned to the Bible. I poured out my heart to God in prayer as I read his Word.

I once wrote on my blog:

The Scriptures, God’s words to us, sustain me daily. They are our life. They bring the only light to this dark path.

At the end of his wilderness journey, Moses knew he was about to die. He had faithfully obeyed the words of the Lord. He led the Israelites out of Egypt, bore up under the crushing load of their complaining and rebellion against God (and himself), and gave them the law of God, the first five books of the Bible.

Before he turned over the reins of leadership to Joshua, Moses sang a scathing song of warning and chastisement before giving the Israelites one last charge. He said:

Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life (Deuteronomy 32:46–47).

These words about the Bible are for me as much as for the Israelites of thousands of years ago. The Scriptures are not idle words for me; they are my life. I take that statement to heart.”

God has given us his words. Do we grasp the significance of that? I am convinced, even from my own life, that we do not understand as we ought what it means to have God’s words. If we did our lives would be different!

His words are meant to transform us. That only happens when we take them in (usually through reading and studying them), understand them to some degree, put them into practice, and by so doing change our thoughts, words, behaviors and lifestyles.

As I write this blog post on my laptop in my home in Bakersfield, CA, I marvel at the patient work of God in my life, even though I’ve been slow to learn the value and importance of his words.

The words of God to the Israelites are for me, and for you, today:

Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. (Deuteronomy 32:46–47, emphasis mine)

Will we take seriously, to our very hearts, the words of warning from the Word of God given to us through Moses and the other writers of the Scriptures?

Will we faithfully teach our children to carefully obey the Word of God, setting the example for them to follow our steps of faith and obedience?

Will we grasp the truth that the Word of God is our very life, not to be taken lightly or pushed aside, following the noise of the culture around us?

Will we live in the truth that we do have all the time we need for spending in God’s Word (rather than the lie that “I don’t have time”)?

Will we strive, as the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 4 verse 11, to enter into God’s rest through diligently obeying his revealed word?

It’s all a matter of the Will.

No more excuses.

May we will to do his Will. God help us.

And he will.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed … work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13, NASB.)

 

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


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Goliaths and Greater Things

Picking up with the topic I started before my last post, Interlude of Fun in the Twilight Zone: David was faithful in his everyday, ordinary life as a shepherd, guiding and guarding the sheep, sometimes at great personal risk fighting lions and bears. It was there, in his everyday life that he grew strong wielding the weapons of his trade–the staff and sling and stones–and he grew strong in faith in God. He knew God and could confidently say, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …” (see I Samuel 17).

We too live ordinary, everyday lives. We too face our lions and bears, those trials and difficulties that come into our lives, perhaps threatening our livelihood, our families or even our very lives with health problems. These are the enemies that come to defeat us, enemies that threaten to destroy us.

Repent by jclk8888

Repent by jclk8888

Are we being faithful to fight them with the weapons given us—prayer and praise and the Word of God? Are we becoming adept in their use and growing in strength, growing in our trust in God? Can we say as David did, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …”

It is only in our ordinary, everyday lives faithfully facing the enemies that would destroy us—our lions and bears—that we learn to fight, becoming skilled and strong.

Ordinary life is where we learn to know and trust the LORD, bringing him glory as we fight our personal enemies. This, too, is where we learn to recognize another kind of enemy: Goliath.

Goliath wasn’t David’s personal enemy and he isn’t ours, though most of us have heard the story in those terms. Goliath is not our personal lion or bear. Oh no. He is a different enemy. Goliath, to be consistent with the text, in I Samuel 17, comes against and defies the armies of the living God; he defies the LORD of Hosts, the Lord Almighty.

Goliath is anything that is contrary to the person and purposes of God and he must be fought with weapons, not of this world, but weapons that have “divine power to demolish strongholds … and everything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God …” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Prayer and praise and the Word of God. These are the powerful weapons that we only become skilled at using in our ordinary, everyday lives fighting our lions and bears. The power of these weapons is spiritual, not of our flesh or the world, not originating with us but with God’s Spirit who lives in us.

When Jesus was on earth he fought many Goliaths. When he was about to leave and return to his Father in heaven he said to his disciples, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. … And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. … for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:12-17, NIV, emphasis added).

Jesus obviously expected that we too would fight Goliaths, all over the world. Else what did he mean by saying, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV)? (Notice the triple “and,” not “or.”)

Or this, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV)?

The Spirit was given for specific purposes, as we read from the above verses.

The questions we must ask ourselves are:

  1. Do I recognize Goliath when I see him?
  2. When I do see him, do I have the spirit of David that says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
  3. And do I have the chuztpah to reply to the naysayers as David did, drawing on his experience of trusting God and and finding him faithful to deliver, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:34-37, NIV, emphasis added).”
  4. Do I have the jealousy for God’s Name that makes me willing to put “skin” in the game, my skin, for his Name and glory?

The greater works we are to do, that Jesus expects us to do, are waiting to be done. They are there waiting for us to step forward, as David did, in the name of the Lord Almighty, that the Father may be glorified in the Son—through us.

“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, … and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands’”(1 Samuel 17:45-47).

Let us get stronger every day wielding the weapons of our warfare—prayer and praise and the Word of God—fighting our everyday lions and bears so that we may be strong in the Spirit and fit to recognize and fight Goliath–doing those greater things–for the sake of his Name, for the glory of the Father.

Let us fear God more than men.

How have you fared with your lions and bears? Have you discerned the Goliath that you should be challenging for his Name sake? How is it going? Send me your questions and comments about this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Copied from https://www.biblegateway.com

 

 


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Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

Well, maybe not tigers, but definitely lions and bears. That’s what he said, “When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.” He went on to declare, “When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.”[1]

Bear! by sgarton

Bear! by sgarton

Now, I’ve seen a bear close up. Sure, it was at night and all I could see was a big round, furry looking thing lumbering swiftly away from me (thank goodness it was going in the opposite direction!), but I knew it was a bear. We saw its tracks in the snowy yard the next morning and followed the trail of garbage up the hill into our neighbor’s yard. No sheep, just garbage. Hungry bears apparently are not fussy about their meals. From the size of that behind and the paw tracks it left, I’m glad it hadn’t run toward me!

A lion and a bear. Running after it. Grabbing the sheep from its jaws and then grabbing the beast by the hair and killing it. That is an amazing feat. Done not once but twice. All in the line of duty. Just part of the ordinary life of a shepherd.

David was responsible and dependable. He could be trusted to take care of business, in this case, sheep keeping: guarding and guiding.

David was faithful to fight and do what he had to do; he did the right thing, even at great cost to himself. He may have had the scars to prove it. He used the weapons of his profession—the sling and stones and staff—becoming adept at their use. In the process of fighting the lion and bear he grew skilled and strong. His faith in God grew as well, for David knew he didn’t do his fighting alone. “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear ….”

David was faithful in his everyday, ordinary life.

We all live ordinary lives. We all face our lions and bears, those trials and difficulties that come into our lives, perhaps threatening our livelihood or even our life. These are the enemies that come to snatch away our lives, enemies that threaten to destroy us. Are we being faithful to fight them with the weapons given us—prayer and praise and the Word of God? Are we becoming adept in their use and growing in strength, growing in our trust in God? Can we say as David did, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …”

It is only in our ordinary, everyday lives, faithfully facing the enemies that would destroy us—our lions and bears—that we learn to fight, becoming skilled and strong in spirit. Ordinary life is where we learn to trust the LORD.

What bears or lions are you facing today: Health issues, fearful job or financial challenges, death or disease of a loved one, divorce, addiction? So many beasts about that would tear us apart and destroy us. Only by wielding the weapons of prayer, praise (yes, praise) and the Word of God, in the power of God’s Spirit, can we successfully defeat such enemies.

But that’s not the end of the story. Fighting lions and bears has another vastly important function in our everyday, ordinary lives. For only in being faithful in ordinary life will we, like David, recognize and be fit to face the giant Goliath, who defies the Living God.

More on that next time we meet.

[1] 1 Samuel 17:34-37 New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Copied from https://www.biblegateway.com/


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Whatever you say, Jesus

“When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, ‘This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!’” (Matthew 14:14-16, NASB)

When we get the big picture, when we know what God is about (God’s purposes in the world, his kingdom agenda, a biblical worldview) it gives us Perspective and a compass with which to set our course for life, prayer and ministry. The more we live by faith, the better we understand God’s thinking.

What I mean is, as we continue to saturate our lives with God’s words and live our lives in obedience to him and his words, we are changed little by little. The more or less of the changes in us is probably in direct proportion to our faith in and obedience to God (John 14:21). And some of it could be related to how much we are paying attention to what we are experiencing, in other words, our intentionality in our lives with the Lord.

As an example, about the time they got the news of John’s beheading, the disciples had just concluded a mission trip of touring the cities and villages of Israel in teams of two. Not only did they preach, but Jesus had conferred on them the power to heal and cast out demons, obviously directed at big problems in the country. Jesus listened to their post-trip reports and advised they all go away for a while to rest. This had been exhausting work. Enter the needy crowds (Mark 6:7, 12-13, 27-29, 30-32, 33-34).

Now think of it, the disciples had been casting out demons and healing people! Jesus gave them that power. It was very specific. Yet it didn’t seem to occur to the disciples that he could, should he so desire, give them similar powers to meet other needs. They never thought of it to ask him.

I’ve seen God to amazing things in my own life, not to mention in others’ lives. I raise my hand and profess to believe with all my heart in the power of God to do the impossible. I’ve heard scores of wonderful believers quote their favorite passage: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” (Ephesians 3:20), and believe with all their hearts that there is supernatural power “that works within us.”

I’ve seen this power at work, though it isn’t always as dramatic as what I envision the casting out of a demon would be. But it has been every bit as real and miraculous an act of God in answer to prayer.

However, that doesn’t mean I always transfer that knowledge to the next moment when I come up against an impassable wall, when I am stopped cold in my tracks by a gargantuan need I know I cannot meet. Just like the disciples didn’t connect their recent experience of God’s power given to them to heal and cast out demons, to the present moment when they saw thousands of hungry people who needed food.

So, having said all that (in my last three posts), what could have been the next “paragraph” in the disciples’ request to Jesus as they scrambled for a solution to the need of thousands of hungry people? By implication, what might be our next words to God in prayer as we encounter insurmountable needs?

Jesus had granted the disciples the ability to cast out demons and heal. Might he also grant them the power to feed thousands of people, especially when he told them to feed the crowd (Matt. 14:16)? It’s worth the asking.

“Jesus, um, we have a big problem. We’ve checked and we don’t have the money to buy enough food to feed all these people, and we don’t have the food on hand, only enough for one child. But we recall you have power to take care of big things and it seems to us this is not too big for you. In fact, you gave us power to heal and cast out demons just a while back so we were thinking, if you want to give us the power to somehow feed these thousands, we’re ready. We’re up for the challenge! Just say the word, Jesus, and we’ll do whatever you say.”

I will always ask God’s mind on an issue, and when I am certain it is something he approves, I want to have the boldness to say, “Jesus, um, we have a big problem … but I know you have the power to take care of big things … you have given us power to do “greater things” and I’m up for the challenge! Just say the word, Jesus, and I’ll do whatever you say.”

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20, 21).

 

Scriptures quoted from NASB  www.lockman.org