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Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? - Isaiah 53:1 NASB

Father God asks us a question through Isaiah the prophet. “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Or to put it in another way, Who get’s to see the mighty power of the Lord?

This is the prolog to Isaiah’s wonderful description of a Messiah who would be shamed, mocked, despised, bruised and crushed.

Is the Father saying “Look at My power displayed in how I can crush Jesus?”

NO!

That’s not it at all.

What is He saying?

He is introducing a recurring theme in Word.

God’s greatest strength is demonstrated in weakness. God’s greatest power comes crashing through vessels that, to the untrained eye, seem useless and discarded.

Paul writes of it in 2 Corinthians,

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB

It was a huge revelation to Paul at that time, but it by no means a new concept.

In fact, it is one of God’s favorite methods.

It’s known to all the world through 1 Samuel 17 where David defeats Goliath.

Jehoshaphat demonstrates the strength of weakness in 2 Chronicle 20 by sending the singers out before the armies of Israel and winning against enemy hoards.

Four lepers, locked outside the city gates during a siege deliver the entire city from sure starvation in 2 Kings 7.

Not to mention Gideon and the Midianites, Joshua and the ambush of AI, the masses of Israel escaping the armies of Egypt, Daniel in the lion’s den, and many others.

And we find it in the Lord’s instruction to the Church as she goes forth to labor in the Great Commission.

That is where I want to camp for a few minutes.

He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." - Acts 1:7-8 NASB

Let’s look at this promise. We’ll focus on two words.

“You will receive power…and you shall be My witnesses

From the BlueLetterBible: Dunamis - dü'-nä-mēs

Power: strength power, ability

1.inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
2. power for performing miracles
3. moral power and excellence of soul
4. the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
5. power and resources arising from numbers
6. power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

That get’s me psyched! We’re going to receive power when the Holy Spirit comes—come on—shout it with me - POWER! Dynamite power!

But what power? What kind of power are we talking about?

Power to be a witness.

When Jesus spoke these words, (yes—I know He didn’t speak Greek, but that’s how God chose to record if for us) the Greek word for witness had a pretty straight forward meaning. Much as you would expect, it meant one who gives testimony—one who tells what they have seen and heard.

So what’s the big deal—why the need for power?

As it turns out, this group who went forth as witnesses to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ changed the meaning of the word.

The Greek word we read as witness in Acts 1:8 is the word ‘martys.’ That’s right—it’s where we get our word martyr.

You see, this band of disciples took their testimonies and turned the world upside down. Yes there were signs and wonders accompanying their testimonies, but the most striking sign to the world that hated this message of the cross was not healings or miracles.

It was men and women laying down their lives.

It was the power of the cross manifest in multitudes of Christians dying for their faith.

So much so that the word witness came to mean one willing to die for their faith.

This is power made perfect in weakness.

This is God’s greatest demonstration of power.

And this is the promise of Acts 1:8—When the Holy Spirit comes, He will give you the power to lay down your life.

Hallelujah!

BenHeadshotThanks for coming by.

Keep the light on!

Ben

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Rembrandt's "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee"

What do you do with a high fever?

Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's home. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them. - Luke 4:38-39

Jesus spoke to it.

Selah

~~~

What do you do with a barren fig tree?

Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!" And His disciples were listening. - Mark 11:13-14

Jesus spoke to it.

Selah

~~~

What do you do with a violent storm on a raging sea?

And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. - Mark 4:37-39

Jesus spoke to it.

Selah

~~~

What do you do with an unclean spirit?

When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him,…
…For He had been saying to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" - Mark 5:2, 8

Jesus spoke to it.

Selah

~~~

What do you do with a dead girl?

While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?”…
... Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, "Talitha kum!" (which translated means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). - Mark 5:35, 41

Jesus spoke to her.

Selah

BenThanks for stopping in.

Speak to your mountains today!

Ben

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old-wooden-door-913-1166

…attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. - Colossians 2:2-3

Wealth – The wealth of the Kingdom of God comes not from the things you possess but from the ‘full assurance of understanding.’

Many Christians walk around with an assurance which can be rocked by circumstance or even by their own failures. That is because when they were led to the Lord they were sold an assurance that was based on an action they took.

What are you trying to say, Ben?

Ok – follow me here.

Perhaps you responded to a call at a crusade, or someone walked you through some spiritual laws.

What they said made sense. You did not want to die a hopeless death, doomed to an eternal fire, so you repeated a prayer with this counselor.

[Just for the record – there are thousands – perhaps millions of folks for whom this was the path that led to their solid and genuine salvation. But let’s get back to my example.]

You repeated a prayer with someone and then they took you to a scripture verse that ‘assured’ you of your salvation. Something like:

'AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.' - Acts 2:21

“So then,” says your evangelist, “are you saved?”

“I – I – guess so,” you say.

“Don’t let anyone talk you out of it,” say they. “Next…”

You walk away from this encounter ‘kingdom poor’ with a ‘faith’ you have been talked into. A faith based on your work (a repeated prayer) not Christ work (His death and resurrection and the offering He made at the thone of God.) The reason there is a danger of being talked out of this kind of faith, is that you have been led through a natural door of logic. What you have been talked into can be displaced by a better argument.

That’s why Paul says:

For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. - Colossians 1:29

He did not use natural means to bring salvation to the cities of Asia Minor. He was energized by the power of the Almighty within him.

He says in another place:

…and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. - 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

I pray today that if this is your story, that you would press in to the mystery of God – Christ Himself – ask Him to reveal Himself in you. If you have nothing but an argument for your faith, I pray today you will seek the mystery of the ages – Christ in you – that’s my hope and the hope of Glory!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Don’t hide your light – let it shine today.

Ben

 

4

The Pharisees made great sport of hassling Jesus about the disciples. These guys were not trained theologians. Most of them were tradesmen.

Imagine being out on a first century fishing vessel all night long. I am thinking there was probably not a lot of ceremony surrounding the eating of their supper.

But now that they were following a leader who played in the big leagues of religious thought, they were under the magnifying glass.

Let me be clear here – Jesus didn't set out to reform religion – He came to reconcile individuals and nations to their maker. [Tweet This] But He rocked the religious world, because religion is big business, and when you put it in the hands of the common man, you are making waves in pharisaical wading pools.

Today I find Jesus and the boys in Jerusalem and the Pharisees are picking on them once again.

Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread. - Matthew 15:2 NASB

Jesus puts it right back over to them with a question of His own.

And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? - Matthew 15:3 NASB

Then He takes them to task about not caring for their parents by ‘giving to God’, which, since they were ‘God’ employee’s (aka they worked for the organization they gave to) was really keeping the resources for themselves.

Then He really brings it home, and this is where I find the Word correcting me today.

And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. - Matthew 15:6 NASB

Hear this in the New King James:

Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. - Matthew 15:6 NKJV

Now we know that …

... the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12 NASB

But when we build constructs in our lives to protect our sin, or preserve self, we strip the Word of its power.

We strip the Word of its ability to change us.

We strip the Word of its ability to change others when we share it with them.

We are actually blinded to the intent of the Word, and like the Pharisees, we use the word to protect our pet projects, and to attack those who threaten our little society.

The Word of God is trying to transform you to the image of Christ. It has the power to change you. (bet your spouse wishes they had that power)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2 NASB

But when you use the Sword of the Spirit to attack and accuse your brothers and sisters – or even sinners and outsiders – you will find that rather than getting more and more like Christ, your love grows cold. You will find that your prejudices increase, your hate alarm is ringing off the wall, and your pride meter bursts through the roof.

You have stripped the Word of its transforming power!

It does not have to be this way. Let the Word act as a mirror first. Let it have it wonderful work in your life, then – and only then – you might hear the Spirit of God giving you the ability to HELP others.

Paul said it this way:

The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, (who oppose themselves – KJV) if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2:24-26 NASB

Don’t strip the Word of its power today. Let’s let it have it transforming work in us. Let’s hear it. Let’s do it. We can be hearers and doers, becoming more like Christ today.

BN Writers Page 150Thanks for stopping by today.

Shine someplace.

Ben

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Power

Written by cycleguy on March 31st, 2014

I opened up my browser to MSN Monday morning and the first news which greeted me was North and South Korea had taken shots at each other. History tells us it largely about POWER. North Korea wants power over South Korea.

Everyone probably knows the events which have consumed the news about Ukraine over the past couple of months. From the refusal of signing a document with the EU, international events have changed. A peaceful protest which turned ugly. Resignation. Rejoicing for a new hope and beginning. Russia overtaking Crimea with threats of more encroachment. It is about POWER.

Raising the price of gasoline to astronomical heights, not because it is best for the consumer, but because it lines pockets with more cash. POWER.  ... Read more

Cycleguy's Spin » Blog Archive Power | Cycleguy's Spin.

 


 

One of the blogs I follow - Pastor Bill Grandi - posted this today, and I thought it dovetailed very nicely with what was on my heart this morning.  I hope it blesses you today, as it did me.

Ben

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Photo Credit - google images

While we’re on the subject of praise …

[Yesterday we talked about the odd weapon you aim at your Commander rather than your enemy and Tuesday we talked about how praise adorns your heart-home to make it inviting for the Lord’s presence]

… I want to share this bit of AH HA.

There is a verse in the Psalms – well, let’s not just talk about it – let’s bring it right up on stage:

From the mouth of infants and nursing babes
You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. - Psalms 8:2

So what, you may ask, does this have to do with praise?

You might already know if you looked this up in another Bible. (Above is NASB – the AnotherRedLetterDay standard.) If you happen to have a Darby[i] on your shelf (electronic or otherwise) you would find this:

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established praise because of thine adversaries, to still the enemy and the avenger. - Psalms 8:2 DBY

At first this seems quite unaccountable.

The Hebrew word we are talking about here is ‘oz’ pronounced like the end of the word ‘Cheerios.’ The definition here has not the slightest reference to praise, rather it simply means strength or strong.

So how do we get to praise.

Well there is the way of logic and the way of the Master – walk with me for a couple minutes and I think you will enjoy this.

First the scenic route of logical popcorn theology (by that I mean pulling various verses from all over the place to prove your point – not that there is anything wrong with that – [wink])

1 – God inhabits [or is enthroned in] praise:

Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. - Psalms 22:3

2 – Where God is – there is joy:

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. - Psalms 16:11

3 – Joy is strength

Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. - Nehemiah 8:10

Therefore, my logical, mathematical conclusion is that praise = strength.

But as I said there is a more direct route.

There was a Guy a couple thousand years ago walking around Jerusalem, and getting some heat from the authorities because the crowds were calling out to Him for deliverance and the children were showering Him with praises. It seemed as thought they might riot and make Him King or Pope or something like that. And then...

…And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF'?" - Matthew 21:16

So did Jesus misquote the Psalm?

No – Jesus knew the power of praise – the strength of standing in the midst of your enemies, and turning your eyes directly on your wonderful God and filling your mouth with praise. [Tweet this]

Remember when Jehoshaphat led the Army of Israel into battle with the worship team up front. You can read it in 2 Chronicles 20.

The long and the short of the story is – well – here:

When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, "Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting." When they began singing and praising, the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. - 2 Chronicles 20:21-22

Conclusion

Got yourself is a tough spot? Turn your affections to Jesus, open your mouth and use this wonderful weapon.

Your lovingkindness truly is everlasting, Lord!

Ben NelsonHave a great day.

See you again soon.

Ben


[i] J. N. Darby translated the bible in 1890. This translation of the Bible is in the public domain.

1

And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NASB)

Counselor

Proverbs 8 poetically personifies Wisdom. When I read it, I can’t help thinking to my self – hey – That’s Jesus!

The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth; While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world. When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, When He set for the sea its boundary, So that the water should not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men. (Proverbs 8:22-31 NASB)

Doesn’t that sound like Jesus, the only Begotten of the Father, the First Born of all Creation? Doesn’t it sound like The Word of God made flesh?

What is counsel but wisdom applied to your circumstances?

One of the most important verses for our training in righteousness is in James where it tell us:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NASB)

And what kind of counsel did He give?

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. (Luke 4:32 KJV)

His counsel comes with power – authority. When He gives you guidance you can have complete confidence that this is the right way to walk.

Do you need wisdom applied to your circumstances today? Don’t hesitate. Don’t hold back. Run to the throne room where we have an open invitation. [Tweet This]

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NASB)

Ben NelsonMerry Christmas

See you tomorrow

Ben

 

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“I Shall Be Whole” { The Woman with an Issue of Blood } Painted by Al Young http://alyoung.com/art/work-hem.html
“I Shall Be Whole”
{ The Woman with an Issue of Blood }
Painted by Al Young http://alyoung.com/art/work-hem.html

Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" - Mark 5:30

When I read this, two things jump off the page for me.

First, Jesus sensed power flowing out of Him

Next, taking the passage at face value, He did not know where the power went.

(ok – let’s say three things)

Finally (for now) He did not cause the power to flow.

Power:

This power is tangible. Jesus could feel it flow or at least was aware of changes in it. This helps to inform me on what was up in Luke when he reports that:

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. - Luke 5:17 NKJV

Jesus carried an anointing for healing everywhere He went. There were times when He healed everyone, and there were times when He healed just one. There were times when He did amazing and over the top miraculous stuff, and there were times when ...

“He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.”(Mark 6:5)

So then – at least this time (I am loath to put Jesus in a box and say He does this under these conditions – so we will observe what He did do, but not assume that He does it exactly the same in every circumstance – is that fair?) Jesus was more or less a spectator, or perhaps a commentator on what God was doing with this woman.

She determined what to do. She pressed into proximity of Jesus. She touched Him. The power of God He was carrying responded to her faith.

Is that what happened? Does that sound too New Age-ey?

Did her faith move the power of God that was resident in Jesus without His knowledge or participation?

That’s the way I read it. How about you?

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NASB)

Counselor

Proverbs 8 poetically personifies Wisdom. When I read it, I can’t help thinking to my self – hey – That’s Jesus!

The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth; While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, Nor the first dust of the world. When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, When He made firm the skies above, When the springs of the deep became fixed, When He set for the sea its boundary, So that the water should not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men. (Proverbs 8:22-31 NASB)

Doesn’t that sound like Jesus, the only Begotten of the Father, the First Born of all Creation? Doesn’t it sound like The Word of God made flesh?

What is counsel but wisdom applied to your circumstances?

One of the most important verses for our training in righteousness is in James where it tell us:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NASB)

And what kind of counsel did He give?

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. (Luke 4:32 KJV)

His counsel comes with power – authority. When He gives you guidance you can have complete confidence that this is the right way to walk.

Do you need wisdom applied to your circumstances today? Don’t hesitate. Don’t hold back. Run to the throne room where we have an open invitation. [Tweet This]

Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NASB)

BenMerry Christmas

See you tomorrow

Ben

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

Christ ends the model prayer much as it began. Taking time again to acknowledge the greatness of the Father. The 3 “Ours” of the prayer (bread, forgiveness and guidance) are sandwiched in a God glorifying context.

Our needs are secondary to the kingdom and glory of our wonderful Father.

It’s Your kingdom we seek – Your reign in our lives, and in those around us, and in our world. We look forward to the day that the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ!

It’s Your power we see. We are not looking to become powerful, but rather to be empowered with Your power. We want to be a conduit of your power. Lord, help me be an outlet where others can plug in and tap the power of the Creator God I serve. [Tweet This]

It’s Your glory we would behold! It is all about the glory of God. When Jesus teaches us this prayer, it is so that you are able to pray a prayer that will bring Glory to God. Jesus tells us in John 15:7 that God is glorified by giving us what we ask for when we are in relationship with Him.

It’s forever!!!! Not only does it last forever but it starts here and now. You don’t have to die before God can begin to work in your life, and get glory for Himself through your life.

Thanks for reading today. Glorify Him in all you do and say today!

Ben

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