June 28, 2011

Go----with courageous faith

The disciples must have been a bit intimidated to have walked where Jesus walked and witnessed the extraordinary things that He did.  INCREDIBLE miracle after miracle----Healing, delivering, setting free..........they SAW with their own eyes Christ's resurrected body---- 
...............And then Christ says to them------GO

"What!??!  ME?  This is Peter you're talking to, Jesus.  Remember?  This is too BIG for me."

All along they were WITH Jesus---- watching and witnessing all of the things He spoke and the things He did.  Phillip, Thomas, Peter.....all of them.  Limited resources, limited strength, limited understanding....................
Now He says, GO.  Even GREATER things you will do.

Thomas Phillip and Judas were full of questions. Jesus was giving them some final instructions before He left this earth to be with the Father.  But listen to what Jesus tells them....
John 14: 11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father's name convince you.]  12I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.

                                                               Here is what I want you to notice................
    13And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son.
    14[Yes] I will grant [I Myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].

For His great Honor.
Presenting all that He IS!!!!!!!!!!!!
For His glory.  To proclaim the GOODNESS of our God.
So that He displays HIMSELF mighty and INCREDIBLE in our lives.
So that it all points.................to Him.
On our own? Our efforts are futile.  Our methods are weak and feeble.
But going in the authority of the One who called us to GO?.....going in the POWER of the Holy Spirit and God showing Himself off through our obedience to GO?

We can trust that when God calls us to GO?  He equips us...He will show up.....He will accomplish what it is He's wanting to accomplish through us.  And when God shows up?  GREAT things happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When people see God act on our behalf....when people see God do such extraordinary things through us..........................they can't help but see GOD through our frailty.  He does such great things for us and through us and in us.....for HIS NAME'S sake!
..............................SO that the world might KNOW Him.  As we know Him.
Courageous faith:)...*KNOWING* the enormity of God's power and trusting that He will follow through on His promises. "KNOWING* that if God commands you to act, then God has a plan for victory. Courageous faith keeps you going. Trust in His power, in His character, in His promises, and in His Word. When our faith is in the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God, what should we fear?
The disciples had to GO in courageous faith.  They didn't have Jesus with them anymore.  He did however leave the Holy Spirit with them.  He says THIS to them:
   26But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. 27Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
 Think about Gideon.
In Judges 6 Gideon is feeling discouraged and defeated.  And an angel of the Lord comes to him and says, 'God is with you, Mighty Warrior."  He immediately questions the angel with doubt-----"With me, my master? If God is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracle-wonders our parents and grandparents told us about, telling us, 'Didn't God deliver us from Egypt?' 
"And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go..... in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?"   (Judges 6:14).
If the Lord says GO......He's already you the strength and endurance and power to do what He's asking of you.  And with courageous faith we GO......in the power He's given us.  With authority.  Boldness.  Confidence.   Assurance. 
                            KNOWING that God will do mighty things through you.

June 23, 2011

People of influence

When Jesus called each of His 12 disciples it was with intention and purpose. He was looking ahead.  He wasn't just gathering a posse.  I'm sure it was nice to have the company while Jesus was making His way to the cross.  But truth be told------------He didn't NEED them for His own comfort.  They failed Him anyway.  There He was sweating drops of blood and crying in the garden and His so-called "friends" were sleeping.  And when Jesus was in His DARKEST hour?  They all fled the scene.  Peter denied he even KNEW Jesus.  No---------Jesus wasn't counting on them to get Him through this.  That's not why He called them.

     When I was little my understanding didn't go past the fact that Jesus just needed some groupies.  Yes, they were His friends, of course.  I imagined them sitting around the campfire...laughing and singing. Them trailing behind Him as He went from place to place doing miracles...commenting to one another as He did the next extraordinary thing.   No doubt He loved them very much......it was obvious. I  can imagine at times He got very frustrated with them in their limited understanding and lack of faith.  We can see it in the scriptures!  Scolding Peter, telling the disciples they had no faith, explaining things over and over again to still have them ignorant of what He was saying.  HA!  They were a tough bunch to work with!!! 

..............but it wasn't for companionship that He called them.  The time spent with Jesus was training ground.  The disciples weren't looking beyond the moment.  We know that.  They didn't understand what was to come.   If you follow their story---all along----you see Jesus teaching them.  TELLING them what was to come.   And they STILL didn't get it.  In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says THIS to Peter:   "I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it."    Jesus knew Peter.........He knew Peter was a man who had his foot in his mouth constantly.  Jesus knew Peter's limitations and he knew that when Peter was up against it----he would deny that he even KNEW Jesus and betray his friend.  But Jesus----------------------is still looking ahead. 

   Jesus CALLED them -----to GO.  In Luke 9 we see it.  When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority .........  and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

He called them to send them out.....two by two...with AUTHORITY.  (Mark 6:7)   To be His hands and feet.  To be His voice.  To bring the GOOD NEWS everywhere their feet would tread.  To do GREAT and mighty things for the Kingdom.  To heal and deliver and set free.  Peter was called at the very beginning to build a church that the gates of hell couldn't penetrate.   Even on the Mount of Transfiguration the disciples just couldn't see beyond the moment.  Come to think of it------------------they were sleeping THEN too!   There Jesus stands...talking with Moses and Elijah.....and Peter James and John are sleeping. (Luke 9:32)   And again, run-at-the-mouth-talk-first-think-later-live-for-the-moment Peter (still in his limited understanding) says.... “Master, it is good for us to be here!!!!  let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (verse 33).   Let's just hang out here!  

...................But there was work to be done.
Things to be accomplished for the Kingdom.
And they didn't have to do it alone.  He gave them the Holy Spirit.

Just like Jesus' disciples (who were "students" that were learning from a "teacher")..............who eventually became APOSTLES (sent forth as a messengers)..............We are called -----TO GO!

...........................................................to INFILTRATE the world around us and INFLUENCE by our testimony and our example.   We are the body of Christ....it takes each one of us to continue building the church that the gates of hell cannot prevail against. 

We are here for a purpose.......we're not doing anybody any good when we hide behind the security of our comfort zones in our limited understanding. 

We GO in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the authority of the One who called us....to PROCLAIM the Good News.....share God's goodness.  Bring healing, deliverance, HOPE and PEACE to a world that has none. 

Living our lives DELIBERATELY and ON PURPOSE.