Sunday, 21 May 2017

Recognizing God’s Power

Recognizing God’s Power

                William Barclay wrote, “The Christian hope is the hope
which has seen everything and endured everything, and has still not despaired, because it believes in God. The Christian hope is not hope in the human spirit, in human goodness, in human endurance, in human achievement; the Christian hope is hope in the power of God.  This is the hope that we need to revive when we feel that our power has been taken away. But how do we recognize God’s Power?
                The creative power of God to speak into existence the world we inhabit and explore demonstrates God’s unique power.  Hebrews 11:3 and Psalm 33:6 and 9 describe God’s creative power—out of nothing the worlds were made; God spoke and it was done.
                God’s supernatural power enabled the Nile River to turn into blood, when the sun stood still for Moses, when Jesus walked on the water, turned water into wine, etc people saw the miracles yet were they miracles or supernatural power of God being demonstrated.  Miracles are the glimpses of restoration.
                God’s transformative power involves the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to Paul and even in modern times—C.S. Lewis a former atheist! The New Testament shows changes in people and in culture. None of the early Christians were powerful and often they were unpopular, persecuted and maligned. Yet within 300 years Rome became Christian.
                This power—comes from God and can only be used when He wants to show it. This is usually when we are weak and we turn to God for help. Human weakness is the perfect opportunity for God to demonstrate His power to accomplish anything that is in His perfect will. Your greatest weakness can become the gateway to God’s greatest demonstration of power in your life. 2 Cor 12:9.  “My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness.” Paul responds, ”When I am weak, than I am strong!”     
How much hope have you put in the power of God in your own life? Why? In which areas have you expected or hope to experience His power?
Have you ever experienced God’s transforming power in your own life? What about in someone else’s life?
Do you rely and trust in God’s power now and are you really trusting that God will/can raise us from the dead by His power?
PRAYER Holy God of grace and love we praise you for the power you have to create all things, transform people and to show us glimpses of your restorative love. We praise you that we might have hope because of this power and your love. Speak to our hearts again as we seek you and as we search for you in our every day living. Help us in our unbelief. Amen.

Reflection based upon Dan Schaeffer. The power of weakness. Discovery House Publishers, 2014, p. 61-74.                                                                                                        

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Admitting Our Weaknesses

Admitting Our Weaknesses

                What’s been on your mind lately? As I write this the

 sun is shining brightly on a Monday morning with the temperature not nearly as warm as it should be. But I am welcoming the sun after the rain has been falling for over 3-4 days. As a write, I am thinking about the extremes of what our world experiences in certain areas and at certain times of the year. In eastern Africa where almost desert conditions exist there has been no rain for several weeks and the draught has caused food crops to dry up. As a result of this there is famine and people are seeking food assistance.  Yet with recent North American storms there has been an incredible amount of rain causing rivers and lakes to swell. Hardest hit are the communities of Gatineau and Oka in Quebec. Army reserve personnel have been flown in to assist the families to evacuate and/or sandbag their property which is be flooded by 2-3 feet of water.
                What do we do? Pray for no rain/ or rain? Maybe we need to check for causes of these extremes and ask for balance rain when we need it, and sunshine other times.  But what does this mean if we are unsure of what to ask for? Is it a sign of weakness or humility in not knowing what is best or is it merely a need to hand everything over to God to deal with?
                Dan Schaeffer’s book The Power of Weakness points out that it is difficult to admit our weaknesses even if these weaknesses are questions which we cannot answer, or prayers we are unsure to ask. 2 Corinthians 11:30 states, “If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.”
                What are your weaknesses? How do you recognize them and do you do anything to let them go or grow in strength? Our fear of admitting weakness is real, but so is the power of God available to us through that very same weakness.

Wonderful God you made us and we know we are both weak and strong because of the gifts you bestow upon us. Help us O God to recognize our weaknesses and then giving them to you, enable us to grow a little bit at a time. Show us O God your way to be strengthened in faith and with hope. Amen.
Reflection based upon Dan Schaeffer. The power of weakness. Discovery House Publishers, 2014, p. 37-59.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

We’re Not Alone

We’re Not Alone”
                                                                        Hebrews 11

                God chose the weak so that no one may boast before
God. (I Cor. 1:26-29). But we need to be reminded that God loves us and we are not alone no matter what we do or say.
                In reading Hebrews 11, one will read the stories of strong heroes of the Bible but the chapter concludes that these men and women were made strong from their weakness. They were not strong to begin with but God enabled them to become strong. The power of God launched from their weakness to enable them to become strong.
                The power of God is seen most clearly when there is no other explanation that will do justice to the events. But not everyone believes that God does take the weak to bring about change.
                Throughout Paul’s life he suffered physical problems. Paul wanted to know that God was working through his weaknesses to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God so that God would receive the glory. When life got difficult for Paul he learned to relax because though he could not handle it all, he didn’t have to. Christ wanted to demonstrate His power in a remarkable way through Paul and so in Paul’s weakness, Christ was strong. (p.32)
                What are your weakness? And are you really honest about yourself in all matters of life when it comes to naming these weaknesses? We should note that weakness is not a failure but just that- a weakness and it is standard to all people. But people also have strength and through faith and experience one learns to understand what those strengths are and can be. Yet we must also take into consideration where we are and what we are doing and if we recognize the fact that God is with always even when we think we cannot do what he calls us to do.
                God wants us to demonstrate His power through our weakness. The only things stopping this I that we do not know how to access His power or we think only individuals like Moses can do this. Jesus became weak for our sake. How can we use our weakness for God’s glory?
How difficult is it for you to be honest about your weaknesses? Has anyone pointed out weaknesses which you were not aware? How did you feel? How did you react? Did you learn from this?
Where are your strengths in terms of relationships and knowledge? Why do you define them as strengths and how did these strengths become strong in your experience?

Holy God we praise you for the many examples of people who were weak and yet grew to be faithful and strong people. We pray that you will speak to us about our weaknesses so that we might grow stronger in faith and in life. Be with us we pray. Amen.  

Reflection based upon Dan Schaeffer. The power of weakness. Discovery House Publishers, 2014, p. 23-36.