Big Words of the Christian Life: Omnipotence (Part 2)

April 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Posted in big words of the Christian life | 2 Comments
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Previously, I showed that God’s power is limitless and logical. Now we will see that:

3. God’s power is laudable.

It is right and good to praise God for His power. God’s demonstration of His own attributes is always for the greatest good of His people. As He demonstrates His power, we find the assurance that our God can overcome any enemy and provide absolute protection for us. We were created to praise Him and find our ultimate joy in knowing Him.

Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

Psalm 21:13

The presence of His power is a key element and motivation in corporate worship, and it is easily observable in His universal creation. Such power fills those who are thinking correctly with sublime joy as they contemplate it and know that they are loved by the wielder of this magnificent power.

Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Psalm 150:1-2

4. God’s power is looming.

God’s power is a great comfort to His own children, but it also serves as a great threat looming over the heads of the defiant.

But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.

II Kings 17:36

God is not prone to uncontrollable fits of rage whereby He unleashes His fury without regard to His own will. No, a significant aspect of His power is the power to CONTROL that very power. However, once His power is directed by His wrath toward one of His creatures, any reasonable person would tremble in abject terror.

Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

Psalm 90:11

We are accustomed to the feeling of fear in this lifetime. However, there is a limit to the power of human beings that places a limit, too, on their ability to terrify us. No such limit exists in God. When we balance the fear of human beings or earthly institutions that might threaten to punish us for obeying God, it really should be no contest as to Whom we should really fear.

And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Luke 12:4-5

Perhaps the greatest power we hold in our finite human minds and hearts is the power of self-deception, so we should be constantly exposing our feelings and thoughts to the superior power of the Word of God.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

 

Leading Instead of Watching

May 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Selected Psalms | 10 Comments
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Psalm 105 is remarkable in the way it extols the wondrous works God had done among and for His people without really making much mention of the failures of His people. As Christians it would be a mistake to completely ignore our past failures, but the focus of our praise should be on God, not on us.

You may have heard Christian testimonies which go to one of two extremes. On the one hand some Christians almost seem to be bragging when they talk about how “bad” or how “tough” or how “lecherous” they were before they were saved. They seem almost nostalgic as they go into too much detail about what prolific and skillful sinners they were. Sometimes this is defended by the testifier as necessary so that his or her lost listeners can better “identify” with the testimony, and so that they won’t feel like the person giving the testimony is trying to be “holier than thou” now that he is saved. The other extreme, of course, are the testimonies which overly minimize the pre-salvation sin of the Christian – possibly out of shame for past behavior and possibly out of a failure to recognize the true “sinfulness” of sin.

I have probably been as guilty as others of leaning toward one or another of these extremes myself at times. When I try to give a sober analysis of my state before Christ redeemed me, I am forced to admit that I was indeed a rebellious sinner, but there was nothing noble about my rebellion when I was lost. I was not like Robin Hood – robbing from the rich to give to the poor. I sinned because I liked to sin. When I was able to ignore my conscience, sin felt good to me, and I loved me more than God, and I wanted me to feel good, and I was able to rationalize it in my own eyes by saying it didn’t seem all that bad to me. The fact is, I was a degenerate – a filthy worm – but another fact is, that such a statement is probably not worth a lot of my breath. The Bible says that those of us who have breath should praise the Lord! We should talk more about how great He is than about how bad we were.

Psalm 106, though, is sort of an alternative view to Psalm 105. In order to extol God’s longsuffering and enduring mercies, the psalmist shows the magnitude of the people’s sins.

We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

Psalm 106:6 (emphasis added)

We, as 21st Century American Christians, have to stop blaming our parents for our situation. Yes, they (their generation) sinned, but we are responsible when we repeat those sins.

The most serious kinds of heart surgery are not easy to perform. The skin has to be slit open; the rib cage cracked apart; the organs sorted through. But sometimes that’s the only way to fix the problem. Spiritual heart surgery can be daunting and messy as well. We should spend more time looking within us for the source of our own sin, than looking around us or at the past.

Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.

Psalm 106:7

People who have been rescued and set free sometimes fear the responsibility of freedom. They want the old security of bondage. Bondage does not require faith. There were times when the Israelites wouldn’t follow God, but at least they would follow Moses. Are you a Moses or an Israelite? In other words, when it comes to walking by faith, are you a leader or a looker?

He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left. Then believed they his words; they sang his praise. They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

Psalm 106:9-13

Are you leading by faith or are you just a spectator of God’s miracles? Vance Havner used to say that, in Christian ministry, we are not running a show boat; we are running a life boat. If you have been in church long enough, you have probably heard some preacher somewhere say the trouble is that too many folks are singing “Standing on the Promises,” while in reality they are just sitting on the premises!

We have developed into a generation of onlookers and spectators. You go into a department store, and when the clerk comes up and asks, “What do you want?” you say, “Just looking.” In the same way, all over our nation, there are television viewers sitting there in their living rooms “just looking.” There are children sitting in front of the internet “just looking.” People come to church, and someone asks them, “Did you come here to do business with God?” If many of these people were to tell the truth, they’d say, “No thank you, just looking!”

Swimming for Spiritual Fitness

October 19, 2009 at 9:06 am | Posted in BiblicalSwimming, Ezekiel | 3 Comments
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Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise. It utilizes almost the entire body: the arms, legs, shoulders, back, and abdominal muscles. It is great for the cardiovascular system because it increases the heart-rate and helps to control breathing. Water can seem as hard as concrete if we fall into it from a high distance, but swimming in it is a low-impact exercise because it causes no jarring to the bones and joints. Water is thicker than air, so swimming involves muscle-building resistance.

The water of God’s grace is likewise a good place for spiritual exercise.

Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in

Ezekiel 47:5 (Emphasis added.)

God’s grace teaches us to present our entire bodies over to Him for our complete spiritual exercise (Romans 12:1-2). The grace of God influences our breathing (Psalm 150:6) and our heart rate (Luke 24:32). The impact of God’s grace can break us like a rock, but He is the Rock Who then redeems us, puts us back together, and makes us whole (Psalm 78:34-35). The very presence of God Himself envelops Christians the way water engulfs a swimmer.

For in him we live, and move, and have our being…

Acts 17:28


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