Real Power, Really
T. M. Moore
For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.
1 Corinthians 4:20
The Freedom of a Christian1
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
“The power of which we speak is spiritual. It rules in the midst of enemies and is powerful in the midst of oppression. This means nothing else than that ‘power is made perfect in weakness’ [II Cor. 12:9] and that in all things I can find profit toward salvation [Rom. 8:28], so that the cross and death itself are compelled to serve me and to work together with me for my salvation. This is a splendid privilege and hard to attain, a truly omnipotent power, a spiritual dominion in which there is nothing so good and nothing so evil but that it shall work together for good to me, if only I believe.”
“…if only I believe.” There’s a good bit of talk these days about the Kingdom of God (yours truly contributing my own fair amount to the conversation). But the Kingdom of God is not just something to talk about. It is a domain of power, real spiritual power (really!), over which nothing in this world has any authority or control. It is power for righteousness, and we may know this power at work within and through us regardless of the circumstances of our lives. It is power for peace, which we may know and extend to others, though all the world be arrayed against us. And it is power for joy, which, as Habakkuk reminds us, is an affection rooted in eternal verities that no amount of untoward circumstances can destroy (Hab. 3:17-19). The key to knowing this power is not to be found in the right outward circumstances, but in believing according to the Word of God.
Just for You
by Max Lucado
Behold the sun! Every square yard of it is constantly emitting 130,000 horse power, the equivalent of 450 eight-cylinder car engines. Consider the earth! Our globe’s weight is estimated at six sextillion tons—that’s a six with 21 zeros! Yet it’s precisely tilted at twenty-three degrees or our seasons would be lost in a melted polar flood.
If God is able to place the stars in their sockets and suspend the sky like a curtain—do you think it remotely possible God is able to guide your life? Could it be He is mighty enough to light your path? Jesus said, “Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store into barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Why do you worry about clothes?” (Matthew 6:26).
Next time a sunrise steals your breath, say nothing and listen as heaven whispers, “Do you like it? I did it just for you!”
Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com
Hope & Promise
For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22
Who is Paul talking about? What man brought death? Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve blew it in the Garden of Eden. They brought sin into the world when they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is why we are born sinners. If they would have never sinned, it would be a different world, but they sinned against God and we have sinned against God.
Paul wants us to understand who we are—sinners. The first crime committed in the Garden of Eden was Adam and Eve, in disobedience, partaking of the food God forbid them to eat. They blew it and were cursed and thrown out of the Garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve blew it and we are all born in sin, but we have hope. How? By Man also came the resurrection of the dead. Jesus Christ came down and died on the Cross, bringing redemption to man, reconciling us to God. It is through His death on the Cross we have eternal life with God. Without it, we would still be bound by sin.
He not only died and took our sins to the Cross with Him, but He resurrected. Death and the grave could not hold Him. Remember, He was the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Once He resurrected, the righteous who had died before Him and were in Abraham’s bosom went to heaven. That is the hope and the promise we have through Jesus Christ.
The resurrection of Christ is the Amen of all His promises.
The Power of Words
by Anna Kuta, Editor, ReligionToday.com
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).
We’ve all heard the phrase “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” In my mind, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.
Words are powerful. We’ve all, no doubt, been wounded at some point by careless, unkind or mean statements. Their effect on our lives, even years later, is undeniable. No matter how much we deny it, it still makes us cringe to remember the taunts of the second-grade bully on the playground and makes us want to crawl under a rock to think of that rumor spreading through the high school hallways.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” Proverbs 18:21 says. The impact our words have on others cannot be overstated. One small comment or remark can make the difference between building a relationship up or tearing it down. We have the power to either encourage or destroy others with our speech.
The Bible speaks extensively about the power of words – especially positive ones – and warns about the dangers of careless ones. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” says Proverbs 15:1. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones,” Proverbs 16:24 adds. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” And Matthew 12:36-37 says: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
One particular instance of the power of words in my life stands out in my mind – one that, without exaggerating, very likely changed my whole course at that time. It was early in the second semester of my sophomore year of college, and I was trudging up the stairs of the journalism building to turn in an assignment. Freshman year and the first half of sophomore year had been rough for a variety of reasons, and now I was struggling to juggle my classes, work and personal issues and keep my head afloat. I had to officially declare my major in just a few weeks, but I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. It was one of those weeks where I seemed to be failing on every assignment, and to top it off, I had just come from a disastrous meeting with an econ professor who made me feel stupid for not understanding an “easy” problem. Even in my journalism classes – my best subject – I couldn’t seem to get into the swing of things. The harder I tried, the worse the results seemed to be. I was beginning to worry that majoring in journalism would be the most terrible idea of my life, and I was, in all honesty, becoming more and more tempted to give it all up completely and go take a semester off somewhere.
On my way out of the journalism building, I passed two of my professors talking in the hallway. I said hi to them and kept walking, but after I rounded the corner I stopped short as I heard one of them say to the other, “Anna is one of the most hard-working and good journalism students.” I don’t know if he meant for me to overhear his statement, and I don’t remember hearing either of them say a single other thing, but his words made me freeze and stand there for a good 10 seconds. A good student – that’s really what he thought? My work was paying off? I wasn’t a total journalistic failure who would never succeed as a writer? It was like right then and there something went off in my mind. I hadn’t even realized I needed the encouragement, but suddenly my whole outlook changed. If that’s what my professor thought of me, then I was determined not to let him down. Many times throughout the rest of college when I doubted myself or just needed a pick-me-up, I thought back to his comment. He became one of my most trusted mentors, and before I graduated I was finally able to tell him how his words that day had probably been the turning point in my whole academic career. To this day, I still don’t know what it was about that one simple statement – but I do know its impact went a thousand times beyond what my professor could have ever imagined.
A kind, positive or encouraging word at the right time can truly be life-changing. Your words hold the power to breathe an attitude of death or life into others – which will you choose?
Intersecting Faith & Life: Let us strive to remember the power of our words and their impact on those who hear them. Think twice before making a negative statement, and instead find a way to pass along an encouraging word today.
1 Peter 3:10
Jesus explains the spiritual nature of salvation.
Faith, or belief, is often misunderstood. Faith has been defined as “believing in spite of there being nothing to believe” or “believing in spite of the evidence to the contrary.” It is often viewed as identical with wishful thinking. If we believe hard enough, we can make something come true (regardless of whether or not God may approve).
None of these concepts is biblical. Faith is belief based on sufficient evidence. In other words, faith is trusting what God has revealed in His Word and in the world, both of which give ample testimony to the truth.
· The sensitive and believing heart looks for opportunities to praise the Lord for His goodness:
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together. . . .
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
(Psalm 34:1-3, 8).
· Pause for personal praise and thanksgiving. Pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:
Sing praise to the Lord,
You saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning
· Confess any sins that the Holy Spirit brings to your mind. Now pause to pray this affirmation to the Lord:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye (Psalm 32:8).
· As you make your requests known to the Lord, pray for:
· spiritual victory over temptation,
· opportunities to serve the Lord,
· your activities for the day,
· whatever else is on your heart.
· Offer this closing prayer to the Lord:
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).