Power of God

My church designed their entire building with the cross being the most predominate centrepiece.  Whenever we need to go back to the basics of our faith, we will find our true love for the One who died for us there.  All what we believe is wrapped up in the cross of Christ – the central truth of our faith.  The cross is our message, our hope, our confidence, our badge of honour and yet, somehow, the emblem of suffering and shame – for the world despises the cross.  We love the cross so we preach it, stand by it and lift it up as the hope of the world.  There is no power greater – the only power that can lift men and women out of their sins, release them from condemnation, give them new life and set their feet in a new direction.

When the gospel, or the preaching of the cross, is spoken of as effectual or powerful, it must be understood that it is not connected to simple, abstract propositions, but to truth as it comes attended with the influences which God sends down to accompany it.

 God provides to searching, proud, stubborn people who demand miracles and signs with a simple story of a crucified Christ.  The story is the only hope offered for deliverance. Anyone can preach the story. That story, believed in, effectively accomplishes what our natural wisdom and our own power cannot do – salvation.

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

 

 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom,  but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,  but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. – 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Kevin Prosch – Show Your Power

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People of God held in honour

Trying to find something important and not being able to find it – how many of us would try to find a man or woman of God so that they could tell us?

Other than today – it never dawned on me just how weird that was for Saul and the boy with him to consider. 

Maybe they did not want to know where the donkeys were, maybe they were thinking more generally like – should they go home or continue to look for the donkeys?

I think there was only one prophet at the time – Samuel – and would one really tie up Samuel’s time with such a question?

What I did like was the distinction clearly made between a fortune-teller and a person of God. However, if people of God could respond as Samuel responded, maybe there would be more people seeking the advice of our people of God who serve today in the church. Maybe even how to help reach the lost who have yet to hear the gospel.

Hope can come from other people.  In this story, it was never about the lost donkeys, it was about a future king to be made into the hope of Israel. However, the principles still matter – may God put people of honour in our lives that can be of support and deliver of hope as they share the Word of God with us.

When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, “Let us turn back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us.” 6 But he said to him, “There is a man of God in this town; he is a man held in honor. Whatever he says always comes true. Let us go there now; perhaps he will tell us about the journey on which we have set out.”– 1 Samuel 9:5-6

Wisdom

If age doth speak of wisdom learned,
And battles won, and sorrows earned,
Then youth doth boast of hopes to come,
Of strength to waste, and wisdom shunned.

But if youth could seek instead the wise,
and see life through more vintage eyes
And turn to God while still they sow
The seeds of harvest they’ve yet to know,
They might then be blessed to reap
A bounty they’ll delight to keep,
And share with those who come behind
A harvest of a richer kind.

—Vicki Baird

Wisdom is the security of hope

The most interesting point of reference to hope I found in Proverbs today.  Wisdom is what will keep our hope on what has been promised to us.

I think there might be many different kinds of jewels of wisdom that God provides us with, but this one is special. Without the security of our hope, what does our future look like?

What if we can’t find that wisdom?  Is it possible that there are those of us who will never find it?  I mean wisdom like this is like eating honey that drips straight from a honeycomb – who would not ask, seek, knock just to have something like this for our soul?

Wisdom is that assurance that placing our confidence in the promises of God is the basis for hope.

 C. S. Lewis wrote a whole chapter on hope in his book, Mere Christianity, this is his opening paragraph —

Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters. Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more – food, games, work, fun, open air. In the same way, we shall never save civilisation as long as civilisation is our main object. We must learn to want something else even more.

 So when we look at prayer, we change the way we pray for others.  We no longer pray for what they are experiencing here on earth, we begin to pray for them in light of eternity and so our prayer is that they will find Jesus.  That He will be with them – and through Him they will experience the comfort, peace, healing and hope that only He can give.

My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, you will find a future, and your hope will not be cut off.– Proverbs 24:13-14

With Hope by Steven Curtis Chapman

What you’ve been called to

Prayer is made for wisdom – asking to know God and His ways.

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:18-19

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. – Ephesians 1:17-19

I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we[a] may do for Christ. – Philemon 6

 So that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. – Colossians 1:10

I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself,[a]  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. – Colossians 2:2-3

In practice, that will be found in those who hide God’s Word in them, feeding on it daily, acquiring a habitual bent towards spiritual matters.  How hopeful am I when I preach that someone’s soul is listening.  When the heart applies to the Word and some portion of it enters in, it makes room for more.

My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you,  making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;  if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding;  if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures—  then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1-5

Ephesians 4:4

Called to Hope

The hope to which we are called

God Called Us into Life and Hope

Live worthy of your calling