Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Living under the authority and power of God ... and not putting up a stop sign where God has placed a green light.

SCRIPTURE: John 19: 10, 11
Pilate said, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”

STORY: as told by Ernest B. Beevers
In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years.

Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, "Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable." He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson's astonishment, the engine roared to life. For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.

J.B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians l:19-20, "How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God." When we make firm our connection with God, his life and power flow through us.

Jesus affirms the reality of the words in Paul’s letter. There is tremendous power available to us if we would only believe. All power and authority comes from God, but for some strange reason those of us who claim a relationship with God through Christ as one of his disciples have a tendency to want to walk by sight not by faith.

Faith requires trust. Trust in God for his future, a future of God’s design. We desire details, assurances … in the name of being prudent, practical, or any other concept that might come to mind … and all the while God desires to pour out his blessings on those who are willing to step out in faith … not knowing where we are going nor how we are going to get there, but simply that God said, “Go!”

As I am fond of sharing, God has told us to go “north” … but lately individuals are asking for a road map. Like Abraham of old, as he leaves Ur with his family and all of his possessions not knowing where he was going nor how he was going to get there only that God has said, “Pack up and leave this area to a land that I am going to show you” … and he did!

What happens is that we put up a stop sign where God places a green light. It cannot be counted the number of times it has been heard at the various churches throughout the world, “Well, we just cannot see how we can do that. Things are tight. The money or personnel or resources or space or (fill in this space with what you have overheard) just isn’t there.” And so, God’s plan is not fulfilled. God’s purpose is not realized. And God’s people continue to wander in the desert because we chose to listen to the 10 “spies” who said we couldn’t do it instead of the 2 “spies” who believed that God had brought the people to this point in history and was on their side (Numbers 13-14). And we wonder why are we STILL in the desert.

It is a power issue. Do we live by God’s power or do we live by our own? Do we live under God’s authority or our own? If by God’s, then we will be victorious. If by our own, we will fail to be all God has called us to be. It is moving forward not by sight or by knowledge, but by trusting God for the outcome.

Eternal Father, Jesus faced the last week of his earthly life knowing that you were in total and complete control. Help us to have enough faith to do the same. Amen.

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