Saturday, February 14, 2015

FAR MORE Abundantly Beyond ALL

Ephesians 3:14-21 | NASB
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” 

Paul says so much in such a short prayer doesn’t he?  There is so much truth packed in you just have to sit and ponder it over and over!  However this portion stuck out to me today:  Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…  I love Paul’s use of descriptive words: he doesn’t just say far more than what we ask or think, or beyond what we ask or think, or more abundant than what we ask or think… NO! he must use them all! FAR MORE abundantly beyond ALL… do you think that leaves anything out?  In our finite minds we often limit God, we assume or believe that He acts in certain ways, or only cares about certain things, we doubt that He will act or could act in ways beyond what our minds think could be possible.  In our minds we have put God in a box, have put our expectations of Him, our assumptions regarding Him and how He works neatly in our little box with which we are comfortable.  However God is not constrained by our finite ideas and minds is He?  Thank the Lord He is not!! The verse here certainly makes it obvious that His ability is far beyond our thoughts and understanding of what it could even be.  Did Abraham and Sarah think that God could fulfill His promise?  Yes, however, there was a time when they doubted that He could fulfill it through Sarah, through the means that God had said He would and could.  
Genesis 18:14 | NASB
" Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son."
God promised and: 
Hebrews 11:11-12 | NASB
"By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore."
Abraham, as good as dead, Sarah, beyond the proper time of life to conceive, physically impossible, Yet God said "Is there anything to difficult for the LORD" and He fulfilled His promise by giving them a son, an heir, by giving them Isaac.
The Israelites were mumbling… (yes again)… and they were tired of having only manna, they wanted meat!  Moses came to the Lord, the Lord spoke and told him that He would give them meat to eat until it came out of their nostrils and was loathsome to them!  But Moses said how? How are you going to feed this great number of people? If all the fish in the sea were gathered it would surely not be enough? This is what God had to say to that!!
Numbers 11:23 | NASB
"The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”
Moses had limited God's power in his own thinking.  God had to remind him that surely His power was not limited!  How often do we come to God saying, "I don't know how you can do this?"  “Do you realize what it would take to accomplish ____” "I don't know if this is possible"  …… We should hear the word of God "Is My power limited" in our hearts every time we think or utter such thoughts, shouldn't we?? Shouldn't we boldly approach the throne of grace and ask whatever is on our hearts knowing that the power of God is not limited in any way, that if His soul desires it, He will indeed do it, that He will perform what is appointed for you and I? (Job 23:13-14)  It will certainly change the way we pray won’t it?  it should rebuke us in our hearts and minds when we limit God’s answers and dealings with us to what fits in our little box that we’ve come up with and become comfortable with.  We ought not to doubt God or question how He works, but we ought to be preparing to see what He is able to do, which is far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think! 
Romans 11:33-36 | NASB

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen”

Friday, February 13, 2015


Ephesians 2:1-5 | NASB

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”

But…. That has to be one of my favorite words to come across, especially in scripture.  It tells me that I need to pay attention; there is a change from the previous tone or thought that is important.  Here it is a most wondrous change.  This is a familiar passage to me, one that I’ve committed to memory in the past, and I have always been struck by the “but” here, and was this morning once again.  You were dead.  Not sick, not ignorant, not just needing knowledge or a little help.  There was no tiny spark of life in us that just needed to be nourished, no flame that needed to be fanned, no seed that needed light and water to grow.  YOU WERE DEAD!  Those who are familiar with dead and dying individuals know that there is nothing that a dead person can do to bring themselves back to life again.  They cannot move their lungs to breathe, they cannot make their heart beat once again, they cannot even form an intention or thought to try and do so, no chemical or neurological communication to start breathing or living again is taking place, there is nothing.  There is no glimmer of hope, there is no flicker of light, there is no way to live again apart from outside intervention.  There is not a more helpless and total state of inability that could possibly be described.  That is us, we were dead, unable to do anything to be alive again.  And then comes the “but”!  BUT GOD… you were dead, completely unable, hopeless, helpless, total inability to do anything but God…. Made us alive together with Christ!  Alive… the complete opposite of being dead, alive, able, hopeful!  Because He is rich in mercy, because of the greatness of His love for us, He made us alive when we were dead, by grace through faith in the power of Christ’s atoning work for us on the cross.  We are now ALIVE!  I am so thankful for the “but” here!  Here my life was over, I was walking according to the world, a child of wrath, dead in my trespasses and sins, BUT GOD!   This illustration that God gives of the total transformation that we must undergo, that we are unable to perform (dead.. remember?), that we lie helpless, hopeless, rotting, becoming more and more putrid in our transgressions and sin, requiring the outside divine intervention  of a merciful and mighty God to transform our dead, rotting, stinking and putrid flesh to be made alive in Christ!  To be transformed into the new man, to be sanctified day by day, to be glorified with Christ on that great day!  all because of one thing, all because of "BUT GOD"   Amen. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Better than Sacrifice...

I Samuel 15:22 | NASB
Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
 As in obeying the voice of the Lord? 
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, 
 And to heed than the fat of rams.”

Psalm 51:16-17 | NASB

“For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; 
 You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; 
 A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

Micah 6:6-8 | NKJV

“With what shall I come before the Lord, 
 And bow myself before the High God? 
 Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, 
With calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, 
Ten thousand rivers of oil? 
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, 
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; 
 And what does the Lord require of you
 But to do justly, 
To love mercy, 
And to walk humbly with your God?”

Hosea 6:6 | NASB

“For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, 
 And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

            It is easy for man to go through the motions of service, to bring our sacrifices, our offerings to God and to think that we have honored our God as He has commanded us to.  Feeling in doing so that we are holy, that we are pleasing God, meeting His standards.  How mistaken are we in thinking so.  What are sacrifices and offerings when our hearts are not right, when the rest of our lives are not in alignment with righteousness, are not obedient to our Heavenly Father? God is interested in our hearts.  Where is our heart?  Is our heart humble before our God, is it loving mercy, doing justice, are we broken over our sin and repentant of it to our Father, are our hearts wholly His, loyal to our God or are we trying to divide our affections between masters?  Feigning allegiance to our Father while still chasing after worldly desires and pleasures?  God is more interested in our obedient, humble hearts than our sacrifices.  I love the verses in Micah where he exaggerates with what he shall possibly bring before the Lord to please Him, a thousand rams? Ten thousand rivers of oil? His first born? No… the simple answer is this… He has shown you O man what is good; and what the Lord requires of you: do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God!  This is what God longs for, more than our elaborate and showy sacrifices: humble obedient hearts.  But we need to be so careful, does that mean there will never be any sacrifices required?  No it does not, for being obedient and humbly taking up our cross in following Christ will indeed require sacrifices and hardships.  But we are not to look at these sacrifices as being better or more important than being obedient.  Obedience is what pleases God, more than sacrifice.  So let us walk humbly in obedience to our God, doing justice, loving mercy, showing our loyalty to Him in all that we do, and when obedience requires sacrifice, let us give freely as we have so freely been given to.