Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Same Power

We have started singing a song at church, I think it is by Hillsong, but can't swear to it - but there is a line of it that spoke to me about something that I believe God has been trying to show His church. The line says "The same power that conquered the grave lives in me."

As I was standing there singing those words, it really dawned on me what that meant. It reminded me of a scripture I read with the kids just a few days before found in John.. 14:12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

We walk in defeat not because we have to, but because we, the Church, have allowed satan to convince us that we are powerless. We have taken on the titles of this world to define who we are - I am a mother, a sister, a wife, a worker, I have ADD, I have SAD, I am.... just fill in the blank. Yet, we get our worth from our creator. Joel Osteen gives the example, if I "make" a $100 bill it is not worth anything because I have no authority or power to print it. A true $100 bill is given its worth from the treasury of the US as its creator - the Treasury has the authority and the power to print it.

My worth is found in God - He alone can say who I am, what I am worth, and give me power and authority.Well, Jesus said that if I believe in Him, I will do greater things than Him because He was going to the Father. Well Jesus had authority. He had power. He raised the dead and he rose from the dead. He gave sight to the blind, made the dumb talk, the deaf hear, and the lame walk. I am not sure what greater things there could be.

But even just looking at what Jesus did, - when was the last time that as a believer, I have done any of these things (Not through my own power, but the power of Christ that lives in me)? Only speaking for myself - NEVER!

And yet, the same power that conquered the grave lives in me! It is at my disposal because Christ gave me the power and authority to use it because I believe in Him. That is such a powerful statement that it overwhelms me even as I say it. Yet I know it is true because the Bible tells me so. It made me realize that I have the power, I just have to be willing to step out in faith, put Satan under my feet and use it for God’s glory and honor.

And maybe like the disciples, in Matthew 17, my faith will not be as big as the God I serve, but if I don’t take that step of faith, and claim that same power, then some day the grave will be full of people not reached because I, we, the Church, didn’t step out in faith and use the power that Christ died and gave us.

Faith vs. courage

Faith is defined as confidence or trust in a person or thing.
Having courage is to act in accordance with one's beliefs, esp. in spite of criticism.

Why is it that I can have faith but not the courage to act in accordance with what I believe?

Today I was talking with this person and he told me that he had been in the hospital all week. There is a spot on his heart and they are talking about putting in a pacemaker. He is not very old, but it seems that he and his family have been having one problem after another with their health.

As I left I said I will keep you in my prayers. I got in my car and prayed for healing to his heart. I have the faith that God can and will heal him. When I prayed I know God heard.I know the Bible says to speak to pay for the sick.

Why don't I have the courage to pray right then with the person, the prayer for healing with faith?


Tonight at church we started watching the video series Honor Reward by ..John.. Bevere. It was an introductory to a twelve week series on honor, which sounds very inspiring. Well, a while in to the DVD, it messed up. The last part I heard him say was in reference to a verse II John 8, that talks about your FULL REWARD.

Then he said, through the scratched ..DVD - That means you could receive no reward, a partial reward, or your full reward.

Two thoughts came to my mind; the first is we are all in the same race. It is not that we are running to be #1; he stated it is a race of endurance. It is more like the Walk-a-thons for Relay for Life or other charities. It is not being #1, it is the effort that you put in to it, the attitude that you keep though the relay, which is to mirror the battle of a cancer survivor that makes the difference. It is in finishing and starting with the same passion, not about beating everyone else. We are all in a race and while we need to help others along the way that they too will finish, we don’t have to be first - we have to finish successfully.

The second thought was about the reward. Think about how little kids will bring home those fundraisers for school (Maybe it is just these little schools my kids go to) but they send home these catalogs full of stuff people don't need and along with it is a flyer with cheesy prize categories with the top thing being the latest gadget that every kids wants - a scooter, a video game system, cash - and it is theirs to EARN for the bargain price of selling 100 things.

The kid comes home super excited about this great gadget that they are getting. They are full of passion and on a mission to get it. And I am sure that there are kids (More likely their parents in great desperation to get their child what they want - but that ruins the point - so I will stick with the kid) who reach that goal.

They start out with a passion for getting the prize and they work hard to get their FULL REWARD. But then there are other kids who work hard at the start but get discouraged, distracted, bored, run out of time, whatever that maybe reach a higher level of reward, but don't quiet make it to that Full Reward, but they get a PARTIAL REWARD. Then there are those kids who will have their parent’s order something out of obligation, but that is about it. Usually they receive little or NO REWARD.

Whatever the reward, it is all tied to the level of effort that the child puts forth and the endurance with which they continue the effort. As Christians, we are the same as those little children. We can live our lives with endurance and stay focused and we will receive our FULL REWARD in Christ. Or we can do, as many Christians do, and serve God, not with focus and endurance, but allowing other things to be first in our lives, or when it is convenient, or with full force that we burn out before we finish. Those Christians will receive a PARTIAL REWARD in Heaven, but not the full reward that is available to them if they earn it. And then there are those Christians who will make a decision that will get them to Heaven, but will not make any effort to work for God's kingdom. While I can't say Heaven isn't a reward, they will have NO REWARD in the full reward God promised.

In the end, it is up to each of us to decide how much reward we want in Heaven. Do we want the ..FULL.. REWARD and are we willing to work for what we want, over the course of our life.
2 John 1:8 (New King James Version) Look to yourselves, that you do not lose those things you worked for, but that you may receive a full reward.

Fruits or Roots

There is a lot said in the Bible about fruit, over 197 references, and 21 references to roots in the bible according to a search on

A few I found interesting were Ps: 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. and

Matthew 3:10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. and

John 15:8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. and

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

It is clear from these scriptures that fruit is an important part of our walk with God as Christians. But I think sometimes we get so focused on producing fruit that we forget about tending to the roots. It is easy to get caught up in efforts to produce fruit - showing love to others, being kind, being good, being faithful to service. But when we focus too much of our attention on bearing fruit we tend to neglect what helps us grow – the roots. We fail to realize that when we stay connected to the Spirit of God, the fruit comes naturally.

When you grow a tree that produces fruit, it takes time and effort. You don't just put apples up there and hope that they attach to your tree and that more come. The fruit comes from the Apple tree. They don’t come separately. I think sometimes that we try to live our Christian lives this way. We try to bear our own fruit. In our own effort we try to love others. We try to serve others. We get so busy in our efforts we get disconnected from the Spirit, of whose fruit we are trying to bear. We try to fake it until we make it - I am not saying that sometimes we don’t go through those spells where we keep doing what is right even though we are not seeing results – those times we are usually in the barren season of growth, but we are still connected.

However, we can not, we should not, have to live our lives trying to constantly bear fruit – when we are constantly TRYING, we get wore out because our role is to remain in Him. When we forget to stay firmly planted in the Word, when we forget about praying to God and seeking our Living Water, our roots don't grow. When the roots dry up below, the branches wither above (Job 18:16). Fruit doesn't stay good on a withered branch.

We start trying to make our own fruit. We start trying to be independent. Fruit doesn't grow without the vine and the branch. But the fruit - the fruit of the Spirit, that good fruit that God wants us to produce much of, that fruit that will help us prosper- it comes as a result of being firmly planted in God. It comes naturally as a result of being connected to the Vine.

John.. 15:5 states "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." We need the Roots of God to have the fruit we all desire to bear.


I heard something interesting on the radio the other day; I think the program is called Creation Moments. It was about plants and how they know the other seeds that came from the parental plant. Research showed that those seeds that came from the same vine didn't feel like they had to compete for resources, but they were firmly planted in unity. Those seeds that were planted with other seeds not from the same plant felt they had to compete; their roots were longer as they tried to ensure their own survival.

There is much in the Bible about roots, planting, sowing, reaping, fruit, etc. I think just as God made plants to grow in harmony if they are from the same vine, God wants us to be planted with other seeds from the vine - His Vine. He is the vine, we are the branches. When we work together in our purpose we can be firmly planted in God, but don't have to be in competition with each other. When we start trying to do things on our own, we have to try to take care of ourselves, and we start a competition.

Christ's body shouldn't be in competition with each other, and I think so often it is seen that way. There is this denomination turf, and even within different denominations there is this competition for resources - for laborers, for numbers, for money.

I was so pleased to hear my pastor say that our church planted seeds in other churches - not in other countries, although we do support missions and have planted churches, but in the community that the church is located. The other pastors were kind of taken back that our church would sow into their church - but my pastor's vision isn't just for the church we attend, it is for reaching the lost in the community and he realizes our church is not the only outlet to do it. It is going to take all of the churches working together - one body, one mission - to reach the lost.
We have to stop fighting with the body of Christ. As Mario Muello stated "We must work as a cooperative force that pulls together talent and manpower instead of working in isolation, with possessiveness and competition against each other to show the world the love of Christ." He wasn't speaking from some selfish ambition to grow his ministry - but following the lead of Christ's own prayer for the church found in John 17.

Verses 20 - 23 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me. through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me. I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me".

We are the light of the world; a giant spotlight sheds a lot more light than a mini flashlight!.

Honoring Other's

Recently our church started a study of HONOR'S REWARD by John Bevere for our Wednesday night services. We are just two weeks into it, but it is really an awesome study. I have to caution though if you are NOT ready to make real changes in your life, don't watch it or read it!

This week John Bevere talked about the groups of people we need to honor. We need to honor those in authority over us, our peers, and those under our authority. As he gave examples, I realized that I really have an Honor Problem - especially with those in authority over me.

As he gave examples from the Bible, several examples from my own life came to my awareness. Like making snappy comments about my husband, or complaining about my boss or previous boss (Even if I preface it with I like them as a person but.....), or talking about my previous pastor and his wife (OUCH - that one really hurt). While they may all have things to work on (And that is between them and God, and really has nothing to do with me), the lack of honor I had for their authority over me is MY PROBLEM!! And because it is my problem it could be hindering God answering my prayers - and I love to pray for others.

So I thank God that he brought this teaching into my life so that I could repent and change. Do I like it - Heck No! I liked living in my own justification of my wrong actions. I mean I knew it was wrong to talk about them, which I have been working on, but it doesn't change the dishonor in my heart.

I know that it will not be easy to humble myself and allow God to make this change in me. Crucifying my own thoughts and feelings, and learning to walk at a new level is going to hurt. I am glad that God revealed it to me at a time when I have an opening heart to receive His correction. I want to honor God, I want to honor others - I need to honor. Even though we are doing the DVD series, and I take good notes, I think this is one where I am going to have to buy the book and really study to let it sink in and bring about the change in my heart that I know God is calling me too.

Figs or Destruction

Last night I was reading in Matthew 21 about the fig tree. The story goes that Jesus and his disciples had just entered Jerusalem - the triumphant entry where the people were laying down the branches and cloaks. Praising Hosanna! Then he goes to the temple, clears out the people who made His house a den of thieves, and then went to Bethany. Early the next morning, Jesus was hungry and on his way back to the city. The Fig Tree Withers (Matt 21:18 - 22) Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked. Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."I was sitting there asking myself, if we are to produce fruit - and we don't will God do the same thing to us. We are to produce fruit, that is how people can tell we are followers of Christ. When we do not do we wither because we are not really attached to the vine. If so how long does God allow this to go on?I took a closer look at this verse and thought in my head - well it must be when God has a specific need for us to accomplish. Jesus was hungry. He has dominion over the earth, and it did not meet his need. Because there are other times in the Bible where Jesus said let the tree have more time. I went to sleep thinking about it.This morning we stopped at my sisters house on the way to church because we were running early. She comes in and say here you can watch TV, flips through some channels and turns it on Ed Young, Sr. Now I know the name but have never watched him, I watch the younger one. He is preaching You Must Repent or Perish We only have like a few minutes, but he is preaching out of Luke 13:1-9. Repent or Perish Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' " 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' "So there was my answer we produce fruit, or at some point we will face destruction.