God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)
Over President’s Day weekend, Winter Storm Uri hit Texas and other parts of the USA with record setting low temperatures. Millions of people lost electricity, water, and heat. It reminded me of a story told by Pastor Rick Ezell which fits with our recent studies in Isaiah 40:29-31 and Philippians 4:1-9.
Story About Unused Power
A woman lived on the coast of Donegal, Ireland near 1900. She was very wealthy and also very frugal. So neighbors were surprised when she decided to be the first to have electricity wired to her home. Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door. He said, “Your electric meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power?” The woman answered, “Yes. Each evening when the sun sets, I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles. Then I turn the lights off.” She was wired into the power but not using it. Her house was connected, but she was not helped by the connection.
Pastor Ezell said that Christians often make the same mistake. We ask the Lord to forgive us, but not to change and transform us by the Holy Spirit. That’s foolish. We keep on needing the Spirit to empower us to do God’s will and delight in His company here on earth. We need His ongoing work of sanctification (making us holy) day by day.
Pastor Ezell said that whenever he phones for computer support, the first question the tech asks is: “Is your computer plugged in?” Until Jesus’ Second Advent, how do Christians plug into the Holy Spirit’s power? Pastor Ezell suggests the P-O-W-E-R acronym: Pray; Obey; Worship; Expect; Rejoice. Here are Scriptures and comments on each of these items.
Scriptures: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus….Your Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!…You do not have because you do not ask God….I can do all things the Lord has called me to do through Him who strengthens and empowers me.1
Thinking a lot is not the same as praying a lot. (Andree Seu Peterson)
Obey the Bible (The Spirit’s Instruction Book)
Scriptures: Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age….Blessed are those who hear God’s word and obey it….Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them….Think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy and put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.2
The reward of sin is more sin, and the reward of obedience is the power to obey again. (David Shepherd)
Scriptures: Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only….God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. They are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks….In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will….Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”3
Worship humbles human pride, exalts God’s grace in salvation, and promotes real holiness in the hearts and lives of believers. (Samuel Medley) Worship liberates our personality by giving us a new perspective on life as we re-focus on the Lord. Worship honors God and refreshes, revives, and transforms us. People could tell that the early disciples had been with Jesus, in His presence, changed by His Spirit and His example. I want the same; don’t you?
Expect the Lord’s Blessings
Scriptures: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened….And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work….And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus….And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.4
The larger the God we know, the larger will be our faith. The secret of power in our lives is to know God rightly and to expect great things from Him. (A. B. Simpson) See also Are You a Big-Godder?
Rejoice in the Lord
Scriptures: You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand….The Lord’s anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning….Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them….Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.5
Joy is a condition that is experienced, but it is more than a feeling; it is, primarily, a state of mind. Joy is not an accident of temperament or an unpredictable providence; joy is a matter of choice. (J. I. Packer) We can rejoice in God in spite of our circumstances because we know that our Father is in control.
Prayer: Lord, make us increase in knowing you and knowing and doing of your will. Help us walk in a manner worthy of being your children and to bear fruit in every good work. Strengthen and sustain us with your power and fill us with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Hear us and help us for Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.6
Notes (various translations): 1 Phil 4:6-6; Luke 11:13; James 4:2; Phil 4:12. 2 Matt 28:20; Luke 11:28; John 14:23; Phil 4:8-9. 3 Luke 4:8; John 4:24; Rom 12:1-2; Heb 12:28-29. 4 Matt 7:7-8; 2 Cor 9:8; Phil 4:19; Hebrews 11:6. 5 Psalm 16:11, 30:5, 126:5-6; 1 Thess 5:16-18. 6 Prayer based on Colossians 1:9-14.