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Monday, May 16, 2011

A comfortable life or a powerful life

We don't spend enough time with the word of God. By that, I mean well-meaning followers of Christ who know the word, but never invested enough time to get it into our spirit man.

Few years ago, I was struggling to memorise Ephesians 3:20 King James Bible "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," I was very excited about this verse, yet I would struggled to remember the words. So tried as I did, I copied it on my yellow post-it pad and stuck it on the computer where I was working on. I tried to meditate it everyday for a week. I seldom get the exact words right, often having the (bad) habit to substitute with synonyms of sort. I wasn't quite happy with that obviously, because it could potentially dilute an intended meaning. But I would keep trying, every word that God spoke, I wrote and kept it in my heart. I would try and try again as I would to keep the words to its original translation.

It is hard work truly. But the word of God, through considerable practice can be felt so gentle yet so powerfully working in our spirit. That is when we know and we know that his word is made ALIVE in us. HIS words carry the power when we speak. We become the vessel who can bring life to others, and those who hears us.

This is power living.

I was not contented with living a comfortable life. A life that consist of food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over my head and perhaps in the modern terms, holidaying in exotic places. I wanted a life infused with the power of the living God in me.

Is a comfortable life without storms? Many people strive for comfort and sadly Christ followers too stay stuck in a comfortable life. John 10:10 "Abundant life" has too often been misunderstood as a comfortable life. An abundant life is a life that exceeds mere happiness.

Bible Commenter
and that they might have it more abundantly; or, as the Syriac version reads, "something more abundant"; that is, than life; meaning not merely than the life of wicked men, whose blessings are curses to them; or than their own life, only in the present state of things; or than long life promised under the law to the observers of it; but even than the life Adam had in innocence, which was but a natural and moral, not a spiritual life, or that life which is hid with Christ in God; and also than that which angels live in heaven, which is the life of servants, and not of sons: or else the sense is, that Christ came that his people might have eternal life, with more abundant evidence of it than was under the former dispensation, and have stronger faith in it, and a more lively hope of it: or, as the words may be rendered, "and that they might have an abundance": besides life, might have an abundance of grace from Christ, all spiritual blessings in him now, and all fullness of joy, glory, and happiness hereafter.

A powerful life is not one without storms as evidence in Paul's life. I admire him. Seriously, I don't think I have his kind of guts. Check out his 5-star sea holiday package (Acts 27). But I sure admire his total abandonment in Jesus, hence his life although endangered was worth less than life itself. (Acts 20:24 For I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God's grace.)

But life as it would present itself to be fraught with some highs and some lows, inevidently, some mountain top experiences and some valley lows. There is no exclusion. People everywhere desire to preserve comfort, they want to stay forever in their comfort zone. Even Kings have bad days, and beggers under the bridge would have their share of good days.

God can work through you and me in ways that are exceeding abundantly ABOVE all that we ask and think. “exceeding abundantly” is the Greek “huper-ek-perissos” which means superabundantly. More than we need. More than we can even think or dream about. (Vines Dictionary)

The word “exceeding” comes from the Greek preposition #5228 “huper” which means over and beyond, superior to, and more than is required. It is used in compound words throughout the New Testament to express God’s excessive benevolence towards His children.

I like what I discover. But happier than that, is that these are lavished upon us. It is ours. :)

Do you like to enter a room with gifts filled from the floor to the ceiling and know that they are yours? Do you like to know that someone has prepared a spread of gourmet food, or a huge garden full of flowers all for you to enjoy?

Excessive is defined as that which goes far beyond the usual, to be extraordinary, exorbitant, extravagant, overabundant, and too much.

The word “power” comes from the Greek #1411 “dunamis” which means inherent power and ability, and consistently refers to the miraculous power and anointing that flowed in Jesus ministry.

God fuels our lives through his word, visions & dreams. I was worshipping him one day when I saw a vision of his holiness among his worshippers. I asked his glory to touch my mouth. I was having ulcers and immediately the next day, I sensed healing.

I could no longer confine God to move in the ordinary spheres of mankind. The work that I do parenting, mentoring, organising activities, music - these are but natural skills sanctified. But God is a powerful God that moves where he likes... to heal (physical, emotional, mental), to restore (relationships, finances, destinies etc) to raise the dead, to make people powerful though him.

In Powerful living there is no striving. There is a sense of freedom and liberation that comes with power living. It is the anointing that God sets upon his people. And it is a gift to be received just like how we have first received God into our lives the day we made him our King, our leader and our saviour.

Have we stopped receiving him into our lives?

I don't mean to stop giving ourselves to honing our skills, but to give a semblance of godliness without its power is something we need recognise. We need to know that this is all men and none of God. We cannot give praise to God, for which that does not begin with him. So many of us doers, want more, bigger, fancier, more sophisticated stuff, being well motivated and encouraged with results, we forgot that God is the miracle worker at the front-of-stage and not at the back-stage.

We become so self-conscious, we lost our God-consciousness. We become so familiar with the workings of men, that we cannot recognise God when he does something different. Woe to us, we cannot even recognise Jesus when he is walking beside us at the road of Emmaus. Believers can be caught in such a situation! (Luke 24:13-35)

We cannot give, that which we have not received. God wants to give us exceeding, abundantly, above all that we think or ask. Have we stopped receiving?

We cannot pretend darkness is not present.

Ephesians 6:
12 - For our struggles is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against rulers, against authorities, against cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Like it or not, we all struggle to varying degrees. Be it an irresponsibility on our part or something outside of our influence, we can and must take up the offense against which does not come from God! Do we have undue or irrational sadness, anger, fear, worries, dislike, critical, agitation, sickness, fatigue, stress? Fear can set on on in so many ways - fear of being out of control, fear of people, fear of others' opinion on us, fear of not fitting in etc. We live in a nation of fear.

Buy gold, not fear. God has something much better.

New International Version (©1984)
Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

1. The word "counsel" means to take counsel together, give advice, deliberate. There is only one market from which you can buy the goods Jesus offers –"from Me." The Laodiceans do not have to run to the malls of wealth in Laodicea to obtain satisfaction.
Jesus wants to do business with the Laodiceans. First, He counsels them "to buy" a certain kind of "gold," a "refined" gold of character that comes from the fires of testing. This is not a monetary transaction but a spiritual transaction, a spiritual transaction in exchange for a quality of life.

. Secondly, Jesus not only wants the Laodiceans to buy gold but He wants them to purchase "white garments" from Him. If they do this, they will not expose their nakedness to others and they will not be ashamed. Laodiceans were famous for their glossy black goat’s wool. Ignominy always comes from sin. We will not disgrace ourselves with our sin if we enter into transaction with the Lord Jesus. With clothes that Jesus gives them, they will carry a sense of modesty. This will save us a lot of pain from our disgraceful acts, from exposure while sinning. Jesus saves from behavior that brings embarrassment. These Christians will not hide their face in shame.

.The third thing that Jesus wants the church to buy is an "eye salve" that allows us to see spiritually. There was a famous medical school at Laodicea. This "eye salve" was a Phygian powder used by oculists at the temple of Asclepius. They did not need to go to occultists; they only need to go to Jesus. If we use Jesus’ salve, we will acquire true knowledge of our spiritual condition and we will see the claims of Christ to correct that condition. We need to open our eyes to spiritual truth.
(source: verse by verse commentary)

Issiah 55:1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Power living is available to those who hunger and thirst.

Sensing Power

New International Version (©1984)
Matt 22:37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'

Many of us sense and feel worldly sensation. We cry at Korean dramas, and laugh at comedies, yet so few of us cry when God's love overcome us or laugh when God gives us a treat.

We feel injustice when kittens are tortured but do not speak kindly when the world needs us to be salt and light.

We fall sick and sense our weakness overbearing on us physically and emotionally, but do not even recognise the power of God living and active within us.

When will we ever wake up to the fact that we have turned our sensuality over to the world?

Some of us love God with our mind, neglecting our soul. Some of us love God with our soul, neglecting our heart. Neither is complete.

God wants all of our heart, our mind and our soul.

Today, let God open our spiritual senses. Let us be so consumed by him that we are infused by him, spirit, soul, mind and our heart. Choose to live powerful lives.