Feelings?

“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” – Psalm 25:5

The Bible tells us that when Paul was in Thessalonica, some unbelieving men started a riot that forced him out of town. He and Silas left the city and went on to Berea where they continued to teach. Many believed Paul’s message and, when the same men of Thessalonica heard about it, they were enraged enough to send men to Berea to stir up agitation there as well. Paul was escorted out of the city and went to Athens to wait for Silas and Timothy to catch up with him.

What drove these persecutors of Paul? Acts 17:5 says they were jealous. Jealous of Paul’s popularity, his apparent “success” as a teacher. Their jealousy led to anger so strong they couldn’t even hear the message Paul was trying to give. Their emotions blocked their ability to receive truth.

Does that ever happen to you? It does to me! We read a Facebook post or a news headline and, immediately, the emotions come to the surface. We have an opinion before we hear the whole story. These feelings block our ability to see truth. This muddled thinking is

  • inconvenient when it comes to politics
  • detrimental when it comes to social issues, and possibly
  • devastating when it comes to spiritual matters.

My prayer when I read about the jealous zealots in Acts that day was this, “Dear Lord, don’t let my emotions or preconceived ideas get in the way of knowing you and understanding the truth you want to teach me.” Maybe that’s a prayer all of us need to pray at times.

“Where I found truth, there I found my God, who is the truth itself.” – Augustine

Do whatever you want.

“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. “ – John 14:23

Samuel had just privately annointed Saul to be the first king of Israel. Then Samuel told Saul that God’s Spirit would come powerfully upon him and change him from the inside out. When that happens, he said, “. . . do whatever your hand finds to do because God is with you” (1 Samuel 10:7). Can you imagine having God’s presence so control us that whatever we chose to do would be pleasing to him? What would it take for that to happen?

  • Being so filled with God’s Spirit that everything we decide would originate with him
  • Loving God so much we would never do anything we think might displease him or hurt him
  • Following an irresistible desire to live out what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount and in his parables
  • Having the inner capacity to forgive easily, give generously, and never, never worry

I think that’s exactly what God intends for us: to be transformed to be so much like Jesus that we never have to ask, “What would Jesus do?” – instead, we would just do it. We will never be perfectly like him until we see him face-to-face, but it should be our desire to have transformed minds and Holy Spirit control to the extent that we are growing closer and closer to that goal each day!

As you think about that, have a great day doing what God wants you to do and praying, as you do, that he makes it what you want to do, too!

“Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.” – Augustine

Power Hungry

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. . . ” – Ephesians 3:16

Sometimes we feel helpless as we look at power in the world today. Nations testing other nations, each claiming superior force. Politicians exchanging influence for favors. Bosses barking out orders or withholding increases in pay. Authority, glory, and power are evident – but not for us it seems.

We don’t have to feel helpless because the Bible promises us power, Paul prayed for it for the Ephesian church, and Jesus promised it to his disciples. We can assume though, the kind of power Jesus and Paul were talking about isn’t very much like what we see in the world around us.

What does Christian, God-given power look like? I think Frank Laubach (missionary to India and Africa in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s) had it right when he prayed for power this way:

“. . . power to see souls behind faces, power to pray for those I see outside this car window, power to ooze into or push into the inner souls of others with my prayer and carry Thee with me all the way to the center.”

I’m hungry for that kind of power, aren’t you? Power to have understanding of the hidden needs of those we meet, power to pray constantly, power to reach people at a heart level with the truth of God’s love and provision for them, power to change them for eternity.

Please, Lord, may my life be lived under the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit within me, for the good of those I touch, and for your great pleasure.

“If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Charles Spurgeon