Friday, October 24, 2014

GOD'S LIMITLESS POWER

Think about it. What kind of power is required to speak a universe into existence? What kind of strength must someone possess to scatter stars into infinite space? How explosive do you have to be to ignite the sun or to sustain it's fire? What kind of brute force is required to stack up mountains twenty thousand feet into the air?

Only one force is able to accomplish such a feat: God's power.  Throughout history, when God's people found themselves facing impossible odds, they reminded themselves of God's limitless power. Even Job took comfort by remembering "He stirs up the sea with His power… The thunder of His power who can understand?

Like… Job, we occasionally need a little reminder of what God can do, especially if things aren't going our way. In Psalm 115:3, the psalmist points out that God can do whatever He pleases. That is the essence of what omnipotence is all about. Omnipotent simply means "all-powerful." God never has to ask permission. His unrestrained, indescribable, infinite power and abilities have no parameters.

-- Bill Hybels in The God You're Looking For


#3534

Thursday, October 23, 2014

GOD INCOGNITO

You have to trust the author.  You have to believe that God has a good reason for keeping His presence subtle.  It allows creatures as small and frail as human beings the capacity for choice that we would never have in the obvious presence of infinite power.  People driving behind a police car don't speed -- not always because their hearts are right, but because they don't want to get pulled over.

God wants to be known, but not in a way that overwhelms us, that takes away the possibility of love freely chosen. "God is like a person who clears his throat while hiding and so gives himself away," said Meister Eckhart.

You never know where He'll turn up, or whom He'll speak through, or what unlikely scenario He'll use for His purpose.  After the resurrection, Mary Magdalene was looking right at Jesus but thought He was the landscaping service.

God is often present, the Bible says, but apparently He often shows up in unexpected ways.  He travels incognito.  He is the master of disguise.

-- John Ortberg in God Is Closer Than You Think


#3353

A WORK OF ART

A great deal of the joy of life consists in doing perfectly, or at least to the best of one's ability, everything which [one] attempts to do. There is a sense of satisfaction, a pride in surveying such a work -- a work which is rounded, full, exact, complete in all its parts -- which the superficial [person], who leaves work in a… half-finished condition, can never know. It is this conscientious completeness which turns work into art. The smallest thing, well done, becomes artistic.

-- William Mathews


#3532

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

HELPING OTHERS GROW

For years my “bucket list” included enrolling in the Master Gardener program supported by Purdue University in my home state of Indiana. Not until I paid my registration fee, bought the necessary tools, and attended my first meeting did I learn the depth of the curriculum.

This serious business involved much more than trading tips on where to plant perennials or how to eradicate beetles. To earn my “badge” as a Master Gardener, I would have to study the contents of a thick 3-ring binder, agree to apply my new knowledge not just to my own backyard but also to a public green space, and abide by the group’s mission statement. The wording of the latter surprised me. The statement didn’t ask me to help others grow plants; instead, it asked me to “help others grow.” …

As followers of Christ we study God’s Word and apply it in our everyday lives. But our responsibility doesn’t stop there. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we assume an obligation to pass our faith on to others. We accept as our mission the charge “to help others grow.”

-- Holly G. Miller in The Upper Room Disciplines 2013: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2012 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


#3531

Monday, October 20, 2014

THE ISSUE OF OWNERSHIP

The critical issue of ownership undergirds our theology of giving and stewardship. To whom do the material goods and wealth we enjoy ultimately belong? I'm not talking about the legal right of ownership, but rather the faith-perspective -- stewardship -- that's rooted in thousands of years of Judeo-Christian theology and practice.

Fundamentally, we either consider the material things in our life -- our money, house, property -- as owned by God and belonging to God, and we manage them for God's purposes, or we view them as owned by us. If they are owned by God, then our tithes and offerings represent our returning to God what belongs to God already. What we keep also belongs to God, and we feel obligated to spend it wisely and not frivolously, and to invest it in ways that do not dishonor God's purposes. We try not to waste money or to live more lavishly than we should. We spend responsibly, allowing our relationship with God to form our minds. We manage God's resources as faithfully as we can.

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


#3530