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Power Outage

25 Oct

Humorous stories about computer use abound:PowerSource

  • Someone who held a document up to the computer screen, thinking the monitor would somehow scan and fax it.
  • Someone using their CD-ROM drive as a cup holder.
  • Someone frustrated when unable to find the “any” key (as in “strike any key”).
  • Someone picking up the mouse, pointing it at the computer screen and clicking it, as if it were a remote control.

But the story (could it be true?) of the woman who experienced trouble with WordPerfect tops it all. The woman, talking to a service rep in a long conversation, apparently forgot that even a computer needs power in a power outage. He reportedly advised her to pack up her computer and ship it back because, given her cluelessness, she’d never understand anything about a computer anyway!

Unfortunately, power outages don’t give us warnings. They just happen at the most inopportune times.

I stayed at my son’s house in July while our home was being tented for termites, and my son and his family were on vacation. We joked that “Hotel Wilson” was nicer than any hotel we knew, with so many amenities.

Wanting to save them some money, I decided to plug in a floor fan instead of running the air conditioner. Right after I plugged in the fan, the fuse blew.

“Oh, no! No power!”

It turned out the power went out in the entire housing complex right at that very moment. I told people I did it with my little fan.

Because I was dead in the water for most of the things I wanted to do that required electricity, I sat down to write a blog post with paper and pen.

I thought back to times I’ve tried to do things in my own power. The results aren’t usually as dramatic as blowing a fuse, but they can be just as life altering. Someone asked me recently, “Do you have any regrets at this point in life?”

Some of my biggest regrets are the times – far too many to count – I did things in my own power, my own flesh, instead of relying on the power of God.

I believe these are some of Christians’ works that will burn up (poof) at the Bema Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). (Note: Our works do not determine our salvation in Christ; they are our service to Him – Ephesians 2:9-10.) Burned up will be not only things done for the wrong motives or for our own glory, but also those works done in the power of the flesh– in other words, when we are plugged into our own power and not the power of God.

What does plugging into our own power look like?

1. Self-Centeredness. It tries to please self, not God, even though we may say we’re living for the Lord. (Galatians 1:10; Ephesians 5:8-10).

2. Foolishness. When we depend on our own wisdom, we often make foolish choices. We don’t have Spirit-led discernment (1 Corinthians 2:14).

3. Bondage. The power of the flesh leaves us enslaved to and serving ourselves.  Galatians 5:1 says, “… with freedom did Christ set us free.” Why do we run back to living in the flesh; it will only reap “corruption” (Galatians 6:8).

4. Weariness. We get overly tired when we are operating in our own power (vs. the strength we get in Christ, Philippians 4:13). (It’s like an unplugged laptop that drains the battery until the power is gone. How much better to plug into God’s unfailing power plant!)

5. Faithlessness. This is self-trust rather than trusting in God. In Matthew 13:58, Jesus did not do many miracles of power because of the people’s lack of faith.

6. Self-sufficiency. We think we can do everything through sheer willpower, but our sufficiency is truly in God (2 Corinthians 3:5).

7. Carnality. We have carnal appetites and responses; we act more like spoiled children than mature Christian adults (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

8. Temporary fruit. Yes, we can accomplish many things, but lasting fruit comes when we trust and rest in (abide in) Christ (John 15:4-5, 8).

9. Weakened relationships. Our love, forgiveness and other godly responses often fail; we need a resource outside ourselves (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a; Romans 5:5; John 13:34-35).

Although we may think we are achieving great things in our own power, we are only fooling ourselves. As Stephen L Pogue says, “Trying to live the Christian life on your own efforts is as futile as trying to get around town by pushing your car.”

Paul says, “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). It’s just plain foolish to trust in our own power, but how often it’s our fall-back position. We need to remember to plug in to the power source that will never fail – God in us through the Holy Spirit. When we are plugged into His inexhaustible resources, we will be dynamic, vigorous, and effective.

Jesus said we would receive God’s power (John 16:7; Acts 1:8). Later, Paul said, “I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe in Him” and “Your strength must come from the mighty power of God in you”(Ephesians 1:19; 6:10 TLB). This is Jesus’ resurrection power alive in us (Galatians 2:20).

Remember: If we are not plugged in to the right power source, we can expect power outages.

How about you? Are you plugging into your own power, or the all-powerful creator God?

 – Dawn

 

 

Change? You’ve Got Everything You Need.

16 May

TwoCaterpillarsTwo caterpillars were chatting on a leaf. Suddenly, a beautiful butterfly fluttered by.

One caterpillar turned to the other and said, “You’ll never get me up on one of those butterfly things!”

It’s always dangerous to assume we know all the answers, and to resist change because we don’t understand.

The truth is, we have to stop being caterpillars before we can MonarchButterflybecome butterflies.

After my dog barked at a caterpillar the other day and I rescued the little stripped larvae (envisioning the gorgeous butterfly that would someday take flight), I thought about that caterpillar joke. How pitiful that the caterpillar didn’t understand the destiny of change.

I am tired of listening to Christians grumble that they “can’t change.”

And I’m not being critical of others. I’m just as tired of hearing my own complaints and excuses.

Like many people, I’ve caught myself saying, “I can’t change. It’s just the way I am.” No – I need to wake up to all that I have in Christ and my true destiny in Him. I need to step out in faith, courage and obedience – to walk as a child of light, pleasing the Lord (Ephesians 5:8-10). A child of light; that’s who I really am. I just keep forgetting the power that is mine.

Let me rephrase that. It’s not my power. God’s “divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). The Lord is our El Shaddai – God the all-sufficient One – and He perfectly supplies our needs. Although the primary focus of this passage in 2 Peter is our spiritual rather than temporal life, God’s children attest to His care, even in the storms of life.

Still, Paul said he considered everything else he had “a loss” and even “garbage” compared to the “surpassing worth” of knowing Jesus (Philippians 3:8). He understood that to know and “have” Jesus is to have everything.

Many Christians don’t think this way. They don’t believe we have all we need to live a godly, purpose-filled life. They’re always looking for an allusive something that’s missing so they can “have victory,” “find purpose,” or “live for God.” They think it might be in the next blog they read, or the next Sunday message. The truth is, God is actively seeking to change my life and make me more like Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:23). I am a work in progress, and God has given me the Word and spiritual tools for change.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “encouraging, comforting and urging” them “to live lives worthy of God” who had saved them (1 Thessalonians 2:12). But why did he tell believers to “make every effort to add” to their faith so they will be effective and productive in their knowledge of God and service for Him? (See 2 Peter 1:5-10; 3:18.) Why? God expects us to grow! Though we may face trials, God continues to work in us (Philippians 1:6 ). When we suffer and stumble, He restores us and make us “strong, firm and steadfast” for His glory (1 Peter 5:10).

When my husband recovered from knee surgery, we kept the post-surgery swelling down using a machine that streamed icy water through a rubber mat. The first time I wrapped the mat around his knee and plugged the machine into the wall, I thought it was broken. It took me a few minutes to realize a tiny wire at the top of the machine’s casing was not completely pushed in. What appeared to be powerless or even broken was simply a disconnected wire.

In the same way, I have everything I need to live a godly, effective life, but I need to make sure I’m connected each day, mentally and spiritually. I need to remember the cross, and think about who I am and what I have in Christ. The scriptures tell me my life is “hidden with Christ in God” and therefore, I am “qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 3:3; 1:9-14). That is the truth. That is why I can walk in light. (I have been justified; I am being sanctified.) I can make the daily upgrading choices that align with God’s plan for my life.

God expects my cooperation – a willing, surrendered heart. So I will strive for excellence in all things, desiring to reflect the glory of God. I will pursue holiness and be careful in my behavior, walking in wisdom and making the best use of my time, doing my best to understand and follow the will of the Lord (Ephesians 5:15-17). I will “walk worthy” of my calling (Ephesians 4:1; Philippians 1:27a; 1 Thessalonians 2:12).

I’ve got everything I need for change; and if you know the Lord in a personal, redeemed relationship, you have everything you need. Believe it.

When is it hardest for you to believe you’ve got everything you need?

– Dawn

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