Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Demonstration of Power...!

Have you ever wished you could see a visible demonstration of the power of Almighty God? We sometimes read the Bible, learn about the mighty moments in Biblical history such as the Great Flood, or the parting of the Red Sea, or the day Jonah was spared from a watery grave and a great fish. They are small snippets of history, a history of mighty demonstrations of the power of God on this earth where you and I dwell. They were not every day occurrences. God moved by his power on certain individuals at certain moments in history and recorded them through faithful men who gave us the record in the Word of God. We see most of them as we glance quickly through the Bible. In reality, they occurred slowly, with many years between them. We want them to happen every day. Those who have faith, believe that they can happen today, just as they did in days gone by. We can have that faith because the God who did those great demonstrations of supernatural power is the same today as He was then. God does not change.
Yet when we read the scriptures today, it is always easier to apply their truths to someone else. It is easier to pray for some other person who is sick and believe for their healing than it is to believe for your own healing. We are a lot like the Apostle Paul who wrote about his own weaknesses to the Corinthian church:
3. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.
4. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
5. that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
6. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
7. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
8. which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9. But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.''
10. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
(1 Cor. 2:3-10-NKJV)
It all started long ago, after a life changing experience with God, who by the power of the Holy Spirit made Himself real to me for the first time. I believed in Him by faith, but now I knew, without a doubt that God was real, that Jesus was alive and that the Holy Spirit had power, more power than I dreamed possible. At that moment, I realized that I had a long way to go to discover the ‘deep things’ of God.
If we want a demonstration of the power of God, how do we grasp the ‘deep things’ of God? It begins when we realize that to want more of God, we need to change. If we are in a long term maintenance mode, we are not ready for the ‘deep’ things. If we are satisfied with what we know of God, we are not progressing in God, but regressing. Growth must be a continual process of increase. If we are to grow deeper in God, we must move beyond what we know now, move into unknown territory in God...higher plains of faith, long walks in our spiritual wildernesses, learning to totally depend on God as He removes all our dependence on self. Growing deeper means we must set aside the things that distract us from knowing Him. Knowing Him is more than an intellectual understanding of who He is. Knowing Him is more than an emotional response to Him. Knowing God means taking personal time to tap into the ‘hidden wisdom’ (v7) of God. Carnal mankind cannot know this ‘wisdom’. It is reserved for those who will allow the Spirit of God to open their spiritual eyes to what the Holy Spirit wants to do in the world around them.
Like Paul, we have a problem. We find ourselves frustrated by our inadequacies, in ‘weakness, fear and trembling’ (v3), unable to speak as clearly or as confidently as we would like. Paul however realized that when he relied on the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit to speak through him, his words became God’s words. They came from the spirit realm carrying with them authority and power, not reflecting the weakness of the vessel of transmission, but the strength of the Source of origin….God! Paul encourages us not to rely on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God!
The Wisdom of Men
Throughout the course of church history, we can watch the cycles of revival that have swept through the ages. Man discovers he needs God. He begins to pray, seeking God with all his heart. He finds God and God moves. We have revival. We live in that revival until it becomes common and ordinary. We begin to take for granted the blessings and awesome presence of God. We pray less, read the Bible less, go to church less, and soon other things take priority. Before we know it, as each succeeding generation moves further and further from God, we are once again spiritually cold and dead….in need of revival. How can we stop this frustrating trend? Each generation needs to have it’s own revival, and maintain the standard. Discipline and determination to maintain the important priorities must be in place in every heart. The maintenance line we hold as individuals will determine the value that the next generation will place on what we do for God.
Unfortunately, as we regress and let down the standard, a vacuum occurs. The vacuum is often filled with a substitute, the wisdom of men. I have seen it happen in churches, denominations, and in individual lives. When we lack, we educate. Pastors seek their doctorates, Bible Institutes become Universities, and lay folk seek more knowledge, hire pastors with degrees, forgetting that it is not in man’s wisdom but God’s wisdom that revival comes. God has always tended to use the simplicity of man to confound the intellectual. Jesus practiced it everyday as he faced the religious leaders of His day. Paul learned to flow, not in his own wisdom, (though he was a learned man), but in a demonstration of the power of the Spirit of God.
The Demonstration of the Power
They walked with Jesus for three years. They saw first hand the miracles: the feeding of the 5,000, the raising of Lazarus, the calming of the storm and walking on water, healing the multitudes, water turning to wine, demonized people set free. The list goes on and on. All these were demonstrations of the power of God. Today, many people have never seen a miracle. They watch televised programs of healing evangelists from a distance and skeptically allow doubts to color their opinions as to what happened. We have been taught to be skeptical. It is hard to teach a skeptic to trust. He needs to know God, trust Him, and be in a place where he can see and experience the genuine thing. Unfortunately many churches today do not offer a safe haven for the miraculous. If the church today does not reflect a likeness to the early church in which the power of God flowed with freedom and supernatural power, sheep will tend to wander to greener pastures where they sense the genuine power of God. Some will become entangled in groups that are manipulative and fake, failing to walk in spiritual discernment. Our responsibility is to provide the opportunity for the genuine! God desires to move….but we must we willing to move with Him. It will mean we too must trust Him, and for some it will mean a ‘walking on the water’ type of experience. You may have never tried to step out into the supernatural. We can learn from Peter. The moment He took his eyes off the Master and looked at the storm, he began to sink. We must not focus on the problem, but the Master of problems. He can take care of the rest of it if we let Him. The walk in the supernatural, a demonstration of the power of God, ought to be the ‘norm’ for the true believer.
To make that kind of spiritual walk a daily event, we must be filled with the Spirit of God to overflowing. It is not a one time event. It must be a daily part of our prayer life. We must get to know the mind and heart of God. It means spending time in the intimacy of the Miracle Worker. We don’t seek the miracle...we seek the Master. Miracles become a natural outflow of our relationship with Him. Where He goes, miracles follow.
You may need a miracle today. It may be a need for physical healing. It may be a need for a dramatic change in circumstances. You may be believing for a loved one bound by drugs and alcohol, pornography, or unforgiveness. Our miracle worker never changes! He is the same today as he was in the days of the apostles. By faith, you can come to Him, make your request, and confidently believe for your miracle. His power level has not diminished in 2000 years. Our faith may have fluctuated but He remains the same. Come boldly! Expect an answer! Trust in His provision! Believe for the unbelievable! He is in the supernatural business! He does not choose to do it because of who you are, but because of who He is! It is for His honor and glory! "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.''
When you get your miracle…don’t keep it to yourself. Tell someone! He gives that we might have more to give to others. Your miracle will help someone else believe for their miracle. When faith begins to rise in a community, it becomes contagious. That’s how revivals begin! Hoarding and hiding your miracle makes you like the unwise steward who hid his money in the ground. It was taken from Him and given to others.
God wants to stretch you in the supernatural. The storehouse of the miraculous is full, waiting for believing Christians to draw on the resources God has provided...heavenly power flowing from the throne room of the Almighty God. Reach out in faith...take His hand in yours and let Him demonstrate His power in your life today! Let Him take you deeper still!
J. Johnson

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