It Changes Everything

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:29-31....."If the resurrection is true, that changes everything." Nik Ripken

In his book, The Insanity Of Obedience, Nik Ripken recounts how, in his interviews of believers who had experienced intense and brutal persecution in places like Russia and China, they were almost casual in their telling of the many miraculous interventions of God on their behalf in the midst of their suffering. He was astounded by this, writing, "In their understanding, God's intervention was not really miraculous. God was simply acting the way God acts! His activity was expected, natural, and completely in character." As a means of further illustration, an elderly Russian pastor took him to an east facing window and asked him how many times he had awakened his sons to join him to watch the sun coming up. He replied that he'd never done that, that his sons would think him crazy if he did. The pastor replied that of course he wouldn't do that, that such a happening was normal and to be expected. He then said that this is what persecution, and the Father's activity in its midst was to them. Normal and expected. They did not take His supernatural interventions for granted. They just knew that it was the way in which He would act. It was perfectly in line with the character of the God in whom they believed. They believed in and upon a risen Christ. For them, the resurrection had changed everything, and their lives reflected that. We say that we believe the same. Has it changed everything for us?

Beth Moore said something along the lines of, "We believe little so we see little, and we see little because we believe little." A simple statement but cuttingly true of much of the western church. Books containing all the promises of God are abundant. They might be found on your shelf right now, and that is very likely where they remain. On the shelf, but not in the heart. Vance Havner said that "Faith begins by letting go and stretching out on the promises." How many of us have the faith life, the trust in Him, to do that? It should be "normal and expected" in the faith lives of His people that God would be Himself with us. That He would show forth His wonder, power, and authority in the affairs, both great and small, of His people. We have sung the chorus, "God will make a way," times beyond number, but in our living, it is we who seek to make our own way. We can't trust the Father to be the Father, but it certainly seems He can trust us to be....us.

The first century church was a collection of believers who lived in awe of their God. Chris Tiegreen says that is the challenge for every believer. "Maintaining the awe and overflowing with joy and praise....Full fountains always overflow." Living in such a state is to live in the expectation that God will be God. We can expect Him to be Himself. We can expect His intervention in our seeming impossibilities and in infinite ways, all of them "miraculous." We simply expect Him to be who and what He says He is. The Russian believers spoken of above didn't believe He could be anything else of less. So why do we? For them, the resurrection, and their faith in their risen Lord had changed everything. What has our professed faith in that same Lord done in us? In our expectations of Him, and in the way we live our lives for Him in our profession of faith and trust, what has really changed?

Blessings,
Pastor O

Post a Comment


   December 2018   
SMTWTFS
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031   
Bible Search