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Power Up

June 18, 2018

He got up, rebuked he wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. . . they were terrified and asked each other, Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!’” Mark 4:41.

Our culture loves super heroes—men and women with supernatural powers—Superman, Batman and Batgirl, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Power Rangers—the list goes on and on.

Next Sunday’s Scripture texts[1] describe the power of a real and eternal Super Power—God. In addition to his many other attributes, God is present everywhere, he knows everything, and he is all-powerful. Our texts describe the application of God’s power through the ages as well as his power as expressed through Jesus and now living in the Spirit within us. But in addition to describing our powerful God, the texts give us some insight into how we can tap into that power.

No super powers existing on earth or in our imaginations can compare or even come close to God’s real power. God reminds Job of that when he asks him: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? . . . Have you given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place? . . . Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? “ (Job 38:4, 12, 18).   We can see God’s power around us in all of creation and are reminded that God is there for each of us. [See my prior blog on this subject, Power Player of All Time:]

Jesus Christ came to earth fully equipped with divine power.  But his displays of power were not for self-aggrandizement. He wasn’t seeking to promote himself or to procure favors or wealth. He used his powers to help the poor, the sick, and the disenfranchised. In this week’s gospel text, he calmed the storm and the waters to ease the fears of his disciples: “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm . . . they were terrified and asked each other, Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!’” Mark 4:41.

Paul speaks of all of the hardships that he and others endured in their quest to spread the good news to far-flung places of the earth. He describes the beatings, imprisonments, hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger they endured to spread the good news. He writes that it was the Holy Spirit and the power of God that kept them going: “In purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God, with weapons of righteousness . . . dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:6-10).

You can tap into God’s power through prayer.  E. M. Bounds taught “More prayer, more power; less prayer, less power; no prayer, no power.” Many years ago one of my former pastors, Stephen Lien, quoted his mother, Orena Lien, who taught him a similar proverb: “No prayer, no power; little prayer, little power; much prayer, much power.” The psalmist itemizes the times that the Lord rescued the Israelites from sure death and destruction, and offers this bit of advice: “Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 124: 8). Power up.

James tells us that prayer is both powerful and effective: “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them . . . And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” James 5: 13-17. Power up.

These texts show us God’s power at work around us in his creation. Paul describes all of the hardships he endured by tapping into the power of God. The Holy Spirit was with him, helping him all of the way.   Isn’t it time that you tapped into God’s power? When you wake up during the night and can’t go back to sleep, be grateful that God has given you a special time to spend with him.  Call out to him from the depths of your soul, and ask him to heal you, to restore you, to comfort you, to guide you, to counsel you, to stay with you. When you are commuting to and from school or work, use that time to talk to God—to praise him, to confess your mistakes, to unload your concerns, to ask for guidance and help.  Call upon the Lord earnestly from your heart in prayer and he will empower you.

Power up.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for next Sunday are Job 38: 1-11; Psalm 124; 2 Corinthians 6: 1-13; Mark 4: 35-41.

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