Hi folks! Tim’s computer has been on the fritz this week, so we’re reposting a devotion from the beginning of 2018. Enjoy!
“Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”.) Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”.
–John 1:41-42 (NLT)
The other day my blender wouldn’t work, and I couldn’t figure out why. I pressed all of the buttons, but my efforts were in vain.
Then I had a bright idea, and I checked the back of the blender. “Aha!” I said upon discovering that the machine wasn’t plugged into the wall. “I think I know what’s wrong!” Sure enough, it worked like a top once I had plugged it in. I was glad about that, since that is the extent of my mechanical ability.
thinking about this incident further, I have wondered if that wasn’t the way I had often lived my life. I asked myself if this simpile analogy might not hold a key for others, so I thought I’d share what I learned with you.
After years of ministry, I was filled with frustration. It seemed like everything I tried went wrong. I felt ready to throw in the towel, but I gradually realized that I needed more power in my life. Like that blender, I wasn’t fully plugged in to God’s power supply. I had tried various methods, but I had to face facts, since nothing seemed to work out the way I hoped it would.
I remembered being at the point of despair and asking myself, “Didn’t God say that His strength is made perfect in weakness?” In spite of my discouragement, I knew the answer was “yes”. I forced myself to come to grips with the fact that I am weak, and I needed the strength that could only come from God’s hand.
In light of this admission, I did some more soul searching before God.
“Lord,” I said, “I need to be plugged into your power, so that I can really live a life that glorifies Your name and brings others to You. You said that You would give the Holy Spirit to those who ask, but I have often gone ahead of You. Please forgive me for ignoring you. Fill me with your Spirit, and let me walk in your ways.”
The change didn’t take place overnight, but I went out with a new joy. I realized that I had been more concerned with self-aggrandizement than giving God first priority in my life. I also realized with chagrin that I had limited the very power which I sought.
While I don’t like to admit it, I guess I thought of the gospel primarily in terms of numbers. Instead of the people that Jesus came to die for, my focus was on my own performance. I had chosen to concentrate on myself instead of honoring God’s power in my ministry.
I’m tell you about my journey because we all need to cultivate a heart which leans on God. These are difficult times, so in order to stand strong, we must go back to basic truths as taught in the gospels.
Jesus both showed us and told us throughout His life that prayer is the real power behind our service. He also told us to abide in or be plugged into Him, but then He gave us the supreme example of His lifestyle which I spoke about above. If you take a close look at His life, you can see Him spending whole nights in prayer. At other times He rose up very early in the morning to pray.
Then we move to the book of Acts, where we see the prayer life of the apostle Paul displayed. But it is important to look at this in terms of His background. Prior to his conversion, Paul had been a mover and shaker serving God on his own terms. He was seen as the cream of the crop by his fellow Pharisees, and he was renowned for persicuting Christians. However, his pride was shattered on The Damascus road when Jesus confronted him.
Durring the rest of his life, the apostle Paul made mighty contributions, because he spent so much time in prayer. Later he tells us in the epistle to the Ephesians that our real fight isn’t against flesh and blood anyway. Rather, it is against the unseen forces which we wrestle with every day.
Since the same power is available in our daily lives, let’s talk about how we can make this amazing strength a reality. But I can only go so far, for any personal application of the facts that I have shared above is between you and God.
Based upon what the Bible tells us, however, God is holding out His hand to you, and He asks you to depend upon Him in a life-changing way. He wants to multiply what you can do, just as He once multiplied the fish and bread. If you turn to Him for strength, you will find this to be true like I did.
On the other side of the coin, Satan is a dirty foe. He uses the fact that you may not be doing something like teaching a bible study or leading worship against you. He wants to make you feel ineffective, blinding you to the way in which God’s power can work in your life. he also knows that if you feel small and useless, he can keep you from seeing our big God. But it is not what we do in our own strength that counts anyway, and our weakness can drive us to our Father’s mighty arms if we let it.
In the past, there have been many great revivals, because unseen people like you and I have taken the idea of plugging in to Christ seriously. These unnamed heroes of the faith have prayed to the God whose ways are higher than ours, and they found Him to be faithful. So today, let’s take note of that, and instead of depending upon our finite understanding, let’s learn to lean on Christ. By plugging into His power, you can see things in a new light, and a life which previously may have seemed dull and uneventful can take on new purpose and meaning.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-432-6498. When prompted, press 1 for live chat rooms, and we’ll be waiting in room 31. You can press pound to bypass our friend Sharon’s intro message once you’ve entered room 31. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.