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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 28 April 2019 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – IDENTITY and AUTHORITY

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – IDENTITY and AUTHORITY

 

The scene brings Ebenezer Scrooge to mind. Lying in his bed, awakened from sleep by loud clattering noises. Shutters banging, the bed, even, hopping about as though it were a living creature.

Here the similarities in two stories ends. Poor Ebenezer trembles in fear, clinging to his bedclothes for dear life—as though a woven piece of cloth might hold off the specter standing before him.

Smith Wigglesworth, however, looked his guest—a very real manifestation of evil—in the eye and said, “Oh. It’s just you.” And laid his head back on his pillow. Without opening his eyes, he spoke again. “And put my bed back where it belongs.” He promptly went back to sleep, absolute in his authority over the baffled intruder.

Mr. Wigglesworth’s visitor was no fictional ghost, nor a minion or underling, even, of Satan. Mr. Wiggleworth’s visitor was the Prince of Darkness himself. Manifest in all his ugliness, vile and sulphurous, drawing on all his worthless power to scare this man of faith who had him trembling.

Because he knew. They both knew.

 

This story struck me to my core when I first read it years ago. Such faith. To look at Satan, manifest before his eyes, and not be shaken in the least.

 

Because Mr. Wigglesworth knew.

 

Satan. Could. Not. Touch. Him.

 

Not because of anything Smith did or was.

 

But because of who he was in Christ.

 

Smith Wigglesworth knew his identity. Just like Jesus knew, and knows His identity—and offers that to us as believers and followers.

 

Just as Jesus faced Pontius Pilate, just as He endured the horror of crucifixion. Just as He walked (strutted?) the streets of hell to take back what was stolen.

 

Just as Jesus knows who He is, so, too, can we know who we are.

 

“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27

 

In His image. From the very beginning, we were made to be like Him.

 

All the struggling and striving and suffering is because we separate ourselves from Him. Because we don’t know who we truly are. Who we’re meant to be. Who He created us to be.

 

To live in that identity, to face every situation and circumstance with the same authority Jesus did, and does. Because in Him, our identity is the same as His identity. We were created for Him. For relationship and fellowship with Him.

 

How many times do we face a trial wondering if things are going to be okay? Wondering if He heard our prayer—or if He cares. Wondering, even, Father’s will? (His Word tells us, very clearly, what His will is.) When we are in relationship with Him, just as when we are in relationship with each other, we can and will—and should—know Father’s will. His plan, His purpose.

 

Think of it this way—God’s strength and might is a turbine engine. The kind that power the tremendous KC-10 aircraft. And living our lives without being plugged in to Him is like operating on the power of a small lawnmower engine.

 

We putter about our lives with that small motor, lacking the strength to live fully as He created us to do. We roll from one day to another, idling through life.

 

But what if we engage those grand turbine engines? What if we embrace the terrible power? What if we soar on the wings those engines raise? Might we face the enemy with the unwavering confidence Mr. Wigglesworth did?

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18

 

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”

They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. Daniel 3:24-27

 

 

All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions…  Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days…  So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”  Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed…  Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!  My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”  Daniel 6:7, 10, 16-17, & 21-22

 

These men of God had no fear because they knew Who their God was. They knew no man could take them out of God’s hand. But more than that, they knew God would prevail, His power and His glory would be made known.

Like Smith Wigglesworth, they faced the enemy with courage because they knew who they were, Who they belonged to.

 

What if we step into the power and realm where Jesus did? Does that mean nothing bad will happen?

 

No.

 

What it means is that Christ shines through us when the evil of this world encroaches upon us. Upon our lives. Upon our loved ones, even.

 

Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.  And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.  Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.  And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.  But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.  Act 16:22-34

 

In the midst of whatever difficulties, whether light or catastrophic, God’s power takes over when we invite Him through praise.

 

…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

Not for the difficulty, as I’ve heard questioned. But above the circumstance. Because we, in spirit, are above our circumstance. We are above this natural realm. We walk with Father in spirit.

 

Stray thoughts enter my mind sometimes. The natural reaction is worry and panic. And yes, I have fallen prey to it at times. But I have learned who I am. I have learned my spirit is my guide, NOT my emotions. And in that identity I speak the Word of God and vanquish those trespassing thoughts.

 

And I laugh at the one who would destroy my soul.

 

Because I can.

Because I know who I am.

His. I am His.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Identity and Authority, Genesis 1:26-27, Daniel 3:16-18, Daniel 16:7, 10, 16-17, & 21-22, Acts 16:22-34, 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 31 March 2019 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – IF IT BE THY WILL and EXPECTATIONS

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – IF IT BE THY WILL and EXPECTATIONS

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it. That prayer that says, “If it be His will.”

 

Please pray for me. I need thus and such.

 

To which I get the response, “I will pray thus and such for you, that if it is I accordance with God’s will, He will answer you…”

 

“For all the good intention of, “If it be Thy will, Lord,” I cringe at that. His Word tells us His will.”

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/blogwords-sunday-16-july-2017-front-porch-fellowship-just-get-me-home/

 

Of course we are to pray in accordance with Father’s will. To ask what we will, and it will done unto us. Does this mean we waltz into the throne room of heaven and lay our demands at His feet?

 

Goodness, no! God is not a genie in a bottle, and our wish is not His command.

 

Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

 

It does mean to know His will for us, and ask accordingly. And He does desire for us good things, not just necessary things, but things that bring us joy in life.

 

Saw this post on Facebook the other day.

Wait! Father God cares about an old couch? What?

 

Yes. Yes He surely does. When we are grounded in Him, when we make Him the priority in our lives, when He is our passion and treasure, and the desires of our heart line up with His will and His Word, then it is His good pleasure to make a way for us to have them. Whether it’s an antique couch, or healing from disease, it is absolutely His will, and the desire of His heart.

 

How do I know this? His Word tells us so.

 

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4

 

Notice the second half of that verse: He will give you the desires of your heart. Several years ago, Father showed me something about this verse—when we delight in Him, when we seek His face and His Truth, when His Word is living and breathing in our hearts, then the desires of our heart are the very desires He placed in us to begin with.

 

Matthew 6:33 says it this way:

 

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 

It’s contrary to our human nature—of course it is. It’s our spiritual nature, the part of us He referred to when He said, “Let us make man in our own image.” Genesis 1:26

 

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

 

With that comes authority and responsibility. But that’s another post for another time.

 

So what about the times our prayers go unanswered?

 

Wrong question.

Our prayers are never unanswered. But we might not like the answer we get when we pray.

 

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  Matthew 19: 16, 21-22

 

Jesus answered the man; he just didn’t like what Jesus said. As to giving all our earthly wealth away, that’s also another topic for another time, but for now, suffice to say, Father can and will—and does—bless us in our obedience.

 

To wit, Solomon.

 

God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask! What shall I give you?”

And Solomon said to God: “You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place… Now give me wisdom and knowledge…”  II Chronicles 1:7-9

 

He could have asked God for riches, or favor, or a beautiful wife—any number of things. But Solomon asked for wisdom—He sought the Father’s heart.

 

Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”  verses 11 & 12

 

Seek Ye First, Extreme Edition. Or perhaps, First Edition.

 

So back to making requests before God. Back to tacking “If it be Thy will” at the end. Sounds so humble, so noble. (It’s not, it’s a cop out.)

 

We’re not called to be humble and noble. Neither do we approach the throne in arrogance, but knowing and standing on His Word, His promise to us, we can approach the Throne of God boldly and in confidence:

 

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16

 

And it all circles back to relationship with Him. CINO’s (Christians in Name Only) no more have the privilege of private audience with Him than I have with Queen Elizabeth.

 

The thing about His Word, though, is that it is living and breathing, and when we read it, meditate on it, it connects us to Him. He inhabits our hearts in the most intimate relationship there is.

 

And from that relationship comes confidence. Confidence in Who He is, in His Word, and His promises to us. And prayers that have power to change the world.

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, If It Be Thy Will and Expectations, Mark 11:24, Psalm 37:4, Matthew 6:33, Genesis 1:26, Matthew 19:16, 21-22, II Chronicles 1:7-9, 11-12, Hebrews 4:16, Ephesians 18:23

 

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