April 27, 2009

Power Up!

Power up and power down is a phrase that my technical husband uses. I know what he means, but I stubbornly still say, “I need to turn on the computer.” And “Will you turn off the computer?” As I type, his way sounds much cooler.

When I think of power, I usually think of Spirit power, not having a mechanical vein in my body. My dad and brothers would probably think of power cords, power machines, and power tools. If I don’t turn on the computer, it will not power up, even though it is there waiting for me anytime I need it. OK, sometimes, I have to wait my turn while the kids are using online, but that power will be there when I access it.

We can live very devout lives for the Lord. We can be the most faithful servants for the local body of Christ. We can love the Lord with all of our hearts. Then why can life seem so hard? Why do so many of us, who are Christians, have lives filled with fear and addictions and discouragement? Why do we have the same problems as the non-Christians?

We need to look at this. Are we powering up? Are we utilizing the power that has been offered to us?

When we are experiencing a lifestyle of fear, we need to attack it with its remedy: faith. Our faith creates a barrier of protection against fear filled thoughts. When we are losing battles with addictions in our lives, we must use the weapon we have been given in Christ: freedom. When we are miserable and depressed and running out of options: we need power.

Powerful? Is that an adjective that describes your walk with the Lord? Is power a part of your definition of being a believer? It is now. Look at the verses below. Who brings power when He arrives on the scene?

I Thessalonians 1:4:
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.

Acts 1:7- But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit come on you. You will be my witnesses.

So, when we need to power up, we can. 24/7 access to the Holy Spirit means that we can get to that power whenever we need it. If temptation circles you in the quiet in the middle of the night, Power to resist is there with you. If you hear the voice of the accuser saying that you will never be happy or whole or healed, Power has another voice filled with the truth of God’s word. If each morning, you wake up with dread, not wanting to work or play or even live, Power gets your feet on the floor and your life back in gear.

Holy Spirit power is available to Christians. We are sometimes led to believe that strong Christians can put up with anything that enemy sends their way. But we really are not told to put up with sin or lies or addictions or even life's cares. We are offered power over them.

I Peter 5:7: Cast your cares on Him, He cares for you. (I have always loved the poetic use of the word "care" in that verse.)

Contentment means not always longing for something that your friends have that you can’t afford. It involves covetness that can keep your stirred up and never satisfied. Real life hurts and fears are to be given over to the Lord, not carried in His name. We are not asked to be content with pain or defeat.

Keep seeking the life of power. Take a look at the hardest areas of your life. Are they fears, struggles with addictions, or that dread of life feeling on your chest in the morning? God is not asking you to carry those around. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a power source.

So, Believers, let’s power up!

April 1, 2009

Molly's Thoughts

Molly Parker attended an Encouragement Event in March and later sent me this article she wrote for her local paper. I asked for her permission to share it here. Enjoy!

My extended family is a clever, fun-loving bunch. My peppy aunt hosted a bridal shower for my cousin over the weekend, and it was celebrated with classic “McSorley” flare. Everyone came dressed in an old bridesmaid (or mother-of-the-bride) dress. You know, an old dusty one from the past, picked right up off the closet floor – possibly resembling a large lamp shade when worn. Something peach colored, perhaps, with matching satin heels.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the pleasure of going because, well, it was in California. (Sigh.)
But, I did have the pleasure of attending a women’s Bible study the very next morning here in Alabama. The adorable speaker was super with-it and very wise; her joy bounced all around the room filled with tired ladies in dire need of a good pick-me-up. (Well, at least I was one of THOSE ladies.)

She spoke of the things – both material possessions and character traits – we tend to pass down from generation to generation.

In speaking of material possessions, my grandmother has an antique rocking chair that, if passed down to me, I will proudly display in my favorite room. However, if I happen to inherit her glass, mustard yellow, “decorative” grape cluster, it’ll go in the closet where it belongs.
As for character traits, I would love to see my mother’s wisdom and love for God’s truth continue for many, many generations. On the other hand, family members who struggle with various addictions and fears, I pray for God’s healing touch on their lives so that their “stuff” is kept from sneaking into the next generation.

But knowing me, it’s so easy to lightheartedly say, for example, “Whew, that Charlie! Stubborn as can be…just like his grandfather.” But should stubbornness be brushed aside, moving on down the family line with such ease?

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

And our Bible study speaker reminded us of Jesus saying “don’t put old wine in new wineskins” and how Psalm 40:3 talks about the Lord putting a new song in our hearts. Do you see it? New! Fresh! Not old! God’s desire is for us to live joy-filled, grace-abundant lives – for this generation and the next. So let’s pass on the baton of “God traits,” not human traits.
In the meantime, I’ll be sure to grasp onto my aunt’s creative, party-planning, hospitable ways. But sorry, Dad, the love for ketchup and bologna sandwiches stops here.