Without Power

Luke 9:1-6  (NLT)

One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples[a] and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money,[b] or even a change of clothes. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.

All across the state, many of my fellow North Carolinians have been without power as we continue to endure heavy rains and gusty wind from #HurricaneFlorence2018. Even though FLO has been downgraded to a tropical storm, she is slow moving and her circular bands are dumping record numbers of water onto our already saturated land.

without power.jpgWe were without power last night for a few hours. Yes, only a few hours. But lemme just go ahead and confess this to you: I’m a wuss without power. Born and raised in Southern, CA, this city girl, who was transplanted to the country in the late 80’s, is NOT equipped to live like a pioneer. Sure, I can go tent camping. I even enjoy “roughing it” for a few days. But at home? Uh. No. It’s like I forget how to function! Without powerI can’t cook, do dishes, wash clothes, turn on the fan (this is VERY important for hot flashes!!!), use my computer, iPhone…wah, wah, wah. I have become much too dependent on electronics that are useless without power. Electrical power helps me be productive in my role as Home Manager, Homeschool Mom, and with At Home Ministries. The same is true in my relationship with the Lord, and in what He has called me to do. Without His supernatural power, I’m unable to fulfill His plans for my life.

Such is the case with the church in America. She, in many instances, is trying to function without power. She has equipped herself to preach to the multitudes on Sunday mornings by using electrical power to brew fresh coffee, show videos and announcements on the big screen, stream children’s curriculum, share on social media, amplify instruments, and project people’s voices on microphones… But none of these things need supernatural power to perform. Supernatural power doesn’t need to be plugged into a sound system. Supernatural power simply needs disciples who know Jesus. Disciples who know Jesus andhave been given His power and His authority to cast out demons, heal the sick and tell others about the Kingdom of God.

Without power, we, the church, cannot PREACH the Kingdom of God.

Without power, we, the church, cannot PRAY for others to be healed from disease and set free from the demons that torment them; body and soul.

Without power, we, the church, cannot LOVE our neighbors, as we love ourselves.

Without power, we, the church, cannot LOVE God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Jesus didn’t send His disciples out into their community to PREACH & PRAY until they knew Him andHe equipped themwith His Spirit & Authority (Luke 9).

Jesus didn’t send His disciples out into their communities, their nation, or the world to PREACH & PRAY after His death, resurrection & ascension until they knew Him andHe equipped themwith His Spirit & Authority (Acts 2).

Jesus still doesn’t send His disciples out to PREACH & PRAY until they know Him andHe equips themwith His Spirit & Authority (Hebrews 13).

My fellow disciple,

Are you trying to fulfill your calling without power? Are you preaching the Kingdom of God as a spectator of Jesus Christ instead of His friend? Are you praying for others so that they can be healed, or because you want to be their savior & lord? Stop. Confess. Repent. Be still. Know Him. Then….He will equip you with His Spirit & His authority.

My fellow North Carolinians,

I sincerely apologize for my whiny-ness of being without power. I am acutely aware that many of you have been devastated by this storm. You’ve lost loved ones, homes and all your earthly possessions. My heart grieves for you. May the Lord be with you as you endure the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, and may we, the church provide what you need to rebuild.

-Jodie

Go with the FLO

Psalm 46  (TPT)

46 For the Pure and Shining One, by the prophetic singers of Korah’s clan
A poetic song to the melody of “Hidden Things”[a]
God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge!
    You’re a proven help in time of trouble—
    more than enough and always available whenever I need you.
So we will never fear
    even if every structure of support[b] were to crumble away.
    We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes,
    moving mountains and casting them into the sea.
For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves
    cannot erode our faith in you.
Pause in his presence
God has a constantly flowing river whose sparkling streams
    bring joy and delight to his people.
    His river flows right through the city of God Most High,
    into his holy dwelling places.[c]
God is in the midst of his city,[d] secure and never shaken.
    At daybreak his help will be seen with the appearing of the dawn.
When the nations are in uproar with their tottering kingdoms,
    God simply raises his voice
    and the earth begins to disintegrate before him.
Here he comes!
    The Commander!
    The mighty Lord of Angel Armies is on our side.
    The God of Jacob fights for us!
Pause in his presence
8–9 Everyone look!
    Come and see the breathtaking wonders of our God.
    For he brings both ruin and revival.
    He’s the one who makes conflicts end
    throughout the earth,
    breaking and burning every weapon of war.
10 Surrender your anxiety![e]
    Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.
    I am the God above all the nations,
    and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.
11 Here he stands!
    The Commander!
    The mighty Lord of Angel Armies is on our side!
    The God of Jacob fights for us!
Pause in his presence

 

I admit, my anxiety level began to rise as I joined millions of North Carolinians this week in planning and preparing to meet Hurricane FLOrence. In the Sandhill Region, I stood in long lines at the grocery store for bottled water, non-perishables, and flashlights to survive this monster storm. I joined our family in putting up tarps, securing outdoor furniture, and putting away yard accessories that wouldn’t survive the impending wind gusts. In the hustle and bustle of activity, I also spoke to several people about my regret of not having that leaky spot on the roof fixed!!! How many times have I yelled at no one (or everyone in the house) as I’ve watched a heavy rainfall produce a steady stream of water that would FLOdown the wall, dripping onto my table, threatening to damage or destroy my bible, journal and electronic gadgets? More times than I can count.

FLO.jpgIn the midst of this Category 4…3…2…1? hurricane, the Lord reminded me that I can plan and prepare for FLO, just as I can plan and prepare for “storms” in my life. Yet the earth will still quake, the mountains will still be cast into the sea, the winds will still roar, and the waves will still crash. But if I will go with the FLO of His plans and purposes, I will prosper (Jeremiah 29:11).

Lemme just say right here: I hate the unknown.

Check that.

I fear the unknown.

I fear unpredictable storms of life.

So, in an effort to control the track and category of human hurricane’s, I try to plan and prepare….for everything.

But that’s impossible. Isn’t it? And its, just….well….stupid. Seriously. Who controls the wind and the waves? It certainly wasn’t Job, and it definitely isn’t me.

The truth is: God has not given me a spirit of fear! (2 Timothy 1:7) And He hasn’t promised that my plans or preparations will not be shaken. For if I was able to stand on my own two feet in the midst of a raging storm, I would never run to the safety and shelter of His wings (Psalm 91). God has promised, however, that HE knows the plans He has for me, and HE is never shaken.

My fellow disciple,

I don’t know what size of storm you’re enduring this hurricane season. I don’t know how the wind and waves will impact, or maybe even damage your body & soul. But I do know that God promises to be a safe and powerful place to find refuge. Do not forget: He is with you! He is a proven help in times of trouble. And, remember: the storm will only last for a night. As my adopted Grandma Lillie Mae used to say, “child, ain’t nev-ah seen a storm dat didn’t pass” (thanks for the reminder, dad).

-Jodie

Identify

Matthew 7:15-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

Webster defines a prophet as “one who utters divinely inspired revelations.” In essence, someone who speaks the Truth of God. Jesus warned the disciples to beware of false prophets. The same warning still applies. Sadly, the church often wrongly assumes that a false prophet will be obnoxious and overtly obvious to the sheep. The enemy isn’t that dumb. False prophets are disguised. They are difficult to SEE & KNOW because they seem harmless. wolf.jpgThey act like sheep. They attend worship services. They join small groups. They serve. They tithe. They pray in public. They quote (or misquote) the bible. Left unchecked, they become leaders. They begin shepherding other sheep. The sheep may not SEE & KNOW, but the Lord KNOWS. He SEES the heart. He cautions other sheep in the fold to beware(“be on guard, be wary.”) Why? Because, He knows that we, like sheep, have all gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). We’ve rebelled and wandered away from the Great Shepherd. And, as stubborn, sometimes stupid sheep, we can easily be led astray by fruitless fools who act like sheep.

James 1:19-22 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger[a] does not produce the righteousness[b] God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Do not despair. God has a solution to this problem; the Holy Spirit! He leads us into all Truth. He is our guard. He alerts us to the wolf. He gives us eyes to SEE & hearts to KNOW the false prophets. They are identified by their fruitlessness. They are NOT quick to listen, slow to speak, or slow to get angry. They are not producing righteousness. They are fooling themselves.

Lord,

You are righteous. You are slow to anger. You are quick to forgive. Open the eyes of our hearts, God. Helps us to see the anger that disguises itself in our souls. Help us confess it for what it really is; pride. Help us to repent; to be deeply grieved for going astray. Set us free from the desire for power and position. Give us a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Help us to beware of wolves. Help us to identify bad fruit. Help us to lovingly call your sheep to repentance. Deliver & heal your church from the viciousness of the enemy who threatens to steal, kill and destroy us. We declare that the gates of hell will NOT prevail against us!  

Amen.