God is able

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It’s not what God won’t do but what I’ve not been doing. It’s not so much that God isn’t able but rather I’m not…

God is the source of all good and the primary and ultimate source of all life. If the earth is too far from the sun it would freeze -if the earth is too near it would burn. Staying in communication keeps us in tune to the father’s voice like avid listeners of a favorite radio station. Prayer and fellowship is important.
If the earth was to pull out of its orbit and distance itself from the sun photosynthesis would not be able to take place, plants and crops would die along with a world that would eventually starve and freeze to death.
To listen to that brilliant radio station the requirement is that you are correctly tuned in, in order to pick up the radio waves of that particular station to enjoy it. It’s the minimum requirement, or in the example of the earth and the sun, it’s a law of the universe.
Jesus is our only way to the father, no other route will do because this was tailored by Him, there isn’t an alternative because God came down to earth, manifested himself as a man in the form of Jesus of Nazareth aka Immanuel i.e. “God with us” for the sole purpose of reconciliation that would bring us back to him. He literally did the impossible.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me

Dying and coming back again is no small thing but dying for all mankind for every sin they have done, did and ever will do is an even mightier feat-it’s the mightiest. It hasn’t been repeated by anyone since because only God was able to accomplish such a thing.

Hebrews 9:28
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

What now stains me that God cannot remove? Is there a trying time that God cannot give me courage and strength to pass through? Is my financial situation so dire that my heavenly father cannot bail me out in his riches? Is there a pit so dark that such a depression can blot out the joy of the lord that washes over me in God’s presence? Certainly not!

Romans 8:38-
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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And therefore my God makes me able to sing when I am full of sorrow, to endure when I’m passing through storms and to trust Him when the fires burn for by his grace I pass through to the other side purified, refined and renewed.

Proverbs 17:3
A refining pot proves silver, and the furnace gold, and Lord Jehovah tests the heart.

Even in times of little I am content because my God who is able provides me with his grace to endure all things. It is the greatest testimony, a stamp of confidence that says “God I can’t see right now but You are light-all will be well as you shine through and prevail.”

Philippians 4:13
I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Don’t mistake this message for some sort of sappy sentiment that says God doesn’t mind if you laze around and don’t work hard and don’t try and don’t believe and don’t do your best. James talks about faith and works. He makes it clear that we have to be as proactive as we are verbal. As John Wesley puts it “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

James 2:14-26
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

 

Christ simplifies it by saying love your God with all your heart, mind and soul and then love your neighbor as yourself -the two are connected. Out of that foundation of loving God, you love your neighbor (ie everyone) as yourself. Jesus expels the idea that loving your family and friends is enough because it isn’t. Even terrorists, mass murderers and all the other bad types of people we can think of have families whom they may show affection for the same we show affection for ours so what’s actually separating them from us anyway?

Matthew 5:43

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

You have to do more and love the “unlovable”, praying for those who do you wrong and Paul should know-he’s been on both sides of this particular illustration so he knows what the power of loving your enemies is capable of doing. Ananias, a Christian had heard all about Saul’s attacks on Christianity and was in shock When Christ asks him to help Saul rather than get even.

Acts ch.9v14-17

Here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go your way, for he is my chosen vessel to bear my name before the nations and kings, and the children of Israel.
For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
Ananias departed, and entered into the house. Laying his hands on him, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord, who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me, that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

 

Ananias not only prayed for Saul, later to be known as Paul, but actively helped him ,being an agent of his rehabilitation rather than his condemnation. It went a long way in illustrating what God’s powerful mercy is capable of-it transcends us. The cry of condemnation flies out of the mouth of Christians more than any other when we should be extending words and actions of peace, healing and redemption to those who have gone astray and done wrong. This in no way stops us from actively judging bad actions and correcting them but such actions without the purpose of reconciliation an redemption rings hollow and pretentious and doesn’t represent Christ who we serve who died for us whilst we were sinners. There is a way back and the way is Jesus He is able to save, not us-Him. Let us not scare away the very people we are trying to call unto Christ.

Galatians ch6v1-10
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

 

God is able and that means we are enabled by Him to do what is right if we so choose to (we are very much accountable for ourselves because of the free will we have). No more second guessing your God given ability, no more listening to ghosts of your past about who you were, focus rather upon who you are now in Christ. Paul says you are a new creation we’re not our old selves anymore, we are regenerated.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

And we really can do any good thing we so choose to do by his grace. We will rise above all sin that threatens to slow us down in our holy race. For we truly can do all things through Christ who strengthens us because our God is able and by his holy spirit dwelling in us and empowering us daily so are we.

John 14:12
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

All this time we’ve been saying God is able and it’s true that He is but since Pentecost His Holy Spirit has been with us saying –you are able.

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Just Do It-that Nike Slogan

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Several years ago, 26 to be exact, Nike launched an AD campaign entitled “Just Do It.”AD week’s article on the brand’s legend expresses the insinuations of the slogan aptly;

‘It’s worth noting that Just Do It is not a typical feel good marketing tagline. There’s a hard edged suck-it-up aspect to the phrase that runs counter to most advertising pablum. It’s empowering but makes no promises, implying, in fact, that tough hard work and personal sacrifice might be involved,’

 

Procrastination and indecision are often the greatest killers of potential, mainly because the individual who is indecisive and procrastinates never actually gets much done. The apostle Paul at great personal sacrifice at the command of Christ endured a broad range of hardships to bring the gospel to the gentile world. Paul was often insulted, beaten and experienced bad travelling condition to fulfil his calling.

 

2 Corinthians 23-31
23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27 I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

 

He was a man of action who made no bones about his situations as much as we modern-day children of God do, who at times waste away in inaction waiting for the perfect day to do what we were told to do yesterday. Paul states his ethos and belief clearly when he states to the Philippians;

 

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

 

I was once asked why I walk such great distances. The easy answer was because I didn’t have enough money to travel but the deeper reason was even when I did I chose to so that I put myself in a pressurised situation that demands self-discipline and endurance-to get home I’d have to muster my strength and push hard no matter the weather come sun or storm till I made it home. Hebrews talks of a similar scenario where every individual in Christ is doing this.

 

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

 

We need to throw off everything that hinders us-laziness, fear, indecision, procrastination and others by the power of Christ and run the race before us.

That means doing good things we said we’d do, that project that we never get round to doing, the family member you said you’d make amends with.

 

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

 

These things we are being instructed to dwell on and think about isn’t done out of an agenda to brainwash people to be mindless individuals but rather people who are unique, thoughtful and with their unique ability that God has given them spread love in one form or another to benefit the greater whole that they are a part of. What on person dwells on he usually puts into practise.

 

Luke 6:45

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

 

Jesus here goes as far as making a connection between thoughts and words and ultimately actions. What we allow to rest on our minds is important and if we don’t nurture our minds with the right attitude that enables God to use you it will become, excuse the pun ‘use-less’.

 

Jesus made it clear that you are either useful or useless. There isn’t a middle ground of potential that may or may not be useful. To those who cooked with salt and used salt to preserve food they understood Jesus pretty clearly when he used salt as his metaphor to convey the big picture.

Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men

My sister has a habit of not cleaning takeaway boxes properly when she washes up. When I go to use I realise it can’t be used because it’s got smudges and last night’s dinner’s whiff all over it. The box isn’t getting a pass grade by me, it’s either getting thrown away or washed again but it definitely can’t be used until it’s suitable-there is however no middle ground and it’s the same with us.

 

In life there is rarely a middle ground, it just won’t give you that luxury and if there is it’s usually very uncomfortable. Tough hard work and personal sacrifice is worth it, Jesus is worth it because he saved us when we weren’t. Let’s strive and Just Do It!

 

 

 

Footnotes

Nike in greek mythology was actually the goddess of victory so you can see the appeal to some sporting athletes who chose the brand.