Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How we are empowered when our hope, will, and strength is in the Lord.

Twice a month , a group of amazing women all gather at my church in the foyer. Last week I had the opportunity to listen to some of their hearts. The conversation started with how to deal with a child who is being bullied verbally at school, and ended with the power of speaking blessings over our children. There were all kinds of great ideas sandwiched in between there. Here's just a glimpse of where my mind went on that Thursday morning...


Have you ever had someone say something cruel to you, call you something negative or demeaning, or blurt out an insult that just crushed your spirit?? Most of us can think of an instance when an insult carried a lot of weight on how we saw ourselves...more than it should have. When this happens, we need to be intentional about healing that hurt. We need to ask the Lord, "Is this thought from you"? If it isn't then it needs to be corrected, immediately, before too much damage takes root in our hearts and minds. Pray and ask God to show you what HIS truth is about who you are. If the thought does not jive with the fact that God loves you, it is an incorrect thought. Replace it with what God wants to say to you.


God gave new names to people in the Bible to establish a new identity that called them to a higher standard and a special purpose in this world.

God changed Abram’s "high father" name to Abraham "father of multitude".
God changed his wife's name from Sarai “my princess,” to Sarah “mother of nations”.

We know, now, from history that it was God's plan that the descendants of Abraham and Sarah would form many nations, including the Jews and Muslims.

God changed Jacob’s "supplanter" name to Israel “having power with God” .
He changed Simon’s "God has heard" name to Peter "rock" .

We find in the Bible that Jesus occasionally called Peter “Simon” after He had changed His name to Peter. This might have been because Simon sometimes acted like his old self instead of the rock God called him to be...something we are all prone to do, I think. The same is true for Jacob. God continued to call him Jacob to remind him of his past and to remind him to depend on God’s strength.


We must continue to remind ourselves day after day, hour after hour, who God says we are in Him. (It's where we find our purpose) Life has a way of tearing us down and building us back up, but who God says we are is what really matters. I'm sure that there were plenty of times when Simon Peter looked at his reflection and thought, "I FEEL like a Simon, but JESUS SAYS I'm a Peter!" We must trust our feelings less, and our God more.

I have been doing a lot of posts on edification (building each other up). We are all on our own spiritual journey, and must offer one another grace as we continue to learn more about who God calls us to be. Grace is freeing and that's empowering, but grace without conviction keeps us stuck where we are. Edification takes it one step further. Edification says, "I see where you are, and you are loved just as you are... but I also see where you could be, and I want to encourage that in you". Grace combined with conviction and edification from Christ gives strong and continual power to every believer. Learn who you are in Christ, develop confidence in what He is able to do in and through you. As you learn to do this, you will become a person who demands respect, without ever having to ask for it.


What are you saying about, and to, the people around you in their presence and in their absence? Are you speaking empowering words of spiritual healing and restoration?


Are you adding salt to an open wound, with damaging words, and constant reminders of how they have failed in your opinion?

Find a piece of God in the people around you and offer words that encourage your brothers and sisters to embrace that part of themselves. Each person is born in the image of Christ, but it has been masked by sin. The damage (and sometimes the scar) of the sin still remains. Even THIS can be used to God's glory! Encourage, build one another up in Christ.

I want to hear from you. Have any of you been offered a compliment that changed who you were, even just for a day? What did that look like for you? How did it empower you?

Post a comment, share your story, and doing so, encourage someone else to speak words of edification to those around them. There is power in Jesus' name...and we can tap into that power when we choose to accept the name Jesus gives to us.

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