|This is an ebook by Rob Hayes (I've never read this book)|
partial to the way it reads in The Message paraphrase:
15-19 That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
20-23 All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.
I've prayed this over my oldest son since 2006 when he entered into the US Army academy at West Point. I'd heard how rigorous and difficult it was there so I started praying this over him and have continued to pray this over him periodically.
What's captivated my attention so much about this passage is the phrase "endless energy, boundless strength". I struggle in my life with being tired. I don't know if it's because I have such high pressure jobs, a thyroid condition, or I'm just a less energy kind of person. Whatever the reason, it's a huge struggle for me. I want more energy and I want it bad. Yet somehow in my life there has been a disconnect; I know the Scriptures about God giving us energy and I want to live for Him, but I still find my self oh so tired on a daily basis - why? More importantly, how can I change this?
As I've been praying about this, reading, and researching I came across an interesting article by Barry Hall. I found these statements of his insightful:
"For God to be your God, He knows He has to presence Himself with you intensely enough for you to be refreshed by it and be able to trust Him. He designed you with the needs you have because He wants you to depend on Him--He wants to prove He can be a better God to you than the little "gods" of this world. Repent by coming to the place where you can trust God as your adequacy. The apostle Paul wrote, "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5). It is entirely realistic for you to experience the presence of God to such an extent that this verse becomes true for you—every moment of every day. "
"The Psalmist wrote, "...O Lord God, You are my confidence..." (Psa. 71:5). It also says, "The Lord is their strength, And He is a saving defense to His anointed." (Psa. 28:8). Repenting by trusting God to draw near and be your strength allows you to experience the anointing of God.
" Your need can be what drives you to draw near to God and receive His presence. "
"Repentance is a process of humbling yourself from thinking you have to achieve His presence and simply receive it. Repentance will help you find it easier to believe you can draw near and receive."
So, what does all this mean to me?
I keep thinking about that passage from John 15, the 4th through the 8th verses:
4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. (MSG)
Last week I looked at how I need to come closer to God, to spend more time in the Word. I haven't done that. I haven't made myself get up earlier and I'm so exhausted by the time that I get home from work that it's a struggle to make myself walk a couple of miles on the Nordic track just so I can get some exercise into my day. Then I crash; I eat dinner in front of the TV and go to bed early.
So it's got to be in the morning that spend more time with God. To start my day with more than 3-5 minutes reading and thinking about a devotional. I recognize that I need more. Maybe other people don't need more, but I do.
Oh God, please help me. You know how I have such a hard time getting up in the morning. Please help me think about getting up to be with You instead of about getting up to go to work. I'm going to take You at Your Word and, by Your strength and ability, try this. I'm going to get up early daily for the next couple of weeks and dig into Your Word. I need more energy - please teach me how to abide in You and receive Your presence and strength. Thank You that You put up with me. Thank You that You want to be near me.