It takes power to know love

It takes power to know love?

One of my favorite passages in scripture, as well as a favorite prayer of Paul, is Ephesians 3.16-21. I had never seen the connection before, and was taken aback by the connection Paul draws between power and love. I understand how divine love is powerful, as in nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. That’s the most powerful love ever. But I never saw, and still don’t quite grasp, why it takes incredible power to understand His love. I can understand how it takes wisdom, understanding, surrender, faith, truth, etc., to know His love… but power? Hmm.

There are five references to ‘power’ within these 5 verses.

16: “May he strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being”

  • “strengthen”: meaning to empower, increase in vigor
  • “power”: meaning force, miraculous power of works and abilities (our word dynamite comes from this root)
  • So, verse 16 could read, “May he empower, strengthen, and increase your vigor with dynamite force and miraculous ability”

18: “I pray that you… may be able to have power… to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge”

  • “may be able”: have full strength, entirely competent, exercise force (our word execute comes from this root)
  • “power”: to seize, possess, take eagerly, comprehend, overtake, attain (the same word is used twice in Phil 3.12 “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”)
  • So, verse 18 could read, “I pray that you… may execute full forceful strength and entire competence to eagerly seize, possess, and take hold of His love”

20: “To Him who is able” (the word used in verse 18, from which our word dynamite comes)

What is this love that requires dynamite power and miraculous ability for me to take hold of mightily? I’m still not quite sure why it requires this awesome power to understand this divine love… unless it’s referring to the fact that it requires dynamite power for one to hold on to this divine love. Any thoughts on this relationship with power and love?

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Be Still

Ran into that verse again this morning… “Those who hope/wait upon the LORD will renew their strength”

Still waiting.

BE STILL (Kari Jobe)

He is here for the broken
and life to the one who is undone
He is peace to the wounded
and hope for the helpless one

He is here, He is here

Be still my soul, be still
Be still my soul, be still
Wait patiently upon the Lord
Be still my soul, be still

When the waves rise against me
and the wind tries to draw me away
I will stand on the mountain,
safe in Your arms I will sing I will sing

Be still my soul, be still
Be still my soul, be still
Wait patiently upon the Lord
Be still my soul, be still

Be still I know He is God
He is here, He is here
Be still I know He is God
He is here, He is here

So be still my soul, be still
Be still my soul, be still
Wait patiently upon the Lord
Be still my soul, be still
Wait patiently upon the Lord
Be still my soul, be still

[go here if you want to listen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndaAjkJU2DY ]

While I'm Waiting

Before I lived in a foreign country and was in the process of learning a completely new language, well, I guess I thought a life of ministry would be comparable to a wonderful worship song. You know, the kind that makes you feel good to be alive singing to your Maker. The kind that you never want to end. Well, you get the point. This morning I learned that living a life of worship takes on a whole new meaning when all you can do is cry through the song, “Blessed Be Your Name”, which, by the way you are hearing in a foreign language.

I’m in a season of waiting. For what, I’m not sure. But I do know that I’m waiting on God. The ‘for what’ doesn’t really matter. God is the One I want. Not an answer. Just Him.

This morning, before church, I was struck by Psalm 50. I’ve basically been at a loss for months to know what God wants of me in this waiting. God is saying… I don’t rebuke you for your sacrifice. I see it. But you know what? I don’t need them. I own everything anyway. But three things I want from you: “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.” Why? Verse 23, “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God”.

So in church, I didn’t catch much of what was being said (I’ll be honest). But I understood enough words at one point to know he was reading from Isaiah 40. So I turned there and started reading… “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God’”. I always wondered how to ‘prepare the way’. Thank offerings, He says. He who sacrifices thank offerings… prepares the way. Hmm.

Isaiah 40 ends with, “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.” I looked up that word for ‘hope’: to bind together, perhaps by twisting, to expect, to gather together, look, patiently, tarry, wait for, on, upon. Yup, I’m in waiting upon Him. I’m hoping for Him. Apparently, according to this word, waiting involves some twisting… and twisting is very uncomfortable. Remember when some annoying kid took hold of your arm and twisted both hands opposite directions for an Indian sunburn? Yeh, that’s twisting. And that hurts. Conclusion: waiting hurts.  You can expect that.

So I wondered how this word for hope/wait was used in other places. The first place is Genesis 1.9 “let the waters be gathered together into one place”. Interesting. Bound together, perhaps by twisting.

Then there is my Psalm for the year (since I’m 27… I’ve kinda created a personal tradition). “Wait on the LORD, be strong and take heart [fasten upon; seize, bind] and wait for the LORD”. That says to me, when you’re waiting and there’s nothing left to do but wait, you fasten yourself to the anchor of your soul, your only hope, you seize it and bind yourself to it. Even if it drags you to the bottom of the ocean and your lungs fill with water… let your last breath be a sign of you binding yourself to Him with all that you have until there is no more to give.

Then there is Psalm 130… “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy… I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.”

And the God who hides himself, as experienced by Isaiah, “I will wait for the LORD, who his hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.” (8.17)

And lastly, Lamentations, “Great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD… let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him.” (3.23…28)

So there I am. Sitting alone in silence, waiting… twisting, fastening, seizing, anchoring myself to the Lord. And while I wait, I will sacrifice thank offerings, preparing the way for Him to come and show me (not just tell me) the salvation of God. Sounds like a good place to be… with a good outcome from a good God.

I found an old entry…

Jesus did not say a word. (Matthew 15:23) He will quiet you with his love (Zephaniah 3:17)

A beautiful old story of how one Christian dreamed she saw three other women in prayer… taken from Streams in the Desert daily devotional, February 9.

When they knelt the Master drew near to them. As He approached the first of the three, He bent over her with tenderness and grace. He smiled with radiant love and spoke to her in tones of pure, sweet music. Upon leaving her, He came to the next but only placed His hand upon her bowed head and gave her one look of loving approval. He passed the third woman almost abruptly, without stopping for a word or a glance. The woman having the dream said to herself, “How greatly He must love the first woman. The second gained His approval but did not experience the special demonstrations of love He gave the first. But the third woman must have grieved Him deeply, for He gave her no word at all, nor even a passing look.” She wondered what the third woman must have done to have been treated so differently. As she tried to account for the actions of her Lord, He Himself came and stood beside her.

He said to her, “O woman! How wrongly you have interpreted Me! The first kneeling woman needs the full measure of My tenderness and care to keep her feet on My narrow way. She needs My love, thoughts, and help every moment of the day, for without them she would stumble into failure. “The second woman has stronger faith and deeper love than the first, and I can count on her to trust Me no matter how things may go or whatever people may do.

Yet the third woman, whom I seemed not to notice, and even to neglect, has faith and love of the purest quality. I am training her through quick and drastic ways for the highest and holiest service. “She knows me so intimately, and trusts Me so completely, that she no longer depends on My voice, loving glances, or other outward signs to know of My approval. She is not dismayed or discouraged by any circumstances I arrange for her to encounter. She trusts Me when common sense, reason, and even every subtle instinct of the natural heart would rebel, knowing that I am preparing her for eternity, and realizing that the understanding of what I do will come later.

“My love is silent because I love beyond the power of words to express it and beyond the understanding of the human heart. Also, it is silent for your sake—that you may learn to love and trust Me with pure, Spirit-taught, spontaneous responses. I desire for your response to My love to be without the prompting of anything external.”

What an encouragement this exerpt was for my soul. How often we misinterpret God’s silence for disapproval. How often we wait for external signs of His presence. I’m sure that the third woman, at times, still longed for the expressions of love shown to the first two women. She must have treasured those moments… but she did not depend upon them. How often I’ve prayed, “Lord, I love you, even if You never spoke another word to me or gave me another gift for the rest of my life, I love You for Who you are and Who you have been to me”.

Really, Stef? How often do you shrink back during those seasons of silence in the desert? How often do you doubt My hand upon you when you can’t feel it resting upon Your head? Would you really love Me, simply for Who I am… love that endures without depending on anything else external? Hmm.