FULL OF FAITH AND POWER
Acts 6:1 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.
10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.
Yet I Will Not Forget You
But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. Your sons shall make haste; Your destroyers and those who laid you waste Shall go away from you. Lift up your eyes, look around and see; All these gather together and come to you. As I live,” says the LORD, “You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all as an ornament, And bind them on you as a bride does. “For your waste and desolate places, And the land of your destruction, Will even now be too small for the inhabitants; And those who swallowed you up will be far away. Isaiah 49:15-19
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed- 2 Corinthians 4:9
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Isn’t great and wonderful that God the Creator and Sustainer of the universe will not forget us or forsake us no matter what we are going through? We are inscribed on the palms of His nail scarred hands and He is concerned about our welfare and prosperity. And He has promised to deal with all our destroyers and those who have risen against us (Isaiah 41:12) and to change our waste and desolate places and bring us righteousness, rest, justice peace and prosperity! God’s word is true:
People shall mourn upon their breasts For the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. On the land of my people will come up thorns and briers, Yes, on all the happy homes in the joyous city; Because the palaces will be forsaken, The bustling city will be deserted. The forts and towers will become lairs forever, A joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks-Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, And the fruitful field is counted as a forest. Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, And righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, Though hail comes down on the forest, And the city is brought low in humiliation. Blessed are you who sow beside all waters, Who send out freely the feet of the ox and the donkey. Isaiah 32:12-22
When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, And we are glad. Psalm 126:1-3
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Although many people do, God’s true children don’t judge things by their natural mind or negative circumstances but by the Word of God and their decrees of how things are to be (Matthew 16:1, Mark 11:23). God has given us the power through the spoken word to change all the negative things in our land and to see it healed and blessed! Jesus gave us His blood, He gave us His name and He gave us His Word. He gave us the authority to rebuke negative things including storms and the devil ourselves. Under the new covenant we say to the mountain ‘be removed and cast into the sea’ and believe in our heart that those things we say will come to pass and we have whatever we say. Hence things seen such as mountain removed result from things not seen, our spoken words.
Through the bible we know and believe of the great things that God has done. And what He has done for one He will do for another! God’s word is unchanging:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:1-3
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Hebrews 11:30-34
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:10-11
It’s a defeatist attitude, full of unbelief about the power of God, to let the enemy win in any way in our lives be it through poverty, loss, sickness, disease or demons. Our words spoke by our mouth frame the world that we live or shall live in, not the devil or negative circumstances. We overcome all things by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony just like Jesus did. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He told him what the Word of God stated (Matthew 16:9):
· ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.’
· ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’
· ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’
Just like Habakkuk expressed unshakable confidence in divine deliverance, so can we! God’s word is unchanging:
Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:2-4
Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls- Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. Habakkuk 3:17-19
Through the book of Habakkuk we also see that individuals survive through fidelity to God, even when nations tumble because ungodliness and violence prevail; especially among those who profess the truth. Men tend to forget that God doesn’t overlook injustice and violence to others even by religious ones. Yes, the days come when the cry of sin is heard against those that do wrong and the cry of prayer for those that suffer wrong. And then God sends real judgments upon men through a method of His choosing.
Most men presume on continued prosperity, or that calamities will not come in their days even in our nation. God is the Lord and He does get offended. Though wickedness may prosper a while, yet God is holy, and does not approve the wickedness and will bring judgment even using others. Proud and arrogant ones who are fierce, cruel, unmerciful to take glory to themselves should be aware of God’s wrath. Even though God most times doesn’t execute speedy judgments and evil works and workers and His judgments are delayed, doesn’t mean that they are denied. Men who prey on others will sooner or later be preyed on themselves. God’s word is unchanging:
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way In the whirlwind and in the storm, And the clouds are the dust of His feet. Nahum 1:3
So each one of us must walk humbly before God as all we receive is from Him and we must give Him all the glory. We must not be impatient about anything but trust God in and for all things. When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we can trust God to provide us an answer in due season. He will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait upon Him to see what He will do. Though the promised blessings might be deferred for a season, they will come at last, and abundantly recompense the humble, broken-hearted, saint who waited upon God. Those who are just and live by faith and persevere to the end shall tread the high places of their enemies. While those who distrust or despise God’s all-sufficiency will find themselves in place they never expected to be. Yes, What God has done before He can and will do again. And doom always comes to proud and oppressive ones especially those who touch or hurt His servants.
The sins of men do destroy them as they sink themselves down into destruction and perdition. What is gotten by violence from others, others shall take away by violence. Covetousness will bring disquiet and uneasiness into a family; he that is greedy of gain troubles his own house and it brings the curse of God upon all the affairs of it. Yes, there is a lawful gain, which, by the blessing of God, may be a comfort to a house; but what is got by fraud and injustice, will bring poverty and ruin upon a family. God’s word is unchanging:
“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, Pressing him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk, That you may look on his nakedness! You are filled with shame instead of glory. You also-drink! And be exposed as uncircumcised! The cup of the LORD’S right hand will be turned against you, And utter shame will be on your glory. For the violence done to Lebanon will cover you, And the plunder of beasts which made them afraid, Because of men’s blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it. “What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, The molded image, a teacher of lies, That the maker of its mold should trust in it, To make mute idols? Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, Yet in it there is no breath at all. But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:15-20
The good news is that the Lord revives His work among the people in the midst of the years of adversity and trials. Our God is a God of Mercy and in His wrath He remembers to give mercy to His trusting one who flee to Him for refuge and rely only upon Him. Everything that we go through is seasonal and subject to change by God who still makes His trusting ones more than conquerors even when the vines and the fig trees are destroyed. When all is gone, God is not gone and His miracle working power never ceases. His word is unchanging:
“And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him “and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. Acts 7:9-10
Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord-that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. James 5:11
Yes, we might have seasons when we meet with losses and crosses in the world, but the joy of the Lord is still our strength. And He will make our feet like deer’s feet, and He will make us walk on our high hills. The great redemptive work of our Lord covers the complete person—body, soul and spirit. It reaches even into the realm of physical necessities. Jesus said to his disciples, “Take no anxious thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, what shall we drink? Or, How shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:31–34).
We don’t live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God and God is our source of our total supply, our provision, our exceeding great reward and all that we need. Through God’s grace and Spirit we can be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and stand until the victory and our breakthrough is manifested proving the faithfulness of our God. In the midst of all our troubles Jesus is still a balm for every wound, a cordial for every care. He is still a friend who sticks closer than a brother!