God Is Able – Devotional #1

by Kathy

God Is Able 2

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly

beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power

that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church

and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.

Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

If you’re reading the book along with this study, please read chapter 1 for this week.

Let your eyes settle in on the first word of Ephesians 3:20.  What is your now?  What are your current circumstances where you dwell and live right now? Do you find it hard to sit a bit and think about your now without your mind racing to questions like – What do I do next?  What is ahead?  How come?  Why?  What if?  You may have become quite good with trying to answer these questions, distracting yourself with them, chasing all the bunny trails of the various scenarios, while you try to think of all the solutions to your present reality.

Can I ask you to do something for me?  (Thank you for allowing me to do that!)

Take a deep breath… and exhale slowly.  After you do, just focus on your now.  Get everything else out of your head.

Whatever you are facing now, it is time to start connecting it to this verse and with God’s infinite and indescribable ability. Let me help you do that.

What does your now look like?  Is it:

  • a boat load of bills you don’t know how to pay?
  • a problem with your child that seems to have no end in site?
  • a marriage that doesn’t look like it will survive too much longer?
  • a sin that you keep repeating?
  • a unhealthy habit that controls you?
  • a report from the doctor you weren’t expecting or didn’t want?
  • a long season of stress and struggle?
  • a life filled with mundane boredom?
  • a hurt by a friend who completely doesn’t understand you?
  • _____________ (you fill in the blank)

When Paul wrote these words to the early Christians, their “now” was filled with something they had a difficult time conceiving in their minds.  Paul was writing them to tell them that Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, which brought them peace and reconciliation with God, also brought them the ability – both Jew and Gentile – to join together in unity.

You need to understand that the very idea of Jews and Gentiles getting along with each other – respecting one another – doing life together – well…they just felt it was impossible to do.  The wounds between these two groups of people were deep.  There was great hostility.  They hated the ground the other had walked on.  Their goals and desires were mutually exclusive in ways that one could not even imagine.  Until Jesus.  Until he tore down the wall of their dividing hostility.

Listen to these words in Ephesians 2:14-18:

“For Christ himself has brought peace to us.  He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.  He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations.  He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.  Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.  He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles, who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.  Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.”

Notice that these verses indicate that Jesus Christ wasn’t appealing for peace, but was PROCLAIMING peace!  Because of what Christ had accomplished on the cross, these two groups of people could actually really love each other and be a united family…Not because of their power, but because of His!!

To the Jews and Gentile’s minds, this was impossible.  So they must have been saying to themselves – If God can cause us to live together in peace and unity, is there anything else that He cannot do for us?  Paul wanted them to make this connection.  And we must do the same.

Do you have a difficult time conceiving that God is able to bring peace to your life…work out your circumstances…bring unity in your relationships?

Do you want to know another interesting part of this story?  Paul penned these words while in a dark, stench-filled prison cell.  His now reality was bleak and dismal. Yet, he was able to boldly exclaim God’s ability in spite of his personal limited mobility.  Paul understood and rested his faith in the awesome presence of God amid his frustrating lack of freedom.

I love how Priscilla Shirer answers this question – What kind of believer do you have to be to voice a doxology from within a tight space and a tense situation you really, really want to get out of?

The kind who knows that timing is everything.  The kind who draws the connection between their current circumstances and the power of God, the way Paul chose to do it.  The kind who leaves the mountain of crisis long enough to cross the sturdy bridge of faith that leads directly to God’s ability.  The kind who knows that if God has allowed it now, He must have plans to display His glory now.”

You can be that kind of believer!  Right now you can sing a song of praise in your impossible circumstance!

John 10:10 says this – “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

God didn’t intend for that abundant life to be ours when we got past the bump in our road…move beyond our current circumstance…get the bills paid…have a wonderful relationship with that friend or child…have a great marriage…undergo the necessary medical treatment…have life smoothed out…lose weight…or whatever your now is.  Abundant life is not when there are no impossible situations to deal with.

Abundant life is what Jesus offers and His Spirit enables during the times when you are right in the middle of those current difficulties.

Again, listen to Priscilla’s words:

“As soon as you connect your circumstances to your God, He raises a banner of hope in your heart and mind.  As soon as you believe He can do this – that He is able – something called abundant life actually shows up right in the middle of dreariness.

Will you take a moment right now and invite God into your now?  Ask Him to infuse you with His hope.  Ask Him to protect your mind.  Thank Him that is able to work out your your circumstances as you wait on Him.  Praise Him for giving the power to live your life abundantly smack dab in the middle of your now.

Here is what I would love to encourage you to do this week.  Take a notecard or piece of paper and write out Ephesians 3:20-21.  Highlight the word now and place this scripture somewhere you will see if often.  As you go through your day looking at these verses, pray for God to infuse your current now reality with His undeniable ability.  Each time you pray, it will refocus your thinking and remind you of His ability.

Have a Grace Full Week connecting His able to your now.

 

 

7 Responses to “God Is Able – Devotional #1”

  1. Glenna Barr says:

    Thank you my dear sister in law! This is exactly what I needed to read today. You have encouraged me, as always.
    Love you!

    • Kathy says:

      Glenna,
      I love you too and praying for all the “now” circumstances in your life. Thank you for being my encourager!!

  2. Heather says:

    These words spoke to my heart and soul, Kathy!

  3. Dee says:

    “Just because God CAN doesn’t mean He WILL. But just because He HASN’T doesn’t mean He WON’T. The bottom line is He is ABLE.” p.13

    • Kathy says:

      Great comment Dee! We certainly don’t know what God will do as we pray and wait on Him. While we wait, however, we can trust in the fact that He CAN and is ABLE! As we wait on Him to show us how He is going to work through our circumstances, we are trust Him, believe Him, expect Him, and seek to know Him more intimately and fully. As we seek to know more of Him, our goal will become not to have Him answer our prayer exactly the way we’ve been praying it, but to answer it in a way that fits perfectly with His plans and purposes. I think that it here is where His glory shines in such abundance in our lives!
      Love your heart Dee!
      Kathy

  4. Jan says:

    Thanks for suggesting this book. It is just what I need right now. God is certainly bigger than anything life throws at us!

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