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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cascade Trail Waterfall
Waterfall along the Cascade Trail
near Mount Tamalpias, Marin County, CA
Photo taken by Mike Weber

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"Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"  (Pontius Pilate in John 19:10).  "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth" (Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:18).
We are visiting a friend here in the Washington DC area for several days. I am not sure whether we will go into the city, the "seat of power" for the US. I have been there many times, first as a child during a long vacation through the east. I am now at a point in life I generally prefer to stay away from anything inside a beltway!

Inside the Washington beltway the powers of this earth will be deliberating on various matters making the news nationally and at times internationally. Subcommittees, confirmation hearings, cabinet meetings. Decisions made can and certainly do affect all of us living here in the USA and beyond. We hear the term "powerful politician" a lot, certainly a lot more than distinguished statesman.

These people have worked hard and aspired to have this power. I recall a book I read many years ago that sums up the ambitions of many in this world; wealth, power and prestige. Many have all three and are at the top of their game.

The politician, Pilate, felt he had great power.  He needed a good dose of reality check when he boasted in our first daily text.  This spineless man speaks to the eternal Son of God; "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" 

Jesus did not let Pilate's proud claim to power stand unchallenged: "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above" (John 19:11).  Like many before him and many since, he learned the hard way about how powerless he actually was when he faced eternal judgment. Let us consider two other Biblical characters.

Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty ruler of the Babylonian Empire, was walking on the roof of his palace and declared, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30).  The very next verse reveals how Nebuchadnezzar was quickly put in his proper place. 

Herod gloated when he heard the people proclaim praise toward him, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man" (Acts 12:22).  Failing to immediately give glory to God, "an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died" (v. 23).

In Acts 4 the disciples were facing persecution and uttered a wonderful prayer with a stunning truth: "Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.  They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen" (Acts 4:27,28).  Does verse 28 capture your attention?  The disciples recognized that the sovereign God was the ultimate source of blessing, authority and power, even when facing confusing or troubling circumstances.

We too should recognize that God at times uses undesirable circumstances and the very people who seek to harm us in carrying out his overall plan in our lives.  And that is a tremendous key to finding peace and living the abundant life. Remember, no power or force on earth exceeds the almighty power of the One who said, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." 
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer:  Father,  we pray for those in positions of power that they would realize where their power comes from and give You the glory and honor due Your name.  We pray for leaders whose attitudes and actions may reflect those of Herod, Pilate or Nebuchadnezzar who became proud and abusive with the authority entrusted to them. May they come to realize that any power we have on this earth is given to us by You and that we will give account for how we use it.  Let it be used for good to bless and enrich others, not to endanger or deprive them of the blessings You have in mind from those You have empowered to do good.  Above all we want to honor You and give You the glory for anything done through us, for we in ourselves are powerless.  Amen.

Study Note: The powers of this earth need to heed the Apostle Paul's words to, "not think of yourself more highly than you ought" (Romans 12:3).  Now that's good, solid counsel for all of us isn't it?  One of the sad elements of this power confusion in our world is that many people look to government as their source of blessings rather than to God from whom all blessings flow.

Personal Note: We expect to visit our friend for a couple of days and today we are going out to western Maryland to visit her son and his family.  He runs a bee farm. That should be an interesting learning experience and I expect to get some spiritual lessons as well!

RV tomatoes
Brooksyne is enjoying playing on a Steinway grand piano!
"Lord, You Are More Precious Than Silver / My Jesus I Love Thee" mp3

RV tomatoes
Yesterday we saw this RV on the beltway around DC carrying a tomato plant. I suppose this way they have their own fresh "home-grown" tomatoes while on the road. The tomatoes appeared to be in great shape and there even appeared to be some ripe ones (we haven't had a ripe tomato yet in our home garden in the rich Lancaster County soil!)  This sure must be a hardy tomato plant to grow in these conditions. We were going 65 MPH when the photo was taken.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name"  Video

"The Power Of Your Love"  Video

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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