Friday, April 22, 2016

The Power of God

"Wilt thou be made whole?" Jesus asked a man who had been ill for 38 years.  The man was at the pool of Bethesda...a very special pool.  An angel came to "trouble the waters" every so often, and the first one into the water afterward was cured.  The man replied, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool."
This man believed in miracles.  He had tried to get into the pool on his own, but someone else always beat him to it.  Jesus told him, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk."  He was immediately healed.

Imagine how many times the sick man must have prayed, "God, send someone to help me into the water!"  That prayer was never answered.  It's easy to try to put God in a box--confine His power into something we can understand.    

But doing things God's way, instead of his own way, the impotent man didn't even have to get wet!
A few chapters later, in John 11, we find Martha crying, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee."

She had faith to believe that Jesus not only could have done what she could comprehend (heal her brother while he was still alive), but that God, in his omnipotence, could still do anything.  Nothing could stand in His way, not even death.

There have been times I've prayed, yet it seemed God was silent.  Martha had sent to Jesus while her brother was still alive asking him to come help.  There was silence.  Her brother died.   Sometimes the answer is not what we want; sometimes the answer is no. 

Why?  Does God take pleasure in seeing us frustrated?  No.  He just had something far greater in store.  "I am the resurrection and the life," He said, and Lazarus lived again.
Don't underestimate God's power to work above and beyond your expectations.   Hebrews says faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Have faith in God.  He may not follow your plan, but He never fails.  Eye has not seen, nor has anyone even imagined the good things He has for those who love Him.

    "Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe."  --St. Augustine

32 comments:

  1. So true! Sometimes when we look back, we can see that His way is better. Other times, our human vision doesn't allow us to understand, but we can always know that He has a plan and it's better than ours!

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    1. Indeed. There's a verse in the Bible where God says, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Sometimes life is difficult to understand, but we can trust our Savior.

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  2. Ah, Bethany. This is so true! My husband and I were recently witnesses to His great power! Of course He shows His power every day, but sometimes we are too blind or insensitive to it. :-) I pray you are doing well!

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    1. It's all too easy to overlook the little every-day miracles. But sometimes He does show His power in mighty ways we can't miss! Aunt Esther always used to say in her booming voice, "Praise Him for his mighty acts!" Then she'd add softly, "and the lesser ones too!"

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  3. Growing to know God in faith challenges me, and my actions are often like those in the Scripture who doubted, or betrayed the Lord, but in the midst of my faltering steps of faith I have glimpses of God's amazing Love, and I am grateful. Thanks for your encouraging post, Bethany

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    1. The Psalmist said, "He knows our frame; he remembers that we are but dust." It's wonderful that we have a God who came to us in the form of man (Jesus). He knows what it is like to be human, and He has compassion on us. His love is greater than we could ever imagine.

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  4. Dear Bethany this is a word to my own heart today as we have been considering these verses in light of the suffering of a special young mother in our congregation who is suffering from cancer. As our pastor pointed out, the Saviour never stopped loving Mary & Martha & Lazarus as is repeated in this chapter.
    God bless.

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    1. It's hard to understand how good people can suffer so much. I know wonderful Christians who face problem after problem. I guess troubles come to all, good and bad alike. But we have a wonderful comfort and peace in the presence of Jesus, as He sees us through our troubles. He's promised He'll never leave us or forsake us. Prayers for the young lady's recovery.

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  5. Great photo. You have a new follower from Spain. Best regards from http://faunacompacta.blogspot.com.es/

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  6. Isn't there a saying that goes something like if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans?

    Not sure if that's it or not. Either way, Happy Weekend :-)

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    1. Ha! That's a good one. Have a great week!

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  7. Wow, Bethany! This was so powerful. I was just thinking this morning of Ephesians 3:20 and how God can do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or even think. Even more than our biggest imaginations and most impossible dreams. He is an awesome God, Who absolutely cares about the most minute detail of our lives. Thank you for this post, it was a great encouragement to me. Also, we are hosting a lovely, little Spring Giveaway at our blog, if you would like to stop by and enter! God bless you, sweet friend.

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    1. Amen! Good quote from Ephesians. Sorry I missed the giveaway!

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  8. There is such comfort in those words. I love knowing that God is in control and will never fail me. That He loves me beyond compare and has the plan. And I only need to simply have faith and follow Him. That's a pretty great deal. ;)

    Loved this Bethany. Thanks for the reflection time my wise young Friend. Blessings. xoxo

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    1. That's right. Knowing Jesus is on our side is a wonderful reassurance.
      Blessings to you too, Carrie!

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  9. The photos accompanying your text are beautiful. Especially the first one is stunning!

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  10. This is a very encouraging and insightful post! I like the Biblical examples you used. :) Also, as always, great illustrating photography. ;)

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  11. Bethany very interesting post, It seems spring in Poland is earlier about 3 weeks than in your place

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    1. Actually, I'm just a bit late in posting these photos. :) They were taken on March 29th.

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  12. Beth, you are so wise!!! I love reading your inspirational articles. God bless you, darling! Liuba x

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    1. The Lord gives wisdom...and I'm constantly finding I need more! But "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," so I do have a good start. Blessings to you as well!

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  13. Very wise the sentence of St. Augustine, Bethany, and very wise your post too, especially your last paragraph, which I like. Have a good day.

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    1. Thanks Enrique! Hope you have a great day as well!

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  14. Very inspirational post, Bethany! And the photos are great. That first one with its golden hues is absolutely stunning!

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    1. Thanks Martha! My family was doing hill-training for their running that day, and I came along just to take pictures. There is so much beauty just waiting to be captured!

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  15. Hi Bethany, Four months! Can it be true? Oh my goodness, I just checked to see when I last commented on Today Liberty or Death … it was January 19th! I simply cannot believe it. Well, I went through a bit of a blogging slow-down in February and March … only posting 4 times each of those months. Getting a little more active recently. Seriously, I have thought of you and your blog often … well, every evening news reminded me of your excellent political profile posts. This morning I see that you have several new posts about the chess tournaments, but I selected this one for a comment because I so appreciate the content and your discussion of faith. You know, Bethany, if I could have two requests for you, First would be that you will become a minister, and Secondly, you will move to the Pacific Northwest so I can attend your church. :-) Well, I will have to take some time and go over the posts I’ve missed here. I do have one question for you when you have time. As the political season has unfolded I’ve often gone back to think about one thing you told us regarding the Iowa Republican caucus. In your review of the meeting you mentioned how various neighbors stood up and spoke in favor of certain candidates. That was back when we still had quite a few in the R race. But the thing that struck me was that no one stood up to speak for Mr. Trump. So, I have to ask: How do you think folks in your area are feeling about Mr. T as the presumptive nominee? Will you and your neighbors support him? Bethany, I will close this comment with hopes that all is well with you and the family there in Iowa. Take good care! Thanks for sharing your blog!

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    1. Hi John, great to hear from you! Time does go by quickly, and I have been taking a slow approach to blogging for the last couple months as well. Your two requests made me smile. :) Feelings about Mr. Trump among my friends are pretty diverse. Some people I've talked with are very excited about him. Others plan to vote for a third party or not vote at all...and still others will hold their nose and vote for him. I'm still not sure whether I will vote for him. I might write-in a candidate, but then I do dislike Hillary Clinton so much that I may take my chances with voting for Trump. To me, he's a bit of an unknown quantity. He may be terrible as president or great...it's hard to tell. I do know Clinton would be terrible (from my standpoint as a conservative). Have a great week!

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  16. Hi Bethany, Great to hear from you, thanks for the reply AND your kind comments on my blog. I'm sitting here smiling because I sort of anticipated that you might return the question and ask what I'm thinking about the current stage of the Presidential election. Honestly, it's very hard to put my thoughts into a relatively short reply here. Probably can't do as well as you did for me. Just about a year ago I anticipated Hillary would become the D nominee, but at that time, Bernie and Donald were not even on the radar. It really is a mind stretch how much they have changed the race. An interesting poll a few days ago showed a lot of people thinking things are so bad in the country (overall) that it really won't matter which one of these candidates we select. I hope that things aren't really that bad, however, it is hard to see how any of these three current contenders are going to be able to get along with Congress and improve the situation in the USA without destroying our relations with the rest of the world. At this point I might go along with you and write-in a candidate. I wonder if you would agree that this might be the best opportunity ever for a third party candidate to run and win. However, time is running out for that possibility. Have a great weekend ahead!

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the situation. Yes, I had thought a third-party candidate might have a good chance, but it does indeed look late for that now. Too bad Bloomberg decided not to run. I would never have voted for him considering his ban on big-gulp sodas (among other things)...but he might have added considerably to the entertainment value of the election--not that Trump isn't doing a good enough job keeping things entertaining on his own. Watching him and Clinton debate will be a blast! But it is very sad to consider the current state of our country. Hope you are enjoying a delightful Memorial Day weekend!

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