Messiah Lutheran Church 6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634

July 2019

It's not by might, nor by pow'r, saith the Lord

So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

It's impossible! Zerubbabel was given the seemingly impossible task of laying the foundation of the 2nd Temple.

After God's people had been held captive for around 70 years by Babylon and now were being allowed to return from their exile under Cyrus of Persia.

And thus, had to face the obstacles of having to fulfill the expectations of the remnant who remembered the glory days of Solomon's Temple.

Face the opposition of the other nations in the land around them, a lack of resources, along with overcoming the feelings of dread and doom.

And so I ask you, what impossible situation do you find yourself currently facing in your life?

Well, I have a word of the Lord for you and that is "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (cf. Genesis 18:14, Numbers 11:23, 1 Samuel 14:6, Job 42:2, Jeremiah 32:17, Zechariah 8:6, Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 1:37, and Luke 18:27).

For may I remind you of the gift of the Holy Spirit you've been given as God's forgiven child?

For while the Holy Spirit certainly dwelt among God's people prior to Pentecost when When He dwelt them in the Tabernacle and later on the Temple, where He would meet His people and they in turn could meet Him.

And throughout the Old Testament we read of the Holy Spirit coming upon certain individuals by either giving them a Word of prophecy or else empowering them to fulfill the will of God in a supernatural way.

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on God's people in such a way, that now each individual Christian has now become the temple of the Holy Spirit, including you and me.

And thus, we can be assured in an even more personal way of God's ever-present help in time of need along with His wisdom, council and direction, whenever we feel lost and confused, and the strength to fulfill the seemingly impossible tasks in our own lives.

In fact, whenever you find yourself in a weak situation, facing a mountainous task like Zerubbabel did, and feeling overwhelmed and powerless.

Guess, what? It's a pretty good indication that you're exactly where God wants you to be. And desires your dependence upon Him for your strength and needs that He might prove Himself strong in your life as a witness to others that you serve a living God!

As the angel assured Zerubbabel, "What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of 'God bless it! God bless it!'"

Through the Holy Spirit, you can have that impossible mountain removed in your life, as He gives you to faith to fulfill Jesus promise when He says, "Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them" (Mark 11:23)

But the devil will try to fool you primarily in two seemingly opposite ways, but with the same motivation – that you forget the Supernatural power you've been given as a forgiven child of God in the Holy Spirit.

The first way is pride, so that rather than relying on God, you end up looking to yourself, your own resources, and self-determination to overcome the problems in your life, following the motto "The Lord helps those who helps themselves", which isn't even found in the Bible and in many ways, is the exact opposite of what scripture teaches.

On the other hand, the devil will get you to wallow in your guilt and discouragement, causing you to feel defeated and doomed. When the reality is He is the defeated and doomed one! And any guilt he tries to lay on you has been removed from your record as far as the east is from the west and remembered no more as by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross, you've been justified. So you can know God looks at you, Just as if you've never sinned!

Nonetheless, Satan is alive and well on planet earth, prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour. And just as a roaring lion seeks to intimidates its weaker pretty by its loud roar. So, the devil, will seek to intimidate us, especially when we find ourselves feeling weak and vulnerable.

But in those moments, the Holy Spirit wants to remind us, that greater is he that is in us than He that is in the world (cf. 1 John 4:4). And with the authority of the name of Jesus, we can tell the devil, get thee behind me (cf. Matthew 4:10, 16:23, Mark 8:33).

And so we readily confess that we are weak knowing God is strong, realizing we need the help of the Holy Spirit to make it in this life filled with toils, snares, and seemingly impossible situations, including what you're going through right now.

I mentioned earlier how in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would come upon certain individuals in a special way. And one of these individuals is the strongman Samson. When we think of Samson, we tend to think of someone who might have resembled Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime with dreadlocks. But scripture indicates that he might have been a skinny guy like me, which caused the Philistines to marvel, where did he get his strength from? For if he was muscle bound they probably would have assumed it was in his physique.

At first glance when you read this story you might conclude his strength lay in his hair. But the reason he lost his strength was not because Delilah gave him a hair-cut, but because his connection with God had been cut off, breaking his Nazaretic vow. As result, he was no longer plugged into the power source of God and became like any other man in strength.

Likewise, our strength lies in our being connected with God. Therefore, we continually repent of any disconnection we may have caused from our sins. And apply the forgiveness of our sins that Christ made possible for us on the cross, lest we end up like Samson, wondering where our strength has gone and sidelined from fulfilling God's purposes for our lives.

Pentecost is sometimes referred to as the birthday of the Church. And even though the Church is filled with weak and sinful people like you and me, when wee are connected with the Holy Spirit we can fulfill the seemingly impossible mission we've been given to fulfill as God's people. Including the mission here at Messiah.

But I'm afraid too often we tend to overlook the Holy Spirit in our efforts to fulfill God's mission, but look to programs, fads, or outside consultants, instead. And while programs and new ideas have their place in the life of a church we're putting the cart before the horse if these programs and ideas haven't been birthed by the Holy Spirit. For unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).

The fact of the matter is God doesn't want our programs and ideas. He wants you and me! He wants a Church that is full of members that are connected with Him as we walk in His ways in our love for Him and for one another, in order we may experience fully the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of our congregation.

Just as Moses led God's people out of Exodus and into the promised land, so, Zerubbabel led God's people out of captivity and back to the promised land. And so, we can do the seemingly impossible in our lives that God is calling us to do.

But even in those times we've been sidelined by the devil, it doesn't mean we can't get back into the game, just as Sampson was given another chance by God, when with sorrow and contrition, He came to realize just how weak he was apart from God.

And so, with his eyes gouged out and bound in chains by the Philistines. He cried out, "God give me one more chance!". And was re-connected with God so that through the power of the Holy Spirit he was able to kill more Philistines in a single act than he had in his entire lifetime.

Likewise, as Pentecostal Christians in the biblical sense of the word "Pentecostal" we remember our baptism daily as we drown the old Adam in us and die with all sins and evil desires, that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

As we cry out to God in His mercy to "give us one more chance!" to live for Him and His will, totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit, who gives us the desire and supernatural ability to fulfill his good purposes for our lives and for this church (cf. Ephesians 2:13).

So that Jesus can truly be Lord of all we think, say and do! For no man can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3).

The Kids Praise Song, "It's Not my Might" that is based upon Zechariah 4:6 has been a source of encouragement in my life whenever I've felt weak and afraid.

Please allow these words to minister to you, as well, as you face the impossible situations in your life:

It's not by might, nor by pow'r, but by My Spirit. It's not by might, nor by pow'r, saith the Lord

We'd like to think that we can handle problems on our own. We buckle down, apply the steam, work our hands down to the bone. But when we've gone around in circles and there's no place left to turn, The Lord reminds us quietly, "There's a lesson to be learned".

It's not by might, nor by pow'r, but by My Spirit. It's not by might, nor by pow'r, saith the Lord

We try and try in our own strength to make things come out right. We think and plan and organize and try with all our might. But when we fin'lly reach the bottom, the end of all our rope, The Lord reminds us once again, "In Me you'll find your hope."

It's not by might, nor by pow'r, but by My Spirit. It's not by might, nor by pow'r, saith the Lord

For "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." (cf. Genesis 18:14, Numbers 11:23, 1 Samuel 14:6, Job 42:2, Jeremiah 32:17, Zechariah 8:6, Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 1:37, and Luke 18:27)

In His Strength!

Pastor Wendt

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