This morning as I was reading through 1 Samuel I had to pause and meditate on chapter 5. This is where the Philistines stole the ark of the covenant of the Lord. They brought it into their temple and placed it beside the statue of their god, Dagon. When they awoke the next morning they found their god on its face, bowing, before the ark of God. They picked it up and set it back in its place and the next morning found it again prostrate before the Lord but this time with its head (wisdom, knowledge and understanding) and hands (strength, ability and power) severed. Romans 14:11 "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God." There is no god (idol), no human, animal, spirit or power that will not become prostrate before The Lord. Where God is, there is POWER and there is change.
Chapter 5 goes on to show the fear and destruction of the Philistines as they moved the ark from city to city. Once brought into the city of Ekron the people cried out asking to have it sent away, back to where it came from because they had heard the reports of other cities being destroyed. In verse 12 it says that, "the cry of the city went up to heaven". Can we just pause for a second and talk about the fact that God hears the cries of even the wicked and those who have rejected Him. I believe had they cried out to Him and turned to Him that He possibly would have eased their suffering even though He had no covenant with them. This has not changed. God still hears the cries of all mankind. He longs to help all of us.
All of scripture is filled with miraculous stories of God's power. In the old testament and up until Jesus died and rose again and then sent His Spirit, the Spirit of God would ascend and descend. When the Spirit came on the scene walls would crumble at the sound of trumpets and a shout (Joshua 6:20), a man had the power to tear apart a lion with his bare hands (Judges 14:5-6), a boy took down a giant with a single stone and sling (1 Sam. 17:49), a sea and river opened up to allow God's people to cross through on dry ground (Exodus 14:21 and Joshua 4:10-18), an army of thousands was destroyed by an army of 300 (Judges 7:7), barren women's wombs were opened and they were able to conceive children (Genesis 21:1-2, Genesis 25:21, Genesis 29:31, Genesis 30:22, Judges 13: 2-3, 1 Sam. 1: 19-20 to name a few), men were thrown into a burning fiery furnace and not only lived but came out not even smelling like smoke (Dan. 3:26-27). Over and over the Israelites would turn from God and give themselves into bondage and slavery and at their first cry to the Lord He would send His Spirit on someone to lead them out of bondage. The stories are abundant. When Jesus was baptized the Spirit ascended on Him in the form of a dove and from that time on you see miracle after miracle. ALL who CAME TO HIM were healed, set free and blessed with the exception of the rich man who walked away sad because his riches were his idol that he was unwilling to lay down to follow Jesus. In the new testament when the Spirit came on the disciples they were filled with power! The same power that destroyed and subdued nations, healed disease, took away sin and that gave sonship to you and I! They went about carrying out the same ministry that Jesus began. The sick and lame were healed, the gospel was preached and spread throughout the nations!
The very word itself is filled with the power of God. Though not every word in scripture is the word of God 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." If you truly believed this you could be set free and healed by any scripture in the word of God because every word is filled with power. Power to do the miraculous.
So all of this leads me to my most important point, you! Who are you? About a year ago God spoke something to my heart and it is something I now see in almost every conversation I have, social media post I read, every national headline news I hear and even in myself. What He said to me was, "my people do not know who they are". As a church, as a nation and as a body we have a serious identity crisis. This is nothing new, you can see from the very beginning that people have walked the ways of the world and forgotten who they were created to be. Adam and Eve were made in the image, and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-28), they were already "like" God but what was it that the serpent said to Eve? Genesis 3:5, "For God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened AND YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil." The word "likeness" doesn't just refer to appearance and external qualities but literally a point of comparison, in kind and quality, a visible image, double. Now don't misread what I am saying. I am not saying they were made gods or created to be god. I am saying they were created in the physical image of God and the likeness of who He is. And you know what, so are you!
We adopted my youngest daughter and there was a time that I struggled to speak certain scriptures over her. For example, Deut. 28:4 is a scripture I often speak when one of my children are struggling with something. It says, "Blessed shall be the fruit of your body..." I couldn't help but think that technically she is not the "fruit of my body". The Lord shared something very profound with me. He told me that just as I have been adopted into the kingdom of God and been reborn in the likeness of Jesus, my daughter has been adopted into our likeness. My daughter is just as much the fruit of my womb as everyone of my other children. We see the physical, mortal side of adoption but most of us fail to see the spiritual side of adoption. With adoption comes a newness, a new identity and a new likeness. My daughter eats the foods we eat, she follows the same rules we follow, she is learning the same morals and foundations that we have built our family on, she is friendly and loving like my family is, she is wild and silly like her siblings, she loves the same music I love and does all the things we do. She is so much in our likeness people have no idea that there was a time that she was not one of us. Likewise, we are to be so much in the likeness of Christ that people have no idea that there was a time that we were not His. In the spirit our new man is already like Jesus but our flesh is still after this world (Ephesians 4:24). The more time we spend in the word and seeking the heart and identity of the Father the more we will see our soul (mind, will and emotions) and flesh be transformed into the likeness of our Father, our true identity.
You were created to walk in love, power and authority not weakness and defeat. You were never meant to look like, act like and resemble the world, you have been created to look like Jesus, act like Jesus, resemble Jesus. You have been called to do as Jesus did. Carry out the same ministry started by Jesus and spread by His disciples and passed on to you (Mark 16:15-18). If you have confessed the Lord Jesus with your mouth and believed in your heart that he was raised from the dead then you have been saved. Romans 10:10 says, "For with the heart one believes unto righteousness (right standing with the Lord), and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Your spirit man is now born again, made new, in the likeness of Jesus. No longer does God look on you and see a sinful man or woman but He see's His perfect Son. Romans 3:22, "The righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and upon all who believe, for there is no distinction." Did you see that? TO ALL and UPON ALL WHO BELIEVE! Do you believe? If you do, according to the word, you are righteous, in right standing with God. When he looks on you he no longer sees a sinful man or woman but his perfect Son. Romans 10:4 says, "Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness for every one who believes." When you truly understand this your life becomes radically different.
Lets go to 1 Cor. 6:19, "What? Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God, and that you are not your own?" Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. The same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of the Father. The same Spirit that filled David with courage and power. The same Spirit that gave Samson supernatural strength. The same Spirit that shut the mouths of the Lions and protected Daniel. The same Spirit that led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. The same Spirit that fed them manna and quail in the desert, kept their clothes from wearing out and caused water to spring out of a rock. The same Spirit that worked in Jesus to heal the sick, raise the dead and cause the lame to walk and blind eyes to see. Are you seeing it yet? The Spirit of the miraculous LIVES (all day, every day) IN YOU! Again I ask, who are you? Have you stepped into a false identity or are you walking in the Spirit and experiencing the miraculous power of God flowing through you? Have you been deceived into putting on sickness and disease or are you laying hands on the sick and seeing them recover? Have you been deceived into poverty or are you lending to many and borrowing from no one? Are you being overtaken by every enemy that rises against you or are you watching every enemy that rises against you flee in every direction. Don't you know that just as the ark of the covenant of the Lord brought about the power of the Living God so do you! The Holy Spirit is not ascending and descending on and from you but living in you 24/7. While you sleep the power of the Living God is in you. When you are awake the power of the Living God is in you. As you walk through the grocery store or your child's school or petition your government demanding your God given religious freedom this same all powerful God is in you. He has given you His all powerful word and the authority to rule and subdue this earth. Every knee will bow, not to you but to the living God living in you. You are an overcomer through Christ. John 16:33, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: BUT be of good cheer; I HAVE overcome the world." Past tense! It's already finished. In the midst of trials, trouble and tribulation you can laugh and be of good cheer because Jesus has already won.
So today, I pray that you will search the Word to know Him who's likeness you have been reborn into and that as you seek, you will find. That you will find your true identity and step into it with boldness. I pray that the troubles you may be facing today would come crumbling before you with your shout of praise and that the mouths of the lions be shut before you. Friend the God of miracles and wonders did not pass away, He is living inside you, let His power rise within you. Where God is there is POWER and there is change.