|artwork by Tamara Peterson|
As I pondered Tamara Peterson’s beautiful work of art posted on her Artful Story —Journaling Facebook page, this Scripture came to mind…Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16)…Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience... (Hebrews 10:22)...
I reflected on Tamara’s inspired artwork as I listened to one of my favorite hymns from Selah, Before The Throne of God Above…Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect Plea; A great high priest whose name is Love, Who ever lives and pleads for me. My name is graven on His hands, My name is written on His heart. I know that while in Heaven He stands, No tongue can bid me thence depart. When Satan tempts me to despair, And tells me of the guilt within, Upwards I look and see Him there, Who made an end to all my sin. Because the sinless Savior died, My sinful soul is counted free, For God the Just is satisfied, to look on Him and pardon me. Behold Him there, the risen Lamb; My perfect spotless Righteousness, the great unchanging all I Am, The King of glory and of grace. One with Himself, I cannot die; my soul is purchased by His blood. My life is hid with Christ on high; with Christ, my Savior and my God.
This provided a powerful image for my time of communion . . . the power in the blood of Jesus Christ which led me to a word study of the word power from Ephesians 1:20-21 . . .
Amplified: which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.
NLT: that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come.
Phillips: that power is the same divine power which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead and gave him the place of supreme honor in Heaven—a place that is infinitely superior to any conceivable command, authority, power or control, and which carries with it a name far beyond any name that could ever be used in this world or the world to come.
Wuest: which might was operative in the Christ when He raised Him from among the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places over and above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name that is constantly being named, not only in this age, but also in the one about to come.
Theologian F.B. Meyer has said, “It is power. It is His power. It is great power; nothing less would suffice. It is exceeding great power, beyond the furthest cast of thought. This is the power which God used in our redemption, which He uses in our preservation, and which He will yet use in our glorification.” Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest explains, “It is the good news of salvation energized by the Holy Spirit. Our word “dynamite” is the transliteration of this Greek word, but not its translation. Dunamis does not refer to an explosive powder. The Greeks knew nothing about gunpowder. The gospel is not the dynamite of God. It is a sweet and loving message of mercy and grace which the Holy Spirit in sovereign grace makes operative in the heart of the sinner elected to salvation before the foundation of the universe. God is able to do for us and answer our prayers according to the efficiency, richness, and power of the working of the Spirit in our lives. This latter is determined by the yieldedness of the believer to the Holy Spirit. Thus, the saint determines what God is able to do for him. In His inherent ability, there is no limit to what God can do in and through the saint. But the saint limits the working of God in and through him by the degree of his yieldedness to the Spirit."
During the bomb raids of World War Two, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But, many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, "Today I ate, and I will eat again tomorrow." In much the same way, I hold the bread and the cup of communion with the same trust. By His stripes, I am healed; as He is, so am I in this world; I am the righteousness of God in Christ...approaching His Throne of Grace with confidence...my heart sprinkled by the precious blood of Jesus Christ...with full assurance, I am trusting Him with my eternity, and I am trusting Him for my next piece of bread, my next heart beat . . .
I approach the Throne of Grace with confidence in prayer, I picture Jesus, my Good, Good Shepherd, in the green pasture of the 23rd Psalm. I take whatever concern I have, or person for whom I am interceding by the hand. I walk out to the meadow, the green pasture, and I place my concern, or the hand of the person for whom I am interceding, in Jesus’ hand…knowing that He is sovereign, He loves me, and He loves the person for whom I am interceding more than I do. He has a plan, a hope, and a future for each of us. I walk away, thanking God for how the river of His Holy Spirit is flowing through me and how He is at work in my life and in the lives of those for whom I am interceding. I experience His peace. Praying as Catherine Marshall prayed, “Lord Jesus, I trust You, You know what You’re doing, I relinquish my will to Yours.”
Look Up—meditate on Ephesians 1:20-21 …pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.
Look In—as you meditate on Ephesians 1:20-21 …pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."
Look Out—as you meditate on Ephesians 1:20-21 ...pray to see how you might apply it to your relationship with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.
* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ