Monday, January 4, 2010

By Whose Power?

My husband, John, is intrigued by all things that move –planes, trains, boats, construction machines, especially vehicles with a lot of power. When we travel together by car I tend to observe the clouds, the fields, the houses, and the animals. John usually shakes me from my reverie with an exclamation such as this, “Whoa! Did you see how many axles that truck had?”

Truck axles? Are you kidding me?

Three weeks ago John and I had the privilege of passing through the Panama Canal by ship. The day we arrived at the canal, he woke me up long before daylight with an excited, “we’re here!” His video camera and tracking devices were already set up on the balcony. It took most of the day to pass through the canal, and John was in his element throughout.
John had studied the building of the canal, and what he impressed on me the most was the power, both human and mechanical power -that went into building it, and continues to make it work.

The process of locking through the canal is smooth, even for a ship like ours carrying 3,000 passengers. Strong steel mules steady the ship and assist in pulling it through the locks.

Massive gates open and close, releasing and containing water as needed. The entire process, and especially the enormity of it all, was impressive even to me. While it is a tremendous display of man’s ingenuity and power, it is even more unfathomable to consider God’s power in creating all the raw materials, and enduing man with the ability to think, reason, plan, and build it.

Last January, as 2009 was beginning, God gave me a word for the year, “wait.” It was a helpful word, especially at times when I was tempted to worry about whether or not I was doing enough. He gave me some very clear direction at times throughout the year, but much of the time I felt as though I were in limbo –waiting, and it was okay. He gave me such peace about that.

As December, 2009 began winding down I wondered if God would give me a new word for the new year. Imagine my surprise at the word God seemed to be impressing on me for 2010, “power!”

Really, God? Are you sure you didn't intend that word for John?

Specifically, these are the verses that refuse to lie flat on their pages and rest:

“Great is our Lord, and mighty in power. His understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147:5 (NIV)

“But you will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8(NIV)

“Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12(NIV)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10(NIV)

Today’s Monday Manna verse fits right in with the others:

“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13(NKJV)

Of all the things my faith calls on me to believe, the power that is mine through Jesus Christ is one of the most difficult to fathom and the hardest to live out. I must admit that most often I think and act within the limits of my own ability, not Christ’s. How might my life be changed, and my faith secured by looking beyond those limits and living in the power God has given me?

For now I won’t attempt to figure out what God is preparing me for through bringing these verses to my attention. I am certain, however, that He wants me to be done with living a powerless faith. Over the next weeks and months I can’t help but wonder just how His power will be demonstrated in my life. As I ponder this, I am both awed and terrified.

For more thoughts on Philippians 4:13 please visit Joanne at An Open Book.

I am hosting my first ever book give-away to celebrate my first year of blogging. To enter, please leave a comment on my previous post, “Leftovers Soup,” by Friday, January 8th.


  1. What a word! I can certainly understand your fear - and I have the VERY same problem with perspective as you do. Will be praying for both of us as we follow where God leads us! And - thanks for participating in Monday Manna.

  2. Sharlyn,

    Truly based on reading most of your posts in 2009, I truly believe you fulfilled your word "Wait" in everything from God. I can't wait to see just where "Power" gets you in 2010 and just how that will relate to everything!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  3. I like your blog lift, and really enjoyed 'Leftovers Soup' and I look forward to seeing how God's power continues and increases in your life (as perceived through your blog) in the coming year! Also, you have reminded me to be patient with myself - God is not asking me to get everything done in a day.

  4. "Power." I'll be fascinated to watch how that word is manifested in and through your life.

    My 2010 word is JOY. :-)

  5. I enjoyed this, especially the beautifully captured difference between men and women!


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