Cleopatra's Nose - Part Two
Her nose is hardly the stuff of Christmas, to be sure. But there may be a Noel connection yet. My last blog noted that the French mathematician philosopher, Blaise Pascal, a devout Christian (1623-1662), wrote in his Pensees that had Cleopatra’s nose “been shorter the whole face of the earth would have been different” (No 413). I.e., such a small but attractive detail (her nose) left Mark Anthony’s heart smitten, plunging him into a war for her, forever changing the Roman Empire which changed the world we live in today. Etc. Seemingly small details can have enormous consequences.
In this season of gift giving and receiving, you may remember the promise of Jesus: “‘If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’” (Matthew 7:11)
Jim Moon, a pastor friend of mine, sent me a quotation the other day—came across it during his time of worship and prayer. He’s been listening to our #RxF4Now series and in connection with the teaching “2nd Hand Faith” he texted the quotation. Throughout the fall season at Pioneer we’ve been focusing on God’s omnipotent word—so omnipotent that when He speaks it, that word immediately creates the reality it describes. Hence, “Let there be light” in half a nanosecond resulted in—no surprise—light! “For He commanded and it stood fast; He spoke and it was” (Psalm 33:6). The astounding omnipotence of the word(s) of God is chronicled throughout Scripture (see also Isaiah 55:11; John 6:63; 2 Timothy 3:16, et al.). When God breathes a word, that very word immediately creates the reality it describes.
But how does it work? Paul declares (2 Corinthians 1:20) that all of God’s promises are a mighty “Yes!” in Christ, because Jesus is both the eternal Creator and the very Word of God (John 1:1-3). In Him every promise (or word) God has ever spoken is powerfully ratified with a divine exclamation “Yes!” All we mortals need do is declare “Amen” to Jesus—“. . . and so through him [Christ] the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). When you and I declare “Amen” to one of His promises, we are simply adding our “Yes!” to God’s “Yes!” and opening ourselves to receiving that promise, that gift.
Now the quotation Jim sent me:
For the pardon of sin, for the Holy Spirit, for a Christlike temper, for wisdom and strength to do His work, for any gift He has promised, we may ask; then we are to believe that we receive, and return thanks to God that we have received. We need look for no outward evidence of the blessing. The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most. (Education 258 emphasis supplied)
Ponder those italicized phrases: “any gift He has promised,” “the gift is in the promise,” and “which we already possess.” Take any promise God has made in Scripture—put your finger on it and with childlike faith declare “Amen!” for that promise—believe you have in that moment received that gift—thank God for the gift—and with no further “outward evidence” resume your everyday living—with the assurance that (here’s the astounding part of the quotation) the gift you “already possess” will be “realized” (made evident, made plain, manifested) when you “need it most.” Amen!
“Yes, but I prayed and believed that God would heal me (heal my loved one), and He has not done so.” First of all, God is not through answering your prayer (no matter the circumstances). And secondly, the same God who answered Jesus’ anguished pleading in Gethsemane—“Take it away from Me, but not what I want, but what You want” (see Mark 14:36)—will just as surely answer your prayer, too—in just the way He answered Jesus’ prayer—at the precise time and through the very circumstances that both maximize His glory and save your life (and the lives of countless others through your radical faith testimony).
Read it again: “We may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most.”
Such a small word—but what enormous and eternal consequences for your whispered faith in God’s bountiful promises this very Christmas—“Amen!”