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I am proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Romans 1:16 (CEV)

All of us want to be a part of something really big. That’s why we line the streets to cheer for our champions; to be a part of a protest rally; to join in a big race. It’s all because we want to be able to say, “I was part of that!”

One of the reasons we all have this desire to be part of something ‘big’ is that we are all born with a desire to make a difference. We make a difference by changing lives, defeating an enemy or solving a problem. When we do that we can take pride in ourselves for our accomplishments or the accomplishments of our group.

Paul testifies in his letter to the Romans that he’s proud to be part of the gospel message. Some translations put the words “I am not ashamed” but I sort of like the Contemporary English Version’s rendition of the verse. “I’m proud of the good news…”

This phrase gives the verse a meaning I hadn’t thought of before, and in reading it I have to ask myself, “Am I really PROUD to be a follower of Christ?” When I ask myself that question the obvious, quick answer is, yes, of course. But then I think of what it really means to be proud of something I’m a part of.

When I’m proud of the group I’m in I would never to anything to hinder the success of that group. Ah. There’s a problem hidden deep within that. How many times do I hide my prayer of thanks for the food I’m eating because I’m in a school lunch room, a restraint or with someone I know is a non-believer.

How often am I short with someone who is inept at their job, pushy or arrogant?

How many times do my words, my attitudes and my reactions to others bring embarrassment to ‘the cause’?

How often have I failed to speak up for Jesus because I don’t want to be ridiculed or considered some religious nut?

I don’t agree with every social action group out there, but I admire their pride in their cause. Even if they are what we may consider some fringe group, they aren’t afraid to speak their mind about their cause. They aren’t afraid to make the plight of some life form or the destructive action of a political system of government action known to the public.

So, I wonder. How would the world be different if we as Christ-followers took the position in our daily lives that said, “HEY, I’m a follower of Christ? Do you know what he’s done for us? Do you realize how he changed me and how he can change you? He’s not concerned about your past, your present or your cultural or religious background. He won’t judge your lifestyle. He’s about healing relationships! He’s awesome.”

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I thank you for all you have done for me and for the promises I have of life with you. I confess to you that there are times I feel weighed down trying to live the Christian life. There are times I’ve not taken the pride in my faith like I should. Empower me with your Spirit to live the life I live for you with pride. Remind me on a daily basis that I’m part of a group that changes lives for eternity. In your name, Amen.

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I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)

Everyone has those times when they feel overwhelmed by the things before them. It may be a struggle with health, relationships, kids, finances or a whole boatload of other issues.

When we are under the stress of battle it affects every part of our bodies. Physically we get drained and weak. Emotionally we can get crabby, depressed or angry. We can start blaming others or ourselves. Spiritually we wrestle with doubts about God’s ability or desire to help us. We begin to lose confidence in ourselves and faith in others.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could be assured that you have the power you need to conquer every obstacle, overcome every enemy and solve every issue that is before you?

As Christ-followers we have all the power of God the Father at our fingertips. Imagine that! The same power it took to raise Jesus from death, roll the stone away like a pebble, calm the storm and create the world is all at our fingertips because of Jesus!

So, why don’t you feel the power? We feel powerless when we expect God to give us power according to what we see as our needs. However God gives us power according to his wisdom and power.

Think of him as a carpenter. You want your house (this life you are living) to be remodeled. You are tired of the way things are. So you ask him to change things.  But remodeling is never easy, never neat and never without pain.

With all the power of the universe at his fingertips, God wants to make you into a masterpiece. But to do that he needs to change you, to remodel you, to take the old and make you new. Don’t worry. He’s a master at creating something from nothing. Give him permission to show his power in your life. It may be painful at times, but the results will be stunning!

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for your promise that all your power can be shown in me. I pray that you would give me the courage to give you full permission to change me into the person you want me to be. I know it will be painful and fearful at times, but I trust your creative wisdom to make me into something marvelous! In Jesus name, Amen.

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