Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Equipping


The Equipping

 

But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.” – 1 Corinthians 7:17

She was a good woman.  In Acts 9:36 we read of Tabitha, who lived in Joppa.  She was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.” She had a lot of friends, as was seen when Peter arrived at her house in Joppa.  But on that day, Tabitha had died. 
The widows who were attending to her had washed her body and laid her in an upper room of the house.  Peter went to the house, and there the widows were crying over the loss of their friend, and talking of Tabitha’s goodness.  They showed Peter all the beautiful tunics and clothes she had made while she was alive.  It would have been easy for Peter to have just joined in the celebration of Tabitha’s life, and moved on.  But God had other plans in sending Peter to Tabitha’s house that day.

It must have seemed strange when Peter asked everyone to leave the room, leaving only himself and the dead body of Tabitha in the upper room.  But then, in the quietness of the room, he turned to Tabitha’s dead body, and through the power of God said only two words, “Tabitha, arise.”  Immediately she opened her eyes and saw Peter, and sat up!  Then he called all that were there back into the room and presented her to them, raised from the dead! (Acts 9:36-43)
It’s often said that God does not call the equipped, but equips the called.  Peter was most definitely equipped to raise Tabitha from the dead.  In Luke 7:11-17 we read of Jesus raising a widow’s son from the dead, and Peter was there.  In John 11:40-44, Peter also watched as Jesus brought His friend Lazarus back to life.  In Mark 5:21-43, Peter was present when Jesus called out to the ruler of the synagogue’s dead twelve year old daughter, and she was raised back to life.  In these events God taught Peter that he had the power through the Holy Spirit to bring the dead back to life.  But God didn’t stop there.

In Matthew 17:1-9 when Moses and Elijah, who had long been dead, were transfigured on the mountain with Jesus, Peter was there and saw that death has no power in the presence of God, for there is life even after death.  In Mark 16:7 when Mary and Mary Magdalene saw the empty tomb of Christ, the angel told them to “go, tell His disciples—and Peter”,  specifically naming Peter, that he should know that Christ was resurrected, and that he would see Him again in Galilee.  Peter is one of two disciples that came to the empty tomb of Jesus to see once again that death has no victory.  He learned that the dead only sleep, and that life goes on far after the flesh dies.  His confidence was built by seeing that God, whose Holy Spirit lived in him, had power over death.
It wasn’t by coincidence that Peter had been present when so many were raised from the dead, and to see the empty tomb of Christ.  He was being taught in each and every event.  This was his equipping for the work in which he would perform at the bedside of Tabitha.  This was where his faith grew that the power of God could bring the dead back to life.

God has a lesson plan for each of us.  We each walk through life, facing a certain set of events, and receiving specific wisdom from His word.  This is our equipping for His work.  The events strengthen our faith, not only for our own good, but for the work in which He calls us to do.  He provides trials in our lives and the lives of those around us, to equip us and give us a testimony to share (2 Corinthians 1:4).  Our part is to be a good student, learn from God, and apply what we’ve learned in our service to Him. 
When faced with Jesus’ command in Matthew 10:7-8 to “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons”, we know that we should be able to do these things through the power of the Holy Spirit.  God’s Holy Spirit has not lost power since the days of Peter!  He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  So what’s changed? Why is it that the blind don’t see, the crippled don’t walk, demons stand against us, and we are surrounded by those that are sick? 

God still equips us for the work in which we are called.  But if we never recognize the tools of faith we have been given, and accept our calling, we’ll never use them.  In each lesson He teaches, we have to see what we were taught, and where our faith grew.  He hasn’t stopped equipping His children for His work.  So the question becomes, what did He equip you to do?  Did He give you faith to believe in healing through prayer by delivering you from sickness through prayer?  Did He restore to you the joy of your salvation to show you that it can be done?  Did He give you faith to believe in resurrection by bringing you back to life when you should have remained dead?  Did He deliver you from depression and anxiety to show you that He has power over the demons that oppress His children? 
Apply the faith in God that you have been given through the path of your life, and the lessons you were taught to your service to God.  Your calling can be found in how God has equipped you.

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