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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

How to Receive the Grace to Keep Going through Troubles

In review of 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 it says, ”Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (NIV).

Today’s passage comes from 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10. Paul explains that to keep him from becoming proud, He was given a thorn in his flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment him and keep him from becoming proud. Three different times he begged the Lord to take this suffering away and make him well. But God’s answer each time was that “My grace and kindness is sufficient for you and all you need. My power is made perfect and works best when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me (Paul) his power, I'm am glad to boast about my weaknesses, and be a living demonstration of Christ's power.

While I don't really know what Paul's thorn was, it appears that is was something that was chronic and debilitating which kept him from working. It was a hindrance to his ministry, and he prayed for its removal; but God refused. Even though Paul prayed for healing and did not receive it, he did however obtain things far greater because he received greater grace from God, a stronger character, humility, and an ability to empathize with others. In addition, it benefited those around him as they saw God at work in his life. God, according to his sovereign plan, doesn't heal some believers of their physical ailments. God chooses according to his divine purposes. Therefore it is my role is to pray, to believe, and to trust. Paul is living proof that holy living and courageous faith do not ensure instant physical healing. When I do pray for healing, I must trust my body to God's care. I must recognize that nothing will separate me from his love and that my spiritual condition is always more important than my physical condition.

Although God did not remove Paul's physical affliction, he promised to demonstrate his power in Paul. The fact that God's power is displayed in my weaknesses should give me courage and hope. As I recognize my limitations, I can depend on God for my effectiveness rather than on my own energy, effort and talent. My limitations and weakness not only help develop my character but they also deepen my worship, because in admitting my weakness, I affirm God's strength.

When I am strong in abilities or resources, I can be tempted to do God's work on my own, and that can lead to pride. When I am weak, allowing God to fill me with his power, then I am stronger than we could ever be on my own. God does not intend for me to seek to be weak, passive, or ineffective; life provides enough hindrances and setbacks without us creating additional ones. When obstacles come, I must depend on God. Only his power will make me effective for him and will me do work that has lasting value.

So what do I do when I can’t fix an unfixable problem? What do I do when I can’t solve an unsolvable riddle? What do I do when I can’t change an unchangeable circumstance? What do I do when U can’t control something that hurts deeply in my life?

I throw myself on the sustaining grace of God.

How do I get the kind of grace to keep going in spite of temptations, trials, tension, tiredness, and troubles? I can do four things:

Call and cry out for God’s help. If I pretend to be self-sufficient, I end up short-circuiting God’s power in my life. I need to admit my inadequacy and say, “God, I can’t handle this!” The Bible says, “‘God is against the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.’ So give yourselves completely to God . . . Come near to God, and God will come near to you” (James 4:6-8 NCV).

Fill my mind with God’s Word. Let God’s Word comfort, strengthen, fill, soothe, and energize me to keep going. Get into it every single day of your life. The psalmist prayed, “I lie in the dust; revive me by your word” (Psalm 119:25 NLT). If the solution were to look within myself, I’d already be changed. I need to look to God! He’s the only one with sustaining strength.

Accept support from God’s people. The Bible says by helping each other with our troubles, we obey the law of Christ, which is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” God never meant for me to go through life on my own. Our weaknesses help us to realize how much I need others. I need to accept support from God’s people.

Hold on to God’s promises. There are at around 5,500 of them in the Bible waiting to be claimed. Here’s one of them: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired . . . but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV). Keep my hope in the Lord and my eyes focused on the hope of heaven, not just on the here and now.

The Bible says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NIV).

When I’m going through a problem I can’t fix, don’t give up. Just look up!

Bottom Line:
Pain and afflictions may have a purpose. They can keep you from being too proud. God tells us that His grace is sufficient and all we need.

What this means to me:
My pain and afflictions may have a purpose in my life. They may be keeping from being too proud. Christ can work through me in my weakness to show his power. I shouldn't look down or feel disappointed that I have physical ailments. For His grace is sufficient and all I need.

In summary, God's grace is sufficient for me, His power is made perfect in my weakness.When things occur that seem to be a hindrance and even after prayer God doesn't seem to be taking it away, realize that He will work through me. I will obtain things far greater; such as a stronger character, humility, and the ability to empathize. My role is to pray, to believe and to trust. My spiritual condition will always be more important than my physical condition. As I recognize my limitations, I can depend on God for my effectiveness rather than on my own energy, effort and talent. In admitting my weakness, I am affirming God's strength. I can be tempted to do things on my own power and this can lead to pride. When obstacles come, I must depend on God. Only his power will make me effective for him and allow me to do work that has lasting value. So throw myself on the sustaining grace of God. Call and cry out for his help. Don't pretend to be self-sufficient and short-circuit God's power. Admit my inadequacy. Fill my mind with God's Word. Let is comfort, strengthen and energize me. Learn to accept support from God's people. Lastly hold onto God's promises. So don't give up, just look up!

Father today I thank you for a wonderful and relaxing 3 day weekend. I was able to spend time with family (grandson and son-in-law), get a flu shot, get a blood test and able to accomplish some clean-up tasks around the house. Today I pray Father for your wisdom and guidance in how I handle my day and my interaction with others. Allow me to be loving and to display you through me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

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