Friday, March 27, 2015

"Pain"


"Pain"
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 
        And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
     
The Apostle Paul suffered with “a thorn in the flesh” and requested three times that God remove it from him. Though God denied his plea for relief from this pain, Paul realized that the weaker he was as a human instrument, the more magnificent God’s grace radiated. His power was perfected in Paul’s weakness which supplied him with glorifying grace to endure. 

Can we, like Paul, thank God for pain when in the midst of suffering it can be quite overwhelming? God assures us that His grace is sufficient, enough, for these unbearable times. His grace gives strength, durability, resilience, and endurance when our strength is spent–––for His grace is constantly available. Though our request for deliverance from pain may be denied, He will continually supply us with His grace to endure that we may honor Him in and through our infirmities.

Suffering from pain truly is a gift from God even though we don’t always view it as such. Without pain we wouldn’t know when we’re injured and in need of medical assistance. The absence of pain was one the of the problems associated with Leprosy in ancient Israel. Leprosy was extremely common during Bible times and was often used as a graphic illustration of sin’s destructive power. When sin has made us weak and the pain of sin is in view, God’s grace illuminates His marvelous mercy towards us. Let us not be guilty of wronging and suffer for our own sins, but let suffer for the Gospel’s sake in Christ Jesus (I Peter 4:15-16). 

Lord, may I honor You, in the will of God, that I may bring glory to Your name.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Where Are You, God?



Where Are You, God?
Psalm 42:9-11 KJV
I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?  As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

The King of Israel, King David, was going through some very troubling times at this point in his life. His family was disintegrating, his kingdom had been disrupted, and he himself was on the run from his own son, Absalom. Adding to his misery, David was continually badgered by those who mockingly asked him, “Where is thy God?” (Psalm 42:3,10).

Have you ever asked the question, “Where are You, LORD?” Did it seem that during those troublesome times in your life that God was not there? Despite the appearance of what is happening, He is there with you and is at work in your life. Don’t be fooled into thinking that God is not around when the going gets tough, or allow your problems to drive a wedge between you and your God. He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you but to guide, direct, and bring about His purpose in your life (Romans 8:28).

Have you committed every trial totally to God and used your circumstances as a springboard for richer fellowship with Him? Every situation has two sides, a dark side and a bright side. Troubles should not drive us away from God but to Him. God is in control of every circumstance–––good or bad! When things around you are overwhelming to you, hear the cries of David in his most troublesome times (Psalm 42:3,4,5,9; 43:2). David learned it was critical for him to have a deeper trust in his God.

Lord, I thank You for working in my life even when I thought You were not there.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Depth of Love


The Depth of Love

Ruth 1:16,17 KJV
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 

As the love story of Ruth unfolds, picture these three women traveling along the road toward Bethlehem. Their hearts are broken by death, they’re in despair and most likely afraid. Naomi stops them on their journey and lovingly reminds them of the reality of their devastated lives. She relays to them that she has no more children for them to marry and if she would have children, they would be too young to marry. They would be better off going home to their families then to continue with her.

Orpah, showing great love for Naomi, kisses her mother-in-law good-bye and walks away back to her gods. Ruth is grieved and weeps as Orpah disappears forever out of their sight. With already so much tragedy, suffering and heartache they have endured, to know Orpah, would cease to exist in their lives from this time forward would seem unbearable. Ruth cleaves to her mother-in-law, expressing words of love and devotion to Naomi and to her God. Her words confirm her devoted love for Naomi but most importantly, they show Ruth’s obvious conversion from worshipping Chemosh to the God of Israel, JEHOVAH.

Have you ever wondered how God could save such a sinner as you, as Ruth, or anyone? You will never understand the meaning of the cross, or why Jesus had to die, until you begin to appreciate the depth of love shown in His extreme sacrifice. He was willing to give His life for your eternal salvation, an everlasting love that will not let you go.

Lord, thank You for a love that will never let me go (John 10:28).

Friday, March 6, 2015

Holding on to Grudges


Holding on to Grudges 
A grudge: "A strong, continued feeling of hostility or ill will against someone over a real or fancied grievance." (Webster).

Ephesians 4:31 KJV
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking (slander), be put away from you, with all malice:

If we carry a grudge, it means we are unforgiving and unloving. Carrying a grudge will cause us to hold hatred and bitterness in our hearts. Anger, an internal hostility, fuels grudges and puts hatred into action. Grudges, in a Christian's life, is an evidence that the old man is not put off (Colossians 3:8-9). Grudges promote gossip and slander. People that continue to repeat a difficult situation to others are those who hold grudges showing they have neither love nor forgiveness.

So, take a good look around you, does the sight of someone bring bitter feelings to the surface? Do you avoid someone just to keep from having to speak to them? Oh, my! Can you think of others that are not here and you have these same emotions and treat them in this fashion? You need to rid yourself of any grudges you bear while there is time. Holding a grudge robs you of the joy that Christ wants you to possess.

Jesus did not hold a grudge against those who crucified Him. He doesn’t hold a grudge against you now for your sin. God's instructions are given to help you rid yourself of grudges or to prevent them from being carried out. To put off the old man is a picture of stripping away the old filthy garments and putting on the righteousness of Christ, the new man. The renewal of the mind in salvation brings a transformation from the old life to the new (Ephesians 4:22).  We are to put off, lay aside or lay down the old man and be renewed in the spirit of our minds portraying a loving, tender heart, forgiving one another.

Lord, forgive me for holding a grudge against anyone and renew my spirit unto love and forgiveness.