Our Weakness Reveals God’s Strength

Our Weakness Reveals God’s Strength

How can weakness or challenges in life reveal God’s strength to us? 

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (2 Cor 12:9)

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Cor 12:10, emphasis added)

For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.  (2 Cor 13:4)

Whenever we are weak in an area, it presents an opportunity for God’s strength to be discovered by us.  Our weaknesses, when exposed and humbly given to God, invite God’s love and strength to work powerfully in our situations.

Our weaknesses help us to see that there isn’t much that we can do in ourselves and by ourselves.  We comprehend our utter helplessness.  Problems and weaknesses compel us to turn to the true source of ALL help and power:  to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must learn to rely upon God’s grace and mercy, both of which are abundantly available to us according to the Word of God.

In times of need, trial, or crisis, we reach a point where we are ready and willing to yield to God’s will in our lives.  Praise God!  As the Scriptures shown at the top of this article demonstrate, God is ready and able to meet our needs and to help us.  And when He does, it is a testimony to His love and mercy.

He loves to bless us and to solve our problems because He loves us.  (Joh 3:16; 1 Joh 4:19; Ps 37:40; 46:1; 63:7)

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (Rom 8:26, emphasis added)  The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.

After we turn to the Lord and pray about our area of weakness and need, His power will flow into the situation and turn it around.  We then have gained genuine, first-hand experience of the love and mercy of God.  This, in turn, enables us to comfort and to minister to other people who are in similar situations.  (2 Cor 1:4)  It also deepens and matures our faith.

Rejoice in the strength and power of God that is available to you!

What is Better Than Sacrifice to God?

What is Better Than Sacrifice to God?

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  (Hos 6:6)

This Scripture verse states two things that God prefers over a burnt offering:

  • Mercy – God wants His people to show compassion and kindness to others, especially anyone who is in need.
  • Knowledge of God – God wants us to know Him, and one important way to do that is to read and to meditate upon His Word.  He has given us His Word in order to allow us to learn all about Him, and about His truth.

So Samuel said:  “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.  (1 Sam 15:22)

God says clearly here that obedience is better than sacrifice.  He wants us to obey Him and His Word.  He asks us to live in agreement with His Word and His wisdom.

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.  (Pro 21:3)

The Bible passage shown above teaches us that more than sacrifice, the Lord desires:

  • For us to live righteously – This means to live a holy, good, and moral life among men, a life that honors God and obeys the Word of God. 
  • For us to do justice – This means to live with a sense of fairness to all, and to treat everyone equally.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Gal 5:14)

The Way, the Truth & the Life

The Way, the Truth & the Life

Why did Jesus connect Himself with these three words and how does it impact a life of faith?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.
  (Joh 14:6)

Jesus said this to His followers the night before He was crucified.  He was preparing them for the challenging days that were ahead of them.

  • Jesus asserts that He is the Way which suggests that faith in Him is the open door to salvation and to eternal life.  This is the truth that the Good News is based upon, and we need to share it with everyone.  God has made the plan of salvation clear, and we have been given the honor of sharing His Gospel with everyone.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  (Joh 10:9) This is the Lord saying that He is to Door to Salvation and Eternal Life.   “Finding pasture” means that the Lord will supply all of our needs just as a shepherd cares for all of the needs of his sheep.

. . . that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (Joh 3:15)  Believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior is the only road to God.

  • Jesus says that He is the Life because He is also the author and source of all of life. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  (Joh 1:1-4)  Jesus is the Word made flesh and this verse is the foundation for that truth.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  (Joh 11:25-26)  Jesus makes His claim clearly here that He is the resurrection and the life.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.   (Col 1:16)  All forms of life were created by the Lord.

  • No one would care about or remember Jesus’ claim to be the Way and the Life if He was not also, in reality, the Truth of God.  Jesus’ actions and entire life demonstrate the love, mercy, forgiveness, and miracle-working power of the Father God.  It is no wonder then, that Jesus prays the following prayer:

I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  (Joh 17:15-19, emphasis added)

Jesus prayed, “Your word is truth.”  Jesus is known as the living Word of God.  (John 1:1, 14)

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  (Rev 19:13)  This verse is referring to Jesus Christ and says that He is called The Word of God.

Jesus is the living Word of God and God’s Word is truth.  Jesus was speaking the truth about Himself!  Praise the Lord!

The Gifts That You Were Given

The Gifts That You Were Given

Happy beautiful day to you!  We rejoice and are glad in this day!  (Ps 118:24)

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (1 Pe 4:10 KJV)

Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.  (1 Cor 14:12)

Every believer has received gifts and talents from the Lord.  God wants us to use the gifts that He has entrusted to us for the strengthening and encouragement of fellow believers.  God wants us to be good stewards or managers of these precious gifts.

Your gifts may be extensive; you may have gifts such as:  faith; musical ability; artistic talent; patience; organizational ability; mercy; mathematical aptitude; peace; perceptiveness; or whatever.  Invite the Lord to show you how He would like you to use the gifts that He has given you in order to bless other people and to further His kingdom. 

If you have a calm and peaceful spirit combined with good note-taking skills, your boss may direct you to attend most meetings with him.  He may not realize why!  He may say that he wants you to take notes, but it may really be that he just feels better and thinks more clearly when you’re there!  In reality, you carry a beneficial atmosphere (of calm and peace) into the room.  These are God’s divine gifts, and they work supernaturally.

Don’t forget that, as you mature spiritually and chronologically, more gifts will bloom in your life.  Seek the Lord’s guidance, and He will teach you the best use of all of your gifts!

(This is a reprint of an article published by this blog on 05/01/2016.)

Our Need for Improvement

Our Need for Improvement

This article is a reminder for each of us to focus upon our own, individual need for improvement rather than to look around at other people’s failings. 

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  (Mt 7:3)

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  (Lk 18:11)

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  (Joh 8:7-9)

As human beings, we have a tendency to look at other people and compare ourselves to others.  Most of the time, we do that when we want to see ourselves as “not being so bad.”  Other times, we look around at the circumstances of other peoples’ lives and we feel jealous.  It is not good to compare ourselves to others; it is what the Bible would term as foolishness.

As the verses shown above demonstrate, we should never focus on other people.  (2 Cor 10:12)

Also, there are a number of Scriptures instructing us to avoid comparing ourselves.  (Exo 20:17; Mt 7:1-2; Joh 21:22)

Rather, we should focus upon Jesus Christ and yearn to follow in His footsteps.  As we focus upon Christ, He will shower us with His love and encouragement.  He will give us a purpose and a plan for our lives, as well as all of the grace and mercy that we will ever need to fulfill that plan.  (Jer 29:11; 32:19; Pro 16:4; 19:21; 1 Cor 2:9)

Let us trust the Lord Jesus to transform us in His own way, in His own time.  We are His workmanship, and He will see the work through to its completion.  (Eph 2:10; Phil 1:6)  Just trust Him and trust His plan for you!  God bless you.

Narrow is the Gate

Narrow is the Gate

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Mt 7:13-14)

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”  (Mt 22:14)

. . . strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”  (Act 14:22)

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  (Joh 15:18-20)

The term “narrow gate” conveys its meaning rather well.  A narrow gate allows the entry of fewer people at one time, than does a wide gate.  A narrow gate doesn’t allow a person who is heavily burdened with packages to get through very easily.

When Jesus said, “Narrow is the way which leads to life . . . “ He was pointing out that the Christian walk is not as easy as it may seem.  Jesus was warning people that following Him would lead to grief and to serious challenges of life. 

“Difficult” is from the Greek word thlibo, which means: “To press (as grapes), press hard upon; a compressed way; narrow straitened, contracted” way (New Testament Greek Lexicon, http://www.biblestudytools.com).

As Christians, we must continuously keep our eyes on the goal of spending eternity with our Savior, Jesus Christ.  In John 15:18-20, Jesus tells His followers that the world will hate them even as it hated Him.  And since Jesus was persecuted, we should expect the same treatment. 

These are tough realities and truths that Jesus was setting before everyone who chooses to follow Him.  However, no one will be able to say that they haven’t been told the entire truth about following Jesus. 

Jesus loves us and wants us to follow Him; and He pours out His love, mercy, and grace upon us to empower us to do just that.  We must remember to add our own willpower and determination to this endeavor by choosing continuously to persist in following Jesus Christ.  Let’s glorify the Lord throughout our lives.

Faith and Wholeness

Faith and Wholeness

Notice that faith and wholeness are connected!  Even in the natural realm, if a person doesn’t have faith in their medical team or the medical facility’s reputation, their healing will be impaired or slowed.  If a person doesn’t believe that they WILL get better and if that person doesn’t talk about getting better, then their body will begin to obey their thoughts and their words.

Notice what the Bible teaches us repeatedly about the power of faith.

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.  (Mk 10:52 ESV)

But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.  (Mt 9:22 NKJV)

And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”  (Mk 5:34)

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  (Mt 5:28)

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.  (Lk 1:45, emphasis added)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (Eph 2:8)  Each believer has been given the gift of faith.  Let us use this precious gift.

We must place our faith in Jesus Christ!  We must exercise our faith in the power of the Word of God!  We must trust in the powerful, unrelenting, unconditional love of God for us.  He is our Healer; He has compassion [mercy] upon each one of us at all times.  God cannot lie (Tit 1:2), so receive the promises of the Bible as guaranteed! 

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy . . .  (Ps 103:2-4) 

God Brings to Nothing Things That Are

God Brings to Nothing Things That Are

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  (1 Cor 1:28-29 ESV)

God has chosen the people that are despised—objects of contempt—to “bring to nothing” things that are! 

In Bible days, God used Gentiles, after they became followers of Jesus Christ, to annihilate the works of the enemy through the working of miracles.  Whatever believers do in serving the Lord does not give them grounds to boast, but rather, it reminds us that we are servants and vessels in the hands of our King.

He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry, and sets others in their place.  (Job 34:24 NKJV)  In our modern day terms, the Lord breaks powerful, rich, and influential people by exposing the truth about them in very public ways.  With others who are on the same paths of greed and dominance, He sets them in their place and wakes them up to God’s power when they see their friends endure public exposure and humiliation.

The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down,
and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
  (Isa 2:11 NKJV)  No human being is entitled to be haughty.  The Lord alone deserves praise, honor, and exaltation. 

Then the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead.  (Isa 37:36 NKJV)  This is a shocking but real example of God bringing to nothing things, and people, that exist in order to fulfill His own plans.

You shall seek them and not find them—those who contended with you.  Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing.  (Isa 41:12 NKJV, emphasis added)  The Lord is the divine judge of all, and He is the only One who decides when a human being has had all of the chances that He has allotted to them. 

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.  (Ps 32:10 NKJV)

Glory to God!  Those who are in a close and obedient relationship with Jesus as their Savior and Lord are surrounded by mercy, protection and the blood of the Lamb!  In humility and thanksgiving, with fear and trembling, it is our honor to serve the living God.

Benefits of Our Salvation

Benefits of Our Salvation

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  (Ps 23:6)

We determine that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and that goodness and mercy shall follow us by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord.  With that one decision, we also decide to accept all of the benefits and blessings of our salvation—which are unlimited!

Of course, the Bible also informs us that there will be persecution for our faith for which we must be prepared.  (Mt 5:44; 10:23; Lk 21:12)  But we can and should expect both, especially God’s blessings.

The blessings of salvation are many, varied, and unlimited.  You truly need to study the Bible to locate all of the promised blessings, but I love to list at least some of them for people to meditate upon and to rejoice over!

  • God is our shield and surpassingly great reward (Gen 15:1)
  • The Lord is our healer (Ex 15:26)
  • His joy is our strength (Neh 8:10)
  • Jesus is our Open Heaven (Joh 1:51)
  • All of God’s promises to us are answered “Yes” and “So be it” through Jesus, our Lord (2 Cor. 1:20)
  • The Lord gives us a long life (Ps 91:16)
  • God gives us good things to eat and renews our youth (Ps 103:5)
  • God gives us an incorruptible inheritance (1 Pet 1:3-4)
  • God give us eternal life.  (Joh 3:15)

These are just a small handful of the benefits of trusting in God and accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  Meditate on how much God loves you, and how very much He wants to bless you every single day of your life!  Hallelujah!

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  (Ac 7:59-60)

Focus on the extreme mercy and forgiveness that Stephen displayed!  Here are people in the process of killing him, and he forgives them and asks the Lord to forgive them.  Then he dies. What mercy!  What forgiveness!  Stephen went to heaven as a martyr for the gospel.

According to Daniel 9:9, mercy and forgiveness belong to God.  The Bible says (see below) that mercy and unlimited forgiveness belong to God.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is mercy and with Him there is unlimited forgiveness.  (Ps 130:7 GW)

In the church of Jerusalem, Stephen was chosen along with six other men to serve as deacons.  As deacons, they would take charge of the gifts of the people, and give assistance to those who were in need, including widows.  The criteria for choosing these men was that they had to have the Spirit of God and to have wisdom. 

Stephen not only cared for the poor, but he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone—Jews and Gentiles both.  This conduct enraged some of Jews, who plotted against him.

Clearly, as Stephen shared the Good News, the Holy Spirit used Stephen as an instrument for the Kingdom of God.  History records that Stephen, as he ministered to the people, performed signs, wonders, and miracles among them.  Glory to God!

Stephen clearly loved and obeyed Jesus Christ, his Savior and example in all things.  Stephen emulated the Lord Jesus Christ in his life, work, and even in death. 

This is a good moment to reflect upon our own lives; and to determine whether we are allowing mercy and forgiveness to operate in our lives, our responses, and our actions.