Friday, March 12, 2021
Today I want to talk to you about something that I know we all struggle with, and it's about being patient, specifically with God. We're going to look at Psalm 13 so we can gain a couple of 'truth nuggets' from this.
Friday, March 12, 2021
Today I want to talk to you about something that I know we all struggle with, and it's about being patient, specifically with God. We're going to look at Psalm 13 so we can gain a couple of 'truth nuggets' from this. Let me read this passage.
"How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me."
There are three main points that I see here. Look at verse one: "How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?" What's he doing there? He's pleading to God. It's okay to feel the pain. It's okay to even have momentary fear within the circumstances. But cry out to God. Let him know where you are so that you can finally come to terms with that plea to God.
Then in verse two, there's something different. Then we ask God—we get more specific. He says, "Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall." Ask God specifically, just as Philippians says, "let your requests be made known to God."
Lastly, from verse three, is the truth about God. "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me." At the end of the day, regardless of what happens, remember what you know is true about who God is. Remember what you know about the truth of God, even when the prayer isn't answered, and even when things get even more difficult. Remember what you know is true about God. So for today, I want you to remember those three things. Plead to God, cry out to Him, it's okay to feel it. Ask Him specifically for what you need. And third, remember what you know is true about Him.
Let's pray. Father, we know that life can get very, very difficult, and sometimes, Lord, we just need that extra amount of patience because we know our time is not your time. I pray that whoever's reading this would just have that encouragement and they would have the courage to plead to you and to cry out to you to ask you specifically what those needs are. And Lord, that we would remember what we know is true about you, regardless of how the circumstances play out so that we may always be encouraged. We thank you. In Jesus' name, amen.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about when weakness is strength. How can you be strong when you're weak? It seems like a complete oxymoron.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
2 Corinthians 12:8
2 Corinthians is probably one of the most neglected books of the New Testament. It's not really taught a lot and there are not many "good" verses in it. But it's Paul's most personal and vulnerable letter. He talks about all the different challenges he faced in dealing with the Corinthians. There were many accusations leveled against him: he wasn't an apostle, he was two- faced, etc, etc. In chapter 12, he talks about how he faced a problem in his life that made him so weak that he begged God to take it away. He called it a thorn in the flesh. We don't know what the thorn in the flesh was. It could have been a literal pain or a figurative expression. We don't know what it was, but it was so bad that Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:8, "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.'" Three times Paul pleaded with the Lord to take away the weakness, whatever this thorn in the flesh was. But sometimes God is not going to take away the thorn in the flesh. Sometimes he's going to allow it to work in your life, so that in your weakness his power might show up.
How was Paul's weakness strength? Here's a hint. Paul goes on to say, "Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Can you imagine going to a meeting at work and bragging about your weaknesses? Well, Paul is not bragging about his particular weaknesses, he's bragging about the fact that weaknesses do certain things. He says, I will more gladly boast about my weaknesses, for when I am weak, then I am strong. What does that mean? It seems like a contradiction. Let me give you a couple of words to fill in that will add more clarity. When you study this passage, Paul is fundamentally saying, when I am weak in myself, then I am strong in the Lord.
What's he saying? Weakness can be strength when your weaknesses are brought to the strong attention of God Almighty. Paul had all of these challenges, especially the thorn in the flesh. He had hardships, insults, everything you can imagine, but he was strong, because in his weakness he turned to the strong God. If you didn't have any weaknesses, you wouldn't turn to the strong guy. You would just kind of muddled in the middle, getting by but not thriving. When you're weak, you turn to God and His strength, and he lifts you up higher than you would have ever been on your own. God doesn't want you to muddle in the middle. He wants you to be strong. So, when you're weak, acknowledge it. Be humble about it, speak to it. Be open about it. You have to tell everybody in the world about every weakness in your life. Just be a humble person, admit to God that you're weak, and then let God's strength replace your weakness. When I am weak in myself, then I am strong in him.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about weaknesses. Don't worry, I want to talk about weaknesses in a constructive way.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about weaknesses. Don't worry, I want to talk about weaknesses in a constructive way. God has given you weaknesses to develop your dependence. If God didn't give you any weaknesses, you wouldn't know that He can help you through them. You wouldn't depend on God like you do. By allowing us to have weaknesses, He calls us, or even forces us if need be, to depend on Him. Where do I get that from? I get it from the well-known passage, John 15:4-5. In it, Jesus is speaking and says, "Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."
What was He teaching? Just like a branch can do nothing unless it has a vine it attaches to, we can do nothing without God. God gives you weaknesses to develop your dependence on Him. And the greatest thing you can do in life is develop your dependence on God, because He is a dependable God. And He wants to be the one that you acknowledge when you're weak. What weaknesses do you have? Do you struggle with bad habits? Have a temper? Are you independent, you like to do things by yourself? Has it been a while since you've been in church or read the Bible? Do you have trouble sitting still, or do you have trouble getting going? Whatever your weaknesses are, depend on God. That's what He wants to get out of you. He wants to develop dependence in you so that you depend on Him in your weaknesses.
We all have weaknesses. Nobody reading this can say, "I don't have any weaknesses." If you say you don't have any weaknesses, you just told me you have one, and it's lying, because you just lied. But God wants to use that to develop your dependence. You know what, when you're a little child, you hang on to your mom and dad's hand. My grandson, Brandon, who's nine and a half now is kind of getting out of holding my hand. Every now and then he'll hold my hand if nobody's looking. but he doesn't want me to hold his hand in front of his friends. And that's natural and understandable. But when he was really young, and he really needed a parent, he wanted to hold my hand. When Brandon was younger, sometimes even now when he's around strange people, he'll kind of come up and snuggle next to me and, and kind of have that confidence being near me. He thinks, "I want to depend on my grandfather, my Nono, because these are all strange people and I feel weak." God wants the same thing from us. That's why He's called our Heavenly Father. So wherever you're weak, develop your dependence on God. It's his plan.
Let's pray. Father, we all have weaknesses. Some of them have probably come to the forefront of our attention during this Life Lifters. I pray, God, that when we encounter weaknesses in our life that we would develop dependence on You. Like Jesus said, that we would be the branches that know that we cannot live unless we are attached to the vine. I pray that we would depend on You, God, as if our life depends on it, because it does. Help us to grow through our weaknesses, and to limit them and minimize them. We'll always have them, but help us to have victory over them. We asked this in the strong name of Jesus Christ, amen.