Tag Archives: grace

His Grace is Sufficient

His Grace is Sufficient!

I’ve heard a lot of the theories of what Paul was talking about in II Corinthians 12. People who rarely read a Bible have heard of “Paul’s thorn in the flesh.” Paul’s experience here, plus Job’s troubles come to the forefront whenever immovable faith in God is presented. “What about Paul’s thorn? What about Job?”

Personally, as I’ve read and studied II Corinthians 12 I’ve found reason to trust God more, not less. What Paul learned was how to access the power of God on his behalf. And we’re blessed, because he passed on what he learned to us.

As far as I can tell, the most detrimental problem here is associated with verse 9.

II Corinthians 12:9 [NASB] And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

The problem is that so many are reading God’s response to Paul’s request for help as “No!” That is clearly not what it says. God’s answer? “My grace is sufficient.” What does “sufficient” mean? According to Strong’s it is defined as “to be possessed of unfailing strength; to be enough; to be contented.” His grace is strong, unfailingly strong. It is enough – more than enough – for any problem we could ever face. It is contented – not worried or frazzled over the problem. Add to this the understanding that grace is God’s ability in us to do what we couldn’t do on our own, and we have ample reason to live confidently.

James 4:6 tells us that God gives more grace. Here in II Corinthians 12:9 we’ve seen that this grace is unfailingly strong and contented. Call on that grace. Lean on that grace. Trust in that grace. It will work for you!

While I will readily admit to you that I’m still laboring to learn to rest in God’s grace, I have recently experienced the life-giving dynamic of this great spiritual force. So I can verify – HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!! Had it not been, well, I would most likely have checked out of this life early. But God … I’m still piecing together what happened, but I know this much, the grace of God rescued me when nothing else could.

His grace is sufficient!

Give Your Faith A Lift

October 2017

 

Give your faith a lift!

I learned a lot of wonderful truths when I attended RHEMA Bible Training Center years ago. In one of our classes the teacher pointed out that God has made available to us forces that aid or cooperate with our faith. The obvious one is love. Galatians 5:6 shows that faith works, or is energized, by love.

Another powerful partner of faith is laid out for us in Hebrews 6:11, 12.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Faith and patience are to be imitated. When we observe others who are realizing God’s promises, we should watch and learn.

Verse 11 describes the attitude we’re to have in this. First we’re told to “show the same diligence.” Strong’s Concordance renders the meaning “interest oneself most earnestly.” In other words, this is one of those areas that requires our attention. “Hope” describes a joyful, confident expectation. Don’t lose hope!

In verse 12 we’re told not to “become sluggish.” According to the dictionary, sluggish has these meanings: slow-moving or inactive; lacking in energy or alertness; slow to respond or make progress. Obviously being sluggish is not being diligent. I think we all want to “inherit the promises.” [Inherit means to receive – or become a partaker of – your portion.] Therefore faith and patience need to be imitated.

Faith is well defined in Hebrews 11:1 – it gives our hopes substance and is our evidence of promises which can’t yet be seen. In light of that, one of the things we should be diligent about is gathering evidence. If we’re experiencing a struggle in our finances, for example, our accounts may be providing evidence of lack. Our part then is to gather evidence to override that. It begins with musing on scriptures like “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want (lack),” [Psalm 23:1] and “… my God shall supply all your need …” [Philippians 4:19] Add to that using the imagination to “experience” the provision. Faith releases God’s grace – His ability in us to do what we couldn’t on our own. As believers faith can (and should) become our natural response to difficult times.

Then we come to “patience.” I can tell you that my understanding of patience years ago was that I was waiting – waiting on God to heal, deliver, prosper or whatever. Then I discovered there’s a flaw in that understanding. Healing, deliverance, forgiveness, peace, provision, security, etc., are already accomplished for us in Christ! There’s no such thing as waiting for what’s already done!

Well, what does patience mean then? Strong’s gives this definition: “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. Vine’s Expository Dictionary says patience is “the quality which does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.”

If you’re scratching your head trying to digest all that, think of it this way. Going back to our illustration, in the midst of financial hardship we’re assured that everything needed has already been provided. Therefore there’s no reason to quit or even become discouraged (hopeless). Psalm 42:5 says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

An insurance company add used to tell us that when we purchased their insurance we were in good hands. Our true assurance is that we’re in good hands when our faith and patience are leaning securely on our loving heavenly Father!

Faith and patience have been called the power twins!

Gird Your Loins

Gird Up Your Loins

Luke 12:35, 36 Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.

In the Bible when we see a phrase like “let your waist be girded” or, as the King James reads, “let your loins be gird about,” it is a reference to readiness. Movement would have been impeded by those long robes, so a person readying himself for work or travel needed to “gird up his loins.” That meant he would take the bottom seam of his robe, pull it up between his legs and tuck it in his belt. Then he would be ready for action.

Is readiness a viable issue for modern day believers? The Bible seems to indicate that it is! We don’t have the same long robes to deal with, but we do have responsibilities to fulfill. I’m not referring to religious works or works of the flesh. Thank God we are saved by grace through faith! [Ephesians 2:8] Yet we are saved to serve. Spiritual laziness is frowned upon. Hebrews 6:11, 12 tells us not to be sluggish. James 1:22 encourages us to be doers, not merely hearers. Our “Great Commission” is repeated in different words by Matthew, Mark and Luke. We have a responsibility to be about the business of making disciples. Not much will be accomplished if we’re not READY!

Allow me to share what I consider to be some keys to girding our loins today.

#1 – Accept the responsibility.

We’re all in the same boat here. My calling may differ from yours, but we’re all called. There is something for everyone to do. God doesn’t need “bench warmers.” There are no true barriers to participation. No age discrimination. Galatians 3 indicates neither male nor female, no ethnic boundaries, or even any economic roadblocks. I’ve discovered that even when facing physical challenges, God can use me. This is good news!

#2 – Know that you’re qualified.

Repeat after me: “Jesus is my qualification!” You see, you may have tried before and failed miserably. You may have been told that you can’t do it. You may feel like you’ll just mess things up. Maybe you were a poor student or just never finished anything you started before now. Check out scripture: God used those whose resumes contained failures and low recommendations. He even used a donkey! He can use you.

#3 – Believe that you’re gifted.

I Peter 4:10 tells us that we ALL have been given gifts with which to minister. These are grace gifts, meaning we did nothing to earn them. Outside of Jesus we don’t deserve them. But He gave ‘em to us anyway. The purpose of these gifts is clear: not to bless the operator of the gift, but to bless those needing the benefits of the gift. Check out the Amplified version of I Peter 4:9, 10.

Practice hospitality to one another (those of the household of faith). [Be hospitable, be a lover of strangers, with brotherly affection for the unknown guests, the foreigners, the poor, and all others who come your way who are of Christ’s body.] And [in each instance] do it ungrudgingly (cordially and graciously, without complaining but as representing Him). 10 As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].

Maybe a better modern day rendering of “gird your loins” would be “roll up your sleeves.” Let’s do it! As a congregation, let’s roll up our sleeves and get busy with the work of the Kingdom. As the slogan goes, “Just do it!”