Saturday, August 27, 2016

August 28, 2016

"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. 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." II Corinthians 12:8-10

Have wondered why you don't experience more of God's sufficiency?

Was there ever a time you doubted God's sufficiency for your need?

I'm sure there were times when Paul wondered, but he found out!

I know there were times Abram did, but he found out, too!

Let me share three truths from this Scripture that will give you some hope and confidence in the sufficiency of God.

If you want to experience God's sufficiency learn to face your weakness and honestly admit it.  

When you do that you will gain a new awareness. What is that new awareness?

"God's strength is made perfect in your weakness"!

If you want to try and live by your own strength and wisdom God will let you. 

Abram and Sarai learned that the hard way when they tried to help God fulfill His promise. Sarai gave her servant Hagar to Abram and she gave birth to Ishmael. As a result, Sarai began to despise Hagar and Ishmael became a source of strife and contention.

When Abram faced his weakness, humbled himself and entered into the covenant with God through circumcision he experienced God's power! And he received a name change!

Also, if you want to experience God's sufficiency you must take a new approach.

Not only did Paul and Abraham learn to be aware of their weakness, they learned to embrace it!

This is how it worked. Anytime they found themselves tempted to take pride in one of their successes or strengths instead they chose to focus on a weakness. Changing the focus onto their weakness changed their focus from depending on self to trusting in God! 

They learned to boast about their weaknesses rather than bragging about their strengths! Imagine that!

So, you need a new awareness that God's strength can only be seen through your weakness, you need to take a new approach AND you need a new attitude.

What is the new attitude you need?

You need a circumcision of your heart.

Say what?

The ritual of circumcision which sealed the covenant with God required the cutting away of worthless flesh. Likewise, God calls you to cut away the worthless and sinful fleshly attitudes from your heart. Cut away lust, selfishness, disobedience, pride, self-sufficiency and the like.

When you are willing to cut away the useless flesh from you life it makes room for the Spirit of God to fill you and empower you!

From you death and rot comes life and fruitfulness like Abraham and Sarah became fertile in their old age and brought God's promised child, Isaac, into the world.

When you grow weary of being fruitless, frustrated and futile, God's strength is waiting to fill your weaknesses!

August 27, 2016

In my study and reading for my message Sunday I came across this devotional thought that blessed me. Please allow me to share it with you!

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.II Corinthians 12:9

When we study Scripture, there are times when a nuance provided by the meaning learned from the Bible’s original languages can rock us to the core. The Greek word order of 2 Corinthians 12:9 provides us with meaning we don’t want to miss: “Sufficient for you is the grace of me.” That is an incredible promise! Essentially the Lord told the apostle Paul, “I am the grace. I’m all the grace you need.”

God does not dispense strength and encouragement like a pharmacist fills a prescription. God never says, Here, take two of these and call Me in the morning. He is the grace. He is the strength. His presence is the power. All we need comes through intimacy with Him. No matter what we face, Jesus is the complete answer. “Sufficient for you is the grace of me.” He doesn’t give what we need and then go somewhere else. He comes to stay. “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

Notice that the Lord explains how I’m all the grace you need actually works in our lives: “For my power is made perfect in weakness.” “Perfect” means fulfilled, accomplished, completed, finished. It’s the same term Jesus spoke as His final word on the cross, tetelestai, which means, “It is finished” (John 19:30). God brings His sufficient and powerful grace to the relationship; all we bring is weakness. All of this is grace because we can’t do anything to deserve what He does for us. And He makes sure the results are perfect and complete.

God wants His grace to be completed in your weakness. You never really experience the grace unless you see the need for it—and even that realization comes by grace. The power of Jesus' grace is not fully seen until weakness is fully acknowledged. The moment you are overwhelmed with your absolute helplessness is the moment you are ready to hear Jesus say, I’m all the grace you need.

Think about the place where you regularly meet with God. Is it a chair in your bedroom? At the kitchen table? Or as one father of five small children confessed, is it in the garage in the backseat of your car? In light of today’s verse ask yourself, How many times have I gotten up from that place and left God’s sufficient grace there? The Lord was there with you—holding out to you the grace for the trial you were going to face that day, as your mind was drifting off to your own plan. How many days did you run out to a busy day and leave Him there with His sufficient grace?

If you want to live by God’s sufficient grace, you’re not going to catch it falling from the sky as you hurry to your next appointment. You must go to the fountain and drink deeply. He is the One who quenches your thirst. When you read His Word and are thinking about it, His grace is flowing into you.

He is also the One who wants to go with you every step of the way. And when a trial threatens to overwhelm you, remember His promise: “Sufficient for you is the grace of me.” The Lord is a faithful friend, sustaining you. He is all the grace you need.