Give praises to the Lord

June 27, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.
(2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV))

Have you ever heard of anyone boasting about being weak?

This is not typical human behavior!

People boast about being the best, or being the strongest, but never do you hear of anyone boasting about being weak. Let’s face it, human nature makes us want to look good in the eyes of those around us. We want to show off, and what self-respecting showoff would claim to be weak? It just isn’t heard of.

When we have competitions, we crown the best as the winners. We have games where grown men and women compete to see who is the best. We even give awards to those who win. In all of this, do you ever hear someone say that they are too weak to compete?

I will be honest. There are those who profess that they owe their abilities to God, yet, for the most part, in these competitions, they are the exception.

Why did Paul boast that he is weak?

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
2 Corinthians 12:7-8 (NIV)

Paul, even though he was chosen by God to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, had a physical affliction. Some have even suggested that he suffered from seizures. Paul, regardless of the physical issues, was used powerfully by God. He did not allow his physical limitations to keep him from fulfilling the call that God placed upon his life. He recognized the limitations and, more importantly, he recognized that God was using him in spite of the limitations.

Paul answered God’s call even in the midst of his own problems!

Would we do that?

How many times have we neglected God’s call upon our lives because we felt limited and incapable? How many times have we failed to realize that we would not be the ones doing that task? How many times have we failed to answer even when we had Paul as our example?

I know that I am guilty of this more times than I care to admit, still it is my desire to answer that call.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

Are we willing to respond in this manner? Are we willing to overlook our weaknesses when God calls? Are we willing to step out in faith and acknowledge that it is God’s strength and not our weakness that is in charge?

I have a challenge for you.

God has a calling upon each of us. Step out to meet that calling. When wondrous things happen, boast that it is not you.

Give praises to the Lord.

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Are you strong in your weakness?

June 29, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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.

(2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV))

Once again, we are told of things that don’t make sense, that go against human nature.

Why would anyone delight in these things? It almost sounds like Paul is saying that he would rather face these types of conditions than to face peace. What was he thinking?

Think about that for a moment and then think about your life. I know that when I think about my life, I have a new understanding of these words. Once again, it is a matter of perspective.

I think that Paul hit upon the concept of his strength and his faith and the relationship that the two have to each other. Before his Damascus road experience, Paul thought he had the world under his control. He felt that he was the ideal Jew and that he had done everything right, yet he lacked true faith and understanding. In his strength, Paul was weak in his faith.

After his Damascus road experience, Paul had a change of heart. He realized that his strength meant nothing. He realized that what he so proudly boasted of meant nothing in God’s kingdom.

Then, as now, too many people make the mistake of wanting strength, money and power. I know that there are always exceptions, but having strength, money and power often results in selfish desires with no thought to others or to God. Paul was driven, but for all of the wrong reasons. He was doing everything that society said that he should do.

Paul, during his evangelism to the gentiles, faced many things. Things that a good Jew would not have faced. Paul was going against the grain. Because he was doing what God called him to do, he faced ridicule and persecution from people who did not understand. In his weakness in the physical world, he relied more and more on his relationship to Jesus and God. His faith grew stronger. When he was weak in the physical world, he grew stronger in his faith.

If you are like me with what you face, and who isn’t in this life, then you face many weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties. It is my prayer that we may all grow stronger when we are weak.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Your weakness is God’s strength

June 21, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 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.
(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV))

Paul hungered to know God.

He was probably the single most influential person, besides Jesus, in spreading the Gospel. Yet, throughout all of his seeking, he was afflicted with what some believe to have been seizures. He prayed to have this affliction lifted from him, yet, God’s answer was one that we would have not liked in our own lives.

We must remember that it is through our weaknesses that God is glorified. If we are capable of doing things on our own, then people do not see God in these actions. People see God when they see things accomplished that are beyond the capabilities of the person involved.

It is a fine line that we must try to walk when we pray for an affliction to be lifted from us. Our earthly person wishes to be in comfort and without pain and fear. The spiritual side of life requires these to be present in our lives in order that we grow and learn. If we are to be effective vessels for Christ, then we must be willing to live with weakness so that our actions glorify God and not ourselves.

The same thing applies to others, also. We must pray for God’s Will in their lives, for it is through God’s Will that others will come to Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2011 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Perfection?

March 30, 2011

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
(Psalms 119:5 (NIV))

Do you ever waiver in your faith? Do you ever do things that you know God does not like? As a result of this, do you ever feel unworthy of God’s love and His grace?

If you are like me, I fail to be in God’s perfect Will many times a day. Even David, who is thought to have written Psalm 119, failed many times a day. He longed to do better. Even through his failures, God saw David’s heart.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: `I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
(Acts 13:22 (NIV))

Perfection is not something that we are capable of attaining on our own. In fact, in our physical existence, we never will attain perfection. We will falter and fail in what we earnestly seek. It is our heart that God looks at and not our success rate. Human nature does not allow us to be perfect, for we have fallen from grace. The world judges us by our successes. God judges us by our heart. If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then He will live within us. In our natural, physical existence, we will fail. Even those who walked this earth with Jesus failed many times.

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
(Matthew 26:40-41 (NIV))

Don’t let your failures keep you sidetracked. Keep your eyes on Jesus and you will find your obedience to God’s Will increasing. You will become steadfast in His ways.

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


%d bloggers like this: