Saturday, September 29, 2012

Verse for Today 2 Corinthians 12:9-12 (click to read mini-blog)

I've been thinking about a quotation I heard from Allistar Begg in a recent message I heard a while back:  

"If dependence on God is the objective, then weakness is advantage."

I think this is quite profound. It certainly seems to be corollary to the Apostle Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 12:9-12

"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. 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."

How often don't we resist or even resent weaknesses, trials and troubles? Yet, these are the very means by which the Lord draws us closer to Him. Any trial or adversity that draws us nearer to the Lord or causes us to depend more upon Him, is in the bigger picture, a blessing.

Ironically, in recent months, one of my recurring prayers has been that the Lord would mold me into a more effective and faithful minister of the Gospel. My hope is that the Lord would use me to strengthen the church I pastor and advance the broader work of the Kingdom. In recent weeks I've faced a few trials and discouragements, and have concluded that these were in affect the Lord's answer to my prayers.

"For when I am weak, then I am strong."

When we recognize our own inadequacies or weaknesses, we learn afresh our need of God and His grace.  When we recognize this, we will the more earnestly seek His aid and depend upon Him.

Truth be told we all need to believe and endure like Job. He endured loss of loved ones, financial ruin, and even his health, and responds to his exasperated wife, "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” The Lord works in mysterious ways. He is pleased when we persevere through trials, when we trust His Word and hold fast to our integrity for His sake. As Peter says, “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”

Seems the point is that we should trust in God all the time, especially when going through trials.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Verse for Today - 2 Corinthians 13:14 (click for mini-blog)

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. "

Read all of  2 Corinthians 13

This is perhaps the most common New Testament benediction.  And what, you might ask is a benediction?  Well, it literally means "to speak well of."  It is a pronouncement of blessing or favor toward another.   It is sometimes (and I might add should be) spoken by parents to their children and by grandparents to their  grandchildren, but perhaps most commonly pronounced at the end of a church worship service.  We should never underestimate the affect of our words on those who hear them.  

In Today's Verse, the words are spoken by the Apostle Paul to the believers in ancient Corinth and with official authority.   That is to say, while the Apostle Paul is speaking, he is really speaking with "Apostolic" authority.   He is declaring that those who come to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are really and truly the recipients of this "grace," "love" and "communion" with the Triune God. 

While we might might hear such a blessing, and even take it for granted, it is really a remarkable thing.   The God of all grace, who from all eternity determined to save a people for himself through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has in the present time extended His grace and mercy to us.

The Grace of Christ is the extension of God's undeserved favor in Christ to guilty sinners.  The Love of God is the embrace and acceptance of those purchased by Him.  The Communion of the Holy Spirit is incorporation of those who were lost into the fellowship of His own special people-- His Church.  Pretty remarkable.  Amen?  Amen!