Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"When I am Weak, Then I am Strong"
by Robert Fitts
The apostle Paul had a problem! He came to a time in his walk with Jesus that God had to send him a problem and it was something he did not want, but something God knew he needed, but Paul pled with God in prayer that He would take it away.
The amazing thing about this problem is that it was something that could be called a gift and yet it was also called "a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan sent to "buffet" Paul.
He said, "For this cause (for the abundance of revelation that was given to him) there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me lest I should be exalted above measure."
Then Paul said, "For this cause I sought the Lord three times that He would take away this thorn, but He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
When Paul heard that, he said, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me." By this we know that Paul's thorn was some kind of physical problem that could be called an "infirmity" which could be a sickness or some kind of physical weakness.
Now we know God's attitude toward sickness and disease is always to treat them as enemies and the works of the enemy. Jesus healed every disease and treated sickness and disease as enemies, but apparently in some cases, it is God himself who gives these thorns, or messengers of Satan to buffet for some good reason, at least for a period of time, but in every case his grace is sufficient for us to take us through to victory, for there is no indication that Paul lived the rest of his life with that thorn in his flesh.
As a believer, if you are suffering some kind of weakness or infirmity and you have reason to believe that it has been given to you by God for His purposes in your life, then you can glory in your infirmity as Paul did in his if you do have a word from God that it is for a specific purpose, such as Paul's thorn was. But if you do not have a word from God as Paul did that it was given by God to fulfill His purposes for you and for the Church of God, the Body of Christ, then rebuke the infirmity (weakness) and trust God to remove it. Amen? Amen!
76-6309 Haku Pl
Kona, HI 96740
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
HIS WILL IS NOT ALWAYS PLEASANT!
a word from the Lord to those who are suffering
Being in the will of God does not make us immune to trouble. It often involves hardship and suffering, but the end result is always good. God said to Ananias right after Saul of Tarsus was saved on the road to Damascus, "Get ready and go to Straight Street . . . and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he might see again. I have chosen him to serve me to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel. And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake." (Acts 9:10-16) (TEV)
Paul later wrote to Timothy and said, "Those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Jesus himself promised that his will for would at times involve suffering when he said, "In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer! I have overcome the world. " (John 16:33)
Moses was in the will of God when he went to Egypt to set the Hebrews free from bondage but it got him into a lot of trouble with the leaders of Egypt as well as causing trouble for the children of Israel. The elders of Israel said to Moses, "We had it easier before you came onto the scene! At least the Egyptians provided us with straw for making bricks, but now we have to gather our own straw."
Moses was perplexed, "God, I've been obedient to do your will and yet you have not done your part. There is only confusion and hardship, and you have not delivered Israel at all."
Paul and Silas were in the very center of God's will when they followed the guidance they received from the Lord in the vision of the man of Macedonia who said, "Come over and help us." They went to Macedonia in obedience to God's direction and within a very short time they were beaten severely and thrown into prison. But they were not confused. They prayed and sang praises to God in the midst of the persecution because they knew that trouble did not necessarily mean they were out of the will of God. Nor does the fact that we are not in trouble necessarily mean we are in the will of God. Their confidence was well rewarded as we see in the outcome of their sufferings!
Jonah got into trouble because he ran from the will of God and wound up in the belly of a great fish before he finally realized that it is better to suffer doing God's will than it is to suffer in rebellion against His will.
Paul said, "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."
Peter said, "Let him who suffers according to the will of God commit himself to God as to a faithful creator." Am I willing to suffer to stay in the will of God? God’s will often leads us by the way of suffering as we have seen in the instances quoted above. But the suffering that is inherent in obeying God will always lead to so much greater good that it is well worth the pain! The sufferings of Christ at his crucifixion is the ultimate example of that truth!
To refuse the suffering involved in fulfilling the will of God in our lives often leads to greater suffering. I am not including suffering caused by sickness and disease. I do not believe God’s will is that we suffer sickness and disease, but that, in such cases, we are to come to Him in full assurance of faith and confidence that it is his will to heal us. Jesus expressed God’s attitude toward sickness and disease when, in every case, with no exceptions, everyone who came to him for healing received their healing!
Jesus suffered a horrible scourging to bring healing to us. If I am suffering some form of sickness or disease, I am told clearly what I should do in the apostle James’ letter to the early church: “Is any sick among you, let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will heal the sick and the Lord will raise him up.” (James 5:14-16) But the fact that there is often suffering connected with doing God’s will is evident in Paul’s list of things which he suffered:
“. . . in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was adrift in the ocean; In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in sleeplessness, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness. Beside all these things, that which comes upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)
In spite of all these scriptures that speak of the possibilities of suffering, we are confident that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to us, around us, in us and through us! And that glory is not just the glory that we will witness when we get to heaven. It will be revealed here on this field of battle at this present time! When you think of comparing the sufferings with the glory, meditate on that phrase. The suffering and the glory are not worthy to be compared!
So, if you are in the midst of a time of suffering right now, repeat it over and over until you believe it in the depths of your being, the greater the suffering, the greater, far greater is the glory that shall be revealed to you, in you, through you, and around you!
76-6309 Haku Pl
Kona, HI 96740