Faith

I’d Rather Have Jesus

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Jesus asks the question in Mark 8:36, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” The answer, of course, is nothing. There is no profit, no matter how much you gain in this world and in this life if you lose your soul. If you lose your soul…then you lose everything. If you lose your soul, then you lose eternity.

As I contemplate this question from Jesus and the powerful implications, I’m reminded of King Solomon. King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes talks at length about his pursuit of meaning, purpose, joy, and ultimate satisfaction. Solomon in the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes talks about how he pursued meaning in laughter, having a good time, alcohol, his work, possessions, wealth, wisdom, and even sexual pleasure. Yet, in spite of all his pursuits, Solomon arrived at the conclusion that ultimately all of these things he pursued were empty and meaningless. Listen to his own words in Ecclesiastes 2:9-11, “So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all ALL WAS VANITY AND A STRIVING AFTER WIND, and there was NOTHING TO BE GAINED UNDER THE SUN.”

Solomon is basically telling us in these few verses, and really the entire book of Ecclesiastes, “I’ve done it all, I’ve tried it all, and I had it all…yet in spite of all I did and all I had, I found it completely meaningless.” All of Solomon’s pursuits left him empty. He found no lasting and ultimate satisfaction in any of it.

I think the question we all have to ask ourselves in light of these revelations from Solomon is, why.  Why can Solomon not find meaning or satisfaction in any of his earthly pursuits? Well, it’s for the same reason that you or I can’t.

You nor I won’t ever have the wealth of a King Solomon. (Just guessing) You nor I won’t ever possess the earthly wisdom of a King Solomon. You nor I won’t ever have the means to pursue the many things that King Solomon does as we read about his life in Scripture. But the same conclusions that Solomon arrives at in the book of Ecclesiastes are just as true for us as they were for him. You and I won’t ever find ultimate satisfaction, meaning, or purpose in the things of this world.

Why is this? Very simply because we weren’t created to be satisfied by the things of this world.

This doesn’t mean that everything in this world is bad. Laughter and fun is a wonderful thing. Most of us could use more of it in our lives. But it’s not an ultimate thing. It’s not why we were created. A nice house, more money, a lot of possessions can be good things. Wisdom is certainly something that we should all strive for. Even sexual pleasure is a gift from God. But all good gifts must be enjoyed in their proper context and with a proper perspective. The good gifts God gives us must not overshadow the God who has given us the gifts.

Is this because God is some cosmic killjoy who doesn’t want us to have fun? Absolutely not. God wants us to enjoy our earthly existence. It’s why he gives us good gifts. But ultimately those gifts are meant to point us to the ultimate good, which is God himself. God doesn’t want us to settle for the inferior pleasures of this world when he himself offers us the greatest of all pleasures.

Psalm 16:11 says, “…in your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” We know from Scripture that at the right hand of God is Jesus. So it is in and through Christ that we find the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.

The overwhelming teaching of Scripture is that God is the greatest good, the greatest pleasure, and the greatest joy. Only in a life focused and centered on God will we find true and ultimate meaning, and all of this is found in Christ. These things being true, I find the words of the well-known hymn “I’d Rather Have Jesus” especially pertinent, and my prayer for all of us is that these words would truly be the cry of our hearts:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;

I’d rather have Jesus than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;

I’d rather be led by his nail pierced hands

Than to be king of a vast domain and be held in sin’s dread sway.

I’d rather have Jesus than anything, this world affords today.

 

May these words be true for all of us, and may we all live our lives as if it were so.

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Gold Medal Faith

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“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Few things are able to capture the attention and the imagination of the world like the Olympic Games. Every four years there seems to be a new story, or a new athlete that captivates the hearts and minds of the people. It’s easy to understand why. The best athletes in the world train their entire lives for this one moment in history. The life of an Olympic athlete is one of drive, determination, and discipline. When they succeed and achieve their goals of Olympic Gold, we can’t help but rejoice with them. When they fall short, or tragedy strikes and they end up injured and fail to obtain that moment of glory they’ve worked so hard for, our hearts break for them and we too mourn.

As I ponder these things, I can’t help but be reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 9. He was quite fond of using athletic analogies to describe the Christian life. Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 9 of a race in which all the runners run, yet only one can receive the prize. He speaks of the self-control and the discipline that an athlete must possess. He then speaks of the focus and self-control he himself lives out in order that he not be disqualified.

I believe one reason the Olympic Games and Olympic athletes capture our hearts and minds so powerfully, is because we all understand what it is to have a goal and to work hard to achieve it. There are few pleasures as sweet as working your entire life for something, and then achieving it.

Another reason the Olympic Games and Olympic athletes so easily captivate us is because we also understand the desire for glory. What small kid hasn’t dreamed of hitting the game winning home run or the game winning basket or goal? If athletics isn’t necessarily your thing, perhaps your goal is getting the highest grades, or being the best at your job. Maybe you want to be known as the greatest cook, or a great artist. The fact is we all have something we love to do, and if we were really honest with ourselves we would love to be known as the best.

Well, if we want to be the best, we know what it takes: Hard work, discipline, focus, and perseverance. So, when we watch the Olympics, we see people who have achieved, or are striving to achieve their life’s goal of being great and taking hold of Olympic glory. And the symbol of that glory is the Gold Medal.

But here’s the thing. Olympic glory is fleeting. For most of the athletes that capture the attention of a nation, in a few years most people won’t remember their names, or at best they will be simply a footnote in history. Even if they do achieve that ultimate glory and become household names as some do, even that doesn’t last for eternity. One day they will die, and their gold medals will end up lost or in a trash heap. Olympic athletes might no longer receive wreathes like they did in the day, but even a gold medal isn’t imperishable.

We however, don’t run for a perishable prize, as Paul reminds us. If Olympic athletes train so hard and exercise such discipline and live lives of such intense drive and focus in order to attain worldly glory, how much more should we as Christians live and work to take hold of Spiritual glory? An Olympic athlete can’t just drift through life, or breeze through training sessions and hope to win the gold…and Christian, we can’t just drift through life and think we will receive our crown of glory.

In an athletic competition there can be only one winner, and only one who will achieve glory. The good news for the Christian is that all who call upon the name of Jesus will receive an eternal prize, and will know the glory of God and share an eternal inheritance with Christ. The Bible tells us that at the cross Jesus secured the final victory already. How did this powerful truth motivate the Apostle Paul? He said, “So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”

Knowing the imperishable prize that awaited him drove Paul. It ought to drive us as well. As an athlete must live lives of discipline and single minded focus, so should we. What is your focus? As those who are partakers of the eternal glory of Christ, then our focus must be on Him. We should live our lives to honor and glorify Him. We should live our lives in a way that shows that instead of living for this life, we are living for something far greater. We as Christians don’t live for the perishable, but for the imperishable.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith..” –Hebrews 12::1-2

True Repentance

Psalm 51

Psalm 51 is one of the most beautiful prayers of repentance in all of the Bible. The heading just above the beginning of the Psalm tells us that it is “A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.”

David, the greatest king (other than Jesus of course) sinned terribly against the Lord. I’ve written about this event previously, but you can go back and read about it in 2 Samuel 11 if you want to review. David slept with another man’s wife, the wife even of one of his trusted soldiers, Uriah. He made many unsuccessful attempts to cover up his sin, and ultimately ended up having Uriah killed.

2 Samuel 12 then details an encounter between David and the prophet Nathan in which David is confronted with his sin. This is a fascinating event in the life of David, and if you don’t know the story or haven’t read it in some time, I would recommend you go and read it now. For time sake however, I’m not going to go into great detail here today.

What I do want to talk a bit about today though is David’s response to this confrontation with the prophet Nathan, and David’s response when he is confronted with his sin. That is what we have here in Psalm 51.

David’s sin with Bathsheba and his attempts to cover up his sin are tragic. Sin is tragic. The sad fact of the matter is that all sin is tragic, and the consequences and repercussions of sin are often wide reaching and can be felt for years to come. This is certainly the case with David and his sin. The good news though, is that God doesn’t just leave us in our sin. He confronts us with our sin, he convicts us of our sin, and he gives us the opportunity to repent and turn away from our sin. Once this repentance happens, then God will pour out his grace and mercy upon us and forgive us of our sin.

Psalm 51 is the record of David’s repentance. It is a beautiful prayer of repentance and one that I believe we all would be well served as Christians to look to, and even pray for ourselves on a regular basis. In this Psalm David appeals to God’s character – his mercy and steadfast love – and asks God to blot out his sins. He admits he is a sinner and always has been and his sins weigh heavily upon him. David asks God not to cast him away from His presence, he asks to have the joy of his salvation restored to him. He promises God true worship, and that he would tell all people of the merciful ways of God, and that he would live a life of praise.

As we read through this Psalm, we see clearly that David acknowledges his brokenness over his sin – he truly mourns over his sin. This is an important point I don’t want us to miss. Many times we think of repentance as simply being sorry for sin. I think often times we aren’t so much sorry for our sin, but we are really just sorry that there are consequences for our sin. Ironically, we usually aren’t sorry for our sin, until we are caught in our sin. This isn’t true repentance.

True repentance is brokenness over our sin. True repentance is understanding how serious our sin is. Our sin, all of our sin, is a sin against a Holy God. (Verse 4) Sin is no small matter. David understands this and begs God to forgive him for his transgressions. David is truly broken over his sin.

David also doesn’t try to justify himself, make excuses, or try to blame others. What about us? What is our first response when we are confronted with sin? Usually we respond like our first parents, Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, how did they respond when God confronted them with sin? Adam blamed Eve, and even God himself. Eve blamed the snake. No one was willing to fess up and just say, “Yes God, I disobeyed you. Please forgive me.” I wonder how different things would be if they had.

True repentance doesn’t involve us making excuses or trying to justify ourselves. True repentance involves confession. Why make excuses? God knows the truth anyway!

So, Psalm 51 is a beautiful prayer of repentance because it is an honest confession of sin, and a sincere plea for God’s mercy. Our prayers should be no different.

As I read through Psalm 51, I also get a sense of joy. David is a man who knew God very well. He knew God’s character. He knew God was merciful, he knew God was a God of steadfast love. (Verse 1) As David pours out his heart, you get the sense that David knows that he is forgiven. David isn’t going to sit around and dwell on past failures, he is going to take hold of God’s grace, and live his life in response to it.

David says, “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Verse 7)

But David isn’t content just to rest in the fact that he is forgiven. David asks God for a pure heart. He wants a heart that is renewed and on fire for God. David asks God for a “clean heart” and a “right Spirit.” (Verse 10) David then promises to tell other sinners about the mercy of God so that they too may come and experience it themselves, for God will receive all who come to him broken and truly repentant over their sin. (Verse 13-15, 17)

This is good news isn’t it? That all of us have the same access to the God of mercy that David did – the God of mercy that was revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Everyone reading this right now has the opportunity to come to God, confess our sin, receive forgiveness, have our hearts made pure, and joyfully take hold of the salvation God offers us all through Christ.

Once we experience this, the only logical response is praise God, and to go out and tell others about how merciful our God is. Once receiving this glorious salvation all of our prayers ought to be, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.”

Can we pray that prayer today? I pray that you can.

No Condemnation

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“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

The Bible is filled with unbelievably powerful verses that offer strength and encouragement to the believer. I come to this verse today and I’m in awe of the implications of these words as I ponder the realities of the Christian life and most of all the beauty of God’s grace.

The reality of the Christian life is that we all struggle. We struggle with past failures, past sin, and oftentimes the messes that we have made of our lives. Whether it be damaged relationships, financial ruin, or other lingering physical reminders of past sin, we often mourn our past and the mistakes we’ve made.

We also struggle in the present. Even though we know God has saved us from our sin through Christ and given us a relationship with Him, we continue to deal with sin and its consequences. We want to live lives that honor God, but we find ourselves coming up short so often. We live lives of perpetual guilt as a result.

This struggle in the present also leads to a fear of the future. Even though we might say with our lips that we understand our sin has been taken away, we still fear the judgement of God because of our current failures. How will we be able to stand before a Holy God with all of this sin remaining in our lives? Will God somehow punish me later for what I did yesterday?

This is where Romans 8:1 is so very powerful. The Apostle Paul tells us that there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. If you are in Christ Jesus, if you belong to Him, if you have put your faith and trust in Him, then you have no need to fear. You are not condemned for past failures. God is not going to condemn you for what you do today. Your standing before God is secure regardless of what mistakes you may or may not make in the future.

Those who belong to Christ are forgiven of all their sins – past, present, and future. When Jesus went to the cross he took on himself the punishment for all of your sins. Every sin you have ever committed or will commit was put upon Him. This is why “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Jesus was condemned to die to pay the penalty for your sin.

Now, some would say, “Does this mean it doesn’t matter what we do?” No, this isn’t what it means. As you read the remainder of Romans 8 you will see that the Apostle Paul speaks about life in the Spirit, and how the Holy Spirit lives inside us and gives us life. Because of the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to overcome sin in our lives. We are given the desire and the ability to live lives of increasing holiness as a result of the work of the Spirit that indwells the believer. Each of us who are Christians have the Spirit of God Himself living within us – the very Spirit of God who raised Christ Jesus from the grave. (Romans 8:11) What more could we ask for?

We are often tempted to dwell on past sin, or even current sin in our life. We feel defeated and see so little progress in our Christian walk. Our struggles with sin often lead us to draw back from God. If we’ve failed in the past, then surely we won’t do much better in the future.

But the beauty of God’s grace is that not only have we been forgiven of our past sin, but God is powerfully working within us to make us more like Jesus. (Romans 8:29) He is using all things, even our sins and struggles to make this happen. (Romans 8:28) So, instead of our fears and failures causing us to run away from God, we ought to see them as opportunities to run to God free from condemnation. We run to Him for not only forgiveness of our sin, but also strength to overcome our struggles and sin.

How wonderful is that? As the Apostle Paul says, “…nothing in all of creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

Confidence for the new year…

“The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD is high and mighty.” –Psalm 93:3-4

Few things in our natural world are as powerful as the ocean and as powerful as the seas. We live close to the coast, we’ve seen the damage that the ocean can do. We saw the flooding in Charleston not so long ago and all of the destruction that caused. When the ocean starts to roar, or when the flood waters start to rise there isn’t anything that is going to stand in its way.

But we serve a God who spoke the waters into existence. We have a Christ who calmed the sea with the word of his mouth. In Mark 4:39 Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”…and it listened…

After this happened, the Bible says that the disciples were then “filled with great fear.” The Bible says that they said, “Who then is this that even the wind and the sea obey him…”

We should be asking this ourselves. Indeed, who is this Christ that we serve!?!

We serve Jesus, the one who not only calms the water by the word of his mouth, but he walks over the water and he walks ON the water.

Throughout ancient literature and even in the Bible, floods and waters were symbolic of and metaphorical for turmoil, chaos, and trouble, and I have no doubt that God wants us to learn from this and that God wants us to apply these truths to our own lives. God often teaches us in metaphor, because pictures are sometimes (often times) more powerful that words alone. Therefore, I have no issue saying that I think there is a powerful metaphor that we need to get here.

Just as God is more powerful than the ocean, and any sea, God is also more powerful than any trial, turmoil, or chaos that we have going on in our lives. Just as Jesus says to the disciples after he calmed the sea, I think he is often saying to us, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

And just as he said to the disciples as he was walking on the water, and they were so frightened, he tells them “take heart, it is I…”

We truly have no reason to fear. We can look back at our lives and over the last year and we can center ourselves on the promises of God. We can take heart. As we look forward into 2016 and beyond, we can walk with no fear. We serve a God who is all powerful. Not only is our God more powerful than any ocean, any trial, any storm, or any turmoil in our lives, but He is in complete control of them.

This is the God we walk with. This is the God we serve. This is the God whom we are to be telling people about. This is the God who is working through us! And if that doesn’t give you boldness and confidence going into 2016 then I don’t know what will!

Christmas Reflections

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I wonder how many of us truly grasp the miracle of Christmas. This time of year we are filled with warm and fuzzy feelings, there seems to be joy in the air. I think is by providential design. I wonder though, how many of us truly grasp the gravity of what took place that first Christmas night.

We talk about the miracle of the birth of Jesus. Some marvel at the miracle of a virgin birth, and rightly so. But God says, “I see that miracle, and I raise you one.”

John 1:1 says that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” A little later in verse 14 of that same Chapter it says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

1 John 4:9-10 says, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

The miracle of Christmas, is not a cute little baby boy in a manger that grew up to do some amazing things. The miracle of Christmas isn’t that this baby boy was born to a virgin. The miracle of Christmas isn’t that this baby boy with the miraculous birth is still able to help us feel warm, fuzzy, and full of joy one season out of the year. The miracle of Christmas is that God himself took on human flesh, became a man, and lived a sinless life despite being tempted in all things just as we are. Yes, this man performed many miracles and this man taught many great things about how we are to live. But, this man, was the God-Man who wrapped himself in a human body, who condescended to earth in order to one day die on a Roman cross for the sins of all those who would accept his sacrifice.

Jesus didn’t come to the earth just to allow us to be filled with joy one season out of the year. Jesus allows us to live lives of perpetual joy. To live lives defined by joy, knowing who we are in Him. Knowing that we are reconciled to God because of what He has done…

I don’t think we can fully grasp this. We may have an idea, but to fully grasp this concept, I don’t think we can. And thank God that we can’t.

All praise be to God.

Embracing Weakness

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One thing I love about the Apostle Paul is that he was a man who was keenly aware of his sinfulness, his limitations, and his weaknesses. We see in Romans 7 his lamenting of his own sinfulness. In 1 Timothy 1:15 he refers to himself as the chief of sinners. In 1 Corinthians chapter 2 you see him talking about the fact that he did not come to them with lofty words of wisdom, but he came to them preaching only Christ Jesus and Him crucified.

In 2 Corinthians Paul also seems to be thinking quite a bit about this idea of weakness. He talks in Chapter 4 about how we have this great treasure, and the treasure of course he is referring to is the Gospel, in jars of clay. What he means by that is that we in our flesh have mortal bodies. We experience affliction, we experience trials, we go through times of despair…but in that same chapter he tells us that in these trials we can persevere because of the power of God that is at work within us. Not only that though, through trials the grace of God is seen even more powerfully as we endure these trials, and God is seen to be even more glorious. This is true for those of us going through these times, but also for those around us, as they watch us go through and experience these things and see God’s faithfulness through it all.

One of the most powerful, and most encouraging passages of Scripture for me as I think about this idea of trials, weaknesses, or even suffering is 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10:

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Now Paul starts of this chapter by talking about some of his spiritual highs, and the amazing visions and things that God has revealed to Him. He says that he has seen things that cannot be told, and that a man may not utter…Someone who has had such powerful experiences with God could easily be driven to conceit or pride. But Paul says, in order to keep him from becoming conceited, God has given him a thorn in the flesh.

Now, no one knows what this thorn in the flesh is. Some have speculated it was disease or sickness, a painful limp when he walked, or some other physical ailment. Some have speculated it was poor eyesight, or maybe even a speech impediment. But what it is, we just don’t know.

What we do know, is that it was a painful thing for Paul. Whether it’s physical, mental, or spiritual, it was something that Paul did not want to go through. Paul says that he pleaded with God three times to take it away. But what does God say?

Verse 9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

I think all of us, on some level can identify with Paul here. All of us, I believe have a thorn in the flesh. All of us have things, or have gone through things that we have begged for God to take away, yet for his purposes, God chooses not to do so.

We live in a society that in many ways does not tolerate weakness. We glorify strength, whether it be physical or mental or spiritual. We run from weakness. Even ourselves, we tried to hide or cover up our weaknesses so that no one else can see them. We are embarrassed by our weaknesses, whether they be physical, mental, or spiritual…

But what does Paul do? Paul says he boasts in his weakness. He says that he is content with his weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities…because when he is weak, then he is strong.

It is through Paul’s weaknesses that God’s strength can be seen. So Paul glories in his weaknesses, because the glory of God was Paul’s main concern. How people viewed Paul’s God was more important to Paul than how people viewed Paul.

We are a people who like to do things in our own strength and in our own power. But God will often put us in a place in our lives in which we cannot do anything without Him. God will often put us in places in our lives so that we will understand and come to know, that unless we are leaning completely on God, we are done for.

The most powerful way I’ve experienced this in my own life is in my call as a Pastor. If you spend much time around me, you will see that I struggle with a stutter. In day to day life it is often a struggle for me to carry on normal conversations that most people have no issue with. Especially on the phone. Now, most times when I preach, I don’t have much issue with it, though occasionally even then it will flare up. Most of you will say, well that’s no big deal, but as one makes his living by speaking and talking to people it can be a bit of an issue.

So, when I first felt like God was calling me to preach I thought there was no way it could be true. Why in the world would God call a stuttering man to preach his word? But then I read passages like this here in 2 Corinthians 12 and I read about Moses and his being slow of speech. So, I submitted myself to God’s call and allowed him to do what He would. And praise God he has blessed me to be able to serve him as a preacher and pastor.

I don’t want to go on too long, or make this all about me, but last year around Easter I had a bit of a crisis. I was asked to speak at an Easter event with 6 other preachers. Many of them were my friends. There was going to be a good crowd there, and I was very excited. But, for whatever reason, as I tried to speak that night I struggled getting words out in a way that I had not experienced in quite some time…especially in preaching.

I was crushed. I was embarrassed. And honestly I was mad at God. I was mad that he allowed that to happen. I decided I was done, and that I wasn’t going to preach any more. I remember telling several of my friends this. They all tried to encourage me, but I wasn’t going to listen. But praise the Lord, someone finally woke me up…

My Pastor friend Joey, whom I often come to for advice and who was obviously frustrated with me said, ”Walk away. God obviously isn’t great enough to use someone like you.” I’m paraphrasing here, but his words cut me to the heart. I realized that I had been more worried what people thought of me, than what they thought of my God.

I then came to the Scriptures again, and read these very words…

“My grace is sufficient for you…Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses…When I am weak, then I am strong.”

Perhaps it was through my weaknesses, and through my struggles that God would be glorified. Not in delivering me from them, but helping me to persevere through them. I won’t say that I don’t still struggle with this issue, and learning to be content in my weaknesses is still hard, but I have chosen to accept that God is God and I am not. My job is to be faithful, and to be content in Him.

So I’ll leave us here. What are your weaknesses? Is it in physical ailments? Is it a trial in your life you are having trouble dealing with? Is it a spiritual issue, some sin that you are yet to turn over to God? Maybe even you have yet to give your life and surrender to Christ.

Whatever it is, I plead with you. Come to Jesus. Give him your weaknesses. Give him your failings. Allow his strength to show through you. He may not take away the issue. He may not remove your thorn, but you can boast in your weaknesses because it is through them, the power of God is seen.