Paul asked The Lord three times in 2 Corinthians 12:9 to remove the thorn (not a literal thorn) that has become a constant source of pain to him. Paul attributes this thorn in the flesh as a messanger from Satan. Paul however, may not have felt it was necessary because the Cross had taken away his sins and cleansed him beyond measure and he now was willingly a servant, bondservant of The Lord and committd to serving Him.
Having made his request know Paul waited for an answer and received this from God.
"My grace is sufficient for you: My strength is made perfect in weakness."
The grace spoken of here is sustaining grace. This form of grace upholds us in those times when we seem unable to stand or go on. We are definitely at a weak moment in our life as a follower of Jesus Christ.
It is in the wee hours of Tuesday morning (0313) that i find myself writing this blogpost. Why?
I am weak. I needed to be in the presence of the LORD and find shelter. And forgiveness for my sin.
Need I ask why this scripture came to mind? No!!
God has given me the strength, grace, power and means to overcome this besetting sin in my life. Yet each day is a struggle to not recognize it.
"Lord would it not be better to just simply take it away from me?" (that is my flesh crying out).
My spirit on the other hand says, "thy will be done." The conflict rages.
God's grace has been a mystery to me because it is found in many areas of the bible and it seems to take on many different forms. I know that grace is the undeserved favor of God and I stand by that. I, Darryl, am undeserving. But it does not end there.
Grace...carries the Power of God
...strengthens us in moments of weakness
Like I said many forms and there are more.
Paul goes on to say (verse 10) "I take pleasure in infirmities (human frailty), in reproaches (overbearing attitude), in necessities (times of need), in persecutions, in distresses (anguish of soul) for the sake of Christ: for when I am weak (seems to be always) then I am strong (God's multifaceted grace is there to keep me).
So it seems to me that I should always glory in the LORD because at no point in my life is His grace not doing something for me. What a hard lesson it is to learn but unless I learn and understand the grace(s) of God the buffeting Satan does to me will cause me to succomb.
I was up early this morning reading the Word and I had a cd in my radio on continued play when this song began. I stopped what i was doing and began to pray. Oddly enough the scripture was Psalm 15. Enjoy
"What would you have me to do for you?" Jesus asked the blind man Bartimaeus.
As I first read this passage many years ago, I only saw it as another miracle of healing that Jesus did. Bartimaeus was simply another in the long line of people who had come to Jesus looking for such.
Yet, in my subsequent readings I began to notice the heart of Bartimaeus and it can be seen in the seven word respone to Jesus' question.
'Lord, that I may receive my sight."
In the time prior to he and Jesus talking, Bartimaeus was on the side of the highway begging for alms, food or help. I've not read it in the scriptures but he must have been blind for some time or from birth?
What catches my 'eye' this time around is the simplicity of his answer, "that I may receive my sight."
Bartimaeus was probably at the lowest point of his life. He is blind, hungry, dirty and in need of some hope. Day by day Baritmaeus hears the crowds of people go by. There are families, children, religious leaders and others to whom he calls out asking "can you please help me? Anything will do."
No replies. In his heart he may have given up.
However, on this day the peoples were a little more boisteruous. The conversations have taken a different tone and the air had a 'static charge' to it. What could it be?
HIs heart stood up in place as the name rung a bell within...Jesus!!! Could it really be true?
Bartimaeus cried out all-the-more, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me."
Passersby tried to stifle his shouts to no avail. "Son of David, have mercy on me."
Jesus stood still and asked that Bartimaeus be brought to Him.
"What would you have me to do for you?" Jesus said.
"Lord, that I may receive my sight." Bartimaeus answered.
My favorite song of all-time is Amazing Grace. The title tells why. Bartimaeus represents me and so many others in this world today when they are in their darkest hour. He asked of man if they could help him and give him something that would be an escape from his current plight. Something temporary, everyday. When he found no one could satisfy him he lost hope. Until Jesus came along.
It was then that his pleas became stronger, his spirit came alive like no time before. Now is the time.
"Lord, that I may receive..."
His faith and the attitude of his heart was all that Jesus needed to see and blind Bartimaeus was blind no more.
Many people are living in darkness and yet their eyes are open.
Many people see and hear the crowds pass them by, but do not cry out for the One who can stop and help them.
It does not matter if you are by the side of the road, in your living room, outside under the stars, in a darkened room or in a hospital bed. Cry out to Jesus and He will come to your side and give you what we all truly need. Himself.
Jesus came to this earth from heaven for the express purpose of dying. Dying for your sins and mine on the cross of calvary because we were seperated from God because of sin.
That is why His blood ran down that cross, so we can find forgiveness and be made right in the eyes of God once again.
Pray to God and He will hear you. Ask God to forgive you of your sins (he will) and make Jesus Lord and Saviour of your life (mean it) and let the Holy Spirit guide you in the truths of His Words. THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING!
When you hear a voice saying "What would you have me to do for you?"
Answer "Lord, that I may receive...."
Only you can finish that statement.
Only you can make that decision to follow Jesus or not.
I ended the part one with the question "What can we do?"
Only God can help us.
Clue #3: The prophet of God tore his clothes, fell on his knees and lay prostrate before God
interceding for his people.
Why? Despite all the LORD was doing for them, they went back to their sinful ways. God's spokesman was astonished as what he was seeing and hearing.
America, too, has fallen into this pattern of behaviour. The last 20+ years have been hard on our country and it does not seem to be letting up. We have seen the rise and fall of our economy, the housing markets are very unstable and many cities are in financial dire straits. And that is only a broad view of things.
Just as the man of God fell down before God seeking His mercy for Israel, we too must have men and women of God fall on our faces before God seeking His mercy on America.
Looking at the words prayed in verse 6 of chapter 9 "O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up to the heavens."
We are in a time of great trials as a country and people. All around us there seems to be civil unrest and violence. Hope has been lost and only One person can restore it. Not a man, but the creator of man--Jesus. The hope we have in Jesus is our measure of grace that God has given us to escape the times to come.
Clue #4: Ezra says of God "You have not forsaken us, but You have extended to us mercy to give us the hope of revival to repair the damage we have allowed to come about."
Let us take advantage of this opportunity to turn this nation around. We are not seeking greatness those days are past. However, we must seek above all to get right in the eyes of God once again.
How do we do that? Repent and ask God to forgive us for our (individual) sins. Jesus Christ the Son of God left heaven and came to earth to die for the sins of all mankind on the Cross 2,000 years ago.
The Hand of God is upon this nation to judge it. If only His chosen would pray, and the unsaved would repent, then the judgments from His hand would turn back to His blessings.
O GOD OF ISRAEL, THOU ART RIGHTEOUS AND JUST IN ALL THAT YOU DO
This is the book I am currentlly reading right now from the bible. Actually I have just finished it and am going back and notating in my journal about the many great truths the Spirit of God revealed to me.
I was pleasently amazed by what I read. I had no idea that such nuggets were within this book.
(i am sorry but you will have to figure out the title without my help. Nah, I will give several clues throughout and hope they will lead you in the right direction.)
I will not detail all that I found in this book, however there is one chapter in particular that brought the United States to mind and I would like to tell you about it.
Clue #1: The nation of Israel is in captivity and a remnant have been allowed to go back to Jerusalem
to rebuild the temple.
What struck me the most in the 10th chapter of this book are the words spoken about the sins of the nation of Israel and the great mercies of God to allow them to continue on despite their sins.
Verse 13 says 'And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance.'
The USA has done a complete turn about from the godly foundation upon which this country was built. God at one point permeated every fabric within our societies. From our school systems to our governments and its leaders God was mentioned as the source of all we have and we acknowledged Him. God was a part of the everyday life of these United States.
Over time we did just as Israel did. We compromised our belief system, we let other nations and persons infiltrate our governments and lead our leaders astray. We began to practice things that would never have been allowed in the early days of this country. The right has now become the wrong and vice versa. Those things we once valued are now de-valued. Is it any wonder we are feeling God's judgment now?
Verse 15b continues the thought, 'behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.'
Will America change? That is a tough question to ask. Day-by-day we seek new ways to sink lower and lower into our depravity. God and the bible has become passe and now as a result we are receiving our reward for our unjust actions.
Israel was in bondage and it was only by the moving of the hand God upon the heart of the king who put them in captivity that they were allowed to reclaim what was lost.
America is in bondage also, not to one master, but many. In the eyes of the international community we are seen as a laughing stock and rightly so.
I love this country and all that it used to stand for. I served a number of years in the military and met many wonderful people during that time. But where are the values that once defined us? Where is the honor and integrity that filled the words we spoke? Our name no longer strikes fear in the hearts of our enemies.
Israel (then) and the United States (now) are mirror images of one another. Formerly great nations in the throws of sins and idolatry. As per Israel a remnant was allowed to leave captivity and return to the city of God. For the United States, she too will see a small remnant leave and go to the city of God. For those within that small number, the city of God will be heaven by way of the rapture.
Never in my wildest dreams would i have figured that a blogpost any blogpost would take seven months to write. There are some that I am working on that are not done, but this particular post "Four=The Gathering" was started in January of this year. I poked and prodded this post for weeks and got nowhere. However some days i worked on it and felt it was done only to proof read it and come away not liking the finished product. Four full versions had been previously written and none made the final cut. (How ironic, four.) It was maddening. Now at least I can say this is the one that was meant to be.
And then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part heaven.
Within this past week I read the headline on an entertainment magazine distrubited in my area that caught me offguard a little. The headline read this "Are We Ready?" I could go on and say how appaled I was at the sight of this, but as a born-again believer I know that these types of headlines and events will become more and more previlent in this hour of time in human life/history. Mankind has shown their intent and that is to defy The Living God and His ways (Romans 1:21).
I see that headline and can look it from two ways. I just explained man's view and that is to defy God and what was the established foundation upon which this land was built. No one can refute it. My second view of the "Are We Ready" headline is this...our soon coming King is coming at any minute now to take us away from the times of trouble that will plague the nations of this world. Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh. The Rapture of the church can happen at any moment now. This is our call to urgency to gather together more souls for the kingdom of heaven before they are lost eternally to the fires of hell.
More and more states are bowing down in the name of acceptance and are bringing God's judgment upon this land more and more everyday. I can go online and pick any newspaper and see the workers of iniquity raising their voices to be heard and accepted and counted. The legal system's reinterpret the laws and give credence to their actions and they are trumpeting victory in the name of....... (I won't go there).
DO NOT GET ME WRONG. I DON'T HATE THEM, NOR DO I WISH ANYTHING BAD TO HAPPEN TO THEM. GOD LOVES THEM AND SO DO I. GOD HATES THE SIN AND SO DO I. I PRAY FOR THEM TO FIND THE TRUTH AND ONLY THE SPIRIT OF GOD CAN GIVE IT TO THEM.
Soon and very soon, The Holy Father will say to His Son Jesus Christ, go and call my children home. Only those who are sealed by the Holy Spirit will hear the trumpet of Jesus and be gathered into His presence on that day. Man's trumpet signals a false victory because it will not last. But the trumpet of Jesus Christ will signal the final victory on this earth for those who have trusted in Him as Lord and Saviour.