Posts Tagged Apostle Paul
But the centurion . . . commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some, on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land. (Acts 27:43-44)
What a trip!! We traveled through contrary winds, hurricanes, storms and tornadoes. We maneuvered political upheaval, a rocky economy, troubles, trials and tragedies. We came over hills of confusion, mountains of fear, came running, walking and shedding tears, with songs in our hearts and prayers in our souls we came. Yes, that’s how we made it to 2013.
Admittedly, sometimes, life’s voyage was rough and rocky. We lost sight of the sun and stars and the ability to navigate our way. But God was faithful and true to His Word to never leave or to forsake us.
The Apostle Paul weathered many storms, and discovered some storms are worse than others and despite a relationship with the Lord, it is possible to lose hope. Frightened and frustrated, we grab hold of any means available, for self-preservation and sanity. Despite contrary winds, the play of the elements, and poor helps, we have arrived at 2013. We have reached another year at last, though hardly in the way we imagined.
But my questions to you and to me are: Now that we’ve made it safely to 2013, what will we do with the Gift of another year? What did we learn from 2012—about ourselves and more importantly about the God of the Gift of life?
2012 taught me that God is a mighty good Captain and while I suffered many losses, I survived many “Almosts” — almost giving up, almost “losing my mind,” almost “turning back” and almost “throwing in the towel.” Just in time (like the Prodigal Son), I came to myself and remembered God’s promises, rested in His Words of hope, and found comforting peace in His presence.
2013 finds me eternally grateful for another day above ground. Although many I dearly love are no longer here to share this time with me, I believe I am here for reasons known only to my “first love” – the One who knew me from my mother’s womb. I have placed Him at the helm of my heart and my life and I am determined, no matter the circumstances, to unreservedly trust Him. Because this one thing I know, and know that I know — come what may — God will take care of you!!
Prayer for 2013: Father, we humbly ask that you will watch over us as we navigate life’s stormy seas. We pray that you would draw us nearer as we reach for you in all our ways, for the rest of our days. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee . . . .” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV)
The Apostle Paul had a physical thorn that affected his entire being. We are never told what it was–only that the “enemy of his soul” sent it to buffet him and to frustrate his life. Scripture records, it was so troublesome that Paul sought the Lord three times to remove it, but each time the Lord said, “Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee . . . .” The Lord was saying, Paul, My Grace is adequate to meet the needs of any situation or proposed end. My unmerited favor occurs in such measure and scope that it fully meets the demands, needs, or expectations of any problem. My Grace is equal to whatever you now need or will ever need. My Grace is satisfactory, suitable, in the amount needed, and to the necessary degree, for whatever you are going through or will ever go through. Paul, My Grace is all you need–It is ENOUGH for you.
These past years have taught me that God allows thorns to humble us lest we boast in other than the Cross of Jesus Christ. And He allows crucial situations and circumstances lest we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think or somehow believe we are the source of our blessings!! Like Paul, I have a physical thorn. At first, I thought, it was a punishment for something I had done wrong, but now I know it was to teach me about the sufficiency of God’s Grace for my life. Now, when I get haughty or begin to feel sorry for myself–I gaze at my thorn and understand that it is not a curse, but a blessing that God allowed to display His Glory. It was given to remind me “I am not my own.” It was never about me and was always about Him. As Paul has said, “. . . our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (NIV)
Today, I am a witness that “the Will of God will not take me where the Grace of God cannot keep me.” God’s Grace has been sufficient to get me through storms, recessions, unemployment, loss of loved ones, friends, and even health. I have grown stronger through what I have been through and am trusting in the Lord to get me through whatever else comes my way. So, I now boast in my weakness, for I know when I am weak, through Christ, I am truly strong. As Abraham Lincoln wisely said, “I could complain because “rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”And so, I choose to rejoice in knowing that Yes, God’s Grace IS sufficient. IT IS ENOUGH — In fact, it is MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR ME!
“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness . . . .” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV)
After seeking the Lord for the third time to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” Paul said . . . “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.” The Lord had already said at Paul’s conversion, “I will show him how many things he must suffer for my namesake (Acts 9:16).” Paul’s sufferings began immediately and continued in unbroken succession for over 30 years. But through it all Paul sang as he suffered. He believed the greater the suffering in this world, the greater God’s Glory in eternity. Paul believed suffering changes us for the better and that in Christ nothing is too hard to be endured.
I can tell you, it is never easy when we are tested by the rough seas of life, but it helps to know we grow stronger with each storm. I thank Paul for his example. For I have discovered as did Paul, that “the things that have happened to me have been for the furtherance of the Gospel.” I realize that every stormy wind and every painful thorn has been to advance the cause of Christ. And through it all the joy of the Lord has been the strength that has enabled me to say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” By God’s Grace, I have the Blessed assurance that Emanuel is with me–His strength is perfect, and God’s Grace is enough.