Tag Archives: weakness

Jeremiah 11-13; 2 Corinthians 12

In Mark Batterson’s latest book Whisper he shares an experience he had with healing. You see Mark has had asthma since childhood. At the writing of his book he had been healed from asthma by God for 700 plus days. However, the first time he was prayed for in healing the asthma, something else miraculously happened. Mark also had feet that were covered by warts. The next morning after the prayer for healing the warts were gone, but he still had asthma. It was like God was saying to him, “I have the power to heal you, but I have chosen not to do so at this time.” Mark had a thorn in his side that lasted for 35 plus years. That may be why his ministry has been so remarkable and he has been so humble.

Paul’s experience is found below:

Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. 8 Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ.a For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 [CSB]).

I believe the “good news” is the more prideful you are the more serious the thorns God may give you. He wants us to point to Him always and not to our talents and abilities. His plan for us is to be a vessel that He uses and works through to further His kingdom.

Can you point to any thorns in your life God has given you? These weaknesses are given to you so that God’s glory will shine brighter through you and that through those weaknesses His kingdom will advance.

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Jeremiah 11-13; 2 Corinthians 12

A turning back to old ways.

Idols. Wrath. Correction. Rejection.

Old Testament–Jeremiah.

Again the Lord spoke to me and said, “I have discovered a conspiracy against me among the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors. They have refused to listen to me and are worshiping other gods. Israel and Judah have both broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. Jeremiah 11:9-10, NLT.

New Testament–2 Corinthians. Paul warns about what he fears he’ll find.

20 For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. 2 Corinthians 12:20, NLT.

A turning back to old ways.

What are my old ways? What has been hard-wired into my heart–unforgiveness, grudge … pride, chocolate?

Lord, it’s only by your power that this heart will change. When my first response takes me back to old ways, your whisper says, “Forgiveness, grace … humility, self-control.”

Paul speaks of weakness and of strength, and I try to understand it.

“So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10, NLT.

Why do I not rely on Your power more?

O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
you make righteous judgments,
    and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,
    for I have committed my cause to you. Jeremiah 11:20, NLT

Lord, I commit my cause to you–the heartaches, the relationships, the weaknesses … I lay these things down at your feet.

Courtney (66books365)

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Leviticus 8-11; Psalm 110; Hebrews 4

Set apart and holy.

10 You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean. Leviticus 10:10, NLT.

You are arrayed in holy garments,
    and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew. Psalm 110:3b, NLT.

Refreshed and rested.

But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way.
    He will be victorious. Psalm 110:7, NLT

For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said,

“In my anger I took an oath:
    ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’”

even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. Hebrews 4:2-3, NLT

A priesthood.

The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
    “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:4, NLT

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:14-15, NLT

A God that it’s all about.

13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13, NLT

16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16, NLT

Sweet Jesus on every page of this reading. These words like worship–my heart stirs. Quiet morning, pre-dawn, refreshed and rested in His presence.

So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:

“Today when you hear his voice,
    don’t harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:7, NLT.

Thankful for Today.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 20-22; Mark 14:26-50

Using prayer as a first defense, not a last resort. I get this backwards a lot.

Before a battle, a priest would go to the troops and pray over them.

1-4 When you go to war against your enemy and see horses and chariots and soldiers far outnumbering you, do not recoil in fear of them; God, your God, who brought you up out of Egypt is with you. When the battle is about to begin, let the priest come forward and speak to the troops. He’ll say, “Attention, Israel. In a few minutes you’re going to do battle with your enemies. Don’t waver in resolve. Don’t fear. Don’t hesitate. Don’t panic. God, your God, is right there with you, fighting with you against your enemies, fighting to win.” Deuteronomy 20:1-4, The Message.

God teaches a lot about honor in these chapters. When a neighbor’s ox is wandering, don’t look the other way: help out, restore. Honor. Not just honoring a neighbor, but how to honor the land, a captive woman, a first born son, a family, purity, God.

When the soldiers were upon nearby enemy territories, God told them to destroy everything–because he knows how weak man is. He knows how the flesh is tempted.

18 This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 20:18, The Message.

Jesus is in the garden praying, the night of his betrayal and arrest. He knows about weakness–as Peter, James and John were with him, they fell asleep.

37-38 He came back and found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, you went to sleep on me? Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don’t be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” Mark 14:37-38, The Message.

Said another way:

37 Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 38 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Mark 14:37-38, NLT.

Jesus, our priest, who prayed before battle. His prayer, God honoring.

 

35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.

43 And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. (Mark 14:43, NLT)

He is outnumbered, and the reading reminds me of Old Testament–the priest praying over troops.

Honor, prayer, enemies, battle. God fights for us.

Courtney (66books365)

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Exodus 2; Luke 5; Job 19; 1 Corinthians 6

Now a man from the family of Levi married a woman who was also from the family of Levi. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw how wonderful the baby was, she hid him for three months. But after three months she was not able to hide the baby any longer, so she got a basket made of reeds and covered it with tar so that it would float. She put the baby in the basket. Then she put the basket among the tall stalks of grass at the edge of the Nile River. The baby’s sister stood a short distance away to see what would happen to him. Exodus 2:1-4 (NCV)

 

When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Take the boat into deep water, and put your nets in the water to catch some fish.”

Simon answered, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish, and we caught nothing. But you say to put the nets in the water, so I will.” When the fishermen did as Jesus told them, they caught so many fish that the nets began to break. They called to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so full that they were almost sinking. Luke 5:4-7 (NCV)

Just then, some men were carrying on a mat a man who was paralyzed. They tried to bring him in and put him down before Jesus. But because there were so many people there, they could not find a way in. So they went up on the roof and lowered the man on his mat through the ceiling into the middle of the crowd right before Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke5:18-20 (NCV)

The first sermon I ever preached was about faith. It was a message about the need to stop trusting what we see around us, the fear, the uncertainty of the world, the discouragement of circumstances, and put all confidence on God. It was about putting a foot out into the unknown, into what is not seen or understood, and taking a leap of faith.

There was a time in my life not so long ago where I moved in that place of faith almost effortlessly. I took each moment by moment ready to do anything I felt Holy Spirit leading me to do, whether it made sense to me or not. Even though flickers of doubt or worry might flit across my mind, the strength of my faith in that time squashed those notions like mosquitos.

I took giant leaps of faith, some of which lead me to walk away from the life I had dreamed for myself, attend ministry school in a different state, and eventually move to the other side of the planet to reach out to the lost in India. It has been more than I could imagine.

But, I’ll be honest.

Recently, I have been struggling with faith; not with my faith in God, but in my faith that I will be able to rise above my frustrations, my situations in life. I’ve been struggling with the doubts that I have about who I really am in Christ and whether He really does have a good future planned for me (Jeremiah 29:11). http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jer%2029:11&version=NCV

In my weakness, I have pondered all the things one thinks about went the enemy is trying to win on the battlefield. I’ll admit that I have listened to the lies whispered in my ear. I can say that I have felt very defeated, especially in the areas of joy, hope, and peace.

As much as I am able, amidst the demands of life with two small children, I read and study the Bible, I pray, and I worship the King. I realize that all I am able to do is hold on tight to what I believe to be the truth, whether I am feeling it or not. I grasp onto the knowledge that the conditions of my life are much better than many of the circumstances of the people of the Bible.

I know that my Defender lives,
and in the end he will stand upon the earth.
Even after my skin has been destroyed,
in my flesh I will see God.

I will see him myself;
I will see him with my very own eyes.
How my heart wants that to happen!
 Job 19:25-27(NCV)

It is very interesting to me that as I am writing, I am remembering promises that God spoke in the Bible and remembering that they will not come back to Him void. I am remembering that truths that He has whispered to me with His still, small voice. And, I keep hearing the words to the song “My Redeemer Lives.”

…you were washed clean. You were made holy, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  1 Corinthians 6:11 (NCV)

I might not be in the same place as before. My leaps of faith may look more like hops. But, if nothing else, I can hold on to the truth that He will never leave me nor forsake me because I am His, washed in His blood that was shed at Calvary.

I know that I can’t do any of it by myself, but I can trust that He will help me when I ask.

Yesappa, Help me! Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Gen. 15; Matt. 14; Neh. 4; Acts 14

“Peter said to him,” Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. And he said, “Come!” and Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith! Why did you doubt?” Matt 14:28-31

Everywhere I turn, in everything I read, I’m hearing the Lord tell me to keep my eyes on Him. To make looking at Him the way I live, moment to moment. I’m learning this gaze…trying to learn it…praying to learn it.

Yet too many times lately the wind has been so strong and the water has been choppy, and I have looked at them, and become afraid, and begun to sink into the dangerous depths of anxiety.

This looking is an act of faith; a choice.

I read about Abraham, in Genesis 15, who believed God’s promise to make His offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky, even though he had no son, and it was counted to him as righteousness (v.6).

What will I look at? My circumstances? My reasoning? Or will I look at the one who created me? The one who knows the end from the beginning?

And yet there is more. Not only must I be careful where I look, but to whom I listen.

I read about Nehemiah and the builders and the voices that comprised their “winds”of adversity. The enemy of my soul whispers lies.  That I am feeble…that I will only, always, ever fail. (Nehemiah 4:2-3)

It’s not just the circumstances, but the lies of the deceiver…arrows aimed at my weakest spots on my weakest days.

To my unknowns he whispers worst case scenarios and if I listen, suddenly , I’m not just dealing with the wind and the waves that are actually there, but with wind and waves that do not exist and may never come my way…”what ifs” and worries.

I must not look at the wind and the waves, I must not listen to the mockery of the enemy.

I must only LOOK UNTO JESUS.

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

I look to Him in faith, look to Him for faith, and all of my looking is with the faith He provides.

And that, my friend, is grace. All grace.

Amy W. (gueston66books)

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Zechariah 13, 14; Revelation 3, 4

As I’m preparing to send out my Christmas letter, I’ve been reflecting not only on what God has done for us in this past year, but over the course of our whole marriage.  This morning, as I was praying, God showed me the number of times the enemy tried to beat us down and the number of times Brad & I were able to overcome the situation because of God’s strength and God’s power.

“What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts on one can open…I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.  I know that you have little strength…” (Revelation 3:7-8).  In February, 2006, we had little strength, but by the beckoning of the Holy Spirit, I went looking for my friend who didn’t know I was coming to her church.  That morning, a woman I didn’t know prayed for me and said that the doctors were wrong, that my husband would not be saddled with disability, because God had greater things for us than that—greater blessings and greater opportunities.

Almost 7 years later, the enemy is trying to beat us down with the same issues.  But then I read in Revelation 3 all the benefits of those who overcome: they will be dressed in white; their names will never be removed from the book of life; Christ will acknowledge them before God and His angels; they will become pillars in God’s temple; on them will be written the names of God, God’s city, and Christ’s new name; they will be given the right to sit with Christ on His throne, (vv. 5, 12, 21).

Lord, you promised that you would walk with us through life’s challenges.  And even though we face many today, I am encouraged because even when we feel like our strength is little, you give us the power to overcome.  Thank you, Father.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Heatherpotts5

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