Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why Do Christians Experience So Much Pain?

Why do Christians experience so much pain? Isn't being a believer in God supposed to afford you some sort of protection from all the bad experiences of life? God loves us, right? So shouldn't that mean we experience more of His blessings than His trials and tribulations?

Many Christians puzzle over why they experience so much pain in their lives. I know when I was a 'baby' Christian, I thought being saved meant an end to pain and misery and a life of understanding, transcendent joy, wisdom and knowledge. Boy, was I wrong! It's probably true to say I went through more pain in adjusting to the Christian life and learning some hard-won lessons than when I had been 'out in the world' and supposedly enjoying myself.

So why do Christians experience so much pain? Well, we know the conventional wisdom that our trials come to make us stronger. And this is true. We are promised in 1 Peter 5:10 that after we have suffered a little while, God would strengthen, establish and settle us. We can also learn from the way God treated the Israelites. In Isaiah 48:10, God talks about how He refined the Israelites like silver, using affliction as His 'furnace'. And why did He feel the need to refine the Israelites with affliction? Because they had constantly disobeyed Him and tried to refute His laws and live the way they chose to instead. They were headstrong and stubborn. Disobedient and arrogant.

Much like we are. We come to God fully expecting to receive His love - which He freely gives us - but never expecting to have to give up our arrogance, stubbornness, disobedience and sin. We have been taught so often that God is love, we forget that He is also a God of accountability, sanctification and responsibility. Truly, we expect a free pass on everything, knowing that if we turn to God, He will forgive us everything.

But we must be 'afflicted' with trials and tribulations in order to learn some very important lessons with God. We have to learn to be 'refined' until our pride and sin are burned away. Until there is less and less of 'us' and much, much more of God.

It is a very hard lesson to learn.

And why do our trials seem to last for so long? Because some lessons you don't learn in the first hour, the first day or the first year of your tribulation. Some lessons you only learn when you've gone beyond your ability to bear your burdens and you finally - finally! - turn to God and give Him complete control of your life. Sometimes you don't get to a place of complete submission and yielding until you've done absolutely all you can and finally - finally! - realize that your efforts are futile and that, without God, you are nothing. And that's when the trial is over.

And then you can begin to fully experience His peace, His Love and His open-handed, free giving of Himself and His Blessings to you.

(I am in no way suggesting that every time you go through a trial, it is because you have a lesson to learn, but many times when you go through, it is for that very reason.)

And here is the biggest insight to the scripture from Isaiah 48:10. God tells the Israelites that He used affliction as His furnace so as to separate the bad from the good in their spiritual lives (much as the dross (or impurities) are separated when silver is refined). BUT - Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible gives us even greater insight. This commentary tells us that:

It was to refine them, but not as silver, or with silver, not so thoroughly as men refine their silver, which they continue in the furnace till all the dross is separated from it; if God should take that course with them, they would be always in the furnace, for they are all dross, and, as such, might justly be put away (Psa_119:119) as reprobate silver, Jer_6:30. He therefore takes them as they are, refined in part only, and not thoroughly. “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction, that is, I have made thee a choice one by the good which the affliction has done thee, and then designed thee for great things.”

In other words, if God allowed us to go through the amount of affliction necessary to TRULY refine us, we'd never be free from our trials and tribulations! In His great mercy, He CHOOSES to accept us as we are - only partially refined - and continues to love and work with us ANYWAY.

So the next time you are feeling morally superior, remember - though you've been through a lot and feel like you have accomplished a lot spiritually - you are still only partially refined in God's eyes. It is out of His great love that He blesses us at all, so be more grateful for what you have rather than focusing on the very necessary trials and tribulations that we all have to face as Christians.

So why do Christians experience so much pain? Because it is both necessary and essential to becoming the type of Christians we need to be. Because, really, isn't the purpose to serve Him? And, instead of feeling bad about the length and number of trials that we experience, we should instead choose to feel gratitude that God accepts us as we are - partially refined, but wholly His. Which means unending Love, prosperity, blessings and all the good stuff. But know and accept that you WILL go through trials and tribulations. Your job now is simply to have the best attitude about them of which you are capable.

Be Blessed :)

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Benefits of Loving God

This is an oldie but goodie, and I thought now is a great time to re-post it. Enjoy!

I've been having a lot of spiritual conversations lately. Who God is, what He is about, and why being a 'Christian' shouldn't mean having to following a certain doctrine or religion. And I've been having these conversations for years - why bad things happen to good people, the believability and credibility of God, the hypocrisy of Christians, why one religion is better than the other and, my favorite, how black people in America are only 'Christians' because of being brainwashed by the white majority society.

I'm noticing something strange - it's like we all still believe in God, but we are no longer certain of exactly who He is. Traditional beliefs are falling by the wayside, being replaced by humanistic, general divine-consciousnessness, and dubious 'spiritual' beliefs. Who is God, really, we ask ourselves? Could He also be Buddha? Can He be found in nature? Can we reach Him through internal dialogue? Or are we ourselves gods? We can't agree on what to call Him. Or how we should worship Him. If we need to go to a church, synaogue or mosque at all. If He is a man or a woman. Or if He is one of many gods.

Let me be clear about my beliefs: the God I believe in is the God of the Judeo-Christian Torah/Bible. The One who parted the Red Sea, brought plagues down on Pharoah, sent His son Jesus Christ and made a way for all to find their way to salvation. I am clear on who He is and who He is to me.

In light of these conversations, I very simply wanted to lay out the reasons why loving God (being in fellowship with Him, attending worship services, talking to other believers) is a good thing:

1. He Will Never Let You Down

God is a God of Truth. If He (or His Word) tells you something, it is true. If He promises to do something for you, He will. If He says something will not happen, it won't. If He says something will happen, it will. He will not forsake His children. He takes care of those who claim Him as their own. He doesn't lie, pretend or bluff. He will never let you down.

2. He Will Be There For You During Hard Times

Note - I didn't say He would prevent those hard times;I can almost guarantee you those will come. But, if you are a Believer, God will be there for you during those hard times. It might be through the intervention of a friend. Or getting eight hours of sleep when you didn't think you'd be able to sleep a wink. Or the day you wake up and realize you are healed of that old relationship, or the passing on of your beloved mother. The day you got a new job - or held on to one you desparately needed. God will be there for you during your hard times.

3. He Will Never Give Up On You (Unless you choose to completely walk away)

He has promised to love each of His children and He does - always. No matter how we behave. No matter how much we keep turning away. No matter how inconsistent or fickle you are. Yes - if you choose to live your life apart from Him, He will allow that. And the Bible does tell us that if we choose not to acknowledge Him in anwy way, He will give us over to this way of thinking. But He will never stop loving you. And hoping that you will return. God will never give up on you - only you can choose to completely walk away.

4. He Will Forgive You Your Sins

He knows what you've done. He knows where you've been. And He is still willing to engage in a dialogue with you - to work it out. To take you back into His arms. To help you get through whatever drove you to Him in the first place. He loves you. He won't give up on you. And He will accept you when and if you are willing to return to Him. God will forgive you of your sins - if you allow Him to.

5. He Has Prepared a Fabulous Place For You

Yes, I know the Karl Marx quote that says, in part, that ' the opium of the people.' And how Christians are often maligned for thinking they are all going to go to a 'better place' after this mortal life ends. Where there will be no more tears and no more pain and no more sickness. But, just think for a moment - what if there really is a heaven? What if there really is a place better than this one? Where there will be no more tears and no more crying, no more wars and no more pain? Wouldn't you want to be there? Or are you more comfortable with the idea of lying in a cold, empty grave and going on to eternal oblivion? It's your choice - but I promise you this - God has a fabulous place prepared for all those who choose Him.

For simplicity's sake, I did not put in scripture quotes for each of the above points, but if you'd like them, let me know and I will get them to you.

What have your experiences been with loving God? What do you love most about Him?

On another note, have you ever wanted a career with more meaning? Christian Counseling Degrees available online, so you can pursue your new career in the comfort of your own home!

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

When the Wheels Come Off

By Donna VanLiere

Author of Finding Grace: A True Story About Losing Your Way in Life . . . And Finding It Again

I grew up in the 70's and 80's when parents still told their kids to go outside and play. My friends and I would spend all day in the yard and when we got hot and sweaty enough we'd run to the back patio, open the water spigot on the side of the house and get down on our hands and knees so we could get low enough to turn our mouths up for a drink of water that splashed all over our faces and down our necks. In the evenings I remember seeing my parents shaking their heads as they watched the oil crises in the 1970's unfold on the nightly news. Gas prices skyrocketed to 73 cents a gallon! "Turn it off," my mother would say to my dad. "Good grief! The wheel's are coming off but they make it sound like the world's ending."

Like me, as a child you probably hoped for a life that would exceed your dreams but as those dreams collapsed along the way you've simply wished for a soft wing of hope but instead have gotten life in a culture of ungrace. That's not a word but it should be. If you don't know what ungrace is just listen to most people who didn't vote for any sitting president, watch how fast Hollywood turns on a star who no longer sells at the box office or turn on the news anytime during the day. Ungrace pulsates in our workplaces, communities, and in the media and tells us that regardless of what has happened we must do better, look better, and make ourselves better. But to love and accept someone regardless of their flaws and failures is a breath of hope in a world that turns more upside down than right side up. That is the gift of grace. It's being dirty and smelly and turning your face up under the spigot. Sometimes the wheels need to come off and you need to get pretty low before you appreciate grace.

The wheels are coming off for my friend Lisa. She's the owner of a beautiful clothing store for women. She's put her heart and soul into the store but then the economy tanked and people ran scared (even those who still had jobs and owned their homes). Trouble is, she did everything right: paid her mortgage, creditors and bills on time so she doesn't qualify for help. The wheels are coming off for my friend Jacob. When he took his vows he never envisioned this animosity, anger or separation. The wheels are coming off for my friend Gerri. She finished chemotherapy and is beginning nine weeks of radiation for breast cancer. It wasn't her dream but she's added it to her daily schedule: go to work, get groceries, go to hospital for radiation, do laundry, make dinner.

When we plan our lives no one ever says, "When I grow up I want to get a divorce, maybe two!" Or, "When I grow up I want to lose my house, my business and my life savings!" Broken dreams are never part of anyone's plan. We tie our plans up with ribbons and bows and aim for the mountain top but end up in the valley. In Finding Grace (St. Martin's Press, March 2009) I relate a story of walking with my second grade class to the library when a sixth grader spit on me. He didn't intend to spit on me but I was fortunate enough to be the one to pass at that exact moment. My teacher Mrs. Brewer cleaned me up but when I looked down at my maroon polyester blend turtleneck I could see the white tissue particles clinging to where the snot had been. "He blindsided you," Mrs. Brewer said. "That's how it goes sometimes."

At some point, life blindsides us with something far greater than a giant loogie. The diagnosis, abuse, foreclosure, broken marriage, death, or financial collapse brings us to our knees and though we try to clean ourselves up the best we know how we're still left with the stain of it all. "That's how it goes sometimes." True. But isn't there more? The beauty of grace says yes. There's more love after the infidelity, more joy after the diagnosis and more life after the financial ruin. Chris Gardner, the bestselling author of The Pursuit of Happyness was once asked how he and his son were able to overcome the shame of homelessness. Gardner said, "We were homeless, not hopeless!" Chris knew he was living on the streets but he was still living. That's grace. Grace is always present and always near but it's easy to miss -- things aren't always as they appear. I just returned from Winnipeg where The Christmas Hope is being filmed in a house. In previous months the homeowner fell off a ladder and broke several ribs. During x-rays it was discovered that he had cancer. That break-up, closed door to a job, or fall from a ladder may not be as devastating as you think but an act of grace that will save your life and help you discover higher dreams.

In a country of excess we suffer from a deficit of grace. In the last few months I've watched two stories on the news of men losing their jobs then killing their entire families and themselves. In another story a man lost his job after twenty years. "It's heart wrenching," he said. "But I still have my family and we're all together." That's the hope of grace speaking and it beats the alternative any day. Last week my friend Lisa liquidated merchandise and said, "It kills me to close this store but I know God still has a plan for me." That's grace at the end of a shattered dream. My friend Miriam's husband was devastated over their loss of money in the stock market. "How much do we have left?" she asked. Embracing and recognizing what is left is grace at the end of an economically depressed rope. There is life-altering power in that.

I once attended several Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for research. A man said, "I was a drunk for fifteen years. I lost my wife and son because she couldn't take it anymore. One day I woke up and said, ‘What the hell am I doing? I need to live.'" For fifteen years the noise of his life drown out the voice that said he was worthy, needed and loved but then came the day that he finally heard it. That wake-up call to life is a gift from God. With what strength that man had left he turned his face up toward that spigot of grace and let it splash all over him.

Finding grace in a culture of ungrace seems an impossible task but it is present, it is real and it is an indomitable gift that has the power to change your life. It does come with one condition, though -- like any gift you have to reach out and take it.

©2009 Donna VanLiere, author of Finding Grace: A True Story About Losing Your Way in Life . . . And Finding It Again.

Author Bio

Donna Vanliere, author of Finding Grace, is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series and Angels of Morgan Hill. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband and three children. For more information please visit

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Seeing Through the Eyes of Faith

But we live by faith, not by what we see (2 Colossians 5:7 CEV).
If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires.

The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other.

They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should.

But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.

God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. (Galatian 5:16-18, 25 CEV)

It's easy to get caught up in the every-day circumstances of life. We get up, we have to go work, get the kids ready, go grocery shopping, make dinner, do work at home, get gas for the car and a whole host of other things that consume our time and make up what we call 'life.'

But how do you view your life? Do you see it as an amalgamation of duties, obligations, and responsibilities? Or is there an underlying meaning to your life?

What I'm asking is - is there a purpose for your life or are you just living? Are you spending your time running errands, attending school recitals, watching your kids' soccer games and doing laundry? Or is there something more that drives your life?

Because it's okay (and necessary) to do all the ordinary things - after all, dinner doesn't cook itself, homework doesn't magically get accomplished and somebody's gotta make sure the kids get to school. But life is not ONLY about those things.

We (Christians) don't walk through life merely to exist. There is a greater purpose and meaning to our lives. Ultimately, to serve God. Which means, on a day-to-day basis, we see through the eyes of faith.

We see the content of a person's spirit and not simply what he or she presents to the world. We believe with blind faith things that others say can't happen in a million years. We use God's insight and wisdom to walk by faith and not by sight.

And what does walking by that faith mean? That we recognize the truth of what's going on here in the natural world (i.e., our company is downsizing and we may be in danger of losing our jobs), but that we don't allow that truth to override the overarching TRUTH (namely, that God has promised that He will never forsake the righteous and that our children will never go hungry (Psalm 37:25)). It means that we believe God MORE than we believe the news reports, what our friends think or 'conventional wisdom' (because we know that the world's wisdom is foolishness to God (1 Cor 3:19)).

God has also given us His Holy Spirit to help us in our walk of faith. By following the Spirit, we won't follow the flesh. That simply means that we will be so caught up in doing the right thing, thinking the right thoughts and behaving in a righteous manner, that we won't have the time to pursue our own selfish, acrimonious or divisive desires. God's Holy Spirit helps us to make peace with others, be the bigger person in an argument and keep eyes firmly fixed on the actions of Jesus as our ultimate role model.

God has given us life. God has given us His Spirit. See your life through the eyes of faith and be steadfast in your walk of faith. Be guided by God's spirit and He will never lead you astray!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pray Without Ceasing

1Th 5:17 - Pray without ceasing.
Gal 5:25 - If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Acts 17:28a - For in him we live, and move, and have our being;

How is your relationship with God? How much time do you spend praying, communing with Him or studying His Word?

Many of us make the mistake of thinking our relationship with God primarily happens on Sunday morning. On Sunday morning, we do our best praying, we hear a great Word (if we attend church), we shout for joy, sing good songs and work ourselves up to an enthusiasm about God rarely seen during the week .

Not all of us are like that of course. Some of us already pray regularly - either at night or in the morning when we arise. And some of us go even beyond that - we regularly study devotionals, read the Word and play gospel or Christian music on a regular basis.

But it still comes back to the question - how is your relationship with God?

I've said in many other postings that our relationship with God is built like any other relationship. We spend time with Him, we talk to Him, we listen to Him and we simply enjoy His company. As you get to know Him better, you understand Him better and accept and love Him for the God you know Him to be. No one can tell you anything about God without a thorough reading of the Bible to confirm what they are saying and you trust that He'll lead and guide you into all knowledge.

But there is still a further level into which we can travel in our relationship with God. It's the all the time, unceasing, kind of relationship. The kind of relationship where prayer is automatic, your thoughts are constantly on what He would have you do in a given situation and you almost subconsciouly converse with Him all that time, discussing your day, reviewing His Word (the Bible) and communing with Him in your downtime and the lulls in your day.

Do you know what I mean?

Where before you've even consciously considered praying, you find yourself finishing a request to God to help your friend, give you strength or that His will be done (since that is always the best option) in any given situation. Where you no longer have to remind yourself to study His Word on a regular basis, because you automatically check the Bible any time you hear something with which you don't agree and you've bookmarked Bible websites at work, home and school so that you can check them quickly and in a hurry. Where, finally, you no longer pray before you do something, but you realize moment to moment what He would have you do and act accordingly. It's that level where it's no longer what you know but who you are. You don't have to work on being a Christian - you just have to express the Christianity that is inside of you.

Are you at that level? Would you like to be?

Give that some serious thought as you continue your journey with God. Use the above scriptures as references and begin to integrate more of God in every aspect of your life. Walk in the peace and life He has so graciously offered you. Enjoy your life, live it to the fullest and let your life be the fullest expression of the blessings of God.

Try it out today and let me know how it goes :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Devotional - Finding Contentment

Heb 13:5 Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee.
2Co 12:9 And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
1Ti 6:8 but having food and covering we shall be therewith content.

How many of you have ever felt like you just didn’t have enough? Not enough paycheck to pay all your bills. Not enough love to make living worthwhile. Not enough career to love your current job. Not enough God. Not enough time. And, most resoundingly, not enough money.

We all know that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Titus 6:10). But many times we’ll feel wracked with longing for a better job, more money, a bigger house or a better car. We feel like we don’t have enough.

Jesus said he came to give us life and it more abundantly (John 10:10). So we automatically assume that abundant life comes with more material things as well. Sure, we all want peace and contentment, but we’re willing to settle for being the person in our family who makes the most money, has the nicest clothes or can afford to travel the world. What’s abundant life without being able to impress your friends with your importance? What’s the point of having money, we often hear, without having the power that comes along with it?

What’s life really about? Is it about what you have or is it about what you need? Because I bet as you’re reading this, all your needs are met. You have enough to eat. You have some place to sleep. You can get around either with a private car or public transportation.

You have a job that allows you to pay most or all of your bills. You have some type of roof over your head. You are whole and well and able to take care of yourself. Your most basic needs have been met.

Yet it still often feels like it’s not enough.

God calls us to contentment. A popular definition of contentment is being happy with the things you’ve got (and not thinking about the things you don’t). Are you content with the things you've "got?" Or do you find yourself wishing for more?

God’s definition of contentment can be found in the above three scriptures. In Hebrews 13:5, He tells us to be content with such things as we have, for He is always with us and will never forsake or leave us. In 2Cor 12:9, He tells us His Grace is sufficient for us, the sufficient in this scripture being the same in meaning as the contentment in Hebrews 13:5. Finally, in 1Titus 6:8, we are told to be content, having food and clothing to cover our bodies. The "content," "sufficient" and "content" listed in preceding three scriptures share the same meaning, namely: to “be content, be enough, suffice, be sufficient.(Strong's Concordance)” In other words, God is telling us that because He is with us (and will never leave us), because His Grace is sufficient for us and because we have food and clothing, we should be content.

How does that make you feel? Does knowing that you should lessen your desire to have material things or do you think you are entitled to the material things as well? I pose this question because it’s an important distinction to make.

If you find yourself still not very content, what steps can you take to become more? How can you truly settle down, focus on the now and find contentment with the things that God has given you - right now, today?

A hint can be found in the second scripture, where God tells us that His Grace is sufficient for us and that His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Our true contentment can only come when we lift the responsibility for being strong from our shoulders and allow His strength to overtake us. In other words, the more we pretend we can do it all ourselves – and draw on our own resources – the less likely it is that His power will lead, guide and empower us. The more we do in our own strength and power, the less room His Grace has to work its magic in our lives - guiding us towards the contentment that He has promised us.

The take-away from this is that contentment comes with the head knowledge that we are to be that way because of our relationship with God, but is more firmly established the more we lean on God in the face of our weakness. We are simply not designed to be strong, all the time, on our own. By allowing His Grace to take root, expand and fill our inner spirits, we are also accessing that ever-so-elusive contentment that comes with carrying our problems to God and allowing His peace to settle on our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7).

Contentment, then, does not come from self-sufficiency, the love of money (or the things it can buy) or by operating solely on our own strength. Contentment comes from recognizing that God is our strength, relying on Him and turning aside from our love of material things to develop a soul-satisfying relationship with Him. We were designed to be this way – in sync, in love and in step with our Creator. Develop your relationship with God and increase your level of contentment today.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Devotional - Be All Things

1Co 9:19 For though I was free from all men, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more.

1Co 9:20 And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, not being myself under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

1Co 9:21 to them that are without law, as without law, not being without law to God, but under law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law.

1Co 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak: I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. (ASV)

We need to become all things to all people. In our modern-day, Westernized society, the emphasis is on being unique and individual. Unlike collectivistic cultures, we Americans value and honor those whose primary concern is themselves, their interests and their lives. We give them labels like ‘mavericks,’ ‘lone wolves,’ and the like. And that’s all fine and good.

But we’re in the business of winning people to Christ. We’re in the business of demonstrating the God that has made such a difference in our lives. We are in the business of modeling Christ-like behavior to those whose view of religion may be tainted and scarred by the world around us.

We need to be all things to all people. As Paul states so rightly above, he was free, but chose to be in bondage to everyone (figuratively), so that he might win those to Christ. He became a Jew to the Jews, a law-abider to those who honored the law and a lawless person to those who scorned the law. He also became weak to those that were weak! All in an effort to become someone with whom everyone could relate so that those individuals might be won to Christ.

I know how important we consider our own individuality to be. But, as Paul points out above, it is equally important to be able to become chameleon-like in our efforts to reach out to those who may not be exactly like us. Have you ever noticed how quickly a mother will reach out to another mother? Or a teenager trusts his or her peers more than an ‘old’ person?

You’ve got to get it into your mind to use whatever you need to in order to gain the trust of those who are around you. This is not a popularity contest. This is a real life and death effort to pass on the good news of the Bible to those who so desperately need it.

You may not even need to mention the words “Jesus,” “God,” or the “Bible.” Once people are around you long enough, believe me, they will be very curious about what makes you tick, why you seem so happy in the face of adversity and how they can get in on the good life that you appear to be living.

We need to be all things to all people to win those people for Christ. Explore your options, put yourself out there and build trust and rapport with those around you who are so in need of the knowledge of the Word of God.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Devotional - Strength, Courage & Wisdom

2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It’s okay that you’re not perfect. It’s okay that some days you have are bad. And it’s okay that you’re not going to get everything right, all the time.

Some days you’re going to hit it out of the park. Some days you’re going to get nothing but fouls. And some days you’ll just barely manage to get to first base.
God’s Strength is made to be shown through your weakness. It’s meant to show you that you need Him. You hit a wall, you make a mistake, you show your weakness and, bam!, you find yourself getting down on yourself, thinking negative thoughts and contemplating how stupid you are. And you finally release your thoughts to God and you begin to pray and His Spirit surrounds you and that’s when you realize: This is why I’m weak. This is why I need His strength. Know why? Because if you didn’t have weak moments, you probably wouldn’t call on Him as much as you do. So you need your weakness to demonstrate to you just how much you need Him. To remain close to Him. To draw on His strength, which was tailor-made for what you’re going through. And, number two, you need these weak moments to realize you are not capable of doing this alone. If you could accomplish all that you needed without Him, there would be no need to have God. There is a God, however, you do need Him and you NEED Him to do what you have to do.

God’s Strength is made to be shown through your weakness. It’s meant to show others where you strength REALLY lies. Your weakness – and His rescue – make others realize that they quite possibly need Him, too. If all people saw were all your triumphs – and not the growing experiences that got you there – they would mistakenly think that YOU have all the answers and you know that is patently untrue. You know that you only are what you are because God has given you strength. And your weakness to others demonstrates the same to them.

So REJOICE in your weakness. Know that you’re not perfect, you’re never going to be perfect and it’s perfectly okay – no, WONDERFUL – that you’re not perfect because it all demonstrates the MAJESTY and GLORY of God. It reminds you of how much you need God, how futile it is to think you can do anything without Him and even helps others to realize just how much they need God, too. You WILL BE WEAK. So let God handle it. And all will be well…