Tag Archives: strength
How to Pray for Other Believers (Col. 1:9-14)
III. The Specifics of What We Should Pray for Others (vv. 10-14).
C. Bearing fruit in every good work (v. 10).
Here’s the challenge: You’ve got to know another Christian who’s struggling to endure. Will you pray for them and their strengthening? Today?
Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.
We’re now in the book of I Corinthians. And we just started reading I Corinthians 15 on Easter Sunday! We are now concluding I Corinthians and I want to post a few outlines on the last chapter, chapter 16.
The Apostle Paul has had his hands full in writing to and correcting the Corinthian believers, hasn’t he? Now, as he closes this letter, he refers to a number of fellow-workers and his commendation of them. But Paul is always the careful teacher. He realizes that several succinct directives/commands need to be pressed home to these believers. And we need the same today.
Commands Worth Keeping! (A Study of I Corinthians 16:13-14)
II. Stand firm in the faith
>>> Because the temptation to become a spiritual deserter is everywhere.
III. Be courageous
>>> Because persecution (in its many forms) inevitably will be used by those who refuse to believe.
IV. Be strong
>>> Because the Lord requires soldiers, not pacifists.
V. Do everything in love
>>> Ungodly hatred has no place in our mission.
Today’s Challenge: Ask yourself several questions today: (1) Where am I letting down my guard? (2) Am I waffling in my faith in any specific way? (3) Where am I failing to show godly courage? (4) In what area of my Christian life am I weak? And what can I do about it? (5) Does love motivate my daily life?
Let’s read over our text one more time:
We’ve suggested that four challenges or truths can be gleaned from Paul’s description of this event in his life. First, living now in light of the future means that we have a biblical view of boasting (vv. 1-16). Second, we have seen that, taking Paul’s words seriously means that we have a clear focus on the future (vv. 2, 4, 7). And, third, Paul’s example here provides us with a practical primer on prayer (vv. 8-9).
Let’s notice a fourth — and final — lesson or challenge from this text and it is this: We now receive —
IV. A God-Honoring Perspective on Problems (vv. 9-10)
Let’s look at these two verses carefully: 9 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We all have problems, don’t we? But how to we look at them? As irritants? As dead-end streets on our journey to happiness? As inconveniences, monkey-wrenches thrown into our self-focused itineraries? Christians are nowhere told to become passive, masochistic puddles that siliently “suffer for Jesus.” Problems and difficulties give God the opportunity to show us the sufficiency of His grace and us the opportunity to face the naked truth of our weaknesses. Such “weaknesses” — sovereignly given to us — allow us to recalibrate our priorities.
Such a perspective does not remove from us the power of repetitive prayer, but will sometimes change our praying from escape to submission. For Paul God’s refusal to remove his thorn led him to gladness (v. 9)! And he achieved a biblical delight (!) in his weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties. [I will certainly need to do a bit of a word study on each of these four terms]. But, would you not agree that Paul has pretty much covered all circumstances in life by the use of these four words: WEAKNESSES, INSULTS, HARDSHIPS, PERSECUTIONS, and DIFFICULTIES?
The Challenge: What specific difficulty are you facing right now? Have you given it over to the Lord and prayed something like this? “Lord, I don’t want this. But more than that, I want Your strength to be shown in my weakness. Help me, Lord, to trust You in this circumstance. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
He and his two wives and his men and their families settle in Hebron. David is anointed king over the tribe of Judah at Hebron (v. 4).
David thanks the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul. He asks that the Lord would show them kindness and faithfulness for their act. He encourages them to be strong and brave, “for Saul your master is dead, and the people of Judah have anointed me king over them” (v. 7).
Some takeaways for me:
1. God’s guidance is unique here in 2 Samuel. David receives specific direction from the Lord as to where he ought to go. Such specificity is not guaranteed to the believer today.
2. It is always right to thank others for their kindnesses.
3. We need to encourage each other to be strong and brave. What does such strength and bravery look like for me today? For you?
You’ve got to watch this commercial several times! This one totally cracks me up. Two golf announcers, whispering. “It’s what they do.”
It may not be the point of this commercial, but life is filled with hazards, isn’t it? And our nine iron often proves that it is “not enough club.” When our resources are depleted, when our strength is gone, when our best efforts fall short of helping us, we are reminded of God’s strength.
Relying on yourself? Watch out for the Krakens of this world!
Okay. Okay. I’m not sure I would have reacted with such kindness to the man in the control room. A 700 pound grizzly bear!? And you want to sell me a truck?
I would be tempted to overpower the man in the control room, take both cages out of the facility, and tell him you’re going to release that same 700 pound grizzly bear to see how he handles it!
Where do you see you are weak? Where has God’s strength stepped in and rescued you from the grizzly bears of life? Or, do you find yourself (like me) trusting in your powers to deal with the challenges of this world?
This guy doesn’t seem all that excited about posing for underwater pictures, does he? He may actually be as happy as a lark, but his face seems to be saying, “Hmmph! This is pretty lame, don’t you think?”
I think I was born an optimist. I tell people that it’s not my spirituality that makes me generally joyful and enthusiastic. I think it’s just my personality. I’d probably be a very joyful and enthusiastic Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness or . . .
This raises a very important question, doesn’t it? The Bible says, “The JOY OF THE LORD is my strength!” That statement is really from Nehemiah 8:10 which says, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
That exact expression — “the joy of the Lord is my strength” — is only used here in Nehemiah 8.
How is the joy of the Lord our strength? If we look to circumstances for our joy, we will be weakened by the things that happen to us over which we have no control. If we look to ourselves and our abilities, we will be discouraged at our own foibles and mistakes and misdirected passions. If we look to other people, we will sometimes be surprised by the joy they bring to us. But they are not the Lord!
The real question, I think, is how can the Lord’s importance in my life become more vital, more relevant, more the source of my daily strength? It begins, of course, with a saving relationship with Him, an experience the Bible calls conversion. If I have been truly converted to Jesus Christ, there now exists the potential for me to develop a relationship of joy with Him that this poor world can’t match. If you’ve got the Lord, you’ve got the source of joy. [to be continued]
1. Study the tern “convert” or “conversion” in the Bible. How has our culture minimized the concept of being converted?
2. What would be one example of the joy of the Lord in your life?
Great commercial, friends. Please watch it and then respond to a couple of questions.
If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, aren’t you glad that HIS strength protects your future?
1. How do you define strength? In what area of life has God made you particularly strong?
2. Where do you feel weak? How does Scripture help you work on that area(s)?