When God’s Grace Isn’t Sufficient After All…

The Apostle Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” which was never directly identified for us in scripture, but whatever it was it involved suffering and embarrassment, a humbling of his pride.

“… Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.‘ …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.”

~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

God said His grace would be sufficient for Paul, and no doubt this message was for us too when our trials are not solved right away; God’s grace will be sufficient for us in our trials, but what is happening when we are convinced that His grace really isn’t being enough for us?

In my own life I have had a whole-body pain and fatigue condition that was diagnosed over 15 years ago, and has continued to increase over time. I am currently in bed about 18 hours every day, and some weeks I am unable to leave the house. There is no treatment for symptoms, there are no answers for medicinal or naturopathic healing, and traditional prescription pain medicine doesn’t work at this time (due to my body chemistry, since birth I have always been partially immune to most anesthetics and analgesics).

There are days when the pain is almost worthy of a scream, the fatigue feels like I have a ton on my shoulders, and my world has become very, very small because I am usually unable to socialize. I miss Pastoring a local church, and I miss preaching, counseling, and visiting the sick. I believe in Divine healing through the Name of Jesus Christ, and yet… here I remain.

So what about the grace of God? What about those who are convinced that God’s grace isn’t being sufficient for them? The problem isn’t with God, it’s with our perspective.

“Let God be true, and every human being a liar…”

~ Romans 3:4

It would be easy for me to think that God’s grace has failed me if I consider only certain outcomes to be the only proof of God’s grace being sufficient for me. But, I have learned that God’s grace really is sufficient for me if I allow Him to choose what kind of grace.

For those who are suffering in trials and are convinced that God has left them out in the cold, they need to realize that God’s grace is provided to us for journeying through the trial, not just to end the trial. In my situation, if my measure of God’s grace is only compared with how far my pain goes down, I will be sorely disappointed. God’s grace doesn’t take my pain away (yet), His grace gives to me an internal fortitude and joy for continuing through life’s journey while in pain!

If you are a believer in Christ and in the scriptures, there are specific things we know about God that are certain and factual, and one of those certainties is His faithfulness to His children to bring them through any storm that might come upon them. When we look around at our situation and we doubt God’s presence and participation in our circumstances, the problem is not with God, it is with our own perspective.

God’s grace is sufficient for you in your trials, just allow Him to choose how His grace will benefit you. If His grace for you is miraculous healing, great! If His grace for you is medicinal healing, great! If His grace for you is endurance with an ability to suffer long and hard with a bright countenance of joy and peace… great!! Let God choose the form for His grace, and you choose to accept His brand of grace regardless of what that means.

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#PastorsTip #2Corinthians12 #Romans3 #Suffering #Trials #Pain #Endurance #Perseverance #GodsGrace #Grace #Perspective

The Fires of Life & Death

I have found that there are two kinds of fire that exist, and each of us will face either one or the other. But, it is our choice as to which fire we will walk in.

The first fire that we face is the Refiner’s Fire, or the Refining Fire of God. This fire is not about final judgment, it is about purifying our lives of habits and patterns of sin so that we can live in greater freedom and walk more closely with our God.

The second fire that we face is the Fire of Torment, or Hell’s Fire. This particular fire is not for purification but is instead for punishment. Scripture speaks of the fire that does not go out and that torments those who have not undergone the refining by fire that brings holiness and a new life with Christ.

No one chooses this second fire directly (they would have to be insane to even consider “choosing” 1 or 2 seconds of it). It is however entered into by the choices made in this lifetime.

Our rejection of Christ and His incredible free gift-offer of forgiveness and new life with Him results in an eternity in hell, a place where God’s Presence just simply is not manifest. In effect, those who did not want to live in the Presence of God while on earth get to live their eternity without the Presence of God, which literally is hell.

You might be reading this and some of my previous postings which reference these “hell fire and brimstone” aspects of our encounters with God, and wondering what on earth am I targeting these subjects for?

You might be asking me where God’s Grace is in all of this.

Suffice it to say, God’s Grace is RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW! God’s Grace does not wink at our sins and our shortcomings and our little “mistakes” of adultery, drunkenness, lying, cheating, evil suspicions, and the like.

His Grace is an attribute of His Patience and Mercy. His Grace extends to us an invitation to walk through (with Him, hand-in-hand!) periods of His Refining Fire so that our lives can be restored more and more into the image that He originally created us to look like… Himself!

There are two kinds of fire that we will face during our eternal existence. This life on earth we can walk with God, hand-in-hand through His Refiner’s Fire that purifies us. This fire has a beginning and an end… a very happy and joyful ending!

Or, we can wait until we physically die and enter into the Hell Fire that has a beginning, but no ending, and there is no one there to hold our hand.

Tough words, I know. Wow, DO I KNOW! I am walking through the Refiner’s Fire even as I write this, but I cannot express how deep my love and appreciation goes to my Heavenly Father for not only His refining of my life, but for His Presence with me in the fire, the fire which will soon finish its work in this phase of my growing and maturing life in Him.

Please, join me in the Refiner’s Fire of today. Let’s avoid that other fire…

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