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My God is Sufficient 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect inJesushuggingcryinggirl weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.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.

My grace is sufficient for you

Do you ever feel like all the bad stuff happens to you? Do you feel like everything would be perfect if you could just change that one thing? Paul could relate. He had a very close relationship with God, and had gone through a lot of hardship for the Gospel. These are things Paul felt he could justifiably boast about if he wanted to, but the Lord had also given Paul a thorn in his side. Something that reminded him of his humanity. We’re not sure what that thorn was, some say it was a stammer, others have their own ideas. What we do know is that it kept Paul humble. It kept him looking to God as the source of all goodness, and it was the way he was able to reach most people. It was through his weaknesses that the Lord used him.
For my power is made perfect in weakness
Have you ever noticed that the people you grow closest to are the ones with whom you’ve shared your innermost secrets. Those you have share your intimate, deep thoughts are the one’s with whom you bond the most. In our Bible study on Tuesday nights, you sometimes will have someone share something that you can tell is very painful for them. They share it, not because it was a great experience or that they come out sounding important or great, but because they learned about the Lord through their experience. When these kinds of stories, that show our weaknesses, are shared, others can identify. We have all felt weak, helpless and at the Lord’s mercy. Sharing how the Lord worked through those times binds us together as believers.
Boasting about your weakness
Boasting about your weakness is a very unusual thing in our society. Americans are taught to filter out the bad stuff and only tell the good (most of the time). We don’t like to sound weak, and we don’t like others to judge us, so we avoid telling them about our alcoholism, our struggle with obesity, our pain from the loss of our unborn child, the hurt we feel when being abused by those who are supposed to love us. We don’t like people to know that we don’t have it all together. We often see the mom with three beautifully dressed kids and think we want her life. What we don’t know is all the pain she feels because she is in a loveless marriage or the debt they’re incurring because of her overspending. We don’t know about what’s really going on with others, they’re trying to put their best foot forward, just as we are most of the time.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
How can we delight in these things? When we live our lives to bring God the glory, our weaknesses, the insults, hardships and difficulties are all opportunities for the world to see us respond differently than those who do not believe. We’re able to point our lives back to God, resting on His assurance to us that His grace, given to us by Jesus’ death on the cross, is sufficient for us. We can trust that all things will work for the good of them that love God (Romans 8:28), and that we will one day be with Him in heaven. This is our hope and our future. Spending eternity with our Lord who loves us and uses our weaknesses to draw others to Him and to increase the depths of our relationships with others.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We are strong when we are weak, because when we are weak, we submit ourselves to the Lord’s will. We no longer are looking out for ourselves, but turn our eyes towards the Lord for our salvation in the moment and for eternity. And knowing where you’re going to be for eternity strengthens us and gives us hope. We are encouraged, strengthened and can persevere. We grow closer to others and the Lord through all of these humbling, weak moments.
Are you weak or strong?
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in My God is Sufficient

 

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My God is Gracious and Merciful Psalm 86:15

Psalm 86:15 – But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

What’s the difference? 

God is gracious and merciful. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I use these terms interchangeably. I don’t know if I even usually think about the difference between them. I was thinking, if there wasn’t a difference, why would the Psalmist use both words? To be poetic? Possibly, but I think the words were chosen more deliberately.

Merciful – Full of Mercy

So what does mercy mean?

mer·cy

1. compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power;compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.

2. the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.

3. the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
4. an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
5. something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.
God is Merciful 
Again, I love the study of words. It is amazing how full the word mercy is when you look at all its meanings. Having a merciful God means that he has compassion on me. He is compassionate without me deserving it. I may deserve death, but God is merciful to me and changes my sentence from death to life with Him in heaven. He performed His biggest act of mercy or compassion on me when He saved me from my sins by sending His son Jesus to die for me. I deserved to go to hell, because of my sins that turned me away from Him, but instead he was merciful and provided me a way out so that I might not end up in hell, but in heaven with Him.
God is Gracious
So we know that gracious and merciful often go together, so what can be added by including gracious to the list of who God is? Well let’s see if the definition of gracious helps us figure that out at all.
gra·cious 

1. Characterized by kindness and warm courtesy.
2. Characterized by tact and propriety: responded to the insult with gracious humor.
3. Of a merciful or compassionate nature.
4. Condescendingly courteous; indulgent.
5. Characterized by charm or beauty; graceful.
6. Characterized by elegance and good taste: gracious living.
7. Archaic Enjoying favor or grace; acceptable or pleasing.
We see by the third definition that, yes, grace is closely related to mercy. Grace is to have that merciful nature, or should I say you can’t be gracious without having a merciful nature. I like the first definition of God being described as having kindness and a warm courtesy. Today I’m going to see my Great Aunt and Uncle. They have that gift. That kindness and warm courtesy. Maybe you know someone who has that too. How does it feel to enter their home. Are you uncomfortable? NO! They make you feel good and welcomed. God wants that for us as well. He’s not trying to make us feel bad, but instead he wants us to shed our old ways so we can have nothing standing in our own way from enjoying Him to the fullest.
It’s funny, while the other definitions may not seem like they are directly related to who God is, they too make a fuller, richer picture of what it means to be gracious, and all of those things are true about our Lord.
Merciful and Gracious
God is not only going to give us another chance at life, but He’s going to be gracious in the way He does it. Because of His mercy we are able to enjoy His favor and grace as He makes us acceptable and pleasing to Him. May we grow in grace and mercy for those around us as a reflection of the grace and mercy we have received.
 

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