His Grace is Enough

Woman on Beach Looking at Ocean --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis There are days I am overwhelmed with this life.

All sorts of doubts plague my mind.

I am assaulted with lies and insults within.

My self talk seems bent on destroying the truth I know.

I see my weaknesses.

I understand the powerlessness of self to be different than I am.

Then I am reminded that Christ has said, “…My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

But still I strive to be, to change and yet it is impossible apart from His grace. It is His work in me that I must surrender to. So I choose to glory in my weaknesses knowing that it is the power of Christ dwelling in me that can change me.

So I must choose to surrender to His power, His grace, for it alone is enough. It’s all I need.

“…My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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Can I Have Joy in Trials?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

I remember a time when I had questions about having joy. How can one have joy in the hard things in life? How do you walk through life with great joy regardless of your circumstances. I didn’t understand. There are those that tried to explain it to me, but my mind seemed blind to understanding.

ID-10091345_thumb.jpgI would always ask “how does one have joy when a father dies and leaves his 24 year old wife with 3 babies under the age of five? Where is the joy of watching your mother try to destroy herself? Or a child being abused? How can you have joy as you watch a father beat your mother? Or watching a child rebel? How can you have joy when a husband looses his job?” So many questions.

Many of the answers I received to my questions were along the line of “it’s because sin is in the world “ “you just have to get beyond those things, forget them and move on” forgive those who hurt you”. I remember some saying that “I needed to forgive God”

Really? As if God has ever done anything that needed to be forgiven! Where is that in scripture? It’s sad to recall all the well meaning answers and advice that is not based on truth, or bits and pieces of truth. So what is the answer to having joy under trials, temptations, distress, stress and so on?

Here is what I have learned. This is what I know. While I have nothing new to say I have realized that often I forget what the past has taught me. I need to be reminded. Maybe you need the reminder too.

What we fail to understand  is that it is impossible to have joy in your suffering. There is nothing joyful about suffering, pain, sorrow, distresses or tribulations. We was try to find joy IN our current circumstances. The object of our joy is all wrong. Nothing about the tribulation or suffering itself can produce joy.

I CAN NOT produce joy on my own. Oh I can put on a happy face, look all bubbly on the outside and TRY to look joyful. But that is not joy and it WILL NOT last.

The object of my joy must be God, and God alone. God, a covenant keeping God and Father in Christ. I need to look to the God of my salvation. I need to remember that He is Christ, the One who pardons iniquity, transgression, and sin.

He, GOD, is the object of my joy.

Joy can never be produced by me or by my circumstances. Joy is the product of the Spirit and it lies in the spiritual. Now, so there is no misunderstanding, I am not talking about the joy I felt on my wedding day or the day a child is born or something good happened. I am addressing the joy I am to have that is mentioned in James 1:2 when it says,  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,”

What I am talking about is that deep sense of joy knowing that no matter what comes your way you KNOW you will walk through it. You know that it will not destroy you. We can have joy because our focus is not us (ME) at all. Our focus is God.

During trials and suffering we are to look to Him and what we know He is going to do. He is a covenant keeping God and I know that He does not seek to destroy us but seeks to grow and mature us into His image. We must focus on that truth and trust Him.

We can also have joy in trials when we consider who God is. He is a covenant God, the Father of great mercy, the God of all comfort and salvation, who pardoned our sins, clothes us with the robes of righteousness and garments of salvation, and accepts us in Christ. When I choose to focus on the character of God and be mindful of truth I can have great joy and gladness. In Christ there is always a reason for joy because of His person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice.

God is not asking us to be joyful that we are suffering. He is asking us to be joyful in knowing that He is testing our faith in order to produce endurance. We need to allow God to grow us with all joy. He assures us that when our endurance is fully developed we will be strong in character and ready for whatever God has planned.

Joy is a product of the Spirit of God not our circumstances.

Photo courtesy of magerymajestic, at www.freedigitalphotos.net

God Heals the Darkness

This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me. Ps 119:50

Deep inside the heart of many women there is a darkness that lies untouched. There is a hurt that has been left unattended, praying it will heal on it’s own if ignored. It will not be ignored. Instead it lies within, waiting for the right moment and then the memories rises up from the depths of the darkness to hurt once more. I know this hurt for I have been there. I know other women experience it for they have shared their stories. They have trusted me with the darkness of their souls, the hurts that scream out MP900438388_thumb.jpgto be heard.

Healing began years ago for me, but it’s only been recently that I have fully understood where and how the healing came.

I spent years trying to ignore, forget, forgive and pray my way beyond the painful memories that would not stop playing across my mind. I would seek counsel, read books, attend Bible studies and pour myself into doing good works. I would do all the things I thought I should, be a good wife, mother, friend and church attendee. I would pray, read my Bible and pray some more. I tried pursuing so many things-even God-in order to forget. Often I was left feeling empty and in the end the hurt would still be screaming for attention. Why could I not have that personal loving relationship so many seemed to have? What did I have to do to silence the pain? What did God expect of me? Why wasn’t God answering my prayers to forget?

Your testimonies also are my delight; {They are} my counselors. My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. Psalm 119: 24-25

The answer to my questions could be answered with just one answer. Know God. The problem was I didn’t really know Him. I knew about Him . I knew what others had told me about Him and I had even read about Him in the Bible, but I didn’t KNOW Him. I didn’t understand who He was or who He is. I didn’t know God experientially. I had only learned about God through others. I only thought I knew Him.

Healing came when I began to know God for myself. It began when I learned to study and understand God’s word for myself. Do you know what that meant? God spoke to me, Sharon, His beloved daughter. He spoke directly to me through His word and not through someone else.

God’s word began to come alive and every time I would read it I began to see something new. Truth began to penetrate my heart. The lies I believed about myself, my past and my God were exposed. God began to reveal Himself to me. He opened up my eyes to see His character, His love and His power. He began to show me who I was, and who I am because of Christ. He told me how precious I am to Him, how much He loves me and will always love me.

He began to help me see His plans and purposes for my life. God began to show me how He would use all the circumstances in my life for His glory. He would not waste anything. He wouldn’t waste anything good or evil. He could use my wrong choices, and the painful memories.

Oh precious sisters if I could ask one thing I would ask that you study God’s word and know it for yourself. Learn to study and allow God’s word to open up to you. Allow it to teach you, reprove you and heal you. Stop doing Bible studies that do all the work for you and study the Word for yourself.

It is only in knowing God that healing comes, and by know I mean you KNOW Him not just about Him. You need to know the God who is, the God of truth, not the God you think He is. Once we know God and study His words for ourselves then true deep healing comes. Oh how I long for each of you to experience the personal word of God spoken directly into your hearts.

If you don’t know how to study for yourself email me, I’d be happy to help! Or you can check out these links  A Guide to Inductive Bible Study or How to Study the Bible in 28 Days.

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. Isa 43:10