Verse for the Day – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Have you ever felt like you can’t do it? You can’t live the Christian life well? It’s just too hard?

Or why not just keep going like things are—isn’t that good enough? Do we really need to try to do better? or be better? And is that even possible in a world stained by sin? Can we possibly improve ourselves, much less make a positive difference in this world?

If you’ve ever struggled with these things, those questions, then I think you are in a really good place. Does that sound strange? What?! Feeling as though I can’t do it is a good place to be? Wouldn’t it be better to feel like I am competent and able and strong and doing really well?

I introduce you today to my life verses, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Paul has been talking about a thorn in his flesh that was given to him, and he had pleaded with the Lord three times to take it away from him.

“And He [the Lord] said to me [Paul], My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefor I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NKJV)

Think about that. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. If we could do it all, if we had all it takes, why would we need Him? But when we wrestle in our Christian walk of faith, when we see this is too much, it’s too hard, it’s when we begin to realize, yes, it’s too hard! But not for Christ! He is strong, He is greater than it all, and He is able by the power of His Holy Spirit to work in you for his good pleasure, your great joy and good, and His glory.

See your inability, your weakness, not as something to discourage you, but to lead you to Christ. He does still call us to act and obey, to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12), to “put off” sin and “put on” godliness (Col. 3), but He will help us. Keep calling out to Him for help.

He forgives us when we repent (1 John 1:9). He hears us when we cry. He answers us when we call. Let Him give you His strength to live each day. Sometimes it may be up and down and hard, but keep looking to Him, keep seeking Him, keep believing He is able and will lead you. Let His strength help you in your weakness.

We can’t live this life in our own strength. (We can try, we may feel we can for a bit, but it will always fail!)  When we understand and see the truth and beauty of that reality, then we are able to accept something which is so much better: we live this life in His strength, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

PRAYER: Dear Lord, we come to You this day acknowledging our sinfulness and the things that so easily beset us and discourage us. Help us to give up ourselves and turn to You who is able to keep us from falling and is able to give us the strength that we need to obey and follow You with great joy. We are human, we surely fail, but we have You, our God who is greater than all our sin, who rejoices when we repent, who waits patiently for us, and who will supply us with all we need for life and godliness. We love and praise You this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Powerful God

Note: I am reposting below a blog entry I did a while back because it’s been on my mind with yesterday being April 19th. I always remember this date because of what happened in 1995, but also because in 2002, on April 19th, my mom and step-dad were in a terrible highway accident. A lady pulled through the median into them in traffic. They were pinned in the car until they could be cut out, and my step-dad was airlifted to a Memphis hospital with a fractured neck and spent 8 weeks with a metal halo drilled in his head! So each year, I have many reasons to praise God for His protection and care for us in these things!

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April 19, 1995. I remember the date clearly because it was the same day as the Oklahoma City bombing. I was working as a legal assistant in Dallas for a small law firm. I was driving over to Tyler, Texas to pick up the record on appeal for a case on which we were working.

There was supposed to be bad weather, so the one attorney suggested I not go. The others didn’t think it would be bad, so I went ahead. As I entered the highway, my car slid out of control because of the wet ground. Thankfully, I didn’t hit anything, but it made me a little nervous about the travel ahead. The radio was, of course, on, and a song by Twila Paris was playing, “God is in Control.” “God is in control, we believe that His people will not be forsaken, God is in control, we will choose to remember and never be shaken, there is no power above or beside Him, we know, God is in control.”

The song gave me comfort and I chose to believe that He was in control of my travel that day. I went on, and as I did, it turned into the most beautiful and sunny day! Well, this wasn’t bad at all, I thought. But as I drove, after I would pass a town, a short time later, the radio announcer would say, “The tornado is now in X.” And X was whatever town I had just passed. But I wasn’t worried because it was so sunny and pretty now. Surely those towns were pretty big, and so the likelihood I would encounter anything on the way back seemed remote to me, I reasoned.

I ran into the Court of Appeals and got the record. As I started to head back to Dallas, I thought again about the storm, but went ahead. As I drove, it didn’t really occur to me that there were no other cars on the road; the highway was empty. But they obviously had heeded the warnings. I have never before encountered what I did that day. It literally went from blue and sunny to black, heavy rain, hail, and a total inability to see — literally, it seemed in one second flat. There was no transition from light to heavy rain — it just went light to dark in an instant, and I had zero visibility for the darkness, the torrential rain, and the softball size hail hitting the car!

I didn’t know what to do. The last thing I had seen was that there was an exit ramp just shortly ahead, but I couldn’t even see to drive. I inched along. Suddenly all the glass started breaking on the car, the back window blew in, I was covered in glass, rain and hail, and the car was flooding. I did the only thing I knew to do. I was screaming to God to help me. All I know is that my panic turned to peace as soon as I heard a song coming in from the radio. Yes, once again, Twila Paris, “God is in Control.” “God is in control, we believe that His people will not be forsaken. God is in control. We will choose to remember and never be shaken. There is no power above or beside Him, we know. God is in control.”

I clung to those words. There is no power above Him. He was right there with me. I remember the rain moving on enough that I could see to exit, and oddly, I still remember driving my car in a complete circle, so shaken, so unsure where to turn, which direction, that I literally held the wheel and kept going around in a circle. I saw a driveway and entered. It was a local country club. I went inside, and they were shocked that I had been caught out in that storm. They all testified, “We’ve never seen anything like it. We can’t believe you were caught in it!”

I was drenched and upset. They then said, “You need to get under the pool table with the others because it’s not over. The tornado hasn’t passed yet.” I decided not to do so as I couldn’t expect anymore could possibly happen. The men, who earlier had been out golfing, stood by the back windows and watched the tornado pass.

A nice lady followed me back to Dallas in my demolished car. It took several years for me not to shake all over when a storm would come up. I remember getting back to Dallas and hearing about the Oklahoma City bombing that day. I trust God was near to those and revealing Himself to them in their time of need, accomplishing His purposes in the midst of great tragedy.

Praise You, Lord, that You are the Sovereign Lord who controls all things and is all powerful. Thank You for Your protection in the midst of life’s storms and for making Your presence known when fear was threatening me. You are so worthy of all our trust!