Power in Weakness

Dark stormy clouds over corn field at summer

 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9b

Have you ever been in a situation that just seemed hopeless? Where you were doing what God had asked of you and the darkness of the storm was all you could see even in the brightness of daylight? I’ve experienced these storms, as I am sure that you have also. And, while we are not promised a storm free life we can be sure that God doesn’t give us these storms to punish us, rather he allows them to grow us. But more importantly He uses them to benefit others.

Paul and Silas found themselves attacked, stripped, severely flogged and put in stocks in prison for commanding a demon out of a slave girl that could predict the future, because of the demon, and made her owners a lot of money. They were doing what God had sent them to do.

As the story goes along we find Paul and Silas, who must have been in a great deal of pain from the flogging, which is usually done with a leather whip that has metal balls or pieces of sharp sheep bone alternating on each strap of leather that dig in and rip away skin, praying and singing hymns to God, while the other prisoners were listening!

There is a crazy earthquake and the doors of the prison flew open and all the chains of all the prisoner’s came loose. When the jailer in charge saw what had happened he was about to fall on his sword because he thought all the prisoners had escaped and he would have been held accountable and most likely killed because of this.

Paul, in his love and grace for others, tells him to stop, ensuring the jailer that everyone was accounted for. As a result the jailer asks how he can be saved. Paul and Silas tell him “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Not only were the jailer and his household saved they were baptized.

Here’s the thing. Paul and Silas were Roman citizen’s and had they told their attackers as much they never would have endured the torture that they did because publicly beating a Roman citizen was illegal, especially without a trial, which Paul and Silas were not given.

Would the jailer, his family and his entire household been saved that night if Paul and Silas would have announced their Roman citizenship during the attack on them? Only God knows. And, how many of the other prisoners who witnessed these things also became believers that night because Silas and Paul were living their life for God?

Precious One, those storms in life sometimes seem like they are raging out of control. One thing is sure, God will always be in control and that storm may serve a deeper and greater purpose. That none should perish but all come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ Jesus. When you are weak He is strong.

Shalom!

 

Do You Have a Need?

help-text-on-sand_Qysj5WThis morning I was reading in Acts 11. Throughout this passage I continually see God’s grace and faithfulness that the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone! I see Peter gently teaching the others and us, through his vision on Simon’s rooftop, (Acts 10:9-16), that we are no longer bound by the law but covered by grace. The Jewish believers in Jerusalem criticized Peter for going into the house of Gentiles and eating with them, which previously had been forbidden by the Law.

I see God mobilizing his children, through the initial scattering of them, to spread the good news so that none should perish but ALL come to the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ.

But, but, my favorite verses in this entire passage are the very last two. Verses 29 and 30.

The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.  This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. Acts 11:29,30.

The reason the disciples were sending whatever help they could was because the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Agabus about a severe famine that would overtake the entire Roman world. Not only did the disciples want to help other believers in the Body of Christ, they believed the prophet! Hmm, they believed the prophet, this is not a novel idea, but it is research for another blog on another day.

The mission statement for our faith family is extending true life to our community, which requires each of us to take a personal inventory of our heart and motives of how we will use what God has blessed us with and trust him to provide. Vv. 29 and 30 above is a picture of extending true life within the Body of Christ. No one needed to fundraise to go on a mission trip and no one needed to come home on furlough only to arrange numerous speaking engagements in the hope of raising money to go back and continue to spread the good news of the gospel to their host country. The Body knew of a need and simply filled it because they trusted God.

Precious One, what would it look like if the Body of Christ began to operate more closely to how the Body did in the book of Acts?!

Shalom!