Give Attention to Reading

Read through the Bible with friends

2 Timothy 4-Titus 1: I Need the Support of God and Men

One of my all time favorite stories is of a little boy who cried out in the middle of a stormy night. His mother came to check on him and he pleaded with her to stay in the bed with him for comfort. 

“Oh, honey, you know I need to sleep with Daddy.”

“But, Mommy, I’m scared.”

“There’s no need to be scared, sweetheart. You know that God is here with you.”

“Yeah, I know, but sometimes I need someone with skin on.”

 

That describes me. I know God is with me, but I also need someone with skin on. Sometimes I feel a bit unspiritual for saying that. But today I read II Timothy 4:9-18. In the past, I simply noticed Paul’s great faith in God. Even though everyone abandoned him, God was still with him and God would deliver him. Clearly, Paul had a great faith in God.

However, in this reading I noticed something else. Even with this great faith in the presence and deliverance from God, Paul was asking Timothy to hurry up and come to him and bring John Mark because all these people had been abandoning him. 

Do you see it? Paul had great faith in God. He was able to endure his imprisonment alone because he knew God was with him. But he also needed someone with skin on. He needed the encouragement that came from like-minded people who could edify and uplift him. In fact, I think we see that relying on God means relying on His people.

The take away for me is keep praying, keep relying on God. At the same time, keep bringing brethren around me who will also encourage and strengthen. It’s okay to need and want someone with skin on.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

November 20, 2008 Posted by | Comfort, Encouragement, Friends, II Timothy, Relationships, relying on God | , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 Corinthians 12-13: God’s Grace is Sufficient for Us

 

31, ESV)

"They shall mount up with wings like eagles..." (Isaiah 40:31, ESV)

One of the great things about the world wide web is that it is world wide. I don’t want to make the mistake of acting like everyone who reads this is American like me. However, American is the framework from which I come. I hope that folks from other countries don’t have the problem I’m about to describe. I think we American Christians sometimes allow our American citizenship to dictate our approach to life more than we do God’s word.

 

In the good ol’ U S of A, we are taught to be independent. We are taught to pull ourselves up by our boot straps and make it through the tough times. If we are going to rely on God it is only for the really tough times when we just need Him to give us a little push to get us over the hump we just can’t seem to climb. I recall being in the family conference area in the emergency room of a local hospital where one of my dear sisters was grieving the loss of her husband. This was on top of several other life tragedies she and her family had faced in the past year. A friend and co-worker, who was also a Christian thought he was helping this sister by telling her, “Sister, you can do this. You’re strong enough. You can make it.” Then he prayed, “God, our sister is going through a tough time. She just needs a little help. Help her see she is strong enough to make it through this.”

I couldn’t contain myself. As soon as this well-intentioned brother left, I knelt beside my grieving sister and said, “I know this brother meant well. But he is wrong. You aren’t strong enough for this. We’re not strong enough for this. We can’t make it through this stuff. But we have a God that is strong enough to get you through.” And then I grabbed the little Bible they had on the side table and read II Corinthians 12:8-10.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (ESV).

The reason so many American Christians struggle is because we have this idea that we are really strong enough for most things and that we only need to rely on God for a little nudge on the really tough stuff. The fact is, we need to recognize apart from God we can do nothing. I remember in a series I presented on prayer another well-meaning brother commenting that one of the problems we have in prayer is asking God to do things for us that we can do for ourselves. My question is which things are those? After all, it is through God that we live and move and have our very being (Acts 17:28). If our very life and ability to move comes from God, which thing is it that we can accomplish all on our very own? 

We need to get over this idea that we are strong enough for anything. We need to recognize that we are weak and powerless. The only way we can have any victory at all is to simply surrender ourselves to God and His will. We need to just throw ourselves on His grace because it is sufficient. 

Consider one great contrast–Moses. When Moses simply supposed that everyone would understand he was God’s chosen vessel to deliver the Israelites, he ran from Egypt in fear with his tail tucked between his legs. However, when he believed he was too weak and couldn’t possibly be the man to lead Israel, God brought great victory through Him. We have to realize we are only able to stand because of the legs God has given us and simply surrender to Him. His grace is sufficient, our strength isn’t.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Christian Living, II Corinthians, Powerlessness, relying on God, Surrender | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment