Loving the Mockers

But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:  how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. – Jude 17-18

Scriptures tell us that that in the last days those of us of the Christian faith will face mocking and worse. And we will face it in increasing amounts as the time grows even shorter toward His Soon Return. We should not be surprised when it happens, for Scripture is Truth and the Scriptures tell us it will be so. So, we need turn to the Bible for our strength and comfort when it does occur.

For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. – Romans 16:19

We may be subject to mocking, but to God it shows our obedience to Him, to the call He has placed on our lives. What better than to be seen by all as being obedient to the Will of God even if most choose to mock us openly? While the world’s response will not be ideal, what more could we want to give but total obedience to our Lord and Savior? Frankly and simply facing evil for what it is and being obedient to the Lord because of who He is.      

The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. – Proverbs 8:22

A sovereign deity controls all which He created. He has called us from before the foundations of the world and we have answered, and are answering today in how we go about our Father’s business. Hopefully we are answering every day until He comes for us each as individuals or for the church as a whole. We are His while we are on this earth until He brings us home, and then we are His for eternity. An eternity in the physical presence of our Savior. He has always possessed us and He waited for each of us to respond to His call and trust in Him as Savior.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord knows our hearts and how we will respond to His call. Those He has chosen for His work have the heart to do it, and being Spirit filled, have the strength and stamina to see it through in faith and obedience. God looked into our hearts and knew we were wanting. But He sent His Son and now the Father sees not us but Christ in us. And being filled with the Spirit we have the strength within to resist the evil around us.

You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. – John 15:3

We were ready to do His work even before we knew it. We have a new heart for Christ, we are Spirit filled and clean in God’s eyes because of Jesus even if our old flesh still struggles with our old sin nature. Because of Jesus are perfectly acceptable in God’s view to do the work appointed to us to do. We are ready to do His will because we are already clean in His eyes.

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? – 2 Samuel 7:18

David recognized the extraordinary lengths God would go through to preserve David’s line to fulfill the promises made to Abraham and to David. We will endure to the end because of what Jesus endured on our behalf and in spite of ourselves. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. We have been carried this far along, and so will be carried into the eternal state in the same way, on the wings of the Lord. No burden too great for Him to bear, His yoke is light and easy to bear, and with it we shed the heavy weight of sin in our hearts by the freedom we have in Christ.

Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. – Acts 17:25

We cannot provide anything He needs by our own hands, we cannot be delivered out of the evil we soaked in before Him other than by His hands. Our worship by the new hearts of flesh He has placed in us, not by our hands as if we could fashion anything to give to Him which He does not already possess, like the cattle on a thousand hills.

I entitled this article loving the mockers and I have not talked about them at all to this point. Because the love we should show to those inevitable mockers is that they hear of and come to have what we have, a personal relationship with Jesus, with a saving faith in Him alone.  The only way we get to that love is through the work He did in the Cross and the Spirit that enabled us to be filled with. It ain’t about us, but all about Him. So we need to understand who we are in Him before we can love the unlovable as He did. The unlovable club of whom we were once charter members of.

We can only love the mockers if we make a mockery of any attempt to keep us from being obedient to our Lord and Savior.

 

Why Are You Still Here?

In the span of just a few days I heard expressed the thought that the reason we, as believers, are still here in this world now is because God is not finished with us (each of us as an individual), and that He still has some work for us to do here for His purpose, to His Glory. It was stated by two different people in two different contexts, and not within the hearing of each other. Looked at with slightly different perspectives, but the same essential thought, that if there wasn’t something that God had for us to do here in this life, He would have taken us home to Him already.

For the believer in Jesus Christ, having this attitude is a faithful and obedient way to live. As the Apostle Paul describes himself in the opening of his epistles, we, like him, are bondservants of Jesus Christ. The Greek word used here, doulos, has the meaning of slave or servant, on either an involuntary or voluntary basis.  But in the context of Paul’s self-description (or those of Peter in 2 Peter or Jude in his epistle), one need use it in the context of voluntary servitude; for these are men who came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and sought to serve Him, even unto death. And as privileged, by the grace of God, as we are through our faith in Christ to be in a place to serve Him, I believe any disciple of Jesus should view it in the voluntary sense of service to the Lord.

And now to the heart of the matter; I chose the word disciple instead of believer because I feel that if you are a true bondservant to Christ, you are a disciple. As a disciple you are a faithful follower of the Risen Lord, and not just simply a believer who has trusted and believed in Him as the only way to one’s salvation. As disciples, we should live our lives as if the Lord has work for us to do, living as if there is something He would have us do today for the Glory of His Name and the Growth of His Kingdom. If not, there truly is no earthly purpose to our lives. If His plans and purposes for us are complete, (or if we no longer actively serve the Lord; for we must remember we still have a sinful nature which rebels against Him at times), we might as well be called home to be with Jesus. He is a loving God, He wants us with Him for eternity, so why not start that life today?

But He has not called us yet, and we are still here. So let us serve the Lord. We may wish to be with Him (nothing wrong with that), but we should want to do His bidding first. As Paul noted in Philippians:

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. – Philippians 1:21-26

Paul even goes on in Philippians 1 to talk about letting one’s conduct be worthy of the Gospel of Christ; so Paul is looking for service to the Lord in a way that is honoring to the Lord. Good words to follow for the true disciple of Jesus.

Scripture has more guidance for us:

…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6

The Lord is doing a work in each of us, and is doing a work through each of us. If you are still here among us there’s something God has for you to do, and it may be something that someone, somewhere needs to experience in their life.

In our work for Christ we each have a race to run.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

Running with endurance while looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher (italics mine) of our faith. We are to run until He decides our race has finished and His Will has been done. This is why we are still here, Jesus hasn’t decided our particular race is over. It is a race which involves obedience to Him, bringing glory to the Father, and growing the Kingdom by reaching others with the love of Christ and the good news of His Gospel.

You are still here and I am still here. Our Lord has not yet stepped out on the clouds to call His Bride up to meet Him, so for now we all remain here. There is something for each of us to do for the Lord today. We need do it with the love of Christ; not hating others (He didn’t hate anyone although He took false teachers and religious leaders to task), not complaining about life (He didn’t do that either, instead He encouraged others to live godly and obedient lives), and with a lot of prayer, even for those who are doing evil (He did a lot of that type of praying).

We remain, to proclaim Christ and speak His Gospel into a world that desperately needs it.

Let’s get to it and be about our Father’s business.

A Life of Unchanging Joy

Excerpted from “Grace and Power” – W. H. Griffith Thomas (1916)

“In Your name they rejoice all day long” (Ps. 89:16). We must not forget, though it is often repeated in our ears, that there is a vast difference between joy and happiness. Happiness depends upon what happens, upon circumstance, the “hap” of life. Joy is independent of circumstances and is connected with our relationship to God. Happiness is very much like the surface of the sea, sometimes turbulent, at other times calm; joy is like the bed of the ocean, which is untouched by anything on the surface. Joy, referring to our relationship to God, is threefold. There is joy of retrospect, as we look back at the past; there is joy of aspect, as we look around on the present; there is joy of prospect, as we look forward to the future. There is the joy of memory, the joy of love, and the joy of hope. There is the joy of the peaceful conscience, the joy of the grateful heart, the joy of the teachable mind, the joy of the trustful soul, the joy of the adoring spirit, the joy of the obedient life, and the joy of the glowing hope.

“In Your name they rejoice.” That is where we get our joy – “in Your name,” in the revelation of God. The name of God is all that is known of Him. Wherever the word name occurs, it never reveals a mere title or epithet but a character, the revealed character of God. In proportion as we get to know this “name” and what it means in all the fullness, we shall have joy, which will thus depend not upon ourselves but upon God.

“In Your name they rejoice all day long-“ in other words, under all circumstances. That is what Paul meant when he said, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4). He did not say, “Be happy in the Lord always.” He knew very well it was impossible. We cannot be happy always. If we have anything troublesome in our circumstances, if we have any bodily pain, if we have any mental or social anxiety, we cannot possibly be happy. The apostle Paul was not very happy when he called himself sorrowful, but he said, “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). While we cannot be happy always, we can rejoice always, because we rejoice in the Lord always. Our joy is independent of happiness, of what happens, it is associated with God.

This, too, is a need of the Christian life, one that ought to be considered again and again, the need of unchanging joy. If in our daily life we do not realize what this means, we are lacking in one of the essential features of biblical Christianity.

Words of Grace for Strength

If there is anything we forget to do as members of the body of Christ, it is to be joyous in all things. We are often so caught up in trying to stay happy or become happy again that we do not have the time nor inclination to be joyous. Yet it is to joy that we are called, no matter the circumstances of life. In fact, we are called to joy especially if the circumstances of life are working against our happiness.  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials – James 1:2. It is because of what we have in Christ that we can call up unlimited reservoirs of joy, for what we have in Him, who we are in Him and where will one day be with Him overcomes the present troubles of this world. There is joy in knowing we can show the love of Christ, and our faith in Christ to others during times of trials and trouble. To Him be all the glory, and we have joy in knowing Him and saying this.

But to be joyous requires a focus on Jesus, or the unhappy circumstances of this world will sweep you away. It is no wonder Paul calls himself sorrowful in 2 Corinthians 6:10. Just read of his trials in the passage in 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 to see what he had to be sorrowful about. Yet he endured, because he had joy in the Lord. Paul finished his race running as to win; he fought the good fight because he was focused on Jesus, the source of his strength and the reason for his joy. Too often today people in the Church forget the joy (which is eternal) because they are chasing the happiness (which may only be in the here and now). There will be pain, suffering, hatred and persecution of believers by an angry and unbelieving world. Jesus told us so. And that is nothing to be happy about, so isn’t it better to focus on the joy and let the happiness come as it may (as He wills)? The circumstances of happiness can shift from moment to moment, but our joy in the Lord is unchanging if we just embrace it.

A fool can be happy (and fools often are) without realizing the feeling can be momentary and fleeting. We can know the rock solid foundation of Jesus Christ on which we can build in joy, knowing the lasting nature of that which the Lord blesses and accepts as His own. Our joy is knowing that through the merits of Christ we are clasped firmly in His and the Father’s hands, and nothing can pry us from that for all eternity. Nothing can change that, so our joy is unchanging. Come what may in this world, we will stand in His eternal presence one day for ever. The song is called “Joy to the World” but the joy is only in those who know the risen Christ and have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Joy everlasting, joy unchanging.

Are you considering it all joy today?

 

The Word of God Tenderizes and Toughens

Scriptures, the very Word of God contained within the Bible, are an amazing thing, inspired by God; written by men under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As such, the Holy Scriptures are like no other written word, even commentaries and other writings of godly men and women over the ages. For only the Scriptures were God-breathed. No matter what you think of other writings, no matter what impact they may have had on your life, or the lives of people you know, nothing has the impact of the words contained in the Bible. I would argue that those other books may be excellent, but are as effective and life changing due to the counsel, guidance, wisdom and inspiration those writers pulled out of study of the Word of God. But that is not I would have us focus on today. What I find as one of the truly amazing things about the Bible is how the Word of God can change us. I find it can tenderize us while at the same time it can toughen us.

The tenderizing effects of the Word of God:

Deep and thoughtful study and reading of the Bible, and meditation on the Word of God can tenderize your heart for the things of the Lord:

Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh – Ezekiel 11:19

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart – 1 Peter 1:22

The Word of God can tenderize our hearts by turning them to the things that the Lord loves, turning them to consider doing things that are within the Lord’s will for our lives. The Word of God can make us see the world as Christ sees it, and make us want to be more Christ-like in our approach to the world. His Word can make our hearts break for those who do not know the Lord, those who are living in defiance to the Lord, either willfully or oblivious to His purposes and desires. A heart which is broken for the lost is a heart tender in the Lord and in His Word. Someone who is in the Word regularly, studying it, wrestling to understand it and apply it in their life will have a heart tenderized to the deep things of God, with a desire that mirrors His, concerned for the world and for His children within it.

The toughening effects of the Word of God:

While the Word is tenderizing the heart of those who immersed in it, a toughening of that heart is occurring at the same time:

Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. – Hebrews 13:9

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.  And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. – 1 John 3:16-23

The heart strengthened and toughened by the Word of God. Not toughened in the sense of being inured to the sufferings and needs of those around us, but toughened and strengthened to be bold in sharing the Word, in proclaiming the Gospel; bold in showing Christ to the world and living in the world as He did. Being bold as the apostle Peter was in Acts 2:14-39, Acts 3:11-25 and Acts 5:29-32 (this time with other apostles); bold as the apostle Paul was proclaiming in Romans 1:16-17 and preaching in Acts 17:22-34. These were instances of preaching and proclaiming Christ with toughened hearts, with hearts that were bold enough to speak the Truth, hearts that toughened enough not to quail at the possible consequences of doing the Lord’s will and speaking the truth in love.

Let the Word of God tenderize and toughen you:

While none of us should think of ourselves as a Peter or a Paul, we have the very Word of God, some penned by these two apostles inspired by the Spirit. It is available to us to draw upon and tap into, to give us a love for the things of God and the boldness to go about our daily lives unafraid to speak of our love of God, our love of the things of God and our desire to know nothing among others but Christ, and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Tenderized and toughened, in Christ and working through the power of the Spirit, by study and living out the Word of God.

 

Taking Care of His Business in Your Backyard

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

“My Father’s business.” It is a phrase I have used often in my writing and preaching. In my mind it evokes thoughts of sharing the gospel, sharing my testimony or witnessing. (Witnessing, given the circumstances may not be the same as evangelizing. Another story for another day); showing the love of Christ and the face of Christ to an unbelieving world. As Christians, we should want to help solve the world’s problems, help heal the world’s hurts.

However, we should realize that task can never be done in a complete or permanent manner by our  own efforts, even when we are guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Total, complete and permanent healing is going to take the Second Coming of Jesus. Nevertheless, we are to work in the world going about our Father’s business. And let us not forget a very important fact: We can reach out to the world and should but our primary responsibility as members of His Church is to other members of His Church.

 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2  Corinthians 5:10).  

With this particular verse, I actually prefer the rendering in the New American Standard Bible:  

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

This makes it clear that the bema seat judgment—the judgment of rewards—is a judgment of deeds done in the body from the point in time when one joins the Body of Christ. Things done before one comes to Christ are not part of our appointed before the bema (for that would make for a works based salvation).

And while I am not saying we would not hear, Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21, 23) for things we may do to minister to those outside of the Church, I believe the clear focus of this passage in 2 Corinthians deals with the Body of Christ; serving and ministering to others within the Body of Christ. Being about our Father’s business should begin at home, within the Body; within the local church we attend, for starters.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).

In Galatians, the apostle Paul is clear in his instruction that doing “good” is expected and required, especially in the Church. And whether you hold to the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, writing under the influence and guidance of Paul, or even if Paul had nothing to do with Hebrews, the author is stating that ministering to the saints is not something forgotten by God, for He is a just God.

The complaint in the opening verses of Acts 6 is that widows within the local Body were not having their daily needs met. It was a situation serious enough for the twelve apostles to address and resolve. Taking care of His business within the Body of believers is serious, important work demanding immediate attention.

If you are called by the Lord to go serve in some dark corner of the world (it seems dark corners are all we have in the world anymore), by all means be obedient to the call and serve the Lord empowered by His Spirit. But know there is a mighty work of service that probably needs to be tended to right in your backyard.

It may be your next door neighbor who might happen to not be a believer, but it might also be the person sitting next to you on a Sunday morning, someone as faithful and obedient to the Lord as you are. You can seek a mountaintop experience with the Lord, but remember, the gospel accounts had Jesus and His disciples coming off the mountain and getting back into day to day ministry. Jesus wasn’t going to let the three stay on the mountaintop linger and neglect what was next on the agenda. He brought them back down among the multitudes.

If you are focused on the needs of your local church Body, you will most likely come into contact with many neighbors and friends, with people in your local community. It will give you the opportunity to reach others for Christ at the same time you are helping other members of the Body.

It does not have to be an either/or. It can most definitely be a both/and. By seeking to be discerning of needs in the local body of Christ, you will learn to discern the need for Christ locally outside of the Body: because you will be more in tune with those living around and amongst you.

The Lord might give you a mountaintop experience, He might send you far afield from your home. But He has work that needs to be done in your own backyard, and it will please the Lord if you recognize it and step up to do it.

Whatever the Lord has for us to do, and wherever He has placed the work, we should be about our Father’s business and just go do it as He has asked.

Who Are You Significant To?

Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. – Matthew 6:2-4

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. – Matthew 6:5-6

Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. – Matthew 6:16-18

Who are you seeking to be significant with? God or people? If you look at the three separate instances above from Matthew 6 you see a very clear pattern. Those who seek the approval of others, those who do things to be noticed by others and thereby gain approval or accolades get their reward once the approval is given. And what of it? How long does it last? The praise of men grows faint indeed as it echoes down the halls of eternity.

It is only in Christ and with Christ can we achieve anything significant that has lasting value. Because it is only in Christ and with Christ that we can build for the Kingdom. Our lives built in a way, on the solid foundation of Christ, that our deeds and actions survive the fire because they have significance to God. In the sharing of the Gospel, a work of significance because it pleases God, the Apostle Paul summed it up in a few pithy words:

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10

But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. – 1 Thessalonians 2:4

This is only a dilemma if you put pleasing others on the same level as pleasing God. For often doing the things of significance will not be pleasing to others. But fear not, this does not worry God, nor should it worry you. As believers, it is God alone we should seek to please, for it is God alone to whom we will one day answer:

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. – 2 Corinthians 5:9-10

It is in Christ alone that we can have any lasting significance by being pleasing in the eyes of God. The prideful seeking of rewards based on our own merit needs be cast aside, as the praise of men will one day be cast aside as we await a judgment of rewards for faithful service in obedience to God:

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. – 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

You want to live your life to hear a well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21;23) and not smell the smoke and ash of a wasted life in the body of Christ as you stand before your Lord. Your salvation is assured upon your trust in Christ alone for your salvation; but do you want to come to the bema seat judgment via the fire escape?

You Have All You Need

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me,“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.  Therefore 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. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

If nothing else, the Apostle Paul’s words should be a warning from growing too large an ego when in service to the Lord. If God chooses to use you to bring out insights from Scripture (insights about existing Scripture, not revelation of new prophetic wisdom), be humble to preach it or teach it. Share the wisdom, but give God the credit and the glory. What Paul had experienced, a vision of Paradise in 2 Corinthians 12:1-6 were so stupendous, so overwhelming, that he recognized the need for a thorn in the flesh to keep him from swelling up like some self-righteous Bible blimp (not that Paul would have known what a blimp was).

Paul chose to boast about his own shortcomings and weaknesses, and in doing so, glorify the Lord in that such a great work of God could be accomplished by the Lord through such a weak and broken vessel. In doing this Paul is confirming for us that in Christ we have all we need. Nothing can be done without Him, nothing more than Him is necessary to carry out whatever purposes the Lord has for your life.

When I think of my own shortcomings and lack of abilities, I marvel at the perfection of the Lord’s strength that can be shown anytime He so chooses to use me for His plans, when I seek out and obey His will for my life. I do not mean to boast, but most days I am convinced that no one can show the perfection of the Lord’s strength better than I can in my flawed weakness. A weakness that would be fatal if not for the healing and preserving power of the grace He bestowed upon me by His drawing of myself to Him.

I will never be a Paul, of that there is no doubt. I probably will not be a Timothy, because I do not know Paul. But I can be as they, a weakened vessel that is shored up and strengthened by the amazing love and power of the Lord. I have Christ in my life, for I have been saved by faith through grace.

I have all I need.