My Musings – When we are covered by 1) God’s grace, through 2) His Son, we are plugged in to an awesome power base, 3) the Holy Spirit. But sometimes, (many times) we get in the way of that power by relying on our own strengths, which in reality are weaknesses. Once we acknowledge that, God’s power is perfected in our weaknesses.
Now for the understatement: “My grace is sufficient” (enough to meet the needs of a situation, adequate). Enough and adequate, hardly seem impressive. But the point is, no matter how small or how big the “situation,” God’s power will always be enough. God’s power is all we will ever need.
My Advice – Admit your own insufficiencies (weaknesses), let go and let God.
My Musings – This was a familiar pattern in the Old Testament. God delivers the promised land into the hands of the Israelites. They get complacent and fall into sin. God brings judgment through their enemies. The Israelites call out to the Lord. He provides a deliverer (called a Judge). And the cycle starts all over again, and again and again. They seem to never have learned from their failings.
Are we any different? Are there cycles of failure that we repeat time and again, never seeming to learn from prior experiences? Of course it is better to not fall into sin in the first place. But when we do, once we are delivered and restored (following confession and repentance), we should learn from the past failure and be on guard lest we repeat it in the future.
Of course, not all failures are the result of sin. “Failure in and of itself is not a bad thing. But failing to learn from it is inexcusable.” (Alison Levine, On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership). In our journey of discipleship, God will take us through failures (not sin) so that we will learn from them. For it is on the journey that we learn the most and see our character develop the most. “The journey is where we find perspective.” (Alison Levine, On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership).
My Advice – What are we learning? It would be a pity to go through the struggle and not reap the benefit of learning from it. So pay attention.
My Musings – We usually think that a broken spirit is a negative thing. But how could God possibly forgive a proud and rebellious spirit? The text implies that God actually despises such a spirit. Genuine contrition (feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming) is not possible absent a humble and penitent heart.
My Advice – Do not allow a proud or rebellious spirit get in the way of a humble and penitent heart.
2 Chronicles 15:2 – The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – It is hard to walk against the wind, row against the current, ride a bike uphill or “kick against the goad.” But these are nothing compared to going against or forsaking God’s Word. There will still be difficult times in this world because our relationship with Christ earned us a new enemy. Satan wants us to think that the winds, current and terrain are against us, but again these are nothing because they are from his hand not God’s. God allows them to strengthen and temper us. But we need not despair. In fact we can take heart, because Christ has overcome the word.
My Advice – Not all who wander are lost, but they still are wandering. So, keep in step with Jesus. He will never leave nor forsake you, so do not leave or forsake Him. Then we can take heart because “He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.“
John 10:3-4 – He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (NIV 1984)
My Musing – I don’t know if you can identify with this Sunday’s comic strip, but I sure can. For goodness sake, don’t make her say your last name! But how does this relate to the above verse? As children of God we should know His “voice.” That pricking of our conscience that tells we better do this or better not do that. Sometimes it comes as a gentle “whisper.”
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV 1984)
That should be enough for us to “follow Him.” Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Like sheep we have a tendency now and then to wander and go astray. On such occasions, that gentle whisper becomes firmer, until we respond. For goodness sake, don’t make Him say your last name!
My Advice – My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11-12, NIV 1984) We should be very concerned if we do not hear His voice of rebuke. Because if we are His “sheep” we will hear His voice and (eventually) follow Him. If we don’t hear HIs voice…
Psalms 118:8 – It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – The trust we place in man is often misplaced. The trust we place in God is never misplaced.
My Advice – You will face many choices in what or whom to trust. Man’s counsel may seem wise, but often fails. God’s counsel will never fail you. Choose His counsel and wisdom over man’s.
Psalms 81:11-14 – “But My people would not listen to Me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. If My people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow My ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!” (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Sometimes we can be so stubborn, that the only way for God to get our attention is to let us have our way and reap the consequences. But even then, He is close at hand, ready to deliver us when we call out to Him.
My Advice – Do not be so stubborn that God has to let you have your way. Better to be submissive to Him at the outset. The end result is the same, He ultimately will deliver you, but the path is much shorter and less bumpy when you go His way. You gain nothing by being stubborn, but you gain everything by being submissive.