Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sustaining Grace in Hard Times

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ (2 Corinthians 12:8-9a NLT)
Sometimes in life we find ourselves in the middle of an unfixable problem; an unsolvable puzzle; an unchangeable circumstance.  What do you do when you have asked God to take it away over and over again and you finally realize that He’s not going to take it away?  How do you go on in the midst of seemingly unbearable circumstances and in spite of temptations, trials, stress, exhaustion and troubles?  God wants us to depend on Him.  He promises that He will never give us more than we can handle, regardless of the fact that we may feel like we simply can’t go on.  In fact, sometimes we have to get to the place where we simply lay down and realize we just cannot do it in our own strength.  We are weak, He is strong.  In our weakness, His power is magnified. 

Pastor Rick Warren gives us four things we can do to tap into God’s sustaining Grace in hard times:
·      Cry out for God’s help. As long as you pretend to be self-sufficient, you short-circuit God’s power in your life. “[God] gives grace to the humble. So give yourselves completely to God …. Come near to God, and God will come near to you” (James 4:6b-8a NCV).
·      Fill your mind with God’s Word. Let it comfort you, strengthen you, fill you, and give you the energy you need to keep going. David prayed, “I lie in the dust; revive me by your word” (Psalm 119:25 NLT).
·      Accept support from God’s people. The Bible says that “by helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NCV). God puts weaknesses in our lives so we realize how much we need each other. He never meant for you to go through life on your own.
·      Hold on to God’s promises. There are more than 7,000 of them in the Bible waiting to be claimed. Here’s one of them: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youth grow tired and weary … but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV). Keep your eyes focused on the hope of Heaven, not just on the here and now.  We have to be careful here not to depend more on people than we do on God.  That is an easy trap to fall into.  Be careful when you hear God saying “just trust me”, and you ignore that voice, that intangible resource for the tangible resource in your hand.  He wants us to trust Him.  That requires magnificent faith in the time of great need.    

When we are discouraged, tired, defeated, tempted, God’s grace will sustain you if you let it.  Sustaining grace; the grace that meets us at our point of need and equips us with courage, wisdom, and strength.  Sustaining grace!  It doesn’t promise the absence of struggle.  It promises the presence of God.  It promises sufficiency.  It promises to be enough.  God’s sustaining grace is there, within our reach.  It is the power to keep us going when we can’t put one foot in front of the other anymore, at least not in our own power.  We can have that sustaining grace just by accepting it, relying on it, and putting our faith into action. 

Scripture to Claim:
Don’t treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.  Galatians 2:21 NLT

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