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God’s Grace: Sustaining Grace, part 2
As William Munny said to Little Bill (just before he shot him in the western, “Unforgiven," Munny, standing with his gun drawn and pointed at Little Bill, with Little Bill objecting by saying, “I don’t deserve this”), Munny responded - as he shot -“Deservin’s got nothing to do with it.”
Pain, unfortunately, is just a part and reality of life. And in this world, as Jesus told us, we will experience trouble, difficulty, and suffering. Even the Apostle Paul, as undeserving as he was, experienced suffering. Let’s go ahead and read what he had to say about his suffering, and about God’s Sustaining Grace.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 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. 10 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.
At this point, I think it is important to underscore that the difference between a believer and a nonbeliever, when it comes to suffering, is not that believers don’t suffer. In fact, once a person becomes a Christian, I find the evil one is now even more bent on their destruction, both physically and spiritually, which means they will – you and I will – encounter even more trouble if we are seriously seeking to live for Jesus. And although the devil cannot take you or me to hell, he will certainly try to make my life, or yours, a living hell if he can. The good news we learn from Job’s experience is that Satan can do nothing to harm me, unless God allows him. But, he will still try.
One Bible Commentator made this statement, “As followers of Christ, we often suffer not because we are out of God’s Will, but because we are in it; not because we lack faith, but because we have faith. We will suffer, not because we need to be filled with the Spirit, but because we already are.”
Medication: A Merry Heart
A Sunday School teacher asked her class to draw pictures of their favorite Bible stories. She was puzzled by one drawing – it showed four people on an airplane!
Teacher: “What Bible story is that?”
Kid: “It’s the flight to Egypt.”
Teacher: “I see ... and that must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus ... but who’s the fourth person?”
Kid: “Oh, that’s Pontius, the Pilot.”
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
Verse of the Week: 1 Peter 3:9
Today’s readings: Isaiah 5 – 8