Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Preaching To Myself

Sometimes you just got to preach to yourself, and say, "self, here's the way it really is!" I say that sometimes from the pulpit, and I really believe it, and I really practice it. But this morning in my triad meeting, we discussed the pruning process of the Lord in our lives; and I was reminded afresh at the awesomeness and absolute sufficiency and refuge and joy that Jesus is in our lives! Let me share, and preach to myself some more; maybe it will help you too!

God uses lots of things to prune us: friends, family, books, sermons, the Word, teaching, etc., but most of all He uses pain, suffering, loss, and deprivation to break us from things that we don't need and things that hinder the fruit that endures and the joy of Christ! And so with that pain in mind, I kinda began to share some life lessons that Christ has worked through the three most painful times in my life. And I got so excited about how God used the Word and His sufficiency not only to get my through, but to grow me and change me and bring glory to Himself. And I got to preaching a little bit...

And these are just a few places that we are reminded of God's power and sufficiency, but they are tied to the painful times of my life, but biblically speaking:

David experienced and extolled the sufficiency of God in the wilderness, a dry and thirsty land, on the run, persecuted, downcast, deprived, betrayed, hunted, and sought after when He said in Psalm 63:1-7, when He saw the power and glory of God "...Your love is better than life...thus I will praise you and lift up hands in your soul is the shadow of your wings I will rejoice..." GOD IS SUFFICIENT!

Job, after immense, unspeakable tragedy and loss, said, "though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him," knowing that God alone is enough! Then after 35 chapters of God's silence, some unhelpful friends, and Job's whining (not patience), God speaks. He says to "gird up your loins like a man," I've got something to say. And for four chapters He demands answers from Job about who created the seas and their boundries, and where was Job during all that; and on and on for four chapters. And at the end, God having given no reason for Job's suffering and His allowance of it, Job says that he has spoken of things that he does not understand, and he repents for doubting God. And the message of the book is that God alone is enough. GOD IS SUFFICIENT!

Habakkuk was floored by the news that God was sending the wicked Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem and take them captive into a far away land. He can't fathom why or how God would do this to His children! He finally, after much reflection, at the end of the book says that when he heard the news, his body quivered, bones shook and ached with pain and shock, BUT if the worst case scenario happens "though the fig tree has no blooms, the labor of the olive fails, the fields yield no food, the flock is cut off from the fold, their are no herds in the stalls; Yet, I will rejoice in in the Lord, and I will joy in the God of my salvation! He is my strength..." GOD IS SUFFICIENT!

Paul said that the pain of the "thorn in the flesh" was unbearable, and that he had asked God to remove it, and God had refused. God said, " grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness." So Paul concluded, "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." How could he rejoice, take pleasure in pain????? Because He knew that Christ was a greater joy than all the pain in the world! GOD IS SUFFICIENT!

And much more could be said, but I will leave you with that. It is just so good to be reminded of His sufficiency and power; and that He is our Rock and worthy of our trust! May God's strength be manifested and put on display in a world by the suffering of believers who attest to the Refuge of our soul, and take pleasure in trials because He is our treasure!

Preach this message to yourself: GOD IS ALL-SUFFICIENT, SATISFYING LORD OF GLORY!

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