Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Pastor Alan Rietberg
One of the many blessings I have in my ministry here at Central is updating the weekly prayer list. That may sound like a somewhat mundane responsibility, but the opportunity in talking to people each week about their prayer needs brings both joy and sometimes tears to my eyes. I get to hear about how God is working in the lives of others, along with the frustrations and questions that ensue when difficulties arise.
I often have the privilege of praying with folks while on the phone, when they drop by my office, or when I visit with them in their home or at the hospital. Hopefully, the word of encouragement from the Bible, assurance of support from our church family, and praying for them help in facing the sometimes lonely path they are walking.
I can’t pretend to know what goes through the hearts and minds of other people when tough times come. I wish I could understand, but I don’t know how well I’d do given similar circumstances.
The Apostle Paul questioned God about his difficulties (which he elaborates on briefly in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) and the answer was: God’s grace would be sufficient. We read,
“…My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.
…I will boast…of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me
…when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God wanted to work in and through the life of Paul to demonstrate to others around him, as well as Paul, that even amid insufficient strength, God’s strength would suffice.
So, what did Paul learn? “…For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.”
We, too, can sometimes feel fairly self-sufficient when facing the day-to-day events in life and we only pray fervently when we feel stuck, forlorn, hurt, abandoned, and weak.
As one lady wrote: It means that when I’m exhausted and I can’t possibly go an inch farther and yet I’m in a situation where I must, His grace is sufficient for me. He gives me the needed strength to finish. It means when I’m feeling confused and uncertain about what direction to go when I’m making a decision, His grace is sufficient for me. He gives me peace and makes my path clear. (James 1 speaks more about this)
Our aim in life, our goal, our passion is to bring glory to God in all areas. The way we think, talk, act and react, feel, etc. are to be under the control of the Holy Spirit so God will get the glory. (Check out Ephesians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20; Romans 12:1,2)
Ephesians 6:10 reminds us “…be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”
Who’s strength? God’s!
Who’s might? God’s!
Who gets the credit? God!
We are all weak vessels that God wants to strengthen.
We all need God’s grace to face each day and then we need to lean on it.
We all need to give God the glory so that others will be drawn to lean on Him too.
My weakness, God’s grace, His glory!