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Bible Journal – Centered – Pull Up A Chair

~2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

Here we see the Trinity at work in the believer’s life. The love of the Father is so great (John 3:16) that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sin. Salvation rests totally on Jesus Christ – there’s nothing we can do to earn it. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The only thing we need to do is to acknowledge this in our heart and repent from our ways. That is grace: unmerited favor. God’s love provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him by giving of Himself! What love – what provision!

My favorite part of this verse is the communion with the Holy Spirit! Noah Webster defines communion as “fellowship.” As I have communion with the Lord, I have fellowship with Him. I communicate with Him – I meditate on God’s love, grace, mercy, and His attributes. Doing so opens my heart to His nature. It helps me to know Him more intimately.

When I am weary, I fail miserably in this area. My thoughts, once again, revolve around my trial and circumstances. They are not dwelling on God’s attributes but they are dwelling on:

Why is God allowing this in my life? Why won’t God take this away? Why me and not someone else?”

My communion with God has now become a one-way form of self-centered communication – it is no longer communion at all. It is like your child coming to you whining about something he feels is unfair.  I keep asking why instead of asking for His help through my suffering. Am I so different from the Apostle Paul in my feelings? Paul had a thorn in his side and he asked God to remove it three times. God’s response to Paul was:

~2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

As I commune with God and express the sorrows of my heart, He provides me with just the right amount of grace I need to go through that very moment. As with Paul, God may not take away my problem, but He does promise me that His grace is sufficient. He comforts my heart – He gives me strength to carry on – He showers me with His love, peace and comfort.

God’s strength is revealed through us during our trials. When others see my faith in action during a trial, it becomes a testimony to them of God’s power in my life. Yes, there have been times that the Lord has removed my trial from me and I have given Him the glory. Others witness my joy and their faith is increased. However, I believe that there is more impact in their lives when they see my faith in action when a trial is not removed. When we continue to rejoice in the Lord despite our circumstances, this testimony has greater impact. They actually see that God is carrying us through. It reminds me of the “Footprints in the Sand” story. God desires to help us through our trials and to even carry us. I’ve been carried by Him, haven’t you?

My communion with the Holy Spirit brings much benefit to my spiritual walk. He instructs me, He speaks to me through His word, He encourages my weary heart and He lifts me up (Psalm 121). I now understand how the Apostle Paul was able to continue preaching the Gospel. He probably asked God to remove his thorn so he could better serve Him. As much as that sounds like a Christ-centered request, the Father said that He would receive more glory  through Paul’s afflictions than without them. Paul’s relationship with God grew sweeter – it forced him to fully rely on God’s grace for each moment. We may think we know what is best for us but God’s ultimate goal always has our best interest.

When we reach this point in our spiritual walk, we can overcome weariness. Weariness is the result of trying to change our circumstances and failing. When we acknowledge that we cannot change them and fully rely on the grace of God to help us through, our focus is removed from our circumstances and instead placed on God. We now see that it has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with God. Rather than look at my trials with discouragement, I can now look at my trials with different eyes – I can see that through these trials, God will ultimately receive the glory and, as a result, will draw another closer to Him.

Is this not what Christ called us to do?

~2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

Everyone of us has this ministry in life. We are to reconcile the unbeliever to God by sharing the Gospel. We are to reconcile the wayward believer to Christ by being a spiritual mentor. When we see ourselves in this ministry, we understand how God takes our trials and uses them to help others. We find purpose for our lives. Weariness brings lies. We believe that because we are so sick, God cannot use us. Those are the devil’s lies. He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and he is quite effective. But the weary Christian does not need to fall for those lies. Remembering that our ministry, sick or not, is to reconcile others to God, we now see ourselves with purpose in our lives! There is no greater joy in a believer’s heart than to know that God is using him for His work!

Press on, my friend!

The picture above was taken by Carol Meyers and used here with her permission. She has traveled to some of the most beautiful places in the world and has captured so many pictures which depict peace and tranquility. Thank you, Carol, for allowing me this opportunity to use your work!

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