On Friday, our youngest daughter came home for Thanksgiving. She really wanted to be with all of us, but especially her sister... her sister who suffers from chronic pain... her sister who modern medicine doesn't seem to be able to help... her sister who we have brought before God's throne over and over and over and over again.... yet her chronic pain remains.... there is a name, in part, for what she suffers from - intracranial hypertension. Where's the mercy? Where's the grace? I know it's there... by faith, I know it's there, yet at times like this weekend it's so hard to see...
Steve preached yesterday on THANKSGIVING ALL THE TIME...
Steve knows a man who has more than an attitude of thanksgiving... more than a gratitude attitude. This Holy Spirit filled and joy filled man:
- comes from a great family heritage
- is an extremely hard worker
- is constantly on the move
- has been in prison repeatedly
- has been flogged severely
- has been stoned
- has been close to death repeatedly
- has been shipwrecked and even left out in the open sea
- has gone hungry
- has been left naked and cold
- has been in danger all over the world (from enemies, countrymen, and "false brothers in Christ")!!!!
I'll stop there! Steve knows this man because he knows God's word. This man, in spite of so much more than I listed above, wrote often about his joy in suffering. I have chosen to share some of the things he has written from 3 of his many books:
- Romans 5:1-2 " Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this GRACE in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."
- Romans 5:3-4 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope."
- Romans 5:11 "Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."
- Romans 12:11-12 "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer..."
- Romans 12:14-16 "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another."
- Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. "
- Romans 15: 32 "...I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed."
- Romans 16:19-20 "Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you."
- 2 Corinthians 2:3 "I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy..."
- 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 "We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the HOLY SPIRIT and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything."
- 2 Corinthians 7:4 "I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. "
- 2 Corinthians 7:7 "He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever. "
- 2 Corinthians 8:1-2 "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity."
- Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the SPIRIT is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control..."
Paul's life was full of HOLY SPIRIT living. He knew the SPIRIT, listened to the SPIRIT, was guided by the SPIRIT. His JOY, in part, sprang from a THANKFUL heart. He knew where MERCY and GRACE came from! In just the books of Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians alone, he uses these words:
- SPIRIT - 118 times
- THANK (root)- 26 times
- JOY (root) -28 times
- MERCY - 17 times
- GRACE - 59 times
Today, I will continue to meditate on and allow God's Spirit to guide me as He works to grow His fruit in me. I will come to the TABLE OF GRACE and beg Him for relief for our daughter, Jessica, because I know HE IS ABLE!