To be honest I do have a lot of other things I could be writing about right now.
I need to prepare for my message this coming Sunday – keeping up with the theme of Moving Forward, but this time we focus on doing so Without Hindrance. There’s also my message for tomorrow, for the Junior and Senior High kids – I started a series with them which was derived from a video Robin Sharma (I swear I’m pretty close to calling him Robin Shawarma) prepared with the theme of making 2023 legendary.
Finally, there’s the fourth and final transcription to wrap up what Joseph Prince shared as the theme of the year for his church, one that I’m also proclaiming for my own congregation as well – that is, that this year is going to be more than legendary; It’ll be a year of Kairos, or a year where we would be in the right place at the right time, exponentially more.
So yeah, all that’s still in line. But in light of recent events and conversations, well, I thought I’d hold back on these writing commitments, because there’s something I think has been a long time coming.
This morning I decided to push all that aside, and cracked open my (software) Bible, turning to Psalm 16, as today is February 16. I was supposed to make up for my 1000 word a day commitment by way of going through each verse in the said Psalm one by one – that was decided before I actually started reading it. I never imagined I’d spend so much time on verses 1-2:
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
I wrote about how we would not be wasting our time, calling Christ our Lord – in fact, we couldn’t say we believe in Him without saying that He is our Lord. Now that I’m thinking about it again, I dare say that we have come to believe in Jesus Christ, by way of His being Lord – That is, His goodness and greatness have literally reconciled heaven and earth, that we would come to the knowledge of His saving grace that leads to repentance.
I closed by saying, because we understand and appreciate Christ being our Lord (besides being our Savior, our King, and our God), we would do very well to cry out to Him for help – We would say it just as the Psalmist would. And it doesn’t even have to be in our times of trial and anxiety; it doesn’t have to be only during negative moments, but also in positive, excitable moments, I could imagine us saying the same thing, with the same vigor: ‘Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge’…
…And as we cry out to Christ, we would truly come to see His goodness and His greatness manifest in our lives – not according to our expectations, but birthed from His everlasting power and infinite glory; His everlasting wisdom, and His infinite grace.
Today I am thankful for His goodness. Today, I am thankful for His greatness.
Yesterday afternoon I hosted a prayer meeting, and a common concern that at least half of the people in attendance (there were six of us, good start) shared was related to land or property issues. Actually, it was my Mom who shared what was in her heart first, which led to another church member to share she had the same property issue, which led to me sharing a property concern I had. And seeing as my particular concern was something I didn’t really share with anyone else, even my own Mom, I was pretty vulnerable with my emotions, going so far as to say that I get anxious every time I think about it, to the point that my prayer would just be, ‘Lord, won’t you just take care of this problem for me?’, without going into more details because I’m just that disturbed by it.
After we shared what was in our hearts to pray for, we agreed that the ladies would form a group to pray for each other, and the men would do the same. The former went right at it, and I was ready to pray with the men – but not before a guest insisted he shared something before we went any further. I’m paraphrasing here, but his point went as follows: we were brought to these sorts of intimidating problems (referring to my property issue) to pray for them, sure, but maybe we’re meant to go a little further than to just pray about it, but to take the first steps into addressing them head-on, that we would be able to share the Gospel with anyone and everyone involved in the issue.
I was genuinely thankful for this man’s boldness to kick me in the nuts by way of telling me to face these problems instead of immediately hiding behind God. We prayed eventually, and then we wrapped up the entire meeting before parting ways.
Yesterday evening I had a similar conversation – similar, in the sense that I was kicked in the nuts, again. Without going into too much detail, the lady I was speaking to was being a good friend to me by way of telling things as they were. I say this because although she started off by being brutally honest about her feelings, in the process I’ve been led to think – up until this moment, I’m thinking – not about issues I’m too intimidated to even mention for prayer, but deep seated issues that started decades ago, which are affecting me up to this day.
Again, without going into too much detail, it seems as if a propensity for instant gratification was established so many years ago. It’s been sabotaging my personal growth, and, apparently, it’s also shaken and damaged relationships – from acquaintances down to critical unions – sometimes, beyond repair. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s like an attitude that I had which says something to the effect of, ‘I’m good and comfortable, and you’re on your own.’
‘I throw my weakness into Your greatness.’
Hillsong, Heart Like Heaven
Indeed, this year has been an interesting one and and exciting one so far, one where I’ve been brought to realize just how vulnerable I am – against real circumstances that are happening outside of me, and against deep-seated, deep-rooted issues that are tearing at me from within. It took God-sent messengers – The Engineer, and Ann – to lead me back to singing what we’ve read in Psalm 16:1-2.
I am truly in need of preservation, from these high-stakes, high-priority, urgent situations and circumstances that shake me from the outside. I am also truly in need of refuge, and correction, from these underlying, obsolete, sabotaging mindsets that are weighing me down from within. Or, if I see it from another point of view, maybe I need courage in place of preservation… and maybe I need discipline in place of refuge.
It’s no accident that I call out to our Lord Jesus Christ at these times, and I call out to Him saying, ‘I have no good apart from You.’ And that right there tells me one thing is for sure: I can’t do it on my own.
I am in need of Christ, especially during these times… and I can’t really say for what exactly, for what in detail deeper than His goodness and His greatness. Thankfully, I’m led to remember what His conversation with Paul in 2 Corinthians 12, from verse 8 to the first part of verse 9: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.””
Friends, I couldn’t really say that I know precisely how we would be helped by God in each and every unique problem we have, whether it comes from the outside, or if it’s been eating us up from within. To be honest I don’t even know if I’d really be taking the first step as The Engineer advised, or I don’t know if it’s discipline alone that would address the mindset I have that got Ann thinking the way she did, leading to her rebuke towards me.
I’m fully aware that there’s just as much weakness in not knowing the details surrounding the problems that we have. But it’s either our not wanting to start or not knowing where to start that has us stuck with these thorns… and thank God, for indeed, I believe His power and His greatness are made perfect in our weakness, and His goodness and His grace are truly sufficient for us… no matter how we handle what we’re being made to handle.
I guess I’m sharing all this, not because I have a 4-point plan as of right now, but just to say that I have been humbled this day. I’ve been rendered powerless, only to see how powerful our Lord is. I’ve been shaken, only to see just how secure of an Anchor our Lord is.
The rest of the chapter in 2 Corinthians is as follows:
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 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. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I’ve said it last Sunday, and I’ll say it again – In our being led to move this year, we’re also being led to move by way of prayer – to our God, who hears us before we speak, and who knows what we say before it comes out of our mouths. And while that may sound like a contradiction, it’s actually because of God’s omniscience that we are encouraged to pray even more; For it is in our prayer that we proclaim that we trust in God more than we trust in our own knowledge and power. It’s in prayer that we lay down the burdens we bear in our minds, as they come back, again and again and again.
And we aren’t praying for God to move. We’re praying, in acknowledgement of God moving beyond our own limited senses, and we keep on praying until we find satisfaction. It truly is as we point out in Philippians 4:6-7:
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
With prayer comes peace. And in this world where fear and anxiety is increasing at an exponential rate (I mean, people aren’t even hiding it anymore)… I think we’re being led to move more, and to pray more. I think we’re being led to the right place at the right time, but don’t be surprised if prayer is involved before, during, and/or after these said circumstances.
With that being said, let me proclaim the following:
May we find strength in the midst of our inner weaknesses, and may we find rest in the midst of our outer vulnerabilities.
May we see the Lord in all His power, influence, and control, as we call out to Him to preserve us from long-term issues, and to be our refuge in sudden situations.
May we take in His goodness, and in so doing, be led to repentance – that is, further renewing, refining and clarification of our mind and our way of thinking.
May we behold His greatness, and be brought to sing and dance in awe.
May we come to the sweet realization, that His grace is truly sufficient. Again, and again, and again.
Thank You so much, Jesus. Amen.
Until the next post, God bless us all.
Leave a Reply