Warming Up & Weather
It is a wonderfully blustery Wednesday afternoon as I write this on my own computer. However, because I do not have Wi-Fi or a wireless card on this computer, and the nearest place to plug in is too far away for the Ethernet cable to reach, I’m sitting here enjoying my own keyboard and creating a Word document to save on a flash drive, and then take to my wife’s computer which is connected to the world.
I know you didn’t need to know all of that, but I needed to warm up my fingers – I’ve been too long at the iPhone and iPad.
Storms are about to sweep through our area again, much worse than the lightening that came through yesterday. As of the moment of this writing, we are under a tornado watch and expecting straight-line winds of up to 60 mph, along with hail. That’s not good, but I guess it could be worse – Hillary Clinton could be coming to dinner.
So, before the power ends up going out, or at least before I end up having to shut everything down again, I am now going to share with you some thoughts I had yesterday, before my flash of brilliance (that’s call humor)was interrupted by a flash of lightening.
“I can do it!”
How often have you heard it proclaimed, especially by athletes and motivational speakers, “I can do all things through Christ”? I’m sure you’ve probably seen Philippians 4:13 written on the sleeves and foreheads of runners; tacked on the end of messages to struggling college students; or heard from friends before you accepted that challenging new position. For the most part, Philippians 4:13 has been used as a tool to soothe our fears of failure and encourage us to greatness, because, after all, “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”
The only problem with using Philippians 4:13 is that the context has nothing to do with what most people want to accomplish. It has nothing to do with running races, lifting weights, saving relationships, getting promotions, or making money; it does, however, have everything to do with enduring hardship, pain, and unfair loss with growing faith.
In verses 11 and 12 the Apostle Paul stated that he had learned how to be content in all circumstances, whether poor or rich, hungry or well-fed, comfortable or uncomfortable. The “things” to which he was referring in verse 13 are anything but contests, races, jobs, relationships, etc.
So often we forget the struggles and trials our forefathers in the faith have endured. In chapter 4 in his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul was attempting to encourage a poor congregation, not a rich one. He was thanking God for their renewed financial support (v.10), while at the same time encouraging them not to feel guilty for their previous lack of support, because they had “lacked opportunity.” He was saying to them, “Hey, it’s OK! Really! God has taken care of me and met my needs. And even when I was in need, or pain, or suffering, the miraculous power of Jesus Christ has proved real in giving me the ability to be content, whatever the situation.”
But I need Jesus
I don’t know where you are in life, but I am trying to learn, as Paul did (v.11), how to be content, even when I don’t know where I’m going to be living in a month, how I’m going to see the little church I now pastor survive and grow, or whether or not we will be able to pay our basic bills, much less keep the cell phones going. The temptation is to fall prey to fear and doubt, to envy and lust, and to struggle against the current of His will, like a butterfly against a hurricane.
However, if I could just rest in Jesus, admit my frailties, and lean on Him, His grace is sufficient for me, and His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). It shouldn’t matter to my faith if the money isn’t there like it used to be, for “according to His riches” (Eph. 3:16) I will be “strengthened…unto all patience and longsuffering” (Col. 1:11).
Just remember, context…context…context!! Don’t use Scripture where it was never meant to apply. However, no matter what you do, remember the words of Jesus in John 15:5: “…for without me you can do nothing.”
Christ will strengthen the believer that puts his/her trust in Him, but only for the things He has called you to accomplish for His glory. If winning a gold medal, making your first million, or getting that promotion is part of the plan, then so be it; but don’t count on it.
14 responses to “You Can Do What Through Christ?”
I know of many good men and women who are in uncertain times. Times where we must completely depend on God everyday. I can only say we are being prepared for something greater.
Amen! That is one of my pet peeves. I can do all things…..except perhaps open this blasted jar. It’s a great bit of scripture, but in context. Like it or not, we cannot do all things. Like fly.
Also, I do not like “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Sure He does, all the time. If He didn’t we would have no need to lean into Him.
Stay safe during your storms.
That last part… about what we can handle… Big AMEN!
Love your words! While I add if he did give us more than we can handle…would we be blogging right now? Having traveled the tunnel of hell for over 15 years with the same angst’s as many, no money, a child fighting tirelessly for her life, loss of my closest relatives. I have emerged stronger, things that use to frighten me, are mere annoyances now. I know without him to lean on and yes to allow him to carry me in those darkest hours I would not be reading and enjoying your blog right now. Please, I am not a religious zealot, as I am often left of right. Nor do I believe in any one denomination, for I find my salvation praying in the woods without a congregation.
As to the last part, not everyone can be as perfect as me, right? 😜
I meant no slight towards you or your denomination. It is only that everything I have read of the good book. Jesus and his disciples traveled under no denomination. Jesus preached that the lord was not found in any man made structure such as the temples. But, in everything he had created. For every denomination believes they are the true religion how can that be? Believe me, these ideals of mine often found me in trouble at my Free Methodist Sunday school. Whereon my poor grandmother found herself apologizing for me most Sundays. As I discovered through the teachings what they taught though in line with the Bible had their own spin on it. Thereby causing me to learn about as many religions as I could. Perhaps the best of all religions and denominations spun into one…The Bible states Baptists and Jews traveled with Jesus as his disciples not under their denomination. It is said, not to worship unto idols but Catholics to this day pray to the statue of Mary. Jesus also taught not to judge,but to be kind and accepting of all people, yet many churches turn against those that are different. I know it says that where many are gathered and call unto him they will be heard…But so is the child, on bended knee at there bedside all alone. 🙂
Thanks for taking the time comment! You said nothing that offended. However, should you allow, I would be honored if you’d let me continue a conversation regarding these things. You make some valid points, but a couple of things you said point to some areas where I might be able to give you some more information. Believe me, I’m not here to argue, only to present my educated opinion for the consideration of those interested. Everyone must make up his own mind.
Denomination or not, however, it’s still vitally important for true believers and followers of Jesus Christ to fellowship in worship with fellow believers. Honestly, the woods are a great place to pray, but it’s hard to argue against corporately gathering together as the body of Christ. I would just encourage you to give that some more thought. My qualified two cents, if you asked 😉
Oh I agree! But for me to bring others to the woods in worship would I not then be called a witch! LOL 😉 My family and I pray each evening together over our meal. I also think it is very important for people to realise prayer is just not for the day of church, while under many eyes. But for everyday unto oneself, to find a personal, individual, relationship with God. For often the holy rollers at church portraying themselves of his flock, are tyrants at home Monday thru Sat.
Yes please, I love nothing better then to hear others opinions. For when we know better we do better! 🙂
When I am sitting at a computer, not on my iPhone, I’ll share some more thoughts. I might even give you 2 1/2 cents worth 😉
looking forward to it!
Pingback: Worthy partakers of the body of Christ – Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven
Pingback: Of junk and fake grace (13) | daily meditation