My Pain And God's Glory
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 For we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about the affliction and oppressing distress which befell us in [the province of] Asia, how we were so utterly and unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life [itself].
Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the [very] sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many "hard times" in life or "oppressing distresses?" What is God's purpose in it all? One reason, according to the above scripture is to keep us from trusting in ourselves and depending on Him. He wants us to give Him complete control of our lives.
Proverbs 3:5-7 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil.
It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones.
Luke 18:17 Truly I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] shall not in any way enter it [at all].
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
Secondly, we must have faith to please Him, and believe He exists. It also says He rewards those who diligently seek Him. How do we seek Him?
Zephaniah 2:3 Seek the Lord [inquire for Him, inquire of Him, and require Him as the foremost necessity of your life], all you humble of the land who have acted in compliance with His revealed will and have kept His commandments; seek righteousness, seek humility [inquire for them, require them as vital]. It may be you will be hidden in the day of the Lord's anger.
As we seek Him, in the process we will hopefully see what He has for us to see. As we open our hearts to Him, we will enter into a freedom, never know to us before. We can't even imagine what He has for us but He is truly a rewarder of those who seek Him. Psalm 118:5 Out of distress I called, He answered and set me free. Psalm 107:19-20 I cried out, He heard and healed me.
Matthew 10:38 And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
2 Corinthians 3:18 And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
Let us pray: Ephesians 3:16-21 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]--
To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
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