It's Thursday night and I usually have my paper done by this time, but it has been a busy week with a funeral as well as a preaching engagement.
In addition, our oldest son, Craig, is here from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, where he is Coach of the Women's Basketball team. It's Spring Break and we have enjoyed having him home for a few days.
(He even put in a new garbage disposal for us today which was an added blessing!)
Therefore I am quite weak (plus my checkbook didn't balance for the first time in a LONG time. I imagine that you may have had that 'balancing experience' sometime also).
Oh well, tomorrow is a new day....and even a better day, if we give it to the Lord!
It is now Friday and I'm finishing up this website paper.....which by the way, will be #74.
I have a wonderful helper in La Moyne who is a super wife, mother and 'Tutu' (Hawaiian for Gr'mother) even in times of sickness.
I have said many times that when she dies (if I'm still here) I'll put on her tombstone, 'More than enough' as she gives 100%...and more...to whatever she is doing!
I'm reminded of the man who was planning to buy a new Rolls Royce automobile.
He wrote the factory and asked about it's power. The one word reply was, "ADEQUATE".
We can say this about God's Power, Presence, Provisions, Promises, and Prospects.
But a better word is "SUFFICIENT"!
On the farm, we grew cotton and it always seemed to need rain. This year was the driest year on record for most of the state of Oklahoma. However, God is still on His Throne and He sent rain just at the right time. My brother told me last week that the dry-land cotton made good and the irrigated cotton was a bumper crop!
It always seems that just as the farmer is about to go under, God reaches down and once again He is ADEQUATE, if not SUFFICIENT!
Daniel Webster Whittle wrote a song in 1883:
'There shall be showers of blessings....This is the promise of Love.
There shall be seasons refreshing....Sent from the Savior above..
Showers of Blessings, Showers of Blessings we need,
Mercy drops 'round us are falling, but for the showers we plead'.
Website article #31 on May 14 '05, emphasized that God's Grace saves and shapes us.
Today, we're emphasizing that God's Grace also....
secures us, sustains us and is always SUFFICIENT.
1) GOD'S GRACE SECURES US: (Jude 24, 25)
"Now unto Him Who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the Presence of His Glory with exceeding joy! To the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power both now and forever. Amen!"
I have a feeling that many Christians may be secure about their Conversion and Heaven, but tend to forget about Jesus and His Grace/Power between Conversion and Heaven.
Please study the following:
Jesus is my Savior forever because I am:
a) Experiencing a Divine Birth (John 1:12-13)
b) Recipient of a Divine Gift (John 3:16 and I John 5:13)
c) Held by a Divine Grip (John 10-28-31)
d) Sheltered in a Divine Hiding Place (Colossians. 3:3)
e) Stamped by a Divine Seal (Ephesians 1: 13 and 4:30)
f) Covered by Divine Love (Romans 8:38-39)
g) Secured by a Divine Anchor (Hebrews 6:18-19)
II) GOD'S GRACE SUSTAINS US: (II Cor. 12: 7-10)
The Apostle Paul said:
"Lest I should be exalted above measure, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh. For this thing, I asked the Lord three times that it might depart from me and the Lord said to me, 'MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT for you, 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, for when I am weak, then am I strong.'
Isn't it interesting? Some people are more concerned about 'what' was Paul's thorn in the flesh....than about God's SUFFICIENT GRACE? I'm glad that Paul didn't tell us what Paul's thorn in the flesh was, so that we can concentrate on (and experience) God's gracious grace for any and everything in our lives!
The 'name it and claim it' philosophy is so perverted in a materialistic society.
But oh.....with God if we use it in relation to Scriptural Promises, it is amazing!!
'Name it and claim it' is sometimes used in what is called 'Divine Healing' which seems to use God as a 'bellhop' to get rid of our load. We forget that God has deeper reasons for dealing with our 'baggage'.
Several years ago, we were backing out of our driveway on our way to the hospital where La Moyne was to be hospitalized so they could do some biopsies concerning the Lupus flare she was in at the time. The postman had just left our mail, so I stopped to get it. As La Moyne was going through the mail, there was a book addressed to her. Someone (we never knew 'who'...other than it was one of God's Angels!) sent one of Joni's Eareckson Tada's earliest books. In that book, she shared how some 'well meaning person' told Joni that 'if you had enough faith, you would be healed of your paralysis'.
When La Moyne shared that with her Dr. he said, "No, a 'well-meaning person' would NOT say something like that!" Dr. Bill Hale knew what he was talking about as he himself, suffered the terrible pain and challenges of Multiple Sclerosis!
In her book, Joni wrote: "Why would any 18 yr. old quadriplegic NOT want to be healed?"
Then she told how she had done everything the Scriptures asks....the laying on of hands, the anointing of oil and her fervent prayers!
When physical healing didn't come, Joni's heart sank.
It was JUST THE BOOK that La Moyne needed at that time in her life!!!
God DOES heal directly from His Throne MANY times and we thank Him for that!
Think of what we might have missed if the Apostle Paul had reacted negatively to not being healed!
In my own life, God didn't choose to heal my vocal chord cancer instantaneously 15 yrs. ago, but used it to slow me down and to magnify God and His Word for my life.
Each time they put me through the radiation procedure, I would quote Scripture...
and I also said, "Lord, please ZAP those cells!!"
He did, as the cancer was healed through the miracle of modern medicine, but I had to take early retirement due to it. God was not through with me yet as He led us to 10 Interim Pastorates where we helped to strengthen these churches and all are doing well....Praise God!
In the last 2 years, preaching opportunities have been almost nil, but God opened the door to this website ministry.
So many of you have written to let us know how an article ministered to you and we praise God for that..AND..we give Him the glory!
Though God has not chosen to heal La Moyne, He has certainly given her the grace to 'live with Lupus'.
Early on, one of her doctors gave her a book about Lupus entitled 'The Sun Is My Enemy' (which she chose not to read for many years).
By following what we felt was the Lord's leadership, we have served 5 churches on the Big Island of Hawaii and one on Maui, as well as serving full-time for 4 years at Kona Baptist Church on the Big Island.
Realizing the need for her being careful about her time in the sun....and by following her Dr.'s orders (as well as the Great Physicians' Promises) we were able to continue serving Him.
As with some of you, 'aging' is bringing on some new 'health challenges'...which make us look at each other at times and say out loud, "SUFFICIENT MEANS SUFFICIENT!"
Our favorite devotional book since our years in Korea, has been Mrs. Chas. Cowman's book, "Streams In The Desert".
She gives many examples of people who have persevered by the Grace of God, including her own difficult times with her husband's illness and death.
One example is about George Matheson:
"When they buried the blind preacher, they lined his grave with red roses in memory of his love-life sacrifice".
It was this man who so beautifully and significantly wrote the following hymn:
'O love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee,
I give Thee back the life I owe...
That in Thine ocean depths it's flow,
May richer, fuller be.
O joy that seekest me through pain,
I can not close my heart to Thee.
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain.
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee.
I lay in dust, life's glory dead...
And from the ground, there blossoms red,
Life that shall endless be.'
In all that we have shared today, please don't forget the SUFFICIENCY OF THE SCRIPTURES.
One of my favorites is II Corinthians 3:4-5:
"Much trust we have through Christ to God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God".
God's SUFFICIENCIES are always available for our deficiencies!
God is able and God is faithful!
Please believe it.....and.....experience it!