Sunday, April 30, 2017

One of Jesus' titles is "The Coming One". He IS coming again. Are you ready?

In listening to John MacArthur's series in Revelation, this sermon yielded some glorious truths, once again. The sermon is titled The Certainty of the Second Coming. Now, we all know Jesus is coming to earth again. This time He will not be a meek servant, but a powerful judge. But do we know just how certain His coming is? How often the Bible makes reference to it? We don't hear the Second Coming preached much, or spoken of often. But it is the next prophetic event on the calendar (along with the rapture, which will happen just prior). Here is an excerpt from the sermon:

"The Coming One" was a title for Messiah. "The Coming One" was a special name for Messiah. In fact, back in Matthew we have an interesting reference to it. I’ll just read it to you. In Matthew, John the Baptist was in prison and he sent word by his disciples to Jesus. And they said to Him, "Are You the Coming One?" You see, the Jews all knew that the Coming One was a Messianic title. Jesus is the Coming One. That same verb, erchomai [???], that means "coming," is used directly or indirectly with reference to Christ nine times in the book of Revelation. Seven of those nine times it is the words of Jesus Himself, referring to Himself as "the Coming One." 
This book, then, is about the coming of the Coming One. And the present tense indicates to us that He’s already coming, so that we have this sense of expectation that leads John to say, "Look, He is coming," as if we are to be living in eager expectation. This, again, is the great heart of the book [of Revelation]. 
For every time the Bible mentions the first coming of Christ, it mentions the second coming 8 times. For each time the atonement is mentioned once, the second coming is mentioned twice. Jesus refers to His second coming 21 times, and over 50 times we are told to be ready for His return.

Over 50 times we are warned to be ready for His return? Wow. Yet for all the lack of preaching and teaching on it, one would think it is not important. But it is highly important. I recommend MacArthur's sermon series in Revelation, linked above. My personal opinion is that his best book has been Because the Time is Near, an overview of Revelation.

Through death, rapture, or Judgment, you will meet Him. Are you ready?

Further Reading

Alistair Begg/Truth for Life Devotional: Be Ready

Ligonier Devotional: Discerning the Signs

Grace to You Article: Marks of a Committed Christian

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Brass in the Bible, and brassy, brazen women

Did you ever think about brass? Looking at some of the items in the Bible more closely is enjoyable. Linen, pomegranates, ants, and palm trees have all been examined on this blog. Soon it will be fishing boats. Today I'm interested in brass.

My interest was piqued when I was listening to a John MacArthur sermon on Revelation 1. As an aside I'd like to add a personal note. I've listened to Dr MacArthur's sermons on the eschatological passages and I have researched his doctrinal stances on eschatology. I have of course also studied the eschatological doctrines myself directly in the Bible, and have listened to many other men preach on them. I believe Dr MacArthur is the most solid and biblical. Here, he preaches "Why every Calvinist should be a Premillennialist" and explains all the main eschatological viewpoints, biblically. He is firm but graceful on his pre-tribulation stance because it's biblically rooted (a stance to which I hold and I believe to be the only correct one).

In the sermon, Dr MacArthur was going through the vision given to John of Patmos in Revelation 1:12-14.
"His feet were like burnished bronze when it has been caused to glow in a furnace." What is that? Red hot. You've seen metal in a furnace, glowing, burning brass, or bronze. By the way, as a footnote, all of the temple and all of the tabernacle furniture that was in any way used in a sin offering was always brass. When you see brass in this situation, you know it has something to do with sin. And here you have feet glowing hot...very clear reference to judgment."
Then MacArthur said,
By the way, as a footnote, all of the temple and all of the tabernacle furniture that was in any way used in a sin offering was always brass. When you see brass in this situation, you know it has something to do with sin.
Hmmm. Immediately I thought of the verse in 1 Corinthians 13:1 where Paul said,

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

The Greek word used in the verse for gong is brass. Now, not every biblical mention of brass is a symbol of sin. Brass instruments are mentioned. Bronze statues are made. Bronze tools are helpful. Alternately, the Calf the Israelites made was golden, not bronze. However, the bronze serpent called Nehushtan became an idol that had to be destroyed.

While brass or bronze in the temple is not used in a positive sense, now that I think about it, culturally, brass is not positive much either.

The word brazen means acting or done in a very open and shocking way without shame or embarrassment, to face with defiance or impudence —usually used in the phrase brazen it out

If someone calls you brazen, it's not a compliment. For women, it's even worse. A cultural epithet feminists continue to try and twist into an accolade is "the brassy woman." This 2014 Elle Magazine article titled "Is it Really Okay for Women to be Brassy?" looked at one famous brassy woman and her life and death, comedienne Joan Rivers.
In all of the glowing memorials of Joan Rivers, who died last week at 81, she is lovingly referred to as "brassy." And comedy, it seems, has begun to embrace the Schumerian vulgarity in all women. But, does society really, truly love a brassy gal? ... 
In nearly every piece of writing on the life and death of Joan Rivers, she is referred to as such. Her admirers say "brassy" like it's a good thing. That wasn't always the consensus.
The halfhearted answer in the magazine article is that it's kind of OK to be brassy, but the biblical answer is, no. Though the article calls brassy women "assertive" and "confident", brassy women are more like the aforementioned clanging brass and clanging cymbal- just noise without music. Think of women who are or were considered brassy, Joan Rivers, Mae West, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman. Now think of women who have never been called brassy, Jennifer Aniston, Olivia De Haviland, Meg Ryan. The former are profane, vulgar, and loud. The latter are demure, self-possessed, and dignified. Who would you rather be around? Which woman possesses the more biblical definition of womanliness?
Fun fact: If you mix other metals with copper, you get bronze and brass. Bronze is a mixture of about 90% copper and 10% tin. It’s darker than copper, and the color is less warm. In fact, bronze turns green when it oxidizes. Dark bronze can look almost chocolatey. 
Take 70% to 85% copper and mix it with zinc, and you get brass. It’s a yellow-gold color. So how do you tell brass and gold apart? Brass is slightly darker and duller; gold is lighter and shinier. ... An easy way to see if something is gold or brass is to use a magnet. Brass will attract the magnet, but gold won’t. If something says “K” or “karats,” it’s gold. Gold is also about twice as heavy as brass.
The brass implements at the temple were used just outside the holy of holies. Inside the holy of holies, was gold. For example, the bronze laver in which to wash and purify from sin before tending to priestly duties is a case in point.

The Bible is precise. The Holy Spirit inspired the men to write what they did for a reason, even down to the kinds of metal God chose to use for various items for various reasons. It would be fun to study the refining process, which metals are composed of how much dross and the biblical uses of various metals.

In High School I took "Shop." One of the projects we did was working with metal. I made an iron capital E, similar to the large capital letter "M" that Mary Tyler Moore had on her apartment wall in the old TV show. Though the half semester course was over 40 years ago, I distinctly remember excitedly donning all the safety gear and carefully pouring the liquid metal into my mold. I could hardly wait until the item cooled. It came out great!

I was amazed by the beauty of the molten metal, the glowing colors and the gracefulness of how it poured. I was satisfied to learn how it changed from solid to liquid to solid again. Metal is beautiful and interesting. I lost my 'sculpture' long ago, I wish I hadn't.

Brass, bronze, brazen. Think about it. Would you rather be "good as gold" with a "heart of gold"? Or a "brassy women" who is "bold as brass"?

**Ed Note: even searching for examples of "brazen women" to use in this essay yielded many sites and photos of women toting guns (as in criminals like gun moll), being profane and immodest, and/or involved in public sex or known for "confident" sexuality. I rest my case.


Further Reading

Brazen Women: vintage postcards and photos with captions of historically daring women

Friday, April 28, 2017

The LORD is Creator and Commander of the animal kingdom

The Lord in His power directs every atom, every person, every angel, every demon, and every animal on earth (and in heaven). He created all and He is in control over all.

Not that He makes humans like robots, but His providence sees to it that His will and His plans are carried out. I enjoy pondering His power over His creation, don't you? There are many verses that speak to this fact. Here are a mere few that demonstrate His sovereignty.

"The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters" (Psalm 24:1-2).

"Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God" (Psalm 90:2).

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).

One demonstration of His power is His control over the animals. Let's take a look.

The most obvious one is His control over animals when He sent them to Noah to board the ark.

Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. (Genesis 6:20).

In Exodus, He sent the plagues of flies, gnats (Exodus 8:16-19), frogs (Exodus 8:1-15) and killed all the cattle- except the ones who belonged to the Hebrews. Lest someone believe that it was an accident, the Bible declares that the LORD did it.

And the Lord did so. There came great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his servants' houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by the swarms of flies. (Exodus 8:24).

EPrata photo

And the next day the Lord did this thing. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one of the livestock of the people of Israel died
. (Exodus 9:6).

Prophet Elijah was fed by ravens.

And the word of the Lord came to him: 3 "Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there." (1 Kings 17:2-4).

Lest anyone think it was an accident, note that the LORD "commanded" the birds to do this. It was His will and desire that this should occur. And it did.

In Numbers 22:28 He made a donkey speak. What I found funny was that Balaam argued back. He was arguing with a donkey! He didn't say, "Hm, this donkey which I have ridden all my life and it never spoke before, suddenly began acting strangely and then it talked to me. It must be the LORD.' No, Balaam said he was so mad at the donkey he would like to kill it. The donkey then pleaded his case. A strange scene, for sure. But the LORD made the donkey speak. Once again, He is in control.

Of course one can think of the bears God sent to maul the taunting youths, the great fish He sent to swallow Jonah, the lions' mouths he closed in the lion's den for Daniel, the ram he sent to Abraham caught in the thicket atop Mt Moriah, and many other instances of how the LORD used animals to fulfill His will.

In the New Testament, He made the fish overload the disciples' nets so much that their net broke. (Luke 5:6). In Matthew 17:24-27 he put a drachma coin into a fish's mouth. He will call the birds of the air to the Great Supper of God. (Revelation 19:17).
EPrata photo

God communicates with His creatures. He cares for them. They indicate that there IS a Creator as a product of God’s creative energy and will.

I enjoy thinking about the sovereignty of God through these topics. His created order, the world, and heaven contain animals of which he creates, communicates with, and cares for. They do what He wishes and they even give praise to their creator. (Psalm 148:10-13).

We can do the same.

EPrata photo

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday: If We had X-ray Vision, what would Sin Look Like?

This was first published in January 2014 on this blog.

When satan was created, He was the most beautiful angel. Ezekiel 28:12 says

Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty."

Inside or out, satan was not only beautiful, but he was the very seal of perfection. But it didn't last. Though he was created perfect, one day, unrighteousness was found in him.

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you." (Ezekiel 28:15)

Initially, sin might look beautiful but the more a person becomes trapped in it, the less beautiful it seems to them and the more they are eternally destroyed.

The woman may be beautiful, and the sin so enticing, Proverbs 5:3 says,

For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey and her speech is smoother than oil.

But the end of it all is is hell.

In the end she’s as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps head straight for Sheol. (Proverbs 5:4-5)

But sin at first has to look great, and not like ot really looks, or else no one would engage in it.

How does sin really look? Remember Superman's X-Ray vision?

THIS is what sin might look like. Here is the Old Man. Once so beautiful and shining, it is what satan's soul looks like. Eve thought the fruit looked good and a delight to the eyes, (Genesis 3:6) but shortly after all it had brought was pain and bondage (Genesis 3:16). If we had X-ray vision and could see beyond the enticing surface, this is what we would see:

"Sin", collage on handmade paste paper, by EPrata

O, would that sin looked like this to our eyes, then we would not be so attracted to it! And sadly, horrifically, it is what us inside us. This ugliness is what Jesus sees when He looks at a non-believer. Lovingly, He still died for us.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

However, being that sin is so gross and deadly, it makes the triumph of Jesus all the more glorious. Where satan is all-darkness that fools us into thinking it is light, Jesus never had one blot, one lie, one corrupt thought, one serpent slither. Not once, not ever. He IS the Light!

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

If we had X-ray vision looking at Jesus, our eyes would see only glory upon glory, shining like the sun. He is a prism of Light, reflecting throughout all the universe and into the eternity we will share with Him! When He looks upon a believer He sees that same righteousness-

For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Don't be fooled by the initially enticing beauty of sin. It is gross, destructive, horrible. Put on your X-ray vision to see beyond the surface lie. Run from it toward Jesus who set us free from its bondage, and gave us the Spirit's vision to see through its enticing spoils. Satan's offerings are nothing. Jesus is our all in all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I'm not broken

Do you hear a lot of conversation these days involving the word 'broken' and 'brokenness'? I do. It is the newest trendy word.

Words matter. They present reality, create meaning, knit a cultural understanding. Words matter.

The Lord revealed Himself to us by His Word. He IS the Word made flesh. He could have revealed Himself to us in pictures, symbols, or any other method. He chose the Word.

We will be judged by our words. Jesus said, "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:36).

Words matter.

In Genesis 11:1 we read, "Now the whole earth had one language and the same words." In Genesis 11:7 God said, "Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech." [Literally, 'one lip'].

How did the LORD choose to restrain man? By confusing their languages. He will reverse that on His Day. Zephaniah 3:9 has the prophecy-

"For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord." [literally, "one lip"].

Words matter.

Christians speak the one language of faith. Or we are supposed to, anyway. The Bible clearly explains the important concepts by which we live and construct meaning. They are in words, and the words are: sin, wrath, grace, sanctification, justification, imputation, atonement, good, evil ... & etc. When we speak them to each other the meanings of these words should be clear to Christians. When we say, "I am a sinner" we know what we mean. When we say "God is good" we know what is meant by it. "I'm a depraved sinner" is understood. We should be 'of one lip.' But we're not. By dropping and substituting words commonly understood for millennia, we are creating new understandings of the basics of the faith.

In today's example, no longer are we sinners. We're 'broken.'

Brokenness the way it's used nowadays does not mean what you think it means. In this piece by The Gospel Coalition, the opening paragraph succinctly describes my concerns with the increasing use of the word 'brokenness.' Unfortunately, the rest of the essay goes on to state the exact opposite of my point here today, so I don't endorse the article.
In Christian circles, much has been made of brokenness, vulnerability, and authenticity in recent years. Some have expressed concern that these ideas have been overemphasized while holiness has taken a backseat. Brokenness in this context has tended to be of a faux variety. Much of it amounts to a confession of socially acceptable sins and mommy bloggers making messiness cool.
How does using brokenness the trendy way it is being used in Christian circles underestimate sin's power? Brokenness evokes minor imperfections, not depravity. It removes the impetus from the sinner as the one performing the sin. We've gone from 'I am a depraved sinner in need of grace' to 'I'm broken through no fault of my own and I need a heavenly butler to fix me'.

These mommy bloggers with messy lives authentically telling you about their brokenness are no different from the Pharisees who lengthen their tassels or make long prayers with long faces in order to show they are good.

Showing you are 'bad/broken' is no different than the Pharisees showing they were 'good'. It's still 'look at me'. The result is the same also - hypocrisy.
"Maybe wholeness is embracing brokenness as part of your life." Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way.
Maybe NOT. When we display our shining faces and our heavenly glow, we are demonstrating His victory to the world. Embracing brokenness is not displaying a victorious life.

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (Matthew 6:16).

I do not know where these women are getting all this brokenness from, because before we're saved, we're not broken and in need of a little fix, as Lysa Terkeurst seems to think-
Brokenness where we are split open. Redemption where God knits us back together. Lysa TerKeurst
Before salvation, we are whole. Wholly evil, wholly depraved. We function unbroken and unabated in a cursed world where we fit in perfectly fine. After salvation, we are not fixed (as is the opposite of broken.) We are made a new creation. It's not that our thoroughly depraved soul is dented and needs pounding out and fixing like a car mechanic doing body work on a bumper or a little knitting and voila, we're fixed. We are so thoroughly evil that we must be made a new creation. So after salvation, nothing is broken then, either.

We're not supposed to promote our brokenness by mooning around with a long face, writing endlessly about how broken we are. Personally, I believe doing so is an insult to Jesus, who saved us perfectly. Lest someone think I am being heartless, I do know that both before salvation and after salvation, we grieve, are bereft, lonely, sad, melancholy, stricken, and all the rest. Life hurts. It really does.

If ever there was anyone who had cause to call himself "broken" it was Paul. He was betrayed, abandoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, beaten, lonely and even at one point "despaired of life"! He wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:8,

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.

Broken! For sure! But did he write anywhere in the Bible that we should dwell in our griefs? Wallow in brokenness? Embrace it? Never! What a ghastly thought! He wrote,

But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. (Philippians 2:18).

In whatever circumstance Paul found himself in, he urged rejoicing in the Lord. He never urged his people to wallow in brokenness. He never even said that as grief-stricken as he was at times that he himself was 'broken.'

Sisters, we are not broken. If the current trendsetters using the word mean broken as in prior to salvation, well, before salvation we're evil and depraved sinners who have no chance to please God, not broken. After salvation, we are a new creature, not broken.

If the trendsetters using the word broken to indicate a certain emotional state, well, call it what it is. Grief, broken-hearted, depression, melancholy, annoyance, overwhelmed. That's OK, we all feel those things at times. But again, that's not being broken. And in any case, as Paul said, rejoice, sisters, rejoice! Mooning around with a long face as a broken individual doesn't earn you any points with Jesus. He said as much regarding the Pharisees, as I stated above.

If you're sad, depressed, rejected, melancholy, whatever it is, rejoice! I know it's hard. I'm not making light. But watch the words you say (and sing, and write). Saying that you're broken is insulting to Jesus and unnecessarily transforming the Christian vocabulary into something trendy and indistinct.

I'm not broken. Are you?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Paul's warm letters

These are the openings of all of Paul's letters, except Galatians. Please don't skip, read them through.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6).

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9).

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ... Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:2,7)

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers... (Ephesians 1:15-16).

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5).

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:203).

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. (2 Thessalonians 3-4).

To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Timothy 1:2).

To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. (2 Timothy 2:2-4).

To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. (Titus 1:4).

To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 1:1-7).

A hallmark of Christianity is love.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35).

Barnes Notes says of the John verse,
That is, your love for each other shall be so decisive evidence that you are like the Saviour, that all people shall see and know it. It shall be the thing by which you shall be known among all men. You shall not be known by special rites or habits; not by a special form of dress or manner of speech; not by special austerities and unusual customs, like the Pharisees, the Essenes, or the scribes, but by deep, genuine, and tender affection. And it is well known it was this which eminently distinguished the first Christians, and was the subject of remark by the surrounding pagans. "See," said the pagan, "see how they love one another! They are ready to lay down their lives for each other." 
I think it's clear that Paul genuinely loved his people and cherished his overseers. His letters were full of approbation for them. He had high regard for his fellow workers, and wasn't shy about saying so.

Wouldn't it be lovely to receive a letter like Paul's? Wouldn't it be great to be received in person the way that Paul greets his friends? It would, on both counts. I fail the standard Paul sets here, both in reaching out with loving, personal messages to warmly encourage as Paul does, and in displaying a genuine love in person for the believers "in the common faith."

How about you? Is there something more you can do to 'boast of a friend' to other friends? To pray for them earnestly? To visit with them in love, exulting in your common love of Christ?

Please re-read the letter introductions, and think of someone you can love and encourage today. I know I will.

Monday, April 24, 2017

What about a Christian's Weakness?

There's weakness, and then there's weakness. It depends on which kind you're talking about.

Christian women are noted as the weaker vessel. (1 Peter 3:7). GotQuestions explains in this excerpt:
This is not a popular idea among many women or even many men. However, the Scripture tells us that the woman was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), she is subject to her husband (1 Peter 3:1) and that she is a “weaker” vessel. That women are usually physically weaker is undeniable, but the implication of the fall is that by virtue of her being deceived by Satan, women may also sometimes be weaker in other ways. That definitely does not mean she is less valuable (Ephesians 1:6) or that she does not have equal access to grace (Galatians 3:28). 
As for Christian weakness in general, we’re all weak, we are supposed to be. Paul said that Jesus replied to him,

'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

There's weak because we're laden with sin that makes us weak. That is one reason we strive not to sin. We pick up our cross daily and slay it. When we do sin, it's important to address it by repenting to Jesus and making things right with theother person, if you had involved another person in your sin. Sin is one reason we become weak and ineffective.

There's weak because we understand our depravity and seek the Spirit's strength. There's weak when we see how powerful Jesus is, and understand our own powerlessness in the face of His omnipotence. There's physically weak, due to illness temporary or permanent.

In some cases, God gives us weakness. He gave to Paul a "thorn in the side" both to keep Paul humble, and to demonstrate that all we need is His grace (not our own strength). (2 Corinthians 12:7)

In America where I'm from, strength is valued. Strength, bravado, and self-sufficiency are nationally recognized attributes, idols, even. In addition, American Feminism has also contributed to a national consciousness that we woman are supposed to have it all together and be capable of all things at all times. "I can bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan" and so on.

The attributes of weakness, meekness, and humility aren't as valued as they are in other nations. But it's OK to be weak. It's good. Why?

It's God who strengthens us. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13).

Wouldn't you rather have His strength than your own strength, anyway? :)


Further Reading

Here are a few resources on our weakness.

Desiring God: Don't Waste Your Weakness

The End Time: Are you a weak woman, or are you a weak woman?

Grace To You blog post: God's Sufficient Grace

Ligonier Devotional: Power in Weakness

One of Jesus' titles is "The Coming One". He IS coming again. Are you ready?

In listening to John MacArthur's series in Revelation, this sermon yielded some glorious truths, once again. The sermon is titled The Ce...