Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Renewing Power of God’s Grace

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  –James 4:6, 7 (KJV)

Thank you all for bearing with me as I try to share with you these words of encouragement, which may not always be daily, yet hopefully are a blessing.  Please forgive me for getting behind in sharing, as the last few days have been extremely hectic.  Last week I enjoyed a couple of days in western North Carolina where I visited with old friends, relaxed, and enjoyed the beautiful mountains and picturesque scenery there.  My plan was to spend a little time fishing, but the weather did not cooperate.  While it was sunny, the cold temperatures were not conducive to fishing.  However, I did enjoy some badly needed quiet time at a cabin that belongs to our friends who live there.  God knew what He was doing when He allowed me the opportunity to get away for a time of personal refreshing.  I did indeed return refreshed and encouraged.

The returning is what is often difficult after a time away.  As soon as I got back, I came down with a nagging head cold and sinus thing, which has been mostly a nuisance, but has had the effect of sapping my energy.  My 21-year-old son Aaron, who is a health and fitness enthusiast, has been urging me (as he always does when I catch a cold) to sweat it out through intense daily exercise.  He is certain this relieves the symptoms of a cold and works far better than any cold medicine.  I am not so sure.  Along with my cold, I have been ministering to a number of people in the church who are experiencing personal difficulties involving such issues as sickness, the passing of loved ones, and family conflict.  The rest I received last week came at just for right time, because I needed it for what awaited me when I came back.

We never know what tomorrow holds, yet we are joyful because we know who holds tomorrow.  The temptation is to become discouraged and fearful, but these are opposite responses to a life devoted to Jesus Christ.  God’s Word promises those who trust in the Lord will receive grace through Jesus Christ, which is sufficient in our time of need.  As we humble ourselves before the Lord, God lifts us up spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  The power of Christ has a wonderfully renewing effect on our outlook and well-being.  The temptation is to become frustrated, which in turn causes anger and bitterness.  We may become upset with what is going on around us and believe we can handle the problems on our strength. 

Recall the words of James 4:6, which says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Submission of our will to God is the great paradox of the faith, for in submission we find release and spiritual victory.  No doubt you are struggling with something this week that has the power to bring you down emotionally and spiritually.  It may be a head cold or any number of personal struggles.  Take heart, for God is faithful and will bring you through to victory.  Do not fear, worry, or fret.  Instead, rise up in the power of Christ and humbly seek His will.  The result is peace and renewed focus.

God bless you today.