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A traditional church that is passionate about loving our community to the gospel.

Grace in Affliction

2 Corinthians 12


Speaker 1: Um. But then when he talks about associates, it says pending church membership approval and so, um, since we didn't change that, then we will do a church vote as to whether or not we hire our offer a the position to bear the clearance should he want the position. And so we'll have to we'll have to schedule that. Be kind of awkward to do that the Sunday night that he's here. But we'll announce it that way probably the following Sunday night, which would be the ninth. Nope. Can't do it the night. That's Mother's Day. Uh. Probably the Wednesday night after he's here, we'll have a church vote to offer him the position. But just so that you're aware of how that'll work, um, we want to make sure we do things right and abide by the Constitution that has been voted on and approved by the church body. So if you have any questions about that, please come see me. I'd be happy to talk to you about it. This coming Sunday after the morning service, there will be a vacation Bible school volunteers meeting. And if you're a member of the church and you would like to help out with vacation Bible school, we would love to have you be a part of that. And we've had several people come and join the church since the last time we did a full fledged vacation Bible school. And so even if you've never helped before, we would love to get you plugged in with one of our different areas. There are a lot of different areas where you can serve and get involved. And so please be there on Sunday after the morning service for that VBS meeting. And then coming up May 8th, we are going to have our mother daughter brunch and that'll be at o'clock here at the church. And if you're attending, we really appreciate it. You'd really help us out if you would add your name to the sign up sheet at the welcome desk. I believe we have 85 plus ladies already signed up, which is awesome. Awesome thing. So needless to say, ladies, you have outgrown the fellowship hall. We'll be setting you up out in the gym, which is very exciting. And so if you haven't signed up yet, that's going to be a great, great meeting. You can sign up at the welcome desk and let us know that you're planning on attending. And then Mother's Day is May 9th. We'll have a morning service with a gift for each mother that is here in the service. And then there will be no evening service after that. One of the thing we're doing in conjunction with Mother's Day, the mission committee, and I had met and talked about doing something for single moms in our community and some, as Tammy has been working to get different things that would be donated from local businesses that we could then put together into a care package. And things are tight right now for a lot of people. And so there isn't as much of a ability to donate a lot of things like we have seen in the past. But we were able to get some very good items. And so here in the next few days, what you're going to see on our social media account is a request for you to nominate a local single mother, and that'll not be anything that's public. You will do a direct message to the church, a private message to the church, nominate a single mom. You'll have to give us some form of ability to contact them, whether through email, phone number or an address. And every single mom that is nominated will receive a card and a five dollar Starbucks gift card. But we're going to do a drawing for a couple of different things that we were able to receive. One of them, we did receive a free pedicure from Cardinal Nail's in Collinsville, and so we'll be giving that away to a single mom. We also received a free oil change at Cardinal Express Lube. And so be giving that away. And then some of you may be familiar with Carla Gibson, who does the South in your mouth take home meals and stuff. She donated two hundred dollar gift cards, really for meals from from her her restaurant. And so we'll give both of those away as well. So keep an eye out for that on Facebook. You see, I don't have Facebook. If you don't have Facebook email. The church called the church office and talk to Miss Tammy. You can give her the name and the contact information for the single mom that you would like to to recognize. And if you could help us out with that, keep them as mostly local as we can. I mean, we could probably send stuff all over the country, but let's just kind of keep this to our local community for now. And if you want to help us with that, I think that would hopefully be an encouragement to folks during the Mother's Day time. So, anyways, teen kayaking, May 15th. I had a meeting on Sunday. If you did not get to attend that, please see him for more information. And then May 17th, we have a few slots left for our men's activity. We're going to Gulf Suites, which is like a top golf type thing where you do the driving range from off the deck. And I think we have about four slots left. It's six dollars each. We're going to be there from six to nine. If you don't want to come for the whole thing, you don't have to. If you're going to come late because of work, that's fine. But we do need you to sign up and then we will order food while we're there and we'll eat. You just eat while we're having fun and playing. And so I hope you join us for that. There's a sign up sheet for that at the welcome desk as well. All right. If you have any questions about any of those events, please come and see me. Are you happy to talk to you about any of them and give you as much information as I can? I all saying, again, we're going to seeing patient. We're five hundred and thirty four. No, not one page. No, five hundred and thirty four. No, not on the first. Second and the third. There's not a friend like the

Speaker 2: lowly Jesus, no, not one, no, not one, no one else could heal all our souls diseases.

Unidentified: No, not one. No, not one. Knows all about our struggles.

Speaker 2: He will guide until the day is done.

Speaker 1: There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus. No, not one. No, not one on the second. If you want to move, now's the time to move to a new spot. All right. On the second verse, are we go?

Speaker 2: No friend like him is so high and holy.

Unidentified: No, not war. No, not one.

Speaker 2: Yet no friend is so meek

Unidentified: and lovely, no, not one. Not one,

Speaker 2: Jesus knows all about our struggles. He will guide till the day is done. There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus. No, not one. No, not one on the third. There's not an hour that he is not near us.

Unidentified: No, not one. No, not.

Speaker 2: Cheer us, no, not one, no, not one. Jesus knows all about our struggles. He will guide till the day is done. There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus.

Unidentified: No, not one. No, not.

Speaker 1: All right, one last song that we're getting together soon and very soon will be up there on your on the screen and most of you familiar with this one will sing the first and the second.

Speaker 2: Soon and very soon, we are going to see the king soon and very soon we are going to see the king soon and very soon we are going to see the king. Hallelujah, hallelujah. We're going to see the king. No more crying there. We are going to see the king. No more crying there. We are going to see the king. No more crying there. We are going to see the king. Hallelujah, hallelujah.

Speaker 1: We're going to see the king. Hey, man, good singing tonight. There aren't any mind praying asking God's blessing on the offering this evening. And may maybe seated. Thank you for that, Alisha. You take your Bible and take a turn to the book of Second Corinthians. Second Corinthians, chapter number 12. So we're going to be this evening, so in Corinthians, chapter number 12, we are going to continue on with our series, Grace, through the Bible and look at another example of Grace here in the book of Second Corinthians. If you find your place, if you wouldn't mind, join me in standing in honor of reading God's word, Second Corinthians, Chapter 12. And we're going to read from verse seven, diverse number 10. Bible says. Paul speaking. Unless I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations there was given to me, a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing, I sought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me and he said under me, my grace is sufficient for them, 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. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities and reproaches, in necessities and persecutions in distress, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong, let's pray. Or we think for this day and we thank you for the folks that are here, I prayed you'd help us now as we look into your world page. Give me the word. You have me to say, you know, the folks who are here to listen and apply to hear their lives for us in Jesus name, I pray a man like you may be seated. US president, would you mind hitting the lights appear on the platform, not the spotlights, but the. The overhead lights. Since covid, one of the great things that has happened to our society. You think I'm going to say that, did you? Is the proliferation of grocery pick up? How many of you have picked up groceries at one time or another? How many of you almost exclusively pick up your groceries now, isn't it amazing, incredible, you just shop on the app and you hit order and it says show up tomorrow at such and such a time you go. And they bring the food to your car. They even load it in your car, you don't have to get out of the car if you don't want it. It's incredible. But I tell you, my favorite part of pick up grocery pick up is it's these sweet little bags. Have you gotten one of these with all the goodies inside of it? It's like Christmas. I mean, you get it home. Oh, well, then we get you know, and there's those nice vitamin water things. I mean, you have gotten the the Bausch Lomb tier things, little droplets. What am I going to do with this? How do you think I am my I'm still know your duct still work, but if some of you need that, I've got a couple of boxes, I'll bring it to you. But anyways, I just I love these things. You said, why don't you have one of those? Well, I don't need it yet, but I'm going to need it in a minute. OK, so I'm going to set this over here. And for those of you that have a hard time paying attention, you can look at this and just wonder what is in there. Because here at the moment, I'm going to tell you, all right, now let's get into the passage so we can get to our nice little bag here to find out what's inside the bag. The first thing that I want to see is in verse number seven in our passage in the first number seven, the first point we have, Paul, references this source of continual pain that has come into his life, this chronic issue that he has to deal with. Now, the verse starts by saying, lest I should be exalted above measure, if you were to read the first six verses of the chapter number 12, you would learn that Paul was more privileged or privileged with more information about the future than most other people. You can read about how he was taken up into heaven and he was told, here are some things that you're not allowed to talk about. You're not allowed to share, but you're going to get to see them. OK, now, that's pretty cool. Some of you probably were in the military or I know some of you were in the military and you might have had some some clearances, some top secret clearance or secret clearance, and you were able to see things and know things that other people were not privy to. Some of you may weren't in the military, but you worked at a fast food restaurant. And so, like they say, you don't want to know what goes on in the kitchen, but you were privy to that information and perhaps your boss threatened you not to record and post online what was happening back in the Taco Bell kitchen. If you can even call it a kitchen. Oh. But Paul was in heaven, he was allowed to see some things that others were not allowed to see. And so Paul knew that this was a great privilege. But Paul also understood that humans have a propensity to be prideful here. He has been given this rare privilege. Paul knew that it was very easy for pride to creep into his life, for him to think that he was elite or better than everyone else, because God had chosen him to see and know certain things. Also, if you remember, back in the early parts of Paul's adult life, he was what? Apparently, it was a fantasy I know about you when I hear the word fantasy, I don't immediately think of someone that super humble. Right, I mean, they were pretty proud, and so Paul had some experience with pride, and Paul also knew that pride has no place in the life of a child of God. Or maybe you don't agree? Oh, I'll try to get a pride has no place in the life of a child of God. Well, what do we have to be proud of? So you couldn't think of anything either I couldn't do anything, you couldn't think of anything. So to combat this, to help Paul stay humble, Paul says in verse number seven there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a thorn in the flesh was given to Paul. And that's really the only information that we're given a thorn in the flesh. Throughout history, there have been many opinions on what this thorn in the flesh might have been. What was this affliction, this problem, this trial that Paul faced that kept him humble. Some have said that it was perhaps a personality, another person that was in his life. We know that there were those in Paul's life who were not a help to him. They were a hindrance. You think of Alexander the Coppersmith, you think of all the names just flew right out of my head. I mean, the. I don't know if one of those weird names, there are people that caused him problems, and so some of that was probably one of these people that it was just a critical person who could never get rid of and they were just always hanging around. You know, critical people don't often, like, exit your life when you wish they would. Usually they hang around and they continue to cause problems. So maybe it was a critical person, as some have said, that perhaps it was a temptation in Paul's life that was a constant reminder of his faults and his fleshly appetites. And, you know, Paul asked God to remove the temptation. It just it never went away. Now, I don't really those aren't my favored views. If you think it's a person, a person, you think it's a temptation, that's fine. But others have suggested, and I think they're right, that it was a physical malady that Paul couldn't get over. It was a chronic physical ailment that that was untreatable. Some have suggested that in the first missionary journey that Paul contracted a long term form of malaria that was common in that region at a time this this form of malaria was such that it would it would come upon in attacks. And when the person would experience one of these attacks, they would fall flat on the ground and it would begin to shake and quiver. And there was really nothing you could do to help that person. You just had to wait for it to pass. Someone said it was that others have pointed to the fact that there is some evidence in the book of Galatians to suggest that Paul had an eyesight issue. Paul said about writing the book of Galatians that he wrote it with his own hand and that's why the letters were so big. And some of you that need glasses, you understand the need for large letters. My dad's been legally blind since he was a little boy. And and so it's gotten worse as the years have gone on. But if you look at his Bible, the letters are just ginormous. I mean, it's almost like three words to a page. Are you laughing at my dad? My dad? You can't see. It's not funny. Now he's able to read, OK, but but Paul might have had some problems, he even said about the Galatians that the Galatians were willing to to take their own eyes out and give them to Paul if such a thing were possible. And I transplant. Can you imagine? But no one really knows for sure what it was. He doesn't give us enough information. The Bible doesn't record enough for us to say with certainty what kind of a problem this was, this thorn in the flesh. But whatever it was, don't don't be don't be deceived by this idea of a thorn. Perhaps you're sitting there with thorn in the flesh and you're thinking of like a rose bush thorn or you're thinking of one of those bushes that have the leaves that have the pokies on it. That's not what we're talking about. The thorns that were common in their part of the world, where oftentimes anywhere from three to six inches long. So you're talking about like a nail, this thorn in the flesh and the fact that this thorn in his flesh had impaled him and it would not it could not be removed. OK, so you think about yourself being skewered by a thorn and not being able to remove the thorn that would cause you considerable pain. True, of course true, when I was a kid, we did a Juana's and every at the end of the year we would do the Grand Prix. You remember anybody ever the Grand Prix is a soapbox derby, you know, where you get the little block of wood and you do the races. This is the first year I ever did this. And so I was so excited to be there. My dad was the Wannna commander. And so we got there early to set up the track and we set it up in the fellowship hall at our church. And, you know, it's up here with the little pegs and you put the cars and it runs down the track. I so bad wanted to test out my car, you know, see how it would go. And and so my dad said, no, you're not going to test it out. You wait till the race. These things are extremely fragile. And my luck after spending all these hours working on this. Wonderful car, you'll break it before the race even starts. OK, so I was a little annoyed, but here I am. I'm looking at this track and I think I can't run my car down the track or run my hand down this wooden old track. You know, I'm going with this, OK? Oh, yeah, there was a splinter there and it went all the way through my finger. Let me tell you, that ruined my night. He said, why didn't you just take it out, because I was scared of needles and tweezers and all that kind of stuff, so I didn't actually get it out until the next day when my dad sat on me and my mom grabbed my finger and pulled it out. It was very traumatizing, but I feel like because of that, I can relate to Paul and this idea of a thorn in the flesh, something you like. Listen, kid, I work with nail guns and and wood screws, and I've shot things through my hand that splintery nothing. Anybody shot a nail through your hand. Nobody. Oh, I'm surprised. OK, well, let's continue on. You'd like to try it. OK, that's better, I can I can take that one. This this was the kind of thing that Paul did not want to have. This was not pleasant. This was not an annoyance. This was a severe issue. It was the kind of thing that Paul considered to be, according to version seven, the messenger of Satan. It was something that was serious enough to have the potential to derail his ministry. You think about all that Paul accomplished for the Lord in his life, all that God did through Paul's life. He says this thorn in the flesh is almost enough that that it could derail me. Its effects have lessened my effectiveness, and it definitely has made it hard to keep going. And so he chalked it up to a messenger from Satan that was sent to, according to the verse, Buffett him. That's not by him. It's buffet him. Whatever this thorn in the flesh was, it was something more severe than just a dull inconvenience, because when the Bible uses the word Buffett, it refers to being struck with someone's fist. Somebody is punching you repeatedly. And that's what this is talking about with that word. Buffett, there's also the humiliation associated with whatever this this malady was. The Corinthian's and the Galatians were obviously both aware of whatever it was in Galatians four 14. Paul says to the Galatians, he says, You listened to my message despite this this this thing in my flesh, which you could have despised, this has caused some people to say that perhaps this was a a like a leakage from his eyes, that there was pus and crustiness that may have been around Paul's eyes, that most people would have looked at and said, oh, that's gross, I can't even look at you. But Paul said, you didn't despise me when I showed up. You received me as a as an angel of the Lord, a messenger from the Lord. And so it must have been something very embarrassing for Paul. And so you can see why Paul says, look, there is a chance that with what God has done in my life, I could be proud. But there is this thing that is wrong with me that is a thorn in my flesh, is continually humbling me and humiliating me and reminding me of how weak I am. Now, perhaps you like me and sometimes you wish God would give us more information than he does, and I have to wonder, why didn't God tell us what it was that Paul suffered from? Well, an interesting fact about the lack of specificity in this passage is that every generation of Bible students from the time that this was written to today has had a tendency to read into Paul's Paul situation, a physical issue that was common in their era. You know, in the early centuries, it was the thing of the eyes later on, it was the thing of perhaps it was temptation. Later on it was perhaps it was a person. And so a generation after generation has supposed that Paul suffered from something that they were personally familiar with. And I believe Paul's condition is left anonymous so that the readers throughout time could read their affliction into this passage. So many times when you and I hear what somebody else is going through or an affliction that they're facing, we automatically start to compare what they are facing with what we're facing. And I mentioned this on Sunday night when you and I based things in the flesh and we make it through, then we look at other people who are suffering and say, you'll be fine. I made it. We figured it out, you'll figure it out, but when we handle things in in the spirit, in the grace of God, then we realized, you know what, I can't handle it. God is the one who got me through it. And we're a lot more compassionate. And so here's Paul, and we don't know what he's going through, and I think God doesn't want us to know what he's going through, because if he told us, there'd be some of you who would say, well, I faced way worse than that. Paul, why why did you write this when that's really not that big a deal? I mean, do you know what I've done, what I've had to face, but we can't do that because we don't know. The point isn't what he what specifically he faced, but what it resulted in in his life, what it taught him. We do know that it was severe enough that the first number eight. Paul asked Jesus to remove this affliction from his life three different times, three different times, he says for this thing, I be the Lord thrice, that I might depart from me. All right. So, Paul. All references a source of continual pain in his life. Point number two, Paul reveals Jesus response to his pain. This is a verse, a diverse nine a. Is he Jesus did not remove Paul Storm, could could Jesus have removed Paul's thorn? Well, certainly. I mean, isn't he sovereign over all things? Yes, he is. During Jesus life, he proved that's been opened. I'm not gonna drink that, though, nobody I'm OK. Yes, he's been proved he probably sovereign over our bodies, has power to heal. He proved he has power over nature. He has power over spirits. He even has power over death. And so if Jesus doesn't remove something from our life, there must be a reason because he is capable. But if he doesn't, then there's a purpose for it. In Paul's case, Jesus uses this affliction to help Paul grow. Jesus does not say in verse number nine, I will give you grace sufficient for this need. That what verse nine says. No verse nine says, My Grace is sufficient for the. There's a couple of things about that phrase that that we need to understand. Number one is it's referencing something that Paul presently possesses. My grace is sufficient for the night. I will give you not if you ask, I'll help you. He says, look, it's already there. It's already yours. And it is sufficient. It doesn't say either. A limiting term, my grace, is sufficient for this. He says, my grace is sufficient for the. The implication here is that no matter what Paul faces, the grace that he has been shown from God is sufficient for any trial, any problem in any affliction. Grace, in this instance, I believe, referred to the undeserved strength of Jesus, Jesus strength, according to verse number nine, is most capable when we are weak, he says, for my strength is made perfect in weakness, I read recently. That the goal of Jesus in all of our lives is to get our self out of the way so that the spirit can work. He wants to get you out of the way so that he can work in and through your life, for many of us, that cannot happen until we come to the end of our own resources, until we realize that we have no more ability to deal with the thorns in our flesh. Now, are you ready to see what's in my bag? I want you to pretend I thought about bringing my briefcase back in here, but I figured you might be tired of that, so I got something different. And this has much prettier colors on it. So red and green and blue and purple. But anyways, so. Pretend this bag is your life, OK, and inside of this bag are all the resources that you have at your disposal. And so let's say that a trial comes upon you, an affliction, a crisis in your life. And so you're going to look inside to see what do I have at my disposal to deal with this situation. Well, when you and I try to respond to these kind of situations in our life with the power of the flesh, what we're going to find is that whatever we pull out is not going to be sufficient for the task at hand. So let's say I'm going through a really bad time and I'm going to look for something that's going to help me, but it's going to come from my flesh. Well, it's just going to be garbage. No. Brother Rich, I'm sorry, Brother Matt wanted to make sure that you knew that he did not approve of me using this, and I'm going to put it right back when I'm done. But I mean, you're all adults here, you know what kind of trials you face, you face health trials and so you think, well. I'll just eat better. OK, now I have to say this, I asked the jury if I could do this before I did this. Jeffrey, I'm sorry. I know you're clean today. I'll help you clean it up. I'll sleep better, that'll fix my health issues, money issues. Just take a few extra shifts, that'll help. Now, none of you are like jumping down here to pick up all these pieces of paper. Don't you know how valuable the flesh is? I mean, we are really capable of just making a great big mess of things, aren't we? I got a lot of paper in here. It's. You got issues with your marriage. I've got the answer here. Going through a hard time based on some emotional stress, well, I just you know, I just need a way to relax and I just need something that can help me calm down and take my mind off of things. Problems, problems at work, I'll just find another job that'll help things, you know, don't man, you have a kid. I don't know how to raise these kids. Maybe Dr. Spock can help me. So we were like, well, it's only logical. Not that Spok. Get in a fight with somebody at church, you got a problem, interpersonal relationships, well, I'll just go on social media, make sure everybody knows my side of the story, and that'll fix things. A juicy piece of gossip. Oh. I pulled out a big one because gossip will make a real big mess. That's what the flesh this is the flesh, OK, when you and I try to deal with things in the flesh, we just make a mess and none of this is worth anything. It's all just shredded paper. Of course, it could be giving statements, some of your information could be down here. No, I'm kidding. It's not. But it is oh. Don't look. But I mean, none of this is going to do anything, it's just making a mess. I mean, the flesh doesn't help us, but we're so full of the flesh. And we can dig into anything. Well, you know, maybe there's something in here that'll help. Because surely there's some kind of help in myself. Well, how long did I say on Sunday that it takes most people to reach the end of their own resources? It's that whole midlife crisis thing that usually comes in your 40s. Because those of us that are in our 30s and 20s, we're still trying to get to the bottom of this. For the Toby and I were talking and I appreciated him saying he's like. I mean, the pastor of the church and you just always seem to be so energetic. And sometimes I'm just just tired as well. Toby, how old are you? And he said a number. I said, well, I've got 10 years on your man. I'm still trying to get to the bottom of my bag. Think about the flesh. Is eventually it does run out. And for some people, there's nothing left in there, it's just empty and they grow despondent and discouraged and depressed because they say, I have nothing left. And for the unsaved person there, right, there is nothing left in their bag, they're completely used up and it's no wonder that so many people turned to so many different things to try and fill this emptiness in their life. They say, I've got thorns in my flesh and I don't know what to do. I'm weak. I need something. And so they go searching for trash to try and put back in their life so that hopefully this will give me the answer to the emptiness that I feel. But it's still just trash. But, you know, for the Christian, there is something else in here. For the Christian, I know you can't see this. We already have God's grace in our life. But a lot of times that that that that resource that is available to us is under all of this junk, we have buried the gift of God. It has settled to the bottom. You know, Paul said to Timothy, stir up the gift that is in you. I love taking lemonade. I do this for teenagers. Sometimes you pour the pack, eliminate in there before the service. You let it settle to the bottom and it separates. You don't stir it up. And so then there's water and then there's a thin little line of powder at the bottom and say, OK, look, there's lemonade in here. The powder is there. But you take a scoop off the top and drink. It tastes just like water. But when you stir it up and that lemonade begins to touch all of the contents in that picture, then you take a swig of it. That's nice and refreshing and cool and tasty. Grace is like that. If you're a believer tonight, you have received Jesus Christ as your savior. The Holy Spirit lives inside of you, and you are a recipient of God's grace. And so when the thorns of life come into your life to teach you and and help you to grow in your relationship with the Lord, what that means is God is trying to get you to empty out yourself, to come to the point where you are weak and you turn to him and say, I need your help. And then he says to you, like he says to Paul, my grace is sufficient. I've given you my grace, you already possess it. That's pretty small. I know, I love these sticky notes, I don't know who got them, maybe Mr. Armitage probably did. Look what they do. And that fun. Let's expand. Race is kind of like that, Grace touches a lot of our lives. You see, I got Grace here, but God doesn't just give us grace. God gives us love. God loves us. It's not just grace and love, where is the next thing, Favre? He shows us favor, gives us strength. What else did I write that he gives us the Holy Spirit fulfillment purpose? Joy, peace, another one. Purpose already said that. These these are the effects of God's grace in our life. I know about you. But no one, this is much more clean than the flash, this didn't make a mess. You know what? I can just. Well. Put all that back. There we go, some nice and neat. But don't you like purpose, fulfillment, joy, peace, rest, strength, a lot better than this garbage? Some of you know, because you've you've been there. Isn't God's grace? Better for you than the tools of the world. Isn't God's grace better for you than alcohol? Police. I mean, we talk health, we talk about alcohol, does you. It isn't God's grace, better, a better way of dealing with life's problems than the drugs. Some of your lives have been touched by drugs, you know. Right. You know, the damage that's caused isn't God's grace better than that? Isn't God's grace, isn't God's peace better than than the peace that comes to the never does come from from what the world has to offer? God's trying to say, look, when you get to a point in your life where you have reached the end of yourself, turn to me. I've already given you what you need. My grace is sufficient. So much so that Paul was able to say right after that, he says most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. He says, when I reach the end of myself, I realize that God was sufficient. And if it's my infirmities that bring me to this point of total dependance and surrender to the Lord, thy will glory in my infirmities. The polls weird. Now, Paul is not. Let me move on. Looking for Summerton, he says, therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities. That's the weird part. Paul is not a lover of pain, but Paul, what Paul is doing is resting in Jesus sufficiency for his situation. He tells us about the pain that's been inflicted upon his life. He talks, talks about Jesus response to to to his request that it be removed. He says, Jesus told me that he was sufficient for me. And so now Paul is resting in that sufficiency. He doesn't love pain, but he knows that it's not the infirmities, the reproaches, the necessity, the persecution distresses, for Christ sake, that bring Paul pleasure. But what it is, is he has learned. That this thorn can be used by God. You see, he's already said that the store has impaled him, is a messenger of Satan buff, it's him. He's asked God three times to remove it, but Paul found pleasure and what God was able to do with his pain. Paul found pleasure in what God was able to do with his pain. He didn't pleasure in the pain. No one does. While Paul was mature enough to know that God can use this to help me spiritually, to help me grow. Paul had seen that when he was at the weakest. God, strength, Jesus strength was made perfect in him at his weakest. He knows that he must depend upon God and his strength. You know, we saw in verse number nine that God's strength is unleashed when we are weak. God has to get us out of the way so that he can work. He has to get us to take our hands off so that he can get his hands on. God's grace, which we already have, is sufficient for whatever we may deal with. Paul learned firsthand that the grace and strength of Jesus could overcome any affliction in this life. The grace and strength of Jesus is sufficient for anything you will face in this life. This doesn't mean that God will remove. Any affliction in your life? It does mean that any affliction, no matter how great, can be met with the grace and strength of God. Leprosy No-Match. Broken home, no match rejection, no match. For the grace and strength of God. But you know what will prevent God's strength and grace from working in your life? The garbage of the flesh. The self life. The the weak, futile attempts of yours to handle things yourself. That will put a stop to God's grace and strength in your life when you say, God, I've got this, Ill let you try. When we're weak. Then he has strong. There's one thing that worries me tonight as we look at this, a lot of head nodding going on, which I appreciate, it's better than no head nodding. I would assume that we can all agree. That we each have our own unique Thornes that we must live with. Right. I mean, we're not going try and compare, because then you're like my thorns bigger than your thorn. My thought has poisoned tipster's, doesn't. Something weird like that, I don't know. But we all have thoughts that we must live with. We may all agree. That the affliction we face is more than we can handle. We may even go so far as to say that we all need Jesus is grace and strength to be active in our life. But the thing that makes me worried is that when it comes time to empty ourselves and acknowledge the weakness of our flesh, many of us can't or won't do that. Many of us are so invested in the garbage of the flesh. I mean, we've spent so much time investing in this that we can't bring ourselves to admit this isn't working. This isn't bringing me fulfillment, it's not bringing me purpose, joy, peace, none of it, because really the flesh, it's a. Vapid is the only word I can think of, that's not it, then. It's useless. The more you get, the more you have to have to stay happy and I mean, it's just it doesn't do what you think it's going to do. But we're invested. So we can't stop. I mean, we've spent a lot of time and effort on this, so we can't give it up. And so we try to carry our burdens. We try to deal with the thorns in our flesh all by ourselves. How is it that we can get our strength out of the way so that his strength and his grace can help us, what can we do? To put our self aside and let his strength be active in our life. I think I'm just going to give you four things for you to think about. Number one, stop relying on your ability to cope with life's problems. Stop relying on your ability to cope with life's problems. We're all going to reach a point where we run out of resources. Emotional, spiritual and otherwise. So let's not rely on. Let's learn to rely on Jesus. I've learned that it's not it's not our. Burden to carry, it's his you remember the song I used to sing as kids, almost most of you cast your burdens upon Jesus. He cares for you. That's the first time any of you heard that. Who? Our burdens are lifted at Calvary, that one of your down. Hey, you even recognized it with me singing it. That's pretty good. So many times we sing songs like that, but then we say, praise God, it carries our burdens, our Lord, give me that Birnbach. And he carried that a little bit longer. You need to stop relying on our abilities. Number two, we need to depend on Jesus each day for strength. Depend on Jesus, how many days you go all day? Jesus never speaks to you and you never speak to him. Jesus speaking to me, you talking about reading the Bible. How many times do you go a whole day without opening your Bible for God to speak to you and you never go before him in prayer to speak to him? Well, I prayed for my meal, OK? Bless this bunch as we munch on lunch, doesn't cut it as a prayer life. We have to depend on Jesus each day for strength. Number three, we need to be willing to admit that we have developed techniques to deal with life that have nothing to do with God's resources. We've developed these defense mechanisms, these coping techniques to deal with life, and they have nothing to do with God's resources, God's strength, God's grace, it's all about you learning how to behave better. We're good rule followers, we're not always good Jesus followers. OK, I'm not going to say anything because I would just probably offend somebody, but you can probably identify. Those things in your own life. Had a rough day, there's a certain kind of music I hear in my car before I get home to listen to. Depending on what kind of music that is, it's either something spiritual. Bits of Bletchley

Unidentified: is dolphin battement. Could be like that. Blaen.

Speaker 1: We've just learn how to surrender what we want to do with our life. For what God wants to do with our life. Paul's will was that the thorn would be removed. Jesus will. Was that the Thawne state? You and I need to learn how to surrender what we want for what he wants. It was a hard thing. Is a hard thing, not was is a hard thing for me to do throughout, and you experienced at a different points in your life. When I graduated college. Moving to Florida wasn't what I wanted to do. But felt like that's where God was leading us. We spent two years in Florida all time thinking maybe someday, someday soon, guys will let us move to Texas or Oklahoma, the door open for us to transition where the God send us, Virginia. D.C., of all places. Shaking your head. I don't go down there, there's the IRS building. You're like. You know. He didn't do what I thought he should do. Hang on to Florida, I wouldn't have gone to Virginia. I hadn't gone to Virginia. What I've ended up here.

Unidentified: I don't know. Maybe not.

Speaker 1: You just learn how to surrender what you want for what God wants. You have to learn to recognize when you're dealing with things in a fleshly way as opposed to a a spiritual way. You have to learn to recognize those days where and avoid those days where you depend upon yourself instead of depending on Jesus, because we all admitted we've got thorns in the flesh to carry burdens that we have to deal with. And you can either deal with them through the power of the flesh, which is worthless and vain. Or you can learn to rely on his grace and his strength. My grace is sufficient for the that's his message for you. Paul had a message in response, he said at the universal number 10 for when I am weak. Then my strong. Too many of us think we're strong when in reality we're weak. Paul knew that his flesh was weak and God used that attitude to make him strong. What is God trying to do in your life tonight? What is the thorn in the flesh that God is trying to help you grow through tonight? Are you relying on the flesh or are you relying on his grace and his grace? And you can say with Paul and when I am weak. Then in My Strong Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day. Thank you for the good attention of your people. What I pray that should help all of us as we deal with the afflictions of this life, the trials that we face, the burdens that are presented to us to carry Lord, that we would depend upon your strength and grace to get us through, help us grow closer to you and depend upon you. Pray that we would learn not to depend on our own abilities, but that we would depend upon Jesus. God, I pray that you would use your Holy Spirit to help us grow tonight. And it's in Jesus name, I pray. Amen. Thank you all for your attention. Before we close the service, we'd like to go through our prayer sheet and just remind you of a few things and then give you a chance to. Update or add some things this evening. Do be in prayer for Clarence and Britney, pray that God would make it clear to them if you didn't get a prayer, put your hand up or I'll bring this to you, clear to them and clear to us whether or not this is the right partnership for us to enter into. And I have no doubt that he'll do that. But just pray for God's wisdom for them and for the church as we potentially pursue bringing them on. Pray also for Aria O'Banion. She's been having surgery on May 6th. That's the tubes or that's the tonsils. Both tubes and tonsils and or ear tonsils out tubes in prayer for her, also for some testing that she is having done for her kidneys and bladder, a couple of issues that they're just trying to check out there and then also pray for brother Jared. Holly, rather, Jared fell from a ladder last Wednesday, dislocated his knee, and he's going to be off of that for quite a while. So please pray for him as he continues to heal. I'm sure he'd love to hear from some folks. So give him a call center. MCCARD let him know that you're praying for him and then we can't wait to see him again. Are there any new or updated requests that we can we can be aware of tonight? I'll start over on this section here and work my way across about here.

Unidentified: All right, well, Jerry. OK. Eman. Oh, wow. Mm hmm. Uh. Eman.

Speaker 1: Praise the Lord for those of you they couldn't hear, Evelyn went and had an EKG done and but Jerry said that the results came back normal. It was the first normal EKG that she's had and so shocked the doctor, but be in prayer for her that that trend would continue and that God would perform a miracle on her behalf and heal her. And that would be an awesome thing to see happen. So I know we'll be praying for that. Nobody else in this section

Unidentified: is as crystal. OK. OK.

Speaker 1: Pray for Miss Crystal. I don't know of everybody but Miss Crystal Meth Crystal is expecting, which is a blessing, but she is going to be going for testing next week on the baby because she is high risk for Down's syndrome. And so please pray for her. Pray for the baby. Um, that that testing would go well and that there'd be no issues. As Kim. So Ariah had an ultrasound on her kidneys and bladder that came back normal, so just pray for her that she have to go to the restroom often and so just pray for her that they would be able to figure that out if it doesn't subside and not to do further testing for some other issues. So just continue to pray for her about that, Miss Judy. Yes. OK. Our military is in the middle of our family and friends, he started chemo today and so pray for him and the kidney cancer that he is battling.

Unidentified: And then. And then.

Speaker 1: Pray for Miss Judy. She's got a very important court date on May the 4th. Just pray that God will provide for her. Lord knows all this, all the details, but is a serious situation. Anybody else in this section here? Anybody over here? And anybody over here, it's a. Yes. She's back in the hospital. Everyone's free to cool. She's a long time member here. She fell last night, uh, cracked some ribs and vertebrae and so pray for her. And then Miss Daisy Pépin is back in the hospital and she fell a couple of weeks ago now and. This is a stomach issue. OK, so pray for Miss Daisy Pépin, uh, and her stomach issue. All right. Yes, ma'am, Miss Lavonia. OK, what's your sister's name? Johnny. Miss Lavonia, Sister Gianni. She's been diagnosed with dementia. I have a hard time with the diagnosis.

Unidentified: All right. Yes, ma'am. Ayman. What's your name? Teresa.

Speaker 1: So whatever the court date is next week. Friday. Right. So Friday, um, you'll be officially Claire and a part of their family, so that's a praise then pray for Adam's mom, Theresa, and she has dementia as well, and they're trying to figure out care plans for that. All right. Let's all stand and we'll be dismissed. If I could get a couple of men to help me for just a minute, we need to clear some things off the platform and then move the piano. It won't take long and it's not that hard if you help me for just a few moments after we're done, that be a great blessing. All right, let's pray normally. Father, we thank you for this day. Thank you for the folks that are here. Lord, I pray that you bless each one for making the effort to be here with those who are watching on live stream. I pray that you would be with them as well or be with all the requests that we've heard, the physical and spiritual needs of different folks that we know of to be at work in every situation that you bring answers and healing and comfort to those that are struggling or help each of us as we go from here, as we deal with the different different burdens that we carry. I pray that your grace and strength will sustain us and we would experience the sufficiency of all that you've done for us this week in Jesus name that I ask these things. Amen. You are dismissed. I just.

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Acts 20:16-35