Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lesson 10 - Living Out of God’s Grace

Lesson 10 - Living Out of God’s Grace

What meant the most to you from this chapter or helped you think more accurately about God’s character and the truth of His Word?

What offered you the greatest challenge or blessing, and why?

Learning More about Managing Emotions

Have you ever felt like you wanted to quit, or felt angry, or felt like you could fall down in a heap and cry?

1.     Think on the truth - focus your mind on God and the truth in His Word.

2.     Proceed ahead - God does not want you to face a crisis in this manner.  You have to proceed and press on with your duties and responsibilities and go on living. 

In times of emotional stress, strength does come from routine and responsibility.  This is another reason it is important to have a plan for the day.  Other’s depend on you.

3.     Follow the formula - Endeavor to take one day at a time.  Prepare, plan, pray, and proceed.  Live each day as it comes.  Forego your selfish desires to withdraw and give-up.  Praise God as you proceed ahead with His ever-so-adequate provision and mercy!

Read these verses and describe some of the apostle Paul’s emotions and physical challenges.

1 Corinthians 2:3 - And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

2 Corinthians 1:8 - For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 - We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

2 Corinthians 7:5 - For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

Managing Affliction

Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, and list some of Paul’s physical afflictions induced by others.

He had been beaten, stoned, suffered shipwreck three times, and locked up as a prisoner.

Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  What was Paul’s personal affliction in verse 7?
The apostle was pained with a thorn in the flesh, and buffeted with a messenger of Satan.  We are much in the dark what this was, whether some great trouble or some great temptation. Some think it was an acute bodily pain or sickness; others think it was the indignities done him by the false apostles, and the opposition he met with from them, particularly on the account of his speech, which was contemptible.

          What was its purpose?
Temptations to sin are most terrible thorns; they are messengers of Satan, to beat us. Indeed it is a great grievance to a good man to be so much as tempted to sin.

          What did Paul ask God to do about it?
          The apostle prayed earnestly to God for the removal of this sore grievance.

          What was God’s response?
          We have an account of the answer given to the apostle's prayer, that, although the trouble was not removed, yet an equivalent should be granted: My grace is sufficient for thee. When God does not remove our troubles and temptations, yet, if he gives us grace sufficient for us, we have no reason to complain, nor to say that he deals ill by us. It is a great comfort to us, whatever thorns in the flesh we are pained with, that God's grace is sufficient for us.

Grace signifies two things: -

[1.] The good-will of God towards us, and this is sufficient to strengthen and comfort us, to support our souls and cheer up our spirits, in all afflictions and distresses.

[2.] The good work of God in us, the grace we receive from the fullness that is in Christ our head; and from him there shall be communicated that which is suitable and seasonable, and sufficient for his members. Christ Jesus understands our case, and knows our need, and will proportion the remedy to our trouble, and not only strengthen us, but glorify himself.

          What are some of the afflictions listed in verse 10 that Paul was prepared to endure?
His afflictions, his reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distresses for Christ's sake.

          What was Paul’s response?
He gloried in his infirmities (vs.9), and took pleasure in them, (vs. 10). He does not mean his sinful infirmities (those we have reason to be ashamed of and grieved at), but he means his afflictions, his reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distresses for Christ's sake, (vs. 10). And the reason of his glory and joy on account of these things was this - they were fair opportunities for Christ to manifest the power and sufficiency of his grace resting upon him, by which he had so much experience of the strength of divine grace that he could say, When I am weak, then am I strong.  When we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we see ourselves weak in ourselves, then we go out of ourselves to Christ, and are qualified to receive strength from him, and experience most of the supplies of divine strength and grace.

Like emotional stress, physical suffering calls us to follow the principles of Matt. 6:34 and focus on one day at a time.

1.     Preparing - Armed with spiritual truth, prepare for your physical trial.  Special needs, a home, support system, etc.  Mrs. Schaeffer talked about preparing a home where her husband would be receiving treatment for his cancer.  She eloquently explained that home is important to a person to help them get well, as well as being important for family times together if someone is terminal.  Familiar surroundings have an effect on the physical, psychological, and even spiritual state.

2.     Planning - Marking time is never the way to wait.  Creative ideas need to begin to take place in one’s imagination…even in times of shock; waiting can be something more than sitting in utter fear.

3.     Praying - During this waiting time; pray.  Ask for time and strength to show God’s strength and power to the next generation as Mrs. Schaeffer demonstrated in the trial she faced with her husband’s cancer.

4.     Proceeding - Now that you have prepared, planned, and prayed move forward with the action to follow through on all that preparation.  There is more to life than being “comfortable and happy”; there is growth going on.

5.     Tasting God’s provision - God provides as you proceed.  Day-to-day and moment-to-moment you rely on God.  You prepare, plan, pray and proceed with your duties and responsibilities and will experience God’s provision for you.  Even when you face enormous emotional and physical challenges…live out of God’s grace each and every day.

What physical challenges do you face, and how does 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 encourage you?

Look again at Matthew 6:34.  What is Christ’s command and the reason for it? 
It is the counsel and command of the Lord Jesus, that we take no thought about the things of this world.  Worry and anxiety disturbs our joy in God, and is a damp upon our hope in him; which breaks the sleep, and hinders our enjoyment of ourselves, of our friends, and of what God has given us.

How can the command of Matthew 6:34 help you deal with…

          …emotional stress and worry?

          …concern about physical problems?

Read 2 Corinthians 10:5.  Now, read the promises below.  How can each assurance help you bring your anxious thoughts into obedience to Christ…even in the midst of emotional and physical stress?

          Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

          1 Corinthians 10:13 - There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

          2 Corinthians 12:9 - And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: 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.

          James 1:5 - If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

          2 Peter 1:3 - According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Loving God…Even More

Read this section in your book again.  As you consider the contents of this chapter and God’s amazing love for you, what can you do this week, in obedience to Christ…

          …to focus on each day?

          …to win over worry?

          …to love God with all your mind?

Do not worry about tomorrow.

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