61- Weak in Myself, But Strong in Christ

61- Weak in Myself,

But Strong in Christ

Sept 17, 1981

During this season and for many years to follow, my focus was on my sin, my weaknesses, my failing to measure up. I was always comparing myself to others and swinging between pride and humiliation, self-righteousness and guilt. And I had lots of verses to back up my whining. Here is one of them:

2 Corinthians 12:8-10  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. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

To me this meant that if Paul was taking pleasure in negative experiences and trials, then I was supposed to also. Therefore, to be weak and distressed seemed like an acceptable spiritual thing. But I was conflicted because I was so miserable! And wasn’t Jesus’ joy supposed to be my strength?

Paul in Prison
Paul in Prison, by Rembrandt. Hmmm, this must have been just before he began to sing praises to the Lord!

Merlin Carothers wrote Prison to Praise in 1970. It is based on Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for You. Merlin helped millions of people escape from the ‘prison’ of their circumstances by encouraging them to praise God FOR the very thing that was the main problem in their lives. Thankfulness showed God that I trusted Him even in the midst of my trouble–much as Paul and Silas were set free in their spirits as they sang praises to God in their shackles.  

 Lord, I have been conscious of praising You for these weaknesses, which used to only condemn me and depress me. This has helped me considerably, because I seem to be free of being in bondage to them! And JOY came with the praising! 

Over the years having a praising and rejoicing and thankful heart have been of primary importance to my relationship with Christ. 

Sept 18, 1981  Praise to the Lord for opening my eyes this morning as I read Ephesians 1. Our blessings from God are surely all because of Christ, in Christ, through Christ. Thank You, Jesus.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Ephesians 6:10

60- Lord, Are We Compromising or Obeying?

60- Lord, Are We Compromising or Obeying?

Aug 31, 1981 The following is paraphrased from my journal entry:

I was asking myself if we were compromising by so easily letting the vision about going to Japan die. Japan had seemed so inviting to Dan because our whole family would be involved in ministry and because there were no language school requirements. A great perk was that by spending time in Japan we had already met the people we would be working with if we moved there to be missionaries. Besides, we had undeniable proof that Jesus had encouraged our trip, had financed it, and blessed it!

We heard a message taken from 1 Samuel 11 that spoke of Saul going back to plowing and his old way of living after his encounter with the prophet Samuel. I thought of Dan going back to his old profession of carpentry and our old way of living in America after our encounter with God regarding His leading us to Japan. The pastor’s point in his message was that God is interested in teaching us to rely on His Spirit. 

So although we had laid our missionary ideals down, I was wondering if we should have INSTEAD proceeded to Japan and relied on the Holy Spirit for everything we needed in the way of spiritual power, wisdom and discernment.

We both were talking to God about it. I was praying the verses I had prayed before we went to Japan:

Let Thy work appear to Thy servants, and Thy majesty to their children, and let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and do confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands. Ps 90:16-17

Japanese art: Japanese nativity, early 19th century
Japanese art: Japanese nativity, early 19th century. I LOVE THIS!!