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In a personal trial that I’ve been facing for some time, I have come to learn an even greater dependency on the sufficiency of God’s grace and power to sustain me in any life struggle.  As I have prayed to the Lord about this personal matter, I have heard His still small voice whisper to me that “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)  Furthermore, I’ve been led to re-read and further study some devotional messages written by Rick Renner in his Sparkling Gems From The Greek daily devotional book to find comfort from the Word of God during this tough time.  I am so thankful for people in the body of Christ like Rick Renner and even our very own Lee Costello who can translate languages such as Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and maybe some of the Jewish Bible Code…  While I am obviously being playful about Mr. Renner and Lee being able to translate the Jewish Bible Code, please know that I am sincerely most grateful for people like Mr. Renner and Lee because about the only thing I can translate is the word “funga” which means “frown” in Italian.  As a kid when I didn’t get my way about something, I would frown in disappointment and my mom would say just like her Italian grandmother would say, “Don’t give me that funga…”  True story!

Faith Principle #1: God’s Grace And Strength Is Sufficient In Any Situation

Unfortunately, as adults, when things are not going our way, I think we can actually – perhaps without even fully realizing it – give God the “funga face” as we plead with Him about our situation while in reality the Lord has grace that is sufficient for us to remove our “funga” face and even provide the joy of the Lord as strength in the middle of the situation.  So when you and I find ourselves pleading with the Lord and saying things like, “Lord, please take this thing away” or “ I don’t want to deal with this situation” or “I don’t have the strength to deal with this anymore”, we can trust that God’s grace can be sufficient to get us through.  And when this happens, I think it helps to be reminded that we aren’t the only ones who have ever felt like this.  In fact, based on the Bible, we are in some very good company because the apostle Paul and even Jesus faced the same kind of trying situations in their lives.  And the good news is that when Paul and Jesus were at the breaking points in their own real life situations, mentally and emotionally, they found that God’s grace and power was available to sustain them.  

Faith Principle #2: God’s Grace And Strength Is So Powerful That It Holds Everything Together

In fact, do you know that God’s grace holds everything in our world together even when everything seems to be breaking loose around us. The truth is that God’s grace is so powerful that it holds all things together in complete sustainable order including the earth, the planets, the stars, and everything in the universe, down to the tiniest little detail. If not for God’s grace, I believe the whole world would instantly disintegrate into nothing; therefore, we can take great comfort in knowing that God’s grace is so much more powerful than we can ever even imagine and according to the Bible, His grace is totally and completely available to you and me in every life situation, including our weakest life moments.

Faith Principle #3: God’s Grace And Strength Is Always Available

As mentioned earlier, there were indeed times in the apostle Paul’s life when he was weak and he needed the fullness of God’s grace to sustain him.  In 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, Paul writes, “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” According to Rick Renner, the original Greek words for “pleaded or besought” in this passage was the words “para kaleo” which means “one who comes alongside someone, as close as he can get, and then begins to passionately call out, plead, beckon, beg, and beseech that other person to do something on his behalf.”  Therefore, whatever situation Paul had going on in his life, the Bible tells us in this verse that he desperately pleaded with the Lord to remove it from his life and the Lord’s response was an astounding, “My grace is sufficient for you and My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  In the fullness of the Greek, Rick Renner writes in his devotional book that the Lord’s response can be more fully understood as “My grace is more than enough for you. If you will receive it, you will find it will sufficiently endow you with more strength than you need to deal with any situation. My power is always on hand, and available to help you in moments when you are weak and needy.” Wow!  What a wonderful promise from God.

Faith Principle #4:: God’s Grace and Strength Can Be Found Through Prayerful Solitude And Personal Fellowship With God

So then, if God says that this kind of grace and power from Him is available to us when we need it, if we will receive it, then what must we do to receive it.  As I have contemplated this in my personal need for God’s grace and power in my life situations, I believe the Lord has shown me that the way I can best receive His grace and power is in fact the same way that the Lord Himself received the sufficiency of God’s grace and power in His intense time of personal need in the garden of Gethsemane – through prayerful solitude and personal fellowship with the Heavenly Father.  In preparing to go to the Cross, the Lord’s situation was so intense and His flesh was so weak that He actually sweated drops of blood.  However, in His prayerful solitude with His Heavenly Father, He found the grace and power of God to deal with the situation in the power and strength of God and not His own human strength. Furthermore, I am reminded of the verse in Psalm 46:10 which states, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Think about it! Our Heavenly Father says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Frankly, I don’t think there is a more appropriate time to do this than when we are in the middle of a major trial and we need God’s grace and strength to sustain us.  Jesus did this when He needed His Heavenly Father’s grace and strength in His time of need; therefore, we should do the same when we need the sufficiency of God’s grace and strength in the times of our need.  In fact, when Moses encountered God in the burning bush, God identified Himself as the Great I Am That I Am; therefore, I believe in difficult times of intense trial and tribulation, we can find the Lord’s strength in being still and personally knowing the Great I Am That I Am just like Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane. 

Faith Principle #5: God’s Grace And Strength Is A Powerful Fruit Of The Holy Spirit

In fact, after Jesus finished spending some prayerful solitude and fellowship with His Heavenly Father in the garden, 300 to 600 elite fighting soldiers came to find and arrest Him. When they showed up, Jesus asked them, “Who do you seek?” And when they said Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus responded and said, “I Am (He)”, the same words in Greek that God used to identify Himself to Moses in the burning bush as the Great I Am That I Am.  And at that instant, a force so powerful exploded in the garden that every one of the elite soldiers was knocked down to the ground so hard that they fell as if they were dead.  Therefore, make no mistake about it, Jesus was not dragged off like some weak and powerless man.  To the contrary, He made it very clear to everyone in the garden that no one was taking Him to the Cross, but He was rather choosing of His free will to go to the Cross in the strength and power of God’s grace.  Plus, it was the power of the more than sufficient grace of God that kept Him on the Cross to the end.  His staying on the Cross for the salvation of mankind is the ultimate expression of God’s grace and power under control.  And it is amazing to think that that same grace and power under control is available to us through the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Make no mistake about it, when we submit ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit through prayerful solitude and personal fellowship with the Lord, our weakness is turned to meekness – a powerful fruit of the Holy Spirit – which strengthens us with God’s grace and power under control, even in our most trying times of life.  With this kind of grace and power from God available to us through His Holy Spirit, we can rest assured that there is no situation in life that we cannot handle in Christ.  In closing, I leave you with this final thought from the Bible found in John 1:16, “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” Amen!

Grace For Grace Copyright 2011, The Make It Happen Learning Institute.  You have permission to reprint the leadership article, Grace For Grace, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.