My wife and I are under a tremendous amount of pressure lately. Financial, vocational, relational, spiritual, geographical; you name it, we feel it. The intensity is immense and I feel much like the Apostle Paul as he catalogs his concerns in ministry (2 Corinthians 11:24-29). As he observes, there is a direct correlation between the degree of pressure we experience and the manifestation of our weaknesses. Yet, Paul goes on to insist that our human weakness is also the means God uses to manifest his strength in and through us (2 Corinthians 11:30-12:10). For that, I am thankful….truly thankful and honored that God would use my frail humanity to display his power!

Garden of the GodsThis past weekend while in Colorado Springs we took the opportunity to go to one of our favorite spots and spend time in prayer. As we were praying and experiencing the unforgettable Garden of the Gods, the Lord reminded me of the upcoming Easter season.

Suddenly, my heart was comforted with the fact that Jesus’ resurrection, if really true, is God’s consummate response to sin and evil in this world. Death does not have the final word and neither does discouragement. Could it be that for me to remain in despair over our pressures is tantamount to denying the reality of the resurrection? Wow!! Bam!!! This hit me like a ton of bricks. If I honestly believe in the historical reliability of Christ’s resurrection, that it really happened, then I have to believe in all that it stands for now. It’s not merely a guarantee of life after death (though it is that for sure), it is much, much more. The same power that God displayed in raising Christ from the dead is identical to the resource God provides for us in desperate times. Paul’s prayer is that we realize God’s power to live the Christian life “is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20; see also Romans 8:11-14; Colossians 3:1-4).

Without question, these pressures place us in a strategic place now and there is tremendous opportunity for growth. As I see it, the only way to move onward and upward in Christlikeness is to engage Hebrews 12 head on:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

“Lord Jesus, by the strength that comes from your resurrection, may we throw off everything that hinders, run with perseverance, fix our eyes on Jesus, and consider him who endured such opposition so your power is made perfect in our weakness.”

Soli Deo gloria!!

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  1. Amen brother.

    May we truly believe in Christ’s death and resurrection, thus challenging our comfort and thinking, leading to transformation and renewal. May we rely on His strength by way of the Spirit, for it’s the only way to sustain when we simply cannot. May we bank on His promise and unending love for us, ’cause His love letters are real! May we reflect such love to others, and depend upon the Lord to do so.

    I don’t know about you Paul, but, Christ’s way of loving does not come naturally to me and is quite a challenge at times. May I/we learn to surrender all the more during such times. Thank you Lord for the ability to do so, and may we be willing to lean and learn.


  2. thank you for this post. I am also felling similar things and I am also seeking peace in Jesus. thanks for reminding me that I am not the only one going through this kinda thing.

  3. Paul,

    This is such an amazing post. I have you & your wife on my heart now and be assured that I will be praying! Thank you putting this out there to remind us that we are not alone in this. You are fighting the good fight of my dear brother & victory is assured!

    He will keep you strong to the end!

    Blessings, blessings & more blessings!

    Your sister in the Lord,

  4. Thanks, Justin. Appreciate the reminder in your prayer that the Lord gives us the ability to surrender and to love as he loves “because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5). “Put it in my heart, Lord, to love others through the pain.”

  5. Appreciate your comments here. I suppose as believers we are really never alone, eh? “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:20)

  6. Sincerely appreciate your heart and prayers, Christina! You are a blessing, even though we’ve never met! May the Lord Jesus continue to be your joy as you “always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Eph 6:18).

  7. Paul,
    I offer the words of John Newton as my prayer for you and Patty.
    May the grace of Christ, our Savior,
    and the Father’s boundless love,
    with the Holy Spirit’s favor,
    rest upon us from above,

    May we now remain in union
    with each other and the Lord,
    and possess, in sweet communion,
    joys that earth cannot afford.

    The truths of Scripture combined with the fellowship of saints work together to sustain us in the darkest of times. May your weakness be an opportunity for His strength to manifest itself.

  8. Thanks, dear brother!
    I’ve no doubt these words are straight from your heart and will beseech God on our behalf.
    Warmly in Christ,

  9. I’m glad you guys have found encouragement from the Holy Spirit! That’s what I pray for you, that and sustaining faith and godly wisdom for your current life circumstances.

  10. Thanks so much Judy. The prayers of the saints is salve for our souls in desperate times. May God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven” penetrate with victory!

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