Monthly Archives: November 2008

Weak Link

Weakness. It’s been dismissed, denied and despised. Never let ’em see you sweat. Right? Wrong. We need to be honest and admit it, we are weak. Our personal strength is a straw house against so many forces in this universe. Will human determination stop a tornado from hitting your house? Can your positive thinking keep your country’s economy strong? Can mind over matter prevent serious illness from striking your life or your loved ones’ lives? Does careful planning keep your heart and lungs pumping overnight while you are in an unconscious state of sleep? Someone might be thinking, “Joe, you’re scaring me!” Don’t be scared, be dependent . . . on the Lord. The apostle, Paul, struggled against his weakness in his life crises. He begged God several times to take away his numerous trials and troubles and sickness. But God didn’t answer in the way Paul had hoped. Instead God said: “My grace is sufficient for you, for (My) power is perfected in weakness.” Then it hit Paul:

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Crisis Management
When we are in a crisis, we usually scramble to gain control. We need to stop and agree that we are so out of control, and God is in total control. So seek Him and ask Him what to do. This is not passivity, since He loves to lead us step by step. He rarely shows us what is ahead, He simply asks us to depend on Him along the way, no matter what happens.

Supernatural Resources
If we lean on Him in this way, we will experience a deep-seated, divine peace, which Paul calls “the peace which surpasses all understanding”. This type of peace doesn’t make sense to the human mind. It seems counterproductive, even foolish to relax in a crisis situation. Yet everything is in His hands anyway, and He is good . . . and He is trustworthy . . . and He is powerful. So, allow yourself to be weak and watch Him work.

-Joe Fornear

Lord, we admit we are helplessly out of control. We thank you that You hold all things in Your hands, including our lives and circumstances. Help us relax in Your arms, even when we are really hurting.

I would like for this blog to be a two way street. So please feel free to leave a comment if you feel so led.

Hello world!

Did you know there is an entire book of the Bible in which the name of God cannot be located? That’s right, God is never mentioned even once in the book of Esther. Why would such a book be included in the Bible? I believe He is trying to tell us that His work is often behind the scenes, even during apparently devastating setbacks. Do you see the hand of God in the setbacks of your life? I admit, sometimes it is very hard for me to “locate” Him when I am in pain. Honestly sometimes I have a hard time finding Him when I am simply inconvenienced, like with a flat tire. Esther’s story was difficult from the beginning. She was orphaned and then made part of the Medo-Persian king’s harem by force. Her Jewish nationality was about to be made public which for her meant certain death, since the Jews of her time were being systematically slaughtered. On the surface, God seemed absent, but was He? Esther’s guardian Mordecai told her, “Perhaps you have been raised up for such a time as this.” Mordecai was right. God used her connection to the King to save not only her skin, but the entire Jewish race. When God wants to show Himself and display His glory, He often begins in the midst of a crisis.

For millions of people the crisis through which God wants to reveals Himself is cancer. On the surface, being diagnosed may seem to be the mother of all setbacks. How can a loving, compassionate God be part of a cancer story? Though He may seem absent in our pain, He is always working behind the scenes toward a higher purpose. I have come to view my own encounter with cancer as having a higher purpose.  I think God raised me up, or rather laid me low, to help others understand who He is in the midst of their major life crisis. Cancer can be such a wake-up call. It makes us pause to consider all the questions we may have been taking for granted.

God certainly used cancer to get my attention. In September of 2002, I discovered a lump under my arm. I was misdiagnosed for a time and the cancer, which was Stage IV (stage four) metastatic melanoma, almost killed me. Despite several surgeries and chemo, the cancer still spread to 13 different sites, including my lung, kidney, stomach and pancreas. My doctor gave me just days to live and told the nurses to keep me comfortable. At the last minute, the Lord miraculously turned it all around and I have been cancer free for over five years. I learned many lessons along the way which I feel compelled to share. I resigned after 18 years of pastoring to work full time with a new ministry to those living with cancer and other life crises. I named the ministry Stronghold Ministry because during my crisis the Lord comforted me that though I was losing my grip, He had a strong hold on me. I have witnessed many people in crisis feel guilty that they feel so weak. I did. In this blog I will be writing about this and other lessons I gleaned from the experience. So stop in again soon. For more on what the Lord did for me, go to my website of the new ministry at www.mystronghold.org.

Psalm 59:17 – O my strength, I will sing praises to You; For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.

 Lord, I ask that You would show us our setbacks in a whole new light, Your light.

Scripture quotations taken from the
NASB.

I would like for this blog to be a two way street. So please feel free to leave a comment if you feel so led.