My Vulnerability

My vulnerability – Christ my strength. My vulnerability – Christ my shield

It’s scary to be vulnerable. Especially in complex societies like the one I live in. Just about everyone wears masks. It is so common that it has become the norm.

If I am vulnerable, then I have to reveal my weaknesses. Others can easily use the knowledge of my weakness against me. Thus I open myself up to danger.

If I am vulnerable, my inconsistencies will be used against me. Others will label me as an unreliable person. No longer will people view me in the same light.

But if Christ is my strength, I can stand up against the onslaught of attacks that I may face. I stand vulnerable with Christ as my strength.

If Christ is my shield, I am protected against ferocious arrows that attempt to pierce my soul. I stand vulnerable with Christ as my shield.

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One thing that matters

With the events of life just “swirling” around you, nothing may make sense. It’s difficult to define what’s going on as you are in utter confusion.

You had always hoped for the best, but what you got is the worst. The career and salary you hoped for is nowhere in sight. The relationships you hold on to have come to nothing. The friends you thought were friends proved to be your enemies. You look at your life and wonder what else can go wrong.

In such a situation, you’ve got to hold on to the one thing – the one person that continues to have your best in mind. Job looked through the haze of his troubles and saw the One who can make a difference:

“For I know that my redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27a).

So this is what God was trying to do. To bring him to the point where nothing else matters – but God.

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Leave me alone, God

    Ever felt like God is after you? Maybe he’s looking to catch you doing something wrong. You’ve felt like every moment of every day, he’s after you.

    In a more extreme way, Job expressed his experience with God:

“What is man that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment? How long will you not look away from me, nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?” (Job 7:17-19)

    The reality is that God has made you his child, and his children are valuable to him. Job felt that God was testing him and looking for fault. Yes, he allowed Satan to do that. God wanted to prove that his children love him genuinely because he is worthy to be loved.

    If God is testing you severely, he has a plan. Understand that he values you so much that he allows this. Troubles prove that you are his child. He knows that your love for him will stand even the most severe trials.

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Forgiving those who won’t forgive

    Loving your enemies is often not much of a difficulty because we distance yourself from such people. So we can “love” them from a distance.

    But what about those who are close to us and won’t forgive you and those who won’t accept you? If unforgiveness continues, bitterness begins to take root. Thus the combination of bitterness and unforgiveness begins to control you.

    Not only your thoughts and emotions, even your decision making process gets impacted. It’s as if you have no choice. You’ve become entangled in this process. Now, you are in a bondage. And this bondage is so strong that you can’t get free.

    So here is the deal: If you want to be free, forgive. Do you want to move forward with your life? Forgive.

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Misunderstood silence

    When trouble and tragedy come your way, people will misunderstand you. They’ll think you’ve done some terrible things to deserve this. The best approach is to be silent. Otherwise, speak less.

    But even your silence may be misunderstood. They’ll think you’re groping for words as you try to cover up your guilt. This is what Job’s friend Bildad assumed about Job’s silence. He said: “How long will you hunt for words?” (Job 18:2a)

    The reality is that trouble strikes everyone. The righteous and the unrighteous suffer. The innocent and the guilty ones may experience similar tragedy. Only you and God know your true state. Stand firm and trust God to carry you through every pain in life.

    Just as your words may be misunderstood, your silence will also be misinterpreted. Don’t look for people’s approval. Trust God to bring you through every trial.

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Don’t speak the truth

    Speak with wisdom instead. Speaking the truth without considering the circumstances, the environment, the people around you can be detrimental to yourself and to the task you are out to accomplish. In fact, it may be outright childish.

    Even when you speak the truth, use wisdom and consider the heats of your listeners. Sometimes the truth may be too harsh or even repulsive to the ears of the people listening to you.

    When the king asked Nehemiah about his sadness, Nehemiah chose his words carefully. He could have mentioned the nation of Israel, the temple of their God Yahweh, and the palace of their king. But he didn’t. He knew those words would mean rebuilding and establishing another kingdom that could become a potential threat in the future.

    Instead, Nehemiah used wisdom with his words.

“But I said to the king, ‘May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire? (Neh 2:3)

    It sounds personal and less offensive to say “the city where my fathers are buried.” That was the the truth. Those were words used with wisdom.

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In spite of despair

    How deep can a person go in despair and still hold on to God?

    I just got a phone call from a friend who has been battling depression for some time. He mentioned how he held on trusting God to come through. Although it took several months, he pulled out of it completely.

    There are others who just can’t hold on to God. They turn to alcohol, drugs, suicide and other vices that eventually destroy every aspect of their lives.

    In his deepest despair, Job could have turned to various other means for comfort. But he kept his eyes on God. Even death was not an option. Here is what he said about looking forward to death:

“Where then is my hope?

Who will see my hope?”

(Job 17:15)

    It’s time to make a choice today. Who will I turn to in despair? How far will I go in seeking comfort? The options are many. But the only true answer is to keep your eyes on God as Job did.

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Waiting

    Don’t you hate to wait? It makes me feel like I am wasting my time. Although we don’t like to, we are often forced to wait. Waiting does several things within us.

    Value assessment – It helps us to assess the true value of what we are waiting for. Maybe it’s not much of value. Or, it’s not worth the time, and we may get up and explore other options. But you may also come to the conclusion that it is really worth the wait.

    Self assessment – We get to asses our need for that which we are waiting for. Is the reason prompted by selfishness? Maybe we want to look significant before others. Or we may want it because others have it. It’s also possible that we think we can’t live without it. But you may decide this is something that will add value to your life and you are willing to wait patiently for God to answer your prayers.

    Yes I hate waiting. But waiting is not wasting.

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Take any side you want

    I remember the exciting days on the Debate Team in High School. One by one we took the various issues of the day and chose which side we wanted to take. We chose the side not because of any personal conviction. It was an arbitrary choice.

    Words can be formed to support anything or to oppose anything. It all depends on how you form the words. When Job’s friends were taking turns accusing him of wrongdoing, Job responded:

“I also could speak as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you and shake my head at you. I could strengthen you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain” (Job 16:4-5).

    The choice is in your hands. You could accuse and find fault in everyone. Or you could strengthen people with your words. Choose the latter. Strengthen those around you.

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Limited incarnation

    With the incarnation of God, there was an emptying of some divine aspects. It’s not clearly defined what was emptied from the Son Jesus as he took on humanity.

    That emptying might have been some kind of trade-off as he took on humanity. Some human limitations would require him to let go of certain divine attributes.

    One particular human limitation that he did not take on was the propensity to sin. This is the one aspect of humanness that could not co-exist with divinity.

    But he was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. If sinfulness was a part of Jesus’ nature, he would not qualify to be the perfect “lamb of God” who would be sacrificed for your sins.

    He was bombarded with temptations all around him just as we are. But he stayed separate from sin. So was it unfair that he faced temptations without the sinful nature? Now now that’s an interesting thought. But remember, Adam and Eve were in that same predicament.

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