adversity...burden or bridge?

i watched Dr. Charles Stanley this morning.  his sermon was the title above. it was based on the adversity Paul went through and described in 2 Corinthians 11.  Paul goes on to learn some things about adversity.  Dr. Stanley shared that knowledge in his sermon. 

i have been wallowing in some pity of my own lately.  living in this old house. renovating for five years with no end in sight.  living with my FIL.  it takes a toll, trust me.  but instead of looking at it as a burden, Paul suggests to look at it as a bridge.  a bridge to a closer relationship with Jesus.  hmmmmm....what an amazing insight that is!  i never would have thought that my little troubles of living in this house would lead me closer to Christ! 

so let's take a look at what Dr. Stanley preached today; about what Paul learned...

1. Paul learned that he could be content in the midst of adversity.  Phil 4:10-11; 2 Cor 12:10

2. Paul learned that he could experience God's supernatural strength in his weakness.  2 Cor 12:10

3. Paul learned the source of all his needs.  "my sufficiency is in Christ."  2 Cor 12:9

4. Paul learned that he can trust in the faithfulness of God.   1 Cor 10:13

5. Paul learned that God valued his service more than his desires.  ("God will overlook our desires to equip us to serve Him.")

6. Paul learned that God was strengthening his message to his followers.  Phil 1:13-15  (Others watch what you are going through and see how you handle it.)

7. Paul learned to see everything as coming from God.  2 Cor 12:7  (God allowed things to happen for His good and for Paul's good.)

8. Paul learned the ways of God.  2 Cor 12:10  (God uses adversity to grow us up and strengthen us, and bring us closer to Him. when i am weak, He is strong for me.)

9. Paul learned that adversity made him a more effective comforter. 2 Cor 1:3-4; 2 Cor 1:8

10. Paul learned that God had a purpose for his adversity. 2 Cor 12:7 (to protect His ministry; to protect us from becoming useless. the purpose is for His good and for our good.  Rom 8:28

God is drawing us into an intimate relationship with Him.  He wants us to know HimPhil 4:4
REJOICE in the Lord always!  even through adversity!

these are the words that stick out for me:  contentment, strength, sufficiency, trust, faithfulness, service, comforter, purpose, good.  who'd a thought that adversity could mean all that and more! amazing!


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