FEAR of God?

Many Christians have been attending Church for years and yet not knowing God personally. Many approach God like a long distant call; pray what you need and get over it and say amen. There is always this fear of God’s impending judgment or punishment over what they have done wrong or what they have not done.  Ask this question: Do you fear God? (the slavish kind of fear)  Do you think God punish your sins?  Do you see God as a Judge who is watching you 24/7 to catch you make mistake?  If the answer is yes then you may not be enjoying the fullness of God’s Grace in your life.

I was a Christian for over 40 years, going church and reading bible, and for the past 35 years or so, yet I did not know who God is, because I had answered all the above questions as “yes” (see also: https://liftingjesus.org/about-the-author/).  When I was a child, my earthly father was a quiet man and seldom home, and my mother liked to use His name to scare us when I or my siblings were not behaving.  Isn’t that what many churches today are teaching likewise?  Using the name of God to inflict fear on the sheep?  I lived my life not knowing who my father was until he died, because I did not want to live with fear with him, so I went far away to another country.  We seldom talked, only over long distance calls and only for urgent matters.  However, when I was married, my wife was able to communicate with him like a good friend, why? Because, she had not gone through the wrong teaching about my father.

Fear voids Faith. That is the reason why Jesus only mentioned “Great Faith” only to 2 persons in the Bible, the first one is Mat 15:28 “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  She was a Canaanite woman, whose daughter was demon possessed.  And the second one is Mat 8:10 “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And his servant was healed that same hour.  He was the Centurion or the Commander of 100-200 Roman army.

Do you notice that both of them were not Jews? Both were Gentiles and Gentiles were not groomed to know and learn about the Old Covenant of Law or the 10th Commandments of God.  The Law brought constant fear to man, because the purpose of Law is to bring every man to their end and become guilty before God when they break it (Rom 3:19  Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God).  They were oblivious to the Law and only having Jesus’ consciousness!  Grace consciousness, that Jesus could heal them, Jesus is good, and Jesus is enough for all miracles to happen.  Being oblivious to the Law, apparently produces Great Faith! And such, miracles happen that same hour.

You may ask: What is this “Fear of God” in the Bible?  The Fear of God as written in the Bible is not the kind of slavish fear of rattle snake, but the idea of living in respect, in awe, and in submission to God.  Jesus Himself translated “Fear of God” as “Worship of God” in Mat 4:10 and Luk 4:8 ; which was actually directly translated from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 6:13. God is a good God, He loves you and He had sworn never again to be angry with you nor rebuke you (Isaiah 54:9) and His Loving Kindness shall never depart from you, nor shall His covenant of peace be removed (Isaiah 54:10) ; How come God can swear? Because God has exhausted all His wrath or judgment of sins upon the body of Jesus.  It was vividly described through the accurate prophecy, by Prophet  Isaiah in 53:4 & 53:5 ; chapter 53 before God could swear in chapter 54.  God needed not swear but He did to make you at peace, no-more hard feeling towards God, and no-more wrong thinking about angry God. NewSet (2) God had a choice either to spare you or spare Jesus from the punishment of eternal death. And, because of His great love for you, God chose to spare you and spared not His own begotten Son for your sake; because God loved you as much as God loved Jesus.  You may say “yes, Jesus is God, and God will raise Him up ultimately after crucifixion”.  My friend, don’t you forget that Jesus is also “fully man” who can feel every single pain a man feels.

Historical sources during Jesus’ time revealed, the Romans used flagellation or flogging or Scourging, called verberatio which was possibly the worst kind of flogging administered by ancient courts. It is the act of methodically beating or whipping the human body with a specialized whip consisted of braided leather thongs with metal balls and pieces of sharp bone woven into or intertwined with the braids. The balls added weight to the whip, causing deep bruising as the victim was struck. The pieces of bone served to cut into the sensitive nerves in flesh. As the beating continued, the resulting cuts were so severe that the skeletal muscles, underlying veins were exposed.

FloggingWhip After the scourging, Jesus carried His own cross to Golgotha (John 19:17), He collapsed, and a man named Simon was forced to either carry the cross or help Jesus carry the cross the rest of way to the hill (Matthew 27:32–33; Mark 15:21–22; Luke 23:26). This collapse indicates Jesus had low blood pressure, as He suffered from hypovolemic shock. He was also beaten up along the way while carrying the wooded cross, He was crowned with thorns, He was made shamed, totally naked on the cross as the soldiers were gambling His clothes as He bled and suffered the unspeakable agony on the cross in front of the mocking mob.  Finally the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water; medical science explained the sustained rapid heartbeat caused by hypovolemic shock also causes fluid to gather in the sack around the heart and around the lungs. This explains why, after Jesus died and a Roman soldier thrust a spear through Jesus’ side, piercing both the lungs and the heart, blood and water came from His side just as John recorded in his Gospel (John 19:34).  Literally Jesus died broken hearted for our sake. File_PassionMovie_Cross Jesus died so we may live. God did not spare His own Son for you and I, why ? Do you want to know from Jesus’ own word why?

John Chapter 17 was a long prayer of Jesus, when Jesus spoke these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said in John 17:23 “I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me  The answer is because God loved you and I as much as God loved Jesus, He spared not His own Son for you and I; Heaven is not Heaven without you and I in it.

Beloved of God, you are precious in the eyes of God, as precious as Jesus, His own Son. There is every reason for you now to draw near to Him as often as possible, being His beloved child, so precious to His sight. Come to Him as who you are even though you had just committed sins, even though you still have many unclean habit/s.  In fact, it is when you failed, that is the very reason you must run to Him for comfort, and not run from Him, because God is the solution to all problems, while Satan is the cause of all problems and the bad consequences of sins in this world.

God does not punish your sins, in fact He cannot punish sins anymore.  The reason God swore never ever be angry with you nor punish you for your sins, is not because He had gone soft, but because God had exhausted all His wrath and judgment of sins upon the body of Jesus 2000 years ago.  He had punished all your sins, not on you but on Jesus, and thus God cannot punish the same sins twice upon you and I again, as that will be against His own Righteousness.  God is just in making us righteous.  We are righteous not because of His mercy, but because of His justice, and because God is also Love; therefore the cross is the solution where Justice kissed with Love perfectly.  Hallelujah, Thank Him, yes thank Him is all you can do to receive this precious gift of eternal forgiveness that Jesus died to give us on that cross.

God-loves-you-this-much

FEARLESS OF MAN

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Do you fear man?  Are you constantly trying to get the approval of man?  For instance: your boss, or some influential man, your colleagues, your friends?  Were you shy to say grace before eating – when you are not with your Christian friends?  Were you shy to tell someone that Jesus loves him?  Are you worried constantly that people will misconstrue something that you did or said, and that they will be critical of you in speaking to other people?

The fear of man can be life crippling.  It takes many forms, and has many complicated twisting and turnings to it, but if we are feeling insecure about how other people view us, then, the fear of man is the culprit behind it all. Dale Carnegie, an American writer and developer of famous courses in interpersonal skills; said in his writing: “No one ever kick a dead dog”.  God’s Spirit indwells in His children, we are pretty much alive, and that is why Satan likes to find trouble with us.  So, don’t be overly conscious about self, but be conscious about Jesus, for we are in Him, and He is in us.  Behold His beauty, for Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly.  When God sees us, He sees Jesus, we are in Christ.  And if God highly esteem Jesus, so are we in Christ.  What can mere men do to us?

The fear of man often begins very subtly as negative imaginations centered on how we think others perceive us. As we indulge such imaginations, the evil one begins to get a foothold in our thinking, and pretty soon we find ourselves developing a pattern of worry. The imaginations come around more and more often. We start to focus on the body language and voice tones of the people we are afraid of, and begin to read things into them that may not even be there.  We eventually respond outwardly and negatively toward those we fear, for instance: hostility or simple avoidance of them.

As the fear of man progresses, it tends to affect all our relationships. We expect to be rejected by others, and begin to exhibit that fear of rejection to a widening circle of our acquaintance.

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The fear we feed on will become reality because fear is the opposite of faith.  Faith is a seed that will grow into reality, so will fear.  Faith is of God, while Fear is of Devils.  Devils always imitate God. (Read also our article on: Fearless Children of God).  Thus, Fear is magnetic; it changes the unseen spiritual realm which in turn changes the natural realm of the world we live in.  You will not only live the way you fear but you’ll also orchestrate the fear scenario into reality.

Job 3:25 – for the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

The power of fear can produce things that he didn’t desire simply because Job gave place to fear in his life.  Instead of faith, which is to depend and believe in God, he depended on his own effort to feed the fear in him.  The spirit of fear is always characterized by torment, snare and captivity (demanding!)  It not only hinders us from living the emotionally healthy lifestyle that is our inheritance as children of God, but also it becomes a stumbling block to us being effective and productive in God’s kingdom.

I had to deal with the fear of man in my own early life. I did not initially recognize what it was. I thought I was having problems with people being critical of me (and some were), and I thought people were attempting to intimidate me (and some were), but what I did not realize, until the Lord began to speak to me about it, was that the problems I was encountering were only symptoms of the deeper problem — the fear of man in me.

My experience as a teen, when I was asked to speak before hundreds of students, my face muscle would clench up (Fear of Public Speaking – Laliophobia).  My experience in preaching – when someone was leaving the church, I was affected mentally “was that because of what I just said?”  In fact, the person was only going to the toilet….

STAND FEARLESS

There is no such thing as healthy fear. By the way, the Fear of God in the New Testament is not the kind of slavish fear of rattle snake, but the idea of living in respect, in awe, and in submission to God  (Jesus Himself translated Fear of God as “Worship of God” in Mat 4:10 and Luk 4:8 ; which was actually directly translated from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 6:13).  There is no such thing as a middle way.  God’s way is the only way.  Fear is not an option!

Proverbs 29:25 (AMP) The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.

The word “safe” is from the verb śāgab, = “to be inaccessibly high or to be exalted.” Security in the Lord removes intimidation by man.  “Snare” is an instrument for catching animals, Anything by which one is entangled & put in trouble, or bringing in unexpected evil, perplexity or danger.

Moses was said to be the greatest man in Israel, he brought out from Egyptian captivity about 2.5 million Israelites, yet the people murmured at him.  At some points, he was devastated.  Because that is the fallen nature of human being, criticism cannot be avoided.

Question: If criticism cannot be avoided, we must learn to deal with it, right?  No!  The way to deal with Criticism is Not to deal with it at all.  It is the highest form of reaction.

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In my teenage time, I used to receive prank calls.  Someone would say something dirty or threatening to me over the phone and then hanged up.  And, the more I entertained it, the more frequent the calls came.  Eventually, I learnt that prank callers are losers who dared not come face to face, so I started to hang up the phone even before the prank caller can utter another word.  The calls eventually ceased because I stopped entertaining it.

If you received criticisms, don’t meditate on it – such as “he said I…., then they also mentioned that I……do you think that I….”  Meditating on criticisms is the same as making the seed of fear grow and become reality.  Our focus is : we are already pleasing to God, we are the apple of God’s eyes, we are precious Children of God; So why bother with our time and effort of man’s criticisms.  The dog is barking at the moon, the moon does not talk back, keep shining and still shining; in time soon the dog will be tired of barking.

Criticism is not from God, as God never criticize us, in fact, we are so precious that God is willing to die for us.  When we are being criticized and we don’t react adversely, we are sowing into the Kingdom.  God is glorified.  It shows that we know our status, we are king and priest, precious child of God. These people who criticize, would not die for us, but Jesus Christ the son of God had died for us and gave His life for us. Gal 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

A real story of a woman who was gun-pointed by a robber, demanding her to open the door of her car. At the spur of seconds, fears were running down her spine, she was stunned and about to do what was demanded of her by the robber.  But then, suddenly the Holy Spirit reminded her “I am a child of God, the King of Universe, who does he think he is to threaten me?”  With courage mustered up in her, she pushed him away and locked the car door, and walked off, totally disregarding the man.  Instead of causing fury, the robber was caught in confusion, he backed off because he did not know what to do. She walked into the shopping mall nearby, unharmed.  All the time while walking out of the car, she was thinking to herself, better to be shot in this place where many by-standers and people on the street could help her, rather than being kept hostage in her own car, probably raped, tortured, robbed and killed.  She later identified the man with the police escorts and napped the man.

How I overcome the fear of preaching?  I now look to God when preaching and not for man’s acceptance; anyway it is not my performance, it is His time, His way, and His performance!  When I preach, I am not there to gain popularity, I am only a donkey who carries Jesus, I preach His word, any popularity or criticism belong to Him; and God knows what the people need to hear.

Know that people’s adverse behaviors is more about their hearts than it is about us, so do not take their rejections or mistreatment personal.  Most of the time, when we fear what others are thinking or speaking negatively of us, actually: they are just dealing with their own problems.  God is love, we walk in agreement with God, and we deal with others in love.

CONCLUDING CONFESSION

Instead of meditating on fears, meditate what the Bible says about the fear of man and how we are to respond to it:

Proverbs 29:25 — The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Psalm 56:11 — In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid of what man can do unto me.
Hebrews 13:6 — So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Psalm 118:6 – The Lord is on my side; I will not fear; what can man do unto me?
Deuteronomy 1:17 – Ye shall not be afraid of the face of man.

LET ME PRAY FOR YOU

I proclaim that your faith is in God who has made every provision available to you to live an abundant life in Christ Jesus.  You shall rest in God knowing that His Grace is enough.  You shall walk in agreement with God believing in His promises.

In the name of Jesus, you tormenting demons, I dislodge you from these people’s minds and I command your power to be broken once and for all.  I declare these people are free from the bondage of fear; they are free from captivity, free from any emotional traps and torments, protected by the ministering angels of God, who keep in all our ways.

God has given the gifts of spiritual blessings; you are now anointed to be used boldly by God. Go forth with courage. For you do not seek the approval of men, what can mere men do to you?  In all that you do, God is glorified.  You are now free to be loved and to love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Fearless – your weakness is your Strength : story of Gideon and Peter

God is able to work through the non-intellectual things in this world; for God deliberately choose what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. God uses the least, the weak, the afflicted, the despised, the weary, the feeble, powerless and the foolish things of the world to confound the mighty. So that no man should have pretense for glorying nor can boast in the presence of God (1Co 1:26-29) .

However, sometimes when we feel physically or spiritually weak, we’re tempted to take a “time-out” and wait until we are stronger again, or until we perform certain religious rituals or obedience to please God, thinking that God will use us again when we are stronger and pleasing to Him. That is not biblical. God uses you the way you are right now, and not the way you will be. You will never be perfect as long as you still dwell in flesh; no one is good but Christ Jesus.  So, Stop looking within yourself, and start looking at Him who is altogether lovely.

In Judges 6, Gideon who was taking a “time-out.” It was wartime, and Gideon was hiding when an Angel of the Lord appeared to tell him that he would be the one to save Israel. Imagine Gideon’s astonishment: Jdg_6:15  “Pardon me, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Gideon literally means: “”Lord, I come from a “nobody” family and I’m the “lowest nobody” in my family””.  He was so fearful and weary, and without any faith to start with and trying to run away from God’s assignment; so he asked God to give him a sign to prove it was God, even though he already knew it was God, in fact he asked twice for confirmation!  As if just to prove God was wrong.

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Jdg 6:37  prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that You are going to help me rescue Israel as You promised.”
Jdg 6:38  And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.
Jdg 6:39  Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.”
Jdg 6:40  So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.

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After God enlisted Gideon, He then reduce an army of 32,000 men to 300 men only. Then God took those 300 men army and won the battle by using not a single sword but each man carried a trumpet (shofar) and a clay jar with a torch.  It was not by might but by the power of God. So it does not matter how weak is your present state, it only matters how strong is your God, for He alone deserve to be glorified. Hallelujah!

Gideon had many fears and doubts because of his experiences with devastation around him. So God did many amazing things for Gideon to believe that it was God’s will for him to work with God to triumph.  Let’s see now another story from the New Testament: Apostle Peter. Peter started out as a man of many fears, lacking in faith, but he ended up with great boldness for the Lord.

On meeting Peter at the first sight, Jesus saw Peter a man of great faith by changing his name from Simon to Peter (= Cephas / Rock).  Joh 1:40-42… Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, a Rock = Petra = Peter).

After receiving revelation of Jesus as the Messiah, Peter somehow did not follow Jesus yet and continued his fishing profession. For what reason/s the Bible did not specify, but I believe Peter did not believe that following Jesus would suffice him food to eat, so he actually went back to fishing again. Then later, Peter met Jesus again, as told in:

Luke 5:1-3  So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

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Luke 5:4-7  When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

Indeed, Peter must have doubted why an experienced fishermen would listen to a carpenter. But perhaps in his doubts, he remembered that Jesus was introduced to him as the Messiah, so Peter gave it a try. To his surprise Peter drew in a net breaking boat sinking load of fish.  Realizing the goodness and mercy of the Lord who showered Peter with financial blessing despite his doubt, Peter was brought down on his knees, in remorse and repentance (=changing of mind), he said in the next verse, Luke 5:8-9  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”  For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken;

In his walk as Jesus’ disciple, following Jesus wherever He went, Peter had many opportunities to witness Jesus demonstrating miracles, healing the sicks and raising the dead.  Despite so, Peter continued to display fear, the lack of faith.  In another occasion, when Jesus was seen walking on water:

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And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” Jesus said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Mat 14:26-31)

Even though there was no connection between walking on water and the boisterous wind. Yet, Peter was distracted by the irrelevance, and lost focus on the mighty Messiah right before him. Peter meditated in the boisterous wind, fear rose up in him and his faith gave way.

The Bible continued to show Peter was a man overtaken by fear, when he sliced off the temple guard’s ear when Jesus was apprehended; and last but not least when he denied Jesus three times for fear of his life.

Jesus’ plan for Peter was not to fail and live in life of misery from past failures, but Jesus wanted Peter to live a life of boldness in faith.  After the resurrection, Jesus made breakfast for Peter and delivered him from self:

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Joh 21:15  “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love (=agape / unconditional love of God) Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love (= philio / brotherly love only) You.”  He said to him, “Feed My lambs”
Joh 21:16  “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love (agape) Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love (philio) You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep”
Joh 21:17  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love (philio) Me?” Peter was grieved and he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love (= I could only philio) You.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.….“

The conversation was indeed the most important conversation in Peter’s life.  Peter admitted his failings, he stopped trying to be self-righteous. Jesus spoke unto Peter to tend His sheep despite his imperfection, for it is Jesus righteousness and perfection that Peter should rest upon.  Having delivered from self-condemnation, and armed with the Son of God, Peter became very bold, and the leader of the disciples.

Peter was the first disciple to preach to the Gentiles in Act 2 with the Power of Holy Spirit descended from heaven, where also 3000 people were saved. The mere casting of his shadow upon the sick was capable of bringing about miraculous healings.  Peter was the one who defended the inclusion of the Gentiles (non-Jews) into the Christian Church at the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem.  When imprisoned, Peter converted his jailers, Processus, Martinianus, and forty-seven others. He brought the same boldness even in own crucifixion in 67AD.

God is perfect Love, Peter has learned to rest on God’s perfect Love, believing in His abilities and His Word.  When you know the truth, as Peter did, that as born again Christians, the perfect Love of God entered you and cast out fear (1John 4:18).  Jesus said: Take no thought, saying what shall you eat? Or, what shall you drink? Or, with what shall you be clothed? (Mathew 6:28-31).  Note here: “take no Thought” – means: you have the decision to take or don’t take a thought – so stop doubting, just take it!  If you have been born again, say this: “I am redeemed from fear.  Jesus has delivered me from fear”.

2 Kings 6:16-17 – Elisha said – Fear not: for they that are with us are more than they that are with themAnd behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

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Angels are ministering spirits from God to protect and deliver us.  There is more unseen forces for you than against you.  Remember whatever fear Satan can bring to our minds is a fear of failure of God’s promises.  The trick of Satan is to pervert the promises of God.  God has a promise to cover everything in your life and God never lies, whatever He says will come to pass; God says His Grace is enough.  God has given you His Word.  You can escape from the corruption of this world.  You can live free from poverty, sickness, failures, disappointments, rejections…  You can have all the blessings of Abraham.  You can use the name of Jesus and the full armor of God.  You can, because of His Grace is enough for you. The moment you admit that you need God – that is the moment God’s strength can work mightily within you. The more we boast of our weaknesses, the more powerful God’s strength residing in us.

2Co 12:9  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.