Today more than ever, there are handicaps for almost everything. Alcoholism
is considered an illness, sickness ... a handicap. And there's a pill or a book to read
to cure almost every handicap or problem one may have today! (Just look in a Christian
bookstore, for example, of how many books are available on how to cure a certain ailment.)
September 6th, 2000, Wednesday Evening
"Conquering our Handicaps"
How we should react to personal pain and life's obstacles
(Special Guest Speaker: Brother Earl T. Faulkner)
OPENING: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, KJV
...And by the way--the cure to the "sickness" alcoholism is NOT TO PICK THE BOTTLE
UP AT ALL!
2 Corinthians 12:4: We see here the Apostle Paul receiving
visions from the Father. To put the opening scripture in context, read this verse.
#1/5: RECIPIENT OF handicap
- 2 Corinthians 12:7: The Apostle Paul is the recipient of the
"thorn in the flesh". Don't take this literally. This thorn could be anything
but the point is (no pun there) Paul was given an ailment to prevent his being exhalted
above God. How would this be possible? If Paul preached so boldly and people praised
him for his preaching and the glory was not given to God. Is not man who should be
praised in anything but God in all things
- When something bad happens to us, our natural tendency is, "Oh, why me! Poor
- Job 1:6-12: The time-old question: "Why do bad things happen to
good people?" Next time you're asked that, think of Job (in the Old Testament book of Job).
Job was a faithful, obedient follower of God who eschewed evil. But Satan said to God,
"if you took everything away from Job, he'll curse your name." So God allowed Satan to do
everything to Job--even kill his children--short of harming Job, himself. God did this
not because Job sinned or was evil but to test Job. How did Job fare? Read the rest
of the book of Job to find out.
- Regardless of what happens to us, we should praise God because there are
advantages in adversities.
#2/5: SOURCE OF INFIRMITY (handicap)
- Why do bad things happen to good people? Our Pastor Byrd says there are
three storms which plague us in our lifetime:
- Savior-made: To help you know what you are made of and to bring you back to
God in times of great sinning
- Self-made: when you violate the scriptures and bring the problem upon yourself.
- Satan-made: What Job went through--Satan's attempt to turn you from God.
- Realize and understand that no matter how good or scripture-abiding you are,
you will fall victims to these storms throughout your life.
#3/5: REACTION TO handicap
- Psalm 50:15: The initial reaction is to be angry that it happened to us.
We forget God is omnipotent (everywhere at once) and could've stopped it from happening but he
allowed it to happen. So realize God is with you, all around you, and already at your
- God has the power to destroy our whole body but he doesn't. We shouldn't charge
God for our faults, problems, or misfortunes.
- 2 Corinthians 12:8: Paul asks the Lord three times that
this pain be taken from him. Today we're in a society that doesn't want to endure pain
because we're used to living without (air conditioning, for example). But before the 21st
century, towns were built by people without luxuries such as flush toilets, air conditioners,
- 2 Corinthians 12:9: Because of God's response, Paul resolves there
is strength found in his weakness--there this weakness should be glorified unto God.
- 2 Corinthians 12:10: Therefore, as a lesson to all of us, we
should take pleasure in our pain, stress, and anguish. Why? Because think of Jesus:
He willingly endured the cross, pain, and death because he knew it would result in the
joy of knowing that it would save souls in this world.
In addition, it gives those saved souls an opportunity to witness of Him.
#4/5: EXPLANATION OF handicap
- 2 Corinthians 12:7: Before Paul was
saved, he was a fierce Christian persecutor.
He was exhalted by man as the "Pharisee of Pharisees."
People would pay homage to Paul and not God.
- You have to be careful in your preaching and song worship and any other work
you do so that God gets the praise and not you by others for your work.
- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: God's strength is perfected in our
weakness. You cannot witness to others on your own accord--you need God's help. It's not
the power of our words that helps/saves
others, it's God's through us.
- 2 Corinthians 12:10: Look at the specifics of what Paul takes
pleasure in. These are just a couple of examples of what we should take pleasure in,
as well, when they come upon us.
- The world says strength is the answer and there is no room for weakness.
But God says weakness is what makes Him strong--a concept the world doesn't understand.
For example, in the book of Moses told God he wasn't a good speaker
or a good leader. God used this weakness and look at what Moses did--he freed the
Children of Israel from Egyptian bondage and led them across the parted sea.
(Another example of Moses' insecurity that God perfected: Exodus 4:1-4.)
#5/5: CONQUERING THAT handicap
- Inevitably, things will happen to you, so...
- #1: Accept them and welcome them with gladness. Remember that even Paul
wanted his handicap taken away, at first, but when the Father told him the reasoning
behind having that pain, Paul begins his attitude anew with gladness--not grief and pity.
- #2: Don't just accept it--accept it with gladness.
- True Story: George Mueller, an orphanage worker, always sat the children
down at the table down to pray for the food they were about to receive" even though it
was hardly food or no food at all in front of them. Then one day, a milk truck and a
bread truck came by and had broken down in front of the orphanage. The driver said his
milk would spoil. Instead of throwing it away, all that was given to the children.
- #3: Take pleasure in your infirmities because it gives God the
opportunity to shine.
- #4: Isaiah 40:31: Appropriate God's provisions. God provides
strength and all that we need so that we don't "faint." (Faint meaning "being cut-off
or dying" in the spiritual sense.) There is no biblical reason a child of God,
who waits upon the Lord (by sticking close to God), should faint away.
We all have mental, spiritual, physical, and financial handicaps. The question is:
how do you deal with yours?