Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Finishing Strong

Today I received the following prayer update from Chuck Obremski's congregation, Kindred Community Church. Please continue to lift Chuck and Linda up before the Lord. I've been challenged and inspired by Chuck's resolve to FINISH STRONG! - David

Finishing Strong!

Kindred Prayer Warriors Pray for Keeps!

Monday, September 5, 2005, no. 668

Dearest Linda and Chuck:

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, NASB

Being part of God’s family does not provide immunization from pain and heartache and suffering. In fact, God often spotlights our weaknesses so that He can illuminate His strength through them. The hope in the passage above is that DESPITE affliction, perplexing circumstances, persecution, and blows that knock us to our feet, we don’t lose heart. Why not? Because we have Jesus! Afflictions may come, but they won’t last forever. Circumstances that defy reason will assail us, but we have the hope that God is working them for our good and His glory. We may be persecuted, but never forsaken by our God Who holds us in His victorious right hand. And we may be struck down, but God has the final word, and He will raise us to new life in Him!

Think of what it’s like for unbelievers who are undergoing such circumstances. Their afflictions will be crushing; their questions will lead to despair; they have no eternal hope in the midst of persecution and death. In the darkness, we see Light. In the struggles, we see our Redeemer. In death, we see LIFE.

Linda—dear, sweet Linda—writes: “Our God is so GOOD. It is such a blessing to know He is using this situation for His GLORY! We are doing okay; Chuck did both chapels and was in a lot of pain and very tired the rest of the day, but God was so faithful to allow him to reach the goal of preaching and teaching yesterday. All he wants to do is to be able to Finish Strong!!!”

I don’t think that if God were to take our dear Pastor Chuck home—even today—that anyone would question whether or not he has finished strong. Pastor Chuck has been God’s beacon of light and strength to a spiritually dying world. As his body has lost physical strength, we have seen the truth of God’s Word detailed further in chapter 4 of Second Corinthians: “Though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (verse 16). The strength and resolve that we have seen in both Pastor Chuck and Linda has been an encouragement to so many. Finish strong? Yes, indeed!

The aggressiveness of the cancer is becoming more and more apparent. The struggle to breathe, the pain, the swelling. . .a reminder for us to not let up in praying! We pray for God’s presence to supercede the suffering, for God to breathe His power and strength in Pastor Chuck, to flood both Chuck and Linda with His peace that makes anxiety flee. We pray for sweet sleep for each of them and for their dear family and close friends. We cling to the Scriptures that promise no crushing, no despairing, no forsaking, and no destroying. “For we look not at the things which are seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). May we have “eternal eyes” to see the promises straight ahead for those who finish strong, our dear Pastor Chuck, for sure--“an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”

. . .We can only imagine!

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