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Hey there, I'm Sunny Shell, a wretch saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord. I'm married to the most incredible man on earth, who loves Jesus more than he loves me, and we have two precious adult sons.

The compassionately endures me through my metabolic disease (since 2004) that enables me to be more prayerful and careful about commitments I make and helps me to make the best use of my short time here on earth.

If you want to know more about me, click HERE.

When It's Hard To Open My Bible


There are many (too many) days I have trouble just opening the Word and getting my day started with Praise and Quiet Time in the Lord. I know this isn't a popular thing to share, but it's an honest thing to share about my spiritual walk...or sometimes, lack thereof. Though I could keep this weakness of mine hush hush and only share my accomplishments, my highs and all my joys I have in Christ, I can't do that because it would be disingenuous.

When I remember I'll never be the wisest, kindest or most Christ-like person on this side of Heaven, I am both relieved and spurred on toward holiness (2 Cor 7:1, Eph 4:24, Heb 12:14). This may sound a bit strange—to feel relieved and encouraged by what makes me weak; but in Christ, these seemingly diametric concepts are actually harmonious.

"So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
~2 Corinthians 12:7-10, ESV (emphasis, mine)
So as not to misunderstand what our Lord Jesus means that we are made "perfect" in verse nine, let me digress for a moment. The Greek phrase used for "is made perfect" in this verse is, τελέω (transliterated, teleō); which means, to bring to an end, complete, fulfill. The verb τελέω is in the present, passive, indicative. This means "is made perfect" is spoken in the present tense (occurring now), in the passive voice (the Apostle Paul is the recipient and not the doer of the action) and in the indicative mood (Jesus Christ, who is speaking, is making a definitive statement).

Therefore, it's clear that Christ is neither telling the Apostle Paul nor any of us that we will, or can ever be "perfect" (without any sin or flaw) on this side of Heaven. There is only one Person who has ever and can ever live a sinless life, and that is the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now that we have the biblically accurate understanding of what Jesus was telling the Apostle Paul about being made perfect, let me clarify a second aspect of this passage. Jesus' power is made perfect, that is complete, fulfilled and most evident in us when we are weak. That doesn't mean that we supposed to go around parading our troubles or wallowing in our weaknesses so the power of Christ will be perfected in us. It means that when we humbly and truthfully recognize our limitations, whether physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually, then yield to the Lord and cry out for His help, we can more clearly witness the demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us to accomplish whatever God has called us to (Phil 2:13, 1 Cor 2:4-5).

"Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
~Jesus the Christ (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV)
So on those many days, sometimes weeks and sometimes months I have a hard time just opening my Bible, I remember that God is fully aware of this weakness in me (Ps 103:13-14). And I rejoice in the supernatural help from Christ, who was tempted in every way to sin, yet was without sin (Heb 4:15-16).

When I admit my weaknesses before God and humbly seek His help, He immediately answers as He always does (Mt 20:34, Ps 65:5) and He helps me to remember how to worship, and why I so desperately need to commune with Him through reading, meditating and studying His Word.

It's in these moments, I remember why I've always called my time with the Lord, "Praise and Quiet Time"—because I always start with a song of praise, which moves me to open my Bible, and beckons me to bask in the quietness of communion with Him through "sitting at Jesus' feet" and listening intently to every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.

Personally, I've found hymns are the best help for me because all hymns are either based on Scripture, or references Scripture. After I have my time of worshiping the Lord in song, I read the Scripture associated with the hymn, then read the entire chapter that particular verse is found in. The next thing I know, I'm in full blown worship; sitting quietly at Jesus' feet, in awesome wonder of how every one of His words illuminates my mind and soul.


"Lord, Speak to Me that I May Speak"
"Lord, speak to me that I may speak in living echoes of Your tone;
as You have sought, so let me seek Your erring children lost and lone.

"O teach me, Lord, that I may teach the precious things You do impart;
and wing my words, that they may reach the hidden depths of many a heart.

"O fill me with Your fullness, Lord, until my very heart o'er-flow
in kindling thought an glowing word Your love to tell, Your praise to show.

"O use me, Lord, use even me, just as You will and when and where;
until Your blessed face I see, Your rest, Your joy, Your glory share."

~Hymn by Frances R. Havergal, 1872
(published in the Trinity Hymnal)

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6 comments:

  1. So needed to see this tonight. I usually have my quiet time with the Lord in the mornings, uninterrupted, but lately I've been struggling to even sit down to get the bible open. This really helps me understand why that happens. Thank you!

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  2. Kristin Slack PalmieriSeptember 6, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Thank you for sharing this! I am struggling with the same thing! Thank you for being genuine and encouraging us to open the word of God! Kristin

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  3. Hi there precious sister Tara. I'm blessed to know this article was helpful and encouraging to you...this was my prayer. :o) I've prayed and asked the Lord to help you as He's helped me and I'm so excited to know that He will because it's His will. ♥

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  4. You're most welcome precious sister Kristin. I've prayed for you too and just as I shared with Tara, I KNOW God will grant me my request for you because it's His will that we commune with Him. ♥

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  5. Amazing... I've been beating myself up over this very same thing! Sunny, thanks so much for sharing your experience. It's an encouragement to many. :)

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  6. You're most welcome precious sister Angela. Satan is always trying to "beat" us with something, so we don't need to give him any additional "tools" to beat us with. :o) I'm humbled and blessed to know that God uses my weaknesses to strengthen others. Only God can do that! Our Lord is SO AWESOME! \o/

    ReplyDelete

"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." ~ C.T. Studd
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