Strength

Stronger – part 5

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God desires for you and me to become stronger. Stronger emotionally, in faith, in love and stronger in the sense that we rest on His sufficient grace.

Stronger, Stronger – part 2, Stronger – part 3, Stronger – part 4

Today, I will continue to talk about how to become stronger, for His Glory and to help fulfill His purposes in our lives.

Photo by Petr Ganaj on Pexels.com
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Endurance

What is the nicest compliment you have ever received? Handsome, smart, cool guy, calm under pressure, caring, beautiful? What about, ‘consistent’ or ‘enduring’? Probably not words that come to mind immediately when thinking of been complimented.

If you were to describe someone you might use the words, interesting, exciting, quiet, fun to be around. But we would rarely use words like ‘consistent’ or ‘enduring’.

Upon reflection, one of the greatest qualities you will need if you want to become stronger is not found in your looks or in your talent, but in your endurance. Our walk with Jesus would be better summarised as more of a marathon than a 100m sprint. And like all good marathon runners it will require your endurance and consistency to finish the race.

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Perhaps your greatest challenge in life will not be chaos or uncertainty but your consistency. 

Endurance is what we need to last in the process. It is endurance that provides patience during a storm, and it is endurance that will keep you steady when you would rather quit. God’s desire is to empower you to endure to the end.

13 But the one who endures to the end will be savedMatthew 24:13 ESV

Here are 3 ways you can Gloriously Endure:

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1. Be the architect of your atmosphere

To get from your now to your future will require your endurance on the journey. But God will allow us to choose what the atmosphere of that journey will be like. We have the power to choose an adventurous journey, an ordinary one or a joyful one.

What atmosphere will you choose?

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2. Pray for stronger shoulders instead of lighter burdens

We have all had times when it is difficult to endure. It would be far easier to give in when things are tough, or to choose an easier option when facing difficult seasons. But what if in those times of difficulty God was actually providing an opportunity for us to become stronger?

Think about these prayers, which will make you stronger? And, which prayer will leave you in lack?

‘Lord give me more money’ or ‘Lord teach me how to multiply the finances I have.’

‘Lord I need a holiday’ or ‘God you are my portion and my strength help me focus on the things I need to accomplish today.’

It would be far easier to pray away the opportunities that God is giving us, but instead how much more fruitful would we be if we prayed for the strength to see us through? Strength that is lifetime lasting and not short-term like money or a holiday.

Where in your life do you need to embrace what God is doing in you?

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3. Be planted and stay planted

One of the greatest ways we can endure is to be planted and to stay planted. Planted where, you might ask? In the house of the Lord.

We all need a Church community where we can grow, serve and be challenged.

Yet often the reason this is not true for many is usually because of bitterness, un-forgiveness, or a misunderstanding between people within the Church. And the problem with this is that carrying these things always holds us back.

So ask yourself:

1. Do I need to find a new Church where I can truly grow?

2. Is this a storm that I am going through and I need to Stay Planted?

Pray:  Father, I thank You that it is your desire to strengthen me in every area of my life, help me to put into practice the things I have learnt, and help me to follow you all the days of my life. In Jesus name, Amen

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Light my path and search me, oh God

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Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Light on my path

Life is truly a journey, but sometimes while on the trip we are faced with turns, stops, and forks in the road where we desperately need God’s divine guidance. In the middle of the indecisive moments in our lives, we must do our part in seeking God’s will.

The word of God is designed specifically for the believer to utilise in reading, studying and meditation regarding any situation. God additionally provides his children with the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth and revelation concerning our life’s purpose, plan, and assignment. Frustration often occurs when we independently choose our own plans apart from God’s word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

John 16:13-14: 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.

Similarly, irritation attempts to creep in when we follow God’s word and heed to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and change in our situation doesn’t happen instantly. During those waiting periods, I encourage you to wait some more, trust, pray, and praise the LORD because additional guidance and revelation is on the way.

Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Without faith, it is impossible to please God and sometimes He doesn’t provide the entire picture of your life’s plan, just one pixel at a time. When you feel like you don’t know where to turn, remember God’s word is the light that guides you and illuminates your path.

2 Timothy 3:16-17: 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

God continues to reveal, speak, and guide his children. Be encouraged today and make sure that you are in alignment with his will, word, and way. Then you will begin to notice God’s divine guiding power in your life.

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Search me, oh God

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

If we’re not careful, our hearts can become like double-sided tape, picking up slights and hurts with increasing ease. And God is never duped by our outward appearance. He, better than anyone, knows that no human being is exempt from needing to declutter our hearts.

Even David, described as a man after God’s own heart, asked God to examine the contents of his soul in Psalm 139:23-24

His prayer gives us three practical steps to follow in decluttering our hearts.

1 Ask God

David courageously asked God to conduct an internal excavation. This was a brave request considering God knows all things, even that which we hide from ourselves.

And though the combination of our mind, will, and emotions may look like a long overdue garage sale, He is not hesitant to delve inside. He is not repelled by the complexity of our soul. Fully aware of the sum total of who we are, He delights in us.

2 Listen to God

David not only asked, but was prepared to listen to all that God would reveal to him about his heart. This was evident by his asking “See if there is any offensive way in me,”. David wanted to know God’s opinion of who he was at his core.

If we choose, like David, to declutter our hearts, we need to be prepared for what God has to say about us. He may ask us to part with a piece of ourselves we feel intimately connected to. Though it may be difficult, we can rest in the truth that God loves us extravagantly.

He is a master heart pruner, who purges because He knows it will make us better. Gently he persistently prompts us to release the jumbled hodgepodge of clutter we’ve piled up in our hearts. As our Creator, we can trust He has a purpose when He says “Let it go.”

He alone knows what needs to be kept or discarded.

3 Follow God

David ends his Psalm by saying “. . .    and lead me in the way everlasting.” If you are like me, sometimes I think I am a shepherd instead of a sheep. Foolishly, I get confused into thinking I can do a better job leading myself; but I can’t.

This is futile because a self-led person is headed for ruin. It is better to be led by God who sees our beginning and our end. If He can speak to the waves and bring peace then he can speak to our cluttered souls and bring order. We must surrender to Him: believing His infinite understanding of who we are is far superior than our finite perspective.

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Love each other deeply

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1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Christians ought to work hard at loving each other. The Greek word translated as “deeply,” “earnestly,” or “fervently” is ektenē, used to describe the muscles of an athlete straining to win a race. Peter writes that Christians should do this above all. A follower of Christ must make demonstrating the love of Jesus to others his or her first priority. This is always a requirement, but especially crucial during seasons of suffering.

Loving each other is also a proper response to the realisation that the end of all things is near, as mentioned in 1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” Knowing that the Day of the Lord could come at any time should cause believers to double down on our commitment to each other.

Finally, loving each other in this way covers a multitude of sins. We need to be careful with this statement. This doesn’t mean that our acts of love for each other can earn God’s forgiveness. Nor does Peter mean to imply that we are paying our sins off through good works. That would contradict what Peter and other New Testament writers clearly teach: that our sins are paid for by Christ’s death on the cross, and forgiveness for sin comes only through trusting in Him.

Rather, the idea that our love for each other covers a multitude of sins relates to our imperfection. Christians are not yet sinless. We are not perfect. We have set the course of our lives away from sin, but we still fail to obey sometimes. We make mistakes, even when we mean well.

Love for each other includes forgiving each other, overlooking past hurts, and building each other up when we fall.

It is difficult for sin and resentment to flourish in a community rich in Christ-like love.

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