How strong are you? Back in my high school days we worked out just about every day to build up strength and stamina. Even after high school, I found myself pumping that iron to stay in shape and to maintain my strength. That’s probably the story of many others, but the older I get, I’ve noticed that even with working out, I can be strong, but not like the days of my youth. Physically everyone loses their strength over time, but that doesn’t have to be the case spiritually. The apostle Paul said, “Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10.
We need this encouragement today because of the hostile environments we enter into and the spiritual wrestling required to survive. Our mistake oftentimes is that we don’t know who our opponent is, so we end up in major conflicts with our spouse, or with our co-worker, or with our neighbors. Our wrestling is with spiritual forces of darkness in heavenly places. Our wrestling opponent, Paul said, was not on the human level, but the spiritual. That’s not to say we don’t come into contact with those who come against us, we certainly do, but even then, we must see our battle is not directly with them.
I love watching the Strong Man’s Contest where those massive men show how strong they are by lifting weights, pushing or pulling trucks, and lifting heavy concrete balls. It’s possible and very likely to be very strong physically, but a weakling spiritually, and that’s why Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord.” To be strong in the Lord means to walk in love and to be full of faith. To be strong in the Lord you have to know the Lord on a very personal level. To be strong in the Lord means you are a person of prayer. To be strong in the Lord you must be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be strong in the Lord you must be completely covered with the armor of God. Let me ask you, what does it matter if you can win physical battles and intellectual debates if you lose every spiritual confrontation? God has equipped you to win every spiritual wrestling match against your unseen enemy. Spiritually, you are not someone who should be pushed around and knocked down, but it happens, and it has happened to me more times than I want to admit. So what do you do? You get back up, and you go again. You learn the enemy’s strategy and you renew and gain strength in the Lord. You are strong, but your source of strength is not in you, it’s in the Lord. Starting today, be strong in the Lord!
You may be living in the blessings of those around you. When someone walks in faith and obedience to God, that person lives with the overflowing blessings and favor of God. There is a light and love and a goodness that emanates from their life that touches those around them. Those who walk in faith and obedience to God will have a great attitude and outlook on life, but what I’m talking about is more than someone having a great attitude. These followers of Christ are the “super-spreaders” of God’s saving gospel. They are the carriers of His presence. Listen to this, your work place ought to be favored because you are there. Your school and church and programs ought to be favored and especially blessed because you are there walking in faith and obedience to God.
Jesus said these words, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” —Matthew 5:16. God saved us and put His spirit in us to make an impact wherever we go. As you go out today, know that you are taking God’s presence with you, so don’t hide it. Be a blessing everywhere you go!
Joshua 14:12 “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim [were] there, and [that] the cities [were] great [and] fortified. It may be that the LORD [will be] with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.”
Very few people would make such a request and even fewer would make a request for a mountain at the age of 85. But Caleb, one of the 12 spies who went and spied out the Promise Land for God’s people, was no ordinary man. By God’s grace for 85 years his streng
th had been sustained and his faith in God had only increased. And now at the point in life when the land was being divided among the children of Israel, instead of requesting a piece of property where he could settle down and take it easy like most people would, he asked for the mountain. He asked for the challenge. He wasn’t interested in the populated valley or the green meadows, he wanted the mountain. Why would he do that? Why would anyone his age do that? Caleb knew that making such a request would keep him dependent on the presence and power of God. Caleb still wanted to obey God and drive out the trespassing Anakim. More than likely you need a challenge that will keep you completely dependent on God’s presence and power, we all do. But what is it going to be? Do you see a mountain challenge anywhere? Don’t let yo
ur age be a factor as you look to a mountain, but have faith as Caleb did and said, “it may be that the LORD will be with me”. What will you do for the kingdom and glory of God that is going to challenge you? What mountain are you going to take on for His glory? Caleb was a mountain man and you can be a mountain man or woman, but the mountain will never be easy. Taking on a mountain will require focus, discipline and great faith in Almighty God. If you will take a moment to ask God to show you a mountain to take on, I promise you He will show you. Let Christ be exalted and make Him the king of the mountain.
Being noticed is one of the biggest driving forces in our society today. People want to be seen, heard, and recognized. People do whatever it takes to be noticed, from the dying of their hair different colors to wearing flashy clothes, to not wearing much at all to be noticed. Sadly, this mentality has come into the church on Sunday mornings with bright suits, big ties, high heel shoes and low-cut revealing dresses. People want to be “seen.” Perhaps it’s a fear of not being noticed or overlooked or it may even be peer pressure. Whatever it is that drives this common mentality, it’s definitely in our human nature to want others to see us and acknowledge us.
But as a follower of Christ, please don’t concern yourself with being noticed or being a part of the “Who’s Who” in society to the best of your ability. Don’t bother with being in the religious clique or running in with the popular crowd. You must believe that God knows where you are and when He has an assignment for you. I have this on good authority from God’s Word:
When the prophet Samuel came to the house of Jesse to appoint a new King for Israel, none of the seven sons that passed before Samuel were chosen. Initially Samuel was going to anoint Eliab as the new King. He “looked” like the chosen one, but God told Samuel, “For the Lord does not see as a man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The one Samuel was looking for wasn’t even among those who had gathered. The one Samuel was looking for wasn’t even invited, because someone needed to keep watch over the flock. David didn’t seem to concern himself with being at the sacrifice and was content to keep watching the flock. But God, got who He was looking for.
David wasn’t trying to be noticed or in with the popular crowd, he was just being faithful over a few things, and God made him ruler over many things. Believe today that God sees you! Don’t stress if you’re overlooked or not in the “in crowd.” With God, you don’t need to be, because when your assignment comes up, He knows where to find you.
Just take a moment to fill in the blank, “Because He lives, I can __________ __________!” This truth has to be more to us than the familiar lyrics of an old gospel song. Because Jesus lives and death couldn’t keep Him and the grave couldn’t stop Him, there is power to live your life by. His resurrected life enables us to do what we could not otherwise do. Not only that, but because of His life, we are able to have a life. What I mean is that we exist, only because He exists. Think about it, if God somehow stopped existing this moment, so would every form of life, including human life. The apostle Paul said,
The reality of our lives is that we are God-sustained and not self-sustained. He is the One who gives us breath and keeps our hearts beating. He is the One who holds all things together. Because He lives, and only because He lives, I can face tomorrow. I can get up in the morning. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Because He lives, I can go beyond my natural abilities and do what only can be done in His power. I can love those who are not so loving. I can forgive those who have wronged me. I can walk where God wants me to walk. I can endure what life throws at me. I can love my neighbors as myself. I can be the witness He wants me to be. I can survive the fiery storms and I can walk through the valley.
Because He lives, I can face the giants that threaten. God is your enabler! Yes He is, because otherwise you would have quit a long time ago. The reason you are still going and giving and loving and haven’t become bitter and angry and isolated is because of God. His life means everything to the disciple of Christ. Because He lives, you can go to bed tonight and have sweet rest. Because He lives, you can live in complete confidence that He sees you right where you are, knows where you’ve been, knows how you feel and knows what you need. Because He lives, I can believe and know that everything is going to be alright. Because He lives, I can lift my head up and march on in the name of Jesus! March on!
The window of opportunity is closing for you to surrender your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You may be one who doesn’t think you need to surrender or confess anything, or you may be one who doesn’t even believe in the existence of God. But you should not be so quick to make such definitive calls or conclusions about creation and the origin or destination of human life. Every single person who has walked the face of this earth has walked with limited knowledge. There are people who act like they know everything, but the reality is, they know somethings and most often only about specific subjects. But what about life after death? What about the possibility that this is an area you have limited knowledge about? I know this doesn’t speak to everyone, but hopefully it will speak to the one who is searching for answers and the one God is drawing. Listen, today is the day. Today is the day of salvation if you will humble yourself and call on the name of Jesus to save you. Look at these verses.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”. John 14:6
…”that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10
“For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
What sense does the cross make if everyone could enter eternal life and heaven the way they decided? That would seem like a cruel joke on Jesus, but the fact is, the cross was no joke, but it was the expression of God’s love to the world. I don’t know what you are waiting on to surrender everything to Christ before you step out of this world. Don’t let anything stop you from trusting in Christ and receiving the free gift of salvation. Yes, it is a free gift with no strings attached except for the eternal cords of God’s love. The struggle in the faith is not in receiving Christ, but in living for Christ each and every day. The struggle is in taking up your cross, separating yourself from the world and not being ashamed of the One the world mocks and despises.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Imagine the conversations in heaven if men could decide on their own how they would enter heaven and receive eternal life. I can hear the conversations now, one man would say, “I was a generous giver and gave millions away.” Another man would say, “I volunteered thousands of hours to help the poor and needy in the world.” Another one would say, “I shared the gospel with thousands and thousands of people.” Another one would say, “I was at church every week and served on countless committees.” There would be no end to the self righteous acts men would consider worthy of being accepted into heaven. But there will be no such conversations in the Kingdom of God. In God’s Kingdom men, women, boys and girls will all say, “He touched me and changed my life.” Today is the day to open your heart and receive Christ once and for all and then live everyday to the glory of His name. Open your heart and tell God what you want.
Holy Father, I have heard your voice today and I believe you are speaking to me. I don’t understand it all, but I know you love me and sent your Son to die on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me of all my sins and make me Yours. I want to be a part of the family of God. I want eternal life and heaven. I want to live with hope and joy and peace. Father I ask you to fill me now with the Holy Spirit. By faith I accept you into my life and by faith and by Your power I will live out the rest of my days for your glory and honor. Thank you Jesus for this moment! Thank you for saving me! I ask this in and through the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Praise God! Praise God! If you prayed that prayer and made that request by faith in God you are born again and a child of God. The angels in heaven rejoice over you this very moment and listen, God is going to use you in mighty ways, I believe it. If you accepted Jesus as your Savior please reach out to me and let me know because I want to be encouraged by it as well. Be encouraged today brother or sister, God is on your side and working it all together for your good. Amen.