Pressing On

 

            It is such an honor to be able to write this message to you. I gave this message last Sunday by the power of the Holy Spirit. What I mean by that is that I had no idea what God wanted me to preach. I was exhausted and feeling a little burnt out. I am sure many of you can relate to that feeling. There is just too much work to be done no time to relax and enjoy the life that God has given us. So lets both take that time right now. Lets just take this time to sit back and enjoy the blessings that God has given us.

 

            Pray with me, won’t you;

           

Heavenly Father; - As I take a deep breath now I breath in your Spirit. Exhaling all my anxiety. You Lord are my peace. I rest in you. I come to you by the only means I can and that is in the name of Jesus Christ your Son. Thank you Jesus for being closer to me than a brother, Father I ask that you fill me with your Holy Spirit. I seem to have leaked this past week and need a fresh touch from you. Thank you Holy Spirit for always being there ready to strengthen in my times of weakness. Now Father as we read your word we ask together that you anoint it that we might see Jesus. Forgive us of are sins and use us to be your hands and feet today. In Jesus wonderful name I pray; Amen

 

            Well before I begin I just want to let you know that today is my beautiful wife’s birthday. I took the day off of work to spend the day with her. I am writing this before she wakes up. Then I plan on giving her breakfast in bed and a full day of pampering. She deserves it. And do you know what? So do you! May God give you a day that you can just be pampered by Him.

            I am giving this message because it is rough out there. There is no way around it life is hard work. But I found out something exciting that I hope will encourage and lighten your burdens. So with out any more delay lets get into God’s word and be encouraged.

 

The scripture verse surrounding today’s study is found in 2nd Corinthians 4:8 and 9.

 

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.(NIV)

There is a song that I like to sing in our youth group that encompasses this passage of scripture. It goes like this. “I am pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandon, struck down, but not destroyed. I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure that His joy’s going to be my strength.”

Jesus told us that in this world there will be tribulation. And boy He wasn’t kidding was He? The apostle Paul is the one who wrote this letter to the Corinthian Church. Paul had been through a lot. He was stoned near to death. He was shipwrecked. He was imprisoned. He finally died a martyr death having his head chopped off. Yet even as he came close to his death and through all the persecution and hard times he was constantly being renewed in his inner most being by the power of the Holy Spirit.

            I know some of you are going through rough times. There are some that have cancer; some have arteries blocked, some have children that are disobedient and others have financial problems. Some of us have problems in our relationships, some have issues at work, and some have all these problems and more. It just seems that there is a downward cycle of events that continue to pull us under at times. But there is deliverance. There is a lifesaver. There is a way out from under our burdens and there is strength available for us to defeat every foe.

I want to insert a story I received by e-mail some time ago. You know all them nice stories that you get forwarded to you all the time. I have to tell you the truth; I delete most of them before I even read them. Sorry but I just do not have the time. This one I read and kept on file. It shows the truth behind the victory that I am talking about today.

 

"The Meaning of Peace"

  

            There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried.  The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds.  All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace?

 The second picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.  But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny

 bush growing in a crack in the rock.  In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest.... A picture of a perfect peace.

Which of the pictures won the prize?

 The King chose the second picture.

 Do you know why?

             "Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.":

 

            As we read on in the book of Corinthians Paul gives us the answer to problems. He talks about how we all are outwardly dying. In verses 15 and 16 Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gives us these words of life and encouragement:

 

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (NIV)

 

It is that inward renewal that gives us strength to face the trials and frustrations of day to day life. What are you concentrating on? The problems or the solution? Which ever you spend more time thinking about will grow. As we learn to get our eyes and thought off our situation and spend more time looking into the eyes and listening to the heart of God then our problems become nothing and the power of God fills us with that eternal abundant life that God has for us today. How will this solve your specific situation? Well stand back and watch. God is about to demonstrate His power. As the Israelites stood and watched the Red Sea swallow up the Egyptians as they came after them, God will wash away your enemies. But you have to go forward to Him. Trust in Him. Turn the battle over to Him. Whatever it is. If you are battling an addiction Give it to God. Stop fighting it in your own strength. You can not win but God already has. If you are having financial difficulties turn your finances over to God. Seek his council. He has all the answers. Sickness? By His strips you have already been healed. It is time to but some flesh on our faith and believe that “All things, yes all things are even now working together for the good. We are no longer going to tell God how big our problems are. From here on out we are telling our problems how big our God is! He is able. In Him we have the victory.

            I will close with one more verse of scripture written by Paul. This time to the Philippians.  ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

 

            Yes Jesus told us that in this world there would be tribulation but He went on to say that we can be of good cheer because He has overcome the World.

 

Let’s pray and receive the victory today!

 

            Father Thank you for being there for us in the midst of the storm. Thank you Lord God for revealing your truth to us that has set us free. Free from the bonds of fear and loneliness. Free from the hold that sin had on us. Free from the confusion that the entire world tries to throw at us. You are our peace. You are our Joy. You Lord God hold the keys to the future and so we turn our entire life over to you. All our failures and all are victories. Let us live for your glory. Let others see in our life the great change that you can make in someone’s life. Let my life be a testimony of your love. In Jesus name Amen