Enjoy Your Time With God And Renew Your Strength

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Enjoy your time with God and renew your strength in the Lord who "gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

Enjoy Your Time With God And Renew Your Strength Isaiah 40:28-31; 2 Cor. 12:9-10 Where do you go for strength? I'm not just talking about physical strength, where you might go to the gym. While physical strength and health are important, I'm talking about your internal strength, which regulates both your physical and mental health. Where do you go for emotional strength and stability? For the strength to face whatever tomorrow brings and the strength to rise above whatever your past keeps reminding you of. Isaiah 40:28 says, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary." "Tired" and "weary" describe all of us. So if you're feeling tired or weary, then pay attention and open up your minds and hearts to hear God's Word, so you'll know that "The LORD is the everlasting God who gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Where do you go, and what do you do when you need strength? Let's face it; there are days when this world can simply break us down. When all you long for is going home, plopping on the couch and re-charging your internal batteries. There are also days of tragedy, like the Beirut explosion, where over 130 of lives were tragically lost, and another 5,000 where injured. So what do you do when you need the strength to overcome? When you need the strength to face a certain situation. When you need the strength to be courageous. When you need strength to face an illness. When you need the strength to comfort a dying loved one or when you're facing death yourself? When you need the strength to face the unknown or to simply make it through the night. Perhaps the question isn't so much where do you for strength, but rather, what do you do when your strength is lacking, and you feel like you simply can't go any further? This year has not been an easy one, and many history books will be filled retelling the struggles this year has brought. We have seen a lot in 2020. And one of the many things that 2020 has corrected our viewpoint on is different ways to accomplish things. Everything we're accustomed to doing, our daily routines, even our plans have all changed. In all of this chaos and confusion, 2020 has also put into our frame of view where we go to find our strength. After all, we all need strength, don't we? Being strong not so much physically, but emotionally, keeps us going. Many people teach willpower as a means of strength because strength seen in willpower keeps us getting up in the morning to face another day. But the problem is strength and willpower grow weary and weak over time because those mornings keep on coming without fail. Our willpower is limited because our will tends to follow the path of least resistance. Human will can easily become a "me first" will. There have been times of extraordinary courage and self-sacrifice. Having willpower doesn't mean you don't care about others. It wants what's best for others, especially those you love and hold dearest. But left to our own devices, human willpower is limited because we are limited; we only have so much strength. And when our strength begins to fade, what tends to happen? People give in or give up. They try new things, go new places, get new jobs, or spend more time secluded. But in the end, since we are limited, every worldly thing we try is limited, and we get tired. I have to admit that I get weak too. Last week when recording the sermon, I just couldn't preach. I mean, I simply couldn't talk, and I kept messing up. I was messing up so badly that it took almost 3 hours to preach a 30-minute sermon. And guess what I did? Complain. You see, I was growing so tired and losing strength because I couldn't function correctly. Thankfully, someone came in and reminded me that my strength is not what's needed; it's God's. Now, if any of you follow our Rocky Springs Facebook page, you'll find that I posted a short devotional last Wednesday about soaring on eagles wings. I was praying about what to preach, while being reminded of my lack of strength the previous week, when today's Scripture came to mind. I was reminded that true willpower is found in God's perfect will and that when we follow Christ, our power is found in Him. Willpower, for the believer, is following God's will and finding your power rests in Him. My wife told me the other day when I was writing this sermon to "enjoy your time with God." And I think this is one thing many people don't do anymore. People acknowledge God, even say their prayers, but fail to enjoy spending time with God. When we enjoy spending time with God, our thoughts become clearer, and we complain less. Suddenly, writing that sermon, reading that devotional, or attending that Bible study, transform from being one more thing we have to do, to one more thing we're blessed to be a part of. With everything life brings, if you learn to enjoy your time with God, you'll grow stronger. But to enjoy your time with God, you've got to admit your weakness and rely upon His strength and not our own. A recent Gallup poll indicated that the number one problem in America is our economic problem. People are worried about the economy, and rightly so because the economy affects us all. So people try to get all they can by using their own strength and working overtime. They look at their own means and choose to stay busy rather than slow down and enjoy spending time with God. I don't know if any of you like listening to country music, but all of this reminded me of a Rascal Flats song called "I Miss Mayberry." The song begins with the lyrics: Sometimes it feels like this world is spinning faster Than it did in the old days. So naturally, we have more natural disasters From the strain of a fast pace. Sunday was a day of rest Now, it's one more day for progress. And we can't slow down cause more is best It's all an endless process. This endless process seems to be shaping the world into an all work, no play environment, where the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. And in your struggle for strength and stability, work becomes life, and life becomes worries, and worries suffocate your strength, causing restless nights and complaint-filled days all because you're tired and weary. I call this "Sleep debt" because of how much we owe when our strength fails. "Sleep debt" can lead to car accidents, irritability, inability to concentrate at work or school, a weakened immune system, and even chronic depression. Researchers believe it's a consequence of working longer hours and more access to and stimulation from media such as television and the Internet. Maybe this is why God's invitation for us to rest in Him sounds so appealing? Because the words in today's Scripture, "tired" and "weary" describe all of us. So if you feel like it's all an endless process. If your strength is fading and your willpower is weakening, then I encourage you to seek the Lord and enjoy your time with God. Because as Isaiah 40:28 says, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth." Even the strongest people get tired or burnt out at times. So hear the Good News that God is "the Creator of the ends of the earth." The word used for "LORD" in today's passages is Jehovah, meaning the "Self-existing One." He is the everlasting God who knows all, sees all, and is all-powerful. Like the old Visa slogan, God's "everywhere you want to be." God's omnipresent meaning God is everywhere, even those places you don't want to be because He loves you and desires to guide you through anything you're experiencing by His power and into His perfect Will. But you have to let Him. You have to stop feverously flapping your wings and slow down enough to trust God to reach out and grab ahold of His pierced hands. God "gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak," as verse 29 says, but you must be willing to be strong in the Lord and not yourself. Not everyone is strengthened by God's power. Only those who trust in God's perspective will "run and not grow weary." You may be wondering: How can this be? How will God strengthen me? God will renew your strength when you "hope in the LORD," as Isaiah 40:31 says. People need to have hope because it keeps us going. Our spiritual batteries stay charged when we "hope in the LORD" and plug ourselves into His Word. People everywhere endure pain and hurt of all kinds. Constantly facing the uncertainty over what the future holds will continually create the need for constant hope. Poverty, hunger, fear, terrorism, natural disasters, disease, and destruction create a longing for something better. In Greek, the word Elpis (EL- PIS) is used for "Hope." It means a "confident expectation" or "anticipation" instead of just "wishful thinking." Biblical hope is expecting God to fulfill His promises, and at the heart of Christian hope is the resurrection of Jesus. Christian hope provides victory over death and overpowers any situation you may be facing. If you turn to the second half of today's Scripture, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, that's why Jesus says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." It's for this reason Paul could say, "I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." To live effectively, we must rely upon God rather than our own energy and effort. When you find yourself weak, rejoice because of God's Grace! Your weakness will help develop Christian character and Christlikeness because it will deepen your worship by admitting your weakness while affirming God's strength. You see, when you have an abundance of abilities or rich resources, you'll become tempted to fly on your own in your own strength, which quickly leads to pride. But our abilities and resources are provided by God in the first place. So to use them effectively, allow God to fill you with His power, and you'll be stronger than you ever could on your own. Isaiah 40:30 says, "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall." Everyone is capable of stumbling, and we've all felt the fall. No matter your age, young or old, it's important to renew your strength in the LORD by hoping in Him. So, do you feel tired, weary, worried, burdened, confused, lost, lonely, or anything else that's dragging you down or pulling you in different directions? There's good news! You can renew your strength when you hope in the Lord. Isaiah 40:31 says when you do this, "You will soar on wings like eagles; you will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not be faint." An eagle doesn't fly by tirelessly beating the air with its wings. If it did, it wouldn't take long before the eagle's heavy wings become too heavy to flap. Instead, an eagle rests in the power of the wind. So rather than tirelessly flapping through life trying to do the best you can, catch the wind of God and soar with the Savior. We all try to do the best we can, but to "hope in the LORD" is not sitting around waiting for things to change. You will "walk and not faint" as God changes you, whether or not He changes your situation. Trying to do the best you can is what I was doing months ago when we first had to suspend all in-person worship. My wife used her tablet to record each week's sermon. There I was, standing in an empty church staring only at my wife holding a tablet. Things changed so fast, that I didn't even have time to ask how the church's microphone and speaker system works. You see, someone else always turned the sound system on and off Sunday mornings, and I relied upon their strength to always be there. But when we couldn't meet for worship, there I was, holding a dead microphone. The first few sermons I preached, I had to practically yell the entire thing, just so the tablet would pick up my voice so it would be loud enough for you to hear. Needless to say, all the yelling hurt my throat and brought me down. I got tired of using my own strength, especially knowing that a greater power was available. So I asked how to use the sound system. From then on, I no longer had to yell; I was using a greater power. What a speaker system does for a weak voice, God does for weakness in your own life. Sometimes you may feel like yelling too. Just remember, God's power is unlimited. So when is the last time you called upon the One who never grows tired, weary, or faints? Take comfort knowing that God understands because Christ's "grace is sufficient for you," and His "power is made perfect in weakness." Call out to Jesus and enjoy your time with God, knowing that "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." AMEN 2
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