January 26, 2013  Philippians 4   Strength


    Our God the only true God has revealed himself and manifested himself in many ways and with much power.  To Moses in Exodus God reveled himself to Moses in a burning bush.  Bushes burn in the desert places all the time but this one would not burn up. God gave a powerful demonstration of his ability to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt with 10 plagues.    When God led the children of Israel he led them with a pillar of fire and a cloud in the sky.   In the Temple and tabernacle his glory would come and his presence at times with such awe and power that the priests could work in the temple.  With Elijah on Mount Carmel he came down with fire and consumed the offering on the altar and totally licked up the water and sacrifice. 

      His power can work in obstinate and difficult people.  Saul of Tarsus who would become the famous Apostle Paul was on his way to Damascus with letters to persecute Christians when Jesus knocked Paul from his donkey and blinded him.   Saul became an instant convert.   Jesus spoke to him I am Jesus who you are persecuting.   That will get your attention when you find yourself in the dirt and God is in your face.   You do not forget those experiences because they go deep in your soul.  Prayer is a powerful spiritual tool that we have to work in other people’s lives.   When it comes to our personal struggles we have strong spiritual tools to do battle with.   We are not helpless.   He showed his power for Daniels 3 friends in the fiery furnace.    The soldiers were killed that threw them in the furnace.   Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the furnace and walked around and came out without even the smell of smoke on them.  

    God tells his people in Isaiah 59 surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save nor his ear to dull to hear but your iniquities have separated you from your God your sins have hidden his face from you.   God tells his people my hearing is fine and my arms are not weak.   Sometimes it may seem like he is not listening.   If we confess our sins God will forgive us and He will hear us and he moves his arms to help us.   He is here to show himself strong on the behalf of his people who believe in Him.   He is a mighty God.   God is eager to answer prayer today.   For that believe and wait God is eager to do mighty miracles today.   We have to cast our care upon Him and roll our burdens on Him.  Jesus said without me you can do nothing.    Life without Him is nothing.   Many times we seek to win our battles in our own strength. 

      Illustration: One day a small boy was trying to lift a heavy stone, but he couldn’t budge it.   His father, passing by, stopped to watch his efforts.   Finally he said to his son: “are you using all your strength?’ “Yes, I am,” the boy cried, exasperated. “No,” the father said calmly, “You’re not. You have not asked me to help you.” The child needed to learn to depend upon his father, as an added source of strength.   God can move things far greater than what we can move.   He has the power and ability.   We labor and enlist God’s aid.  God is the one who moves the mountain.  

    In the New International Version Paul writes I can do everything though him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13 in the amplified bible I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me – I am ready for anything and equal to anything through him who infuses inner strength into me that is I am self sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.   Jesus promises his strength and Jesus does not lie.   Paul says through Jesus I can do it.   God will give me whatever I need to do whatever He wants me to do.    We were made for strength.  You were made for strength.   Isaiah 41:10 so do not fear I am with you do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you I will uphold you with my right hand.  God’s right hand is powerful.   We were made to walk in God’s power.  We were made to walk at the right hand of God.   Isaiah 40 even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.   They will soar on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary and they will walk and not be faint.   God has promised his strength for those that wait upon him.  

      We were made to experience mighty power of God flowing through us in the Holy Spirit.  Acts 1:8 you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria and to the ends of the earth.   God delights when his power flows through us.   When you use your spiritual gift his power can flow through you doing that which is impossible for us to do in and of ourselves.   Vance Havner said, "We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God."    It is your life burning and flowing with the power of God.    Jesus said if we ask for the Holy Spirit the Father will give his spirit to us.  Joel 2:28 (the promise in the Last Days): “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” I believe there is a greater outpouring of God’s Spirit upon His Church and upon this world this year.   I personally feel that things are more difficult this year even though we are still in January.   In these days greater things will be done.   We need God’s power more than we have in the past.   

    The disciples of Jesus walked in this power even thought they were not perfect.   Peter preaches on Pentecost and 3,000 men are converted.   Peter and Paul raise the dead.   Peter and John are going to the temple at the time of prayer and as they enter the gate of beautiful they see a crippled man and Peter said hey it is time for you to walk.   In the name of Jesus get up and walk.  The healed man got so excited that he was walking and jumping and praising God.   It was a beautiful thing at the gate of beautiful.   God has some beautiful things at your gates this year.   God has promised his miracles in this place – in this church, I believe it will happen.  We have waited and waited and miracles are coming.    God will bless this ministry and he will get the glory.  Abraham waited a long time for Isaac to be born but Isaac was worth the wait.  What a baby he was.  He was the child of promise.    The 12 tribes of Israel would come through his son. 

      It has been said if you think you’re beaten, you are.   If you think you dare not, you don’t.   If you like to win, but you think you can’t, it’s almost certain you won’t.    If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost.   It’s all in the state of mind.   The battle is in your mind.    Illustration A bishop of the early church, who was a remarkable example of the virtue of contentment, was asked his secret.     The venerable old man replied: "It consists in nothing more than making a right use of my eyes.   In whatever state I am, I first of all look up to heaven and remember that my principal business here is to get there.    Then I look down upon the earth, and call to mind how small a place I shall occupy in it when I die and am buried.    I then look around in the world, and observe the multitudes there are who are in many respects more unhappy than myself.   Thus I learn where true happiness is placed, where all our cares must end, and what little reason I have to complain." 

     When you are Incapable, He is Capable.   When we can’t God can.    When you are weak, He is Strong.   When you don’t know, He does know.    When you are powerless, He is All-Powerful.    If God has given you something to do God will move heaven and hell to give you the resources to make it happen.   He will tax the last star in the last galaxy to give you what you need.   Heaven’s resources are limitless.   When we run out of our resources we have not put a dent into heavens resources.   God’s supply never ends.    

    The world’s view of power and the Christian’s view of power are different.   We can get the wrong thoughts about power.   We like to walk in confidence and composure.   We want to feel the breeze to our back and know that things are moving in the right direction.   We want to feel that we are on the right path and that we have everything under control.   We like that confidence and the strength of that and that is when we begin to walk in our own strength and walk in our own wisdom.    God tells us that His strength is made perfect in weakness.  When we are weak we are strong.   Let the weak say I am strong the song writer wrote.  Sometimes we are better off when we are in need.   We are better off when life is a bit more than we can handle.   We are better off when we have some questions and when we cannot solve all of our problems.   Many people have come into the church because they have needs and the church prays for them.   Their life tends to smooth out and then they leave the church because they feel that they do not need the church and God anymore and they go their way.   Christianity and the church tend to grow where there is persecution; in fact it even thrives in persecution.   His strength is made perfect in weakness.  I do not like to be weak but we learn that it is about Him and not me.   He gets the glory.  So if you feel weak and are looking up be encouraged.   That is a good place to be.   

    The author is unknown of this illustration.  IT DEPENDS WHOSE HANDS IT’S IN   A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.  A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is worth about $33 million.    It depends whose hands it’s in.    A baseball in my hands is worth about $6 a baseball in Mark McGuire’s hands is worth $19 million.  It depends whose hands it’s in.  A tennis racket is useless in my hands a tennis racket in Pete Sampras’ hands is a Wimbledon Championship.   It depends whose hands it’s in.  A rod in my hands may keep away a wild animal.   A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea.   It depends whose hands it’s in.  

      A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy.   A sling shot in David’s hand is a mighty weapon.    It depends whose hands it’s in.   Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches.   Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’s hands will feed thousands.    It depends whose hands it’s in.    Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.   Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands will produce salvation for the entire world.  It depends whose hands it’s in.   As you can see now, it depends whose hands it’s in.   So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God’s hands because it depends whose hands it’s in.

    That is a reminder for us to put everything in God’s hands.  God loves you and He knows the way through this wilderness.   God is wooing us on the narrow path.   There is light at the end of the tunnel. God is at the end of the tunnel.   God willingly gives His resources.   We need his strength day by day.   At times we feel tired and at times we want to quit but God calls us to persevere.      Psalm 37 for the power of the wicked will be broken but the Lord upholds the righteous.  The power of the wicked will not last but God’s power is forever.   The lord delights in the way of the man whose steps he has made firm.  Though he stumble he will not fall for the Lord upholds him with his hand.   It depends on whose hands it is in.   Put your life in his powerful hands.  He has the power to keep us.  We can do all things in Christ who empowers us. You can do all things through Jesus who gives you his power.