4.02.2018

Don't run away! Get strong - and STAND FIRM.

While looking through past sermon notes, I came across this gem!

I remember this season of life. I had walked into church barely in control of my emotions. The Lord had me in a place of needing to depend solely on Him, and I was trying to be obedient. I was searching the Scriptures and praying continually, but also looking for someone to help make it all clear - so I could find peace. There is such a fine balance of completely relying on the Lord while obeying Scriptures that prompt us to seek wise counsel from godly men and women. God uses His Word, the church, and His people to speak to us ... and we must be alert and ready to listen when He does!
So, imagine my surprise when our pastor revealed the sermon topic: 
Tempted to run - Strengthened to stand.

It was one of those Sundays when I felt like I was the only person in the sanctuary. Each word penetrated my heart and every verse seared my mind. I could not take notes fast enough. I thought, "Really, Lord? Could it be this easy? Are You going to answer all of my questions in one sermon, and quiet my heart too? Thank You!"

Of course, I did not walk out of the church with a magical new life, free from sorrows and trials, but I did leave with a new resolve: I am not going to run, I am going to get stronger! 
The right kind of strength, a godly strength, so I am able to stand firm in times of conflict and trial.

Below are the notes and thoughts from the sermon that impacted me greatly. Every word spoken by my beloved pastor echoed what my heart and mind were screaming that Sunday.
Trust the Lord!
Seek Him!
Rely on His strength!
Do not lean on your own understanding!
Just - TRUST.
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Give ear to my prayer, O God, and do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
Attend to me, and hear me; I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily.

My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.
So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness.
I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest." Psalm 55

➤ David wants to run because it is easier than facing hard times.
He is in agony, trying circumstances, an emotional wreck, dealing with difficult people, criticism, attacks - and he has lost focus. 
"I am restless in my complaint, and moan noisily. My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.  I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest." (vv. 4-5)

➤ Running is not an option
A temporary escape/retreat is okay for a time to refocus, refresh and rest.
And then we must REENGAGE with life!
As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.
He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,
For there were many against me. (vv. 16-18)

➤ Prayer is the correct response in trying times - lifting our thoughts back toward God so they are not focused on our circumstances.

There.is.no.panic.in.heaven.  God is not surprised by trials.  We can trust Him to do His work.

Do not be anxious - PRAY! 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6,7

When no one else is listening,
when no one is defending you,
you have the Lord!

➤ David was in constant prayer - three times a day DEDICATED to prayer!  A discipline of prayer.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you;

He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. (v. 22)

➤ Believe in God's sufficiency.
He SHALL sustain you. 
(sustain = strengthen and uphold)

Notice  God does not promise to REMOVE our burdens - but to carry them for us.
He replaces our weakness with His strength.
                                     
Lord, You know I am a recovered runner. But there are times I feel like David did, and wish I could run again. Make me stronger, Lord. Show me the benefit, the beauty, and the joy of standing firm, secure, and strengthened - in YOU. Though I often need help attaining it, it is - what I want.

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