home > Pastor’s Desk > 2017 > April 28th > Sources of Strength

INCREASE YOUR STRENGTH

Ever been weary? I have. Weariness comes in different varieties. There’s physical weariness. There’s emotional weariness. There’s intellectual weariness. And there’s spiritual weariness. I’m pretty sure from personal experience that all four are interconnected. Two football teams can play off in the Grand Final and exert exactly the same amount of physical energy. At the end of the game one of these teams will feel energised while the other team will feel exhausted! Emotional weariness has a bearing on our level of physical strength. Would you like to know how to increase your four-fold strengths quickly and easily?

¶ We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
Romans 15:1-2

Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—He is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!
Psalm 68:35

After you’ve been married a while you experience times when you’re down and your spouse is up. Or, put another way: there are times when you’re weak, and your spouse is strong. In a marriage, these roles change back and forth. Strength is imparted between a husband and a wife with words, forgiveness, and a touch. Sometimes these strengthening touches look like your husband or wife taking you by the hand and saying, “Come on. Let’s go for a walk.” But the strengthening power of a word, forgiveness (and acceptance), and a touch don’t just work with husbands and wives to strengthen each other. It can also bring strength between family members, friends, work colleagues, team mates, and church members.

¶ Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
First Corinthians 16:13

 

Rich_Froning2SOURCES OF STRENGTH

You could exercise. I probably should exercise more. What do they say? “No pain, no pain!” Or something like that? There is of course a proportional amount of gain to achieved from the pain that comes from the self-discipline of taking the time and effort to exercise. Whenever I see someone who is obviously well toned and quite fit, I have to conclude that they are a highly self-disciplined person. But physical exercise is not the only source of strength.

¶ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Ephesians 6:10

Rich Froning, Four Times in a row crowned the world's fittest man I watched a documentary on the world’s fittest man, Rich Froning, and was amazed that during a five day fittest tournament he ate pizza and drank soda! Although Rich looks like a body builder, his muscles aren’t for show – they’re for work! Each day during his physical tests of strength and endurance, he would burn the equivalent energy of several large pizzas! As I write this, Kim has just handed me a large chocolate cookie with white choc chips. According to the ABC3 For Kids Operation Ouch Doctors the other night, it takes the equivalent amount of exertion involved in running a marathon to burn off the amount of ‘energy’ found in this delicious cookie which I just devoured. That reminds me, food (if we can stoop to call anything chocolate to be “food”) is also a source of strength. 

Each of the four categories of strength has its equivalent forms of exercise and food. It’s an intellectual exercise to learn a foreign language. It’s intellectual food to be taught by someone else has to speak and read that same foreign language. it’s emotional exercise to keep loving  someone who is being unkind to you, while it is emotionally nourishing to be shown love by someone.  

 

A STRENGTH THAT COMES FROM GOD

¶ I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,
First Timothy 1:12

The Scriptures describe and discuss a mysterious strength that comes from God. This insight helps us to see that strength might be prioritised in its interconnected order as-

  1. Spiritual > 2. Intellectual > 3. Emotional > 4. Physical

Many people feel tired and run down and immediately assume that the cause is entirely physical. They may go to the gym or their GP for remedies. But sometimes all the gym or a doctor can do is treat the symptoms. The underlying cause goes untreated. Oddly, this became evident to Rich Froning, the world’s fittest man! He bombed out terribly in a fittest tournament that he was expected to win easily and this made him realise a truth he had been avoiding. Rich had worked hard to be able to tick boxes 4, 3, and 2, but realised that his spiritual life was lifeless and that it was having a dramatic effect on his intellectual, emotional, and physical well-being. He sought God and soon found the missing strength he longed for. He wanted to declare to the world his new-found faith in Christ and his commitment to Him. You’ll notice how he did this down his right side –

Rich_Froning3

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
First Peter 4:10-11

If you need strength – and need it quickly – then the above two verses are gold! God gives strength to His people through His people!!!! If you think of God’s strength as being like magnetism. The more a paper-clip of screw-driver hangs out with a magnet, the more likely it is to become magnetised! The more you hang out with strong believers the more their strength is imparted to you! God’s design for His people to fellowship with each other is not just about accountability, it’s about imparting strength to the weary. I think our Enemy knows this. This is why he seeks to isolate believers because by doing this he can cut them off from their means of receiving God’s strength. 

If you’re feeling a bit weary and the Enemy whispers slyly into your soul’s ears that it’s time to have a break from Christian community – HE’S LYING TO YOU! 

Strength from God comes from asking Him for it and most commonly it comes from the strength He places within your Christian brothers and sisters who love you. You should spiritually exercise. You should spiritually eat. But in the meantime, you can spiritually be refreshed by following God’s ordained means for imparting his Grace-Strength to you through the fellowship of believers – especially strong ones. These believers can be identified in a few not so obvious ways. They don’t always look very religious. But they love God. Their love God is like the love that two people in love have. Just as people in love want to spend time with each other, the fully devoted follower of Christ wants to spend time with God. They don’t pray because they should or have to, they pray because it means they can talk with the One they love. They don’t just occasionally read the Bible. They prioritise time in God’s Word each day because it means they can read God’s love letters to them and learn His language. When they are around people they take an interest in them. Almost involuntarily, they find themselves praying for these people. No matter difficulties they are dealing with, they always seem to make you feel like your problems are their greatest concern. When you hang out with people like this, you can’t help but feel stronger yourself! 

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25

Be strong!

Amen.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

1 Comment

  1. Norman Macdonald

    Preach it brother it answers a lot of questions.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

MY BIGGEST BURDENS

A burden is something that weighs on you. You could be burdened emotionally because a relationship that is weighing on you. You could be burdened psychologically because of the weight of a looming deadline. You could be burdened spiritually because of the weight of guilt you are carrying. You could be burdened physically because of your weight and depleted strength. We all carry burdens. There are seasons in our lives where some burdens a big and you do not feel that you will be able to bear up under the enormous pressure you are under. Those seasons will pass. For those in leadership there is the constant burden of the weight of responsibility that must be carried. (Have you ever noticed what this kind burden bearing does physically to a President or Prime Minister over their term in office?) In the Bible we read that GOD actually gives people burdens so that they become stronger, wealthier, happier, and more productive. These types of burdens always involve caring for others. (Have you ever considered why Jesus was sweating great drops of blood as He was praying just before He went to the Cross via His hours of humiliating pummelling, beating, scourging, hair-pulling, and mockery?) I want to share you with you why I am now carrying an enormous burden that I would consider that biggest burden I have ever had to carry. I do so in the hope that this might help you to bear your burdens with greatest expertise and joy. Yes, joy.

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR RELATIONSHIP SKILLS

This year we have been laying a foundation for knowing God and then each Sunday building upon it. Throughout June we are focusing on how knowing God enables us to find our joy in Him and consequently to discover that He enables us to find joy in our relationships with others. But sadly, for many people who have vowed to love, serve, and follow Jesus, this has not always been easy to do. This is why the current sub-theme of humility is critically important if someone desires to truly experience joy in each of their various relationships with others. 

KNOWING GOD

In the past few months, we have been hearing in Church and also by reading the Pastor’s Desks that through the Psalms and by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, we can know God more. The Psalms show God as our Shepherd, God’s character is unchanging, we can be still and know Him, and that He is poetic. The Fruit of the Spirit reminds us that God is faithful, gentle and kind, and that we need to stay close to Him in the same way a baby gets nutrients from its mother through the umbilical cord. Knowing these things, we can become more like God as He helps us outwork His character in our lives. Philippians 3:10 challenged me in this regard some time ago.

RULES RULES AND MORE RULES

What comes to mind when you hear the word Rules? For some, it is a welcome relief to all the chaos surrounding us. Rules can provide comfort, safety, stability, predictability and protection. But for many others, as soon as you hear the word rules, it causes you to sigh loudly, followed by the instant urge to do the opposite. It can cause an immense sense of frustration along with that feeling of being boxed or caged in. Then some rules are plain silly as they make no sense, or there appears to be no apparent reason for why the rule/s exists in the first place. 

The Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing FruitThe Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing Fruit

Jesus’ allegory in John 15:1-17 of the vine and the branches provides a beautiful picture of the intimate and living relationship available to those who would abide in Him, the true Vine; and it illustrates how naturally the Holy Spirit is able to produce fruit in the lives of those who are willing to be branches abiding in the vine.

Knowing God Through The Fruit Of The Spirit

I’m sure you can picture an occasion where food delicacies are served and someone is there who has lost all sense of decorum to the point of being rude to get to the food before others and is unable or unwilling to engage in any level of conversation for the sake of finding the choicest of foods. Maybe that was you or me on occasions. Or an All You Can Eat challenge restaurant. It is a picture of complete lack of self-restraint (especially if Homer Simpson is involved). Whilst we are away, I am looking forward to visiting a town (Kenilworth) with a bakery tourist attraction that sells 1kg doughnuts. I’m not sure what will happen there, but I can imagine many have risen to a challenge.

WHAT CHARMING BETRAYERS DESERVE ACCORDING TO THE PSALM OF KING DAVID, NUMBER 55

Australia is now grappling with a national crisis — the violent abuse of women by men. Every four days in Australia a woman is being murdered [Source]. The sad probability is that she was murdered by “a current or former intimate partner” [Source]. But added to this alarming statistic is the even greater and more horrifying statistic of number of women who are experiencing abuse – physical; sexual; verbal; financial; psychological – daily. In fact, it is so prevalent that most people working in this arena know that most domestic abuse incidents in Australia are not reported. Abuse is oppression. And since the Bible is so clear and consistent in its condemnation of oppression of the vulnerable you would naturally assume that this national crisis was being thundered and denounced as a great evil from the majority of pulpits around our country at the moment. This assumption is further reinforced by the guesstimate that one-in-four women in every Australian church is regularly abused in some way by a man. But I suspect that it is not.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 23

My cat, Lola, had a beautiful, fluffy, soft coat. I had her for 13 years so I knew her very well. She loved a cuddle and snuggling at night sleeping in the crook of my arm. She loved me but with others she could be a rascal, hissing or swiping her claws. She never scoffed her food but was a grazer. It was common to hear her crunching her biscuits for a midnight snack and she loved ice cream. She loved hiding in cardboard boxes or in the pantry. She particularly hated the car evidenced by her continual mournful meowing til she got out. As I knew her, she also knew me. She knew I would feed her and give her pats or cuddles. When I called her she knew my soft voice, my touch, my smell. She knew my growly voice when she had done the wrong thing. When I’d take her to the vet she would be still in my arms as the vet examined her and vaccinated her. If she was injured or sick I would look after her.

KNOWING GOD THROUGH PSALM 22

The Bible is an amazing book. As we look through the book of Psalms we can so unbelievably clearly see God at work. And also most poignantly, this Psalm – Psalm 22 – prophetically points to, and closely mirrors Jesus and the events of the cross mentioned in the New Testament. This Psalm is well over 1000 years prior to Jesus.There are some well known passages of Scripture that stand out as being prophetic promises of the Messiah. These prophetic words show us that God is Omniscient; He knows everything. The first Messianic prophecy shows that the seed of the woman would eventually defeat the devil.

THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARS

home > Pastor's Desk > 2024 > April 12th > THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARSThe distance between the spiritual dimension and our earthly-material dimension is a lot thinner than most people realise! This means that there is a direct...