Posts Tagged ‘strength’

A Big Project

October 4, 2017

Sometimes we have a big project to undertake.  We should research, prepare, plan and recruit workers with the necessary skills.  Nehemiah desired to see the wall rebuilt around Jerusalem.  The Jewish people had been allowed to return to rebuild, but progress had stalled.  Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem to encourage the workers.

I.  A Mind to Work:  Nehemiah 4:6

 So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

Initially, the project went well.  The people had been motivated to work and they contributed enthusiastically and good progress was made initially.

So often we start a new project with a fast start.  It is new, exciting, even fun, in the beginning.

This is true with the Christian life as well.  People who are new converts  are excited.  They attend church regularly.  They read their Bibles.  They see God at work all around them.

A good start is important.

II.  Failing Strength:  Nehemiah 4:10

Then Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.”

After the newness wears off, the test of our wills begins in earnest.  It is hard work to build a wall.  There is a lot of physical labor.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming.

This is true in many other projects as well.  We become tired.  The obstacles seem to be larger and more numerous.  We may be tempted to stop.

In our Christian lives as well, there are times when we grow weary.  We are faced with the tests and trials of life and we can become discouraged.

III.  Frightened by Opposition:  Nehemiah 6:9

For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.”

Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

There were people around Jerusalem who did not want to see the walls rebuilt.  They threatened Nehemiah and made plans to attack.

Nehemiah responded by asking God for help and by taking appropriate action.

Sometimes people will actively try to stop us from doing the work of God.  We  should take this threats seriously, pray for guidance and strength, and take appropriate action.

The devil would love to destroy our relationship with God. He will try many different tactics to end our relationship with God and to render us ineffective.  We should watch out for his tricks and trust that God will guide and protect us.

IV.  Finished:  Nehemiah 6:15-16

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.

Nehemiah was able to complete the project despite the obstacles.  God helped him.  The success was not due to Nehemiah, but to God who worked through him.

It is a wonderful feeling to accomplish major projects.  We should always give God the glory for enabling us to complete the work He has set before us.

God continues his work in us.  (Philippians 1:6)  As long as we are on this earth, there is work to be done in us and through us.  To God be the glory!

V.  Our Strength:  Nehemiah 8:8-12

 

So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

11 So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.

As a part of their celebration of the completion of the wall, the Word of God was read to the people.  As they heard the words of the law, they realized just how far they had fallen from where God had called them to live.  They knew that they were not living according to the law and they were sorrowful.

The leaders encouraged them.  The day was meant to be a day of celebration.  They were  not supposed to look at how far they still had to go, but to rejoice in how far they had come.

God loves us.  He is working in us.  We are becoming more like Him.  The process will continue throughout our lives.  We can rejoice that we are saved ‘by grace, through faith’.  (Ephesians 2:8)

It is the joy of the Lord that is our strength.  We find that joy primarily by spending time in the presence of God.  (Psalms 16:11) We also develop joy in our lives as a product of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

The life of a Christian should not be filled with anger and sorrow, but rather with the love and joy and peace that comes from God Himself.  That is our source of strength with which we will finish the projects that God gives to us, most importantly the project of a lifetime of serving God.

 

These are the sermon notes from 10/1/17.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Complete the Work

February 5, 2015

There are times when we feel like giving up.  That we cannot carry on.  That we cannot overcome the obstacles that we face.  It is especially at those times that we need to remind ourselves of whom we serve and who is working in us.

I.  Trust in God:  II Samuel 22:2-4

And he said:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

The Lord is my rock.  This is an image of stability.  As we trust in the Lord He provides a sense of assurance.  Everything will work out in the end.  We can have confidence in Him.

God is our source of strength.  We can do more with the help of God than we would ever do on our own. God will strengthen us for the journey that He has set before us.

God is my shield.  The devil cannot harm me, except for what God allows.  God does allow some things to get through to us, to test us to see if we will trust Him, to see how we will respond.  The tests and trials of this life make us stronger, and they are a witness to those around us.

When we are in trouble we should call upon the Lord.  He will give us wisdom and strength as we trust in Him.  He is worthy to be praised, for through Him, we can be victorious over whatever may come our way.  We shall be saved from our enemies by the grace of God which works through us.

II.  God Will Complete the Work in You:  Philippians 1:6

 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

We can have confidence in God.  He does not leave His work unfinished.  He continues to work in our lives until we leave this world.  The work begins even before salvation as He prepares our hearts through the circumstances of our lives.  Then we are saved, and a new life in Christ begins.  We grow to maturity in Christ.  Then we live a life of service to God.  It is a rich, full life.  The work that God does in us is never completed in this life.  We continue to grow and develop more and more into the people that He means for us to be.  He continues His work, both in, and through us.

III.  Let Your Light Shine: Philippians 2:12-16

 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

To work out our salvation does not mean to earn our salvation, it means to live out our salvation.  If we are saved, then we should live like we are saved.  If we are a child of the king, we should live like He would want us to live.  If we have been born again, we should live a new life in Christ.

A part of this new life is to have the right attitude.  The work that we do is not always fun or glamorous.  Sometimes it is boring, difficult, even nasty. We should do our work without murmuring or complaining.

I think that this is a great verse for all children to memorize while they are young, and be reminded of constantly when they are teenagers. (v14)

Our lives should be different from people who are not living in a relationship with Christ.  The light of Christ has shown into our lives.  Now the light of Christ should shine through our lives.

We can trust God with our lives.  He will complete His work in us.  His light should shine through our lives.

To God be the Glory.

These are the sermon notes from 1/11/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

Lessons From King David

January 20, 2015

David is known as a man after God’s own heart.  We can look to his life for lessons for our own lives.

I.  God Looks at the Heart:  I Samuel 16:7

 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Saul had been anointed by Samuel, by the direction of God, to be the first king of Israel.  Saul had not been faithful to follow God with his whole heart and so God had sent Samuel to anoint the person who would be the next king of Israel.  The eldest son had been presented to Samuel, and he was impressive in appearance, but God was not looking for an impressive appearance.

In secular ethics, there are different approaches to determining right and wrong.  Some focus on the rules.  With all the rules that God sets forth, some might think that God focuses on the rules, but that would be wrong.  Some focus on the results, that too, would be wrong.  With God, it is about our heart.  We are first and foremost to have a heart for God, to love God with our whole heart, and our neighbor as ourselves.

II. Confidence in God:  I Samuel 17:37 & 45

 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

This passage is from the famous story of David and Goliath.

What God has done in the past inspires hope for what God will do in the future.  That is one reason why we share testimonies.  The stories of what God has done in the lives of our family and friends inspires hope that God will work in our life as well.  David had experienced God’s help as a young shepherd and it gave him confidence in the present crisis.  His trust was not placed in his own skill, but in the knowledge that God was with him.

It is important to note, that God did use what David had in the way of abilities.  David did not face Goliath with armor, shield and sword; but with the shepherd’s staff and sling.

God can bless what we offer to Him to use.

III.  God is Our Strength:  I Samuel 30:6

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

At this time, before David was king, his followers had left their families in a town and gone off to battle.  While they were gone, the town had been attacked and all the people captured.  When David and his men returned to the town, they were greatly distressed and grieved.  David’s response was to turn to God for strength.

God is our strength.

If we could only remember this one thing.  When we are overwhelmed, we should turn to the rock of our salvation.  We should turn to God for strength.  He will help those who trust in Him.

David and his men pursued the army that had captured their families and were able to rescue them all.

We should love God with all our heart.  We can have complete confidence in Him.  He is our strength.

These are the sermon notes from 12/28.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

Giving Thanks

November 28, 2008

“giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph5:20 NKJV)

At Thanksgiving certainly we should remember to give thanks for the many blessings that we have received.  God is good to his people.  If we think about it, there are many, many things for which we can be thankful.  I am reminded of the old song “Count Your Blessings” which includes the line “Count your many blessings name them one by one, and it will surpise you what the Lord has done.”

This verse in Ephesians however, reminds us that we can, and should,  give thanks in ALL things.

How do we thank God for the things that are bad, or even awful?

By recognizing that God is with us always.

By remembering that God will give us wisdom, strength and grace in time of need.

By remembering that “all things work together for good” (Rom 8:28 NKJV)

By remembering that we are called to “walk by faith, not by sight”. (IICor 5:7 NKJV)

In everything let us give thanks.