God can strengthen us

God can strengthen us

 

Psalm 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble.  40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.

 

Psalm 29:11 The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.

 

These scriptures reveal to us some wonderful news. If we are Godís people and we put our faith and trust in him, He will strengthen us in our time of need.  Sometimes when bad things happen in our life such as a death of a loved one or when our health turns for the worse or when everything seems likes its working against us, it can begin to beat us down and can cause some to fall away from God. But itís very important that we remember to rely upon God during these difficult times. We need to learn to lean upon his everlasting arms and to cast all our cares and concerns on him. When we became Christians, we became Gods chosen people and because of that we have been blessed in the fact that we can and will receive strength from God as these verses have taught us. So, we should follow the advice of,

 

1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore! 

 

In this lesson, I hope can get you to realize how important is for us seek the Lord and His strength especially during the difficult times of our lives. I donít want us to ever forget that God is always there for us to help us in our time of need. The first thing I would like to do is to examine the OT and see what it says about drawing strength from God. I like what is says in,  

 

Isaiah 41:9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, 'You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: 10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

 

The lord is simply saying that when you are His servant, He will cast off to the side or ignore you. No, he will strengthen and help you when you need his helping hand and He tells us not to fear or to become discouraged since He is our God. It should bring us great comfort every single day knowing that God has made this promise to all those who belong to him. Now letís take a look at several OT examples of those who understood that they could draw strength from God.

 

Exodus 15:1 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: "I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!  2 The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will exalt Him.

 

Our first example has to do with Moses and the children of  Israel. We can see that they were praising God in song because of everything that he had done to free them from their Egyptian bondage. They witnessed first hand many miracles at the hand of God and because of this they boldly proclaimed that the Lord is my strength and my salvation. They were praising God for this in this song. However, there is one thing that we learn from the children of  Israel and that is they struggled with their faith in God. Many times over and over again they found themselves being weak and drowning in their own self-pity and this caused them to lose sight of God. This teaches us that we have to be careful today not to allow our self-pity to cause us to lose sight of the strength that we can gain from God. So, when we find ourselves throwing a pity party, we need to remind ourselves that God can help us through whatever we are going through.

 

Our next example comes from the story of Samson and Delilah. We should all be familiar with this story because we just studied this story in Johnny class. If you will remember Delilah tries to find out how to make Samson lose his strength so the Philistines can overpower him. Several times Samson lies to her and each time the Philistines attack him and he easily defeats them. Now you would think that Samson would figure out what Delilah was trying to accomplish, but in the end he finally tells her what will make him weak and so she cuts off his hair while he was asleep and this time the Philistines overtook him and gouged out his eyes. Samson became nothing more than a spectacle for the Philistines and they had him on display at large gathering where they were thanking their God for overcoming him and they asked for Samson to be brought before them to perform. Now letís pick up this story in,

 

Judges 16:26 Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, "Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them."  27 Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there -- about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed.  28 Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, "O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!"  29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left.  30 Then Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.

 

Samson was confident that if he prayed to God for strength that he would receive it and sure enough he did. Here we have a man that had been made blind and ridiculed, yet he was able to gain strength from God through his prayer. As Christians today we need to keep in mind this simply lesson that no matter how badly we have been beaten weather physically or mentally we are only one prayer away from drawing strength from God.

 

There are many well worded songs with in Psalms that speak of God and the wonderful strength that we can gain from him. I want to share at least one of these with you and it comes from,

 

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.  2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;  3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.  4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy placeof the tabernacle of the Most High.  5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.  6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.  7 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. 8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth.  9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.  10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.

 

We should never get to the point in our Christian lives where we think that the Lordís hands are shortened and that he cannot help us.  This  Psalm shows us that God is always there and if we will just be still and know that He is our God and salvation, we will always be able to draw strength from him.

 

Our next example comes from a man that understood the importance of letting God be his everything and his guide throughout life. I am talking about David. David has a lot to say about trusting in God and asking him for strength.

 

2 Samuel 22:1 Then David spoke to the LORD the words of this song, on the day when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.  2 And he said: "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;  3 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.  4 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.  5 'When the waves of death surrounded me, The floods of ungodliness made me afraid.  6 The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.  7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry entered His ears.

 

David understood who his redeemer was and you will find him praising God over and over again for what he had done for him is his life. But David also knew that he could gain comfort and strength from Godís word as well.

 

Psalm 119:27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wondrous works.  28 My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.  29Remove from me the way of lying, And grant me Your law graciously.  30 I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.  31 I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!  32 I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.  33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.  34Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.  35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it.

 

So, if we want to draw strength from God, we can go to his Word and read it and understand that His Word is true. So, when we start reading about all the promise God has made to us and how he guarantees us that if we live faithfully to him and put our trust in him, we can know that  will make to that wonderful place that is called heaven and this should encourage and strengthen us.  It will also help us when read about those who were found themselves in worse situations than we have ever thought about being in, yet they leaned on God and drew strength from him and persevered. Again, this teaches us that we can do the same when we find ourselves in a difficult situation.  

 

So far we have looked at several examples from the OT now letís take a look at the NT and see  what it says about drawing strength from God.

 

Sometimes our bodies will develop a problem. Maybe we canít see as well or perhaps we loose a limb or maybe we become physically weak. Going through such and ordeal may cause some to loose their faith, but this should not be the case. Notice what we learn from Paul as he had to deal with an infirmity in his own life.

 

2 Corinthians 12:6 For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.  7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.  8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Paul would have loved to have his thorn in the flesh removed because he asked god 3 times to remove it. But Gods response was my grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness. God is teaching you and I that there will be infirmities in our life, but no matter what your infirmity may be, Godís grace should be sufficient enough for us. Knowing that we are Godís chosen people and that we are in a saved condition because of the wonderful gift of grace he has given us through his Son should give us the comfort and strength we need to keep our infirmity from dragging us down.  If anything, we should use our illness to grow closer to God by gaining strength from him during these trying times.

 

Another thing we need to realize is that every single Christian no matter how spiritually strong they are will always have need to draw strength from God. Again, Paul is another great example of this. I think everyone would agree that Paul was a very dedicated servant of God, but we have several examples that indicate that he struggled with his Christianity and he had to draw strength from God to go on. For instance notice what,

 

Acts 18:9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;  10 "for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city."

 

To put this into context, Paul was at  Corinth and he ran up against some stubborn Jews who would not listen to him. Well apparently Paul began to get scarred because we see Jesus speaking to Paul in a vision encouraging and strengthening him to continue preaching the word and thatís exactly what he did. Another instance of when Paul had to rely up on gaining strength from God was when he was headed toRome and the ship was caught in devastating storm.

 

Acts 27:20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.  21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, "Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from  Crete and incurred this disaster and loss.  22 "And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship.  23 "For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,  24 "saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.'  25 "Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.

 

Again, it is implied that Paul was beginning to doubt that he would survive the voyage until an angel came and reassured him that he would live to see Caesar. Paul gained strength from God during this time, which seemed hopeless to everyone else. This shows that everyone no matter how strong or weak they are must draw strength from God from time to time. Another important lesson we learn from Paulís time at sea is that once he was strengthened by God, he shared his strength with those around him as he was being a vessel for God. We need to keep this in mind because God can use us as a vessel to strengthen those around us, but the source of strength is always from God. So when we see someone else hurting or struggling with something, try to help them by being there for them. The Bible tells us to bear one anotherís burdens and weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice this all related to sharing the strength that you gain from God.  

 

But what happens if you find yourself in a place where Christians are failing in their duty to bear your burden and you find yourself neglected. Well, even in instances like this, we can still gain strength from God. Paul understood this and gives us a great example of this in,  

 

2 Timothy 4:16 At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.  17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.  18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

 

As you can see, Paul wrote a lot about gaining strength from God and there are many other verses that we could go to that he has written on this topic. However, for times sake I just want to share one more with you. In this next writing, Paul is talking about how is possible for some to become discouraged when they see others going through difficult times and he will explain how we should not allow this to bring us down but instead we should allow God to strengthen us.

 

Ephesians 3:13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.  14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,  17that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height --  19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,  21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 

 

So lets us never ever forget that we can make it through any hardship that this life may bring if we simply remember to trust in God and to gain strength from Him during these times.  Paul learned that lesson in life and that is why he was able to say with all confidence

 

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

I hope this lesson this evening has encouraged you in someway and has reminded you that you have a God who loves you and will never forsake and you can gain strength from him.