Monday, December 17, 2012

When you have no more Strength

It is never easy to go through the trials of life. This is especially so when you feel like your strength to endure them, is not equal to the storm front that is growing on the horizon and it is coming straight at you. 

Health issues, foreclosure and financial ruin, relationship conflicts, the loss of a loved one, the catastrophic impact of earthquakes, tsunamis, war and political unrest are becoming common experiences for people in every country of the world. Life Storms...

There are times in each of our lives when the reserve strength that is so readily available when we have faced other storms, is just not accessible today...right now…for this hour. Where does spiritual endurance come from, and how do we access it?

Endurance is Developed Over Time
In long distance running, endurance is a state of being able to sustain expenditures of energy, over a long period of time, and yet have a reserve 'kick' for the final push to the finish line. Having a good 'kick' is the result of a rigorous daily training discipline. 

The runner knows he has to disperse his energy a little at a time, so that he runs against his best time, and not the pace of the runners beside him.

The Importance of Endurance

Endurance in track and field is measured by how much overall strength and stamina is needed to win the race, and when to tap into that 'kick' to be in it to win it.

Coach Dean Hebert writes prolifically on the subject of track and field, and he is known throughout the running world. He states emphatically:

“A well planned training program is essential, and no single workout will make you a better runner or kicker. Kicking is a result of your neuro-muscular training. The fastest kick does not necessarily go to the one with the best VO2max, the one with the best lungs or biggest heart. At the end of Olympic distance triathlons, marathons, and the Boston marathon the runner with the best kick has won time and time again. The ability to kick is a function of your training. If you do not train for a kick, you will not have a strong one.”

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The Storms of Life

In life however, running the race is not so scientifically orchestrated, mathematically calculated, or measured by a stop watch to assure the best potential strategy for winning the race. 

We Need The Quiet Place because Life is Unpredictable 

On the pathways of our lives, there is not always a warning as to when you will face a Life Storm. We just know that we are to be ready to meet it whenever it comes.

The Quiet Place Enables us to Prepare for Life Storms

Isaiah the prophet lived at a time when God’s people were struggling to survive between bondage and enslavement to the Assyrian Empire under King Sennacherib, and a subsequent domination and captivity by the Babylonian Empire during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II.  

Isaiah was God’s mouthpiece (Hebrew: navi ) to a divided nation which was politically unstable, fraught with violence and war, and snarled in the throes of economic chaos.

They Believed that God did not Care
The people of Isaiah's day felt abandoned by God, and that He had forgotten about them.

Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD;  my cause is disregarded by my God" Isa. 40:27

They Forgot that God Never Changes

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom..."Isa. 40:28

“I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:5-7
In The Quiet Place: 

We are Refreshed by God

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;" Isa. 40:29-30

None of us will make it through this life without a list of regrets, wrong choices and times of failure, especially when we remember our youth. Thank you Lord for forgiveness and mercy.

We Receive the Strength of God

" but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength, They will soar on wings like eagles" Isaiah 40:31a
Pausing to worship God in The Quiet Place in the midst of a stressful, chaotic day is like taking that first sip of refreshing cold water after a long dry run. He is right there... He is ever present.

We have Renewed Hope From God

" they will run and not grow weary (yaga) they will walk and not be faint (ya`aph).” Isaiah 40-31b

A strong ‘Spiritual Kick’ is developed by drawing daily strength from God alone. He does not grow weary (yaga) …He does not faint (ya`aph) or collapse under great duress. (Isa. 40:28). It enables us to pass on through Life Storms and not collapse in the midst of them.

The Apostle Paul emphasized:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training?"  1 Cor. 9:23-24

For the spiritual runner, it isn't merely a 26 mile marathon that is before him. It is a lifetime run through dark valleys, traversing across rugged high mountain trails,  experiencing physical suffering, loneliness, loss and always the struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil.
A Daily Walk with God in The Quiet Place

Every moment that we spend in The Quiet Place, sometimes not even speaking, but allowing God's Word, thorough His Spirit, to cleanse our wounded hearts, we add sustainability to the 'kick' that we need when the storm is at it's peak and we are tempted to give up. 

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-15

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before  him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

"I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.” Psalm 119:32
Take a few moments to watch this video presentation of, "Even if" by Kutless

Friday, December 7, 2012

Discovering God's Glory in The Quiet Place

There is a kind of solitude within this Quiet Place.
A hush is whispered and it is still, as I seek out your face.
How can it be that I so flawed, and daily struggle so,
Could kneel within this Holy Place, a heart you truly know?

I sense the presence of angels near they bow in reverent awe, 
that a mere man can come into your presence since The Fall. 
Where once man walked with you in a garden paradise, 
when innocence and purity reigned, a gift that has no price.

Should I but think of failures and of sinfulness in me, 
I would never enter here, the last place I would be; 
but now Christ’s righteousness is mine, it is within my heart,
and I mere man am seen through Him, a pathway He imparts.

I see His footprints in the sands of time throughout the years,
when I had faltered, failed and cried, and wept to Him in tears,
“Why have you let this happen Lord, you know that I am weak?”
“ Trust in Me." He whispered, "I am the path that you do seek.” 

How is it that I see a dampness near The Throne of Grace?
T'was bathed in tears, He cried for me, on days that He did trace, 
When I was lonely, full of pain and suffering in the night,
He wept before His Father and said, "I am his Birthright."

Then as I prayed the angels sang, and glory filled this place, 
then Jesus came and knelt by me, and looked me in the face.
“I know life has been so hard, and the storms you have borne, 
I never ever left your side, and you were not alone.”

He touched my face with nailed scared hand and said so tenderly,
“I am your Hiding Place, and all the strength you’ll ever need.”
He put on me a pure white robe on shoulders stooped in shame.
before the Throne of Grace I knelt, I will never be the same.

"Holy, Holy, Holy!" cried the angels gathered here, 
the sound so magnificent, then a whisper I did hear; 
“I died and rose again so you could come into this place,
to worship God and know His love, and His tender Grace."

"Lord how did I not see that this is such a precious gift, 
what Adam lost you have given me, my heart you do uplift? "
The Quiet Place is where I go to share my life with Him, 
who gave His life for me, as a victory He did win.

So come you far and near and find The Way The Truth The Life; 
In Jesus Christ you can lay down the burdens, pain and strife. 
Come to Him ... you weak and heavy laden pilgrims now, 
on our knees we'll worship Him, our hearts as one we'll bow.

The Quiet Place is a hallowed holy time for each of us, 
to meet with God, and give to Him our faith and all our trust. 
Find a place my friend, for upon your knees you'll see,
that God so loves you as you are, reach out and become free.

Please take a moment to listen to this beautiful song entitled "Revelation" by Kari Jobi. Just hit play, and worship in The Quiet Place.

Jesus Himself said:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.  In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." 

Jo hn 1:1-5; 9 -18 selected

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." 

John 16:33

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come with me by yourselves to a Quiet Place and get some rest. So they went away…to a solitary place."