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