Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT) Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
People say all the time that God will not give you more than you can handle. Today, I would like to call that bluff because my friends the Lord absolutely positively on a regular basis give you more than you can handle. Why? He tells us in His Word that His Grace is enough for me. His Power is made perfect in my weakness. If you read and reread 2 Corinthians 12:9, it specifically says that “each time he said” that His Grace is all we need. This tells me that there are always going to be days when we run out of strength, patience, persistence and motivation. But bless the Lord, He does not leave us in a crumpled heap in a mass of defeat but whispers, “Don’t worry! My Power can work in you now.” There are many born again believers that need to be reminded that some days the best that we can do is just hold on. His Word confirms that in our surrender to our weakness and submission to His Divine Power that He will make me strong.
The Power at work in us is Jesus Christ through His Spirit. Our flesh is failing. We die day by day from our first breath to our last. A day cannot be recaptured and a moment ever remade. We must live accordingly. However, though it is human nature to stumble and even fall occasionally such failures are only fatal in our choice to give up. Having one of those pressed but not crushed, persecuted not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed weeks? Yeah, me too. Friday is here! It is not met with celebration as usual. There is no rest for the weary but there is restoration for the broken. When I take my cares, worries, burdens, stress, anxiety and human weakness laying them down to cling to Christ instead, it is then and only then that I will find new strength.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His Promises. Our hope is Jesus Christ. He is the reason that His People are labeled Christians. We speak of faith and hope, but do we believe that is valid and true. Until these two things become the foundation of our life in Christ, there is no power that leads to the fullness of God given to us in Jesus Christ. We are weak and flailing – groping through darkness dimly lit. We briefly experience the tingling sensation and goosebumps as He draws closer but then we drift away.
Acts 27:39-44 (NLT) When morning dawned, they didn’t recognize the coastline, but they saw a bay with a beach and wondered if they could get to shore by running the ship aground. So they cut off the anchors and left them in the sea. Then they lowered the rudders, raised the foresail, and headed toward shore. But they hit a shoal and ran the ship aground too soon. The bow of the ship stuck fast, while the stern was repeatedly smashed by the force of the waves and began to break apart. The soldiers wanted to kill the prisoners to make sure they didn’t swim ashore and escape. But the commanding officer wanted to spare Paul, so he didn’t let them carry out their plan. Then he ordered all who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land. The others held on to planks or debris from the broken ship. So everyone escaped safely to shore.
To set the scene, Paul is placed on a ship as a prisoner. The Lord tells Paul to warn the others that the route they are taking is dangerous. It will lead to devastation including shipwreck, loss of cargo and possibly human life. So, of course, they did what most people would do ignoring the “religious fanatic” and followed their own course. Well, shortly after leaving, the gentle breeze turned into a radical wind of typhoon strength. The men were panicked and each day went to great lengths to save their own lives, as well as the ship. Paul comes to the men again telling him that this is what he had been warning them against. He encouraged them that no one would lose their life. He tells them, “So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as He said. But…” We will be shipwrecked.
The Lord is our Strength. In each moment of every day, we live on the brink of disaster. The enemy roams around looking for those who can be devoured. He seeks to steal, kill and destroy God’s People. When our son was deployed, I remember praying for him each day. I asked the Lord to cover Him with His Precious Blood and position angels of protection around him. Why? There was a very real enemy who wanted to kill him each day he was on foreign soil. Sound familiar? The moment a person repents and turns their life over to Jesus Christ, a giant target is painted on their back.
With this in mind, the sooner the realization that I can do nothing apart from Christ becomes my reality, the more likely I am to overpower the enemy and his vicious attacks on my life. The Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness where He met up with the enemy. As a Child of God, we have the promise that we are more than conquerors and the ability to live in overwhelming victory each day. (Romans 8:37) Faith produces confidence in the hope we have in Jesus. Without confidence in God, we will just let go and drift through life. Faith in Christ doesn’t not mean that we will ever escape brokenness but rather that the Lord will use even the most minute detail for His Goodness and Glory in our life.
Then he ordered all who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land. The others held on to planks or debris from the broken ship. So everyone escaped safely to shore. Why was Paul on that ship? I believe Paul was placed on that ship as a beacon of light that led others to salvation. We go through things in life not only for our benefit but to help others make it safely home. Some sailors could swim so they jumped overboard making it to dry land. They were confident in their own ability to find the way and did. Others held on the ship’s wreckage and were carried to shore by the ocean’s current. The Word of the Lord came to pass and everyone escaped safely to shore.
Are you hanging on the wreckage of circumstances, an unexpected situation, overwhelming condition, or just plain done? Just hang on, Jesus is coming. Are you being swept away disappointed and confused? Just hang on, there is purpose in this test and the mess will become your message. We are not equipped to power through each situation in life. It is His Power in us that takes us across the finish line. You just cannot quit, give up or give in. You must grab hold of something and hang on for dear life. The shipwrecked sailors grabbed the debris of the ship that once kept them safe from the elements of nature and forces of life to make it shore. What are you holding on to today?
I Thessalonians 5:16-22 (NLT) Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.
Hold on to what is good. We must evaluate what we are holding on to today. It matters what we cling to in life. It doesn’t mean that the occasional or regular shipwreck may occur but it means living ready for whatever comes so we will not waver when it is time to stand. Hebrews 12:25 reminds us to “take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.” It is time to persevere. It is time to press on. It is time to walk through your current situation into victory on the other side. Endurance is a character quality that all men and women of God must possess to be saved. The Word of God states specifically that those who endure to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13) Endurance is work. It will require patience…a whole lot of patience. It means letting go of human expectation the how we want it done, when we want it to happen and the way that leads to success and prosperity to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. The cross gets heavy sometimes. Don’t you think Jesus knows that? He carried not only a physical cross but every single weight and burden associated with it. Jesus did it. He did it for me. He did it for you so we could hang on!
2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NLT) Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.
Living in Florida, when hurricane season rolls around the public is duly notified to stock up on supplies to prepare in the event of a storm. I have lived in two cities hit by hurricane like storms and conditions. Checklists are available at all the local grocery stores to get what we need to endure the conditions until help comes or the weather clears. Do you know that I never take the time to prepare for a hurricane? Even though I have been through two that hit home directly, I have never taken the time to prepare ahead of time for extreme conditions.
Living in the Kingdom of God, I am called to be ready in season and out of season. Do I prepare for the storms of life or sit idly by? I have the Power of God living and breathing inside of me. Every day God’s Spirit is ready to teach us more about the Lord, show us things that human eyes cannot see, empower us for good and show us what is evil. We ignore Him. Not to be a naysayer or negative Nancy, but the condition of your life can change radically in a single second. The moment calmness becomes chaos is not the time to fall on our knees, we should already have been there. When tragedy disrupts our carefully constructed comfort zone not equipped to keep us safe but immediate thrusting us out, what do we do?
Paul warned the men when they stepped foot on the ship that this journey was a no-go with God. They chose to go anyway. He warned them again. They did not listen. When things began to get rough and they were losing control of the ship, Paul peaked their interest with a little thing called survival. We will face tests and trials in life as the Lord produces godly character traits in us and His Spirit cultivates spiritual fruit. I just have to cling to Jesus to make it through. Such survival skills are developed in the calmness before the boat starts rocking and maintained through the journey.
I John 5:18-20 (NLT) We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
To make it from here to Eternity requires only one thing, we must cling to Jesus Christ living in constant fellowship and relationship with the Lover of our soul. I would be remiss if I did not tell you today that sin will loosen your grip. As one reaches for something else, the intensity and strength of the other hand wanes. You cannot travel in two directions. There are only two – closer to Jesus or farther away. Freedom gives us the option to follow Jesus or remain in the dark corridors of sin, evil and darkness. Though the enemy may come close to those who love and serve Jesus, he can do nothing to destroy them. But those who reach for the Lord, often have no idea how far they have drifted.
Philippians 2:13-16 (NLT) For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
Can I remind you today that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal? They are lies and manipulations of the Truth laid before us by the enemy. Mercy is provided each day for all the ways that we fail to believe and trust in God so we do our own thing and go our own way. Each day we have the opportunity who to serve and how we will do it. We are told to hold firmly to the Word of Life – it is the sword we carry in one hand. Reposition and hold more tightly our shield of faith. Pull the chinstrap of the helmet of salvation and decide you will fight for what you say that you believe. God is working in us. He is ready to do great things for us. We just have to be willing to hold on until He works it all out. The Lord promises to even give us the deep desire to do what pleases Him. Weak? Tired? Overwhelmed? There is a Hand of Grace extended to you. Can you see it? Will you take it? Let the Lord be Your Strength, Joy and Peace today in Jesus Name. Let Him overtake your thoughts and captivate your mind. He will transform your thoughts today. He gives us everything in His Divine Power to live a godly life. We must only hang on to achieve it.
John 15:5-8 (NLT) “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.