Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

12 Deep Drinking Joy – Part 2

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Isaiah 12:1-6 – In that day you will sing: “I will praise you, O Lord! You were angry with me, but not any more. Now you comfort me. 2 See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” 3 With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! 4 In that wonderful day you will sing: “Thank the Lord! Praise his name! Tell the nations what he has done. Let them know how mighty he is! Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things.   6 Make known his praise around the world. Let all the people of Jerusalem shout his praise with joy! For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.”

After calling us to praise God for Salvation Isaiah now calls us to praise Him for He is our:

  • Strength

As verse 2 says, “The Lord God is my strength.” In your life have you ever been weak and in need of strength? Think of the last time you lost your strength and were weak, what was the result? Like me in that moment you needed help. We may know that we are weak but here is the question, is the way that we are living really reflecting this reality? Are we admitting our weakness and our need for strength? Many of us live more in defiance of this truth than in dependence on Jesus because of it. We know we need strength but we don’t submit to the reality of what we know. Today we have replaced trusting in the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with trying through the trinity of self, Me, Myself and I. We have rewritten Philippians 4:13 to read: “I can do all things through ME that gives Myself strength” We have substituted the Savior for self. I don’t need to convince you that you need strength from an outside source because you and I both know your strength isn’t cutting it. The question is are you ready to submit to the truth and turn to the Father or keep faking? For others the issue is not that we are resisting the reality that we need strength. We know and we have submitted to the truth that we need strength, it’s just that we have submitted to substitute strength instead of the Saviors. The question we never thought through was where are we going to look for this strength? Am I going to lean on the Saviors strength or substitutes? One of the biggest substitutes to the Savior strength that we turn to today is money. Instead of leaning on God we lean on gold.  Why does the world frantically strive for financial stability, because it is their source of strength. Why are they always scrambling, because their substitute strength is fleeting, its foundation is not firm.  Gold is a gift given not to remove God but to remind us of His goodness. Why did Jesus spent so much time talking about money, because He knew that many would waste their lives chasing cash. Today many are living like moths drawn to the flame, choosing to circle the financial glow instead of God, only to get consumed by the cash instead of Christ.  Why do we skate around on the thin ice of treasures, why do we spend our lives on the shifting sands of riches because we have bought and believed the lie that we can lean and rely on our riches. S. D. Gordon said “Money supplies a channel through which one may reach most intimately to others, near by and around the world. It is the golden channel of service.” The problem is that today that we are grabbing for the gold instead of God. We have turned the treasure from being a tool of service into substitute strength for self. We’ve turned from trusting in God to trusting in our treasure. But my greatest resource is not my riches, it is my relationship with the Redeemer. Money may make some things easier but money is never not enough. It will always be a substitute strength that comes up short, only Jesus is enough. You see your soul will never find strength in a substitute. For some of us we are not turning to an outside substitute, we are rely on one closer to home, the substitute of self. We choose to parade around in our own power but eventually it will be revealed for what it is, pathetic. Our physical bodies have one destination, death. Physically I’m not getting more powerful I’m getting more puny, and my power is anemic compared to the Almighty. We don’t just try to rest in the strength of our muscles but also in our mind, but just like our physical strength we also lose our minds. There is a story told about an elderly Christian lady whose age began to take a terrible toll on her memory. She once knew much of the Bible by heart, but eventually only one part of one precious verse stayed with her. It was part of 2 Timothy 1:12, where Paul said: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” Yet as time went on, even that brief portion of Scripture began to slip away. In her last days as she hovered near death, her loved ones noticed her lips moving. They bent down to see if she needed anything. And they heard her saying over and over the one word she remembered from the Bible: “Him, Him, Him.” She had lost most of her mental abilities, but she never lost Him. When it’s all stripped away what do you really have? Today I pray that God in His grace will give us the gift of stripping us of our substitute strengths so that all we have is Him. It’s a scary prayer and seemingly sour at first as we lose our substitute source of strength, but oh so sweet when we find the Saviors. You see your source of strength will become your well of worship, its where your focus and faith will be found. Finances or the Father, self or the Savior what are you worshipping, the One who is worthy or that which is worthless? For the financial fool it’s a prayer for God to break the bank so that we stop leaning on the lies and start leaning on the Lord. What do you care more about being bankrupted financially or broke biblically? What about the impact that this prayer has on the substitute of self? Stripping self may mean stripping our strength physically, but what’s more important health or holiness? Paul got the gift of God’s grace when in 2 Corinthians 12:9 he wrote, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Why is strength such a big deal because it gives us a sense of security. The problem is that many of us are focused on a false and fleeting sense of security instead of the steadfast strength of the Savior. Today are you resting and rejoicing in the joy of His strength or the junk of substitute strength?

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