Saturday, August 22, 2009

Free from Today's Pressures

Life is getting more complex; it seems to be is speeding up. It certainly isn’t as simple as it used to be. Steve Farrar says that we no longer have alarm clocks; now we have starter pistols.

We’ve even come up with a whole new vocabulary of terms to describe our stress and the pressures of today’s living. We say, “I'm worn out, stressed out, burned out, run down, used up, bushed, exhausted, frazzled, bone weary and dead tired. I'm on my last leg, at the end of my rope. I'm about to come unglued. I'm ready to throw in the towel.”

Sometimes the stress gets so heavy you feel like you’re at a breaking point. You feel like you’re going to go under for the last time. And you wonder, “How can I handle this pressure?”

When you’re under pressure you need two things. You need strength and you need stability. God offers them both to you.

Isaiah 40:28-29 (NIV)
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. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

God gives you power when you’re worn out.

The reason you’re so tired all the time is because you were never meant to live life simply on your own power. God meant for you to have a relationship with Him, to be plugged in to Him, to gain power from God

Illustration: a power strip connected to itself makes no sense

Isaiah 40:30 (NIV)
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

The young men God is talking about in this verse are young men who were picked for their youthful strength and vigor; but even they get tired and weary. You’re not designed to be plugged in to yourself!

Jesus has all the power you need. He proved it at the resurrection. But the best news is that the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead can raise you up from your problems. It’s available to you.

If God can raise a dead person, He can raise a dead marriage. He can raise a dead career. He can raise a dead relationship. He can do anything. He’s got all the power you need.

Illustration: Julio Franco set many records for longevity in professional baseball.

· Oldest player to hit a Grand Slam (47, 2005, breaking his own record set in 2004 at 45)

· Oldest regularly-playing non-pitcher player in MLB history (48)

· Second-oldest player to appear in MLB postseason play (48, during the 2006 postseason)

· Oldest player in Major League history to hit a home run (48)

· Second-oldest player to steal a base (48, during the 2007 season)

He played for such a long time that Billy Wagner, one of his team mates called him Moses. But also, because of his longevity, a retired baseball player, Andy Van Slyke, accused him publicly of taking steroids. Here was Franco’s response:

Tell Andy Van Slyke he's right—I'm on the best juice there is. I'm juiced up every day, and the name of my juice is Jesus. I'm on his power, his wisdom, his understanding. Andy Van Slyke is right, but the thing he didn't mention was what kind of steroids I'm on. Next time you talk to him, tell him the steroid I'm on is Jesus of Nazareth.

But how do you get God’s power in your life?

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Hope, trust, rely…that’s what it takes to gain strength. Place all your trust in the God who never grows weak or weary.

How do we do that? Are you spending time seeking him? Are you spending time in His presence daily? Are you praying? Do you interact with His Word, allowing it to do its work in your life?

The first step today is to admit, “I’m plugged in to myself. I’m trying to do it all by myself, without even acknowledging God, much less seeking Him.”

Another thing God gives us is stability.

In the Bible, God is compared 42 times to a rock. He’s called the Rock of Ages. He’s called our Eternal Rock. He’s called the Rock of our salvation and many other terms. Why would God compare Himself to a rock?

Rocks are steady and strong. Rocks don’t give into pressure. They don’t crumble easily. That’s the kind of stability and strength God can put in your life if you’ll let Him be the rock of your life.

If you build your life on Jesus, the Solid Rock, and you make Him the cornerstone of your life, you can handle anything.

If we could do an X-Ray of everybody’s heart today, we would probably see that many of you are running on empty. Emotionally, physically, and spiritually empty.

Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
"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.

Jesus says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me for real rest and you’ll recover your life and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” He will set you free from today's pressures.

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