Influencers Weekly Devotional
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Abide with ME
Abiding Physically - Part Two
SRIPTURE: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
THOUGHT: Paul gives a personal assertion that God’s power has helped him face and overcome any challenge that has come his way. It is important to note that Christ’s presence and power helps Paul, and is evidence of His constant presence in his life.
APPLICATION: It has been said, “A grain of sand in his shoe can keep a man from climbing a mountain.” That little proverb, from who knows where, seemed a little overstated to me when I first thought on it. Upon further consideration, the truth being conveyed is not about a fragment of stone, but about a bit of discouragement that keeps a man from conquering a mountainous challenge. You see, discouragement, no matter how great or small it is, will eventually debilitate a man in any of his endeavors. For this reason, it is important that God’s man learns to fight a fight of faith against discouragement, and to do so, knowing Holy Spirit is at his side, showing him how to overcome.
In case you are not familiar with the background of the scripture mentioned above, you might want to take a look at all passages in Philippians 4. Paul pretty much includes the full list of discouraging “opportunities” he had faced. His extreme hardships were overcome with one trump card, which was his ability to do all things through Christ Who strengthened him. How about you? Are you tapping into the awesome resource of Christ’s discouragement-buster, or are you holding the hand dealt you.
Do you remember the lyrics to the old Kenny Rogers song that said, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em - Know when to walk away, know when to run?” Although the song appeared to be about cards, it was really about life. This song gave two options, which was to hold the hand dealt you, or fold your cards and run away like a scared rabbit. Apostle Paul would say “Don’t run away, and instead, play the cards dealt you. But ask God to give you the strength and resources to stand firm and face the challenge.” He would also add, “I have faced the same ‘Dealer’ and his crooked system. The plan I give you will trump anything dealt you by him, for it has helped me.” Like I said, the song is a metaphor for life, and I borrow it and use it as a metaphor for facing discouragement. Satan sells us a lie when he convinces us the sand in our shoe or the hand dealt us will keep us from climbing a mountain of discouragement, and we run away in agreement with him. We accept that our life cannot be changed, and we waste it! But we do not have to waste our life, for God wants to show us the way up that mountain, if we will take His help.
As I have shared in the previous devotionals, I am focusing on that part of abiding in Christ which deals with the stewardship of our body. As it relates to discouragement, there is none greater than when we try to play catch up on years of neglect of our bodies. To do so, there is required of us the discipline of time management to make sure we allocate a period each day for exercise. We also have pain to break through, as we reintroduce physical strain to neglected muscles. Most of us have weight problems, or injuries that challenge our commitment. Oh how easy it is at the beginning of our challenge to simply say, “I think I’ll just stand with the hand dealt me,” and then, we give ourselves permission to allow discouragement to win another battle. Sand in our shoe keeps us from climbing the mountain, and Satan laughs.
I have said it on previous occasions that one of the great benefits of my high school and college football career is the discipline I learned to resist discouragement when facing a challenge. Some of you may have found this to be true for you as well. This is a very important attitude to have when facing a challenge before us. Certainly, some challenges might be impossible to conquer. But many challenges are not conquered because the impossibility looks so great, and no attempt is even made. In other words, we fold our cards and run away before we see what the strength of Christ can do for us. I have a buddy who was a Navy Seal. He said the one key thing that the Seals look for with candidates is this same trait. It is not the best athlete, or the most intelligent man whom they seek. It is the man who will not accept failure as an option. It is the man who will fight through discouragement and find a way to win. I think this is a good trait to have, and I think it is a trait every man of God should foster in his life.
As we look at the life of God’s Champion, we will not see a man without scars. Rather, we will see a man who has been battle-tested, and tempered in his faith, as steel is tempered with the furnace. His furnace is a life of challenges, and the scars come from battles that were fought and won. This man is not one who will run away from a challenge, but will run into the fray. He runs into it because he has been disciplined and prepared for the fight. He thrives in the challenge, and he is never more alive than when he sees the power of Christ coming to him to make him stronger than what he can be alone, and certainly stronger than any foe he will ever face. It is the same with any challenge we face to be a better steward of God’s temple, which is our body.
“Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16
Therefore, if you are like me, there is a time now upon you when you must say, “Let the challenge begin. It is time I do something about becoming more physically fit, and that I do it to God’s honor and purpose.” So let me challenge you with asking a commitment from you. Would you consider joining me in a 30 day challenge to start the ball rolling toward better health? I believe if we can get through the first 30 days of “sand in our shoes”, we can make it the rest of the way up the mountain. Your exercise program might be different from mine. That’s OK. Let’s look for something that works best for us individually, and start it. Let me hear from you if you are ready to take my challenge. We can help each other conquer our mountain before us. Sound like a good plan?
REPLY: Father, I realize that every challenge is just that ---- it is a challenge. But I also know that You are with me, and any challenge in my life that is worthy of bringing You glory, is worthy of your help. Therefore, I ask You for Your help to strengthen my body for Your service. One of the first challenges I will face in my exercise program is the discouragement that stands in my way. I ask You to encourage me through this discouragement, and give me a break through to that time and place where I move past the “sand in my shoe.” Help me listen to Your voice as You coach me, as You train me, and as You disciple me into the man who is ready for anything that comes my way. Father, indeed, I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. It is in His name I pray, and to Your glory I dedicate myself to Your purpose.
Category: Influencer's Weekly Devotionals
Scribbled at March 09, 2011 10:42:PM by Chris Hyslop
Rock, I find it so appropriate that your write this at this time. I have printed this out for my son CJ who is heading into the state basketball tourney with Booker T. Washington. This year has been tough for the boys and now is especially tough for CJ. He has suffered a sprained ankle and his play is questionable. If he can lasso the Spirit in His power and get taped up and go out and play not in his strength but in the strength of the ONE who guides his life he has to potential to acheive another state title. This devotion could not have come at a better time for him. Thank you for your words. The lesson he can learn at this time is one every man is deeply in need of. My heart is overjoyed with the news that my hurch Battlecreek is going full force forward with the Journey in the coming year. The Journey and the power of His Spirit in my life is simply amazing. I get great joy daily in seeing GOD's Spirit transform people with the tool God gave you. So once again I thank you for fighting through all those days of doubt and struggle to realize the power of obedience and the power of Phillipians 4:13. I am a man who is forever changed by my Journey experiences. Chris Hyslop
Scribbled at March 11, 2011 09:30:PM by Chris Hyslop
In a story only God could create CJ and his team will be fighting for a repeat bid for the State championship. CJ has played minimal minutes with the injury but has added to the team picture. I printed this devotion our for him and gave it to him to read. He has one more game to give it his all. We will tape him up one more time for the battle and let him rely on His God for Victory. I am so hopeful that someday my son would realize the power of a real abiding relationship with a living God. Even though his words are few right now I love watching him walk this out. He knows God is such a huge part of this even if they do not win the title. Hys
Links & Resources
Influencers- Bakersfield, CA
Influencers-Bayside Church, Northern California
Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest"
Tulsa Men of Christ
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