Friday, March 12, 2010

Giving God all You Have

“'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

This Sunday begins the 5th week of our 40 day emphasis on Xtreme Love. We have focused on the Great Commandment (Mark 12:30-31) and what that means in our lives.

This Sunday’s sermon will focus on Loving God with All Your Strength. In the focal passage Jesus is actually quoting Isaiah 6:5. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah, which has been translated to strength, can also be translated as vehemently or intensely. The implication is to give God everything you got. We can say:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…give him all you have."

At the same time we need to recognize that God is the source of our strength: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1). Because of that we can say with Paul, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13).

Paul, a very tough guy who endured many physical, emotional, and spiritual attacks, never boasted in his own strength or tenacity to survive these attacks. Rather he said, “I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in pressures. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

You might be placed in a very difficult ministry field. Perhaps your family is not of the faith and you feel isolated and frustrated. It could even be a violent situation. That can be a drain on your spirit. Your prayer must like Isaiah’s, “O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress” (Is 33:2).

You may be at a job that sucks away your soul, surrounded by temptation and unbelievers, who do not value who you are. Pray for God’s strength every morning.

Maybe you minister to a group of people with hard hearts who just don’t get it. Remember God desires them more than you. His heart breaks for them. Pray for God’s strength every morning.

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
Isaiah 40:31

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