Renewed in HIS Strength

4/4/2006 6:51 AM
    S: 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NKJV  (7)  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  (8)  We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  (9)  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-
    2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV  (16)  Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  (17)  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  (18)  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
    O: Notice Paul’s words here.  He talks about the bad that is happening, but always counters it with the positive.  He talks about the breaking down, but always ends on the renewing.  His choice of words are that he is an earthen vessel – a breakable, disposable vessel.  But then he says that they are NOT crushed, NOT in despair, NOT forsaken, and NOT destroyed. 
They are positive words in the midst of turmoil.  They are good words in the midst of bad.  They are words of hope – they have a hope for the coming, the future, what is next.  They continue to hang on, no matter what they are faced with, because God is still God and because that gives them the hope they need.
    The outward is perishing – that alone should bring discouragement and a down feeling, but they are still being renewed daily.  The focus here of Paul is not on what is, but what is to be.  In other words, he doesn’t focus on today, he focuses on tomorrow.  Awesome!
    A: These words are my words.  This last weekend, I barely had the energy to continue.  By the time I was done with the West Campus, I was toast.  I was done.  I was shot.  I was completely out of energy.  My thoughts were, “There has to be an easier job than church planting and trying to grow a church!”  I felt like I was ready to quit – emotionally.  I knew logically that I will never quit!  I knew that I was doing what I was called to do, and that God had never promised to make it easy.
    But I knew I needed some time off.  Sunday was a full day with the constituency meeting.  But yesterday I took the day off.  Today and tomorrow I’m taking the day off.  It’s all about making sure that I get renewed with God and not just go-go-go-go-go….  Today, I feel so much better.  Today I am renewed and I know that God is in charge.  Today I am ready to continue the renewal process.  I know that God is in charge and I know that He is leading me.
    Therefore, I do not lose heart.  Even though my outward man is perishing – with age, with stress, with work, with health – yet my inward man is being renewed day by day.  My light affliction is but a moment, but I’m looking to something far more exceeding in glory.  I don’t spent my time looking at the seen, the temporary, but I’m looking at the eternal.
I have to.
    P: Lord, I know you led Gail and I a long time ago to take a regular 6-week break.  Everyone else gets a full weekend off.  We were only getting one day off, and that was sometimes filled with time on the phone, etc.  I’ll never forget what that was like – the feeling of anger that kept rising in me, the feeling of frustration, the feeling of inadequacy.  And I remember going for like 3-4 months without a single day off.  I was in turmoil and the devil was going to win. 
When we realized what was happening, we determined to that since everyone else gets two days off a week, that we would take 3 days off every 6 weeks.  It’s usually a Sunday-Tuesday or a Monday – Wednesday.  But it’s a time of renewing with God, with each other and just getting away from the phones.
    Today is day 2 of our 6-week break and I already feel renewed.  No, I am not so renewed that I’m ready to go back to work – hardly!  But I know that this is the right thing, to keep me on track, to do what God has called me to do, and to listen to Him. 
That’s the point, isn’t it, Lord?  To listen to you.  That’s where my renewal comes from.  That’s where my renewal comes from so that I can truly listen to you.  So that I can honestly follow you.
Please come into my heart.  Please fill me with the Holy Spirit.  Please cleanse me from my uncleanness.  Please make me like you.  I pray, Lord, for the Holy Spirit to focus me.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to fill me.  Please forgive me for being a sinner and cleanse me from my sin. 
    I love you, Lord.  I will follow you.  I will serve you.  I want to walk with you.  I love you.