Summary: Fourth in a series of sermons on dealing with difficult times.
Handles for the Hard Times (Sermon #4)
TEXT: II Cor 12:1-10
· Ever been between a rock & a hard place?
· Times when circum/difficulties/trials are pressing in upon you?
· Life feels like it’s a zoo and the zoo has been turned over to the monkey?
· Times when confusion & chaos seem to rule?
· How do we deal w/ those times?
· 4th in a series of 5 sermons on Handles for the Hard Times
· Handle #1: Accept it as an app’t rather than an accident
· Handle #2: Accept it without knowing the reason why
· Handle #3: Believe God is in charge, even of the trial
· Handle #4 Attitude, have the right one
· Handle #5 Believe God doesn’t change
I. HANDLE #6: ABILITY, UNITE WITH GOD’S
A. In other words, quit trying to handle Qthg yourself (strength, abilities,
resources); come to God, & allow Him to strengthen you
1. Easy for us to try to do Qthg ourselves, to be self-sufficient
2. Want (or often have) a “can do” attitude to the point we see no
need for God
B. F.B. Meyer “Disabilities were meant to unite you w/ G’s ability. G’s
sufficient grace is at its best when human weakness is most profound.”
C. Scripture full of promises regarding G strengthening us
1. II Cor 12: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2. Zec 4:6: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”
3. Phil 4:13: [Amplified Bible] “I have strength for all things in Christ Who
empowers me. I am ready for anything & equal to anything through Him
who infuses inner strength into me.”
(IL) IV hooked into arm w/ G’s strength flowing into us
4. Isa 40:29-31: “He gives strength to the weary & increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired & weary, & young men stumble & fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run & not grow weary, they will walk & not faint.”
a. Heb - “hope” (hope in the Lord): “to bind together, perhaps by twisting.”
b. Paraphrase: those who are bound together, perhaps even
twisted, into the Lord, will renew their strength.
D. Steps of binding (twisting) yourself into G (A-B-C’s)
1. Four steps: A-B-C-D
E. Admit your own weakness & Acknowledge your need for God
1. Admit you don’t have the resources/ability to get thru the trial in a G- honoring way by yourself
a. Get rid of macho, independence, self-sufficiency
2. Acknowledge you need God in your life
a. His Presence, His wisdom, He resources, & all He offers
F. Bible, dig into it
1. Gideon’s B: “...Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, & comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrims’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, & the Xn’s charter.”
2. Dig into it, study it, apply it, & allow it to be all of this in your life
G. Christian fellowship, be a part of it
1. Ro 1:11-12: “I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to make you strong - that is, that you & I may be encouraged by each other’s faith.”
(IL) Three logs on a fire
-warm & draws others to it
H. Depend upon prayer
1. Dr. A.C. Dixon: “When we rely on organ we get what organ can do. When we rely on education we get what education can do. When we rely on eloquence we get what eloquence can do. When we rely on prayer, we get what G can do.”
(IL) One New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas. The amusing thing was this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast oil resources, its truck ran out of gas
I. God has given you resources to help.
a. Direct relat bet strength & the role they play in our lives.
b. Use them & don’t run out of gas.
1. Admit our need for God
2. Bible, dig into it
3. Christian fellowship, be part of it
4. Depend upon prayer
II. HANDLE #7: DETERMINATION, DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT
A. Stick it out, don’t quit, don’t give up, see it all the way to the end
B. Easy for us to do just the opposite
1. Abandoned diet
2. Exercise program forgotten
3. Half read book
4. Half written letter