Stronger Than Death
Look up and say, “Lord Jesus, I can do it because You’ll strengthen me”.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright? Well this your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. Believe me.
You and I have been looking at Philippians 4. We want to just take a look at those verses again before we turn our attention back into the gospel of Mark. This may be a very special day to some of you. I know it’s a birthday for somebody I know, and it may be an anniversary or it may have some special meaning to you or else you may have come upon a day that is just one of the many. Let me whisper secret to you right now. This has nothing to do with the messages, I’ll throw it in free. Every day can become a special day, if you’ll turn it over to your blessed Lord, by faith and walk with Him. I have learned that every day of my life can be an adventure with the Lord Jesus Christ, if I turn it over to His control and let the indwelling Spirit of God guide thoughts and words and decisions. You try that for yourself and may God make it a special day for you, beloved, this very day.
Well, Paul says, “I’ve learned something. I have learned to be content”. Contentment is not taking a tranquilizer and settling down and just letting the world roll-on. Contentment is something you learn. It is a dynamic combination of doing your best while trusting God to do His best. Do you buy that? Contentment is a dynamic combination of doing your best while trusting God to do His best and sometimes then that, that involves as Paul says here, “Being abased”. Neglect. People passing you by. Adverse circumstances. Unemployment. Heartache or heartbreak in your family. Abased or sometimes it involves success the compliments of others coming your way. Everything coming up roses. I’ve learned to abound, but he said, “Everywhere and in all things I am instructed how to be full or to be hungry, to abound or to suffer need”.
Small thought here; one of the most difficult things for me to handle personally is to realize that when things happen in my life it amounts to the fact that God is trying to teach me something. He says, “I’m instructed”, and that, that phrase, “I am instructed”, is connected with the concept to be full, that means have enough, or to be hungry, not to have enough. To abound, means everything’s, everything is going well suffer need. Nothing’s going well and I don’t have enough. I am instructed. What is God trying to teach me in this situation?
A pastor friend of mine went to call upon a lady who was terminally ill and in the process of being terminal ill she was also suffering great pain. The cutting biting edge of pain would just come right straight through any kind of, of sedation or of pain relieving medication that could be utilized. And so, he went to see her in the hospital he said, and after a short visit he said, “Now, I’m going to pray for you”. Well, she said, she looked at him and bright eyed and keen as her mind was she said, “Pastor, what are you going to pray for me for”? Oh, he thought a moment and he said, “Well, I’ll pray that God will will, will give you grace and relieve your suffering and touch give you His presence and His blessing”. Oh, she said, “Pray Pastor, pray that I won’t waste all this suffering”. She’d gotten the point, hadn’t she? She knew that there is a use that God makes, even of pain.
Oh, that’s hard for me to learn. When I’m going through things that are unpleasant I like to get out of them. I’m like a little boy who prayed, “Lord, I want patience and I want it right this minute”. “Oh, Lord get me out of this”, but as a matter fact and I know I’m talking to some folk who are hurting physically, arthritis, or some other ailment has, has slowed you down or maybe anchored you and you’re in a wheelchair or you’re in the hospital or infirmary bed and you think to yourself, “I can’t get around like I used to. I can’t do what I used to when I’m hurting”, you know and then some, some dear, well-intentioned believer will say, “Well cheer up things could be worse”, and you think to yourself, “Yea, I cheered up and they got worse”. The good advice of well-meaning, healthy people is always an irritant to somebody’s who suffering isn’t it true? You go call on somebody that’s suffering. Don’t give advice, just give love. That’s what’s needed.
But anyhow, I say it’s hard for me, yours truly, Bob Cook, to learn that when I’m in circumstances which I don’t like, involving let us say, physical pain, that God is in the process of teaching me something. “I am instructed”, he says, “to be full. I can do this through Christ who strengthens me”. Or to be hungry, I can be hungry to the glory of God, because Christ strengthened me. To abound, that means to have enough, more than enough, I can have, I can cope with that because Christ is strengthening me and keeping me from, from becoming the victim of my own success, and to suffer need. When there isn’t enough month at the end of the money. I can learn something. God is teaching me something. Sometime ago my sister, Mildred Cook, who edits these booklets that we give away, sent me a tiny little motto on a piece of, of filing card and the words on that I carry with me in my will of my wallet. I look at it frequently. It says, “When you are down to nothing at all than for the first time you may be aware that God is enough”. To suffer need when there is not enough humanly. He’s teaching me that He’s enough. Boy, that’s a lesson that I have to learn and re-learn, it seems to me.
Well you come then to verse 13, “I can do this”. See, “I can do all things”. What is the all things? “To be content in whatever condition I am”, verse 11, “To be abased”, when people are putting you down, “To abound”, when everything is going well, “To be full, to be hungry, to abound, to suffer need”. I can do all these things, either way through Christ who strengthens me. Someone has paraphrased that 13th verse to say, anything God that asks me to do, I can do because He enables me. All the, all things, the all things of God’s will.
Let me ask you this, let me ask you this. Have you ever deliberately accepted God’s “All things”? In other words, His will for your life? Have you ever accepted it as being His plan and, and decided that you were going to learn from it and be enriched by it? Well, I know that’s a hard question and, and someone immediately is going to say, “Well, it’s alright for you, Brother Cook, to talk like that. You’re well and you’re happy and you don’t have all of, all the troubles and problems that I have”, and I suppose you’re right. Yes, I am physically well, thank God. I feel like I can live to be 100. I’m going to try. Yes, I am happy. I’ve got a loving wife and children and a happy home and, and the blessing of God has been on me, and I’m grateful. That’s right, but I want to know something. When I talk to you anything I say to you, I’ve been there, I’ve lived while, and I know that you can face any kind of condition in life, in the enablement of the indwelling Spirit of God, who reveals the Lord Jesus Christ in every part of all of living, and your life can be an adventure with the Lord Jesus within the parameters of your personal circumstances.
You know, you live in a, in a bad neighborhood that let’s say is bad neighborhood. Well, for me to preach to you and say, “Get out of that neighborhood and, and go someplace else and you’ll do better”. You look at me sadly and say, “Who’s going to get me out of here? Who’s going to help me? I can’t help myself on this. I’m here”. I know it, but did you know that the secret, excuse me, the secret of success in any given situation is not to move out of the situation, but to move God into the situation. Did you get that? The secret of success in any given situation is not to move out of the situation, but the move God into it, and what I’m saying is beloved, you can yield yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ this very day and He will make you different within the, the boundaries of your own life set up. You may still live in an unpleasant neighborhood, you may still live in a family situation that is painful, you may still live in the midst of surroundings and people who are uncordial and, and your life style may be asked exceedingly unpleasant. All of these things may be so from the person who was a prisoner in a, in some, some prison somewhere or are confined in a hospital bed or in a retirement facility, to the person whose job is in jeopardy because they’ve just made a merger and you’re going to be swept under the rug with the rest, to the person who’s in, in a home where everybody is down on you because you’re a Christian. I know these things are unpleasant. Beloved listen to me. You haven’t got it any worse than the apostle Paul had. He was beaten nearly to death three times. He was stoned until they dragged him out of the city and left him for dead there on the city dump. Oh, he was shipwrecked, he was maligned, and, and he was made a prisoner, and all that. He said, “I learned”. This, remember this book of Philippians was written in jail. He said, “I’ve learned, I’ve learned, I’ve learned”. Why? Because, “I can do it because Jesus strengthens me”.
You’re facing a day full of pain today, say to yourself and say to God, “I can do it because Jesus is strengthening me”. You’re facing a business day full of hazardous decisions, look up and say, “Lord I can do it because You’re strengthening me”. You’re facing a family situation that is basically unpleasant and people greet you with a loving snarl, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, I can live through it and shine through it because You’re strengthening me”. You’re a homemaker, you’re facing the three million things that homemakers have to do without anybody ever thanking them and your body’s already tired and you don’t how you’re going to get through the day. Look up and say, “Lord Jesus, I can do it because You’ll strengthen me”. He, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”, the Bible says. You want take hold of that for yourself today, beloved? You need that, somebody needs that so bad, I know that why I’m telling it to you. You need it. Oh, look up and say, “God, I’m going to live this day in the strength that Jesus, my blessed, living Lord can give. I’m going to trust the blessed Holy Spirit of God to live through me, the life of Christ. You do that, God’s going to answer.
Dear Father today, oh I ask that we may have the joy of living our lives in the strength and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that we too can say,” I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. Thank you Lord, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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