Sunday, September 18, 2005

Facing Life's Challenges

Today I challenged the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays in our Baseball Chapel services to call upon the rich resources of our mighty God when we face all manner of adversity. The list of the apostle Paul's trials from 2 Corinthians 11 certainly wouldn't be a good promotional piece to advertise the joys of Christian living. Encouraging words from the prophet Isaiah show us how to handle the trials and rise above them through God's strengthening grace.

Here are those verses:

2 Corinthians 11:23-28

…I have been in prison…frequently, been flogged… severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.

Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but 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 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 43:1-3

But now, this is what the LORD says…"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I
am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”

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