Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, January eighteenth.
Have you ever felt so discouraged that despair seemed normal? Today's podcast encourages you to lean on God and His sustaining grace for the motivation to endure and thrive. Many, many people will go to church and maybe you happen to be one of those people. You go to church and you'll sit in the pew of the seat.
You may even carry a Bible with you, but most people don't. You'll listen to a sermon of some sort, however how long or how short it may be. And you'll walk away and if somebody asks you, what truth did you get today that'll sustain you in the coming week? I wonder what your answer would be. Would you have to say, well, I know I heard every bit of it. I know I heard it. But I don't know that I can answer your question.
That's a little too personal. No, you didn't get it. That's the issue. Or there wasn't anything to get.
It could be either one. Think about this. As a child of God, you have access to you in the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Spirit of God within you. The promise of God, that that power is able to sustain you, help you, strengthen you, overshadow you, undergird you, provide for you. Every single thing that is necessary, listen, for the purpose of God in your life. God could not do less than be who He is. If He went to the cross for us through His Son, would He provide anything less for us than that?
No, He would not. Now, with that in mind, the first thing that I simply want to say here is this. That sustaining grace is God's answer to the painful, trying circumstances that we all face in life. This is God's answer, His sustaining grace. And if you'll notice what's here, those challenges are painful circumstances in which God may or may not choose to change.
He may or He may not choose to change. Now, the apostle Paul certainly understood all of that. Here's what Paul discovered. He said, here's how God answered him. When he cried out for God to deliver him, he said, here was God's answer.
He doesn't say a thing in here about yes, no, or wait. And he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you. For power, the power of the Spirit of God in your life is perfected.
It reaches its highest limitation. That is, the power of God reaches its zenith, its pinnacle in your life and my life when we are at our weakest moment. We are at our weakest moments in our life and we don't know where to turn.
And we don't know what to do. And we're crying out to God to show us what to do. That's when the power of God reaches its strength and its power.
Listen to what he says. He says, He said to me, my grace is sufficient for you. For power is perfected.
It reaches its summit in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I'm well content with weaknesses.
Why? He says, because that's what I've learned. He says, I've learned that in these weakest times when I'm going through the most trying times and difficulties, I'm the strongest. And so, Paul says, I'm happy, I'm content, absolute content, which leads me to the second thing I want you to notice and that's this. And that is that sustaining grace enables us to continue on when our circumstances don't change and we're tempted to give up. His sustaining grace enables us to continue on when we're tempted to give up, tempted to walk away, tempted to say, God, I can't handle it.
Now, how does that happen? Well, there are three things that cause us to want to give up. One of them is Satan who lies to us. Well, you don't believe all that stuff.
Secondly, listening to the wrong people. Well, now look, I used to go to church. Do you believe all that preacher talk about God going to do this for you and do that for you?
Well, not for me. Well, that's why you shouldn't be listening to them. And so, what you need to do is you ask yourself the question, who are you listening to?
Listen to this. Whoever you're listening to, what's the basis for what they're telling you? You know what the basis for what most people are telling you is? It's what they feel.
It's how they, the experiences of their life, but the experiences of their life not based on the Word of God, but experiences of their life by following worldly ways. The world system. The world doesn't think the way we think. And we don't want to think the way they think. God said we don't want to be salt and light.
Not saying salt and light, we make a difference. And so, when Jesus Christ begins to express His love and grace toward us, and we begin to understand that, then we have something to say and we don't want to be quiet about it. We have to talk about it. We have to tell it why. It's the message of the gospel. And when I see what Paul went through and all the things he had to deal with, well, why do people want to give up? Here's what happens.
They focus more on the issue than on God. In other words, here's what I'm going through. His hat's hurting me.
His hat's working on me. Here's what I've lost. And as they think about their losses, their focus is there.
They want to give up because they get discouraged, because they feel hopeless, and because they feel like God's not listening and God doesn't care. Now, watch this carefully. Does that mean that God gets angry? And He looks at you and He says, You don't trust Me.
You don't think I care. You want to give up. In other words, God doesn't get angry with us because we are human. And there are situations and circumstances that men and women and young people can't explain. Why would God take my father? Why would God take my mother? Why would my dad lose his job when we have to move? And why is it I don't have things that other kids have because my dad just can't make enough money?
Why did my mother walk away? There are issues in life. Life is not easy. Life is difficult. Life is trying. Life is challenging and it's becoming more and more that way in our own country. And I can tell you this, there's not a politician that's ever lived that has the answer to life.
They do not. Now listen carefully. There's only one person who has the answer to life and that's God through His Son, Jesus Christ. There's where the answers to life are all about. And so the Apostle Paul, when he says, I have discovered this awesome strength that comes to me when the grace of God is released in my life. So let's think about it for a moment. And as we said, God understands how we feel at times.
We get discouraged. Doesn't change His attitude. Doesn't change His actions. He's not angry.
And remember this. Somebody says, well, my problem is I'm sure I've disappointed God. God is so disappointed in me.
Now let me ask you a question. What must you have in order to have disappointment? You must have expectation. Do you think God has any big time expectation of you?
I don't want to belittle you, but you don't. He doesn't. He doesn't have any big expectation of us.
Why? You see, because He knows the beginning and the end, He's not looking over here thinking, oh my goodness, what's He going to do next? He doesn't think that way. He's already seen it.
Watch this. And His grace has already provided for it. He's not disappointed. He's not upset. He doesn't get angry at us because of this, that, and the other. He's watching us as His children.
And you know what He desires? He desires that you and I learn to live the way He desires and has provided for us to live by His grace. Listen, not what we earn, not what we deserve by His loving favor and kindness toward us. What we have to do is to accept it, to believe it, to walk by, to live, because the truth is we want what grace provides. But we have to get it His way. And there are lots of folks who want to go to church and find a simple solution to some problem they have and then go home and let that be it.
That's just not the way life is. Now, I'm going to give you four very important truths. Get ready to write them down.
You're going to wish your head if you don't. Because when it comes to facing difficulty in hardship and trial, number one is this. Look, you can never justify giving up. You've got God.
You can't justify giving up saying, you know what, I've tried my best and things aren't working out, so that's it. Secondly, when you go through these difficult times, remember the second thing is this, and that is God always has a valuable lesson for us to learn. The way you learn godly spiritual lessons is observing what you did or what you did not do, observing what happens when you ask God to forgive and you repent of it, and observing what God did after you dealt with it. That's the way you learn godly lessons. You don't learn them by just listening to somebody else.
You've got to put it to work yourself. And so there are valuable lessons every time we come to these situations and circumstances. And the third thing is this, He doesn't promise an explanation.
We have to remember that. God doesn't promise an explanation. Somebody says, well, if God would just explain to me what's happening, grace is all about God providing, listen, not an explanation, but support and strength and faith and belief in Him that He's doing the right thing for us. So, a fourth thing is this, and that is He's working some good in this.
No matter what it is, He's working some good in it. How could God work good in my situation, circumstance? I can tell you, there's not anything that God can't turn to good. Because the same people who doubt that will, on another occasion, when things are going their way, here's what they'll say. Well, the Word of God says, Romans eight, twenty-eight, my God causes all things to work together for good to those who love the Lord and call upon His purpose.
That's when everything's going fantastic. When the bottom drops out and you don't understand it, and I have sometimes have presented people with that verse in a very gentle, loving way, of course, wait a minute. You said you believe this verse.
Well, I do, but, mm-mm-mm-mm. Once you add but to a verse of Scripture, what you just said is I don't really believe it. I know it's what it says and I believe it, but I don't really believe it.
Because how can you put a but to that passage? God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who call according to His purpose, period. This awesome, loving God, you can't come up with a problem He can't solve, a hurt, a pain He can't heal, or something so difficult He can't teach us an awesome lesson.
And I'm sure that many of you who believe us would say the same thing. All of us have been through those tough times when we think, God, I don't understand what You're doing. He didn't, there's nothing wrong with telling Him that.
I don't understand this. What does He say? Same thing He said to Paul, my grace is sufficient.
I know you don't understand it. My grace is sufficient. God, I'm hurting, my grace is sufficient. God, she left, my grace is sufficient. God, He walked away, my grace is sufficient. God, that's my child, my grace is sufficient. God, that's all my income, my grace is sufficient.
God, they've damaged my reputation, my God's sufficient. There's not anything for which His grace cannot enable you, strengthen you. There's no time and no way and no excuse to give up. Now, if you don't have Christ in your life, yeah, you can give up. Think about this.
How are you going to, when I think about it, it's funny and terrible too. Listen, how can you give up when you're in the hand of God? You're in the hand of the sovereign God of this universe. How can you give up?
No matter what. How can you quit when He's paving a way? How can you quit and say, I don't believe Him anymore, when He's demonstrated hundreds and hundreds of times His presence and power in your life? Awesome grace of God. Well, there's one other thing I want to mention to you. The Bible says it's a foolish man or woman who hears the truth and walks away as if they never heard it. So, I want to encourage you to write these down because what I want to ask you here, or answer here, is how does grace work?
Now, watch this. We say grace is His love and kindness, His favor. His favor toward us. That's expressed in love and kindness toward us.
How does that work? Well, I'm going to give you seven statements and trust that you'd be wise enough to write them down. Number one, grace releases within us the supernatural strength to keep going in the midst of pain and suffering and loss. Write it down. Grace releases within us the supernatural strength.
And I just abbreviated it a little bit. When we're going through these things, that's what grace does. Grace is going to see to it.
It's there. Releases supernatural strength, not human strength. That's what the Holy Spirit's all about. Because you see, you and I in these human bodies have the supernatural power of God within us. And that supernatural power of God is there to release supernatural strength in us to help us when we're going through these trying times.
The second statement is this. Grace ignites within us the determination to keep going no matter what. That is, where does that determination come from? It's the Spirit of God. It's God being gracious to us. That's why some people seem to be able to walk through things that others don't understand.
You say, well, how do you do that? Every true believer would have to say, it is not I, but the Spirit of God who indwells me. It is the grace of God. What's happening in my trying time of suffering is God's grace is being expressed through what? Strength and love and faith and kindness and gentleness. He's understanding me and covering me.
The third statement is this. And that is grace echoes in our spirit. Listen, God is with us to be our friend and our supporter. Grace echoes in our spirit that God is with us in our tough times, acting as our friend and supporter. What is it that you want more than anything else when he or she has walked away?
And you know what loneliness is all about. It's the grace of God. Comfort you, support you, be to you when somebody else is not there. It's the grace of God that keeps us going.
Then, I want you to look at this next one. Grace keeps pointing toward God's goal. The goal He has in mind in allowing this difficulty. That's what grace is doing. This is how grace expresses itself. It points us to the fact that God has a goal in this, that He's going to teach us something in all of this. Once I begin to understand that God has a goal in it, whatever it may be, then all of a sudden, I'm going to be able to say to the apostle Paul, I may not understand it, but the grace of God is proving sufficient. I can be content because I know I'm right in the center of God's will, although there may be pain and suffering in the process. Number five, grace reminds us that our heavenly Father enables us to come through trials stronger in our faith and deeper in our intimacy with Him. I want to give you time to write that one down. Grace reminds us that our heavenly Father will enable us to come through this trial and heartache, stronger faith and deeper intimate relationship with Him.
That's what happened. That's what grace is about. You see, grace is His favor. In every aspect that we're looking at what grace is doing, He's doing something for us. And then, of course, grace embraces us with assurance that God is in control and set limits on what we can bear, what we cannot bear. That is, as a believer, life cannot do to us what it wants to do, have a channel it may come through, because we're His children and we, listen, not just the objects of His grace, but the possessors of His grace. God has set limitations on what can happen in the life of one of His children. Always learning, always profiting, bringing us into an intimate relationship with Him, but He has it under control.
And I know that people say, well, but you just don't know where I am. Let me just say this, I don't, but God does. And then the last thing is this. Grace awakens our faith with conviction that God will turn out tough times for something good.
He keeps that up the most. God has something good in all this. So as you think about wherever you are and what you're going through in life, here's what He says, my grace is sufficient for you, no matter who you are, no matter what you are.
Once you ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins, once you trust Him as your personal Savior, once you accept the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and paid your sin debt in full, and that He will become your Savior and your Lord if you ask Him, then what happens? The grace of God comes pouring into your life, enabling you, sustaining you, and keeping you, no matter what. Thank you for listening to Part 2 of Sustaining Grace. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia. ...
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