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Charles Stanley - A Strong Life

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You can have a strong body and have a weak life. You can have a weak life and have a strong body or you can have a strong life and a strong body. All of us know what constitutes a strong body. But what constitutes a strong life? That's what I want to talk about in this message. As we've said we've had three in this series of church and family and now the whole idea of a strong life. What is a strong life?

So I want you to turn to a very familiar passage that just perfectly describes what we're talking about. That's the seventh chapter of Matthew in the sermon on the mount. And beginning in the 24th verse, and how many times have you read this? And so, I want us to look at this in light of a strong life. So Jesus said in verse 24. Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came. And the winds blew. And slammed against the house. And yet, it did not fall for it had been built and founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rains fell, the floods came and the winds blew and slammed against that house. And it fell and great was its fall. When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at his teachings for he was teaching them as one having authority and not as their scribes.

When I look in the scripture and I think about all the verses in the Bible that talk about life and so forth, here's a perfect picture of a weak life and a strong life. Remember this. Everyone of us are still building our life whether you're 16 or 76, you're still building your life. What we are on the inside makes all the difference in the world. And I think many people at first may fool you by the lifestyle they look like, but then when the storms hit them, when reality breaks in, when there's difficulty, hardship, pain, suffering, death, loss, all kinds of hardship comes their way, the people who have built their life on the foundation have strong life if they built it on the right foundation. People who look like they can do the same thing, but when those storms come, they don't have the same results.

So you can't look and see and tell how strong a person is or how weak they may be. What happens to them when the storms of life come? And they're coming to all of us. All kinds of difficulty, hardship and pain and loss and bereavement, comes to all of us. And the issue is how do we respond? In Palestine, for example, they would have those torrential storms and, as a result, those gullies, that we would call a gulley, would fill up with water and before long it was a torrential flood. And anything that was weak would fall. The same thing is true in our life. When difficulty, hardship and pain and suffering and disappointment come our way, if our life is strong, we can stand it. If it's not, we won't.

And this is what drives some people, for example, to alcohol or drugs or immorality, whatever it might be. They look strong until the storms of life come: then they have got to find something that would, they think, satisfy them or strengthen them or help them or encouragement. There's only one thing that does that. And what this whole message is about, and what this passage of scripture's about when Jesus speaks here, he's speaking of two lives. A weak life and a strong life. If someone had to look at your life and try to figure out which is true of you? Do you have a strong life or a weak life? What would they consider? Now, if they look at you, they may say he's got to have a strong life. She must have a strong life. What would they say when these difficulties and hardships and trials and tribulations come? How you respond in those days? That's how we judge whether our life is strong or whether it's weak?

So what I want to do in this message is simply this. Describe a strong life. We know what a weak life is. What's a strong life about? And how does our life become strong? There's not a question of whether you'll face trials and storms or not. They are coming. And they will reveal who we are and what we're like and what our foundation is built on. And you as a parent need to think about this. You're building into your children either a firm foundation that'll make it possible for them to face any and all the situations in life that are coming. Or, you may neglect that part of your discipline in life for them, and they come along and get blown off the foundation, whatever foundation they had to begin with.

And oftentimes parents say, well, I can't figure, I can't, I just can't believe you're acting like this. It just may be that you never built a foundation in them that would show them how to face when a torrent of temptation comes their way: when a storm of trial comes their way and disappointment and heartache. When there's loss in their life, how do you respond? If you don't have a strong life, you don't respond correctly. And oftentimes when that storm comes, instead of standing strong and building you stronger, what happens? Simply this. You cave in. And oftentimes a person will ruin and wreck their life.

So I want us to think about these characteristics and if you're wise, you'll jot these down. They'll all be on the screen. And I want to encourage you to do this. Not only to jot them down, but listen, be strong enough, courageous enough if that's what it takes, for you to write them down and take them home and, and put them on the table beside your bed. And tonight, before you go to bed, just read over them and ask yourself the question. Well Lord, number one. In my life, am I strong here, am I strong here? Oops, uh-oh, I don't have to ask you about that one, Lord. What about this and what about that? In other words, take a little survey.

Somebody says, well I don't need to do that. No, you don't need to but you'll be wise if you do because watch this. You only know how strong you are when you find out what your weaknesses are. If you don't know what your weaknesses are, the devil will trip you up for sure. Somebody says, well I could never be tempted by that. That wouldn't ever come my way. You've set yourself up for an attack, because satan would, he's not going to ignore that boast. So I want you to listen carefully. And I want you to think when I mention each one of these. Where does that fit in my life? So let's begin. The first one is simply this. That is, a strong life has placed our trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. That is, a strong life begins with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their life. That's first. That's foremost. You can't put that any other place except on the bottom. That's the foundation.

If you've trusted Jesus, that is, you can look back in your life and know at a particular time. You might not be able to name the day, the week or even the month, or maybe even the year, but you know at a certain time you remember you gave your life to Christ and you know you're saved. That's foundation. Evidence that you have a strong life. Secondly, that's this. That you are guided by the Holy Spirit. A person who has a strong life is guided by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus saved you, he sent the Holy Spirit into your life to indwell you. Why did he send him? He sent him for the simple reason he knew you and I could not live adequately apart from him. That's why he said to the disciples, before you launch out on the great commission, you're not ready yet. You're not ready until the Holy Spirit enables you and empowers you to do what I called you do do.

Every strong life is a life that has the indwelling Holy Spirit and has him there for God's purpose, that is to guide us and to lead us. We can't look around and read the paper or watch the television and find out how to make decisions. We find out how to make decisions by coming to God and asking him. And the Holy Spirit who lives within every single believer will guide you. He will enable you. He will show you the paths you should take and decisions you have to make in life. He'll show you which ones are the wisest decisions. A wise person will listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in your life. That's why when the Spirit of God speaks, that's just my feeling. Do you know what? God speaks clearly. Not audibly but he speaks very clearly and oftentimes stronger than audibly. Because he will impress your heart, your life, your mind, your attention to one particular area. Of life you're dealing with. He's trying to say something to you.

A strong life listens to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thirdly, a strong life has this priority in their life. And that is, spending time alone in prayer with God. Spending time alone with God in prayer, listen, this is the connecting point you have with God. You look all around you. You can read this, that and so forth. But your connection point with him is the time you spend with him in prayer. People say do you know what? I find myself too busy to pray. No. It's a, listen, it's a miss alignment of what's important in your life. The most important thing in your life is your connection to Almighty God. He's the one you talk to. He's the one you bring your needs to.

A strong person has a strong prayer life. I've never met a strong person really that didn't have a strong prayer life. You can get by with some little praying here and there. Do you know what? That doesn't make you strong. A strong life has a communication with God. You know how to talk to him. You know how to listen to him. You know how to bring your needs and hurts and joys and peace and everything to him. That's absolute prior marry of your life. In fact, if teaching your children early in life. If you don't teach them by example first and by praying with your children, watch, you have cheated them. You have denied them. Listen. You have hurt them in more ways than you will ever know. They'll grow up thinking, they got to figure it all out. They have to depend on you for everything. No. They should grow up believing in their heart Almighty God is their God. They know what prayer is. They know who God is. Teaching them to spend time in prayer with God every day.

There's not a single one of us that's too busy to pray. If you tell God you're too busy to pray, here's what he may do. He may lay you out with something in the hospital for two weeks flat on your back, and then all you've got to do is pray. Sometimes we bring things on ourselves. Lord, I would if I have time. He'll give you time. The truth is, you have time. And the time you have is the time he's given you, it's a matter of you choosing how you spend your time. Listen. It's not spending. You can't invest your time in any way that's stronger, makes you stronger, than praying and talking to him as a daily... Listen, it's not just a habit. It's a daily discipline in your life. He is first above everything else. Very important for strong life. Then, of course, a strong life is built upon the teachings of the Word of God. And listen, and the application of them. It's one thing to hear it. But applying it is something else.

So when you come on Sunday morning you take notes for example, what do you do with them? It's application. I think about how many people go to church week after week and month after month and years and years and years and never carry a Bible, never take a note, can't tell you what pastor said, years and years later they can't tell you anything. Why? They heard it but they didn't apply it. We have to apply it. Think of all the sounds you get in any given day, radio, traffic, people talking whatever it might be, the sound of the Word of God. And the sound of the voice of God is the most important sound. And you and I cannot do anything more important than feeding upon the Word of God. That's, for example, you show me a strong life. If you keep talking to them in a little while they'll bring up a scripture God laid on their heart.

Everybody who has been through difficulty and trial, we have scriptures, scriptures God placed on our heart to take us through difficult times. If you don't read the Bible you don't have one. Some verse in the Bible somewhere, it goes something like this. You know what? That won't work. And somebody will say once in a while, why do you keep holding that Bible up? Because that's what this is all about. This isn't about my opinion. This is about what holy God who created us and has a will and purpose and plan for our life, who will be there when we die who will call us to judgment. This is all about him and his relationship to us and our place in life. That's why we hold the Bible up. That's why we hold it up, because we like to see everybody carrying a Bible to church. You go to church to be instructed in the Word of God. Not just to go to church to sooth your conscience. But that's exactly what some people do.

Consistently, listen, a person who has a strong life consistently obeys God as a habit and attempts and tries to leave all the consequences to him. Sometimes we don't. That's why I said try it. If you have a habit of your life of obeying God. Think about this. As a follower of Jesus Christ, to disobey God should be an exception in your life. To obey him should be the normal for your life. Why? Because that's who we are. And a strong life is a life that is built on obeying the truth of the Word of God. Then, of course, one of the areas of a strong life is that we see the Lord Jesus Christ as the strength of our life.

Now, think about this for a moment. Paul said I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. In jail. Beaten, chained, locked up. You name it. Do you know what? His foundation was so solid, no matter what they did, they never discouraged him. They never made him quit. They tried their best to stop him from attempt at assassinations and everything they did. Why? He was strong. He was strong in the Word of God. He was strong in his relationship to God. He was strong in his obedience to God. And he knew in his heart that the strength of his life was not in his body but was in his relationship to Jesus Christ. That's where our strength lies in relationship. And all these other things are part of that relationship.

So ask yourself the question, how strong is your life? How much of your life? For example, you get up in the morning. You say I'll do this, that and the other. How often do you get up and say, Father, I want to thank you you're my strength today. If you have a job that's very difficult, say to him, Lord, I need your strength today to get this done. I don't even know how I'll be able to do what I'm supposed to do. You're my strength. What you have done is you've invited the Lord God into your life so to speak through his Holy Spirit to enable you and strengthen you and encourage you. And does not let you quit. Because with him, you can accomplish anything God has set before you to accomplish.

Then, of course, you've got to live a disciplined life. A disciplined life is a part of a strong life. Because if a person is disciplined, they'll not disciplined in just one area. If you live a disciplined life, be careful about what you eat. You're careful about exercise. You're careful about how you spend your time. You're careful about how you spend your money. We'll talk about that in a second. In other words, if you live a disciplined life, you're in control of your life. I don't mean in control in a bad way. For example, you have goals and you have direction for your life. If you live a disciplined life, there's some things you don't do. And if you decide to live a godly life, you made that decision in your life and you stood here week after week after week and you said, you've sung this song, I surrender all. If you've done that and Jesus Christ is the Lord and master of your life, you're building strength.

I believe if you come to church week after week, you take notes, you apply them to your heart, you're building strength. God is building strength into your life. Building truth into your life. And building a sense of discipline. Listen. A disciplined life doesn't say, o I just think I'm not going to work today. A disciplined life equally doesn't say, I'll not read the Bible and pray today. I'll do what I want to do today. A disciplined life isn't something that happens once in a while. It is a daily constraint in our life that is a constraint God gives us for our own good. That's what we try to teach our children. We teach them to live a disciplined life so you don't have to discipline. You want them to do certain things, get up at certain time, put on their clothes, look their best and so forth.

So ask yourself the question, would you consider your life a disciplined life? Are you in control? Or do you just sort of come, you just sort of go with the wind? Just whatever comes your way? A disciplined life is a strong life. And it's necessary. Then, of course, I think about the direction for our life. What's the direction? Where are you headed? What are you trying to accomplish in life? I think about how many people get up and say, well, I've got to go to work this morning. Work eight hours. Thank God I'll be off at four, five o'clock. Or how many people say, and I've had them say to me, maybe purchasing something and somebody will say, I say how are you doing? I get a little conversation going. I'm doing fine. Thank God it's Friday. Thank God it's Friday.

Let me ask you a question. Are you living to work eight hours a day to get paid so at the end of the week you can get paid or next week you'll get paid? Are you living your life in order to live until you get 62 or 65 so you can finally retire? And as you said, do what I want to do. Or do nothing. You tell your body, I'm going to do nothing. Your body responds. Because God never built a single one of us to ever reach any age where we don't do anything. He intends for us to be useful. As the Bible says, fruitful in old age. Every day of our life. Every day of your life is a gift from God. It's not to be wasted and say, I'm not going to do anything today. You can speak. You can walk. You can handle things. You can help. Many things you and I can do until the last day of our life. You and I should be serving him in some fashion even if it's just talking to someone else.

Someone said, well, suppose I'm in the hospital on a bed and have five days to live. You can talk to a lot of nurses in five days. You can talk to a lot of other people in the hospital dying, sick, you name it. You're not in the hospital. You're well. At what point in your life do you have to tell God, this is it? No more work. Going to enjoy life. The more time you have, listen, the more you want to serve God and the stronger you're going to get. Very important we see our life from God's viewpoint from his viewpoint, not our own. Then, what about these storms of life? Because a strong person, listen, a strong person can withstand the storms and learn from them. Most people when a big storm comes in their life, difficulty, hardship, pain, whatever it might be, they want to ask God, why have you allowed this? God if you love me why did you allow this to happen? Why is my loved one sick, why did I lose my job? Why did I lose my money? God why did you do this to me?

Remember what we said about the two houses? Both of them look alike you can't tell which one is the strong one without the storm. The storms in our life, God allows them. They may come through your enemy. They may come through someone else. They come in order to do what? In order to build godly strength within us. He allows them to build strength. Why was Paul such an awesome servant of God? Why didn't God say, Paul, you're so faithful and loyal and devoted to me writing all these epistles, you shouldn't be in jail. You shouldn't be tried. All these things that happen to him, persecuted, almost assassinated. Why did God allow that in his life? I'll tell you why. There would be no, there would be no Romans, no Corinthians, no Ephesians, Galatians, Colossians, all these books. He wrote in prison. It was difficulty, hardship and pain that he learned the awesome lessons. Why does God send these into our life or allow them to happen? He never said it would be an easy life.

Some people's life seems to be easier than others. At my age I can tell you this. I wouldn't change a pain, a heartache, a trial, a tribulation, a hurt, disappointment, tears. I wouldn't change any of that for what God has taught me under any condition. And God allows these things in our life. We may see them as enemies. May be our enemy. Maybe somebody that breaks our heart, whatever it might be. What is God up to? He's allowing them to build inner strength into your life. Storms are coming. And the question is, can you handle them? Are you ready for them? If you adopt have the right foundation, don't have a strong life, you don't respond in the right way. And you find yourself giving up and quitting or being tempted to go to some other alternative whether it's some drug or some form of immorality or something to drink, whatever it might be, or joining something. To get the pain out.

Listen. God's purpose is not to get the pain out. But to get the strength on the inside of you to build you to be a godly person so that you can accomplish his purpose for your life. You say, I don't know what his purpose is. He's more than willing to show you. He's more than willing. Somebody says, I'm 60 years old. What purpose has God got in my life? Let me say two things. You're asking a little late but he still has a purpose for your life. He'll take you wherever, listen to this. He'll take you wherever you're willing to give yourself to him. And from that point on, he'll use you and work in your life to accomplish his purpose for your life. And accomplish his will.

A strong life is what God wants. And so, without the storms, they're not going to be any strong life. You can look back over the years of people who have been great saints of God and much written about them, they went through turmoil, heartache, brokenness, you name it, they went. A good example is Chambers. He only lived to about 42 years of age. Many of you don't know who he is. He wrote a little devotional book called, how many of you know what it is? My utmost for his highest. The title in itself says a lot. He died at an early age. But look what that little book has meant. I've read it for years and years. I've read it since I've been in college. And it's not how long you live. It's what you do with your life.

So what did his wife do? She took all of that. And sort of arranged it and put it, she's the one that put the book together. And those two people most people will ever know have used, God's used that book to transform so many people's lives and point us to God. God has a purpose for your life. You need to find out what it is. And give him your life and ask him to build strength into your life, so whatever years you have left, you don't want to waste them. God, listen, God means for you to be fruitful all your life. Strong. And you can be. And strong faith, of course, is one of the characteristics of a strong life. And what builds faith, tough times. Difficult times.

So a strong life has been tested and tried. And you come to somebody, they've been warning us, with a silver spoon in their mouth. Always had everything they wanted and everything went their way. I wouldn't swap heartaches and trials like that for anything in the world. Do you know what? They've missed it. They've missed it. The next time you get to complaining about something, listen, this is a lesson God has. He has a lesson in every single trial, heartache, burden, he has a lesson. Wise men and women seek to know what the lesson is. People who are not worried about their foundation and don't care about it, they go on and complain and moan and groan and get on medication to get through it and miss opportunities in life.

A strong person has courage. They have courage. You have to have courage to go through difficulties and hardships. Remember what God says to Joshua, be of good courage and strong. Fear not for the Lord your God is with you. I'm putting you in charge of two million Hebrews and you remember they rebelled against you, rebelled against him. They'll stone you to death. They've been a problem to Moses all his life. You'll be in charge. What kind was that? God's blessing him all the way through the book. All through the book God's blessing him. He made one error close to ai after he defeated the folks in Jericho. He listened to somebody else instead of God. They got wiped out. From then on he listened to God and you can see how God worked in his life. He's a man of courage. Listen. Courage isn't something somebody else can give you.

Courage is something you grow in your life by trusting God and watching him work and answer your petition. Then I think a person with a, who has a strong life is optimistic. I mean, you're looking for the best. Why not? I say to people, look your best. Do your best. Be your best. That's an optimistic viewpoint but it's also a godly viewpoint. You represent Jesus you ought to look your best. You represent him, you ought to do your best. You represent him, you ought to be your best. Why not? Listen, we represent him. He's the living God. We're his messengers. Everyone of us are a messenger of God on this earth.

A person with a strong life will be optimistic and not down in the dumps. Show me someone always complaining about something, here's what will happen. Things are getting tough. O God. I don't know what to do. I'm afraid what will happen. The government did this. The government will do this. Look to God, forget the government. God is the one who manages our life. No one else. Another thing that builds a strong life. Listen. Develop friendships with people who will enrich your life. There's something awesome about good friends. Good friends of character. Who themselves have a strong life. Some people in your life that you enjoy being with, listen, just being with you and just being with them enriches you. You say, how do you mean? You mean money? No. You laugh. You love each other. You kid each other. You help each other. In other words, that each other business is awesome.

Then, of course, expressing love and care for other people. If you can't express love and care for other people, you're not strong. If you can't love, you're not strong. Love is one of the basic, listen, listen, when Paul describes the fruit of the Holy Spirit, where does he start? Love. Joy. Peace. Love. Loving somebody else. You're giving yourself away to someone else. You may give them things. You may give them yourself. In other words, but most of all, loving someone is making yourself available to them, cheering them up. Encouraging them. A person who really loves is an encourager. A person who really loves is a person who makes a difference in the people around them.

Ask yourself this question. Do the people who know you think of you as a person who loves or a person who complains all the time? How many of you love being around a complainer? None of us. People who just complaining about everything. Doesn't make a difference what happens. They find something to complain about. godly people, strong people find something good. Something good. Not something to complain about all the time. Loving is very important. Then, of course, a person who has a strong life, they love. Listen. They love, they live and they serve God out of their Spiritual gifts. Now a Spiritual gift is a gift of service or a gift of giving. A gift of exhortation. They're all seven major gifts in the book of Romans.

The first service I said, I asked how many of you know what your Spiritual gift is. Some of them did. Some of them didn't. It will just give you joy to learn what your gift is. Once you begin to operate in your gift, a lot of things that were pain to you then won't be pain to you now. Is that the way that is? Once a person learns their Spiritual gift they become strong. You work out of a whole different resource. A Spiritual gift is a gift from God that enabled you in a particular area of your life to do exceptionally well.

So when you're trying to do something you don't have a gift for it, it's difficult. I'm simply saying, when you have that gift, there's a sense of inner strength. We all have one or more. That inner strength does something to you from the inside. And you'll be able to do better at whatever you do. Then, of course, quick to forgive. A strong person is quick to forgive. You want to hinder yourself, you hold a grudge, you be unforgiving and you say, what's that got to do with a strong life? I'll tell you. A person who has an unforgiving spirit, it will affect you ultimately, it will affect your physical body. If you have an unforgiving spirit and hold grudges and have a sense of hate, those attitudes that affect a person.

See whatever affects your emotions affects your body because you can't separate emotions and physical body. It all goes together. It's not just a spiritual thing. It's a spiritual thing to act that way but it becomes a physical thing. What you think and how you feel makes all the difference in the world. And a strong person is careful about how they relate to people. And so, you would be quick to forgive. Let me ask you a question. What profit is there, what profit is there in a person's life when they hold a grudge, they're not forgiving, they build hatred in their life, animosity, they just hold it there. What advantage to you is that? Not one. What disadvantage is there to you? Many. Messes up your relationships to God. You mean to tell me if my relationship with someone else isn't right my relationship with God isn't right? That's exactly right.

Here's what happens. When you hold those attitudes in you, it not only hinders your relationship to the Lord, it hinders every aspect of your walk with him. And it's going to affect your body. People who have that attitude, after a while, do you know where it shows first? Right here. You start watching them. It shows there. It's already been working on the inside. That's where it shows first. God intends for us to be godly and to walk before him in a holy fashion. He created us that way. Do you know what? It doesn't make any difference if a million people tell you it's not right. Just let them say it. The truth is, that's what the Word of God teaches. If you think about a God who is holy and loving and forgiving. You say, sometimes I have that problem.

I can remember the time when in my life, I dealt with that once and for all and knew how to deal with it. Something happened to me that hurt me and so I was just sort of saying, well, Lord, you know the stuff you tell him he doesn't listen to. And so it's like the Lord said to me, remember the cross? I thought, yes. How many times have I forgiven you? Yes. Have I held anything against you? No. What right do you have to hold anything against anyone when I have forgiven you of everything you have ever done. And I have beforehand forgiven you of all you'll ever do. That cured me. It should cure everybody. If you have those kind of feelings towards someone else, just look at the cross. His out stretched arms and his shed blood took care of all of our sin, all of our mistakes. All of our heartaches and all of our burdens.

Strong life is very, very forgiving, quick to forgive. Then, of course, there's inner peace. A person with a strong life will have inner peace. Why? Relationship with God is right. Relationship with others is right. Difficulty, hardship, pain comes into your life, what happens? In spite of all that there's peace. I can remember this. Some things you can remember and you'll never forget. I can remember when I heard the worst news I could ever hear as a pastor, worst. And I got the phone call. And when I finished, I put the phone down, I had this overwhelming sense of awesome peace. I remember saying, God, you've carried me through all these other storms. You'll take me through this one. Because God is faithful. He'll keep his word no matter what we do. And it's all of these things that build strength into our life so when the torrential storms come we don't waver and give up and quit.

Then, of course, the wise use of money. And that is, if you have a strong life and if you'll think about it for a moment, money drives most people. And look, in other words, what happens in America? It's what's happening on the stock Market. What's happening here. This corporation. That one. How much money do people have? It's a real simple way. And that is, we save some. We give some. We spend some. In the giving we tithe our income and trust God to do exactly what he says. And I can tell you I've been a Christian for 68 years. I've more than tithed all 68 years. I've been blessed over and over and over again. And I couldn't even tell you why but I can tell you this. Here's what happens. When you obey God you can't tell why he blesses you. You can't predict what God will do. You just trust him.

A strong life isn't worried about money. Someone said, I just have enough to make ends meet. I've been there too. Do you know what? My needs got met. Why? Because God's not going to come up short. He's going to do exactly what he says. Give and it shall be given to you. How? Good measure, pressed down, shaken together. It's running over the top. That's what he says. Not what we deserve but what he desires to give us. A strong life knows how to handle money. And a weak life oftentimes does not. A person can know how to handle money and still have a weak life. But if a person is a strong life, they're going to know how to handle their money.

Then, of course, listen to this. Belonging to, belonging to a Bible-teaching church. I wouldn't tell anybody elsewhere to go to church but I can say this. If you're going to live a Christian life you need to know what a Christian life is all about. If you live a godly life and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, you need to be taught. Listen, God's continually teaching me. I study all week long I'm not looking for sermons, I'm asking God to speak to my heart, teach me something new, work in my life. If you go to church, 20, 30 minutes an hour and no one opens their Bible, you're in the wrong church. You may not like that. But let me ask you a question. Why go spend an hour in a church and the Word of God is ignored? That's what church is all about. Church is about worshiping him. How do I know who I'm worshiping? From the Word of God.

Very important that you belong to a church where they teach the Word of God so you can grow in your life and you can be strong and you can be fruitful for the kingdom of God. I wouldn't tell you what to do about your church. I'm just asking you, why would you spend an hour in a church where the gospel is not preached? And the very qualities and characteristics of Almighty God are never talked about. Jesus is totally ignored. What is that all about? I wouldn't go to church like that. I wouldn't go to church that didn't teach the Word of God. Because, this is what, this is our time to worship him. And what helps me worship him is knowing the truth about him. Where do I learn that? I learn it from reading myself and I also learn it from those who have gone before me who also teach me the truths they've learned.

Very important if you'll be a strong person that you have a source from which you're strengthened continuously. Then, of course, a strong person works to build a strong family. If you have a strong life, you want your children to be strong. You want them to know early in life what the Christian life is all about. You want to live the kind of life before them they don't have to ask what a Christian life is like. They can say my mommy or my daddy is a wonderful Christian. Strong family, I had a series on that so I won't repeat that. A person that has a strength within you that's from God that makes you want to serve others and help others and do something for somebody else. If it's all coming your way, it's not very fruitful. It's when you and I are able to give ourselves away to other people.

So a strong life is a giving life. Not just money. A strong life is giving of ourselves to someone else. Let me ask you this. How many of us have been helped in our lives by other people? Every single one of us. We've all been helped by somebody else. God intends for us to do the same for other people. Then of course, to be goal oriented. You have goals in life. Somebody said to me one time, how can you trust God and still have goals? Well Jesus had goals. He said I must need go through Samaria. He knew the ultimate goal was the cross. God has goals for all of us. In other words, if there's a purpose for your living there's purpose in those goals. Things he wants you to accomplish. Oftentimes people won't set a goal in their life. They think that's too high. God would never do that for me. No. Is God weak? No. God's powerful and omniscient and we should set godly goals for our life that look like something we can't do. But God will help you reach it if you're willing to walk the pathway of obedience and faith and optimistic spirit, trusting him in everything you do.

Then, of course, to be confident. To be confident doesn't mean to be cocky. Doesn't mean to be proud and egotistical. Listen. It means you have a self assurance that's based on your relationship to God whatever he calls you to do you can do it. Wherever he calls you to go, you can go. I think about how many missionaries have gone to many, many countries in the world. Laid down their lives preaching and teaching the deposit confident God had sent them. They can weather the storms whatever it might be. Everyone of us has to have confidence. When we walk out in the morning get in the car and put the key on you are confident the engine will turn on and you'll get to work. You driving expressway and most people around you doing 80, 85 you have a sense of confidence. I'm not sure what it's built on. Confidence you'll get to work. We have confidence about many things.

Listen. Oftentimes we have less confidence in holy God than we have things we can't do anything about. Why wouldn't you be a confident person? Why wouldn't you be assured? God is your Heavenly Father. Jesus is your Savior. The Holy Spirit is your motivator. He's your energizer. In other words, why shouldn't we be confident? A strong person is. Then I would mention two last things, one of them is to be fruitful. If you're a strong person, you'll be fruitful. Your life will be fruitful. Somebody will say, do you know what? That's the kind of person I want to be. That's what I want in my life. And all of us have met people like that.

I can remember the two pastors the first one I ever met I never heard him preach like he preached. I was in Texas when I heard him. I remember sitting there thinking, God, I knew somebody could preach like that. Tonight I'm hearing him. It absolutely transformed me. Gave me all sorts of confidence and assurance and wanting to be truthful in my life. The other man the first time I ever heard him. Here's another man who really stirred me. I watched the Spirit of God work in him. I thought Lord thank you, thank you, thank you. I heard the second man that motivated me wanted me to give my best no matter what. Study the Word of God. Be true to the Word of God. When you think about it, you'll either bear good fruit or bad fruit. Somebody says, who determines that? Nobody but us. We're the ones who determine that. So a strong life is fruit bearing in character, conduct and conversation. You've got to be strong. The last thing I would say is simply this. That is, this kind of life we're talking about will impact the lives of others. You'll have an influence on other people.

A strong life always impacts other people. So I would encourage you to, whether you listened or whether you were sitting here, to take this list and you'll say, well, does all this apply to me? I think everyone of them applied to me. I want every single one of those things in my life. When i, for example, want to remember something or when I want to go, when I want to accomplish certain things, I write them down. I put them beside my bed. I put them on my study.

In other words, I go over them and over them and over them because I don't want to lose them. You put this in your Bible, I'll keep this close in my Bible. No, no, no. Idea to get it off the paper and get it in your heart and life. If you mean business, if you'll keep it somewhere close that you can keep reading them and reading them, God what is missing in my life? The Lord shows you, first of all, you're not being obedient to me. First of all, you're not spending time in prayer. If you want a strong life, if I should ask you, how many of you want a weak life? Nobody is going to want a weak life. I'll share with you the things that make for a strong life. And I pray God will entrench them into your heart. And into your daily activities of your life. Amen.

Father, we thank you this morning that you're so good to us, so gracious and kind and even in our best efforts, Father, we falter. You are always there to pick us up, keep us moving and grow us like yourself. You said you predestined us to be conformed to your image. I pray you sink these truths into every life and that each person would be wise enough to look at themselves in the light of, what is a strong life? And make a decision to give you their best in Jesus' name, amen.

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