God’s Strength and Grace in Difficult Times! Part Two

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

As always, Jesus is our role model and example of how to live our life in Christ! Did He face difficult times? Of course He did. We all know that. And we should know that there was always something absolutely consistent in His life. That was His life of prayer! He always stayed close to His Father and told His disciples, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:1. In order for Jesus to do this, He had to talk (pray) continually with His Father. And that is exactly what we are to do! If you don’t learn to do this, you’ll never (and I mean never!) walk with the confidence in prayer and living that God intended for you to live in! 

Let’s look again to Jesus’ example and be refreshed in exactly why we can’t let our prayer life be stolen from us. I want to show you a day in the life of Jesus.

Matthew 14:9-13 NIV “King Herod was distressed… he ordered… John (Jesus’ cousin whom he loved)  beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter… John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” 

Jesus lost a friend who was also His cousin. It hurt His heart and He went to be alone and regroup and pray. But you know how life is! It interrupts us all the time. The same was true with Jesus. It didn’t stop and give Him time to grieve. People still needed Him. People still wanted things from Him. People still pulled on Him. Ever have that happen to you? You feel in the pits but people aren’t thinking of your well-being? They are thinking of themselves and need you! That was my life for 35 years in ministry!

Jesus’ day continued…  Matthew 14: 13-14 NLT “… But the crowds heard where Jesus was headed and followed on foot from many towns… and when He saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” They weren’t thinking of Jesus or the loss He had just experienced. They wanted Him and the touch of His healing power for their life.  And this was no small crowd or small task. It took much of the day. What got Him through it all? Prayer!

His day didn’t end there. Matthew 14: 15-21 NIV says, “As evening approached, the disciples came to Him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” He said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”

This was a normal day for Jesus but to us it seems like a marathon. How could He continue to give so much of Himself? He did not have an advantage over us. He put Himself in the role of Jesus as a man, stripped of His divinity and living by faith as He taught us to. He eliminated His divine advantages. He lived by faith and the power of the Holy Spirit which is fed through the Word of God AND PRAYER—just like we are to! Jesus constantly went in His heart to His Father in thanksgiving and prayer for grace and strength. How did Jesus end this marathon day that started out with the death of His beloved cousin? Matthew 14:23 “…After Jesus had dismissed His disciples, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray…”

Life didn’t stop and give Him time to grieve for John or rest from people needing Him. Because Jesus prayed, God could work through Him. Even though His heart hurt over the personal loss of His beloved cousin John, even though He was weary and exhausted, even though He had to have wanted to just crash, rest, and zone out, instead He prayed. When we pray and seek God’s grace and strength like Jesus did, then we can be used to speak His words of life and touch people’s lives with His healing touch. We can be used to bring encouragement and faith to others. We can find the grace to press through our own life’s discouragement like a warrior!

You may not be out preaching like Jesus, but you are surrounded by family, co-workers, and by people needing the love of God, the encouragement and promises of His Word, and your prayers. They won’t necessarily be thinking about you, but what they need in their own life. And that opens the door for you to experience His grace and power working through your life, even in the midst of your own difficulties!

Jesus gave His life for us, and to be an example to us. Faith-filled prayers were the bridge bringing grace and strength to Him to move forward in God’s power, and they are the same for us! Talking with God continuously and drawing strength from Him will revitalize your purpose and supernaturally strengthen you bringing you refreshing and grace to press through each day’s challenges. All this while you are being a blessing to others! Prayer is not a place to drift from. It’s something to yearn for and give yourself over to. The lives of many including your own, depend upon it! Don’t let discouragement render you ineffective. Pray and let God refresh and empower you!

Luke 18:1 (NLT) “One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up”

In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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