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Feeling the Pressure - A Devotion

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2 Corinthians 2:7-9 (NLT)
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Are you feeling the pressure today? Pressure to be all that God called you to be while not offending or making anyone else uncomfortable. Do you feel the uncertainty of tomorrow weighing heavy on your heart feeling like there just has to be more to life than this? Do you ever wonder why if it’s not one thing then it’s another? Just when you think everything will be okay, something else pops up challenging your faith and hope that God is making a way. We are pressed on every side by troubles, I cannot be the only one. But I have not been crushed by adversity yet. I am perplexed by the problems that I face – but I do not feel despair. I am not going under but overcoming. Where in the world did that notion come from? Victory in the midst of certain defeat. The enemy hunts us down seeking those who he can steal, kill and destroy yet I can live at peace never abandoned by God. I get knocked down over and over again, but why does the Lord insist in lifting me back up again. He will not allow my enemy to destroy me. But what is the Lord doing? Is this some cruel joke of which I am the brunt or a divine plan in exquisite detail as He promised? Oh, I am feeling the pressure today! What’s it all about?

Matthew 5:14-15 (NLT)
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”

You are the light of the world. When Jesus Christ was here – He was the Light of the World calling forth all of God’s People who lived in the darkness to enter the Presence of God. (John 8:12) The world hated him. But that did not stop Jesus Christ from dying for them all including us. The Lord then sent His Spirit to live in each man and woman who called on His Name to be saved and believed in their heart. A priceless treasure invested in a clay vessel. We know have this “Light” shining in our hearts. It belongs to the world and we are hoarding it, keeping it from those who need it the most and interrupting God’s Glory from permeating our life. We have hidden the Light and so the Lord is pressing it out. In the Old Testament before Jesus Christ, Aaron and the Levitical Priests were instructed to keep the light burning in the Presence of the Lord always. Filled with the freshly pressed olive oil, they were to never go out. This was a commandment noted to be a permanent law. (Exodus 27:20-21) (Leviticus 24:1-3) But when the Tabernacle became the Temple which then became human flesh like so many of God’s Instructions, the people choose to ignore it. The Light is hidden behind a veil of pride and disobedience. It is not properly tended as the Lord has instructed. Why all the pressure? God is trying to illuminate the darkness with His Marvelous Light! He invested this Light called His Glory in His People. We refuse to let it out. No one is willing to walk up the hill called holiness calling it too hard and using the “excuse” of grace. But the Lord said the Light was a permanent law and it should never go out – so now the Lord is pressing it out of us.
John 3:18-21 (NLT)
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

The Light of the World always displaces darkness just as natural light drives away the dark. The Light disturbs darkness. (Job 38:13-15) God separated light and dark from the very beginning. He made a distinction that has never been rescinded. (Genesis 1:4) Judgment is based on this fact – God’s Light came into the world. People loved the darkness more than the light. Those who do evil hate the light. They fear exposure. The truth is that darkness is as the light to the Lord (Psalm 139:11-12) and He sees right through the smokescreen of compromise and complacency in our life. He sees the veil that covers our light and keeps us from being a beacon to a lost and dying world. Unfortunately, it will take a great deal of pressure for us to see that we love evil more than good and darkness more than light but God will go to great lengths to uncover those things hidden in the darkest recess of our heart so that His Glory will show forth in our life. You are the Light of the World now we must live like it. We are too keep the Light in our Temple so bright that it drives away the darkness that tries to hide there. For God so loved the world that He sent His Only Son. Not to condemn the world, but that through Him all would be saved. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ escapes judgment. But those who say they believe yet choose to live in the darkness over the light are lying to themselves. The Lord sees right through it and will go to great links for you to see it too. The Light always prevails. (John 1:4-5) Jesus came and overcame the world. (John 16:33) The same power that conquered the grave lives in you! Now it’s time to let it out! God is always on a mission to light up the darkness. (Psalm 18:28) Especially if that darkness is in you! Light always shines in the darkness for the godly. (Psalm 112:4) There is nothing to fear or be anxious about because there is no uncertainty with the Lord. The trouble comes when we try to mix the darkness and the light. (Isaiah 5:20)

Hosea 6:1-3 (NLT)
“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us.
He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”

The overwhelming pressures in our life demand a response. I believe people will either react or respond to pressure and stress. You will either give up or press back. To give up is a reaction. It is usually an immediate action induced by the influence. It is directly linked to human nature. But we are no longer linked to our flesh, but live life freed by the Spirit of the Living God who is inside of us. We do not have to react to preserve our being. We now are free to respond to the pressures of life. What is a response? It is carefully thought out and prepared. It is not based on other influences but what we know and believe in our heart to be true. You will never respond in ignorance for it has no reply. So we must learn what the Word of God says about the pressures of life and respond accordingly otherwise we will react to every problem, trial and hardship rather responding with the Word, Will and Way of God that is always for our good and perfection. There is even joy for those who know how to respond to pressure in life. (Psalm 119:143) God is not trying to destroy you. He pressing out the Light. He wants to heal and restore us so we can live as Light in His Presence as ordained from the beginning until now.

Joel 2:21-24 (NLT)
Don’t be afraid, my people. Be glad now and rejoice for the LORD has done great things. Don’t be afraid, you animals of the field, for the wilderness pastures will soon be green. The trees will again be filled with fruit; fig trees and grapevines will be loaded down once more. Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the LORD your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring. The threshing floors will again be piled high with grain, and the presses will overflow with new wine and olive oil.

Seasons of great pressure yield greater harvests. Our faith in God releases His Faithfulness which causes every area to flourish in our life. Why? Faith gives God more to work with. “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38) Let’s face it if giving our life to God was easy, there would be no need for pressure. The problem is we want to surrender bits and pieces of our life to God rather than the whole thing. We want to serve the Lord with part of our life and enjoy the rest. We tithe our time, talent and treasure greedily and withhold offering God more than He requires in fear that we will do without. But God is stretching us and pulling and pressing us because He has so much more to give us that we are missing out on. “You cannot put new wine in old wineskins” or they will burst! (Matthew 9:17) The abundance of your brand new life in Jesus Christ cannot be confined in the confinement of your old life. You are free to receive everything that the Lord promised by faith but you are going to have to step into His Presence to withstand the overflow that is coming your way. Change produces pressure as the Lord makes room for more and more of His Blessings and Promises in our life. Those who withstand the pressure will have the reward. If you cannot take the pressure, then your strength is too small. (Proverbs 24:10) As we seek and strive to know God more, our life is stretched by faith and confident hope to receive all that He is ready to release in the life of His Children.

Mark 5:30-34 (NLT)
Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

Just in case you were wondering today, God is not oblivious to our plight. He knows our weaknesses. He bore them on the Cross. (Isaiah 53:4) In fact, the Lord says that His Power works best in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) So whether you run into His Presence or come crawling on your knees, He is always happy to see you! Not only that, He doesn’t want to just help you. Jesus Christ to heal you and make you whole. Your faith brought you to this place. Will hope keep you in the Presence of God? Will your light continue to shine in the darkness even in the midst of overwhelming hardship? What’s in you comes out of you in high pressure? The Lord has given us His Spirit specifically to help us in our weakness and time of need. (Romans 8:26) He is making good on every promise. Will you let your light shine in this world confidently knowing that He is faithful to make good on every promise? Doubt tells us to hide our faith until we prove its sufficiency but that will never happen. It takes faith to release God faithfulness stored as our inheritance. If you never go home, how will you ever have it? You will never fulfill God’s Plan and Purpose for your life outside of the Presence of God? You have been given a directive to serve as the Light of the World. You will be filled with new oil each day to shine through each night. It is up to you whether or not you will answer His Call!

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Are you feeling pressure today? God is using it to birth something in your life. It is fertile and productive to those who choose to respond to the Lord rather reacting to the pain. When it was time for each of my children to be born, it was preceded by tremendous pressure. This was my body’s signal that it was time to push and help each little one come into the world. God’s Plan and Purpose for your life will produce some pressure to signal its arrival. If you run from it, you will miss God’s Best for your life. If you choose to press into the Presence of God and respond to His Calling – you will be healed, whole and complete lacking no good thing. Such a response is of faith and confident hope, those who doubt or are afraid will run back to the darkness in fear of the Light. But those who love the Lord and live to serve Him will allow themselves to be broken to release more and more Light making room for the Glory of God to be released in their life. They want the harvest that is coming. They want to walk in His Love. Don’t give up even when the pressure is overwhelming just get into the Presence of God and let your light shine!

Psalm 18:25-30 (NLT)
To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile. You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud. You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT)
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

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