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Too Much Pressure - A Devotion

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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.”

I will be the first to admit that sometimes the overwhelming pressures of life seem too much for me. Like many people, my life gets torn apart as I attempt to stretch my life between family, friends, co-workers as well as every other person who I encounter. The internal pressures of life including the unwanted things life worry, stress and fear are equal partners in wreaking havoc on my heart and mind. I hold all the pieces of my broken heart carefully in my hands trying not to lose them while trying to juggle all the details of my life. Has God injured me on purpose? No. But He is using the pressures of this life to release something greater from my life. God will restore us when we surrender all of our life to Him holding nothing back because each piece has a perfect place in God’s Plan. Even those things that seem to be beneath God and too insignificant and small for the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords are important to God. God’s Primary Purpose for your life is that you will endure to the end, stepping over the line of the natural into the supernatural accepting life over death in every situation. This is where we find restoration it lies somewhere between the pressures of life and release of His Spirit. With hardship and despair, it is human tendency to press on to know Him more. He responds to such close inspection by blessing those who do not succumb to pressure but rather wait for the release that comes in the midst of it. It is His Promise to those people who are willing to press on.

Proverbs 24:10 (NLT) If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.

This verse seems so simple with no need for additional commentary but without a connection to Jesus Christ this instruction will lead to a fatal error. Pressure is meant for release. Your release in the midst of great pressure is a strong indication of the contents of one’s heart. Before a gold miner chooses a plot of land to look for his treasure, he will have a geologist come and drill some samples to determine if the coveted mineral can be found in the midst of the bedrock. It would be foolish to invest one’s time and energy in an area that has no yield, but as believers we do it every day. It takes massive amounts of dirt and rock to find miniscule amounts of gold. If in the midst of pressure, you are resentful then it is clear your hope is not founded on faith in God. If you are given to constant bitterness and complaining, it is a strong indication that maybe the contents of your heart need to be refined a bit. Failure under pressure simply means that your strength is too small. This is a vital life lesson for every man and woman who are reading it. Failure under pressure is a prime opportunity to roll, repose, and release the burden that you are under. God is the motivator of pressure in our life as He is ready to release His Spirit throughout our life. Hidden inside of each believer is the living, breathing and active Spirit of God ready to release all the good things that God has promised just for you. He holds all the potential of Heaven just for you. “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”(2 Corinthians 12:9-10) The source of our strength is not found inside of us. It is not our own personal strength but rather the Power of God living in us provided by His Grace, Mercy and Love to all mankind. To fail under pressure, exposes a greater need for God. He is stronger than anyone or anything else we could ever rely on. “Then he said to me, “This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” (Zechariah 4:6) Pressure is all about release. God wants to release His Spirit in you and out of you to renew and restore your life from the inside out. The word “pressure” is the exertion of force on the surface. It is the act of pressing on the mind or heart. God has a plan for your life. It is a good one with a future and hope. He longs for us to accept this plan and forego our own ideas and aspirations of what our life should be. He is working to complete and perfect our life so we will be satisfied and content in confident hope.

Mark 5:30-32 (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.

In the midst of the crush of people trying to get closer to Jesus Christ, Jesus realized that someone’s faith had released His Power. The Lord wanted to identify that person so He asked the disciples, “Who touched me”? I can only image Peter the most vocal of the group snapping back at the Lord, “Are you kidding me right now, Jesus?” The men were trying to get the Lord safely through the thong of followers, how would they ever figure out who the right person one’s in the midst of the crushing crowd and endless cries of those in need. This did not detour Jesus in His Effort to find her. It was important to the Lord to acknowledge this person who believed in His Power enough to cause it to be released by faith in their life. There are many people who press Jesus for His Power especially when it comes to changing the situation or circumstances of life. They are all about enjoying the benefits of God’s Love on the surface and never moving any deeper in His Presence to secure a changed heart and transformed mind. So the strive for God’s Attention but never desire a release. However this woman would not be stopped in her pursuit of all that God had for her life, she knew by faith if she could just touch the Lord’s Robe that she would be healed from her disease and set free. Many will pressure Jesus to move in their life. But Jesus is looking for the one who will press on allowing nothing to stop them from making an intimate connection with their Lord and Savior. The Lord wants to connect with you but there are some things standing in the way. He will allow pressure for our release if necessary. (Exodus 6:1-2) He will pressure the enemy to set you free and work on our behalf if we learn to press on to know Him more. Spiritual pressure is induced to create a secure connection between Jesus Christ and His People. He is moving you from an ordinary life to an extraordinary existence. Pressure makes us release the known and grasp for the unknown when all hoe seems lost. The Lord was convincing us to let go (release) normal outcomes and consequences for God’s Favor in every situation. (Luke 4:17-19) It promotes faith that develops and matures into confident hope. It is painful in the moment but holds vast potential for our future and hope.

Romans 8:22-24 (NLT)
For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.

Patience is a godly characteristic that is produced through endurance. You are not born with it. Although some people come wired more patient than others, when we become desperate it is not usually a human tendency to quietly wait on the Lord. The lie of the enemy makes us consider that he has some kind of control in our life which produces fear, worry and doubt. (John 19:9-11) The devil did not take the life of Jesus Christ or any other man involved in His Crucifixion, but rather Jesus willingly laid down His Life for you. There was no pressure in that moment only divine release. (John 19:30) No one told Jesus it was finished, He said when it was over. He released His Spirit – no one took it from Him. He has all power and all authority over the heaven and earth now. No outcome is designed by fate or that little thing called luck. It is all defined by hope now. Pressure is designed to produce confident hope in the Lord. As we reach out and take hold of every superficial thing that we can think of, each one falls short of the satisfaction that we are after until we finally take hold of Jesus Christ with both hands. Now we are getting somewhere.

Luke 16:16-17 (NLT)
“Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in. But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.”

The Law of God was not overturned by His Grace. Our conviction was. We are sinners set free by His Grace, Mercy and Love. However, grace did not end the pressure of life but rather intensifies it. Now we are free to choose and we have until the end of our natural life to choose between life and death. The Holy Spirit presses the human heart producing conviction in the hope that we will repent and turn back to accept God’s Love and Favor once more. The kingdom of darkness now doomed has not given up but now rallies to take as many hostages as possible. There is a violent attack daily against the Kingdom of God. We must apply counter pressure by increasing our faith, developing confident hope and standing on what we believe to stop the attacks against our life. (Matthew 11:11-12) God is pressing you to retrieve some things in your life that you either take for granted or have stopped looking for. (2 Kings 6:5-7) Desperation causes us to cry out to the Lord as He uses each instance to teach us more and more patience and endurance so we will keep pressing on in the midst of great pressure to release God’s Miracle Blessings in our life. Stop judging your life strictly by what you see and give hope a chance. (I Samuel 16:7) God isn’t looking at what you can do but what you will do He is examining your heart for righteousness found by those who love Jesus and willingness demonstrated by those who have made Him Lord. If you continue to allow the pressures of life to produce stress and worry, your faith will die. But if you use each episode of stress to turn more of your life over to the Lord, faith will flourish and hope will rise.

Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT)
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

Never underestimate just how powerful your sinful nature is. When we think that we have it all under control, you are sorely mistaken. Human nature is in constant conflict with the Spirit of God. The winner is the one who is given the most assistance. Their natures are total opposites yet we are more comfortable with our flesh. It belongs to us. We know it well. Pressure is the opportunity to power pack God’s Spirit with the Word of God that penetrates our mind and becomes nourishment to our heart as it begins to turn back to the Lord. You will never begin to see victory or miracles in life until the Holy Spirit wins the battle for your mind, will and emotions. Trouble is an opportunity for great joy because in that moment people turn to the Lord for the first time in a long time. When faith is tested, it can be approved. Endurance grows in the midst of it. Fully developed endurance is what takes us safely across the finish line of faith to claim the prize of righteousness that is the confident hope of those who endure to the end. (James 1:2-4) There is inexpressible joy in every victory we find in Christ without fail. Pressure and stress promote more time in the Word of God, seeking the Way of God and living according to the Word of God for a release. When the release comes, we have more confident hope to base our life upon with greater faith as a platform for our feet to take a stand in the midst of all opposition whether it be internal or external. God’s Power works best in pressure BECAUSE when we fail under pressure, we accept God’s Strength and Power in our life.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (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.

It is in our greatest vulnerability that the Power of God is expressed in our life. When we feel pressed on every side, perplexed, driven to despair, hunted down and knocked down, it is very difficult to find hope. But in this moment, the Light of God’s Love for us breaks through the cracks of our fragile heart and permeates our life as faith grows and hope shines through our weakness. The Power of God is made evident in the fact that despite all this tremendous pressure, we are not crushed, defeated, abandoned or destroyed by God but feel His Spirit rise up to meet every challenge and bring us victory. Faith keeps us standing. (I Peter 5:9-11) Confident hope is the anchor of our soul. (Hebrews 6:19) His Word is the Sword allowing His Spirit to slay every lie that the enemy is hurling at us. (Hebrews 4:12) It is human nature to give up under pressure but it is spiritual release to press on through it!

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.

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