Tag Archives: God’s Strength

December 3; Struggles and Saints

2 Corinthians 11:16-13:14; Romans 1

Sometimes I think we look at people like the late Billy Graham, or Ravi Zacharias, or Charles Stanley and believe they are super-Christians, immune to Satan’s attacks. We see them as godly, put-together, strong men in the Lord, and we forget they are (or were) as human as we.

Paul listed, rather embarrassingly, his achievements and the many ways God demonstrated His Presence in Paul’s life over the years. A person could look at that and think, “Wow! Paul is really special!”

Including Paul, evidently. The apostle admitted he struggled with pride, so God allowed Paul to carry a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him humble. Paul freely talked about his weaknesses. He was human.

But I love that Paul used even his failures and struggles to learn something about God. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” he heard God say. (12:9)

Then in verse 10:

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul’s strength wasn’t within himself. Paul’s strength was from God. And Paul learned that truth through the struggles.

Even saints struggle. That’s why we need to keep praying for each other. Have you prayed for your pastor today? He struggles. Have you prayed for your Sunday School teacher? What about the music minister, the nursery worker, the sweet elderly lady who makes the best banana pudding in the world?

A person can stand before thousands and preach the Word of God with power, and still struggle. A person can sit quietly in a pew week after week, smile and shake your hand, while battling Satan in her heart.

Let’s determine to pray for each other, even if the outside appearance is put together. If you struggle, so do they. That’s why today, I have prayed that God will do a work in the hearts and lives of any who read this post, especially those of us who are struggling.

Dear God, I pray that You will wrap Your arms around your people today and give strength to those of us who are struggling. I pray for victory over Satan’s attacks, joy over sorrow, wisdom over foolishness. And I pray that because of whatever it is we are going through, our relationship with You will grow sweeter and stronger. Thank you for your Presence, and your strength for struggling saints,

 

 

April 20 – Ain’t No Mountain

Psalms 121, 123-125, 128-130

Several of these psalms speak about mountains. For one thing, a mountain isn’t going anywhere. During the days these psalms were written, living close to a mountain provided protection from invading enemies. And if you lived surrounded by mountains you were extra safe.

Very often in Scripture mountains are used to represent problems, something to be conquered, or to get over. These psalms had me looking at mountains today in a different light.

God is asking me today where I go for protection from my enemy Satan. Do I turn on Dr. Phil, read a self-help book, talk to a friend, take a pill or have a drink? How is that working for me?

Psalm 121 reminds me God made heaven and earth, that He won’t let my foot slip, that He’ll protect me and keep my soul. Psalm 124: “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 125 tells me if I trust in the Lord I can be as immovable as Mt. Zion. It also says God surrounds me like the mountains around Jerusalem.

Today, I want to seek shelter in God who is more sturdy than any mountain He created. I want to live in the shadow of the mountain that is God Himself. He is my shield and safety. He is my protection and strength. None of my problems are too big for Him.

And He’s not going anywhere. He is as immovable as a mountain. And if I go to Him by reading His Word and praying, He is there.

You see, there “ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough” to keep God from me. That’s where I get my help. That’s where I get my strength. That’s where I want to be.

 

 

April 18 – Out of the Darkness

Psalms 17, 35, 54, 63

When you read these psalms you can almost hear the sadness in David’s voice. Life is not being fair. He is in despair. His enemies are real and fighting hard to destroy him. For no reason.

But you can also get a sense of the trust David has in God. David is not without hope. You can read about his torment. But listen to his words of faith:

17:15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I wake.

35:28 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praises all day long.

35:54 Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. 

And here is the key to what I believe is David’s ability to completely trust God during the worst time of his life, during his darkest hours:

63:1  O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

If you don’t read anything else today, I hope you’ll read Psalm 63. If you are beaten down by the cares of this world, if you are being treated unfairly, if it seems like Satan is winning the war, turn your eyes toward Jesus.

The more you dwell on the problems in your life, the more power they have over you.

Does your soul thirst for God, or for something else? Does your flesh yearn for God? David tells us God’s lovingkindness is better than life itself. Do you believe that?

Allow yourself to rest in the shadow of His wing. Cling to God because His right hand can hold you up through these dark days. You’ll begin to see the light because Jesus tells us HE is the Light of the World. He’s the light of YOUR world.

When you take your eyes off the problem, when you spend time in God’s Word and allow Him to carry you, the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of the Savior’s glory and grace.

My Dear Comforter, I pray for hurting people today. I thank You that You inspired David to write these beautiful psalms that express what many of us are going through thousands of years later. And I thank You that David reminds us that You are able. You are righteous. You have our backs. And when we cling to You, You are able to give us exactly what we need to face today. May hurting people spend time in Your Word today. May they talk to You, the One who loves them to death. And may they allow You to bring them out of the darkness of the situation, into the light of Your Presence. Comfort them. Strengthen them. May we all look to Jesus only today.

Jan 4 -Don’t Blame God

Job 1-5

My chronological reading plan takes a break from Genesis and has me reading in the book of Job today. I hope you take time to read these five chapters, too.

God is sovereign. That means nothing that happens happens without his ok. Satan never slips one past God. But God allows life to happen.

With it comes good times and bad, success and failure. We see Job, a godly man who had everything he could have ever wanted. Maybe his neighbors looked at Job and said – God sure has blessed that guy.

But when God allowed Satan to throw some devastating tests at Job, people blamed God. His servant assumed the fire that consumed the sheep and servants came from God. His own wife told Job to curse God and die. And Job’s friend, Eliphaz said, “According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it. By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of His anger they come to an end.” (4:8-9)

But is that what we see here? Are the things that happened to Job a result of sin in his life, or maybe God’s anger toward him? Is God’s permission given to Satan to inflict harm the same as God causing harm?

I look around and realize we’re no different today. God doesn’t always get credit when good things happen. But He sure gets blamed when things go south. No matter if it’s a tornado, an epidemic, a mass shooting, or even a red light when we’re late for work, people often point a finger at God and ask, Why did you do that, God? Or they get angry with Him. Or they cut Him out of their lives.

But is it God or Satan we should curse?

Our Sovereign God is allowing Satan to have some freedom here. But He also is offering Himself in the midst of any trouble Satan throws our way. In fact, the gift of choice He gave us at creation enables us to choose Him no matter what.

There are those who will say that God orchestrates everything that happens in this life. But I see a different lesson here in Job. The difference is between God’s permission and His actions. (This is not to say that He never intervenes. There are times when bad things do happen as a direct consequence of our sin. That is another lesson.)

I know that, when my dear nephew died in an automobile accident in 2012 God’s strength and Presence was exactly what we needed to put one foot in front of the other. What Satan meant for evil, God used to encourage us and draw us closer to Him.

So my prayer for you is that you will take God up on His offer to stand with you, too, when bad things happen. Don’t waste time blaming or being angry with God. He is eager to bless you even in the darkest hours of your life.

Our Loving Heavenly Father, I pray that you will reveal Yourself to us as we read the account of Job. You are sovereign. You are good. You love us and Your one desire is to fellowship with us. May we put aside blame and just rest in Your Presence today, no matter what circumstances we are facing.