Tag Archives: strength

May 31; Joy and Health

Proverbs 14-15

My prayer for you today is Proverbs 15:30. May you have joy in your heart regardless of circumstances. May you be surrounded by people who love you and love the Lord. May their smiles put a smile on your face. And may you be encouraged and strengthened with the Good News that your sins are forgiven, that Jesus is your Savior, that God is your Father, and that His Spirit lives in you.

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

Judges 13-16; Samson and Strength

Samson’s story is very familiar with those of us privileged to be raised going to Sunday School. Well, at least the major points of his story. There is a very dark side to this Israeli hero we don’t talk about as children.

As I read these chapters today, I asked God to reveal the main thing we can learn from Samson’s life, because there are many lessons woven throughout these chapters. The word, “strength” kept coming to mind as I read. But that’s so obvious, I thought. Then as though God Himself spoke the words, I thought “isn’t that what you asked?”

Samson’s story is about strength. Shocking.

As I consider Samson’s strength I am convinced that his hair had nothing to do with it. His hair was an outward indication of his obedience to God. When he allowed Delilah to cut it, he blatantly turned his back on God. Then his strength left him, because then God left him.

My strength to face this day comes from the assurance God is with me.

The Lord IS my strength. (Ps 28:7)

(God) IS their strength in time of trouble. (Ps 37:39)

The Lord IS the strength of my life. (Ps 27:1)

What I take away from Samson’s story today is that I can trust God when I am weak, because He IS strong. No positive thoughts, or manta, or lucky beads can compare with the One who IS strength.

I want to walk with Him in obedience today, and know the safety and strength that is mine through Him.

 

Will You Pray With Me?

I know most, if not all of you, have burdens on your hearts too heavy to carry on your own. Whenever I see a request for prayer from a fellow blogger, I almost always take a minute to bow my head and talk to my Father about whatever is going on. But most of the time, I forget that prayer request as soon as I get up from my computer. I’m too often one and done.

I’m going to ask you to pray with me today for a request that has my heart breaking. And I will praise God if you go to Him just once, right this minute.

Please pray for Landon, a four year old boy who is fighting for his life. They have diagnosed him with HUS, a serious complication from ecoli. They gave him a blood transfusion last night and his blood count seems to be improving. They are not sure the damage to his kidneys, or if dialysis is in his future at this point.  There is danger that this disease could effect other organs of his tiny body, including his brain. And the danger is not just immediate. The effects of this might not show up for years.

Landon’s parents, Kelly and Zach, are a young couple who love the Lord. Would you pray with me for them, that God will be their strength in a visible way to those around them? Would you pray that God would wrap His arms around these dear parents, that they would know the comfort that only He can give? Would you pray that London’s body will be able to fight off this disease, that doctors will have wisdom and make decisions that will benefit this little guy? I am praying for complete healing.

And I am praying for those who are close to Kelly and Zach, their extended family, their church family, my own nephew and and his dear wife, Sara. Sara (niece of my heart) has been Landon’s babysitter for years, and the two couples enjoy a deep friendship.

Would you pray that Landon will be healed, and that Jesus will be glorified in this situation? May God bless you as you join us in our petition on behalf of Landon, Kelly, and Zach.

Thank you!

May 5 – God. Period.

Psalms 1-2, 15, 22-24, 47, 68

These psalms remind me that God is God. There is no one like Him. He is the One who blesses His people with everything we need for this life – He blesses us with Himself!

He protects. He strengthens. He clothes us with His righteousness because we have none of our own. He died for us, paying what we cannot pay.

Yes, He is to be feared because of His holiness. But He also deserves our worship and our praise, our obedience and our love. We are blessed because GOD IS WHO HE IS!

Loving my Lord today!

Stormy Seas

I’ve never been in a storm at sea. I don’t even want to imagine the fear of being that exposed to danger out there surrounded by water miles deep. I’ve never been in a tropical storm or lived through a tornado. In fact, there have been only a few times I’ve even come close.

But as I read about the terror the passengers and crew experienced in the ship carrying Paul to Rome, I can relate. (Acts 27) Not because I’ve been there, but because I know to an extent, what it’s like to face storms of life.

Getting laid off from my job, Mom’s cancer, financial struggles, my sister’s cancer, my nephew Geoff’s death, Dad’s death. I can’t hold my storms up next to anyone else’s and say mine were harder or that mine were less significant. I only know there have been times that I felt hopeless and lost, when I found it hard to breathe, when fear of the future (or present) caused me sleepless nights.

The account of Paul’s storm at sea reminds me that, no matter how bad the circumstances, no matter how hopeless the future appears, when I am tossed about and can’t find the sun, God is standing next to me.

My only hope is to stay in the boat, holding on to my Savior, riding out the storm together. In this account in the book of Acts, God didn’t calm the storm. But the people on board made it safely to shore. This tells me that my circumstances might not change. The cancer diagnosis might not be a mistake. A broken relationship might not heal. Whatever the cause of my anxiety, depression, fear, might not magically disappear.

But God can see me safely to the other side. I can trust him. And I will.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for your Presence. You are stronger than any storm I have to face. And I find comfort in knowing that… knowing You. I pray for those reading this today who are being bounced around in a frightening storm. I pray your strength, your comfort, your direction will be evident in the midst. I pray they will hold on, that they will trust you to see them through. Thank you in advance for what you are going to do in the lives of those of us who are facing stormy seas.

Why Evil?

Last Sunday, the pastor posed a question in Sunday School: Why is there evil and has it always existed?

I guess to truly understand all the details of the answer to that question, you would have to have the mind of God. Our understanding is limited to what he inspired men to write in Scripture.

Like I Corinthians 15:56. Paul tells us the law gives sin its power. We wouldn’t know what sin was if God hadn’t spelled it out in the law.

We wouldn’t know what light was if it wasn’t for the darkness.

And we wouldn’t know what good was except for evil.

If there was no law, sin would have no power because sin, by definition, is the breaking of the law. But if there was no law, no sin, we wouldn’t know forgiveness, would we? There would be no choice. We would be puppets, robots.

It was important to God that his creation choose him.

Why?

I don’t know, except to say the love someone chooses to demonstrate toward me is precious, personal, more meaningful than if that someone feels obligated or forced. Being made in God’s image, I can only imagine he feels the same.

Dearest Heavenly Father, you are good. You are holy. And I thank you that you have made it possible to choose you. It’s hard to thank you for sin. It’s hard to thank you for sickness, wars, evil. But if it weren’t for those things, I wouldn’t understand what it is that you offer through your Son, Jesus. I wouldn’t appreciate grace. So, Father, I want you to know that I choose you today. I love you because I can. I resist temptation because I can. I deny Satan because I can. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you!

The Show Must Go On

I remember, when Mom was dying of cancer, I would drive to work with a heavy heart. Most mornings I would cry as I talked to God about Mom. But when I got to the stop light a mile from school, I would dry my tears and take a few deep breaths. And before walking into the office, I’d put my hand on the doorknob, breathe again, put a smile on my face, and pray, “God, let’s do this. I need you to go in there with me today.” I didn’t want to be there. I wanted time with Mom. I wanted to be alone in my grief. But I was a middle school counselor, and I had a job to do.

It was hard. And listening to the familiar complaints of 11-year-olds tested my patience like never before. Suzie took my pencil. Billy made fun of me. Nobody likes me. The teacher yelled at me. Even the: Mom grounded me or worse, didn’t separate me from my own pain.

But I loved my job, loved those children, and it wasn’t their fault my mother was dying.

I realized today Jesus knows exactly how I felt. His cousin, John, was murdered. His heart must have hurt like mine did. And he needed to be alone. He needed time to grieve. So he went off to a remote place to be by himself.

But the crowds followed him. They had needs only Jesus could meet. So Jesus put a smile on his face, and preached, and healed their sick.

Did you know the feeding of the 5,000 from five loaves and 2 fish happened in the midst of Jesus’ grief? (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9) He had compassion on those needy, demanding, insensitive people, even when his own heart was broken.

I know some of you are going through hardships of your own. Sickness, finances, relationships can cause us to live with the burden of grief on our shoulders. Yet that doesn’t stop the “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy”, or “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” demands from your children, or the deadlines your boss gives you at work, or the electric from being turned off for lack of payment. Life goes on even when we want it to just stop for one minute.

Jesus knows what that feels like. Jesus shows us by example that sometimes the show must go on. Sometimes we have to choose to let God pick us up and help us meet our responsibilities even if we don’t feel like it.

But here’s something else Jesus teaches by example. He made time to get alone and pray. (Matthew 14:23) He didn’t go off to “find himself”. He spent time talking to God.

That’s where our society might be wrong. It says we’ve got to be happy before we can make someone else happy. Put yourself first and things will get better.

But doesn’t Jesus teach us something different? Didn’t he take “self” out of the picture? Didn’t he place God first, others second, and himself after that? I’m thinking if it worked for him, it probably will work for us, too.

Pray, dear one. Pour yourself out before God, give him yourself and your circumstances. Ask him to empower you to be who he wants you to be in the midst of your pain. Bathe yourself in prayer, then trust God to be exactly what you need him to be. Yes, the show must go on. But you don’t have to go on solo. If you know Jesus as your Savior, you have someone who has been there, to guide you, to strengthen you, and to love you like no one else can.

If we take the world’s advise and concentrate on ourselves, we are concentrating on the wrong person. Concentrate on God. Notice the opportunities he gives you to minister to someone else. Take him up on his offer to never leave or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5-8)

Is that a recipe for a trouble-free life? What do you think?

It is, however, a recipe proven by Jesus himself, to be exactly what we need to face the worse life hands us. And to be victors. And to let others see Jesus in us.

God, I pray for grieving people today. Some have burdens that are breaking them. Father, I pray they will come to you and lay that burden down. Give them strength. Give them purpose. Help them to look to you instead of looking within themselves. And may they find peace from allowing you to be exactly what they need to get through today. May they feel your love right this minute. And may Jesus be seen in and through them as they walk through this storm.