Archive for the ‘Strength’ Category


Like baseball, life often involves unexpected curveballs coming our way.  Just when we think things are going well, something unexpected happens. An accident, a bad report from the doctor, a death, relationship issues, a poor decision, difficulties at work, financial problems, the car breaks down.  The list can go on and on.  Like a curveball, the situation plunges into unexpected territory leaving us with unanswered questions, fear, frustration, and possibly doubt.

Joshua may have felt that he had been thrown an unexpected curve ball when Moses’s death determined that he would now be leading the people into the Promised Land.  Although he had been an aide to Moses, this leadership role would be a huge task for Joshua. There must have been a lot going through his mind. Questions, concern, fear, and doubt.

Entering the Promised Land would be a challenge for Joshua because it meant they would have to conquer all of  the current inhabitants.  This may have been a curve ball, but the good news was that God had begun preparing Joshua for this moment since before Moses’ death. God anticipated Joshua’s feelings and gave Moses some very specific words of encouragement to share with Joshua:

  1. Be strong and courageous.
  2. Do not be afraid.
  3. God is with you and will never leave you.

God’s promise to Joshua still stands true for each of us today. When the unexpected happens, He will be with us throughout the journey. What a comfort to feel His presence and to know you aren’t alone!

After Moses’ death, God reminded Joshua of all these things in Joshua 1:5-7.  He added more instruction in verse 8: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

The last word of encouragement: Study God’s word. This is an integral step in order for us to be successful. God gave Joshua all that he needed to be successful, but obedience was a key factor.

Joshua obeyed God’s plan for him. He immediately began to prepare to cross the Jordan and take possession of the land that God had designated for His people. He didn’t allow a curve ball to destroy his courage. The same is true for each of us. We just need to obey and have the  courage to believe that God will be with us when the curve ball is thrown.

What curve ball has been thrown at you? Are your feelings keeping you from stepping out in obedience? Like Joshua, can you obey and trust that God is with you every step of the way?

Read Full Post »

He is Greater Than

Whatever you are facing, God has already given you the strength and faith needed. You may not always feel it, but you have what it takes to overcome because Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!! 

Satan is always at work around us. He works through our circumstances, attitudes, feelings, insecurities, and the people around us to create discouragement in our walk of faith. He hopes that we will grow frustrated, turn from God, and take matters into our own hands rather than trusting God.  But thankfully our God is greater than anything that Satan can send our way! 

During those moments when you just don’t think you have it in you to handle any more, remember that the God who lives in your heart will provide all that is required.  When you feel weak and broken by all that is going on around you, know that He has all the strength you need and can mend your brokenness. 

He is greater than any tragedy. He is greater than any illness. He is greater than any feeling. He is greater than any insecurity. He is greater than _____ (fill in the blank with any struggle you are facing). HE is GREATER period. You need only to keep your eyes on Him, and remember “Greater is He that is in me that he that is in the world” – 1 John 4:1.

Our God is Greater!

Read Full Post »

The Lord is with you, mighty warrior(Judges 6:12). Battles are raging all around. I see many friends struggling with the distress of situations that seem too much to bear. These disheartening battles include cancer, heart disease, injuries, mental illness, financial difficulties, addictions, lawsuits, false accusations, broken families, and fighting an actual war. Our children aren’t even immune. Their struggles include peer pressure, eating disorders, bullies, anxiety, and even terminal illness. The list goes on and on.

The Israelites experienced many difficulties. In Judges chapter six, they faced oppression from the Midianites who, during a seven year period, often destroyed the crops, livestock, and homes of the Israelites. God appointed Gideon to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian, but Gideon was afraid and confused about how that was possible when his people were the weakest in the land. God assured him in verse 16: “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”

We all have battles which God has called us to fight, but like Gideon, we can be certain that God is with us. Often we feel weak and think our struggles are more than we can bear. Realistically, without the strength that can only be given by God, we probably couldn’t handle such situations on our own. What a blessing to know that he will be with us through the battles of life.

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”

It doesn’t matter what we are going through, God will give us the power to overcome it through His strength! Find courage today in knowing that God will be with you through the battles of life. You are a mighty warrior through Him!

Read Full Post »

when i am afraid

What scares you?  I mean really scares you…to the point of being physically ill and unable to think of anything else.  How do you deal with fear that grips your body, mind, and spirit?  Do you curl up in a ball and just give up or do you dig down deep and find the courage to face that fear head on?

I am facing one of my greatest fears…flying.  I’ve never flown and never planned to fly because the thought of it terrifies me.  I fully comprehend the fact that it’s safer than my daily drive to work.  I am not afraid of dying.  I know that if I die I am going to my heavenly home because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior.

So why am I so frightened by something that people do every day?  I really don’t know.  Maybe it’s that sense of having no control or simply getting out of my comfort zone.  I can’t nudge the pilot to get his/her attention about something ahead.  I can’t cry out for him/her to slow down or watch out!  I won’t have any idea of what is normal and what is truly something to be alarmed about.  I just have so many questions and there are so many unknowns.  I have searched the internet to gain as much knowledge as possible, but I still worry that my fear will take over what my heart knows:  God is in control, and He will be with me every step of the way.

We all experience times in our lives in which we face great fear and uncertainty.  Moments when we feel we have absolutely no control.  Moments when we aren’t sure what the future holds.  And moments when there are many unanswered questions.  It doesn’t matter if you are facing something as insignificant as doing something for the first time or if you are facing something life changing.  The same fear can creep in and make you miserable.  Faith can help us learn to face these fears with a peace that only God can provide.

If you are living in fear and uncertainty today, I’m going to offer you the same advice I’ve been giving myself over the last few days.

  • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7  Keep praying!
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13  With His strength, I can do this!
  • She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 NLT  I want to be so prepared spiritually that I can laugh and enjoy every moment with no fear!

Remembering that God is control will help you to face your fears.  There is nothing that will happen that you can’t handle with His help.  Also trust that He will be with you every step of the way sitting beside you, holding your hand, and even carrying you through when necessary.  You may not always feel His presence but know trust that He is there.  Finally, pray.  Be honest with God about your anxiety and share your deepest fears and concern with Him.  So put your trust in Him and face your fear with the strength only He can provide!

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/10199807@N00/28384002783″>Big City Lights</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Read Full Post »

wait for the lord

Have you ever called 911?  Unfortunately, help is not always immediately available, and those who need to be rescued from water, fire, or any other danger must wait.  It may only be a matter of minutes before help arrives, but it can seem like an eternity as you wait anxiously for that much needed help.

The call for help must be dispatched out to rescuers who quickly prepare for the situation by gathering whatever special equipment may be necessary for rescue.  When we are drowning in life’s problems, we expect God to instantly deliver us once we call out for help, but the reality is sometimes we may find ourselves waiting.   Psalms 34:17 says, “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.  He rescues them from all their troubles.”  It doesn’t say that God will immediately remove us from the situation.  It says He will hear our cry, and He will rescue us. Just as in calling 911, God’s help doesn’t always come as quickly as we would like.  Sometimes He must make preparations for our rescue.  Maybe our heart or the hearts of others need to be prepared before our rescue is completed.  So we must wait for His timing.

After receiving the call and preparing for the situation, the rescuers must get to the victim.  Unfortunately, sometimes we make it hard for God to reach us.  Like a drowning victim who may push down their rescuer, we actually push God away as he reaches for us.  We want His help but our instinct to survive causes us to thrash in the water.  For example, when He tries to deliver us, we insist on doing things our own way because we don’t like His plan or aren’t willing to wait for His rescue plans to be revealed.  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6NIV Wait for His plan to be revealed. 

We expect God’s rescue to immediately remove every difficulty from our lives.  However, keep in mind that when a victim is rescued from danger, there are often injuries that require medical attention and healing.  After God rescues us from our troubles, we too may have issues that require His attention and time for healing.  We must allow Him to care for our wounds and not push Him away as soon as we are rescued.  God can heal our heart and pain, but the healing process takes time. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 Wait for His complete healing in your life.  

Psalms 34 continues with “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit” (v18).  This does not say that He heals the broken heart, but instead He is near…like a mother is near to comfort us in our pain.  A mother may not always fix the problem, but having her near definitely generates strength and comfort in most any circumstance.  God’s plan doesn’t always including removing our problem, but we can trust that He will always be near to give strength and peace while easing our suffering.  But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31  Trust that He is close when you’re crushed by the struggles of life.

So in times of trouble, remember to wait for His timing, wait for His plan to be revealed, wait for healing, and finally trust that He is near.

 

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/132033298@N04/28636303792″>Midnight Sunset in Glacier Bay</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Read Full Post »

As each of four women stepped into my car, I found myself amazed by their compassion. Each woman was facing significant trials in her own life, yet making the time to pray with a friend facing the nightmare of possibly losing her baby.  All of these women from different backgrounds, experiencing a variety of trials, made the time to support another friend in need.

The first was dealing with painful health issues that just a few days before led to hospitalization.  The second young lady was struggling to be strong as a loved one battles cancer.  The third was stressed by the uncertainty of her job as fellow employees were being laid off due to financial insecurities of the business.  The last was heartbroken after the grandmother who raised her was admitted to a nursing home.

As we drove to a nearby town, I shared my surprise that they were able to make the time for this last-minute trip considering each of their circumstances.  They quickly reminded me of the trials in my own life at the moment.   We discussed each of our situations, shared concerns and fears, and encouraged one another.  We discovered that although our trials were very different, there was one key element in each.  The trials had caused each us to rely more on God.  Each situation is beyond our control, and all we can do is trust God’s will for our lives.  We were even able to laugh at how the same scripture keeps popping up in everything we read.  Isn’t it amazing that God used one verse to encourage a car full of crying, giggling women?  The scripture we came across for weeks prior to and following this night was Proverbs 3:5 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

This trip was not about the women in my car, yet God used it to provide encouragement for each one.  Finally we reached our destination and as a group we prayed for our friend and her unborn baby with our hands on his mother’s stomach.  Specifically we prayed that the heart beat would be so strong that the doctor would be amazed by God’s power.  After a week of praying for this unborn child, we received the following message:

Praise The Lord!!! We got our MIRACLE. The baby’s heart rate has gone up to 174! The doctor has no explanation for it, but I do. It’s an answer to many many prayers!!!

I would like to tell you that the situation of every woman in my car that night has been resolved, but I can’t.   What I can say is that God is carrying each of us and our trials have helped us to rely on His strength rather than our own.  Isaiah 41:10 reminds us “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Whatever you are going through, you can trust that God loves you and is right there with you through the darkest times. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” 

Even though things may not happen as quickly or exactly the way you desire, trust that God has everything under control and has a plan specifically for you.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Trust God, call out to Him, seek His will for your life, ask friends to pray, and finally put your hope in Him.

The Solid Rock by Edward Mote

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

If you have been blessed by this devotion and would like to subscribe, please click the link in the right column for Email Subscription or follow through the Strength Renewed Facebook page.

Read Full Post »

photobucket.com

photobucket.com

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. – Philippians 4:11

This is a scripture that has been posted on my desk for several years. I placed it there during a difficult time as a reminder that I should be content whatever the circumstances. And even though I have read that scripture at least once a week during that time period, only recently did I comprehend what this scripture truly means. Being content doesn’t mean that I am settling for something, but instead that my focus is in the right place. My focus had been on the circumstances, but the secret is learning to trust God regardless of the circumstances.

True contentment has nothing to do with material possessions, status, or even a deliverance from problems. In verse 12 Paul says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Paul had experienced both ends of the spectrum…being in need and having plenty, but he was able to be content in everything.

The key is that he learned to be content. It didn’t happen overnight, but the ups and downs of life taught Paul that satisfaction is not based on what we have or don’t have, but instead true contentment is based on a trust that Christ will provide the strength to get through the tough times. Paul goes on in verse 13 to say, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” He learned to depend on Christ for contentment.

Regardless of the circumstances we face, we can trust that Christ will give us strength to get through it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t come naturally. It is something we must learn just as Paul learned. So how do we learn to be content?

  1. Refuse to compare your circumstance to anyone else. When you compare your life to others, yours will usually seem inadequate because you have no knowledge of their struggles. Someone else’s home may be newer and bigger, but you don’t see the difficulty they may have making the mortgage payment.
  2. Accept your imperfections as well as those of others. You will make mistakes. None of us are perfect. Accept others the way God created them rather than the way you want them to be.
  3. Accept things as they are. Surrender your expectations to God. Instead of focusing on what YOU want, focus on what God wants you to have.
  4. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down something every day for which you are grateful. The more you search for good in the midst of trial, the less hopeless the problem will seem.
  5. Be thankful for what you have. Don’t take anything or anyone in your life for granted. “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8

Be Thankful

By Author Unknown

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.

If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something,

for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.

During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,

because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,

because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.

They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,

because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.

A life of rich fulfillment comes to those

who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,

and they can become your blessings.

This poem reminds us to appreciate even the difficulties. The more we dwell on the problems, the worse our situation seems. But the more we search for good, the more blessings we can find even in the midst of trials. When things aren’t going exactly as we had planned, we must check our focus. Are we focusing on the circumstance or is our focus on God?

Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” When you are able to admit that you don’t like your situation, but you can trust God through it, you’ve learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Being content leads to joy no matter what’s going on in life. Dare to be content where you are!

Read Full Post »

The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. Judges 6:12

Battles are raging all around. I see many friends struggling with the distress of situations that seem too much to bear.  These disheartening battles include cancer, heart disease, mental illness, financial difficulties, addictions, lawsuits, false accusations, broken families, and fighting an actual war. Our children aren’t even immune. Their struggles include peer pressure, eating disorders, bullies, anxiety, and even terminal illness. The list goes on and on.

The Israelites experienced many difficulties. In Judges chapter six, they faced oppression from the Midianites who, during a seven year period, often destroyed the crops, livestock, and homes of the Israelites. God appointed Gideon to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian, but Gideon was afraid and confused about how that was possible when his people were the weakest in the land. God assured him in verse 16: “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”

We all have battles which God has called us to fight, but like Gideon, we can be certain that God is with us. Often we feel weak and think our struggles are more than we can bear. Realistically, without the strength that can only be given by God, we probably couldn’t handle such situations on our own. What a blessing to know that he will be with us through the battles of life.

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”

It doesn’t matter what we are going through, God will give us the power to overcome it through His strength! Find courage today in knowing that God will be with you through the battles of life. You are a mighty warrior through Him!

Read Full Post »

BUILD AN ARK

The Ark used for filming was located in Crozet...

Image via Wikipedia

Noah did everything just as God commanded him.  Genesis 6:22

My family and I just watched the movie “Evan Almighty”.  Evan was depicted as a modern-day Noah whom God had instructed to build an ark during a drought.  He provided the land, the materials, and the tools necessary including an “Ark Building for Dummies” book.  Evan was ridiculed by the townspeople, his coworkers, and even his family questioned his sanity.  Despite opposition, Evan was committed and continued building.

It was an inspiring story, which made me realize that God actually has an ark for each of us to build.  The ark that God calls us to build may not affect the entire world as was the case with Noah, but it is an opportunity to serve and obey Him which will have an impact on the lives of others.

This blog is my ark, which began construction two years ago when God used a spiritual gift test to reveal that He wanted me to begin writing.  During that time, I have experienced many feelings of fear and inadequacy as I began writing devotionals that I felt reluctant to share.  At a recent meeting, God used a casual conversation to guide me to creating this blog.  It has been difficult at times, but I feel a strong need to commit and follow through with the task.

Maybe God has revealed an opportunity for you to serve, but you have been reluctant to start building your ark because it seems impossible to achieve.  When we are serving God, it won’t always be easy.  We can expect opposition anytime we are doing something significant for God, but Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  No job for God is without risk, but we can move forward with the strength and courage He offers.

In the movie, ARK stood for an Act of Random Kindness that changes the world.  You can be assured that if God asks you to build and ark, it will unquestionably be used to further the kingdom of God.  The most important part of building an ark is found is Psalms 37:5, “Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust him, and he will help you.”  What is the ark God is calling you to build, and are you ready to commit to Him?

Read Full Post »

WHAT IF

  

You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you O God, are my place of safety.  Psalms 59:9  New Living Translation

As children, we’ve all played “Hide & Seek”.  Sometimes we would be so unsure of our safety that we would run to find a better hiding spot only to be seen in the process.  We may have actually had the perfect place of hiding if we had just waited patiently for the game to play out.

We all face times of uncertainty in our lives.  We find our minds plagued with many “what if” questions which make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, or just make it through the day.  Questions of uncertainty often bring feelings of complete desperation causing us to want to run to a new hiding place which may actually be an unhealthy or dangerous situation.

The above psalm was written by David when he feared for his life because Saul’s men were coming to kill him.  Just as Saul was seeking to destroy David, Satan also wants to destroy our faith by strategically planting these “what if” questions in our minds to confuse, distract, and discourage us.  Surely there were many “what if” questions running through David’s mind, but he also knew that God had a plan.

Although we may know in our heart and mind that God is in control and that He has a plan for our lives, we can still feel completely consumed by the situation.  Lamentations 3:22 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail”.  Just as David waited for God to save his life, we can count on our Father, who loves us, to provide that fortress of safety when we feel consumed by the “what if’s”.  His love is the perfect hiding place!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: