Thursday, October 30, 2008

Strength to the Weary, Power to the Weak

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40: 28-31 (MSG)

I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease in February of 2006. Since that time my disease has progressed rather rapidly. I find that every day living with a progressive neurological disease is a struggle in one manner or another. I am learning the importance of trusting the Lord to be my daily portion, my strength. I have discovered that I am tired and weary, and my body is becoming increasingly weak. But God . . .

. . .two simple little words, but not really simple or little at all. In actuality they are BIG, words. HUGE words. Actually, these two words carry life altering implications. For example:

I could be lost in a world of sin and despair . . . . . . but God!
I could feel abandoned and unloved . . . . . . but God!
I could be struggling on my own . . . . . . but God!
I have no strength in my own power . . . . . . but God!
I will sin, struggle, stumble, fall . . . . . . but God!

See what I mean? Powerful and power filled words!

On the days that I experience struggles with a low spirit, low energy, the inability to cope with any of life’s little stressors, or a lack of physical strength I remember that the Lord is the everlasting God. He is the Creator of the earth and He loves me; He loves all of His children with a depth and richness that we cannot fathom.

I run to Him and I ask Him to give me His strength. I ask Him to increase my power, not so that I might accomplish the items on my to-do list, but that I might not miss an opportunity to serve Him. I have come to understand that by serving Him I can truly realize what it would feel like to soar on wings like an eagle.

If my spirit is willing, my eyes open and my mind free to follow His path, do His will, He will equip me for His service. He will provide the required strength and power. It is not easy giving up my list of priorities, but God blesses abundantly when I remember to daily surrender my life to Him.

I have surrendered my health. I have surrendered my marriage. I have surrendered my family. I have surrendered all I hold dear. When I realize that everything comes to me by God’s grace and belongs to Him anyway, and that His love is much greater than any here on earth, what do I have to fear by living a life surrendered? Nothing! In fact, I have much to gain. When I remember this truth and even give Him the smallest details of my day, God rushes in and overtakes me with His blessings.

My prayer is that I will be able to influence many to join me in my journey to daily surrender and to enjoy the way that He brings power to the weak.

Dear Lord,
Help me to live surrendered to you. Your ways, Your plan, Your to-do list, all impact an eternal perspective. I ask that You send Your power when I am weak, provide me with strength to resist the temptation to try to go it on my own. Show me how to serve you so that I may plant many seeds that lead to salvation. In Jesus’ name.

Related Verses

Psalm 37: 23-24, “If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” (NIV)

Psalm 68: 35, “You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” (NIV)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where Does America Stand With God?

1 "When Israel [America] was a child, I loved him [her], and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 But the more I called Israel [America], the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.
3 It was I who taught Ephraim [America] to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.
5 "Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria [our enemy the devil] rule over them because they refuse to repent?
6 Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans.
7 My people are determined to turn from me. Even if they call to the Most High, he will by no means exalt them.
8 "How can I give you up, Ephraim [America]? How can I hand you over, Israel [United States]? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.

Hosea 11: 1-9 (NIV)

I took the liberty of adding [America], the gender [her], [our enemy the devil], and the [United States], in the recording of Hosea 11: 1-9 above. I did this to make a point. My point is that the bible is effective in teaching us today using principles that were recorded in Old Testament times. By looking back, often we can see areas of trouble here in the present.

Are the verses above not just the very picture on how America looks today? Haven’t we pushed God out of almost everything? As a country we continue to remove God from our schools, our justice system, our homes, our cities and our everyday lives.

Given this fact, is there any wonder that God is allowing our economy to suffer, many natural disasters to hit our land and take lives, and to top if off we are living with great concern for the direction of the upcoming elections and what changes could be forthcoming.

As I have been reflecting upon the elections, our economy and the lack of preservation of Christian values and guidance in our land, I am convinced that Christians everywhere should begin to fervently pray for this election and America as a whole. If we do not turn back to God, and put Him back on the throne, I believe that more difficult times lie ahead.

Won’t you join me in prayer for America? I have set aside the time of 12:00 noon to pray until the end of the election. I have programmed a reminder to pop-up on my computer to keep me accountable.


“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What God is Teaching me Now

"You're familiar with the command to the ancients, 'Do not murder.' I'm telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother 'idiot!' and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell 'stupid!' at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” Matthew 5: 21-22 (MSG)

There has been a powerful storm moving through my home lately. This storm has seemed to develop a life of its own and for many weeks has been gaining intensity. The swell has built to the point that I grew concerned that this storm would overwhelm and utterly destroy the balance of peace in my life.

This storm is what I will refer to as tropical storm “Gabe.”

On vacation in Florida recently we were forced to alter many of our plans due to tropical storm Faye, which made landfall on the second day of our vacation and then just sat over Orlando for several days. During this period of time the wind blew and the rain fell, often with driving force. So great and prolonged was this storm that many areas in Orlando and surrounding towns were deemed disaster areas once Faye finally moved on. I watched firsthand the devastating effects that a tropical storm can have.

During my quiet time as I was reading the word of God, I was led to the passage of scripture from the gospel of Matthew above. Two points in particular struck me as I read.

The first, was: “. . .anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder.” Now I have read this verse many times. And as I often do, I sort-of glossed over it. I guess one could say that the weight of that statement never really hit me where I live. But today was different.

For many long weeks my husband and I have been struggling to cope with angry outbursts from our almost 4-year-old son. Needless to say these outbursts have made our home feel more like a war zone than a place of rest, contentment, acceptance and love. Much to my dismay I realized that in the same way as tropical storm Faye caused so much damage due to the amount of time she hovered in one place, the negative and sinful behavior in my home had also been hovering without course correction for far too long.

My husband and I have prayed over our son’s behavior. We have spoken to his teachers and anybody else that we thought could offer us advice on how to guide him to an understanding of how damaging his anger is. We have read book after book after book, looking for help. We have tried any reasonable suggestion and some not so reasonable ones in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the escalation of this harmful behavior.

The second point that struck a cord within me from this passage of scripture in Matthew was: “Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire.”

The use of the word ‘stupid’ has become one of my son’s staples. He flings that word out against anything or anyone who frustrates or angers him. Now I am not suggesting that my son has the mental capacity to yet understand the weight or seriousness of his actions. However it is my responsibility to teach my son that his words carry great significance and that he is to strive to build others up in his actions, words and deeds; rather than carelessly fling words about that cause discomfort, strife, hurt feelings and pain.

I have come to the painful conclusion that because I have allowed this behavior to continue, my son’s actions and words are destroying the peace in our home. The simple fact is that his words are killing! Not only the peace and calm in our home, but they are also destroying our ability to relate to him in the proper manner.

As I have been reflecting upon all of this, my heart has been troubled and the Holy Spirit has been speaking to me about my need to model appropriate behavior. I need to conduct an attitude check of my own life. Although I don’t use the word stupid, does my attitude, volume level or actions ever convey the message that someone or something is stupid? Do I all too often react in a sinful and angry manner?

I must trust God to be my daily portion. I need to rely upon the strength of the Spirit to help me to not react in negativity, or with returned anger, during my son’s outbursts; or for that matter to any other perceived injustice or hurt. The Holy Spirit has spoken to me that administering reproof for my son’s bad behavior is not enough. I should also be teaching and providing him with the tools to appropriately deal with his anger and frustration

In order to quiet the storm within my son, I must ensure that my stormy seas have been calmed and that I have confessed any sinful behavior to my Lord allowing me to be utilized to teach him through the outpouring of God’s love.

I can only accomplish this goal by immersing myself in God’s Holy Word and by faithfully praying for His wisdom and guidance.

Related Scripture Verses ~

“Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands.” Psalm 119:66 (NIV)

“A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.” Proverbs 13:1 (NIV)

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 (NIV)