Tag Archives: Strength

Psalm 93 – A Prayer for Sandy Survivors

Watching the news of the devastation hurricane Sandy caused on the east coast is heartbreaking. I can’t imagine living through a natural disaster of that magnitude. It makes me thankful I live in the Pacific Northwest where the only natural disaster we worry about that could cause anywhere near as much damage as Sandy has is a volcano erupting, and those don’t happen very often.

As I read the next Psalm at the beginning of my prayer time this morning, I was amazed at how perfect this Psalm is as a prayer for those on the east coast facing the massive clean-up effort. It is a reminder that although the sea rose up and caused massive damage, God still reigns and will provide the strength needed to continue on. May the Lord be strength and comfort for those in need.

Psalm 93

1 The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
2 Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

3 The seas have lifted up, Lord,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the Lord on high is mighty.

5 Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days.

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The Lord Is My Strength

This quote was in my Quotemeal email from Heartlight.org:

“There is nothing that we can see on earth which does not either show the wretchedness of man or the mercy of God. One either sees the powerlessness of man without God, or the strength of man with God.” Blaise Pascal.

I choose to see the strength of man with God. How about you? Will you choose to rely on Jesus for your strength?

Praise be to the LORD,
   for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
   my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
   and with my song I praise him.

The LORD is the strength of his people,
   a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
   be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Psalm 28:6-9.

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God Is Everywhere

I spent the last two weeks in New York City, most of that time in Manhattan. (Which explains why I haven’t posted much in the past two weeks.)

Manhattan is a very busy, noisy place — much too noisy for  my taste. There are too many people pushing and talking and honking their horns. It is difficult for me to hear God with all that noise. I’m reminded of the scripture in which Elijah finds God not in the powerful wind or the earthquake or the roaring fire, but rather in the quiet whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-13.

And yet, I know that God is everywhere, even when I can’t hear Him over the cacophony of New York life. I know that He was with me all the time I was there. I did see Him and feel His strength.

I saw Him in the six different people who handed me a Christian tract or pamphlet because they wanted to share the Good News with residence of and visitors to New York. One person was even handing out the entire book of John!

I saw Him in the many people who answered our questions when we couldn’t figure out which subway train to take or didn’t know which way we needed to go to get where we wanted to be.

I saw Him in the super nice JetBlue attendant at JFK airport who helped us save $100 when two of our suitcases were overweight. She exhibited the patience and caring that only come from the grace of God.

I also felt Him with me. There were times during the trip when I literally did not think I could take one more step. We walked so much, and we climbed 354 stairs to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty, and then we walked more. My feet and legs were in so much pain I just wanted to sit down on a bench and stay there. But I knew I had to keep going, so I prayed for God to give me strength and He did. At one point, I was reminded of the pain that Jesus experienced when He was carrying His cross towards Golgotha. As bad as I felt, I knew He had felt worse and understood my struggle. This knowledge gave me comfort and strength to continue.

At first glance, it may not seem like God is in New York City, at least not to someone like me who is more accustomed to more country and less city. I still see the beauty of God more in the mountains and the trees, in the things He has created rather than the buildings and monuments that man has created. But when I look deeper, I see that God is in New York. It may take more effort to see and hear Him there, but He is there nonetheless.

I am glad to be home where it is quiet and peaceful. But it is good to know that I can find God in any circumstance because He is always there, everywhere.

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Wag More, Bark Less

I’ve seen this great bumper sticker that says “Wag More, Bark Less.” I think it is terrific advice. What a better world this would be if we all wagged more and barked less.

The question is, how do we do that in a world that wags less and barks more? How do we maintain a positive attitude when things are difficult and stressful? I know the answer, but today I did not do what I know. Today, I have been one of those who wagged less and barked more. Today, I’ve let the little things get to me from the very start of the day. Actually, it started yesterday.

So what is it that I know but did not do? Pray. I know that if I pray more, I will naturally bark less. In other words, if I pray more, God will give me the strength and wisdom to be able to find and focus on the positive aspects of what is going on around me. If I pray more, God will give me the peace and grace to respond to the situations I face with more wagging and less barking.

But this morning, I spent about 60 seconds in prayer even though I knew God was calling me to sit in His presence for a longer period of time to prepare for my day. He knew what was coming. He knew what I was feeling. He knew I needed His strength, wisdom, peace, and grace for this day, and He was willing to give it all to me. But I was in a hurry, worried I would be late for my 9:00 meeting, so I didn’t listen.

Even Jesus prayed to the Father when He faced a difficult situation. He prayed in Gethsemane knowing His arrest and crucifixion were soon to come. And He commanded His disciples to do the same. Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41. If Jesus needed to pray and His disciples who were with Him needed to pray, what makes me think I can get through any day, much less one like today, without spending some time with my Father in Heaven?

I am thankful that tomorrow is another day in which I will have another chance to lean on the strength, wisdom, peace, and grace of my God. Tomorrow is another day to pray more so I can wag more and bark less.

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Words to Live By

I have in my office a small deck of angel cards. Each card has a cartoon picture of an angel and a single word on it. Periodically (meaning at random intervals whenever I feel like it) I pick three new cards and place them face up on my desk by my computer monitor where I can easily see them.

I pick three for the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Sometimes I have a specific issue in mind when I pick them, other times I just want three new words. There really isn’t a bad word among the lot and all tend to be “words to live by.”

Today I picked three new words: Obedience, Release, and Strength. I am pondering how to live by those words today and what help they can be to me (and maybe to you).

Obedience: This was the first word I picked, and so corresponds to the Father in the Trinity. The word obedience appears 21 times in the Bible according to my www.Biblegateway.com search. The word obey or obeyed appears another 223 times. Obedience to the Lord makes one prosper. 2 Chronicles 31:21. One who scorns obedience to his or her parents comes to an unpleasant end. Proverbs 30:17. The verse I likes most regarding obedience was 2 John 1:4-6:

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Release: This was the second word I picked, and so corresponds to the Son in the Trinity. The word release appears 57 times in the Bible. One interesting section involves the release into the desert of the scapegoat upon which the sins of Israel were to be placed. Leviticus 16:22. This is an interesting forshadowing of what Christ would do for God’s people when He carried our sins to the cross. In Luke chapter 4, Jesus is in the synagogue and reads a scroll from the prophet Isaiah, which He says is fulfilled in Him. Being one of the “oppressed,” I really like this passage:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
      because he has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
      and recovery of sight for the blind,
   to release the oppressed, 
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Strength: This was the third word I picked, and so corresponds to the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. The word strength or strengthen appears 237 times in the Bible. Some of those references are to the strength of men, but more often it is God who gives strength. In Exodus is the song of Moses and the Israelites to the Lord: “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Exodus 15:2. One of my favorite New Testament passages is from Paul’s letter to the church is Ephesus, where he refers to the Holy Spirit as being the source of our strength. “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:16-17

Obedience. Release. Strength. These are words to live by. When I use them to reflect on scripture and God’s plan for me, they become part of the Word of Life that gets me through another day.

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Everywhere I Go

I was listening to Jeremy Camp in my car today on the way to work and heard one of my favorite songs, Right Here. The music and lyrics of this song always make me smile and give me strength for the day. The first verse and chorus are:

All the world is watching
all the world does care
Even when the world weighs on my shoulder now
these feelings I can bear

Because I know, that
You’re here
everywhere I go I know
You’re not far away
You’re right here,
You’re right here

Lately the world has been weighing on my shoulders, on a number of fronts. And it will continue to do so on some of those fronts for the foreseeable future. When the troubles of this day and this week are over, new ones will surely come. I can relate to the last verse of Right Here:

The many times that I have felt alone
the many times that I have felt the world was
crashing down upon me
You always stood here by my side
You were always there

I know that I can make it through whatever comes because He is not far away, He is right here. Jesus told his disciples, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20. I know that He meant this truth for me and you as well. Five times the Bible says that God will never leave us nor forsake us. See Hebrews 13:5. That’s a promise I have seen Him fulfill and that I trust wholeheartedly!

Awhile back, a friend sent me a video clip called “Dog and God” that was set to an original song. It is about the similarities between dogs and God. One line that really struck me was, “They would stay with me all day, I’m the one who walks away.” God is always there; we cannot truly walk away from Him. But how often do we ignore that He is there, effectively walking away from the comfort and blessings He wants to provide? When life seems too hard, is it because we have forgotten that God is our strength?

Today I am thankful that my life, though difficult at times, is not too hard, because everywhere I go God is not far away. He is right here. Don’t forget He is right there for you, too.

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Holding on to What I Know

A dear and wise friend of mine once told me that I should never go by what I feel, but by what I know. Feelings can be fickle and reactionary, and oftentimes they do not reveal the truth about the situation they are a reaction to.

Lately my feelings have been all of those things. I’ve gone from sad to angry to depressed to disillusioned and back to angry again. My feelings have been a reaction to what has been going on with some dear friends of mine, and to things that have been said to me as well as about me and others whom I care deeply about. I’ve been feeling a bit hopeless and been in disbelief of the things that have transpired. I feel lost.

So I’m going to listen to my dear friend and turn to the things I know to help me get through how I am feeling, to get to the truth of the matter. Here is what I know:

  •  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. The important word in this verse for me is “all.” It is not just in some things, but in all things, that God works for the good of those who love Him. I may not see the good that will come from my present circumstances, but God does.
  • “‘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.’” Jeremiah 29:11. God has planned my days, now and for eternity, and His plan is one of hope.
  • “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 40:31. Even though my own strength may be insufficient to get me through difficult times, the strength of the Lord is always there for me to lean on.
  • “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7. God loves me and will take my burdens and anxiety if I will only let go.
  • “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3. Eternal life starts now by knowing Jesus, not just when this body dies.
  • “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38. This is one I have proven to myself. As I am a blessing to others I receive a blessing in return much greater than I gave.
  • “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10. There is joy to be found when I trust in the Lord.
  • “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-17. Grace and truth go hand in hand, and they are the great blessing that we all have from Jesus.
  • “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10. Jesus came that we might live an abundant life, the best life that God could possibly want for us, something much better than we can ever imagine. Satan is the thief who promises pleasure and great things, but means us only harm.
  • “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6. This is a promise and a truth that can get me through any day.

These are just some of the things I know. God’s Word is full of promises of hope, love, joy, and redemption. It is full of stories of how those who had faith in God, who trusted in His promises, were blessed beyond measure. God is greater than my feelings. I may feel hopeless, but that does not negate the hope He offers. I may feel lost, but that does not change the fact that He has found me and will never leave me. For all these promises I am grateful.

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