Monday, September 15, 2014

Where Does Your Strength Come From?

" Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have strength to go in & take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to posses, & so that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to your forefathers to give to them & their descendants, a land flowing with milk & honey."
Deuteronomy 11:8-9 (NIV)

In this passage, the Lord uses Moses to instruct the Israelites about entering the Promised Land. He reminds them that the only place they will find strength to enter & live in this land, flowing with milk & honey, was through obedience to Him.

We know that God wants us to be obedient to Him the big things as well as the small things. And daily obedience is where we find emotional strength to walk in His peace. In one week plus one day, i will have my second hip replacement. It's been a long year since i started having trouble getting around & dealing with pain everyday. And each week, little by little, i noticed my mobility & pain was getting worse & worse. Yes, it's been very frustrating most of the time. When we are frustrated, we can't really walk in God's peace. It's hard to find reasons to be joyful - even though there are many. Sometimes things feel hopeless - even though nothing is hopeless. All this negativity can really take a toll on anyone. 

But everyday, when we get up, no matter what is going on in our lives, we have a choice to make. We need to choose where our strength will come from. I know what my answer is but what about you? Will you rely on yourself, or God? I can tell you that i Fully Rely On God! I honestly don't know how i would have gotten through this past year without Him.

"I can do everything through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

Whether your weakness is an actual physical one, or an emotional one - or BOTH, we can be spiritually strong by staying focused on the one & only ONE who is the real source of unending strength.

So, if you have been relying on your own strength, confess this to God & ask Him for His strength. Ask Him to help you be more obedient to Him. And admit to Him that you cannot do this on your own. They open up your heart to God's love & His strength.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How's You Patience?

Let's see who recognizes themselves today.
* Do you ever race through a yellow light because you don't want to wait on a red light? (I have.)
* Do you every look up your symptoms on a medical website before you call for a doctor's appointment, because you don't want to sit in a doctor's waiting room? (Done that.)
* Have you ever spent more money for something on line because you didn't want to take the time to drive to the store & wait in line? (I'll give an exception to Christmas shopping.)
* Have you ever eaten dessert first because you just couldn't wait until after dinner? (This, i can honestly say that i. have not done. But i have had dessert for a meal because it was easier.)

We want what we want when we want it. We live in a time of instant gratification. We want things & we want them NOW! We want results & we want them NOW! BUT the Bible tells us that patience should be a way of life for all Christians. We know that God is love. For us to love like God loves, requires patience. I know how patient He has been with me. And as a Christian, one of our main goals should be to love God as He loves us. After all, our ultimate goal in life is to please God & become like Him.

"We also pray that you will be strengthened with the glorious power so that you will have all the patience & endurance you need."
Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

Now, i know that throughout life, we have to deal with trying people or ungrateful child, an inattentive waitress, slow moving checkout lane, someone who takes what we do for granted, etc. It's definitely challenging to remain patient & have the ability to endure graciously.

"...he who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6b (NIV)

The Bible says that God will complete the good works that He has begun in us. That carries implication that there WILL be some "in the meantime" time. And in Ephesians 4:2, Paul instructs us to "Be completely  humble & gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love."

And not only do we need to be patient with each other, but we must also be patient with God as we wait for His plan to come to fruition. We must wait for answers to prayers, for Him to provide our needs, or just for Him to reveal His will. Let's face it, we have NO choice but to wait on these circumstances.  This i have truly learned this year as i've waited & received healing from my first hip replacement & now waiting for my second hip replacement. I do not have a choice in many things...simple things....taking care of my house, cooking, laundry, going for a walk & so much more. But when i do have a particular painful &/or frustrating day, it does help to remember how wonderfully patient that God has been with me. 

The development of patience may seem like a daunting task. But today, give it a try. No more racing through yellow lights. It dangerous! So, as you wait at the red light, keep the work "patience" in the forefront of your mind. Think about how becoming more patient would change your day, your outlook, your health, your relationships. Check that your temper is no where near as strong as your patience.

"May God, who gives this patience & encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus."
Romans 15:5 (NLT)