Hard circumstances, unknown terrain, impossible journeys – these are all things in which God specializes. As you read this, maybe you’re in a financial crisis & Christmas looks impossible; maybe you’ve received a medical report that’s disturbing; maybe you have some toxic relational challenges that seem to be never ending; maybe you’re discouraged or depressed; maybe you have some work or school difficulties that are bigger than your abilities, time or energy.
Be encouraged today, that God can make a way when there seems to be no way. Remind yourself of how God delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt:
providing a leader, Moses, who was educated & committed to their freedom
supernatural signs & wonders (10 Plagues) to break the slavery bondage
Passover to establish the relationship between God & the nation of Israel
plundering the Egyptians when the Israelites walked out of Egypt
split the Red Sea & drowning the enemies who were intent on dragging the Israelites back into slavery
God did lots more when He liberated the Israelites, so be encouraged that you’re not in a situation that exceeds God’s ability to transform nor redeem! Feel free to share this with your friends to encouage them as well!
Do you ever feel like you’re not enough? Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough energy, wisdom, stamina, etc? Sometimes I feel like Bilbo Baggins when he says , “. . . like butter scraped over too much bread.” We all have stuff for which we’re responsible, but sometimes all of these responsibilities can seem overwhelming. So what should we do on the days when we feel spread too thin?
Here are some ideas that might help:
Pray & ask for divine help, then watch for the ways that the Holy Spirit will give you help with strength & wisdom or even eliminate some of the demands of that day
Pause – take a step back & consider if you can let a few things go to make life more manageable & less insane
Play – the last thing I feel like doing when I’m stressed & max’ed out is playing & yet sometimes being playful is the exact stress reliever I need to stay the course & not disappear into a mountain hideaway.
Let’s remember that we always have access to Heavenly Help for wisdom, strength & divine help 🙂
At some point, all of us have played Follow the Leader or Simon Says, most likely when we were kids. The first few times, it took me some practice to get the hang of it, but rather quickly, I wanted to be the leader so I could make others do what I said. That felt really powerful ,)
I remember one of my teachers telling me, “Sarah, if you’re going to be a good leader, you have to learn to follow well.” Of course, this wasn’t the advice I was eager to hear, even though it felt right in my heart and I still hear these words bounce around in my heart & thoughts to this day.
I’ve been thinking of these words about following as they relate to Jesus following the Holy Spirit in Luke 4:1-2. These verses describe how Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit around in the wilderness for 40 days as He fasted & He was tempted by the devil. When I’ve thought of these verses, they don’t feel particularly alluring nor enticing. I’d prefer to not wander around in a desolate wilderness and fast for 40 days, nor be tested by the devil. Yet that’s exactly what happened as Jesus followed the Holy Spirit. Later in Luke 4, we read about Jesus being anointed by the Holy Spirit, speaking gracious & powerful words and we see Jesus start to walk in the fullness of His earthly ministry. But all of that came after His committment to follow the Holy Spirit.
When we follow our flesh, it can briefly make us feel good. But following the Holy Spirit has far better & longer lasting results than any flesh adventure we could choose. Let’s be committed every day to following the Holy Spirit.
Waiting doesn’t seem to be one of my strong suits. Frankly put, I’m often impetuous, sometimes impulsive and infrequently patient. So the idea of chilling out and waiting for something is not appealing to me. And yet, this is exactly what Jesus told His followers in Luke 24:49, “‘ . . . , stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.'” Thankfully, the disciples followed Jesus’ directive and I’m grateful to read about the fruit of their patience and waiting in Acts 2 – the Day of Pentecost.
So in our fast-paced, microwave popcorn and warp speed living, let’s take a step back & consider some of the benefits of waiting for the Holy Spirit:
waiting in a community affords the opportunity to build relationships and grow in our fellowship with other believers
waiting enforces a healthy discipline on a personal level that defies instant gratification
waiting teaches us to let Jesus be the Lord of our time and how we resolve our desires
waiting to be clothed with power and the Holy Spirit is what our world desperately needs from us, as followers of Jesus
Take a minute to grab a copy of Heavenly Help and as you read it, let the Holy Spirit speak into your heart about Pentecost becoming more real in your life!
Currently in Denver we are having a blizzard & some people have lost power in their house. Thankfully, Jesus always has power available to us!
There are always times & seasons in our lives where we are weak, frail, tired, frazzled & infirm. These times & areas aren’t really shocking because these things go with being human. When we integrate Jesus into our daily living, we integrate supernatural power, strength & help!
Jesus gives us power to go through challenges & live in victory & not weakness or frailty!
When I was in college, I read a German book about metamorphosis – some guy turning into a giant insect. It was a really creepy book & there’s a good possibility that I’ve had a few nightmares from this book. It seems to me that without God’s involvement, human attempts to transform & change can result in nightmares and yucky results.
In contrast, whatever I ask God to be involved with in my life, there’s always an improvement. For some food for thought, please consider Titus 3:5-6 🙂
Holy Cow! That was Jeroboam’s solution to help him stay in power as the king of Israel, even though God had obviously put him in this position. I was reading this morning (1 Kings 7) about how God spoke to Jeroboam through a prophet & told him that he was going to be the king of Israel. When Jeroboam became the king, he got really jittery about keeping his power & decided that his kingdom needed it’s own set of gods, festival days, worship routines, etc that would exclude anything from the Temple in Jerusalem or the worship of the true God, as outlined by Moses.
Jeroboam was put in the position of king by God’s power but he didn’t stay long because he decided to trust in his own methods & efforts rather than trusting in God. In my thinking, there’s no staying power of any lasting value that doesn’t include trusting in our Triune God 🙂
When my kids were in preschool, I went to the parent intro day & I learned a great lesson watching one of the teachers who was working with a 4 year old. The 4 year old was having a difficult time trying to do some work with her scissors & when the teacher circled around the room to check on everyone, the little girl said to the teacher, “I can’t do this!!” The teacher was super patient and stooped to help the little girl, but said very firmly, “Honey, never say, ‘I can’t.’ Instead say, ‘I’ll try’ or ‘I need help’ but never say, ‘I can’t.'”
This lesson has helped me in more situations than I can count. We often say in our minds or actions, “I can’t” when something is really difficult, or when we’re tired, or when we can’t figure out a problem, etc. We truly may have reached our limit, but with Christ nothing is impossible and we can do whatever He tells us to do. We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us – Philip 4:13!!
When I think about the word “strong“, I automatically think about muscles, weight lifting, eating protein, endurance, some pain & my gym. It’s interesting that I don’t immediately associate strength with teamwork, honesty, growing, change or time. But when I think about it, these words are also essential ingredients for the word “strong”.
On a somewhat deeper level, I think it’s critical to consider where strength comes from. Where does endurance, discipline, cooperation, patience & the like come from? For me, the short & ultimate answer is God.
Without God in my life, my endurance is like exercising with Halloween candy for fuel.
Without God in my life, the strength of my will power is like trying to swim a lap in a 50m pool without taking a breath – the effort burns my lungs & obscures my thinking
Without God in my life, cooperation & teamwork becomes disguised dysfunction (abusive, neglectful, manipulative & selfish acedia)
When I look to God for His strength in my life, the contrast of His strength versus my strength, helps me appreciate how truly weak I am without Him. Be strong!! 🙂
My husband thinks I’m intense. He’s probably right. It seems that whatever I give myself to, I can be extreme. For example, when I was learning to snowboard, I fell so hard one time that I got a concussion through my helmet, but I didn’t give up trying to learn. Now 4 yrs later, I snowboard & generally stay injury-free & THOROUGHLY enjoy it!
My point here is that it’s not all bad to be intense, especially when it comes to our walk w God. We are encouraged to live a balanced life & in some cases & situations, that’s totally appropriate. But when it comes to God, I’ve come to the conclusion that I intensely need Him. This intense need is the most obvious need in my life – everyone who knows me in any way, knows I need God. I’m a junkie – the honest truth. Because I need Him so desperately, I am quite intense about being w Him, knowing Him, loving Him & having Him be comfortable in my life (I want God to be comfortable around me). I want & need for my relationship w God to be nothing less than high octane, fully leaded & totally charged. May your walk w God be one of great intensity & immensity.
I like what Paul says in Philip 3:10 about knowing Christ, the power of His resurrection, fellowship of His suffering, . . . .
I’ve been thinking about this alot & here’s something to consider: i can find myself following strong people; people who have vision, strength of personality & character & those who are strong within themselves. I’ve been around LOTS of strong people – some politicians, Christian leaders, social leaders, etc & they’re very interesting people.
However, when it comes to connecting on a personal level, i find myself drawn to people who are flawed, who share their struggles & vulnerabilities. I think this is because i can easily relate to someone else’s frailties & failures in some ways better than a person’s strength. There’s a distinct fellowship & intimacy that can be experienced in hardship, weakness. Truth be known, i think most of us find it difficult to share our weaknesses. Our society applaudes strength, power, victory & not weakness, vulnerability & failure. Nevertheless, we’re invited to share in the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus – bringing an intimacy w Him that is both distinct & beautiful.