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The Gift of Weakness

 

 

 

It was on the island that she knew. Walking up that mountain path alone, the island breeze gently stroking the skin, she calls out to Abba and she hears the whisper. “Your greatest strength, my child, is that you know you’re weak.”

And it is a funny thing, to think that weakness, helplessness, utter need, could ever be anything but a handicap…that it could actually be a gift.

She pondered it trekking up that mountain. With so many unknowns and with her baby boy days away from having both eyes cut on and with change looming large and with sheer weakness, she treks.

And in a world of pretensions and appearances and comparison and insecurity, a world where she feels small and inadequate and never enough, she knows it’s backwards to really believe that weakness is a strength.

But she reads Words and Words take root and things become simple again. 

 

“Abiding in Christ is just meant for the weak and so beautifully suited to their feebleness. It is not the doing of some great thing and does not demand that we first lead a holy and devoted life. No, it is simply weakness entrusting itself to a Mighty One to be kept, the unfaithful one casting self on One who is altogether trustworthy and true.”

Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray on Prayer

 

And she knows it deep and true. This weakness? It’s a gift. She leans hard on the Savior and she abides in Strength and she knows her greatest asset is weakness.

 

Join the upcoming 4 week eCourse “Abiding in Christ?” Click here for details…

Insurmountable {How to live the hard days}

encouragement for when life seems insurmountable

 

 

 

encouragement for when life seems insurmountable

 

It’s after the second day of class that I start looking for a way out.

I’ve spent the last six years nourishing babes and putting one amazing husband through a PhD program… not reviewing characters and speaking foreign and making linguistic progress.

After an excruciating 2 hours in class I approach the teacher, “I can’t read or write at this level. I think I need to drop down a level.”

“That’d be a waste of your time,” she tells me. “You’re going to have to learn to write and you might as well start here.”

She gives me something to read~ heavenly mercies it’s in English~ about the difficulties and hardships of learning this particular language. Marked by dry, unproductive seasons and lots of confused discouragement, the learner’s path must be one of perseverance.

I take the train home.

I stand the entire hour and a half it takes to get there and collapse on the couch.

I’m in over my head. What to do?

When faced with a task that overwhelms, when faced with the impossible, when called upon to do the incredible, what to do?

How exactly did Peter walk on that water? I need to know.

For mothering and ministry and marriage, for cooking and cleaning and serving, for the mundane and the miraculous, how do we do this thing?

Words  from a deep well rise up.

 

“Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.” I Chronicles 28:10

 

Yes, that’s it. The way of Solomon. Young and inexperienced, Solomon was charged with…chosen for... an epic task: build an amazing,  glorious sanctuary worthy of the One True God.

And when we’ve all fallen short of His glory and the work rises above us and stretches out before us and we know every inch of our incapability, our weakness, our unworthiness… what do we do?

How do we build the amazing, glorious work we are called to?

“Be strong and do the work.”

And seasoned David, who’d once been a boy who took up sling and stone, who was courageous enough to face his giant, told his son Solomon, “Be strong and do the work. You are chosen for this job. The Lord will never leave you. Now do it.”

Oh yes, there’s this too: The plan. “Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch of the temple, its buildings, its storehouses, its upper rooms, its inner rooms and the room for the mercy seat.”

Solomon completed the task by following the plan. Most things we don’t stumble into. We need a plan to get there.

I get up from the couch and sketch out my plan. 30 minutes of reviewing vocab cards. 30 minutes of writing. 30 minutes of homework.

Tedious, insignificant, small work. Nothing noble here.

But over time, it’s the seed that brings the harvest.

It’s the small and insignificant that holds untold potential.

When staring at the big, the downright overwhelming, and you don’t know where to start, just take the next step. Plant a seed. Brush the next stroke. Write the next sentence. Forgive the last wrongdoing. Cook the next meal. Offer the next prayer.

Do the next thing.

And when you aren’t sure what the next thing is, sit down and get God’s blueprint.

Plan your work and work your plan. 

It’s the way of Kings.

 

Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.”

I Chronicles 28:20 

 

 

{email subscribers click over for video}

 

Q4U:

What’s your insurmountable today?

Now what’s your plan?

Go out and plant your seeds.

Further Resources:

 

A follow up post on what’s happening in my language study this semester!

A short video by John Piper on learning a second language

David and Solomon and how that majestic temple was completed after seven years

Strength in weakness

strength in weakness

 

 

 

 

strength in weakness

 

The birds are my quiet time this morning.

There is no tranquil lake setting, no leisure morning with coffee. No quiet morning meditation. Just the high-rise lifestyle of living and working in a city of 14 million people.

And I get up 15 minutes before kids and chaos and the breakfast rush; before the dressing and brushing and backpacks and before the inevitable shoe search.

It’s not the way I prefer to do it, but some days, just getting out of bed is an accomplishment.

And after I get the kids to school, I walk half an hour to the bus stop. It’s my turn to go to school and today, I’ve got a presentation to make.

My laptop weighs heavy on my back. Anxiety pounds the pavement with each step, the prospect of me presenting a controversial topic in a foreign language among classmates half my age weakens my knees and slows my steps. A soul can grow right weary and where is backbone when you need it?

Around me cars speed and horns honk and buildings rise and when you don’t have time for God is when you need Him the most. I pray. I need vision. Faith. Solid footing. I need boldness to speak the Name. I need fresh Glory to fill me.

Overhead a flock of black birds takes flight. He speaks.

“Consider the birds of the air. They worry not. Neither should you.”

The dawn comes with that. Light shines pure grace.

Those winged creatures woke early and had no idea where or how they were going to find food. They weren’t worried.

They sang.

And in utter trust and reliance upon their Maker, they took to the skies.

I could too.

“Consider the flowers of the field. I clothe them with beauty and grace. I’ll clothe you too.”

And my quiet time happens walking down a sidewalk in a city of 14 million people.

We can accessorize with Prada and perfume, we can don titles and accept flattering labels, and we can forget the simple beauty of grace. And when faced with our lack and weak, we can forget the birds, forget the blossom was once a mere seed but God clothed it.

He does that. He clothes and gives a bare body glory.

I board the bus and arrive at school and when it’s my turn, I speak the Name. I’m counting on those clothes. No Prada and silk here.

The teacher texts me after class. “I’m so happy you are in my class,” she says. “I’m a Christian too.” And I can’t believe what I’m reading! I ask Jackson to read the message to verify I really am reading it right.

Yep, teacher Gui is a Christian.

I have no idea how this will all unfold. I don’t know what God is up too. But I’m pretty sure it’s abundantly above and beyond what I could ask or think.

The next day, teacher asks me to stay behind after class. We talk in hushed tones about the Savior, about Sunday worship and the Bible and she tells me again how happy she is I’m in her class. Her happiness has nothing on me.

Something impossible grows, sprouts from the small, the raw.

“It’s wonderful to think of the fact that God can turn around a whole nation, a whole world, by using us. God uses simple things, you know that. He uses simple, mundane, everyday, routine, common things for the most amazing purposes. When He made man in the Garden, He didn’t use gold, silver, or even iron; He used dirt. That ought to give you an idea of how He works right from the start. When He called David to deliver Israel from the Philistines, He didn’t want Saul, the great king, and He didn’t want Saul’s massive armor. He used a shepherd and a couple of stones, that’s all. When He came into the world, He didn’t enter the family of the wealthy and noble, He didn’t find Himself born in a castle; He simply chose a peasant girl and a stable. When He chose the Twelve, He didn’t choose the elite, educated, and affluent. He just chose a group of ignorant Galileans. The Bible says, “Not many mighty, and not many noble.” That’s the way it always has been, because God gets the greater glory in the humbleness of the one that He uses.
So He uses us, grains of sand, to influence a corrupting world.”

Pastor John MacArthur

 

When did I start expecting to outgrow child-like reliance? At what age did I think I’d lose the desperation? When did I expect to be mighty and noble? Prestigious? Competent?

God uses the weak, the base, the foolish.

And praise God, I still qualify.

How about you?

Finishing First {And where to download The Family Table eBook}

 

 

 

Last year he didn’t even make it across the pool. The horn sounded and he dove but between nerves and lack of practice, he got water logged halfway through the race and shut down.

Right there in front of 4 international schools and hundreds of students, he bombed.

On the way home, he told us he never wanted to get in water again.

We told him a righteous man falls seven times and gets back up. Seven times down, eight times up.

You see, God says failure isn’t in falling. Failure is in not getting back up.

Get. back. up.

 

Since last October, Jackson’s been taking him to the pool. He learned the breast stroke and the freestyle. He learned how to dive and how to breath and most of all, he learned how to not quit.

You get back up. Always.

And we all stumble and bumble and make fools of ourselves. We do wrong and we hurt others and we make poor choices.

But the righteous, she isn’t defined by how perfect a life she lives. She’s defined by whether or not she gets back up.

You get that?

Just rise to those feet, my friend.

This year’s swimming competition was today. And today? My boy smoked.

He finished and finished well. Actually, he finished first. But finishing first isn’t what’s most important.

Getting back up is.

Always.

 

**Psst… you there, grieving over your mistakes, your sin, your repeated failure? This post is for you. You are loved and you’re still in the game. Don’t give up. Falling isn’t failure. God’s word says so. Just get back up. Much love, AJ

Related Posts:

What to do with Failure

Never Give Up

 

For those of you reading via email, looking for the link to download The Family Table eBook, it is right below, at the bottom of this post. 

 

 

What you need to calculate today

he Joy calculator; How to really crunch numbers and circumstances!

 

 

 

The grocery list grows long and the pantry gets scant and Jackson and I sit down to crunch numbers.

“We’re going to be okay,” he tells me with a smile. “Just don’t go to the grocery. And don’t get gas. Oh, and don’t pay any bills either.”

I laugh.

Some days you need to borrow the faith of another and today I lean heavy on Jackson’s.

But I still don’t know how creative I can get with canned beets and tuna.

Crunched numbers tell a grim story. It tells us where we stand and how we fare and somehow the story always comes up short.

And who doesn’t do it… Crunch numbers?

We crunch to get information, to clarify purpose, to gain wisdom.

We input the numbers and run the calculations and out comes the result.

But numbers aren’t the only thing you can crunch. You can crunch circumstances, too.

We can calculate trials and hardships and bare pantries and lost relationships and bad doctor’s reports.

Crunching circumstances is part of life.

he Joy calculator; How to really crunch numbers and circumstances!

It’s okay to crunch circumstances. In fact, Scripture commands us to crunch circumstances, just like we crunch numbers…we just have to crunch correctly. When we crunch God’s way, the result is always the same:

J    O    Y

 

Who would have thought God’s gift to us is a calculator that takes all of life’s ups and downs, all the testings and the trials and the difficulties and crunches them to produce a single, shining outcome: Joy?

Who would have thought?

But this is indeed the gift we have, this JOY calculator, if we will but sit down and do the crunching:

 

“ Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” James 1:2

Pastor says “consider” means to count, to calculate, to press your mind down upon. It’s an accounting term.

“You can’t come to a joyful conclusion about a trial without calculating it,” he says.

Yes.

This is why we worry about the math calculations and the check book balance and the doctor’s report and the phone call we never received and the break we never got…we’ve forgotten to run things through the Joy Calculator.

It’s time to sit down and crunch.

The Joy Calculator, it tells the truth. We can always use it and say, “I’ve crunched the circumstances and things look good, real good!”

 

“And we boast in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.

You have need of perseverance so that after you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Romans 5:3, Hebrews 10:36

 

Pastor explains that perseverance is “hoopomone” in Greek and it means “to bear up under.”  Trials give us the ability to bear up under pressure.

And this single characteristic of “hoopomone” is the means to all other virtues and characteristics.

Hoopomone is the “funnel” through which we receive everything!

 

“And let hoopomone have its perfect work, so that the man of God may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:4

 

So the calculating goes something like this:

Trial (fill in blank) + faith = Hoopomone (perseverance) 

Hoopomone = mature, complete, perfect!

 

This…this is why we can calculate everything as joy. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (II Cor 4:17)

So I sit down with the Joy Calculator and I do some crunching. I plug in the circumstances and I apply faith and I see what God is doing and sure enough, out comes the expected result.

Joy.

I keep plugging things in, hard things. Sad things. The worst things I’ve ever experienced.

It is quite unbelievable. No matter what I plug in, the result keeps coming out the same.

I think I’m addicted.

I’ve done some calculating and things look good. In fact, they are glorious and I can’t help but share the wonderful news.

{Want to borrow my calculator this weekend?}

 

Are you encouraged here? I invite you to subscribe to Arabah here for updates.

*Repost from archives. I’m doing more calculating this week~ smile!
 

Moving Beyond

overcomer

 

 

**Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for a must-see video.**

She prayed that she’d reflect God’s glory, that she’d be the aroma of Christ in every place.

That with every spoken word she’d minister grace.

And in every place she’d leave behind footprints… His.

But she didn’t expect the breaking. The darkness. The wondering. The pain.

 

my grace

 

Then she reads and remembers. That

 

“He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many.

If then, yours be a much-tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all-sufficient grace of God. As for His failing you, never dream of it-hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.”

Charles Spurgeon

 

And she knows: If power is perfected in weakness, then you can do more than just survive. You can boast in weakness and distress and infirmities.

And if it’s the impoverished desperate who see the Kingdom, then it’s okay to bare the naked soul. If the hungry are filled, the mourners find comfort, the persecuted rejoice, then it really is okay to live upside down and against the grain.

And if today finds you in the battle… not in the fun-and-games of life, but the battle… then you can rightly say you’re an overcomer.

Because players win. But warriors overcome.

 

 

overcomer

 

The title “more than overcomer” was granted us before the battle even started for it’s been decreed that   “no weapon formed against you will ever prosper.” Being an overcomer is our inheritance from the Lord.

We can not only survive; we can take possession.

So today as she enters the battle, she’ll wear her title with faith, wear her wounds without fear. She’s an overcomer.

 

Are you looking for a meaningful gift for a battle-weary one?

Amy has hand crafted this wrap bracelet based on Numbers 13:30. She can customize your word and she gift wraps each purchase with love and prayers! Use code LOVE316 at checkout to receive a 15% discount. 

Visit Amy’s shop here to view the collection of scripture bracelets so far. A new one will be introduced each month.

overcomer2

Still don’t believe you can do this? Watch the video and be encouraged that You CAN! {Be sure to watch to the end :) }

 

When you need some victory in your day

It was junior high.  I was “brace face” and she was “the fat girl.”

She was a year older than me, and quite pretty with her bold red curls, except no one allowed her an identity beyond her weight.

And I learned certain things can mark us for life.

I know she had to go home every day in tears, the way she was treated. But she came to school and smiled again and did it all over.

Again and again.

And I learned defeat can be like that, beating us down day after day.

Again and again.

I wonder if defeat most often comes the Exodus 17 way? When the Amalekites came up behind the traveling Israelites in the wilderness on their way to the promised land? They were just minding their own business. Oh, those Amalekites were vicious. They had no compassion, showed no mercy. They attacked the weak, the young, the ones who were struggling and lagging.

We have an enemy who attacks us at our weak places. He doesn’t come head on, he slithers up from behind and gets us where we struggle the most.

Again and again.

The fat girl’s name was Pam and I liked her. When she came back for tenth grade, she was different. She wasn’t fat. She was a striking red headed beauty. I would have been intimidated to talk to her, except I knew she was kindhearted.

“Pam, what happened? How did you change so drastically? Your appearance is amazing! What in the world did you do?”

She smiled, beamed really. “Over the summer break, I decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore.”

“I prayed to Jesus and asked Him to help me. Then I got up in the morning~ every morning~ and went for a walk. Each day I prayed and asked Him for help and walked out my front doors and He helped me!”

I should have learned it fro her then, but I didn’t, that Christ is our victory. That Christ is the only victory. That there is no hope apart from Him but that with Him, there is all the hope in the world.

Scholars say that in the Bible, “Amalekite ” refers to our flesh, that old self that trips us up and weighs us down time after time. It attacks us from behind, it devours us when we’re weak and it sabatoges all our plans for living in the Promised Land. We talk much about being Moses and keeping our hands up in the air, but do we focus in on the real part of import?

The part where Yahweh God said, “Write this as a memorial in a book, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And it says it right there in that memorial record that HE Himself wages war against Amalek from generation to generation.

He’s waging it in mine.

He’s waging it in my children’s.

He is waging war against our Amalek, against enemies that sneak in unsuspecting and bring us low and in His name, we can have victory.

“And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, “The LORD is my Banner (Victory).”

It’s something Pam learned in between ninth and tenth grade. She learned the LORD was her victory and every day she flew the banner of the victorious and under the safety of that banner, she opened her door and stepped out and walked. The girl walked.

The first day she walked around the block, huffing and puffing. The next day she did it again. By the end of the week, she could walk a block and a half; by the end of the summer, she was walking several miles.

Pam, she taught me some things. Even now, I recall her words and I learn at her feet.

I learn to raise the Banner and step out into the fray. The Banner flaps victorious overhead.

“We will sing for joy over Your victory, and in the Name of our God we will set up our banners.” Psalm 20:5

 

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*Repost from the archives

When You’re On Your Belly in Enemy Territory

It’s true that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

It’s one reason why I blog…tapping out the struggles and victories, the testimony…it solidifies the gains. It firms the footing.

But it also invites opposition. The public declaration is a smoke signal. It invites war and I’ve learned to think twice before hitting the “publish” button. I know I’ll be tested.

“You sure you want this ground?” the filthy snake mocks. “I’m going to make you fight for it.”

And Sunshine girl, she reminds me how to fight. She lays in bed at night when she’s scared and she says out loud, “It is written…It is written…it is written.” And she decides she isn’t going to run to mom and dad, she’s going to use Words instead, the Words Jesus used to defeat the darkness… and she does.

She does.

It is true that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony.

It is also wise to understand that it isn’t without a fight.

So it is with a bit of trepidation that I scratch this out, this declaration of war from a battle worn soldier deep in the brush and inching forward not on feet or even knees, but slithering through enemy ground on the belly.

I’m tapping out my intent: I’m here to take back my ground.

I’m here to take back my children.

I’m here to reclaim the inheritance.

I’m here to renounce the sins of the fathers that we as God’s people have persisted in.

I’m here to lay down my life if need be. I’m here to win…if not for myself, than for the girls and boys I tuck in at night.

And the message spoken is heard and the skies break open and fury is unleashed and darkness creeps in and I shiver in this downpour and I think of my Sunshine girl.

“It is written,” I whisper fiercely against the howl. “It is written…”

“Though my life I lose, it is written!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Solomon, begotten of God, broke God’s heart. He turned to other gods and the Almighty tore the kingdom away from Solomon because of idolatry. In I Kings 11 He gave ten tribes to Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, with a promise…

“About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country,  and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces.  Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes.”

 

But Jeroboam, when he was up to bat with bases loaded and a no-fail plan in his favor, well Jeroboam failed to believe the promise! He had been given everything by the Only One who matters, yet he failed to believe it.

Instead, he caved to fear.

“Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.

Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”

After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.

Jeroboam built shrines on high places…”

 

“What if I lose control?”  Jeroboam thought. And in his fear, he devised a plan: He introduced a false god.

Jeroboam decided to maintain control through idolatry.

It worked.

For generations the kings followed in the ways of Jeroboam. Even after 200 years, God was saying: “Jeroboam enticed Israel away from following the Lord and caused them to commit a great sin. And to this day, their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.” (II Kings 17:40-41)

Some sins are generational in nature.

They are so woven into our culture and background that we can scarcely recognize them, much less call them what they are: idolatry.

Quite simply, idol worship is a way of life.

Somewhere along the way, fathers cave to fear and try control instead of trust.

With bases loaded and a no-fail promise spoken over their lives, mothers and fathers still cave to fear. We take matters into our own hands.

Some control through legalism.

Some control through hard work and making money and buying security.

Some control through networking and gaining friends.

Some control through self reliance and others through self righteousness and others through self preservation.

And it becomes a way of life, the American way.

It becomes OUR way of life.

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me,    the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns,    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jer 2:13

And when I dare put names to the idols, the broken cisterns in my life, when I renounce them and take a stand against them, the filthy dark creeps up with a low blow and says, “Are you sure you want to go there? You know I’m going to make you fight.”

He looms large and dark overhead and I wonder how a simple, weak woman dares defy his greatness.

Is this how he intimidated Jeroboam?

But Jeroboam died in his sin and now I’m the one up to bat. With bases loaded and a promise over my scrawny little neck.

Perhaps I’m the least likely to succeed, but it’s not about me.

It’s about the Word spoken over me.

So I speak Words out loud: “I renounce secret and shameful ways. I renounce the sins of the fathers…” II Cor 4:2

I will not cave to fear, I will cling to promises.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I know what it’s like to be battle worn. I know what it’s like for those promises to get buried under the mundane of life, under the urgent, under the weight of responsibility and the defeats of life.

And unfortunately, I know what compromise looks like.

If he can’t get us to surrender, the snake talks us into compromise.

But every now and then, when it grows almost too hard, I see the gleam underneath the grime, that buckle of nobility strapped to my waist and I remember the promise and the oath and the calling…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hezekiah spoke to the Levites, the priests of God. “Consecrate yourselves! Remove all defilement! My sons, be not negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him and serve Him, to minister before Him and to burn incense.”

And I imagine the noble throne, the royal Name, the Awesome God I’m chosen to stand before. We are chosen of God! We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people so that we will proclaim His praise.

And so that we will stand.

When you are in the brush on your belly, remember you were chosen to stand.

Don’t be intimidated! Rub the grime off and sweep the mundane back and see the significance. The nobility. Remember the promise!

We are set apart to serve Him and minister before Him and burn incense to Him, the fragrant offering of our lives.

We and our children fulfill a noble calling. We serve our God. 

Today we are up to bat, you and I. It is our turn and bases are loaded and the enemy, he taunts and he mocks and he reminds us of the odds.

But we have a Promise and we have a Purpose and we have a Presence.

May we stand on our promises and say, “Here am I and the children the Lord has given me! We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty.” (Isaiah 8:18)

From every bush and brush scattered around enemy territory, may we say, “We will not retreat and we will not fear. For “it is written…”

 

Now let’s hit the ball out of the park.

 

 

Heather from Raising Mighty Arrows  is another mom standing on her promises and going to bat for her kids.  She is hosting a giveaway today with two winners~ a great chance to snag a copy of Energy Explosion~ smile! I hope you are making plans to join us for the Group Challenge coming up March 26. For details, click here.

 

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For the Exhausted, Fatigued, Overwhelmed Believer~ Let’s Have Church, Shall We?

Night after night, husband works late at the library.

And I cook dinner and do homework and bathe the kids alone and try to sing instead of sigh and by the time husband gets home the clock blinks 10:33pm and I’m in bed, exhausted.

Furlough does not mean rest this time. It means long hours, hard hours, lonely hours, unceasing drive.

I wonder how much he can take, how much I can handle, preparing to go back to a people we’ve never lived amongst.

But this I know…those wonderings are the devil’s bait. If I bite there, I’m caught in the old doubting patterns. I’m the prey on his hook and he reels me in by feeding me line after line about my insufficiency and everything I’ve got to do and my limitations and all the barriers and potential pitfalls and soon I’m in his boat, out of the Water of Life.

A fish can’t live out of water and I can’t live without breathing in Living Water.

There are some roads we each have to travel down before we learn how to avoid them.

If we are weak… and aware of it… our enemy will try to keep our weakness ever in front of us. He knows we will never discover our life hidden in Christ if we are focused on our flesh-limited lives.

I’ve been caught on that bait so many times it isn’t even possible to number. Getting out of the trap, that destructive habitual pattern of thinking, seems impossible.

But with each new day, there comes another chance, another hope, another possibility: I can stay in the Water today. I can live from my identity hidden with Christ.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3″1-3

The only way to live beyond myself is to focus my mind beyond myself. The way to live in the heavenlies is to put my mind there. This is a spiritual discipline Christ wants each of His children to learn. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

What will I meditate on? My problems? My feelings? My limitations?

No, “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your  wonderful works.” Psalm 145:5 It is a vow I’ve made before the Lord.

Perhaps the place for the weak and fatigued to start meditating is on the opposite, contrasting characteristic of God? Can the weak really say they are strong in Christ? Can the feeble truly experience the unfaltering power of God? Can the young man who stumbles really rise up on wings like eagles?

The Bible says it is so.

Therefore, I will Ponder the Power of God. Here are the scriptures I am bringing to mind as exhaustion and fatigue set in. When I feel overwhelmed, I recite Psalm 145:5 and deliberately focus my mind on God’s power. If you friend me on Facebook, there’s also a link there to an inspirational video on God’s power.

“He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power…” Hebrews 1:3

“Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.” I Chronicles 29:12

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.” Isaiah 40:28-29

“Man goes forth to his work And to his labor until evening. They all wait for You, To give them their food in due season. You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.” Psalm 104:23,27-28

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know…the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe…” Ephesians 1:18-19

“So that you will be…strengthened with all power according to His glorious might.” Colossians 1:10-11

“For the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the whole earth that He may strongly support all those whose heart is completely His.” II Chronicles 16:9

 

As I bathe wriggly, tired children, I ponder the sun, that blazing body of energy. It burns day and night, giving light and heat to first one side of the globe, then the other. It is held together and sourced by the Sustainer of Life, just one average expression of His burning power.

As I intervene in a sibling scuffle, I meditate on the “black matter” in space. There is nothing there yet  a gravitational force still pulls. Scientists are baffled; but Christians are not. I ponder the mighty upholding Presence of God in places billions of light years away. His presence that can’t help but draw and pull close.

And I hear Him speak to me. “You’ve asked to know Me, My child. Let’s begin here, with My power, shall we?” 

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…” Phil 3:10

“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13

 

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