Tuesday, May 10, 2011

~Strength~

Today I was thinking about strength. Some of us seem to naturally have more than others, but aside from being a strong character due to gifting, it is something that must be cultivated.

If we exercise our bodies the muscles gain strength. If we cease from activity for a length of time, muscles weaken or even atrophy. So too strength of character takes exercise and commitment to stick with it.

True strength can only come from One Source.

The Bible is full of references to God being our strength:
Isaiah 41:10 (very popular!)
"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Psalm 46:1
"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble."

Psalm 18:1
"I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. "

Psalm 28:7
"The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song. "

Psalm 118:4; Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 12:2
"The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation. "

Habakkuk 3:19
" The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights. "

It is also full of references to God *giving* us strength.
Isaiah 40:29-31
"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."

Psalm 18: 32, 33
"It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights."

Philippians 4:13
" I can do everything through him who gives me strength. "

2 Thessalonians 3:3
"But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."

God has often used trials in life to strengthen me, and I hear other believers have the same experience. God will give you the strength for whatever you are called to go through, but not whatever your friend is call to or your neighbor... or even your imagined troubles. Don't say "I could never _____." because you won't be given the strength until you need it and seek it!

When you face trials of many kinds, you have a choice how to walk through it. This will also dictate what grows within you. Will you choose to seek strength from the Only Source that can help? or let that part atrophy? Maybe you are naturally strong so you try to do everything in your own strength? I fall into this trap quite a bit, but I always find that my strength fails! Only walking in His strength am I able to do any good thing!

So, what should we do when we face trials and need strength?
Seek His Face, Remember His deeds and tell others about them, Thank Him, Glory in Him and Rejoice! Let the Joy of the Lord be your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10b)
1 Chronicles 16:8-12 says
"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced"

In the words of Paul,
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 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. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:14-21)

What scriptures encourage your heart?
Are you a naturally strong person who tries to do it all in your own strength?
What do you do to remain strong?

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