Freedom Friday: God’s Response to Ingratitude

I recently wrote this prayer:
You are good. You are faithful. You are showing Yourself to be so.

And yet, I mope. I don’t want to be in a position where I need to rely on You so heavily. Youch, can’t believe I just said that. It shows me the reality that I have been doing things in my own strength for quite some time, and it’s been working well for me.

Now that I’m again in a position where I can’t control much of what is happening and how it happens, I’m grumbling. Even when I see Your miraculous hand of provision, I withhold my gratitude because I’m a bitter, ungrateful child who wants more than manna from heaven.

Lord, forgive me. And more importantly, change me. I do want to be like Jesus. I really do. I want to exemplify His character. Yet what I’m finding in myself are some very dark places. Extreme selfishness. Pride. Self-righteousness. Just ugliness.

I’m so thankful I’m not in charge of fixing these things.

Strong feelings. Difficult to admit.
I’m not the first person to have struggled with these things.

We read in 1 Kings 18 that Elijah had just defeated all the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. He ran in the supernatural power of the Lord to Jezreel, where he heard that Jezebel was going to have him killed.

“And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life.” 1 Kings 19:3 (NASB)

He left his servant in Beersheba and ran into the wilderness, where he “came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.'”

Have you ever said anything like that?

God, enough already! It would just be easier for you to take me up to heaven right now! Then I wouldn’t have to deal with this pain.

A Juniper tree, from Wikipedia

While Elijah was sleeping under that juniper tree, God came.

“Behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, ‘Arise, eat.’ Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.”

No rebuke, no harsh words, no reminders of how clearly God had shown Himself strong just days ago. No.

God reponded with compassion and tender care. He could have sent a bird to feed Elijah, as He had done before. Rather, He sent an angel, to touch Elijah, to be physically present when he felt desperately alone.
God let Elijah take a nap and then said, “Arise, eat.” More rest came and then a second time, “Arise, eat.”
After this supernatural provision, what did Elijah do once he arrived at the mountain of God?

He took up residence in a cave.

Yet still, no rebuke came. Instead, God’s gentle voice asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

God asks, Why are you hiding in this cave?

Elijah replies, “ I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
Everybody’s trying to kill me, God! I’ve served You when no one else would, I’ve loved You when everyone’s trying to destroy You, and this is the thanks I get!

So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.

It took God’s gentle voice to draw Elijah out of that cave. God’s command to go wasn’t enough. Powerful wind wasn’t enough. Earthquake and fire weren’t either. But the sound of gentle blowing (another translation says “a gentle whisper”) drew Elijah of his complacency and self-pity.

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
God then asks again:

“What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Elijah emerges from the cave, possibly slightly more open to God’s leading, but still asking the same painful questions. If you continue to read 1 Kings 19, this is the point where God calls Elisha to succeed Elijah as prophet. Elijah no longer has to feel alone.

Ingratitude runs deep in the hearts of man.
Why is it easy for us to rely on God for one thing, and praise Him when He shows Himself strong, and yet in other things, we are angered we are in a particular position and annoyed and pouty when He still shows Himself faithful?
God, forgive me for taking lightly the riches of Your kindness, Your tolerance and patience with me when I take for granted Your provision, as if You somehow owe me. I give You my life again in gratitude for all that You are and all that I’m not.

Freedom Friday: A Place for Obedience, Part 4

This is a continuation of a post from the last three weeks, part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Last week’s post ended with this:
Jesus also said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) Depending on your background, when you read that passage, you may hear, If I loved God, I would obey Him perfectly, but because I’m not, I must not love Him. This is what I hear, through the filter of knowing God as patient and kind: If I fully love God with all that I have and all that I am, out of that heart of love and trust will flow obedience because I know of His goodness and faithfulness.

Jesus goes on to immediately talk about the Holy Spirit, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” v. 16-17

It is not a coincidence that Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit immediately after obedience. God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us love Him fully and to empower us to obey His commands. He sent us His spirit so we can act like the free person He already made us to be.

How do we act like a free person? We all have those moments where we are tempted to act like our old self and not like a free person, those moments where we are:
Tempted to sin
Tempted to see ourselves in any other way than how God sees us
Tempted to believe the lies we have bought into and fall back into old patterns
Tempted to take our unhealthy/unhelpful thoughts and run with them

A free person grows to realize the temptation she is experiencing is common to man. She chooses to act as if she were free rather than act as if she is still enslaved to that temptation and has no choice but to give in.

A free person would say to that lie about his identity, “That’s not what Jesus says about me!” A free person would say to that boundary violation, “I will leave the room if you continue to speak to me that way.” A free person would reason, “In the past, my emotions have felt overwhelming, so rather than choose to feel them, I chose to medicate my emotions through food, sex, power, escape. I can make different choices today, knowing that I can experience these emotions and they won’t suffocate me because I can handle anything with the Freedom Giver and other freedom seekers at my side.”

This isn’t just about saying no to sin, though that is an important piece. It’s about saying no to bondage in all its forms and saying yes to throwing off the chains.

We are training to run a new race.
When we were slaves to sin, our body and mind were trained, when faced with temptation, to respond a certain way. We gave in to the negative thoughts, we let our boundaries be trampled on, we believed the lies we’d been told. An athlete needs to discipline himself to train, when it might feel more natural to sit on the couch and watch TV. Similarly, we too need to train and discipline ourselves so that when we are faced with temptation, we, like Joseph in Genesis 39, flee the scene rather than give in to old habits and say yes.

“From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time―remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!―into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.” Romans 6:11-14 (MSG, emphasis mine)

There are a million different reasons why we choose to give in to old behaviors/patterns/choices rather than choosing to act free. It’s not just because it feels good or natural. For many of us, these old ways of responding are all we have ever known. We may have begun self-medicating with various behaviors at a young age because we lacked coping mechanisms to deal with the painful trials in our lives. We wanted to escape uncomfortable feelings. We felt lonely, rejected, or unlovable – so we went out and tried to hook up with someone. We overate. We overspent. We fantasized. The feelings were still there, but we got to avoid them for awhile. We may have felt entitled to the temporary pleasure and relief of sin, telling ourselves, I deserve this. It has simply become a habit. It’s just the way we are, and what we’ve always done.

Except it’s not the way we are anymore! If we are in Christ, we are now slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18). We have the capacity and ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to make different choices.

When we start actively saying no to our old nature and way of doing things, we need to make sure we have our support system in place to help us follow through (back to Freedom Step Two) and to hold us accountable. I heard someone who struggled with same-sex attraction share in his testimony that he would go to his counseling appointments, feel all these overwhelming feelings, and on the way home, he’d hook up with someone. Finally, he contacted a friend and said something to the effect of, “Look, I just need someone to hang out with me for a couple hours after my appointment.” Learning appropriate self-care is part of acting like a free person. Learning to voice your wants and needs is part of choosing to act like a free person. And learning to sit with those uncomfortable feelings, turning them continually over to God, is also part of learning to walk in freedom.

That is Freedom Step Five: Act like a free person.

Next week, I will write about owning your choices.

Freedom Friday: Responding to God’s Discipline

God is doing a work in me
He’s walking through my rooms and hails
Checking every corner
Tearing down the unsafe walls
And letting in the light

Sara Groves Help Me Be New

I’ve been practicing living a lifestyle of hearing (mentioned last week). A lifestyle of waiting on God.

“My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:6 (NIV1984)

I was hoping through all this waiting and listening to hear some sort of massive revelation about what’s next in our lives. Or to catch a glimpse of some grand plan that God has for me.

Instead, what I’m receiving is correction.

I wish I could say my response to correction is always thankfulness and receptive humility. Not usually. Instead, I respond as my children often do to discipline: I alternate between wanting to lash out in anger or denial and trying to hide in shame.

I mostly just mope. It’s not fun to have your imperfection revealed to you. Isaiah knows what this feels like.

“It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”

It’s easy to write, speak and sing about how I desire to be all God wants be to be, how the cry of my heart is to be more like Him, how I want to learn to walk in the fullness of all He created me to be. But the reality of correction is that it’s painful and challenging.

When God puts His finger on something in our hearts or lives that needs to be changed, how should we react?

1. Gratitude. God is speaking to us and doing what a good father does: discipline His children. Discipline is not a dirty word. It simply means to disciple or correct. Discipline is how we grow. So we can thank God for caring enough about us to speak to us about things that are keeping us from living in the fullness of who He created us to be.

“If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;
but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.”
Proverbs 15:32 (NLT)

2. Humility. False humility, overwhelming grief, self-punishment: these are all forms of pride. Pride declares that the cross is not enough. Pride says I must hide in shame, just as in the garden. Pride says I mist somehow punish myself or make up for the fact that I’m not perfect. To punish myself is to deny the cross.

“The punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5b (NIV1984)

We can choose to accept God’s correction without moping or denial, but rather with true humility and thankfulness. True humility exercises our surrendering muscles and declares to God, “You are able to take care of me, to shape me, and I trust You to do just that.”

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

3. Prayer. We can go to prayer with the thing God has shown us. Sometimes, we need more guidance and direction. Other times, we need His peace to confirm what we’ve heard. Mainly, I think we just need to experience His love & acceptance in that moment and gather the strength and grace we need in order to accomplish whatever He has asked of us.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

4. Action. Whether the thing God speaks to us requires a simply tweaking or a complete overhaul, we need to act on what He has said. Write it down. Tell a friend. Pray with someone. And act. Hearing and responding to God takes practice. You may not always get it exactly right. Remember that God is a good father. Good, healthy parents never expect their children to be perfect. Their kids are not mocked or shunned for trying to be obedient, but making a mistake. As we try to be obedient to what we thought we heard, God will give us grace and rejoice over our effort.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 (NIV1984)

Sarah Groves puts it well in her song:

I am working hard
To clean my house and set it straight
To not let pride get in the way
To catch an eternal vision of
What I am to become

True freedom is learning to walk in the fullness of all God created you to be. We can accept the Lord’s discipline with gratitude, humility, prayer and action because He is a good father.

How has the Lord been disciplining you lately? How have you chosen to respond?

Monday Morning Meditation: Search for God’s Strength

“Search for the LORD and for his strength;
and keep on searching.” Psalm 105:4

What does the Bible have to say about God’s strength?

God Himself is our strength (**Scripture references for this section are below). He also arms us with strength, renews our strength and gives us strength. Christ strengthens us to do all things. Our strength comes from God’s grace. He gives us strength to do His work and use our gifts to help others. When we are weak, we can be strong in Him.

“Search for the LORD and for his strength;
and keep on searching.” Psalm 105:4

The passage implies that God’s strength may not always be obvious. It’s something that needs to be looked for and sought after continually. I imagine part of that is because we are broken and imperfect people. In the parable of the sower, Jesus talked about how God’s message can be “crowded out by the worries of this life.” I know I am prone, when I hear an encouraging word from Scripture, to walk away, excited and invigorated about the great God we serve. Then when life bombards me with trials and challenges, I often lose sight of what God has shown me about His character. This is one reason I keep a journal. It serves as a stone of remembrance, a reminder of the things His Word says, and also the words He’s spoken to me directly.

Could you use a dose of God’s strength today? Ask Him for strength. Remind Him of His promises, some of which are listed above. And search. Keep your eyes open to the creative ways He will provide His strength.

** Scripture references for those characteristics of God & strength: Psalm 46:1, Psalm 18:32, 39, Psalm 23:3, Psalm 29:11, Philippians 4:13, Hebrews 13:9, 1 Timothy 1:13, 1 Peter 4:11, 2 Corinthians 12:10

Note to readers: I am currently reading the Life Recovery Bible. This Bible’s NLT seems to have slight differences there when compared to the NLT at

Freedom Friday: Is Jesus All We Need?

I try to share in this blog only the things that God is showing me or things concerning which He’s been working in me.

God has been showing me many things lately. Painful things. Ways I desperately need Him. Struggles He wants to free me from that I didn’t even know I had.

I try to live a lifestyle of hearing, as Bob Hamp says in one of his video teachings, a lifestyle where I welcome both God’s direction and His correction. I’m getting there 🙂

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT)

One reason I share here is that years ago, God made it clear to me my story is His to use. I am mostly willing. Sometimes, it is more difficult than others (like when I published an article on self-injury) and occasionally in those fleeting moments, I’d much prefer to appear as if I have it all figured out.

Honestly, though, I’ve tried to live for a long time as if I had it all together, and it’s exhausting.

God told me almost 12 years ago that He did not rescue me from so many things so that I would walk around, still ashamed, as if they still have power over me.

“But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and
I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.” Psalm 73:28

Thus, today, I always try to live my life in an open & authentic way. This is how God has called me, personally, to live.

I wrote about desiring God on Monday, from Psalm 73.

This is something I’ve been considering for awhile: is Jesus all we need?

God seems to speak to me when I’m driving long distances, alone in my car. Maybe this is because I have time by myself to focus, sing, pray, breath (the life of a mom!).

On a recent road trip, as I was listening to worship music in the car, the singer declared, “All I need is You, Lord.” I sang along with gusto and sincerity. I meant what I was saying.

Immediately, I felt a little pang in my heart. God spoke, “Is that really true? Am I really all you need?”

My response was tears. I knew God was putting His finger on an area of my life that needed some serious work.

How often have we thought consciously or acted as if this the following thoughts were true: “If only I had…. If only this situation would resolve…. If only this were different, then I could be at peace…. Then I could be happy and content.”

In that moment on that trip, God flashed before my eyes all the things I really thought I need:
A happy life, a great ministry, a thriving career, a fantastic marriage, a new personal record on my next race, more money, more time, more sleep, more……

The reality is I have many of those things. God has blessed me in ways that a decade ago, I couldn’t even have imagined. But I can be so short-sighted. I get tunnel vision. I fixate on the few things that aren’t exactly how I hoped they would be and completely lose sight of all the amazing gifts God has placed in my lap.

God challenged me in that moment, “Do you really need all of those things in order to feel content? Or do you just need me?”

“Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth.” Psalm 73:25

This is a bit of tricky territory because it’s not quite as cut & dry as “All I need is Jesus.” This is a half-truth that has been spread by the church and has actually perpetuated much hurt and unhealth.

I strongly believe healing happens in the context of community. I preach & live James 5:16, that we must confess our sins and pray for one another, so that we may be healed.

Well, that’s not just Jesus, right? The Bible tells us in James & many other places that we need other people, not just Jesus.

This is true. God also made us so that we require water, food and oxygen to live.

The heart of the question God asked me in that moment was really: “Am I really all you need in order to live a contented life? Or are you waiting for all these other things to come to fruition in order to have joy and fulfillment?”

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26

I want God alone to be the strength of my heart. To be my contentment and joy. When I look to other things to fulfill me, I start to get bitter. Entitled. Envious. When I look to Jesus to fulfill me, I am able to recognize just how blessed I already am. In that way, He is the heart of all I need.

Is Jesus all you need in order to have contentment and joy? Is He the heart of your desires?

Monday Morning Meditation: Desiring God

Do you ever read something in Scripture that really gives you pause?

I wish it happened more frequently. I’m sure the infrequency of this has much more to do with me than with God. I sit down to read, simply going through the motions, not really stopping to consider what God might be speaking or what I might be hearing. Sure, I keep my journal close, but often my Bible reading is just something I need to check off my “To Do” list.

In any event, I was reading Psalm 73 recently, a psalm I know fairly well, when the words gave me pause.

“Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.” Psalm 73:25

The psalmist goes on:

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26

Do I really desire God more than anything on earth? Wow. I don’t know if I can say that. It’s a nice sentiment, but I’d be pretty upset if my health failed. I think about how frustrated I’d be if I had to stop running for some reason. This may seem silly to some of you, but all the runners just shouted “Amen!” Running literally keeps me sane. It helps me to release anger, to think clearly, even to connect with God.

If I had to stop running, would God show Himself as the strength of my heart?

On Freedom Friday this week, the post will be “Is Jesus All We Need?” and I will expound on this a bit. Until then, I encourage you to reflect on the scriptures quoted here. And pray with me, “God, heal my heart so that I desire You more than anything.”

“Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.” Psalm 73:25-26

Note to readers: I am currently reading the Life Recovery Bible. The NLT seems to have slight differences there when compared to the NLT at

Freedom Friday: Learning Contentment

Most babies are born content. (Not all. Ask my first!)

My 2nd son was the most peaceful baby I had ever met. He seemed completely unaware of any disruption around him. Sometimes, I’d put him down in his bassinet to do something, and he’d spontaneously fall asleep.

He didn’t have to learn to be content. He didn’t have to study to become that way. He just was.

Unfortunately, as we go through life, we seem to unlearn contentment. Our trust fades. We become jaded. The cares of the world seem overwhelming and burdensome. We take them on ourselves as a burden we think we should be able to carry.

I have this excerpt of Philippians 4 by my desk on my office wall.

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

If you would like to see the passage with clickable links to the Greek words, here it is.

After staring at this passage for quite some time one day, I noticed something: Paul said, “I have learned to be content.” It wasn’t something that just came naturally to him.

The Greek word that is translated “content” in verse 11, Autarkes, is not used anywhere else in the Bible. Here are some of its meanings:

sufficient for one’s self, strong enough or processing enough to need no aid or support
independent of external circumstances
contented with one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest

Paul goes on to say that he has “learned the secret” of being hungry or full, having abundance or want. The Greek word used there, Mueo, translated as “learned the secret” is also not used anywhere else in the Bible. It means:

to initiate into the mysteries
to teach fully, instruct
to accustom one to a thing
to give one an intimate acquaintance with a thing

To become instructed in. To become intimately acquainted with. To learn, independent of external circumstances, the mystery of contentment.

How are some ways we can learn to be content, no matter the circumstances?

1. Rest. Stop striving. Stop trying to fix everything. Hand it over to God. And then hand it over again. Let Him give you strength, as the passage recommends.

A month or two ago, God spoke to me and said, “If the burden is too heavy, then it’s not yours to carry.” Stop “should-ing” on yourself, and start resting in God, allowing Him to speak into your life and teach you to be content.

2. Pray. Something I’ve realized is that being content in all circumstances does not mean we don’t pray for our circumstances to change. In fact, earlier in chapter 4 of Philippians, Paul commands, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” It simply means we’re content even if they don’t.

As the Greek implies, contentment is based on the internal, not the external. This is a lesson I’m still learning. It’s Christ in me, strengthening me, working in me, changing me, that is the source of my contentment. And yet we’re commanded to ask & keep on asking, like the persistent widow in Luke 18. I need to find that balance between acceptance and prayerful request.

3. Trust. Learning contentment means we choose to trust God, even if our circumstances don’t change. It means we actively choose to trust that He is good, He is faithful, and He will show up. As Paul says later in chapter 4 to the church in Philippi, “my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

In what areas of your life could you use some contentment today? How is God wanting to teach you contentment, and in what areas is God waiting for you to ask for His help?

Freedom Friday: Finding Peace

Ladies & gentlemen, we are leaving this afternoon to travel to a conference where I will be speaking. I can hardly contain my excitement! I know that God is going to do something amazing in the minds & hearts of the men & women attending the conference. That’s just who He is.

I’m just going to leave you with a short thought today.

I’m struck more & more by the fact that peace is not external. Even after a challenging day with the kids, a difficult conversation with a friend, a phone call with painful news, I can still have peace.

Jesus said in the gospel of John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you.” He has given us peace. I once heard a speaker say we don’t need to pray for peace because we already have it. That’d be like praying for a chair you’re already sitting in. It’s more accurate to pray that the peace Jesus left you with would rise up within you and give you a sense of calm, no matter what is going on around you.

Let’s look at the context of Jesus’s words: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

The world will always give you things that have the potential to frustrate you, worry you and trouble your heart. When that happens, you have a choice. You can choose to embrace those worries and frustrations and let your heart be troubled. Or you can choose to turn to God. We can ask God, through the Holy Spirit, to remind us of everything Jesus has taught and given to us. We have a choice to let our hearts be troubled – or not. We have a choice to receive Jesus’s peace – or not.

Later in the same talk that Jesus gave to the disciples, He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Take heart! You can choose internal peace today, no matter what is going on in your world.

Ask God to teach you about maintaining a peaceful heart.

Freedom Friday: Who is Your Strength?

This is going to be short today! It’s been a crazy week, and my desktop computer is being temperamental. Today, it won’t turn on, so I’m typing to you from my super-slow, barely functional little netbook.

An exercise in patience, for sure!

I am still reading through 2 Samuel and the Psalms, and earlier this week, I read through Psalm 59.

“You are my strength; I wait for You to rescue me, for You, O God, are my place of safety.” Psalm 59:9 (NLT)

God is our strength.

The Hebrew word translated as “strength” here is also translated as fortress, loud, might, mighty, power, stern, strength, strong, or stronghold.

Stop & think of a moment this week when you needed strength. What source did you draw on? Friends? Coffee? Food? Untapped energy reserves?

I wrote in “The Freedom Found in Brokenness” about Paul’s realization concerning God needing to be the source of His strength. When we’re doing well, feeling pretty free, experiencing some victory, we can slowly forget who our source is, who the giver of strength should be.

Verse 16 says, “But as for me, I will sing about Your power. I will shout with joy each morning because of Your unfailing love, for You have been my refuge, a place of safety in the day of distress.”

This verse struck me on this particular morning because I had not gone running, but had attempted to sleep in (and failed). Instead, I was sitting on my chilly porch, shivering in the early morning hours, hoping to get some quiet time in before the kids awoke. I decided I should stop, read that verse aloud, and (quietly) shout for joy!

That word “power” is the same word translated in verse 9 as “strength”. We are encouraged to sing about God’s power, His strength, and His might.

If we are going to learn to walk in freedom, if we are going to become who God created us to be, we will need to learn to continually rely on God, to draw from Him as our source of strength. It comes much more naturally to me, as a sleep-deprived mom, to rely on coffee! But Gods’ strength is much more effective than caffeine 🙂

The Psalm ends with this declaration: “O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.”

Say that with me today. Stop for a minute, take a deep breath, open your heart and allow God to be your strength.

Make Paul’s declaration your own: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Secure in His Treasure Pouch

No, it’s not Friday (sorry!). I just felt like sharing something with you all today 🙂

Yesterday in my Bible reading, I came across this verse. This is spoken by Abigail, the wife of Nabal, a wealthy man whom David inquired of, asking for provisions. Nabal refused, and David sought to take Nabal’s life. Abigail ran out to meet David & his men with provisions, to appeal to him.

Are you ready to take this in?

“Your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch!” 1 Samuel 25:29 (NLT)

This was spoken to David, but I believe it’s true for all of us. We are secure in Christ, treasured by God, as I wrote last week, His favorite.

Something big happened today in the life of my family. It feels big to me. Thus, God’s faithfulness is almost tangible, His presence felt and sensed.

God treasures you. In fact, He has declared that the lions may grow weak & hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Is there something you desire in your life, but are afraid to ask for?

Take the risk. Ask. Taste & see that the Lord is, indeed, so good.