I am not strong.


As the Lord spoke to me this morning from 2 different passages of His Word, and was delivering this message right into my heart, I grabbed a hold of what He had to say and what His offer is for my current heart condition and current life circumstances.

I’ll start with the Eternal Word that changes lives and hearts:

The LORD reigns; He is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed;

He has put on strength as His belt.

Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!

Psalm 93:1, 4

Paul’s pray for the church in Colossae:
“May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father…”

Colossians 1:11-12

I daily face challenges where I say, “I can’t do this,” “I can’t handle this,” or “I don’t want to do this.” I am not currently experiencing a tragedy. I am not being persecuted for naming the Name of Christ. No, I am a wife and a mommy who daily (sometimes moment by moment) struggles to give to Jesus what is rightfully His: my life.

Psalm 93 and Colossians 1 spoke right into that.

I am not strong. I realize this more and more as I age, as I grow more in Christ, as I continue on in marriage, as I raise my children, manage my house, finances, ministry joys and burdens. For as long as I have been a follower of Christ, I have been slightly bewildered by the verse, “When I am weak, then I am made strong.” Although, theoretically I understood the meaning for all these years, I didn’t really understand what that practically would look like, having never been aware of my weakness. But I have recently realized that it is one of those verses that is made clear through experience. I am weak, fragile, without strength, stamina, endurance or ability. I am not “mom enough,” wife enough, mommy enough, housekeeper enough, pastor’s wife enough, friend enough, or Godly enough. And I never will be. Through minor sufferings (though nothing like some people are going through at this very moment or what I may go through in the future), I have become acquainted most personally with the understanding of what being made strong through weakness means.

It means that CHRIST is our strength. We are weak, He is strong. Compare and contrast me to Him and He comes out the clear winner and victor every time. So today, when I read passages like Psalm 93, whereas I formerly would retort, “Of course, God is strong,” I now rejoice and exult, take refuge in and shelter myself in the truth that He has girded Himself with strength and I ONLY need to be in Him to receive the strength I need. Our God is indeed strong, and it is never seen clearer as when we are weak.

So, Colossians 1’s prayer is given weight.

“That I may be strengthened” (by One robed in majesty)
“According to His glorious might” (the One who has put on strength as His belt)
“For” (in order that I might receive something… namely…)
“Endurance, Patience, Joy, Thanksgiving” (to the One who has endured, was patient in affliction, joyful in suffering… thankful to the One mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea.)

As I walk through various trials, as I pray fervently for friends aching and going through great hardships and sufferings, heavier than they can themselves bear, as I am engulfed by many waters and mighty waves of the sea, may I look up. Look up to the One on high, who is girded with strength and who is mightier than the waters and the waves. Of the Pacific ocean and of my daily struggles and sufferings.

“He is stronger, He is stronger, Sin is broken, He has saved me.” And He will strengthen because He alone has sufficient and unwavering, sustainable and supreme strength.

Fruit From the Vine: Benediction

The benediction from Numbers 6 has found its way onto artwork, bookmarks and into the fronts of countless books. It has often been a blessing nicely laid on believers at the end of a church service or a wedding.

It goes like this,

“The LORD (YHVH) bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

It often falls a little flat. Not because God’s Word falls flat, of course. But the way in which we use it feels a little plastic and generic, if not egocentric. As if the whole world revolves around us and our graduation or our church service or our wedding. Of course the LORD does bless, does keep, does shine, does give grace, does give peace. But why? Because we’re great? Because we’re worthy? Obviously not.  Simply for the fact that we’re His children and He wants to bless us like we do our own kids? Maybe. But maybe there’s more.

Ps 67 sheds light.

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us. THAT your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!” (Psalm 67:1-2, 7)

He blesses and keeps us that we may make Him known. Definitely not so that we can keep it to ourselves. Not so that we can put bumper stickers on our car that say, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven!” Not so that we can live these easy, comfortable, self-centered lives, enjoying God’s gifts and pleasures, and even saying “thank you for your gifts, God,” all the while denying the gift-giver by hoarding the gifts to ourselves. He gives us His blessing so that we can bless others… with Him!  So that the lost might be saved. So people in your city, workplace and even your own household might know Him and fear Him. So that people, nations, and tribes to the end of the earth might know His way and that He is a God who saves.

Don’t put your light under a basket or bury your entrusted treasure in the ground where it’s “safe.” Don’t be safe, be generous. Let others know about the God who blesses you. Not for bragging rights, but for the purpose that He might bless them, too. You have His gifts and favor. Now, live and breathe and move to make Him famous!

[photo credit]

Fruit from the Vine: What Do You Want?

Psalm 62

Verse 1: For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.

Verse 2: He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

verse 10: If riches increase, set not your heart on them.

verse 12: …to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.

What is it that you want? What is it that you think, “if I had this, I would be content.” Whatever it is, stop setting your heart on it/them and set your heart on God!

“Riches” can be replaced with anything here. Promotions, position, recognition, material things, talent, jobs, health, safety, hobbies, ministry, etc… Whatever it is that your heart desires. Whatever you are setting your affections on in place of Jesus is an idol.  Don’t allow your sinful, prone flesh to worship it. Don’t idolize it. Break down the idols in your life and heart. Do not set your heart on them any longer.

In this Psalm David says he wants God ALONE. He won’t be shaken because his foundation is the Lord. (Interesting also that Lord here is not YHVH, the holy Name of God, but Adonai– Master). David is purposing to steadfastly love Him alone, knowing that God rewards those that earnestly seek Him and those who turn away from serving idols to serve the Living God.

So seek HIM and nothing else. If good things in your life increase, whether it be money or hobby or ministry, first know that it is from the Lord Himself that you have even received these things. After that acknowledgment, don’t tie your affection up in any of it.

Our GOD is the goal, He is the aim, He is the prize the great reward!