Tag: strength

Songs in the Night

Where is God my maker, who gives songs in the night (Job 35:10)

moon starsHave you ever been in the dark? Literally? Figuratively?

Not a fun place to be. I believe God created us to want the light, to seek the light. So even in the night time, He gave us the moon and stars to light our way. Even a little bit of light draws our attention and dispels darkness.

jesus-g46521aded_640I believe that He IS the Light that can guide us in the “dark” times of our lives. Those times of  disappointment, doubt, and discouragement, we don’t need to despair because God is with us and can teach us lessons in the dark. Even give us a song!

In the 1800s, William Taylor was a missionary for decades, traveling around the world; preaching and writing books. In a letter to a suffering friend he wrote: “The strength of the vessel can be demonstrated only by the hurricane, and the power of the Gospel can be fully shown only when the Christian is subjected to some fiery trial. If God would make manifest the fact that ‘He giveth songs in the night’ He must first make it night.”

guy guitarI have been in such fiery trials that I consider dark times. It’s easy to sit down and have a pity party. But when I have turned my attention to the Lord, He has responded by giving me songs. And hope.

I pray that whatever darkness you’re facing, you will call out to God and receive His comfort. That you will recall His faithfulness to you in the past. And be encouraged that He has a plan and purpose for you.

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May your eyes be open to His Light.

And your ears be attuned to the sweet song He sings to you.

Here is a song He gave to me at one of those times:

clef-g79de2a29a_640He Gives Strength

All was dark and dreary I could not see the light

            Sadness all around me, nothin’ was goin’ right

I picked up a Bible and tried to hold it near

            There I found a message I really needed to hear

Chorus

He gives strength to the weary and increases their power

He says “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed!”

He gives strength to the weary

He says “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed!”

I began to take those words He said to me to heart

Started feeling hope from God, He had done His part

I thought what I’d been feeling was hidden from the Lord

            But He knows every part of me and I have His Word, that

Chorus

He gives strength to the weary and increases their power

He says “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed!”

He gives strength to the weary

He says “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed!”

The Bible has a promise for those who hope in the Lord:

            He will renew your strength and help you learn to soar

You will soar like eagles and run but not grow tired

That is God’s own promise, He will lift you higher

Chorus

He gives strength to the weary and increases their power

He says “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed!”

He gives strength to the weary

He says “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed!”

“Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed!”

Isaiah 40:29-31; 41:10

©1989 Laura Fail Shaffer

Live in the Light

Spring is coming!

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This is my favorite time of the year.  Maybe because the First day of Spring is my birthday!

But also because it brings me out of the cold and dark time of year and into the warmth and light.

Especially this year, I am ready to be delivered out of the darkness of this last year and into the light of new promise.

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Last year saw much illness: the diagnosis of an auto-immune disease that came with unkind medications and breast cancer, and my father’s last battle with lung disease and then his death.  It saw diminishing energy, fatigue, and discouragement over many losses.

God was good to give me some bright spots. Two sons’ weddings and a trip to Hawaii were very joyful.

But I am ready for life in the full sun.  Just as teachers and kids everywhere are enthusiastically counting the weeks till school is out, I am ready and eager for being done with cancer, and medication’s side effects.

2 Peter 1:4 tells me “I have given you very great and precious promises.” So, I am ready to draw my strength from God and those promises.

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The first thing that gives me strength is my identity in Christ.

 

Contrary to that little voice I sometimes hear reminding me how stupid I’ve been and how worthless I am, I know that in truth, I am a daughter of the King of the universe!

Among other things, Scripture tells me:

I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.  Colossians 3:12

I am a daughter/son of light and not darkness.  I Thessalonians 5:5

I have been made righteous.  2 Corinthians 5:21

I am free forever from condemnation.  Romans 8:1

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Next I need to know His promises.

 

Some promises are for all Believers, so I can draw strength from knowing that:

I may approach God with boldness, freedom and confidence.   Ephesians 3:12

I have been given the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

I am God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the work, which He has prepared in advance for me.  Ephesians 2:10

To know His personal promises to me, I need to be in His Word so I can hear Him speak them.  Sometimes a new meaning becomes evident in a scripture I haven’t noticed or understood before. Or maybe a familiar passage suddenly has a unique application to something in my life.  Sometimes I feel a conviction telling me to pay attention, that this is for me.

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And finally, I need to live and act as if I believe those promises.

So since I believe I am a daughter of the King, I need to think and behave that way.  Because I believe I have been given a spirit of power and love then I will act in love and be empowered when I come up against a challenge.

Knowing that I am God’s handiwork gives me confidence to step boldly into the light this Spring.  And like Paul, be ready to “take hold of that for which God has taken hold of me.”  Philippians 3:12

I pray that you too will be energized and empowered by the light that Spring brings.  And will live and walk in the light of your true identity from God and in His promises.

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Are you frozen?

shoulder sling

My shoulder is frozen.

For the third time.

And it’s not even cold outside!

The muscles have frozen the joint in place so that it requires rehabilitation for months before I can even do a simple thing like reach to the side. It is maddening, because I know that my arm was created to work with a range of motions, flexibility, and strength. And it used to accomplish those things painlessly all the time. Now, it simply won’t.

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It is so frustrating when you have to do Physical Therapy for a part of your body that no longer functions the way you know it should. Even the simplest tasks become a challenge.

 

Part of me is angry for taking for granted all the times I moved and my body performed effortlessly, without giving a thought of appreciation for this gift.

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Part of me is frustrated that my body operates so slowly now, and movement is accompanied by pain. I get so discouraged and impatient with it because it won’t do the things I know it should.

 

And it makes me wonder how God must feel when we don’t do the things He knows we can do. He has prepared work for us here on earth. And He has given each of us the necessary gifts, talents, experiences, training, and personality to join Him in this work. And yet, we hold back.

We don’t do it. Many times, we’re simply afraid that we can’t. Frozen. But God knows we can because it’s what He created us for!

As frustrated as I am with my shoulder, how much more frustrated is God with me? And yet, He is not a person with the shortcomings and limitations of a man. He is so much more patient than I am. And He is so much more powerful than I am. And He is able to provide the healing that overcomes freezing!

What has God prepared you to do? How can you see Him at work in your life? What gifts, talents, experiences and training can you use for His purpose?  Don’t be afraid. Let God work His Physical Therapy through you and show you what can be accomplished!

 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen me.  Show me how to use what You’ve given me to accomplish all You have for me.  Empower me to overcome whatever fear has frozen me.

Heal me!

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If a Rose needs support – do I?

rosetrellis

I bought a trellis for my rose bush this weekend.

It’s for its own good.

It gives stability for the plant’s long, gangly branches that hang down to the ground. And it provides a framework to display its beauty.

But does the rose understand what I’m doing for it?

Does it resent being tied to a frame – limiting its growth to one direction or one plane? Is it grateful for the support? The stability it offers? Will it feel different from the other plants that don’t get that kind of support?

 

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This project caused me to think about my life and how I am like a rose bush

I want to have the freedom to go in any direction I choose or feel led. But do I need a trellis?  And would that look like for me?

 

 

book-1936547_640For me, the Bible gives me guidance, structure, some might say wisdom. But do I see it as wisdom and embrace it willingly? Always? Or sometimes, do I see it as restriction, leading me in a limited path that seemingly restricts my freedom?

 

I would love to say I embrace it all the time. But I have fought it, tried to get around it, occasionally wondered what my life would be had I taken a different path.

I hope, with the support of the trellis, my rose bush will stand tall, displaying its beauty and fragrance for all to enjoy.

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And I hope my life will be the same. That God will be my gardener. And that I will embrace His Word to direct, guide, encourage, support and strengthen me whenever and however I need it. So that I will stand tall, displaying His honor and His grace for all to see.

 

I feel like a boat…

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Oh Lord

I feel like a boat

heading into a storm

fearful of what lies ahead

yet knowing I was built to withstand exactly this:

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the high winds

the deep swells

the powerful surges of waves

that will crash around me

and wash over me

and test the limits of the strength of my construction.

I know I was made, created, put together by the powerful hands of a carpenter who knew beforehand the purpose of my life, the places I would go, and the perils I would face. Knowing all this, the Carpenter lovingly chose the wood perfectly – to match the force of the stresses that would be brought against it. Because that is the mark of a good and wise carpenter.

And He carefully and meticulously fashioned my shape: my bow, my stern, my hull, masts, even my sails, to create exactly the boat He envisioned.

rough-sea-2624054_640The strength of a boat is only put to the test by the strength of the storms it battles and survives. We never know how strong the wood, the construction is, until it comes through a storm. The strength is there all the time. But the demonstration of that strength, is in the storm.

 

I don’t know my own strength. But my Carpenter knows. He made me. He crafted me. He built strength into me that will only be demonstrated by the storms I weather. So, with confidence, and faith, I will enter the darkness, the winds and waves, the rain and thunder and lightening. And I see my deliverance on the other side. Where the waters are calm. And the winds are favorable. And the sky is blue. And my Carpenter (who is my Creator, my Heavenly Father, my Savior, and my Lord) stands smiling. Because He knew all along.

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“The Lord is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…they will not sweep over you.” Isaiah 43:2