Tag Archives: strength

Whatever Happens

The Bible tells us to rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). This is very difficult, because we often find ourselves in circumstances that are not so delightful. Nonetheless, no matter what is going on in our lives, our heavenly Father is always deserving of honor, glory, and praise. This does not change with circumstances. Whatever happens – rejoice in the Lord!

Today, remind yourself to rejoice in the Lord. Take time to praise Him for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He has promised. “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).

“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” – Philippians 3:1 [NLT]


Wholehearted Commitment

It is hard to be committed to something. In life, we must be committed to something. For those who are married, you should be committed to your marriage. For those who are employed, you should be committed to your work. If you have children, you should be committed to raising the children. When we look at commitments to God, we must look at a wholehearted commitment.

What does it mean to be wholeheartedly committed? It means that you are not waking up one day ready to serve Jesus and then serving yourself the next day. Wholehearted commitment is about consistency. It is about sacrifice. It is about being all in, without holding anything back.

Today, ask if you are wholeheartedly committed. Do you love God with all your heart? Do you love the God with all your soul? Do you love God with all your strength? Are you committed to the Lord? Are you holding something back? Could you just step away from serving Him tomorrow, like nothing would change? Are you blown from place to place without any roots, or are you wholeheartedly committed?

“And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-6 [NLT]

Leap Like a Deer

I am not too keen on waking up early for the Cross Country season. As I get older, I appreciate extra sleep. Even so, I love the drives to school for practice. I especially enjoy the moment alone when I’m driving the back road and witnessing all of the beauty around me. God never ceases to amaze me.

This morning, as I drove home, I looked before me and praised God for the beautiful farmland. I rejoiced in the amazing sunrise I was experiencing as I sang along to a praise song on the radio. Before I knew it, I was even more amazed. Three deer were prancing along. I slowed down the van as they crossed the road. They continued to leap through the corn field, and then they crossed the road again. For a moment, everything around me stopped. All the noise. All the busyness. All eyes focused on God’s creation doing the simplest of things—leaping along through the corn field.

I was reminded this morning of the great promise written in Isaiah, the promise that “the lame will leap like a deer.” God heals. God restores. God alone qualifies us. He is our strength. Praise Him and Him alone. Continue to press forward and tread on the heights He places before you. Leap like a deer today!

“The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.” – Habakkuk 3:19a [NIV]

“The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.” – Isaiah 35:6 [NLT]

The Lord is My Banner

In Exodus 17, after the defeat of the Amalekites, Moses builds an altar and named it Yahweh-nissi, which means “the LORD is my banner.” This may seem strange for us to embrace personally, unless we have a good understanding of a banner. When we think banner, we think of something posted at a convention or bazaar.

Think of a banner as the flag taken into battle. To the army, the flag is a great symbol. This shows the side of who you are fighting. This is a symbolization of strength and security. If you are defeated, the flag is taken. Think of capture the flag. The flag is also a place to rally. One would return to the flag, the rally point, after battle. Consider a sporting event, where the individual teams or schools are represented at different rally points. A person knows where to find their teammates when they find their flag. The banner is also lifted high. This is important to the battle against the Amalekites. Remember, as long as Moses raised the banner high, the Israelites were winning. Lifting the flag high was a great symbol against the Amalekites. It showed all that it was in fact the Lord fighting this battle—He was bringing victory for His chosen people.

What can we take away from this? How is the Lord our personal Banner? He is our strength and our security. It is at His altar that we can fall and find comfort in His strength and His security. As well, it is at His altar that we find safety—He is our rally point. We are meant to run to Him. Just as Moses lifted high the banner during the battle, so we lift Jesus high. We lift our hands to Him. We raise our voices to Him. When we think upon these things, it is then that we can embrace Yahweh-nissi. The LORD is my banner.

“Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”).” – Exodus 17:15 [NLT]

Ephesians Study: Unity of the Body

[Ephesians 4:1-16]

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (v. 2-3 ESV)


  1. 2 With ALL

humility, lowliness of mind, modesty

gentleness, mildness, gentle strength (power with reserve & strength)

patience, forbearance, longsuffering, steadfastness, staying power

bearing with one another in love, enduring with, suffer, admit, persist


  1. 3 Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

ONE BODY – all part of one body

ONE SPIRIT – united by one Spirit – the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit

ONE LORD – one Lord of all

ONE FAITH – one faith in Jesus Christ

ONE BAPTISM – one baptism in Christ

ONE GOD & FATHER OF ALL – one God, one Father of all


“To a true child of God, the invisible bond that unites all believers to Christ is far more tender, and lasting, and precious; and, as we come to recognize and realize that we are all dwelling in one sphere of life in Him, we learn to look on every believer as our brother, in a sense that is infinitely higher than all human relationships. This is the one and only way to bring disciples permanently together. All other plans for promoting the unity of the Church have failed.”

– A.T. Pierson

 Bible Study Questions:

  1. Verse 7 mentions “grace given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” What does this mean?
  2. Verse 11 mentions a list of different titles.
  3. What type of people were mentioned?
  4.   What does Paul say these different people are responsible for?
  5.  Verse 14 mentions what can happen to us.
  6. What can happen to us if we stay infants? What does this mean?
  7.  How does this happen? (v. 14)
  8.  How can we prevent this? (see verses 15-16)
  9.   What happens when we each are united working together? (see verses 15-16)

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

Ketchup Woes

Yesterday I attended a family picnic and I got ketchup in my hair. My uncle made me a cheeseburger and I topped it with all the fixings – lettuce, tomato, onions, and ketchup. The wind was crazy. I believe what happened was ketchup dripped to my plate and the plate flew into my hair. I remember having to catch it a few times. When that ketchup was in my hair, I could not stop messing with my hair. It became my primary focus. I wanted so badly to get it out of my hair, though I’m sure if I didn’t know it was there I would have been none the wiser.

When we have problems in life we do the same thing too often. We know about the problem and we focus on the problem. We continue to think about the problem. We continue to consider the need to fix the problem. It almost becomes an obsession. If the problem is small, we spend our time figuring out how we will resolve the issue. If it is a bigger issue or something we do not have the means to fix alone, we continue to look at the problem as an impossible hurdle and depression sets in soon after. Sometimes we make ourselves sick as we continue to fixate on our current circumstances.

Just as I should not have been so focused on the ketchup in my hair (it was only a little ketchup and there is a thing called shampoo), we cannot be problem focused. We have a God Who is a God of the impossible. Our focus, whether we have no pressing problems or we are buried knee deep in problems, should always be on God. When He is our focus, when He is first in our life, then our circumstances, our struggles, our problems won’t control us, depress us, or weaken us. Remember, in our weakness, He is strong (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).

In Isaiah 26:3 we read, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” Do you know what is so awesome about that verse? The word keep is “natsar” which means “to watch” or “guard.” The word for peace is “Shalom,” which means “completeness” or “peace.” The word for perfect is also “Shalom.” This verse says if we are fixed on God, if we trust in Him, we will be kept (watched, guarded) so that we are in completeness and peace.


Honesty. Moral uprightness. Integrity. It is something you are not just given. It is something you earn. It is something you can lose in the blink of an eye. It is something of great importance. Often in our society today we don’t see its importance. We see people in the limelight fall from great heights, months go by and they are back on top. But understand this isn’t integrity—this is fame. In the real world, what you don’t see on television or read in the paper or online, when a person loses his or her moral authority, it is not so easy to reclaim.

Integrity is something to value—it is something that will help you to be of great use to God’s Kingdom. Recently I was told about a person who was walking around sharing the Good News with everyone she met. She understood the importance of the Great Commission. Yet her technique was forceful and judgmental, absent of love. Even more so, integrity was not a word one used to describe her. She spoke of God’s Word, but she lived something very different. The end result was people turning away.

Today I implore you to understand the importance of your integrity. Yes each of us will fall short, each of us will sin. But let us seek strength and encouragement from the Spirit so that we can be men and women of integrity, godly examples that reflect Christ. This is something we cannot do alone; we can only do this through Christ. But living a life of moral uprightness will share Christ with more people than your words. That is a true testimony.

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.” – Psalm 15 [NIV]

Puddles of Life

During our morning walk there was quite a lot of water puddles to make our way around because of the crazy weather during the night. Being a Labrador, Max has no issue making his way through the puddles. I try to encourage him to walk around but sometimes he just walks right on through. With Marci it is a different story. She is a Shih Tzu. Some of the puddles we encountered this morning were like lakes to her.

As we made our way home, Max went ahead and Marci found herself right in front of a large puddle. She was frightened. She tried to run in the other direction but could not get far as she was attached to Max’s leash. I reached down to grab her and save her from the puddle. She did not know what was going on. She ran away from my hands because I think she feared we would start giving her a bath right there in the puddle. I tried to calm her. Finally I was able to get a good hold on her and I carried her over the puddle and placed her safely on dry ground.

We often reach puddles in our own lives. We are fearful to go through. We don’t know what direction to go and we can’t get very far no matter which way we turn. Sometimes we just need to walk up to the water’s edge in faith, understanding that God is right there. Our loving Father is always there. He reaches out and carries us across the turbulent waters in life. He holds us with His great strength. He guides us through the deepest waters and the darkest valleys. There is no safest place to be than in the hands of our Father. Stop squirming. Rest in Him. Let yourself be carried where He made you to be—to a place beyond our understanding. Step forward. It’s time.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” – Isaiah 43:2 [NLT]

One Day

Every day I am in pain but some days are worse than others. Today was a really high pain day because there was an incident that occurred when I was walking the dogs. A loose dog came after Max and Marci. My daughter held Marci and continued onward but this loose dog kept after Max and he wasn’t too keen on this new acquaintance. Somehow I got my hand twisted inside his harness and the more movement from Max meant my hand was being squeezed until it could not be squeezed anymore. Finally someone nearby made a grab for the loose dog and my hand was free. It was a great feeling to have my hand free—but the pain has been lingering ever since. That was my bad hand already; I’m not sure what to call it now.

On days like these, days when the pain brings tears to my eyes, I cling to God’s Word. You can page through your Bible and read about people suffering, about people in pain, about people in anguish. This morning I turned to Psalm 73. But as you page through God’s Word, you also read about His promises. Psalm 91 says “’If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,’ says God, ‘I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!’” (v.14-16 MSG)

I am very blessed. Each day, I am grateful for another day—another opportunity to serve. I know there’s a purpose. I know He has a great plan. I know that one day I won’t have to wear braces on my knees, ankles, or anywhere else. I won’t walk with a limp. Things will be different for me and for you. No more pain. No more tears. No more struggles. Think about the party God is going to throw. Yes, there will be a day—oh what a day!

“Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.”
Psalm 73:25-28 [NASB]

Spilled Coffee

Yesterday I knew that it would be difficult to share something while giving the message God wanted me to share. Though I can think back on things and feel at peace and praise God through it all, there are moments when the tears still come. When I remember something, I remember it as if it is fresh in my mind, happening right this very moment. The tears may pour and I’ll remind myself time has passed, God is good and I trust in Him.

Nonetheless, I did not want to start tearing up to the point of not being able to speak. I did not want to become a bawl baby and not be able to share the message God gave to me for the night. I prayed for days for the tears to be controlled, for strength, for the right timing, for peace. Not only did I get those things—but I also got spilled coffee.

I have AdHd. I am not one to scan around the room too much with my eyes because I notice things and my mind wanders. Right before I was about to speak about what would be difficult, I noticed a dear brother in Christ in the front row spilled his coffee. Jokingly I said, “You just spilled coffee. Now I’m going to cry.” But it was that humor and that light moment that helped me to press forward through what was to be shared. Prayers get answered, sometimes in ways you would not imagine. James wrote, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (5:16 NIV). Today, don’t forget to pray. Don’t forget to ask God, to go before Him with everything that is on your heart. He cares. He loves you. Just pour your heart out to Him.

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18 [NIV]