Monday, November 14, 2016

Presence (3), God's Strengthening

Chuckle: "On his first safari, an American smugly said to the guide, "I know that carrying a torch will keep the lions away." "That's true," the guide replied. "But it depends on how fast you carry the torch."
Good Quote: “God does not take away trials or carry us over them, but strengthens us through them.” --Edward Bouverie Pusey
". . . your strength will support me" (Psalm 139:10b NLT). "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand" (Isaiah 41:10 NLT).
In the past two lessons, we have dealt with God's universal presence and His guiding presence. I cannot begin this lesson about God's strengthening presence without quoting the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13: "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Here, Paul is saying he can do everything God asks him to do because God gives him the needed strength.
Without God's strength being released in our lives, when in conflict with sin, we are like an infantry foot-soldier facing a tank. We are not equipped to win the battle. But when we trust in the power of the living God at work in us, we can say and do anything God asks of us and do so with confidence and authority. It's like equipping that infantry solder with a shoulder-fired anti-tank missile. We can turn and begin to live as God intended us to live -- with complete dependence on His strength.
Just listen to some additional Scripture verses that speak of God's strengthening presence. "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being" (Ephesians 3:16 NIV). "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God the Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word" (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV). "My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word" (Psalm 119:28 NIV).
Our lives are often cluttered with rule books, but we seldom get instructions on how to follow the rules. But God is different. He not only gives us His rules and guidelines, but remains with us each day and gives us understanding and strength to help us live according to those rules. All we must do is listen to God's instructions and rely on His strength to help us follow them.
Soldiers of Christ, arise.
And put your armour on.
Strong in the strength which God supplies
Of his eternal son.
                                                                           Charles Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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