All Posts Tagged: strength
So I looked, and there was a Lamb, slaughtered but standing tall. He came to the One Seated on the Throne and took the scroll from his right hand. The moment he took the scroll, [the heavenly hosts] fell down and worshiped the Lamb. And they sang a new song:
Worthy! Take the scroll, open its seals.
Slain! Paying in blood, you bought men and women,
Bought them back from all over the earth,
Bought them back for God.
I looked again. I heard a company of Angels around the Throne, ten thousand times ten thousand their number, thousand after thousand after thousand in full song:
The slain Lamb is worthy!
Take the power, the wealth, the wisdom, the strength!
Take the honor, the glory, the blessing!
Then I heard every creature in Heaven and earth, in underworld and sea, join in, all voices in all places, singing:
To the One on the Throne! To the Lamb!
The blessing, the honor, the glory, the strength,
For age after age after age.
“We recognize that the person whom we have encountered speaks to our innermost being, supplies our needs and satisfies our desires. We recognize that this person gives life meaning. I do not say a new meaning simply, for we realize that before we encountered this person life had no real meaning. We recognize that this person has revealed to us not only himself, but our own true self as well. We recognize that we cannot be our own true self except by union with this person. In him, the obscure is illuminated, the uncertain yields to the certain, insecurity is replaced by a deep sense of security. In him we find we have achieved an understanding of many things which baffled us. We recognize in his person strength and power which we can sense passing from him to us. Most certainly, if most obscurely, we recognize in this person we have encountered God, and that we shall not encounter God in any other way.”
Blessed are those who don’t fall away when they don’t understand, when God doesn’t act, when there are obstacles, and when they feel deserted. They will find their strength renewed.
Blessed are those who don’t give up when things are going wrong. They will spread their wings and soar like eagles.
Blessed are those who don’t pout when answers are delayed. They will run and not be weary. They will walk and not faint.
Blessed are those who keep on believing when the night is long and black. Morning will come. God is still on the throne!
Everybody gets a gift. And these gifts come in different doses and combinations. “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is” (1 Cor. 12:7 MSG).
Our inheritance is grace based and equal. But our assignments are tailor-made. No two snowflakes are the same. No two fingerprints are the same. Why would two skill sets be the same? No wonder Paul said, “Make sure you understand what the Master wants” (Eph. 5:17 MSG).
Do you understand what your Master wants? Do you know what makes you, you? Have you identified the features that distinguish you from every other human who has inhaled oxygen?
You have “acreage” to develop, a lot in life. So “make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that” (Gal. 6:4 MSG).
You be you. No one else is like you. Imagine a classroom of kids on a given day in a given school. Ten of the twenty-five students are fighting to stay awake. Ten others are alert but ready to leave. Five students are not only awake and alert, but they don’t want the class to end. They even do odd things like extra homework or tutoring. What class was that intriguing to you?
“If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Peter 4:11). Ability reveals destiny. What is your ability? What do you do well? What do people ask you to do again? What task comes easily? What topic keeps your attention?
Your skill set is your road map. It leads you to your territory. Take note of your strengths. They are breadcrumbs that will lead you out of the wilderness. God loves you too much to give you a job and not the skills. Identify yours.
What you do for a living should conform to your design. Few situations are more miserable than a job misfit. Yet few maladies are more common. One study stated that only 13 percent of all workers find their work truly meaningful. No wonder commuters look so grumpy. Nearly nine out of ten of them don’t want to go to work. Imagine the impact this unhappiness has on health, family, and performance. If a person spends forty or more hours a week plodding through a job he or she does not like or care about, what happens?
Find something you like to do, and do it so well that people pay you to do it. For twenty years I was the senior minister of our church. I was in the thick of it all: budgets, personnel issues, buildings, hiring, and firing. I was happy to fill the role. But I was happiest preaching and writing. My mind was always gravitating toward the next sermon, the next series. Even during committee meetings, especially during committee meetings, I was doodling on the next message.
As the church increased in number, so did the staff. More staff meant more people to manage. More people to manage meant spending more time doing what I didn’t feel called to do. I was gradually becoming one of the grumpy 87 percent.
I was blessed to have options. I was equally blessed to have a church that provided flexibility. I transitioned from senior minister to teaching minister. When I became teaching minister, a few people were puzzled. “Don’t you miss being the senior minister?” Translation: Weren’t you demoted? Earlier in my life I would have thought so. But I have come to see God’s definition of promotion: a promotion is not a move up the ladder; it is a move toward your call. Don’t let someone “promote” you out of your call.
Look for ways to align your job with your skills. This may take time. This may take several conversations with your boss. This may take trial and error… but don’t give up. Not every tuba player has the skills to direct the orchestra. If you can, then do. If you can’t, then blast away on your tuba with delight.
Faith in Jesus makes up the Mechanics of Life.
When Elijah saw he was a marked man, he ran for dear life into the desert. He came to a broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to die: “God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” (1 Kings 19:3-5)
Physical exercise can produce tiredness. Similarly, spiritual exercise, what I call “faithing,” can also produce fatigue. Such was the case with Elijah. This powerhouse of faith had scored a major victory over the adulterated establishment of Israel. As a result he was marked for death. In exhaustion Elijah became frightened and ran for his life into the desert of despair. His great faith had been fractured by fatigue!
The Creator of the ends of the earth doesn’t grow tired or become weary. The strength of those who wait on the Lord will be renewed. They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
Whereas humans “grow tired and become weary,” our Creator does not. He is a solid source of strength! Isaiah, another great figure of faith, provides a formula of sorts for combating faith fatigue. It begins with a promissory principle: “The strength of those who wait on the Lord will be renewed.” When tired or weary, ones strength can be renewed by “waiting on the Lord.” What’s “waiting”?
The five mile long Mackinaw Bridge is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Michigan. The bridge is suspended between two 550-foot towers. The cables are 24.5-foot in diameter. They’re comprised of 12,580 wires woven together. Why? Because small wires woven together are astronomically stronger than a single, solid cable. No, I don’t understand the physics involved!
The root of the Hebrew word “waiting” means “to weave.” Hence, when one weaves her weakness with God’s strength, her fatigue is converted to force. Now, here’s the illustration—“They will be strong like eagles soaring upward on wings.” What do eagles know about “weaving”? Surprisingly, A BUNCH!
When an eagle encounters a violent storm, she does not attempt to fly through the storm. Rather, she employs a four step strategy (you can find this all on Google):
- Ceasing self-energized flight, she senses the warm air updrafts of the storm.
- She weaves herself with these currents, rising upwards, using no energy.
- Arriving at the top of the storm, she glides on the warm air until she gets to the opposite end of the storm.
- Once again she weaves herself, this time with cold air currents going downward. To get through the storm the eagle exerts no energy!
So, when faith fatigue sweeps in like a tsunami, look to the mighty eagle! Specifically, focus on the warm thermals of Father’s love in the storm. “The One who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us.” (Romans 8:37-40)
Check out other posts in the Faith on Fridays series by clicking here.