After a great week of ministry with the team, I realized I needed to pull myself aside today and spend some time alone with God.
I’m not much of a beach person – I don’t really like sand and I haven’t swam in the ocean since I was stung by a jellyfish as a teenager. But sometimes the best place to reflect on God’s Word – to hear His voice – to celebrate His beauty – to feel His presence – is the very place that makes us a little uncomfortable.
So I spent a few hours this morning praying, studying His Word, & working on Monday’s Bible Study. I must have made our staff a little nervous. After an hour or so I saw Mme Nene walking along the beach. She was looking for me just to make sure I was okay all by myself! I teased her and said… I’m not alone – I’m spending time with God right now.
I will be starting a new Bible Study with the Haitian ladies called Stronger. I was intrigued by it from the moment I saw it at the bookstore. Stronger – who doesn’t want that? Right? I know our ladies really need the strength to get through all that they have to do each day. Maybe this study would be an encouragement and draw them nearer to the power source.
As we start this New Year I can’t imagine needing anything more than His strength to help me get through the mountains and the valleys. I spent most of last year feeling weak…..feeling somewhat lost in the wilderness. But this year I already see His unrelenting love pulling me up the hill so that I can bathe in His presence and glory.
I’m sure I know at least a dozen slogans on how to be stronger – 10 steps to a stronger life OR just 4 easy installments of 9.99 and you can be stronger today!
It’s not quite that easy I’m learning. Sometimes we can hear the same thing over and over and over again. And yet it never sets in – it doesn’t create change within us.
Sometimes the reason we are weak is because we choose to be. How about that?
Sometimes I wonder whether I’m really embracing this world that God has placed me in. Yes there is ministry. Yes there is work to be done. Yes we have a ton of children. Yes we do live in Haiti. Yes there are things we give up for the “greater good”. – – – But do all of those things even matter if I’m not celebrating all that CHRIST has done for me? I’m just pondering in my heart whether or not I have truly allowed for Jesus to consume me in all things and in all ways. Am I just a passionate speaker or am I an active participant?
Sometimes I limit God when it comes to myself. I’ll see a need that’s unmet – I’ll face unmerited persecution –I’ll have random and yet consistent bouts of sickness – I’ll go through trials that at the time make no sense….. BUT when I begin doubting where He is or what in the world is He doing….I’m basically telling myself that all of this is not within His scope of power.
When we embrace the lies of satan we elevate our sin above the Grace of God. We are actually limiting our God who is limitless.
Do not limit His grace – He can melt the hardest of hearts.
Do not limit His power – He knows you have been this way all your life – and he can change it.
Do not limit His faithfulness – He is always with you
Do not limit His methods – He does as He wills, and in all His ways, He is loving
Do not limit His promises – what He has said, what He will do
Do not limit his work – Jesus death has the power to save all
Do not limit his forgiveness – He can forgive even the vilest of sin in the world
Do no limit his joy – He still has plans for your good.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble Psalms 46:1
After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10
God promises to strengthen us in our suffering. There is no instance in the Bible where God refused to give his strength to the one who believed He was God and asked by faith.
Receiving God’s strength means we choose to surrender to His wisdom. His timing. His greater purpose. We have to trust Him to surrender to Him.
If we are really going to mature as Christ followers – then we must work hard to surrender…..learning to give up control and trusting the Lord God Almighty who gave us breath. We must remove our doubts so we can receive His promised strength.
During our church and Bible studies our congregation will lift up their hands and say – Jesus lives on. Under our feet satan. Satan you lost the battle. Jesus has the victory.
And then sometimes it’s just a one-word phrase they yell out– FOS! (meaning strength)
I believe God really does give them the strength when they ask for. How else could they power through all that they must face on a daily basis that we take so easily for granted?
I am excited about this Bible study because I desperately need His strength. I realized today, God was actually talking to me as I prepared this for our ladies. He wants me to be active participant – not just the speaker. And in learning from our lovely Haitian brothers & sisters – I’m gonna start calling down FOS from Heaven & boldly believe He’s gonna deliver it.