Monday, August 17, 2009

Strength from the Lord

"How blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee." Psalm 84:5 NASB

The blessing of strength from the Lord is a provision every one of God's people needs. And God wants to give us His strength, in an abundant supply. But God's ways are higher than man's ways, and God's thoughts are higher than man's thoughts (Isaiah 55:8,9). This is undoubtedly true, when it comes to the strength of the Lord. God's ways of strengthening us are different than man's ways.

God's purpose is to make us strong. "The God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people." (Ps.68:35 KJV). God's will is to strengthen us, and to give us power in His ways. We are commanded, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." (Eph.6:10). God wants us to be strong. Strong in Him, strong in love, strong because we are filled with the Holy Spirit. We must have an unshakable confidence, that God's purpose is to make us strong in Him. When we face situations which we don't understand, or when we encounter obstacles, difficulties, or painful situations which we were not expecting, it is easy to lose sight of God's purposes. God's thoughts are not like our thoughts. Our thoughts can become thoughts of fear or discouragement, anger or frustration. Thoughts like: "I'll never be able to get through this," or, "God must be punishing me for something I've done," or, "The Lord is against me," can become a part of our thinking.

But God's thought is to make us strong! His will is to make us stronger, not to tear us down. We must become strong in the ways of the Lord. "The way of the Lord is strength to the upright." (Prov.10:29 KJV) God says to you, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10, NASB). The strength of the Lord is more than enough, to meet every obstacle.

God's Word says, "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim.2: 1 KJV). The Word says, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." (Rom.8:37 KJV). The Word says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil.4:13 KJV), and, "The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Ps.27: I KJV). God's promise is, "In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." (Isaiah 30:15 KJV). Yes, God wants us to be strong!

David was a man who knew the ways of the Lord. He was a man after God's own heart. Yet he encountered a situation that from all appearances looked like a complete tragedy. He and his men were away from their camp, when the Amalekites came and raided the camp. They took all of the women and children, all of their belongings, and burned the town with fire (I Sam.30: 1,2). When David and his men came back to their camp and found it completely destroyed, "then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep." (I Sam.30:4 NASB). To make things worse, David became distressed because the people spoke of stoning him. They were embittered because of the loss of their loved ones in this terrible tragedy (I Sam.30:6).

David could easily have turned his back on the Lord in such a perilous situation. He could easily have thought that God was against him, or that God had forgotten him. He could have become bitter, like some of the people did. But David knew the Lord. He knew that the Lord was for him, not against him. He knew that God's purpose was to strengthen him in this situation. So, "David strengthened himself in the Lord his God." (I Sam.30:6 NASB). He received strength from the Lord; power to overcome and to conquer.

David inquired of the Lord, and received word from the Lord, to pursue the Amalekites. He found them, eating and drinking and partying, spread over the countryside. They were celebrating over their plunder. David and his men completely conquered the Amalekites, and recaptured all of their wives and children. They recovered all that had been taken from them; they also recovered all of the plunder of the Amalekites. They not only recaptured what was lost, but received over and above it. God was in control.

Not long after this incident, David was made king over Judah. The Amalekite raid was one of the greatest testings David faced, and it happened shortly before he was made king. David could have walked away from God's plan, in the time of testing. But he knew God's purposes, and that his God wanted him to be strong. Do we realize that it is true, for us as well?

David strengthened himself in the Lord his God (I Sam.30:6). How can we receive more of the strengthening power of the Lord into our hearts and lives? Here are some of the ways we can receive strength from the Lord:

1. Those who WAIT ON THE LORD shall renew their strength (Is.40:3 I). We must spend time waiting before the Lord; we must spend much time with Him.

2. CALL ON THE LORD, in earnest entreaty. "On the day I called, Thou didst answer me; Thou didst make me bold with strength in my soul." (Psalm 138:3 NASB).

3. BELIEVE that it is undoubtedly God's purpose to impart strength to you, and to make you strong, no matter what the situation may look like. God's promises are clear, that the will of the Lord is to strengthen you (Ps.105:411s.30:15/ Psalm 68:35/Psalm 27: 14 / Eph.6: 10,11/ 2 Tim.2: l / Is.41: 10).

4. We must TURN FROM SIN, to be strengthened by the Lord. Sin is what can make us weak. The Psalmist said, "My strength has failed because of my iniquity." (Psalm 31:10 NASB). We must turn from sin, and receive cleansing and forgiveness through the blood of Christ.

5. DRAW NEAR TO THE LORD. It is the Lord Himself who is our strength. Drawing near to Him insures that His strength will dwell in us, because His presence will be near us and in us. We are told to "seek the Lord, and His strength." (Psalm 105:4).

6. BE OF GOOD COURAGE. The Word of God says, "Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart." (Ps.27:14 KJV). If we have courage, God is able to strengthen us. We must have courage and faith when we draw near to God, knowing that it is His will to strengthen us, and make us more than conquerors. David was of good courage, when he went out to face Goliath. We must also be of good courage, when we face our battles.

7. The WORD OF GOD strengthens our faith, and builds us up. The Word of God can be relied upon, with confidence. "Strengthen me, according to Thy Word." (Psalm 119:28 NASB). Meditate on, and rely upon, the Word of God. Saturate your mind and your spirit with the Word, and the promises of the Word, for your strengthening. As we do these things, God will impart His strength to us. We will be strengthened to walk in victory, and walk in faith. God will show himself strong on our behalf.

At times God's people can begin to drift, and begin to coast along on their own strength. We can gradually begin to do things in our own strength, and not even realize that we are no longer walking in the strength of the Lord. That is why we must seek fresh strength from the Lord day by day and week by week. We must seek fresh strength in prayer, the Word, and waiting upon the Lord. The Israelites in the wilderness so often missed God's purposes. God wanted to make them strong - strong in faith, strong in trust, strong in the Lord. But when food and water began to run low, they didn't feel strong; they felt weaker. They missed God's purpose - He wanted to strengthen them, and provide for all of their needs. But they often doubted, or grumbled and complained. God's ways were higher than their ways.

But throughout the wanderings of the Israelites, Caleb had learned of God's strength. After forty years in the wilderness, he could say, "I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out. I am just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day." (Joshua 14:11,12 NIV). Caleb knew that God's purpose was to make him strong. The blessing of the Lord was powerfully manifested in his life. He received the full measure of the blessing of the Lord.

As we are strengthened by the Lord, part of God's purpose is that we help others to find that same strength. We should be like Jonathan: during a difficult time he went to David, and helped him to find strength in God (I Sam.23: 16). When brothers or sisters in Christ, or others we love are passing through a difficult time, they need someone who can help them find strength from the Lord. We are to pray for one another, and bear one another's burdens. Then God will use us as His channels, to bring the blessing of strength from the Lord, to those who need it.

Remain blessed

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