Renewed Strength

Isaiah 57: 10

You were tired out by the length of your road, yet you did not say, ‘It is hopeless.’ You found renewed strength, therefore you did not faint.”

Tuesday I sent you Galatians 6: 9 which reads, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Today there is good news for your tired body and mind. God will provide the strength you need to carry on. There is a reward for you if you do not faint and there is a way to maintain your faith and your strength to continue. The joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8: 10). You do not have to be wearied with your many labors. You needn’t feel weighed down or trod upon God is your righteous right hand. He is your strength.

The thing we need to understand about this idea is that the found new strength, that which prevents us from fainting even under a heavy load, is not a passive joy. Notice above that it says, “You found renewed strength.” Why did the hearer find the new strength? Because she looked for it. She sought it. Now we understand that God is our strength so in these times of weariness, we must seek the Lord, our God. You see, just because you are a Christian does not mean you will experience this renewed strength. That strength is found in communion with the Lord. Again, this is not a passive trait. We must actively pursue God. However, don’t let this resound in your head like another to do when you are already tired. The best way to find the Lord is to relax. “Be still and know I am God,” (Psalm 46: 10). It is in the exhalation that you find God. You’ve been holding your breath. Now breathe. Exhale and let go. Breathe in God, exhale out stress and worry.

It is like going to the doctor when you are sick. There is something you have to do and that is to call upon the one who can make you better. That is your part. God, then, restores you to full strength, but don’t lay in bed doing nothing and think you are going to miraculously be restored. You must seek the help you need, then He will provide. Be still but be vigilant. Quietly but determinedly seek God. Call upon Him for help. He is standing by.

Joy for Today

Nehemiah 8: 10               NIV

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

My YMCA has a scripture bowl in the entrance. As I leave, I like to grab a slip of paper from the bowl for a bit of inspiration. Yesterday, I dipped my hand in and came out with Nehemiah 8: 10. As I read it, I threw my hands in the air because I was really tired from my workout and I needed some strength. It blessed me.

Like all scripture, the initial impact was wonderful, but it kept ministering to me all day and all night. That is when I realized there are times when I have been bone weary right down in my Spirit and this verse is just what the doctor ordered for those times. You have had those times too. There are times when the smiles seem far away or superficial. Inside your gut you only find stress and anxiety. That is when you need the joy of the Lord.

As you get older it is easy to grow weary. You get tired of fighting the same old battles and the new shape of the world is wearisome. Some people don’t want to live a long time because they are just tired, sick and tired. That is when we absolutely need the joy of the Lord to give us strength and life. It must flow out from our spirits. How do you minister to yourself in those times? Where do you find the joy of the Lord?

Simply being thankful is a beginning. Remind yourself of all the good things the Lord has done for you but don’t stop there. That is yesterday’s oil. Truth be told. You need God right now, here in the present. In these times I have to put on praise music and let the joy build from within. The music reminds me of scriptures that bless my heart and puts Jesus’ face back in front of my eyes. My other keys are my daily devotions and reading my Bible but the biggest booster shot for me is praying in tongues. There is nothing quite as energizing for me as praying in the Spirit. Now if you are one of those really cool people, maybe you can sing in the Spirit. Talk about filling up the tank. That is a great way to go.

Usually when I find myself worn down, it is in part because my gaze has wandered from his face to the situation in the world around me. It doesn’t take long for the world to get you down. Just an instant, in fact. However, as we remain in the Father’s presence on a more continual basis, we build up joy and that joy resists the troubles of the world. It prevents us from being so impacted by those things. I need Jesus in my life daily. If I don’t spend time with him, the strength within me begins to wane. I need his anointing speaking into my life daily.

It is easy to get run down and overwhelmed. It is our responsibility to keep our tanks full and it only takes me a day or two of neglect to start running on fumes. How about you? The joy of the Lord will strengthen you, but you have to make deposits of his presence. It’s not thoughts of the Lord or even promises of the Lord which will give you strength in the day of need. It is his joy deep within you which comes from having spent time with him. Fill up your tank today for you are sure to need it tomorrow.

Poverty like a Thief

Proverb 6: 9 – 11

How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and your poverty will come in like a vagabond, and your need like an armed man.

God has promised to bless the work of your hands. In fact, in Deuteronomy 30: 9 He promised to “prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand.” The point is, though, that you must set your hand to the plow, as it were. In Colossians 3: 23 Paul teaches that in “whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” 

We were never meant to be idle beings. God created the sloth for that purpose. Even in the Garden of Eden humanity was expected to work and produce. The Garden of Eden was nothing more than a seed garden. Adam and Eve were supposed to take those seeds and create a planet of Eden but they failed miserably. Fortunately, despite our failures God always has an alternate blessing plan. If you read the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy you see that He filled the environment with blessing. About the only blessing you will not find is the couch potato blessing.

Have you heard the expression “work hard, play hard”? Is there a reason that work comes before play in that expression? We must first work and then we play with glee.

Your work is meant to be a source of blessing not just a source of income. As a matter of fact, you may be retired. That does not mean that your work has ended. God may have called you into something new. And work doesn’t have to be a bad word. It is meant to be part of our fulfillment. Meaningful work is a delight. Truth be known, when we dedicate it all to the Lord it is He who does the heavy lifting anyway and we get to walk around in the blessing.

No matter what you are called to do it with all your energy as if your boss is Jesus because in truth he is. Do your work with joy. Your joy comes through the Holy Spirit and the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8: 10). You see work doesn’t have to be drudgery. If the Lord has given you something to do, do it with all your might and with joy blessing the Lord that you have something to which to set your hand. There are thousands and millions of people who do not have the opportunities that we have. God is blessing us.

If we do not arise and do what He has called us to do, He will take away what He has given us and give it to someone else to do. Then we will understand that our work was a gift and a blessing. Just a little folding of the hands, just a little laziness and all of a sudden you have moved yourself out of the blessing and into the curse. We have to understand that God has always, since the beginning of time, been trying to bless people. You see it all through the Old Testament. Then Jesus came to bring us abundant life (John 10: 10). You can see the parallel of God’s will in Deuteronomy 30: 9. It has always been about abundant blessing. But there is a thief among us so God began warning us early that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). If we fold our hands and slumber the devil will take free rein with our blessing. Guard diligently what the Lord has given you. He has put all things in your hands for joy and blessing. Don’t let the devil steal your blessing. Instead work diligently with a joyful heart giving the Lord thanks for the multitude of blessings He has given you. Make your work a praise offering to the Lord. Go to work with Him, take Him with you. When you take Jesus with you, then all things are a joy.