Being made strong

The Bible says, “When I am weak, I am made strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

A piece of steel can’t say that.  When it fails…. it fails and people get hurt or even die.  And it’s final.

When we are weak, in a particular area of life, we also can experience hurt and pain as well as a variety of other emotions.  This weakness can hurt us and others around us.  Yet, in our deepest weakness, Jesus reminds us that in our weakness we are made strong.

When we come to the end of ourselves and turn to Jesus for our strength, understanding, and power, he will give us what we have need of in the moment.

As a cyclist, I know if I want to complete an event that is extremely difficult, I must train.  I must get myself prepared and ready to accomplish whatever it is I want to do.  Without the proper training, time, nutrition, and encouragement, I will not be able to do what I set out to do.

Finishing doesn’t happen overnight.  I plan for it.  I train for it. I suffer for it.  I get frustrated when setbacks come my way.  And, yes, things get in the way.  This year I got sick just 4 weeks before the event I was training for all year.  My body was in good shape but my mind was not.  I showed up to the event in shape physically – not mentally.  You have got to have both to reach your objective.  Even the best encouragement couldn’t help me overcome my own self doubts in my head.  I was there to do the 80 mile ride and settled for the 50.  The 50 was no cake walk with over 3500 ft of climbing – with one of the climbs over 8 miles long.  I completed a lesser ride but I did what I my mind said I could do.

I look around my life these days and I see many of the same fears and feelings I have had pretty much all of my life.  I’m not sure why I keep fighting these same things over and over.  Maybe I get tired and let my guard down.  I allow the stuff of life to get to me.  And, yes, Satan knows me well and knows when I am on a good track and uses individuals and circumstances to send me down from time to time. During ALL seasons of life, I must remember to surrender to Jesus….. hear his words “Come to me…”

I’ve been in training as a Christian for many years.  Too often, I still feel like a newbie.  Even so, I, just as you, need to heed the words of Jesus, “Come to me…”

“Come to Me…” (Matthew 11:28). His word come means “to act.” Yet the last thing we want to do is come. But everyone who does come knows that, at that very moment, the supernatural power of the life of God invades him. The dominating power of the world, the flesh, and the devil is now paralyzed; not by your act, but because your act has joined you to God and tapped you in to His redemptive power. (My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, November 4).

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Confession of Sin

When was the last time you sat down with God to deal with sin in your life? 

That’s  heavy question.

I can recall so many times being in one particular church needing to go to the altar to pray… often!  Maybe it was because going to the altar to pray was a big part of the “tradition” of that church. Or, just perhaps, it was the result of having been in the presence of God.  For me, that was a big part of what I did when I went to church… go to the altar in response to the message I had just heard.  It was something about taking that step to kneel and pray to confess sin or to make a commitment to God in some way that was in response to His Word I had just heard in the message from the Pastor.

Oswald Chambers brought my thoughts back to several experiences as I read this morning.  He speaks of Isaiah’s confession of sin when he enters into God’s presence.  Isaiah’s confession was not a blanket confession, “God, please forgive me of my sins.”  No, Isaiah’s confession was specific, “Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips…” Isaiah 6:5.

A person will easily say, “Oh yes, I know I am a sinner,” but when he comes into the presence of God he cannot get away with such a broad and indefinite statement. Our conviction is focused on our specific sin, and we realize, as Isaiah did, what we really are. This is always the sign that a person is in the presence of God. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest July 3).

Go back to my original question, When was the last time you sat down with God to deal with sin in your life? If I understand Oswald Chambers correctly that just may be the last time either one of us was in the presence of God.

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