There’s nothing quite so satisfying to me as a good, strong cup of coffee. I don’t care for weak, watered down coffee. It just doesn’t seem worth the calories to me (I take it extra light with flavored creamer)
A few other things that need to be strong…
Hugs and handshakes. I’ve heard it said that people need four hugs a day for mental/emotional health. I make it a point to hug the teenagers that come into my house. They don’t get enough of them and they are too polite to tell me no.
A massage. A deep tissue massage. With hot stones. And essential oils. Ahhhh I know there are some people that like a Swedish massage. It just doesn’t do it for me. The deeper and stronger the better for these tight muscles.
I’ve also gotten to the age where pain medicine needs to be strong enough to take away the aches and pains of stiff joints and plantar fasciitis. I believe the bottle even says, “Extra Strength!”
All of these things use strong or strength as an adjective.
But the Lord tells us to BE strong. It isn’t meant to describe how we are to act, but rather a state of how we are to live. Strong. Courageous.
About 30 years ago, the Lord spoke to my heart with the scripture from Joshua 1:9. It says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” The Lord has used this verse to speak to me through many of life’s decisions, tragedies, challenges, and journeys. When discerning the Lord’s will for who I was to marry, when facing losing a foster child that I desperately loved, when leaving a church of 20 years to go to a small town and start over, when losing my job and wondering how we would afford to pay our bills. The Lord commanded me…
He didn’t command me to rely on my own strength. He didn’t expect me to pull myself up by the bootstraps and conjure up my own courage. His command was to rely solely on His strength and the courage that He alone supplies. He provided the means by which we are to attain his strength and courage. Joshua chapter 1 verses 7 & 8 say:
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this book of the law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
God has provided His word as the foundation of our lives, a strong foundation. His word is a guide book that gives us direction when we don’t know which way to turn. It provides peace when we feel that life has gotten out of control. His word is strong enough to teach us to pray, speak to the quiet places of our hearts, calm our fears, handle our struggles, answer our questions, point us to Jesus.
This man Jesus was strong enough to feed the multitudes, heal the sick, overcome the temptation the devil put before him, raise the dead. He was strong enough to turn over the tables in the temple when people were defiling the house of God. He was strong enough to be beaten and whipped, then carry a cross to his own death so that he could save a fallen people from their sins. The power of his death caused an earthquake that split the curtain in the temple in two giving access to the very throne of God for all who would believe. Then, through the power of almighty God, he was raised from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God making intercession for His people.
It might seem like the wrong time of year to be talking about the death and resurrection of Jesus. I am aware that the calendar says that it’s Christmas time and I feel that maybe I should be writing about Jesus’ birth. But as the New Year approaches, I am feeling stirred to return to a tradition I used to do when my kids were little. I plan to read through the Bible next year. I want to challenge you to start a tradition of reading the Bible through in a year too. T There are lots of schedules and resources available online to keep you on track.* This will help you to follow what Joshua said in verses 7 & 8. Meditate on his word, obey what it says, do not turn from it to the right or the left. Then you will be successful. Not necessarily as the world counts success, but you will accomplish all the Lord has for you to do. This morning at church we sang the old song, As the Deer. There is a line in it that says, “You alone are my strength, my shield, To you alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship you.”
As we choose to spend time in God’s word, He will equip us with strength and courage to step out of our comfort zones and do what we don’t think is possible. He will stir our faith to believe for our unsaved loved one’s salvation. He will encourage us when we feel weak and discouraged to press on. He will assure you of His promise to go before you and with you wherever you go.
So… brew a strong cup of coffee or tea, and grab your Bible. Then get ready to BE strong enough to trust Him.
*AG Women is launching the Bible Reading plan, Chasing Truth on January 1, 2020. Find Chasing Truth on YouVersion or download the PDF of the reading plan from the Facebook group here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Donna DeSantis has been a Christian since 1987. She lives in Clearfield, PA with her wonderful husband, Steve, and five of their six children. They have served as pastor/wife at Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Clearfield for almost six years. Donna serves on the PennDel Women of Purpose Core Team. She is also a Nurse Manager and Patient Safety Officer at the local hospital.