My Own Story: Strength in the Fight {Inspiring Women}

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Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan!

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are invited to lean on the Lord for strength. Today, I will be sharing my own story of facing difficult circumstances with God’s strength. This is part one, as we look at Ephesians 6:10 –

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides] (Eph. 6:10, AMPC).

We can be strong in the battle, because we are relying on our Lord Jesus for strength and protection. It brings us back to our need for a relationship with our King! As we come closer to Jesus, He provides all we need to face the storms of life.

My Own Battle –

Summer is my hard time, as I have shared before. I feel like everything within me, becomes greatly tested – during Summer time. This reminds me why I need Jesus Christ in my life. I cannot deal with the things of my life without Him. My strength is not nearly enough to tackle a small portion of the things I deal with.

Jesus Christ is my source of Strength, Deliverer, Companion, Savior, and even calls me His friend. He continues to show me who He is.

I am thankful He doesn’t ever leave my side. I can sit in His presence, and allow everything else fade into the background – as He equips me to carefully handle everything. This is where I am renewed and find healing, as I sit in His presence, talk with Him {prayer}, and read my Bible.

God’s Strength –

Even though this is my difficult time, I am constantly reminded that God’s strength is more than enough to get me through. The strength of my God is all I need.

Throughout Scripture, we are taught about the character of God – His goodness, love, justice, strength, etc. However, it is in these moments that I am able to experience who God honestly is. I am not alone in my battle.

Through the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to remind His followers they are saved, He stays with me regardless of my circumstances. He is my Constant in the midst of a very unpredictable storm. While I cannot do anything to earn His favor or love, He has chosen to love me and stay with me – simply because He wants to.

Because of Jesus Christ, who has saved me, I can enjoy an intimate relationship with my great God and my soul can literally burst with joy – regardless of how unwell I feel.

God’s Passionate Pursuit –

God reaches out to us in the midst of our troubling circumstances. Even though we cannot begin to figure out what is going on or why it is happening, God remains. He constantly pursues us.

Even though we have made ourselves God’s enemies through our choices to rebel against Him, He still loves us and sent His Son Jesus Christ – so we may be with Him again. We can experience forgiveness from our sins and a right relationship with our heavenly Father. All we need is Jesus Christ who paid the ultimate price. He laid down His life, so we would be saved.

For many of us, we don’t have a father figure in our lives. This weekend can be difficult for that reason, but keep remembering how much God loves you and is pursuing a love relationship with you.

He wants a relationship with you. He wants to give you His strength among many other good gifts. He is simply waiting for you to respond to His love invitation.

In His Hands,

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Job 21-23

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Chapter 21 – Job speaks

“Listen to what I say. Let this be your way of comforting me. Be patient while I speak. Then after I have finished speaking, you may make fun of me (vv. 2-3, ERV).”

All Job wants is – comfort. He is hurting on an intense level, and his friends aren’t showing much comfort or compassion toward him. He desperately needs to hear from God.

Even when we have been given good comforting friends, we still need comfort and to hear from God more than anyone else.

Jesus, as our Comforter, reminds us that we can draw near and allow our relationship with Him to be the most important thing in our lives.

Jesus Christ is the Comforter we stand in need of. No matter what kind of friends we have, our need for Jesus never changes!

We need Him to overwhelm our souls with His goodness, hope, and eternal salvation.

We have Jesus Christ as our great Savior. He came to give us a new beginning, where we dwell in the presence of our God. God loves us, and pursues us – daily!

Chapter 22 – Eliphaz Responds

Haven’t you done many evil things? Don’t you sin again and again? . . . That’s why traps have been set all around you. That’s why sudden danger terrifies you (vv. 5, 10, NIRV).

This is why Job’s friends have a bad reputation. They are convinced that sin has caused all of Job’s trouble. These men didn’t know about Job 1-2. This is where we learn that our relationship with God, causes the Devil to become angry and seek to devour us.

The closer Job got to God, the more the Devil wanted to try and destroy him. As we see from the last few chapters, Job gets even more prosperous as he sought God.

Let’s stay steadfast in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. God is far greater than the Devil or anyone else, just like verse 12 teaches us.

You agree, don’t you, that God is in charge? He runs the universe—just look at the stars! (MSG)

Lastly, we have verses 21-30. This is a Scripture worthy of our attention, which teaches us three key points –

  • Obey God and be at peace with Him.
  • Let’s put away our sin and return to the Lord!
  • Make Jesus Christ your delight.

Chapter 23 – Job Speaks

But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food (vv. 10-12, NLT).

Amen! When the time of testing is over, we will come out as gold. Our time of testing shows where our faith has stood in our darkest hour.

How will we come out of our testing time, and will we cling to the hope found in Jesus Christ no matter what?

I want to live my life in such a way, so that after the testing I can feel unashamed about how I responded.

 

Job 32-37; Psalms 28-32

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Assigned Reading: Psalms 28-32; Job 32-37

Psalm –

Chapter 28: Not only did David declare that God was his Rock, he proved it by crying out when it mattered the most. We need to cry out to God in this way, and seek His mercy. He is our Shepherd and will carry us.

Praise be to the Lordfor he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him (Ps. 28:6-7).

Chapter 29: Let us worship the Lord and give Him the honor due to Him. The voice and hands of the Lord speak loudly over everything. He is good. He is powerful. When the voice of the Lord speaks into our situations, all things can be changed and nothing is off limits.

Chapter 30: One thing God’s people need to fathom is – God will answer the prayers and heart cries of His people. He may not heal us or the circumstances the way we anticipate, but He does heal. So, why are we silent? Let’s sing the praises of our great God.

Chapter 31: When despair takes over our lives, we need to keep our trust in the Lord our God. We are encouraged to stay strong and keep hoping in God. How are we practicing these truths today?

Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord (Ps. 31:23-24).

Chapter 32: God is our hiding place, and the One who forgives our confessed sin. God is that good. He will forgive us, when we have wronged Him. He promises to be our sanctuary right when it matters most. Our Protection and Deliverance is what God is, to us who are called His people.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered (Ps. 32:1).

Job –

I highlighted in my YouVersion app a lot for this portion of Scripture. There is a lot of rich things that we can find, as Elihu talks to Job.

Certain aspects of this talk by Elihu I enjoyed –

  • He is younger and waited until the older men spoke (I need to be more like that…).
  • He is blunt. He isn’t afraid to call Job’s words arrogance.
  • He shares a lot of good truths as he tries to relate to Job.

I couldn’t have predicted the level of struggle I would have with the book of Job. My emotions have even tossed back and forth with Elihu, but I am thankful for the highlighted portions of Scripture – that I can go back and reread this weekend. I am thankful for the truths found here, many of which I need to take to heart.

In chapters 32-37, we find wisdom, truths, bluntness. The preparation we are given, before Job heard directly from God. After all of his storming Heaven demanding God to show him what wrong he has done, God is going to answer him.

Job 14-20; Psalms 16-20

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Assigned Reading for January 7-8: Psalms 16-20; Job 14-20

We can call this, “the lost weekend”.

Psalms –

I absolutely loved my journey, as I went from Psalm to Psalm on Sunday. I won’t share all of my thoughts on these Psalms, but will share a few…

Chapter 16 – In this psalm, we are able to see what it looks like to pray for God to keep us safe. The good news is, we can use this prayer as a model to help us pray for God’s protection over our lives. We can have this kind of confidence in God, and find ourselves delighting in God and His people – despite struggles.

Chapter 17 – Our aim ought to be to cry out to God, and allow His steps to be the outline for our own steps – so we are letting Him lead. Friends, let’s become doers of the Word. This was a heartfelt cry to be near to God, heard by God, and to hear and experience our great God.

Chapter 20 – I absolutely love this psalm. Out of habit, this is one of the Scriptures I tend to read and write out as I wait in doctor’s offices. It is just a very comforting psalm, and offers peace and hope. It begins with human distress and ends with the greatness of our God. God is the One who enables us to rise even when we have fallen down on hard times.

Job –

In chapters 14-20, we see Job speaking to his friends that are called “miserable comforters”. Job reminds his friends that they would likely have a different tone if they had been in his place. His friends continue to tear down him and show themselves as accusers.

Job is struggling and shamed by all and …. holding onto the truths that he does know.

A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed (Job 14:5).

You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made (Job 14:15).

They feel but the pain of their own bodies
    and mourn only for themselves (Job 14:22).”

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth… I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes… How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)

He knew: God determines our days, God calls and longs for us, and that he felt pain that had to be mourned. While we face our own difficult days, we need to learn from these Scriptures – and hold to what we know is true about God.

May this be our goal too –

“yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure (Job 16:17).

When we face deep struggles, our faith is revealed for what it is. There is no pretending, because the mask comes off. Others see us as we truly are.

 

Matthew 7: Selecting the Sacred

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“Don’t give precious things to dogs. Don’t cast your pearls
before swine. If you do, the pigs will trample the pearls with
their little pigs’ feet, and then they will turn back
and attack you(Mt. 7:6, VOICE).”

As soon as we begin reading Matthew 7, we are met with this realization that we need to utilize standards. God-given standards. We need standards of grace and right living, if we want to receive that kind of critique from others (see Mt. 7:1-2). People are imitators by nature. This is why scaffolding is such a highlight in the education department. We are taught that others repeat what they see, the same is true when it comes to issuing judgment: “What we do to others, will be done to us (vv. 12).”

God-Given Standards

Scripture makes it clear that the sacred is not reserved for animals. If we give the sacred to the unworthy, it is like tossing these things in the trash. Instead, we are called to be in prayer and allow God to set our standards.

“Just ask and it will be given to you; seek after it
and you will find. Continue to knock and
the door will be opened for you (vv. 7).”

In verse 6, we learn that… things treasured by us aren’t treasured by everyone. We know that there are those who trample over the truths of Jesus found in God’s Word and seek to attack it any opportunity they get.

Bottom line for us as believers, we need to choose the sacred. We need to choose Jesus. We need to allow God to cultivate the standards that we have for our lives. We need to make God’s Word our solid foundation, by simply being with Him and taking the time to allow His Word to get in our spirits – even beginning the work of our transformation given to us by God through His Holy Spirit.

Application: Choosing Sacredness…

When I consider this verse, it is home-hitting. How often have I squandered the things meant for God, and given them away to just anyone?

Know Your Treasure

The first step lies in valuing the sacred. These are the things of God. We need to hold them closer than anything else. God, His Word, prayer, His Church, and His commandments. We need to hold them close! And, know the value of what you hold close. When we know the value, we won’t toss the sacred to pigs who don’t know its worth.

Wisely Decide

When I think of this verse, it makes me hesitate my life decisions. I need to think and pray, not run to just… whatever. Whether it is a guy, new friend opportunity, or something else. I need to keep Jesus closer. Keep His plans and promises closer than anything else. The real worth is in His, and I can’t keep giving away to sacred (time, talents, thoughts, emotions) to whatever comes my way. I need to know the worth of my Savior, and let Him fully direct my decisions!

How about you? Where do you find yourself today?

In Closing….

I encourage you read the Word of God, pray (talk with Him), and begin handing over the contains of your life. Maybe, God has given you time – but you have squandered it on the things of this world. Perhaps, you have tossed your God-given standards out the window over a friend/family. Begin giving it over to Him.

In verses 13-27, we are reminded that Jesus wants us to meet Him one day in heaven. He wants us to avoid the road of death, and keep choosing the sacred (Him) over the things of this day – the sinful things. We need to resolve to keep choosing Jesus. We need to keep pursuing the sacred, over the sin we are tempted by.

We need to allow God’s standards to be the foundation for our lives!