Where Do I Find Strength In Hard Times?

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Strength from God’s Word

 These powerful Bible verses will help encourage you and inspire you to find strength in Christ!

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The Right Question to Ask on Your Hard Days . . . and the Answer

via A Holy Experience – The Right Question to Ask on Your Hard Days . . . and the Answer.

An uplifting and inspirational message by Joni Eareckson Tada

Screen shot 2013-07-20 at 7.44.17 AM My beautiful friend, Joni Eareckson Tada, has spoken words into my life that have forever changed me — and countless others around the world. Founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, an organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community, Joni is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Heaven, Joni, Diamonds in the Dust, and her most recent — and beautiful — Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story.

Joni tells a story on the farm front porch today that just — well, you tell me what it does to your heart…

Ken opened wide the front door so I could wheel out to the van.

For a long moment I sat squarely in the door frame, staring and taking it all in:

the shade tree dappling our brick path, blossoms bobbing on the crepe myrtle, and patches of sunlight on dewy grass.

It was the freshest of mornings. Oh God, I breathed, If only I could feel as fresh.

After more than four decades of quadriplegia, I’m tired.

Please don’t think I’m a veteran or a professional when it comes to living in a wheelchair.

I’m not an expert.

My bones are weary and thin from battling everything from pressure sores and pneumonia — to stage III cancer.

My question these days is never “Why, God?”

It’s most often “How?”

How do I keep on going?

How do I care about others when I’m consumed with my own physical challenges?

How can I be kind and civil when pain wracks me?

How can I find the strength to face this day?

That morning, Ken had the answer.

“Why aren’t you out by the van?” he asked when he came from the kitchen with my lunch bag. Staring at the splendorous morning beyond the door, I answered him with a deep sigh.

“Wait here,” he said, “I know exactly what you need.”

Soon he was back with a yellow post-it note. With a thick Sharpie, he had simply penned on it the letter ‘C.’ I gave him an odd look.

“It stands for Courage,” he said, “The courage of Christ. I can see it in your eyes, Joni, and you can do this. I know you can!”

With that, he pressed the post-it on my shirt, right above my heart.

I glanced at it, then up at him. I can’t explain what happened next, but grace actually entered my heart. His note was a means of grace, like a sacrament through which God creates faith inside us. And it felt so liberating.

A breeze wafted in and my eyes became wet.

“Thank you,” I whispered to Ken and lifted my arm to give him a hug. “Thank you for that.”

He wiped my nose, kissed my cheek, and said softly, “Let’s get this day going.”

I then wheeled out into the morning feeling a fresh wave of strength from my Savior.

Proverbs 18:21 sums it up: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Ken only said a few words, and probably without giving them much thought.

But those words were brimming with power and life. His was a pronouncement, a declaration of the good he saw in meor, at least the good he wanted to see. And God gave me His amazing grace to rise to the occasion.

It’s a hard world. Even the best of Christians are feeling the weight of weariness. Little wonder we are to “Encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13).

Think of the people you’ll see today… friends recovering from surgery, neighbors dealing with grief, coworkers coping with pain.

Whether you say it in an email, over the phone, or in person, your words have the capacity to change their countenance and character.

And the best word?

The Word made flesh, Jesus — who always has courageous words of life.

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God’s Power In Our Weakness

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I was feeling rather disheartened and frustrated, even discouraged, like I was being pulled in many different directions, all the while trying to offer my best to the Lord and to those around me. Yet, no matter how hard I tried or what I had given, it seemed as though it was never enough.

Have you ever felt that way? I’m certain you have.

In those moments of desperation I cried out to God, “What do I do now, Lord? I love my family and am doing everything I possibly can to be there for them, to serve others in the ways You have called me to, to be a good friend, and to live according to Your Word. But it seems like I just can’t do enough! I’m weary, worn and discouraged…please help me, Lord!”

Have you found yourself in a similar place? Have you felt as though you couldn’t possibly be everything others seemingly need or want you to be? Have you felt as though others just don’t understand there is a limit to what you can be and do for them? That’s how I was feeling at the time and how I have felt at various other times in my life.

Because of a chronic illness, I find that often my body just will not cooperate with what my heart and mind long to do. In my weakness, I find myself  feeling inadequate at times, like I’ve let others down, especially my family and those closest to me. Though the desire of my heart is to fulfill every reasonable expectation others may have of me or whatever task I am needed or have committed to do.  Yet my body doesn’t always cooperate. As a result, I am forced to limit myself to what I am actually able to accomplish. And this may vary from day-to-day or week-to-week, even throughout the course of a single day.

Joni Eareckson Tada once wrote concerning human weakness,

“Deny your weakness, and you will never realize God’s strength in you.”

Based on what Scripture has to say, I have to agree with her.  Throughout the years the Lord has taught me that with perseverance there is sweet reward in drawing nearer to my Savior and operating in His power.  It is in those situations that I must rely on His strength to carry me through to accomplish the task before me. During those difficult days, when I have given all I can give, and still, to those around me (and even to myself), it seems like it just isn’t enough, I find comfort in knowing that my loving Savior understands my weakness.  And He is always there to be my strength as I am yielded to His will.

The Apostle Paul expressed it so well, speaking about our Lord, Jesus Christ, in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

I have come to realize, through adversity, that it isn’t about me or my weakness.  It’s about His power and that power is brought to perfection in the midst of my frailty, even in my brokenness.  God’s light, the Savior’s light,  comes shining through all the cracks and flaws!  He is my source of strength and power!

God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plan.  All you and I must do is trust in Him, yield to Him, admit and embrace our weakness, knowing that HIS power is an ever constant source of life and regeneration– not only for ourselves, but for those we serve!

Romans 5:3-5:

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

In Christ’s Love,

Angela

Strength for Today

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by Angela Hall Dobbins © 2004

“Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over a gain, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.” ~Anne Sullivan

If some of you are like me, you may have been struggling lately to remain firmly rooted in your faith and not be blown away by the storms of life, and all the frustration and confusion that comes as their result. Jesus promised us an abundant life in and through Him, and I believe we can have that abundant life…right here and now… right where we live and in our immediate circumstances. We only have to remain focused on the LORD!

Now, I know that’s easier said than done. Most of us find that there are times when we eagerly begin the day, ready with Christian vigilance and a positive attitude, to conquer whatever life throws our way. But, somehow, about half way through the day, we begin to get a little weary. Those storms of life begin to beat down upon us and the winds begin to blow, until we find ourselves worn and tattered…at times barely able to make it through the remainder of the day. This is especially true of those of us who suffer from a chronic illness or pain. We despondently discover that we have little patience and joy left for our families and loved ones, perhaps even for others. And we feel we have even less for ourselves. We end up feeling weak, discouraged, and as though we’ve failed in our Christian walk.

I know you’ve had days like that. Haven’t you? I surely have. But, in looking back, most of the times when I ended up feeling like such a failure, I realized that, somehow during my day, I had stopped focusing upon God and was no longer standing on His promises. Instead, I was ashamed to find that, in most cases, I had lost sight of the Lord and had turned most of my focus toward my pain and discomfort, as well as the trials, circumstances, and pressures of life which hurled around me. I became like the Apostle Peter, who immediately started to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus.

And yet, amazingly, every time I’ve found myself wavering, stumbling, or even sinking, the Lord has always been right there to lift me up again and set my feet back on solid ground. Isn’t He Faithful and Wonderful!

Do you feel discouraged today? Are you tired and weary from worry and stress? Do you feel the desire for a closer walk with the Lord in your life, but you just can’t seem to attain it? Jesus promised us an abundant life, if we would only seek Him and keep our focus and trust upon Him. Whatever your circumstances, He understands and He cares.

Start each day reading God’s Word. This will give you strength for the day’s journey. Talk to the Lord throughout the day, asking for His continued strength and guidance… not just when you feel weak. Thank Him for His presence in all things and for every little blessing. And ask Him to keep your feet from stumbling. He’s right there beside you every step of the way, even when you forget to seek Him. He is not only our LORD, but He is our Friend. And His desire is to give us a life filled with joy, peace and victory!

Remember, if you do stumble… and all of us do… don’t stay beaten down and discouraged, considering yourself a failure. Take the Lord’s hand and let Him pull you right back up! No matter how many times it takes, you will eventually gain the victory over whatever trial you are facing at the time. Believe it! His Word says it and it’s TRUE!

Scripture References:

Lamentations 3:22-25, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (KJV)

Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (KJV)

1 Corinthians 15:57-58, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”  (KJV)