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You Don’t Have to be Strong

Why do we make strength such a big deal? Why do we want to be strong?

When I was in sixth grade, I could beat all the boys (except one) arm wrestling with our left arms. I was left handed. (Smile). Ernest Torres was the one boy who beat me every time, even though he was not left handed. He was just plain strong. I hated that. He ruined my record. My claim to fame.

Now, many years later, not one of my elementary school friends probably remember this arm wrestling talent and how strong I was. They probably remember that I always wore my hair in braids like Laura Ingalls, and I had a crush on Tyson Tisdale.

Strength (both physical and emotional) has always been important to me, but my dad also made it important. I remember one night during high school talking with with my dad and crying about something. I have no memory of what initiated the tears, but I will never forget my dad’s frustration and words.

“Get a backbone!” He demanded.

He wanted me to be strong.

There are days when I’m strong and days when I’m not.

Days when I just want to crawl up in my bed and pull the covers over me and hide. Do you have those days?

Some days I’m gung- ho and can do all that is set before me, and then there are moments when I want to get lost in the crowd and disappear.

But all that changes when I take my eyes off me and place them on Someone better, stronger, more stable, and constant.

When my eyes are on Jesus, my strength no longer matters.

His does.

He doesn’t demand me be strong. He offers me His strength instead.

Jesus doesn't demand me to be strong; He offers me His strength. Click To Tweet

What I’ve been taught–what many of us have been taught– about strength is wrong, and we need to do some mind shifting.

woman, depression, face

When it comes to strength, we think we need to stir it up inside, but the truth is, we can’t. Sometimes anger or pride will give us the strength we need. But that strength never bears good fruit.

We need to replace our old, wrong thoughts with Truth.

Though we don’t realize it, strength can be interwoven with pride and the need to control. But when we are weak, then we are strong.  (2 Cor. 12:10)

Jesus promised Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Prayer is our first place to go. I love this portion of a prayer for strength from Rebecca Barlow Jordan on Crosswalk.com:

The pressures of life sometimes push me into a corner, rendering me helpless to move forward. A hundred voices call my name, and I feel paralyzed at times to answer, not knowing where to turn. Lord, help me not to quit, to keep running the race faithfully, and to find strength in that safe, secret place of yours, under the shadow of the Almighty.

Amen! Isn’t the visual of hiding beneath the powerful, protective wings of God beautiful? Psalm 91 promises:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

How Do We Do That?

But how do we crawl up under the wings of God? One of my favorite posts is on this scripture. Here’s an excerpt:

Digging into the ancient text helps us know…it takes effort on our part. We have to put ourselves there.

How do we do that?

The words “find refuge” have been translated from the Hebrew word Hasah. As you read the definition of Hasah, notice the different meanings:

  • to flee (for protection), seek refuge; to trust in, confide in, hope in...is often used in the figurative sense of seeking spiritual refuge and putting trust in God. (Key-Word, NIV 1517)

We will find strength when we trust His. 

Are you feeling weak? Come receive His grace and strength. Lean on Him. Hide under His wing. Thank Him for your weakness, and ask for His strengthening grace. Make His Truth yours. 

Bible Reading Plan

open bible

 

 

How to Use the Bite of Bread

Take a screen shot of the image, or write the verses down in a journal. One of my friends prints the post and hangs it up for the week. I also have provided a printable with the verses and extra prompts to deepen your time in the Word. Take some time this week to journal your thoughts on strength and pray for new understanding about this topic as God sees it and uses it.

Sneak Peek and Free Printable

Exodus 15:2: “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I
will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

  • How do you find strength in God?

Philippians 4:13: ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

  • Context is key in this verse. Read verse 12 also. What strength is Paul referring to? Do you know this
    strength that provides contentment in all situations? If not pray for it.

Nehemiah 8:10: “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those
who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your
strength.”

  • Read a few verses before this one. Why were they grieving? Do you have any sin in your life that you
    know separates you from the Lord? It will also keep you from receiving His strength. When we truly
    mourn because of our sin, He can strengthen us with His joy.

Grab the Printable Now!

Psalm 18:1: “I love you, Lord, my strength.”

  • The word “love” in this verse is Rahem. It means deep compassion. Do you feel stronger sometimes
    after spending time worshiping the Lord? Write Him a love letter and see if you feel stronger afterwards.

1 Peter 4:11: “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone
serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be
praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

  • How can God be our strength in our service? How do you know when He isn’t?

Ephesians 1:18-19: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know
the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his
incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted
when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms . . . ”

Say out loud, “I have resurrection power in me!” Repeat these words every time you feel weak.

1 Chronicles 16:11, 28: “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Ascribe to the Lord, all
you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.”

“Seek His face” means to worship the Lord. Spend some time “seeking His face” today.

Bite of Bread Videos

So . . . my life has changed a little. I got a job! This means it’s time for a new season of the Bite of Bread. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I taught a daily Facebook Live broadcast called the Bite of Bread for two years every morning. But God has given me the opportunity to teach school again, so the mornings are no longer available for me to teach my peeps! But God is so faithful.

While I’m getting my feet wet learning how to be a school teacher again, I will be using former Bite of Bread reading plans so if you want the extra teaching with the “bites” for the day, you can go to my You Tube channel, type in “strength” in the search bar, and pull up the archived teaching. Look for this picture:

hands on bible

Here’s the video for Exodus 15:2. (Oh my gosh, my hair looks bad!) These teachings last around 25-30 minutes, so you might want to take me for a walk or bike ride, or curl up on the couch with your favorite cuppa. 🙂

Don’t forget the Printable to use in your quiet time this week. 

Thursday Night LIVE!

Did you grow up watching Saturday Night Live? Do you still watch it? Is it on still? I don’t know. I’m in bed by 10:00. Anyway, though I can no longer do a daily live teaching, I’m starting a Thursday Night LIVE FB broadcast! Meet me in my living room at 7:20 PM this Thursday. Put on your stretchy pants, gather your Bible and journal, and get your decaf or chamomille, and let’s have some fellowship and good old fashioned Bible study.

I’m really excited about this new season for all of us. I’m praying for you, my friends. The Lord is holding you. He loves you. Let Him be your strength. You don’t have to be strong.

 

 

Digging Deep,

 

Andy

PS. If this post was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

 

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8 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to be Strong

  1. Some of my most favorite verses in the Bible to pray for myself and others! I’m so glad I don’t have to be strong in myself (if I can only remember that!)

  2. These are great verses to reflect on! It’s easy to fall into thinking that it’s all down to our effort and that we have to be strong. So important to remember that our strength comes from God and that we can see his strength most clearly in our weakness.

  3. It’s amazing how human strength ebbs and flows. D told me the other morning that it bothers him in the morning when his “hands can’t hold things tight.” You know how grip strength is weak first thing in the morning? It’s amazing that even children get the limitations of these bodies to some extent. Thankful that I don’t have to rely on this falling-apart thing forever. I think our next women’s event should be arm wrestling 😉

    1. LOL! You’d win, Meg. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I hate that early in the morning feeling too, but I think i noticed it more as a kid. I wonder what that means?

  4. It is so good to note the difference in the strength that comes from within our sinful selves and that which God provides. And remember meekness is not weakness… in my life it often requires the strength of God to live meekly. Such a great resource! Thank you!

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