Finding Your Strength

squirrel

This is a week when I needed to hear this message again. I pray it ministers to you too, dear reader.

***

There is a white squirrel that lives near me. Sometimes he comes out of the woods and gathers acorns in my yard. The other day, he came up on my deck to get a drink of water from the dish I leave out for the birds.

He’s so pretty. He’s not an albino, but a white squirrel. I call him Gabriel because a friend of mine said he was the angel squirrel.

Of course, when he came up on the deck the other day, my dog almost lost her mind. You know how the squirrel taunt of, “You can’t catch me! You can’t touch me!” drives dogs crazy enough to claw their way through a solid oak door.

I love being surrounded by trees and animals. It feels like this is the way life is supposed to be. At least for me. I guess that’s the way the Lord made me: listening for the wind in the trees, watching for the animals, looking for the sunshine.

Life’s not always that way, though. We all go through things that feel like the gray, barren landscape of winter; the bone-chilling and biting north wind, the long overcast days when it seems the sun will never shine again.

I’ve noticed something about this point in life where we’re just about to quit the race and just coast the rest of the way. It’s the point where things get so difficult that we start to lose hope that life will ever turn out the way we want.

It’s the moment when the hero has been beaten to a pulp by the villain, and he is just about to give up. Then something happens. The villain taunts him one more time.

The taunt is always the worst one, isn’t it? “Your mama is a donkey.” Or “Your daddy was a coward.”

What I always wonder is, why does the hero wait until that point to find his super-human strength? Why not go into the fight knowing your enemy is going to fight dirty and just knock him out with the first punch?

My friend, take a lesson from my dog. No matter how many times a squirrel comes on the deck, my dog launches off the sofa and gives the same booming series of endless barks as she did the last forty times that happened.

My dog is prepared to finish the fight as soon as it starts. Not once have I ever seen her give a half-hearted bark or give up. If I ever opened the door, she would chase that squirrel until she lost sight of him.

Sure, we all know that a yellow Lab is not fast enough to catch a squirrel, but my dog doesn’t know that. I don’t think it would change her determination even if she did know it.

My point is this: the last leg of a race is where many people give up, and we run many races throughout our lives. Push through the last part and you will find your strength. That’s because your strength really comes from another source, when you let Him give it.

Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” All things! Paul knew it was Jesus’ strength that carried him through and that it wasn’t his own.

Go into the fight knowing that the strength will be there. Trust in your Heavenly Father who is faithful. Know that He will do it, because He loves you, my friend. He loves you so very much.

Phyllis Keels

The Turning Point

This is a previously posted entry formerly titled “Pushing Through.” I am using this today for someone who needs to hear that the victory has already been won!

Sunshine

Photo by Kim Lance (used by permission)

Have you every noticed in the fight scene of a book or movie when:

    • The hero has been wounded
    • The villain knows just where the wound is (usually because he’s the one who gave it to the hero)
    • The villain hits, squeezes, stabs or otherwise inflicts severe pain in the hero’s wound

I’ve seen it many times. I think it shows a great spiritual truth.

Most of us are walking around wounded. Our wounds just don’t show. When we stand up for what’s right, when we remain faithful to our Lord Jesus, when we love others without expecting to be loved in return, often we get wounded.

Our enemy, the devil, knows exactly where our wounds are. And he knows just where to squeeze, hit, stab, and kick us to cause the maximum amount of pain, doesn’t he?

I am certain he does this to steal our peace, our rest, and our faith in God. He does it for distraction so we we will focus on how awful things are.

But he doesn’t stop there. Notice what He does next. He’ll throw in the “verbal” taunt meant to completely demoralize and weaken the hero into giving up. You’ve heard them:

“You’re all alone. No one cares what you’re going through.”
God doesn’t care about you. You’re so awful, how could he?”
“You’re trapped. There is no way out of this mess you’ve gotten yourself into.”

Liar! He is such a liar!

Jesus said that the devil is a liar and the father of lies; that when he speaks a lie, he speaks his own language.

Do not listen to the liar. Listen instead to the Author of Truth, Jesus Christ!

You are not alone. Your Heavenly Father – the Most High – has said He will never leave you nor forsake you. Just because you can’t feel Him near does not mean He isn’t near. He knows what you’re going through and will carry you through it. Cry out to Him for help.

Others care about you too. Others are praying for you whether you know it or not. I pray daily for groups of people the Lord brings to mind (the troubled, the addicts, the ones snared by adultery, the lonely, the ones in prison, the lost…). You are being prayed for, friend.

God does care about you and His caring is not affected by any awful thing you might have done. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses all sin – ALL sin! That includes yours and mine. If it did not, then Jesus died for nothing, and He did not die for nothing. He died to save every person who ever lived or will live.

You are not trapped with no way out, friend. Jesus said he came to set the captives free. He, in fact, led captivity itself captive. He has conquered death and hell and the grave. The enemy has already been defeated!

Jesus ame to give you, not just life, but abundant life! All you need to do is stand on the truth of that. Stand on the very Rock of Truth and do not move from it no matter what.

We must be like the hero in the book or movie who, at the enemy’s taunt, rouses all his anger. You’ve seen the turning point clearly in the face of the hero. Ironically, it’s the taunt that makes the hero push through his pain and slay the enemy where he stands.

Do not give up and do not give in! Do not believe lies about your Heavenly Father who loves you with an everlasting, all consuming love!

He is worth standing firm for. He is worth pushing through the pain. He is worth loving because He is the Mighty God who loved us even before we knew Him!

Phyllis Keels

Pushing Through

Have you every noticed in the fight scene of a book or movie when:

  • The hero has been wounded
  • The villain knows just where the wound is (usually because he’s the one who gave it to the hero)
  • The villain hits, squeezes, stabs or otherwise inflicts severe pain in the hero’s wound

I’ve seen it many times. I think it shows a great spiritual truth.

Most of us are walking around wounded. Our wounds just don’t show. When we stand up for what’s right, when we remain faithful to our Lord Jesus, when we love others without expecting to be loved in return, often we get wounded.

Our enemy, the devil, knows exactly where our wounds are. And he knows just where to squeeze, hit, stab, and kick us to cause the maximum amount of pain, doesn’t he?

I am certain he does this to steal our peace, our rest, and our faith in God. He does it for distraction so we we will focus on how awful things are.

But he doesn’t stop there. Notice what He does next. He’ll throw in the “verbal” taunt meant to completely demoralize and weaken the hero into giving up. You’ve heard them:

  • “You’re all alone. No one cares what you’re going through.”
  • God doesn’t care about you. You’re so awful, how could he?”
  • “You’re trapped. There is no way out of this mess you’ve gotten yourself into.”

Liar! He is such a liar!

Jesus said that the devil is a liar and the father of lies; that when he speaks a lie, he speaks his own language.

Do not listen to the liar. Listen instead to the Author of Truth, Jesus Christ!

You are not alone. Your Heavenly Father – the Most High – has said He will never leave you nor forsake you. Just because you can’t feel Him near does not mean He isn’t near. He knows what you’re going through and will carry you through it. Cry out to Him for help.

Others care about you too. Others are praying for you whether you know it or not. I pray daily for groups of people the Lord brings to mind (the troubled, the addicts, the ones snared by adultery, the lonely, the ones in prison, the lost…). You are being prayed for, friend.

God does care about you and His caring is not affected by any awful thing you might have done. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses all sin – ALL sin! That includes yours and mine. If it did not, then Jesus died for nothing, and He did not die for nothing. He died to save every person who ever lived or will live.

You are not trapped with no way out, friend. Jesus said he came to set the captives free. He, in fact, led captivity itself captive. He has conquered death and hell and the grave.

He came to give you, not just life, but abundant life! All you need to do is stand on the truth of that. Stand on the very Rock of Truth and do not move from it no matter what.

We must be like the hero in the book or movie who, at the enemy’s taunt, rouses all his anger. You’ve seen the turning point clearly in the face of the hero. Ironically, it’s the taunt that makes the hero push through his pain and slay the enemy where he stands.

Do not give up and do not give in! Do not believe lies about your Heavenly Father who loves you with an everlasting, all consuming love!

He is worth standing firm for. He is worth pushing through the pain. He is worth loving because He is the Mighty God who loved us even before we knew Him!

Phyllis Keels