Be Strong In The Lord

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

The only place we should be strong is in the Lord.  Yet we try so hard to be strong in ourselves.  Many look to their physical bodies for strength.  They work hard to get toned and muscular so they have the strength of an ox.  The find it fulfilling to see those muscles bulge as they workout.  There is noting at all wrong with keeping our physical bodies in shape, but that is not where our true strength comes from.

Then there are those who exercise their minds.  They read and send hours researching and pondering various truths and ideas.  The become bastions of knowledge, able to comment and carry on a conversation about anything someone might ask them about.  People see them as experts, maybe trivia buffs, very intelligent.  But that is not the kind  of strength that will get you through the toughest battles.

The toughest battles you will face can only be doe with the strength of the Lord inside of you.  When I was diagnosed wit Cancer last March, I had a peace about it.  I was not afraid, I was not upset, I was not worried.  How can this be, you might ask.  Because I had the strength of the Lord o my side, and I knew it would be OK.  he was in charge, and I could rely on His wisdom to see me through.  I knew I could not do it alone, and I also knew that with all the friends and support I got, it still would not be enough without the strength of the Lord and the power of His might on my side.  I’ll never understand how someone could go through this without Him by their side.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

You don’t have to put on armor unless you’re going to go through a battle.  So what Paul is saying here is that we are going into battle regularly against the wily old devil.  he will be constantly attacking you at various points of your life where he sees that you are vulnerable.  That is why we need the whole armor of God, which we will be talking about soon.  We do not want to leave any part exposed so the devil can sneak in and do us harm.  And believe me, he knows where you are vulnerable.

Let’s take a simple thing.  A diet.  Isn’t it funny how when you are on a diet, you crave the very foods you are not supposed to eat?  That is not coincidence, my friend.  The enemy lurks in mysterious places.  If he cam get you to trip up in one place, and put guilt on you, then he can come in and get you there.  He is very wily.  So prepare yourself accordingly with the whole armor of God, not just parts of it.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

And here’s the reason we need the armor of God in the first place. we cannot fight the battles that will come our way and win without God on our side.  These battles are not of this world – so they cannot be won by using the tactics of this world.  Right now in our country, there is literally a war going on in government.  Our president is doing things and people are reacting with outrage.  It is obvious he is not doing things the way they have always been done, and he is a little sloppy on somethings, but all of these things need doing.

The enemy comes against us, our city, our  country all the time. there is only one weapon that will defeat him, and that is prayer.  we need to suit up with the armor, and start to pray for our country, more now than ever.  The intolerance, disobedience, dissatisfaction, disharmony and dismay everyone is feeling is not going to go away until the Christians fall on their knees before an almighty God and really start to exercise 2 Cr 7:14.  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  

Even with the whole armor of God on, without this key element, it won’t be enough. The church needs to take these steps to bring this nation, which was founded based on a reliance on God.  It’s really up to us – putting on the armor individually and fulfilling the call of 2 Chr 7:14 corporately.  We have a lot of work to do!


Strength To Do The Previous

Philippians 4:13

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

This is one of the more well-known verses in the whole bible.  People use this verse on a regular basis when facing difficult times, acknowledging that God will give them the strength to get through the trials that they face.  And I believe he does give us that strength through Christ.  I have quoted this verse to myself and to others many times, and I bet you have as well.  It is one of the key truths in the bible that we count on day in and day out.

As I pondered what to write on this very familiar passage, the Lord reminded me that quite often we need to look at the context a verse is submerged in.  So, I looked at it and I now have a whole new view of this verse, and I will share it with you.

This verse comes after what I consider some of the most powerful verses in the New Testament on how we should conduct ourselves.   Let’s review!

Verse 4  – Rejoice – ALWAYS rejoice.  We discussed how hard that is to do, but how necessary it is for us to have that frame of mind.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 5 – let your moderation be known – be gentle and kind when dealing with new believers and with the world – Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 6 – pray and supplicate with Thanksgiving, even when it seems your prayers aren’t being heard.  Even when we aren’t feeling thankful because things are so bad.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 7 – Peace will keep your hearts and minds, even in the midst of the storm, even when it seems all is lost.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 8 – set your mind on things true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue and praise.  Keep your mind away from the negative things going on in your life  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 9 – Do the things that you have learned, received, heard and seen.  Be a light to the world no matter what is going on around you.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 10 – give with a joyful heart and supply the need of ministry – God knows your heart.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 11 – be content in any situation. Don’t complain about your situation to others.  Take it in stride and keep on going.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

Verse 12 – know how to handle yourself no matter what condition your life is in right now.  It doesn’t matter what is happening, you can handle it and be content.  Verse 13 tells me that God will give me the strength to do that.

I now see verse 13 as enabling me to keep verses 4-12.  And if I can keep those verses, and have the strength through Christ to do those things, I will indeed know the blessing of God in my life!  I pray you can also draw on His strength to pull you through whatever comes up in your life.