God Is Our Strength
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like things are piling up on top of you, one after another? As one issue resolves, another one comes. Or maybe nothing is fixed, and you feel like problems are crashing down on you like waves to the shore.
In times like these, I’ve heard many say the common phrase, “God only gives you what you can handle.” And hearing this makes me want to scream. This is so far from the truth we read in the Bible.
Scripture is clear that God wants us to lean on Him because we are not strong. We always fall short when we try to do things through our own strength. Paul says,
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 of my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).
My friend Judy has colon cancer and has been actively fighting it for years. I love getting updates after her doctor’s appointments because no matter the news or next steps, she always says, “Praise Jesus! He’s carrying me through this!” Judy understands that while not every scenario resolves quickly or every illness is instantly healed, she can put her trust in Jesus to carry her through. She never depends on her own strength but always on His.
In our weakness, when we lean on Jesus for our help, we glorify Him.
If we could walk through trials and troubles and overcome them through our own strength, then why would we need Jesus? However, the Gospel is clear that we cannot do things alone and need Jesus to be our strength. I love that He always goes before us, and we can always rely on Him!
In Psalm 107, the psalmist writes over and over how God’s people were in danger or trouble, cried out for God’s help, and He delivered them. He urges the reader to give praise and thanksgiving to God:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever (Psalm 107:1 NLT).
Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them (Psalm 107:8).
“The LORD said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet is committing adultery, as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods.’” – Hosea 3:1 NASB
When God asked Hosea to marry a harlot, he became a symbol. Through his example, God was demonstrating that He wanted a love relationship with His people. He wanted their hearts. He wanted them to give themselves to Him voluntarily. He was grieved they had gone after other lovers.
No matter what they had done, God still loved them. He bought them. They no longer needed to be prostitutes but could enter a new relationship with Him. Eventually they would realize just how much He loved them and how much He wanted them to return to Him.
Because of love, God reaches out to us, to everyone, even those who reject and deny Him. Because of love, he forgives our sins and corrects us when we make mistakes. He trains and disciplines us. Why? Because “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Our lives change when we enter that love relationship. Through this relationship, love becomes our motivation. It inspires us and changes our attitude.
Think about the lessons from the life of Hosea and how much God loves you. Allow that love to transform your life, deliver you from fear, give you the right motives, open your eyes to spiritual truths, motivate you to reach out to others, and show everyone His love.
By: Charles Spurgeon
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12
Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 6:13-20
Joab, when he fled from the sword of Solomon, laid hold on the horns of the altar, thinking that surely when he had laid hold on the altar he was safe. His was vain confidence, for he was dragged from the horns of the altar and slain. But if you can lay hold on the horns of the altar of God, even Christ, you are most surely safe, and no sword of vengeance can ever reach you. I saw the other day a remarkable picture, which I shall use as an illustration of the way of salvation by faith in Jesus. An offender had committed a crime for which he must die, but it was in the olden time when churches were considered to be sanctuaries in which criminals might hide themselves and so escape. See the transgressor—he rushes towards the church, the guards pursue him with their drawn swords, all athirst for his blood, they pursue him even to the church door. He rushes up the steps, and just as they are about to overtake him and hew him in pieces on the threshhold of the church, out comes the Bishop, and holding up the crucifix he cries, “Back, back! Stain not the precincts of God’s house with blood! Stand back!” and the guards at once respect the emblem and stand back, while the poor fugitive hides himself behind the robes of the priest. It is even so with Christ. The guilty sinner flies to the cross—flies straight away to Jesus, and though Justice pursues him, Christ lifts up his wounded hands and cries to Justice, “Stand back! Stand back! I shelter this sinner; in the secret place of my tabernacle do I hide him; I will not suffer him to perish, for he puts his trust in me.”
For meditation: We should never be ashamed to be seen hiding behind Jesus (Mark 8:38).
Keeping In Step With the Spirit
By: Evan Heerema
SCRIPTURE READING — GALATIANS 5:16-26
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The apostle Paul teaches the Galatian believers to “walk by the Spirit,” be “led by the Spirit,” and “keep in step with the Spirit.”
Though I have never been in a marching band, I am always impressed by how a marching band keeps in step. The players’ steps are orderly and coordinated, and they keep both the music and the band moving forward.
Paul warns about what happens when our steps in life are not in coordination with the Spirit. There is immorality, impurity, conflict, selfish ambition, jealousy, discord, rage, and more. That is a dangerous place to be, and if we live that way, we will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Being in step with the Spirit, however, produces “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Life in Christ is designed to be harmonious. It involves a community loving and serving each other, just as the Trinity—God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—love each other.
These verses can serve as a litmus test of your own life. Do you exhibit selfishness, pride, and conflict? Or do you live with love, goodness, and self-control? How about the community you are a part of? If any of you are out of step with the Spirit, be sure to humble yourselves and be led by the Spirit.
Triune God, help me to love and serve you and my neighbors, including my enemies. Let my life shine as an example of your love. Amen.