Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. NKJV
Sometimes I like to stop all of the busyness of life and just spend time with God. Of course, writing a blog keeps me in the word and praying, but it’s just nice sometimes to pull away and enjoy Him. So that’s what I have been doing. It was yesterday when He spoke a word to my heart that I didn’t even know I needed to hear, and it blessed me. So I want to share a little bit from our time.
This is an interesting time in my life. I have moved to a new church. I am trying to get a ministry going. And I’m in school again while working full-time. I’m excited and grateful about these endeavors, but sometimes I start to feel overwhelmed with it all.
So here I was, worshipping and praying with no real agenda and no requests I was willing to bring to Him when He spoke to my spirit about being strong. Of course, the first scripture that comes to mind when I think of being strong is our key verse:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.Ephesians 6:10 NKJV
I understand that the only strength that I can lay hold to is the strength that I get from relying on Him. I know that even when I don’t realize I need His strength, it’s because He is so good at supplying it. So I completely relate to His encouragement to me to stay connected to His strength at this time.
There are occasions in the Bible where God encouraged others to be strong. A familiar event was when Joshua had to lead the children of Israel after Moses’ death:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9 NKJV
Joshua was hesitant to move out from the place of mourning into the Promised Land. He was hesitant to take Moses’ place. But God spoke to Joshua and told him to be strong and that He would be with him wherever he went.
That’s very encouraging! Especially when you sense in your heart that God is telling you to do a thing or to go to a place that may feel overwhelming to you. Finding a new church, returning to school, preparing for retirement, or getting a new job all comes with uncertainties. They take us out of our comfort zone, the thing that we are used to doing. It’s a great comfort to realize that if He sends us, He’s asking us to trust the plan because He will be with us in the plan. Joshua obeyed God’s voice and found Him to be as faithful as He promised.
Another incident happened to Daniel. He had been fasting and praying when an angel appeared to him:
Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!”Daniel 10:18 NKJV
Daniel was overwhelmed with the vision that God had shown to him about the children of Israel. What he witnessed caused him to become weak at the knees. But the angel told him to be strong and not to fear. He was strengthened at that moment by the message from God. It’s not always through a transition in your life that you need to be strong. You may need to be strong to be there for others through their difficult moments. Or you may need to be strong as others suffer, knowing that relying on the strength of God is what is needed.
I think of Daniel as I think about the mass shootings that are happening across the country. It’s enough to make you run into the house, lock the doors, and hide. But we have to continue to live and trust God for the strength to not be overcome with grief and fear.
My heart is especially hurting for the school community in Texas. Like the ones in Buffalo, those families are hurting at the senseless violence that has overtaken their lives. These events and others may cause us to become fearful, but in times like these, we must be strong. And we should be praying!
Paul wrote some very encouraging words in 1 Corinthians:
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NKJV
Stay watchful, and alert! We need not be fearful but must pay attention to our environment when we are out and about. Stand fast in the faith; this is not the time for wavering. God is still good, and He is still on the throne. Where sin abounds, grace abounds the more. Be brave and strong. There is no time for cowering from the enemy; it’s time to pray like never before. And let all that we do be done with love. Don’t give in to hatred and violence. Let love have its perfect work in our hearts! We need His strength today in great measure!
If you are in transition or wondering about how you will make it through a challenging time in your life, you can take heart with these words: Be strong!
Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”Isaiah 35:4 NKJV
Challenging times are ahead for us all. Transitions will continue to be a part of living. But through it all, God tells us to be strong. I didn’t know I needed those words before I heard them, but I was strengthened when I heard them. Maybe you didn’t realize that you needed to hear them either, but here they are: Be strong! In Him and with Him, we can be strong because His strength is being perfected in us. Wonderful Jesus!