Strengthen Your Heart

Hard times are here and worse times are coming.  I want to be steadfast. I don’t want to falter, or faint, or turn aside. I don’t want to let Him down. I want to be stronger.

A stronger heart is not only possible, it is promised!

Paul prayed that God would grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. (Ephesians 3:16)  

God tells us in His word to us, the Bible, that our adequacy for doing His will comes from Him. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

Apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5); but with Him, we can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

But HOW?

A strong heart is not automatic. 

Here are keys to strengthening your heart:

Let the word of Christ dwell richly in you (Colossians 3:16).

Strengthen me according to Your word. (Psalm 119:28

We need to know what God says and be able to apply it to the situations we face. We can’t dabble in it. I heard someone say we have to drink the word of God, not gargle. 

We must mediate on God’s word. (Psalm 1:2)

We must guard our minds, relying on God’s word, not the lies of so many. 

Decide to believe God, to trust God

Make permanent, firm decisions about your life based on the word of God. Determine to want God more than something apart from Him. Want God more than people’s approval. Want God more than apparent safety or escape from pain. Want God more than anything. 

Don’t fear those who can kill the body. Fear God. (Matthew 10:28)

Decide to walk according to God’s word, even if scared

Let God’s word flow out of our minds and into our thoughts, words, and deeds.

If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. (John 13:17)

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it. (Luke 11:28)

As we act in God’s strength, according to His word, we become stronger. It will be easier to do the right thing the next time. Do it scared, if necessary, knowing that obedience brings the peace of God.

Have fellowship with believers, helping them and letting them help you.

We can strengthen ourselves. (1 Samuel 30:6) 

We can help strengthen others. (Luke 22:32, Isaiah 41:6)

Know that you CAN

Know, really know, that you are in this situation because God has you there. If you are there by the will of God, know this: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

God has made us sufficient to face it. Our adequacy is from God. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

Pray. And Pray. And Pray!

~~~

Father, thank You that You are our almighty, loving, accessible Father. Thank You that You have us here are Your lights in the world, giving us opportunities and hard times to make You known to others. Thank You that You have made us adequate for the work You have for us. Please help us know You better and better, and consistently apply Your word to our circumstances. Please strengthen our hearts according to the richness of Your grace. 

Bad Motive?

Bad Motive?

Martha was distracted with all her preparations, and spoke to Jesus. 

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” (Luke 10:40) 

Martha linked whether or not Jesus cares with whether or not He would tell Mary to help her. 

So, according to Martha, if Jesus doesn’t tell Mary to help Martha, He doesn’t care.

How often do we do something similar? 

When something bad happens to us, do we question God’s love for us? 

Yep. Too often.

Let’s determine to remember:

God is our loving sovereign.

All things, including Satan, are under His control.

He promises to work everything for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Trials produce good in us.

God is good. He is a righteous judge. For those of us who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are saved from sin’s penalty, we are being saved from sin’s power (sanctification), and we will be glorified, saved from sin’s presence.

Rejoice!

Rejoice through apparent good and apparent bad.

Rejoice that your name is recorded in heaven! (Luke 10:20)

Not My Fault!

Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed God who gave him the woman.

I’ve heard this called the second original sin. Certainly, casting blame is second nature.

One time I walked with a friend and her young son. He tripped over a rock … and blamed the rock!

You laughed! But I bet this isn’t unfamiliar.

When someone blames another person or situation or God rather than him or herself, that person is not taking responsibility. This leads to lack of repentance, failure to confess, and inability to grow. It is deadly. Without repentance and belief, people die in their sins.

The US currently has many people, and large groups of people who blame their current lives on others, or the system, or God. They demand their “rights,” but, instead of accepting any responsibility, they blame. This harms our county as well as themselves. We blame a person for … We blame a system for ….  We blame God for … And on and on. And on.

What to do

For ourselves, believers in Christ, we must take responsibility for our own sins. We must never blame (James 1:13-15). We must abjectly confess (Psalm 51). We can rejoice, knowing God, when we confess, forgives our sins (1 John 1:9).

As the Holy Spirit prompts us, we can help others take responsibility and stop blaming.

And we must continue to pray for our country.

Pray

Father, thank You that You are our Holy Judge and Savior. Thank You that You hate sin. Thank You that You see everything: motives, thoughts, words, and deeds. Thank You that in Your timing, You judge. Thank You for saving those who have repented and believe in Your Son. 

Thank You that You are using for Your glory and our sanctification the mess we are in. Please show us our sin and lead us to repentance and belief. Please strengthen Your church that we might be Your light in this dark world. 

Live Out Love

God loves us. We are to live out the love God gives us. We are to be known by our love.

God Loves

Our God loves the world, sending Christ to seek and save, and giving eternal life to those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

God gave us, believers in Christ, the capacity to love. (Romans 5:5)

We are to love

God gave us, followers of Christ, the command to love. We took in God’s love, we are to live it out.

Who are we to love?

Love our neighbors

Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)

Love our brothers and sisters in Christ

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34–35

Love our enemies 

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44) … and do good to those who hate you. (Luke 6:27

Are we known by our love?

Valentine’s Day is a logical time to take stock. 

Do we know God’s commands about love?

Do we want to follow His commands?

Are we known by our love?

Prayer

Father, thank You for loving us. Thank You for showing us and telling us about love. Thank You for giving us a heart to love You, to walk in Your ways, and to love others. Forgive us for our failure to love as You would have us. Help us be marked by love, showing others we are Your disciples. Help us know specifically what to do in love towards others. 

Consider it All Joy

Consider it All Joy

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials… (James 1:2

How?????

Decide

“Consider it all joy” is a command to us, believers in Christ. It isn’t a suggestion. It is God’s command.

The first step in obeying God’s command (any command) is to decide to do so. 

Deciding is a big deal. Following His command can feel like a huge impossibility. 

But without deciding to obey, we’ll get nowhere. 

Believe

To consider our trials joy, we need to believe God. We believe in God, but we must believe what He says. 

God tells us, in His word, the Bible, that He will work all things for good for us. 

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28

“All things” includes our trials.

Jesus, James, Peter, and Paul all tell us of good things that result from our trials. We must believe God. (Matthew 5:12; James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7; Romans 5:3-5.) 

We must believe what He says. We must believe He is our all-powerful, loving God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). We must trust Him.

Look Beyond

This command tells us why we can consider our trial a joy: there are good things coming.

the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:3–4

Our trial, whatever it is, produces endurance in us, perfecting us, and completing us. 

If we focus on the trial, if we focus on our misery, we won’t be joyful. If we focus on how our loving, all-powerful God is perfecting and completing us, we see reason to be joyful.

Look at the flower, not the thorns.

Test of Faith

Do we believe God is in control of this trial and that He loves us? Do we have faith?

Our faith is being tested by fire in this trial. Decide to believe our loving Savior in this trial, which will result in praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7)

~~~

As usual, this post is for me. I, too often, grimly endure, trying to do the right thing, but not with joy. I have decided to be joyful in my trials. Pray for me!

Thank God!

“Thank God!”

I’ve said this. You’ve said this. Most likely, we’ve heard unbelievers say: “Thank God.”

We definitely thank God for blessings and rescue. But how often do we thank Him for a hardship, or for a less-than-desired outcome? I bet unbelievers never do.

We are told to thank Him in everything, apparently good things, and apparently bad things.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18

always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father … (Ephesians 5:20

Why we can thank God

We can confidently thank God in all circumstances because we know Him. We know He is sovereign, and we know He loves us, believers in Christ.

His love guarantees He wants the best for us. His sovereignty ensures His best happens.

Becoming more thankful

As we know Him better and better, and trust Him more and more, giving Him thanks becomes a way of life. 

Reminding yourself to be thankful helps.

But to fundamentally develop a character of thanks requires knowing Him and trusting Him. Let’s resolve to learn what He says about Himself (the Bible), believe what He says, and trust Him.

In everything give thanks.

Would I?

Kilauea crater 13 January 2021, Harry Durgin Facebook

Ahab was an evil king in the northern kingdom, married to Jezebel, a very evil woman.

Obadiah, who feared Yahweh greatly, was over Ahab’s household. (1Kings 18:3)

When Jezebel destroyed prophets of Yahweh, Obadiah took a hundred prophets, hid them, and provided them with bread and water. (1 Kings 18:4)

Obadiah stayed as head of the household of an evil king. He did not leave his employer. 

Obadiah risked his life to protect Yahweh’s prophets.

Would I? 

I’m retired, but what if I worked in a company that promoted evil policies and evil doing? What if my friends/family/social groups promoted evil?

What would I say or do?

Light

We are to be Light to the Lord and walk as children of Light (Ephesians 5:8).

We are to let our light shine before men (Matthew 5:16). 

As we become known as children of God, we are a fragrant aroma to some, and the stench of death to others (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

There are and will be consequences (apparent good and apparent bad) as we stand for the Lord.

God is Sovereign

As we walk as children of Light, God is sovereign over the impact we have and what follows. 

We are responsible to be faithful. God is in control of the results.  

Prayer

Father, I want to walk in Your way with confidence and trust. I want to honor You in the places You put me. Please give me wisdom to know what You want me to say and do. Please strengthen me for the challenges ahead. 

God Loves You

Michigan

In a scary time for me, when I had a serious eye issue, didn’t know whether I would retain useful sight, and was far from my doctors, I would wake at night to see if I could still see. 

I was scared.

During this same time, I was editing my book (When Storms Come: Will You Be Ready?). Four chapters deal with God’s love. As I carefully reviewed God’s love for His adopted children, in the midst of my scary time, I rejoiced. In fact, I became giddy with assurance that He loves me.

In these dark days, with ominous clouds for the future, we must make sure we both comprehend God’s love and that we place confidence in His love for us. To stay on course, we must have informed trust in His love.

So we have known [ginosko: understand, grasp, ascertain] and believe [pisteuo: be persuaded of, place confidence in, trust] the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. (1 John 4:16)

God loves us, believers in Christ, with an infinite, everlasting love. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, and He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness.

Please study God’s word to us, the Bible. Please prayerfully and daily read about who He is, what He has done, and what He promises. Please, as you know Him better and better, increasingly believe what He says, and order your thoughts and life in that knowledge. 

It matters.

Please. 

I’ve Got This

Kapoho crater, Harry Durgin Facebook

I’ve Got This

“I’ve got this,” says someone picking up a tab.

“I’ve got this,” says a person moving a heavy box.

“I’ve got this,” says someone who is solving a thorny issue.

“I’ve got this,” says our most high, all-powerful, eternally faithful God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Facts 

God is in control of everything and everybody all the time.

God’s providence brings innumerable actions together for His own purpose.

God’s glorious plan results in judgment of evil and glorification of His righteous.

God loves His adopted children, and guarantees that everything (everything that seems good to us and everything that seems bad to us) will work together for good.

God is trustworthy.

We are responsible to walk in His way.

Hard Times

God’s glorious plan includes hard times. For His own reasons, He is allowing evil in this present time. 

We are affected by trouble, and the Father works that trouble in our lives to make us more like His beloved Son.

We are His witnesses, testifying to Him, and declaring His love and power. We are to be His lights in the world.

What to Do

Determine to trust God.

Determine to do the work He has for you to do.

Determine to press on.

Trust God and Press On

My 2021 resolution: Trust God and Press On.

I usually have a short statement, sometimes one word, as a goal for the new year. It may sound silly, but I remember times that one word or phrase energized and guided me in a godly way. 

Trusting God was the big lesson in 2020, and is continuing this year.

My sense is that 2021 is going to be difficult and that trusting God will be an ongoing requirement to sail through the year. 

In addition, I know that He has work for me in 2021. His work for me feels more urgent as the world gets darker. My resolution is to press on.

Trusting God and pressing on are related. When I trust God, I have both confidence and hope to press on.

Trust God

I am determined to:

Trust God for what He is doing around me, what He is doing with the world, with my nation.

Trust God for the circumstances in my life.

Trust God for the outcomes of following His orders.

Trust God that He is with me, and for me, and will never leave me.

Trust God that He has a glorious eternal life for me.

Trust God and Press On

Trusting God brings freedom to act in His will. 

Trusting God brings hope.

Trusting God brings confidence to press on.

2021

Trust God and Press On. Please join me.