Tag Archives: strength in weakness

Mustard Seeds & Mites: The Amazing Economy of God

Have you ever felt like you have nothing to offer God? I know I have. Some days it just seems like all my efforts amount to nothing, and that I am not accomplishing anything for the kingdom of God. The interesting thing is that God knows our efforts are meager, yet He delights in us as we yield them to him. Jesus told his disciples they only needed faith the size of a tiny mustard seed to move mountains (Mt. 17:20). If you think about it, all the great men and women in the Bible did was offer what little they had, and God met them there. When God called Moses, he was more than reluctant to take the job, because of his inadequacies (Ex. 4:10).  In the Psalms, David often referred to himself as poor and needy  (40:17, 85:1, 69:6, 86:1, 109:22). The usually bold prophet Elijah gave into weakness. He ran away and asked God to take his life after his amazing showdown with the prophets of Baal (1 Ki. 19). Even reluctant Jonah prompted a miraculous revival in Nineveh when he finally surrendered to God. When Paul brought his limitations to God, the response was “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” The deal is this: we give God our weakness, and He gives us his incredible power (Eph. 1:19). Paul says it is the same power that raised Christ from the dead!

 What an incredible exchange! What a privilege it is to be his child! Still, as weak as we are, for some perplexing reason, we tend to be full of pride and God resists the proud. However, He gives grace to the humble (Jas. 4:6).  Therefore, if we humbly come to him, and bring him what little we have, his sufficient grace will carry us and his power will be perfected in us.  God allows his Spirit to radiate from weak vessels “to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor. 4:7).  What glory would He receive if his people showed no sign of weakness? How could we offer help to others struggling with weakness? The only option would be to try and save them ourselves. Wait, doesn’t that sound a little co-dependent? We are meant to shine his light, not to be the light. Honestly even the strongest of us are very limited. It is so much better to run to and point people to the limitless One who will stoop down and meet us in our frailty. We honor him when we offer the little we have, just like the widow in Mark 12. Jesus observed her giving the smallest offering of all that had been given that day—just 2 mites. Many others had given very large amounts, but Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor woman has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth; but she out of poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on” (Mk. 12:44).

 So there you have it. Jesus is not seeking supermen and women. He does not delight in our valiant efforts or great aptitude; He delights in our full surrender. Great men and women of God are those who simply bring what little they have to him, and He miraculously multiplies it.  So if you are feeling inadequate, wonderful! If you know you are weak and needy, fantastic! You are exactly where God wants you! He wants to become your all-in-all. When you recognize that you can do nothing without him (Jn. 15:5), you are half way to victory. Too many of us stop at that point, and begin to wallow in self-pity and doubt. Without faith it is impossible to please him, but thank God you only need the tiniest seed of faith to find victory. Rather than allowing your doubts to consume you, will you choose to exercise the little faith you have and commit yourself to the One who loves you most? Make a choice to believe his promises, and watch what He will do. When I look back over my life, I see that the greatest times of spiritual victory came in the wake of the greatest weakness on my part. In those times, when there was nothing left to turn to, He showed up in mighty ways. Paul said he could boast in his weakness, because that is where God’s strength is best revealed. Everything He does seems contrary to the world’s economy. The world teaches us to be strong, and be all we can be, but in God’s economy we simply have to surrender what little we have and watch him move. Just think about it. The omnipotent God who created the universe has made his power available to us! When we are weak, then He is strong. I don’t know about you, but this weakling stands in utter awe.

Just Another Bump in the Road

Lord, help me. I am so needy. Circumstances completely stressful and out of control right now. I feel like there is a vice on my chest. Please help Lord! Come to my rescue. Without You I am so sunk. Change me, so that I am not shaken by circumstances, but rather overwhelmed as I choose to stand in your powerful presence. I am weary and heavy laden, so I come to You seeking rest for my soul. I cannot handle this without You! You have been so faithful to answer my prayers in the past, so I ask You to intervene now, to quiet my anxious thoughts, and help me to soar above this storm. So many times You have helped me do that. It is never easy, but I know I can choose to abide in You even in the midst of trouble. Forgive me for trying to take control before looking to You. That’s such a foolish move, especially when I have no possible of hope of controlling anything. I ask you to give me grace and wisdom to respond to everyone involved in your perfect love, and in the interim let me abide in the Vine. Take the reins Lord Jesus. I am at the end of myself and ask for You to take over.

Dear daughter, I am here and I have a plan. It does not depend on you, and it won’t be thwarted by anyone. You must listen for my voice, and seek my wisdom now. Do not respond in your flesh, but seek Me first and I will put proper responses in your heart. Regardless of what people say and do, you are to walk in the Spirit. To do any less will only worsen matters. You cannot add a thing to this situation in your own strength, so bring it to Me and let me handle it for you. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Come find rest in Me. These burdens are nothing compared to my strength, and they are only temporary. Remember to set your eyes on the things that are eternal. Set your mind on things above, and not the fleeting things of earth (Col. 3:2). Remember that I understand your struggles, because I have struggled even more. Consider the hostility I endured for the sake of those I love, and do not lose heart. Even as I endured for the joy set before Me, you can endure (Heb. 12:1-3). Remember my promise to work all things together for your good, and you will not be overcome by this bump in the road. That is all it is dear one. It may slow you down, but nothing can stop you as long as you hold onto Me. I will take care of this for you, and am not intimidated in the least. Your calling in this is to learn your lesson well. Learn to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21), and learn to wait on Me. You are precious in my sight, and I am always working on your behalf. That does not mean the road will be easy, but it means you will reach the destination and that every trial will better equip you for the journey. Trust Me, believe my promises, and I will get you there.

Quiet Times in the Technological Age

POSTED ON DECEMBER 11, 2013 BY JOY FORREST

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17 NLT

Lord, this world constantly frustrates me, and some days I think my age makes it worse. I remember simpler times and long for them. Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun, but I think in these last days technology is an exception to that statement. I love it and hate it. I sit here typing on my computer, because it’s so much easier to correct mistakes, and easier to pull up study resources for Bible study, yet in the midst of it the interruptions never cease. It’s so easy to remember something that needs to be added to the calendar, and of course there are continuous notifications from email, messages, and Facebook. I know I could turn them off, but then I might forget to turn them back on and miss something important—it’s almost like slavery. I think it’s made our whole society A.D.D. It certainly adds to the challenge of meditation in the modern world. Still, when I think about it, You had constant interruptions too. People followed You around and crowded You constantly, but You took the time to withdraw to “remote” places and spend time in prayer. Even though there are new forms of distraction, I know that if anyone ever understood distraction You do. You were tempted in every way, yet didn’t sin. On the other hand, I sin daily as I allow unimportant things to eclipse essential things. Thank You so much for Your grace and mercy towards me. I ask You to help me to seek Your face wholeheartedly, and to rest in Your presence. Quiet the constant “demands” that fill my mind, and let me see Your beauty. Without You I am hopeless and constantly frazzled. Yet, You offer peace if I will just take time to tap into it.

I keep thinking that one-day life will slow down, and times of meditation will happen more easily, but I think I am just fooling myself. It will never be easy until I see Your face. Once again, it boils down to self-disciple until I get into Your presence, and meet me with all the strength and peace I need. Life is short, so I need to stop making excuses and make habits instead. What a privilege it is to have the Lord of life standing ready to meet with me and equip me daily. Why in the world do I fail to apply this wonderful benefit so often? Please forgive me, and thank You for always answering when I call, in spite of my weaknesses.

My precious child, remember that my strength is made perfect in your weakness. Therefore, you need not lament over it. Rather rejoice in the knowledge that I have used and continue to use imperfect “jars of clay” for my purposes. Look at Scripture and you will find numerous examples my ability shining best in the lives of imperfect people. Even the most powerful saints had moments of extreme weakness. Remember, Elijah’s great victory at Mt Carmel was followed by an episode of extreme cowardice. David strayed, and yet was a man after my own heart. Even though Jeremiah knew me as the Living Water, he often struggled with despair. Paul and Barnabas separated after a sharp dispute, and Peter, well you know all about Peter. Why do you think these things are recorded in My Word? It is because I want you to know that I can use anyone. Yes, I desire your worship and the sacrifice of self-disciple, but be very careful about how you approach it. It can easily become the goal rather than a means to the goal. The goal is to abide in Me. Remembering who I am and meditating on my attributes will best achieve that. Set your mind on things above. Take joy in my great love for you, and you will find the focus and peace you desire. Nothing is too difficult for Me.