Lacking strength and feeling worn down

Are you lacking strength or feeling worn out? Then read this! I was given a word of prophecy and was confused by its meaning. The following is an excerpt from a prophecy given in February to me and my wife:

You both like to consider things a lot. You both can move slowly and methodically. And you can even go around the same mountain quite a lot until you can almost draw a map of your journeys. You are not people that make decisions and back away from them.

Digressing a bit, this last January I felt like God was impressing on me that this year was going to be a year of breakthrough for me. It was about a month before I received the prophecy. In March I switched shifts from swing shift to graveyard shift. It gave me time to pursue things. I felt like God impress on me to put him first, so I read through the New Testament in the first couple months. I then felt like I should start a blog, so I did. After that I didn’t feel any specific direction so I began reading Christian books along with the Bible. I sought out biblical teachings online to encourage myself and began praying for people around me for healing. I sought God for words of encouragement for people and gave them to people. My wife and I then started a Children’s Ministry at our church and the children began hearing from God. Things were going well.

Somewhere along the way I felt like I began to get tired. I was lacking strength. Sometimes it felt like I was winning, and other times it felt like I was losing. Somewhere along the way I began to not be so confident in the promises of God for my life. At some point I began to pursue God for direction, words, healing, etc., rather than for his presence. In that pursuit I lost the passion I had gained. The problem was that I didn’t see it. Whenever I would get to work and finish my initial work duties I would sit and check the sports scores. A still small voice in my head would say, “seek first the kingdom of God.” I would ignore it only seeking God when I needed something.

Thinking back on it, the picture of the Israelites walking in the wilderness and the thought of the mountain from the prophecy came to my mind. The Israelites came to God when they needed something. God always provided what they needed. The Bible says the ones who didn’t believe (or trust) in God’s word died in the wilderness.

That begs the question, “how do I increase my trust/faith/belief?” I believe there is more than one way which I have written about briefly before. One reference is Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message heard through the word about Christ.” This scripture is a reference to earlier in the chapter where the Romans are told to share the gospel of Jesus with people using words. If they don’t use words people will not have the opportunity to respond. There is something about words being spoken and believing them.

I believe faith comes from hearing God’s word and believing it but there is more to it than that. Joshua and Caleb believed in the promise and in God’s word. Moses and Aaron weren’t able to enter the Promised Land because they faltered in their trust when Moses struck the rock at Meribah twice rather than speaking to it like God told Moses. There was a difference between Moses and Joshua which may have been spending time in God’s presence. The Bible says:

Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. – Exodus 33:11

This was the tent of meeting where people would wait upon the Lord. Joshua was with Moses when God spoke to Moses. Joshua stayed at the tent in God’s presence. Moses left after speaking with God. I believe these encounters enabled Joshua to believe the promises of God in the face of opposition. This trust caused Joshua to obtain the promises Moses wasn’t able to obtain. There is a difference between seeking God for his presence and seeking God for wants/needs. Somewhere along the way Moses went from seeking God’s face to seeking his hand.

Now for a New Testament reference in Luke 5:16 “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” There is definitely something that can be said for being alone in the presence of God.

This leads me to where I am now. Yesterday I decided to stop my other activities and pursuits until I felt like I was where I was supposed to be with God. I put on some worship music, read the bible, and listened to a couple messages. I then decided to literally lay down, doing nothing but listening. It was during this time of “pursuit” where I waited upon the Lord where he met me and gave me strength. I feel renewed. I am not longer lacking strength. My circumstances remain the same but I have a different perspective and am able to respond in faith/trust.

Those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31

We are fortunate that in the new covenant that even when we mess up, God’s grace is available to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Grace is an empowerment to receive what we don’t deserve. We can’t earn the promises of God, they are received through trusting (faith) the same way as they always have been received. Sometimes faith requires pursuing the promise and other times it is standing and watching God bring it to you. I have found both true in my own life.

Encouragement

If you are lacking strength I want to encourage you to seek God for his presence, not for strength. You will find both. I believe I am stepping into God’s promises. The saying, “seek God’s face, not his hand,” is what my journey around the mountain has been about. God has provided all of my needs and I have grown in the wilderness, but that isn’t where the promise is.

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.” – Psalm 27:8

God Bless! Thanks for taking the time to read this! Please share so others can be encouraged!

Co-labor with Christ: I’m not asking Jesus to take the wheel!

This past month I took some time off from work and fixed things around the house. I wasn’t inspired to write anything and didn’t take the time to put my thoughts into words, although God was speaking to me. God often stirs things inside of me and the picture isn’t quite clear at the moment. I have been pondering what it means to “co-labor with Christ.” Continue reading “Co-labor with Christ: I’m not asking Jesus to take the wheel!”

Do not repay evil with evil: Is my first response love?

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:8-9

As I read this scripture last night I felt like God was speaking to me through it but wasn’t sure what it was. I thought through my life and the people who I felt have wronged me. I have forgiven each of them and have spoken blessing over them to the best of my knowledge. Regardless of my thoughts, the feeling that God wanted to communicate something to me through the verse wouldn’t go away.

After working I went to bed without a thought in my mind. I had one dream I remember and it was weird (like most). In the dream I had been staying in a home with a friend. I had some keepsakes from my kids in the home. A greedy land baron was trying to take the land from me. Continue reading “Do not repay evil with evil: Is my first response love?”

Moving Forward One Step At A Time

I felt like God was speaking to me about taking one step at a time. A friend and mentor of mine mentioned it in a meeting about taking the step God has directed you to take, waiting for Him, and then taking the next step He directs you to take. It wasn’t something new to me.  I had heard it before and believed it to be true. The difference for me this week is that it was God’s word for me in the moment. Moving forward one step at a time. Continue reading “Moving Forward One Step At A Time”

Defining Moments: Holy Spirit Do You Love Me?

When I was 18 years old I spent a year in a discipleship program. We had worship time every morning during the week Tuesday through Friday.  One morning during this time one of the pastors told us that if we asked the Holy Spirit if He loved us, He would always answer us.  The pastor encouraged all of us to close our eyes and ask the Holy Spirit if He loved us.  I think everyone said it out loud.  We then waited.  There was worship music playing in the background and about 35 students and staff present.

One by one many of the others in the room began to have emotional responses.  Some were filled with joy and others began to cry.  I stood there.  I felt all alone in the middle of the room that seated around 200 people.  My thoughts were a mess and it felt like an argument in my head. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was hoping to hear God.

Continue reading “Defining Moments: Holy Spirit Do You Love Me?”