February 6, 2014
Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“’For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
Isaiah 54: 10, Amplified Bible
Today’s Study Text:
“He gives power to the faint and weary, and to (her) who has no might He increases strength causing it to multiply and making it to abound. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men (and women) shall stumble and fall exhausted.”
Isaiah 40: 29, 30, Amplified Bible
“Power and Strength For The Weary and Weak”
“We should keep up in our hearts a constant sense of our own weakness, not with a design to discourage the mind and depress the spirits, but with a view to drive us out of ourselves in search of the Divine assistance.”
What is there in my life that has so sapped my strength that I am weary and faint?
Have I lifted my eyes heavenward and asked my Father to supply me with His strength from above?
“Be, Lord, within me to strengthen me, without me to preserve, over me to shelter, beneath to support, before me to direct, behind me to bring back, round about me to fortify.”
Lancelot Andrews, 1555-1626
“Weakness is frequently considered a defect. But are we not all weak and needy in some way? We all have our vulnerable points, our limits and our handicaps. When we recognize our weaknesses, we can ask for help.”
In his book, The Small Woman, Alan Burgess, tells the story of Gladys May Aylward, who was a Christian missionary to China. This young working-class girl had such a desire to go overseas to serve God that even though she was “turned down” because she lacked the proper training, she took her meager life savings, and used all she had to cross Siberia and arrive in Yuncheng, Shanxi Province in China.
Telling, in her own words, about the conditions she lived in, Gladys wrote: “I have two planks for a bed, two stools, two cups and a basin. On my broken wall is a small card which says, ‘God hath chosen the weak things – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’”
In the past as I have read about the life of Gladys Aylward, I wondered how I would have held up under the harsh conditions she faced. And I had to agree that only through the strength of heaven could this dear woman survive the daunting challenges that would capsize most of us.
This realization, that strength and power, greater than anything I have is what I need in my life today, is laid out by Isaiah in our text today found in
Isaiah 40: 29, 30: “He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts, for even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall” (Isaiah 40: 29, 30, The Message).
As you read these words, do you get the idea Isaiah could have been talking about our fast track 21st century lifestyle? Frankly, I rarely talk to anyone who doesn’t complain to me about being tired, worn-out, and weak. With our strength drained out our toes on a daily basis, the words of Isaiah about a Father who gives strength and power to the weary is like a healing balm for my soul. How about you?
However, to get a better picture of what Isaiah was revealing, I want to look at two words: “power” and “strength.” In the Hebrew translation, these words, as used in Isaiah 40: 29 mean:
Let’s take a look at the point Isaiah is trying to get across to us when we are weak and weary. God’s message, through the prophet is this: “God gives us vigor, He helps us stand firm and no matter what comes at us, just like a plant which withstands the winter winds and snow, He makes us hardy, stalwart, rugged and robust, even courageous and bold. What’s more, when we lose all our strength, He infuses us with His power – and He gives His power in abundance.” Then Isaiah adds something which really touches my heart.
Years ago, before our accident, I had the endurance of a work-horse. I could go day-after-day and hour-after-hour. But after our accident, I found that it was as if someone had pulled the plug on my endurance. As the years have gone by, my stamina hasn’t improved. Not long ago, a close friend commented that as she has gotten older, she gets tired so much faster. I jokingly asked, “Well, what did you expect?” I love that Isaiah has a special message from God that says whether we are young or old, we will get weary, the kind of weary that can’t hold up on its own power and in its own strength. When this happens, Isaiah says, we have a Source we can rely on that never wearies and never runs out of power.
This heavenly “Source” is what the Apostle Paul referred to in his letter to the members of the church in Colosse. In Colossians 1: 11 (Amplified Bible), we find Paul encouraging the believers in Jesus with these words: “We pray that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory.” Sounds to me as though Paul was connected to the same heavenly “Source” that Isaiah assures us gives power to the faint and weary and increases our strength, multiplying it and making it abound!
However, there’s one other very important similarity between Paul’s message to the people in Colosse and Isaiah’s message in the Old Testament, and tomorrow we will look at this special quality which takes us to the pinnacle of our Father’s divine love and will and plan for our lives. Yes – yours and mine! And it is this quality which becomes the gold God layers on the seeming delays or unanswered needs of our prayers. The prophet Zechariah tells us about God’s special promise: “I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My name and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (Zechariah 13: 9, N.I.V.). In the words of Pastor Charles Stanley, “The hotter the fire, the purer the gold.”
“O Love, that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul on Thee:
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.”
“Grant us, Lord, to know in weakness the strength of Thy incarnation: in pain the triumph of Thy passion: in poverty the riches of Thy Godhead: in reproach the satisfaction of Thy sympathy: in loneliness the comfort of Thy continual presence: in difficulty the efficacy of Thy intercession: in perplexity the guidance of Thy wisdom; and by Thy glorious death and resurrection bring us at last to the joy of seeing Thee face to face.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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