Not By Might, Not By Power…But By My Spirit, Says The Lord

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I remember when I was a new Christian, my children were young.  I bought them praise and worship tapes and they carried them around in their tape recorders blasting music throughout the house.  One song keeps ringing in my head tonight.  The words say, “Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord.”  I have to remind myself that even though I am a very strong person, I am nothing without the strength and guidance from God and The Holy Spirit.  In fact, God has designed us to depend on Him…not on ourselves.

On Friday, Cincinnati got a lot of snow.  Did I say a LOT of snow?  I am not usually afraid to drive in the snow, but this was the first day I had ever driven my new car in the snow.  I’ve had a four-wheel drive SUV in the past and I never feared the weather with that.  But now, I am driving a smaller, more gas-efficient car and was a bit nervous about how it would handle on the slushy streets as I traveled for work.  When I headed home, I said a prayer, hoping to get back all in one piece.

I encountered cars sitting sideways in the road, others spinning their tires without going anywhere, and even a semi stuck on the back roads not able to move up the hill.  I was traveling the back roads because I knew the highway was jammed up with accidents before I left.  Though, my preference is always to go the highway on good weather days.  It gets me there in half the time and is a familiar route.

As I reflect on 2013 and look forward to a new start in 2014, I feel as though, I’ve been traveling the back roads all this year.  Instead of taking the high-speed, easy highway through life, I have been forced to get off the path of familiarity.  I have had to find new routes and sometimes have even had to be pushed out of a slick spot on the road.  There have been times along the path that I even felt cold and alone, in the quietness of my travels to a destination unknown.  Perhaps you can relate.

Don’t we all go through times like that in life?  There are some things in life that we can’t change in our own strength.  We can’t take away the pain that we are suffering.  We can’t always change something one of our loved ones has to go through in their life.  We can’t hold onto a life whose time it is to die.  We can’t heal someone just because we want to, even when we are a doctor.  If we could change these things, I know we all would in a heartbeat.

In reality, God doesn’t expect us to travel these unknown roads alone. He wants us to go with us and be our Guide.  He nudges us to get off the path of normalcy at times so that we can find Him on the back roads.  For it is when we are in situations of the unknown, in fear, or stuck in a rut not able to move forward or backward, that we are most likely to call out to Him to help.  God even gives us snowy days to remind us of our need for Him.  I can hear Him saying, “Trust me.  You may not be able to see where you are going, what you’re traveling on, or how you’re going to get there.  However, stop.  Look around.  My love and grace covers all.  I have enveloped you in My Spirit just like the freshness of the newly fallen snow.  Isn’t it a beautiful thing?”

snow windowWhen I got home after two hours of treacherous driving, Jim was here to greet me.  In fact, he had fixed dinner and handed me a plate as I walked through the door!  I was a bit disheveled from the tenseness of the past two hours traveling only twenty-six miles in total.  What a relief it was to see his face and not have to cook too!  We sat by our big window in the living room to eat.  As I turned around in my safe and comfortable surroundings, I could now see the beauty of the snow outside my window.  It had terrorized me all the way home, but suddenly now, it held me in awe of its beauty.  We turned on the fireplace, turned off the lights and marveled at the quiet and majestic glow of the snow as it lit up our room from the outside.

When we are traveling the back roads of life, we may not see the beauty.  It may be a huge inconvenience and not take us exactly where we thought we were going to go.  It may even be scary and be life-threatening at times.  However, looking back someday, I expect that we, too, will be able to see the beauty in the journey.  With the snow as our reminder, let us not forget…

God is everywhere…

He’s got it covered.

Psalm 9:10 (NIV) Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.


God is Fanning the Flames for 2012!

Wow, do I ever feel pumped up and ready to go into another new year!  I’ve had some years that began with me digging my heals into the ground and saying, “No, I don’t want it to come!  I can feel a bad year on the horizon!”  Last year, I just kind of coasted into 2011 as I was not well and I really didn’t care one way or another.  However, 2012 is different.  I am a woman on a mission for God!

For 28 years, I knew God had something for me to do in this life other than just my everyday stuff.  I have prayed, hoped, dreamed, stepped out, felt blessed, stepped back, tired out, and even at times gave up on things I felt God leading me to do.  Of all of the things I have chosen to do in my life, it is those things that are eternal for which I am the most passionate about following.  I find that when I tire out and give up, it’s typically when I wasn’t really doing what I was put on this earth to do even when it seemed so right at one point.  For when you are serving God as you should, the Holy Spirit fills you up daily with passion and purpose for the day’s work.

Today, of this I am sure.  God’s plan has got to be my plan if I want to have more than just a mediocre existence in this life.  I want to do God’s will.  I want to minister to those He puts in my path.  I pray that the time that I spend writing is for His good and will reach many.  I want to help others find Him in an intimate way as I have, in my years of walking with Him.

In my reading this week, Paul was signing a letter he wrote in Colossians 4:17-18 and his words just jumped off the page at me.  He said, “…Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.  This salutation by my own hand Paul.  Remember my chains.  Grace be with you. Amen.”

Here was Paul, sitting in prison with his hands bound by chains, encouraging others to finish strong.  If he can be so positive while in such a place of great turmoil in his own personal life, so can I.  As a matter of fact, so can you!  You see, God didn’t put us in this world for everything to be easy and go our way.  He put us here to find Him, get to know Him, share Him, and learn to serve Him.

He has given each one of us a ministry of some kind that He wants us to fulfill.  He doesn’t really need us to accomplish our tasks; but He has allowed us the privilege to walk with Him and serve Him in these ways He puts before us.  I want to be like Paul.  I want to be an encourager, even when times are tough.  When I am down and out and bound by things of this world, I want The Holy Spirit to shine through me in a way that others will still want what I have.  I want to be victorious and faithful to the end, despite my circumstances.

Our pastor preached today on being either hot or cold and not lukewarm.  I want to be hot, Hot, scorching HOT for Jesus in 2012!  What about you?  Where is your walk in life taking you?  Have you asked God to show you where He wants you serving in 2012?  If not, take the time today to quiet your world before the hustle and bustle of the new year begins.  Shhhh…I can hear Him, can’t you?  He’s saying, “Keep praying so that I can keep you up on the latest details of what I need from you. Keep searching because sometimes My ways are not always obvious to a human mind.  Keep watching for where I am at work and come join Me when You see Me. My heart longs for you to know the blessings only I can give as you learn to serve Me.”

Well, I really don’t know if that’s what He’s saying to you…I just made that up!  It’s a Christian blog…I can’t lie!  The fact is, what He’s saying to me is probably not what He’s saying to you.  However, I do know Him well enough to know that He loves us.  He desires for us to have an intimate walk with Him while on this earth, reflecting His mightiness in the lives we live.

So how are your plans for 2012 looking?  Are you going to be hot, Hot, scorching HOT for Jesus this year?  What ministry has God given you to fulfill?  Can you conjure up just even a little bit of Paul’s faith and optimism even when times are tough? Are you ready to confidently claim the Holy Spirit’s power over you as you serve God this upcoming year in mightier ways than your mind can conceive?  I’m ready.  Bring on 2012!  Let’s run hard, act wisely, and let’s finish strong because that’s what God would want us to do.  We are His witnesses…let’s show His stuff in 2012!  God’s fanning the flames…is yours lit yet?