Ancient Israel always seemed to be flirting with idolatry. In Isaiah 40:27-31, God patiently explained that He is not like inanimate idols who are powerless to help man. He said, “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable” (mysterious and unfathomable). Then He revealed some good news for us: “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.”
All human beings become weary and tired. We wonder how we are going to come up with the energy to do the things we are called upon to do. This is especially true as we age. However, our living God is able to help us carry on with renewed energy. God never wears out and He is willing to give us strength. The secret is to ask Him for it, and then get moving.
I’m reminded of my high school history teacher, Walter Dale. He was a long-time teacher at Great Lakes Christians College and a part-time preacher. After retiring, he and his wife Eileen decided to move to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to help the small congregation of the Church of Christ there. He could have easily spent his retirement in luxury and ease, as many people do. But not Walter. He wanted to serve the Lord as long as he could. He seemed to have a great deal of energy and strength for a man his age. For the second time in my life I was able to be friends with him, for we also lived in that part of the country. The Dales were a great model for me as a younger preacher.
Age, illness and overwork can slow us down. But when we need strength to carry on the Lord can give us what we need. It’s a quality that the living God shares with us. Idols can never come up with it, but our living God can.
Weary? Tired? Feeling weak? Now you know what to do.
The great philosophers of ancient Greece sought to understand the inner nature of man, what made him tick. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle wrote down their thoughts which have been studied for thousands of years. Some people find Plato’s thoughts to be difficult and a little strange, but overall, he made a lot of sense. He lived roughly about the time of Israel’s Babylonian captivity.
No one knows the inner nature of man more than God himself, our creator. David recognized this shortly after he realized he was guilty of some shocking sins. In Psalm 51:6-7, by inspiration, he wrote down some great truths. He said, “Behold thou dost desire truth in the innermost being” (NASV). Deep inside of us, one of the greatest things we can do is be a people of truth. Not only should we speak truth to others but know the truth about ourselves: we are flawed and need God’s help and forgiveness. This breeds deep humility, enabling us to treat others with “gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love” (Eph.4:2).
The second truth David pointed out was that “in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom” (Ps.51:7). God himself can give us wisdom deep inside, which adds great quality and character to man. Philosophers have come up with some profound things, but wisdom from God truly enriches a life. If we ask him for it, he will give it to us “generously and without reproach” (James 1:5).
Sometimes we just need strength to carry on. Our inward man needs to come up with it at the worst of times. It is said in scripture that we can be “strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph.3:16). This is a blessing accessed in prayer by any Christian.
So, what makes us tick in our inner man? Truth, wisdom and strength – all from God through Jesus Christ. Look into the Scriptures every day and feast upon the truths found there. Pray to Him for help and wisdom – and do it with a humble attitude. That’s what makes us healthy and strong deep inside.
Every day we hear news that the price of oil is lower and the Canadian dollar is weaker. It affects those who travel outside of the country, those who send money abroad, and the price of imports.
Overall the low dollar/oil tends to drain the life and strength out of our fragile economy. We’ll hurt for a while, but history tells us that the situation will eventually be corrected. It’s going to take strategy, hard work and patience.
Our spiritual lives can similarly be affected. Some things build us up, and others drain us of life and vitality. The latter could be called “the low oil and dollar disorder.” The Bible urges us to take steps to make sure nothing is missing spiritually. To simplify, there are four parts: prayer, study, fellowship, and service. Prayer keeps us dependent on God (James 5:16). Study grants us knowledge to stay on track (2 Tim.2:15). Fellowship keeps us loving our brethren (Heb.10:24). And service integrates our talents with that of others and creates a strong body (1 Pet.4:10-11). These can enliven and reinforce us, or the lack of them can drain us of strength – just like a weak dollar and low oil does to the economy.
Are you attending every assembly possible, or conjuring up excuses not to? Are you cheerfully serving the church in some way, or naively assuming others will do it all? Are you carving out some time to pray and study, or let it be swallowed up in a busy lifestyle?
We may feel powerless to help our struggling economy, but all of us can take steps to stay strong spiritually: strategy, hard work and patience. Don’t let the low oil/low dollar disorder prevail.
In our hectic world solitude is missing. As we age we have more time to be alone, and for some people solitude becomes loneliness. But there is a need to practice a measure of it.
When Moses escaped Egypt, he spent four decades in the wilderness with few people nearby. It gave him time to think about his life, to learn humility and trust in God, not just himself. When he saw the burning bush, he was ready to be a leader. (Ex.3).
When Saul obeyed the gospel in Damascus, his whole life changed. He needed some time alone, so he went away for a while in Arabia before proceeding with his new role as an apostle. (Gal.1:17-18). Sometimes we need space to make important changes in our thinking. Continue reading →