Updated: Jan 9, 2022
First, Happy New Year! I pray this year you experience God's best for your life, goals, health, dreams and happiness.
Next, over the course of the last 6 weeks I have been made aware through personal study and mentorship that I may have unintentionally in my writing past not interpreted the word of God correctly. For this I repent and have asked forgiveness. I pray earnestly that God gives me His word, not my opinion of His word to share. There is no higher responsibility than sharing the word of God with others and I do sincerely take that seriously. I never want to lead anyone astray due to eisegesis interpretation. If I have in the past, I am so sorry and I ask for forgiveness. Now that I am aware, I will do my absolute best to stay biblically sound. I have no formal training in this. Just me and the Holy Spirit. But that is no excuse for not growing, learning and improving. I am committed to doing all three with the help of Christ, my Savior and Lord.
I wish I could say I have some fancy algorithm, or snazzy Wheel of Fortune wheel to spin or some well researched scientific flow chart but no, I just simply pray about it. As I study the word that I am contemplating choosing, I study about that specific word from a biblical context and perspective. It is in that process of study that a bible verse usually grabs my heart and that word and verse become my year-long pursuit.
Recently, my best, best, best, best, best friend Cari (can you hear my silly voice C?) and I were commiserating about our lack of discipline. We are similar in our lifestyles regarding health, spiritual growth, and intellectual pursuits. We decided to do a 30 day Mind, Body, Soul discipline drive. For thirty days, everyday, we would spend time in God's word, 30 miutes of physical activity, and we both gave up social media and news in order to calm our thoughts and stress of the world.
I made it two weeks (insert eye roll here). However, it did convict my heart that I am truly, undisciplined. Man, I dislike that "D" word. But nonetheless, I owned it.
Through study and prayer of the bible, I learned that anything I do in life apart from Christ, I will ultimately come up short. I may find success temporarily (like two weeks temporary, yes, another eye roll) but over the long-term, I will dwindle in attributes necessary for achieving lifelong gain. I am simply not s t r o n g enough.
"My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26 KJV
Psalm 73 deals with a personal crisis of faith. Asaph, the author of the psalm and a worship leader was in a wrestling match with what he knew and believed to be true about God and what he witnessed about ungodly, worldly non-believers.
From his viewpoint, the ungodly "had it made". Their health, wealth and struggle free life seemed to be rewarded and was prospering. Their hard hearts and evil minds created riches. They were arrogant, violent, prideful and hatefully mocked God. Based on what he observed, Asaph determined that he had wasted his time and energy maintaining clean hands and a pure heart. But instead of resigning his worship leader position, he got alone with God. In doing so, he gained a new perspective on his position of faith.
While alone with God and instead of considering the circumstances around him, Asaph knew that he was heading in the direction of the eternal destiny before him. The ungodly may have everything they want - but they don't have God. To Asaph, nothing compared to knowing God and serving Him. He realized that in that close relationship, he too had all he could ever need. In the closeness, he gained clarity. In God's proximity, he gained power.
I am like Asaph and I am so encouraged by his honesty. I doubt God's goodness, yet I believe he is good. The first line of Psalm 73 Asaph declares "Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart" yet he was experiencing doubt about that goodness.
There is a difference between doubt and unbelief. Doubt is questioning what you believe. and is natural within faith. It comes about because of our human weakness and frailty. Doubt is a struggle faced by the believer. Unbelief is a determined refusal to believe. Unbelief is a condition of the unbeliever and involves spiritual blindness and a determined resistance to God.
My favorite part of my verse of the year is "...but God..."
My heart fails when I am disappointed
My flesh fails when I am ill.
My heart fails when I am discouraged.
My flesh fails when I am physically hurt.
My heart fails when I listen to my doubts.
My flesh fails when I make unhealthy choices.
My heart fails when I allow anger.
My flesh fails when I allow temptation.
He is our strength. Literally, the translation means "rock of my heart". As Gill states in his exposition, we can count on Him when "we are overwhelmed with distress through outward trouble, or in the lowest condition with respect to spiritual things; when grace is weak, corruptions strong, temptations prevail, and afflictions are many; then does the Lord support and sustain his people and strengthens them with strength in their souls".
God is omnipotent which means "all-powerful" and refers to the fact that God's power is infinite and unlimited. He can do with power anything that power can do. Said another way, God has the power to do all he wills to do. He has both the resources and the ability to work his will in every circumstance in the universe.
If you prefer a simpler definition, just think of these three words—"God is able." That's what omnipotence means. He is able to do everything he needs to do or wants to do.
John MacDuff says "Believer! what can better support and sustain you amid the trials of your pilgrimage, than the thought that you have an Omnipotent arm to lean upon? The God with whom you have to do, is boundless in His resources. There is no crossing His designs- no thwarting His purposes- no questioning His counsels. His mandate is law; "He speaks, and it is done! "The Lord God Omnipotent reigns!" Rev. 19:16
How much will God give us His strength? Both in life and at death, and to all eternity; this is a very large portion; indeed. Such who have it inherit all things. It is immense and inconceivable; it is soul satisfying and is safe and secure; it can never be taken away, nor can it be spent; it will last always.
So I am going to give the 30 Day Discipline challenge another go. My strategy for success? Relying on God and his infinite power, not my flesh or heart. Oh, I am sure this won't be achieved perfectly, but I know this time, I won't be going it alone. C, you in?
If you were going to choose a word to focus on and chase this year, which word would you choose?
Next week verses Isaiah 41:10 and Nehemiah 8:10
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Let me know your thoughts! I hope you love them!