Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.”
“Wilt thou keep on?
Alas! the fight
Is stern from dawn
Till eve. ‘Tis not by might
The victory is won,
God puts my foes to flight.
And now above
In blaze of day,
Wonder of love,
We see the flower and say,
‘Naught is impossible
To (those) who trust alway.’”
“The incense buds of the kiku (chrysanthemum) will open even in the frost.”
Springs in the Valley
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman
Today’s Study Text:
1. “He gives power to the faint and weary, and to (you) who have no might He increases strength, causing it to multiply and making it to abound.”
2. “But He said to me, ‘My grace, My favor and loving-kindness and mercy, is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble); for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in your weakness.”
II Corinthians 12:9
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“The Weaker You Feel The More He Helps!” Part 3
“If you feel helpless, you’ve become eligible for the assistance of God.”
A Bend in the Road
In what ways do I feel weak today?
If I were to ask God for His strength to help me, what part of my life would I ask Him to infuse with His power?
“When we run out of power to be and to do what we ought, the Lord has only just begun to supply us with His strength to live well beyond what we can do on our own.”
A Little Pot of Oil
“Crushing God’s child is like smashing the atom: divine energy of high quality is released in enormous quantity and with miraculous effects.”
Benjamin E. Fernando
Several months ago, late in the evening when I was studying for this series on Esther, I came upon the above quote by Benjamin E. Fernando. I quickly grabbed a scrap of paper and copied the words for I knew exactly where I wanted to use them.
As was noted yesterday, while God’s name wasn’t specifically mentioned in the book of Esther, God’s powerful presence leaves you and me today with a well-defined footprint, evident from Chapter 1 to Chapter 10 in Esther.
Like myself, you may be wondering, “Where it is that we find God’s footprints?” Simply put, we can trace the presence of God in His children whose lives left beautiful impressions of the Almighty God they served. Whether it was three Hebrew young men who refused to bend their knees to a god made of gold, even in the face of King Nebuchadnezzar’s death decree for their disobedience; whether it was Daniel’s faithful prayer life that led to his overnight stay in King Darius’ motel called the “Den of Lions”; or whether it was the bold Mordecai and the courageous Esther who stood strongly for their commitment to worshipping the God of heaven and earth – these lives and so many more from Genesis to Revelation, reveal that our God never walks away from His beloved and treasured children.
This is why as we fan the embers of hope in our lives as we study the life of Esther and Mordecai, it assists us to recognize that the God who repeatedly came to the rescue of His children, especially when it seemed as if all help had failed, wasn’t a God who was only present in the past. As Pastor Charles Stanley so eloquently observes: “Your biggest weakness is God’s greatest opportunity.” And I’ll add, not just yesterday but today and always. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, in their treasure of a book, God Will Make a Way, expand on the fact that God is a specialist when we are at the end of our rope. As they explain: “God who can empower you and gift you to go past what you thought was possible…when you’re at the end of yourself, that’s the time He can do His best work.” To this I say, “Indeed He can!”
It is in the book of Esther where we will uncover the truth that God’s “change-agents” are not what we might choose. God’s instruments are often the weakest and most surprising individuals we could ever imagine. Age, religion, position, and gender don’t affect God’s ability to get His work accomplished.
But there’s another element we must not miss and it is that God does not have us try-out by lifting weights to see who is the strongest. As Mother Teresa so beautifully acknowledged, “God hasn’t called me to be successful; He called me to be faithful.” I love these words for they encourage me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that my heavenly Helper is ready and able to give me a transfusion of His strength and power at those times when I feel as if I can’t go on. On a day when my battle-scars ache and my eye-lids droop, when I ask for His infusion, I am constantly amazed at the relief which arrives. As Pastor Charles Swindoll states in his book, Encourage Me, “The Lord doesn’t promise to give us something to take so we can handle our weary moments. He promises Himself. That is all. And that is enough.”
What a relief to know that all the help we need is just a call away. And the fainter our voice and the more discouraged we are by our situation, the more eager He is to deliver us. In his sermon “Strength in Weakness,” Pastor James MacDonald pointed out that “It’s the hard times and the unhealthy times and the hurting times that reveal (our) weaknesses. And it’s also during those times that God shows up strong.”
The phrase that “God shows up strong” is what we will be reminded about over and over in the story of Esther. As we witness God’s deliverance of His precious children, weak though they be…forgotten as they are…unappreciated as they faithfully labor, it is my prayer that as the embers of hope are fanned, we will recognize in our own lives that what God did thousands of years ago, He is doing today. What may seem to us like a time of crushing defeat, in the hand of God will become a release of divine energy…high quality and enormous quantity…which in the end produces “miraculous effects.”
“O Lord our God, safe under the shadow of Your wings, let us hope. You will support us both when we are little and when we are old. When our strength is from You it is real strength, when it springs from us it is weakness. Leaning upon You we can find our way back to You, who are our refreshment and true strength. AMEN.”
Augustine of Hippo
“There is strength in being weak – God’s strength! Let God step in and do what you cannot.”
“Blessed Lord, who was tempted in all things like as we are, have mercy on our frailty. Out of weakness give us strength. Grant to us Thy fear that we may fear thee only. Support us in time of temptation. Embolden us in time of danger. Help us to do Thy work with good courage, and to continue Thy faithfulness unto our life’s end.”
Brooke Foss Westcott
“Lord, it is my chief complaint,
That my love is weak and faint;
Yet I love Thee and adore,
Oh for grace to love Thee more.”
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