Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Memory Verse a Week for the Weak: 2 Thessalonians 3:3

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (TNIV): "But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one."

Woah, wait a minute did you catch that? 
"he will strengthen you..."
It doesn't say, "But the Lord is faithful, and he will let you sit back, relax, and protect you from the evil one."

It doesn't say, "But the Lord is faithful, and he will solve all your problems instantly and protect you from the evil one."

"he will strengthen you..."
Those four words practically hopped off and smacked me upside the head. Those four words explain what I already knew to be true, but seeing it in the Word unexpectedly really took my breath away.

Building muscles isn't an easy, pain free, process. If it were, then everyone would have muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger (someone help me come up with a better example!!!). I studied the muscle system last quarter in Anatomy and Physiology, and learned the physiology behind building muscles and keeping them. In short, like air miles, you either use them or lose them (again not the best example). It doesn't take long for your muscles to atrophy. My husband is one of the strongest people I know, but he also uses his muscles every day.

There is One stronger than my husband, and He says in His word, that He will strengthen me??? So does that make God like my personal trainer? I THINK SO!!!! YES I DO!!!

Jesus does go on runs with me nearly every day. >>>Can you picture it, Jesus running and rocking out with me as a run down the road??? I really need him on these Tennessee roads. :) <<<  I think 2 Thessalonians 3:3 is referring to more than abs of steel. I think it also means that God will strengthen my heart and make me a stronger person for the battles I fight every day against "the evil one".

When I run and thoughts go through my head like "I can't go any further", Jesus is there saying, "Oh yes you can!", he is my source of strength (he and music with a good, uplifting beat). And each day I go a bit further because I know what Jesus and I conquered the previous day.

This past January, February, and March, when my days were really dark and I thought, "I can't go any further...", my Heavenly Father was there (through the word, people, circumstances), whispering, "You're right. You can't. But I can for you. We can do this." Looking back at that time, I now know He was strengthening me...

The strength from the Lord is like our muscles; if we don't use it, we lose it. And unfortunately, it's often in the tough times that I go to God for the source of my strength. The more strength I receive from my Heavenly Father, the more my faith increases.  Which answers why God would allow me or anyone to go through tough times. He desperately wants us to trust Him (not because He needs our trust, but because He knows we need Him). I'm a skeptic, it's my personality. As much as it hurts sometimes, I need the strengthening, oh I need it, because I require the proof that produces the trust (I admit it, I'm a weak, fallen, damaged child of God).

So when my ACT scores aren't what I would like them to be...
and I'm across the country from my Superhero...
or when I find a huge snake skin a few feet from my pick up and on the path I walk every day to get to my front door...
or there are all kinds of crazy bugs, and big spiders, and gnarly amphibians all up in my personal space...
and when I can't celebrate my Grandma's 80th birthday with her...
when I miss out on a cousin's wedding...
or when money is tighter than I would like...
or when I don't want to run any more...
I choose to let God use it as an opportunity to strengthen me, and ultimately build my trust and love for my Heavenly Father.

May I encourage you to make the same choice?

Here are some more Bible verses for this week's theme:

Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." 

Psalms 27:1, NKJV says, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid."

Please also see Hebrews 12.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Here are some music videos that also address this strengthening topic:

And one of my favorite songs to exercise to... for the past ten plus years:

God is love, 
and the ultimate source of strength,

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