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Sunday, October 22, 2006
Exposing the Strength Myth
“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions…out of weakness was made strong…” Hebrews 11:33-34

I’ve heard it said over and over again. Maybe not the same words, but the general essence of what I call the “Strength Myth” comes through loud and clear. It ranks right up there with the myriad of internet hoaxes and urban legends circulating today. This myth says,

“You are strong, therefore you can ______.”

Just fill in the blank: …learn another language; ….be a missionary; …resist temptation; …endure suffering; and the list goes on and on! It seems whatever someone does not want to do or does not want to face can be easily written off with the excuse of weakness.

Do we imagine that God listens to this line of thinking and says, “You’re right, you are too weak. You’re off the hook. Ok, next!”? The scriptures abound with illustrations of men and women who could have excused themselves that way. Abraham and Sarah claimed old age. Moses claimed weakness of speech. Elijah claimed physical exhaustion. The Israelites had no giant to pit against Goliath. Gideon claimed a poor family heritage. Paul had a physical ailment. Esther had no right to speak to the king unbidden.

All these people found out the amazing truth about weakness: When I reach the end of my own resources, when I cannot do it, God takes over and miracles happen! God is not searching for “strong” people to live a godly life. He chooses to work through our weakness thereby magnifying His great power in us to accomplish what we could never do on our own.

What you see in my life…the ability to endure multiple tragedies, the courage to return to the mission field, the strength to encourage others, the tenacity to carry on…these are not “my” qualities. I can only claim weakness. It is the Lord’s ability, the Lord’s courage, His strength and His tenacity which I draw upon daily. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

posted at 9:11 AM  

Saturday, October 14, 2006
Sitting on the Edge of Glory
"Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." Joshua 1:1,5

There are two truths that cannot be disputed: the brevity of life and the sovereignty of God. So often we live as if these truths do not exist. We assume we will live to an old age. We live as if we are in control of our own lives. Even if we are granted many days like Moses, God's servant, yet in the grand scheme of things from God's viewpoint, our life is just a vapor. It would seem useless except for the sovereignty of God. This marvelous truth has helped me to come to grips with every tragedy of life. Knowing God has a purpose, a plan for each breath we breathe brings true meaning to our human existence. Finding that purpose should consume our whole being. For who can say how much time we have left to accomplish God's plan?

I recently discovered a poem which my husband, Malcom, wrote 2 months before the Lord called him home. Perhaps it will bless someone today:

Sitting on the Edge of Glory
by Malcom Feistel

Sitting on the edge of glory, telling all who pass my story
People passing by, wondering, not asking,
why hard things still happen to people
Sitting on the edge of glory.

Will they understand that we are all
Sitting on the edge of glory?

Jesus came to die, gave his life for mine, made it possible for me to be
Sitting on the edge of glory.

Things that happen in our lives, sickness, trials and strife,
They all push us to the edge where waits a place just for us
Sitting on the edge of glory.

In a moment life will change, people gone forever, health is just a whisper,
Happiness a vapor, but joy will last forever
Sitting on the edge of glory.

posted at 10:13 AM  

Thursday, October 05, 2006
Heart Lag
"That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ." Colossians 2:2

International travel is marked by a common malady called "jet lag." Those who have never experienced it cannot imagine the topsy turvy feeling of suddenly being thrust from one time zone to another. This is especially true going half-way around the world from west to east. Days and nights are completely turned around. It may be daylight here, but my body is still trying to deal with fast-forwarding past 12 hours of darkness. So while literally I'm here, physically there is a lag that takes a week or so to catch up.

There is another adjustment required too. A friend of mine called it "heart lag." As I pondered this phrase God brought to mind the verse in Colossians which refers to that special Christian bond as hearts being "knit together in love." In the past year and especially over the last few months since my husband's passing, God has forged some special heart connections for me with some of my church family and other friends. Leaving them as well as my children, grandchildren and other family members has been challenging. I suddenly felt thrust out of a loving circle and was very homesick.

I arrived back in Taiwan about 6 days ago. Just as my body is beginning to recalibrate time and adjust to jet lag, so too my heart is catching up and reconnecting with hearts here in Taiwan. Daily God is bringing different ones into my life who demonstrate His grace, His love, His comfort. I will always stand in awe of God's marvelous ways in which He does as He promised in Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

posted at 11:16 AM