Scriptures on Strength

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

1 Chronicles 22:13  Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.

The Table…Joe Misek

I grew up one of three boys. We’re all big. My dad is 6’7”, my brothers and I are all over 6 feet, and all well over 200 lbs. My mom is petite, but the guys more than made up for her. We lived in a reasonably sized home, but the kitchen was a bit small and we generally could not fit all around the kitchen table for dinner. So we tended to either eat dinner at separate times, or eat in the living room off our laps or tray tables. When we were all together, we would put out pizzas on the table in the kitchen, fill our plates, and go to the living room. To me, the dinner table was where the line formed for the family buffet.

My wife grew up one of three girls. They’re all small. They all fit around the table in their dining room, and they are all very social. They learned to socialize around the dinner. To my wife, the dinner table was not just about food. It was about relationships.

So we get married. Almost instantly, I realized that our influences were pulling in opposite directions. And in a rare, almost miraculous moment of maturity, I concluded that my wife’s “pull” was going to win. So we’ve actually never had so much as a long conversation about it, let alone an argument about it. I’m used to dinner lasting as long as it takes me to clean my plate.

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Getting to the Promised Land…Cassie Wilson

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading Deuteronomy while drying my hair before work. I had picked this particular book to read because in my mind, Deuteronomy is a quick overview of the first four books and the lesson that month for Children’s Church was on the Children of Israel. It was the perfect review before going to help teach the children. As I was reading, I came across Deuteronomy 6:10-11.

(10) And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not.

(11) And houses full of all good things, which thou filldest not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shall have eaten and be full. “My goodness!” I thought. “Wouldn’t it be nice to be one of the Children of Israel and just walk into a furnished house without having to build it myself?”

The thought of being given an earthly home and how special the Children of Israel must have felt was enough to derail me from my reading. Imagine it. Vineyards so full of grapes and fields so full of barley that you need help to harvest it all. Homes furnished without having to seek the country looking for precious metals to melt to make your candlesticks. A water source already established without you having to poke holes in the ground to find it yourself.

I spent quite a while thinking how nice it must have been, and if I’m being honest, I felt a pang of jealousy, too. As I was sitting there (still drying my hair) and thinking about the Children of Israel’s blessings that I had wished I had, I was reminded that we, as Christians, are promised the same thing—Heaven is the promised land. So many times in this world it feels like it’s all we can do to stay afloat. As far as I can see, absolutely no one will be handing me the keys to a furnished home in the near future and I wanted what the Children of Israel had. I wanted their blessing, but I had forgot they had struggles to work through before getting there.

If you focus on your own struggles and compare yourself to others, like so many of us do (myself included), it’s easy to overlook God’s love and the help He sends us. We may have a struggle to get through, a battle to fight, or a mountain to climb, but the promise at the end of it is worth more than we could ever imagine. Jesus tells us in the New Testament that He has gone away to prepare us a mansion in His heavenly home.

None of us deserve a spot in Heaven and we could not secure our place in Heaven on our own. But, it was His love, grace, and sacrifice that ensured we, too, will cross over into the land flowing with milk and honey, if we only repent of our sins, believe on Him, and live the life He has set before us. Sure, the Children of Israel received an earthly promise. And while many of us would like a fancy house and nice possessions, Earth is not our home.

If you keep reading through the Old Testament, you’ll see the Children of Israel lost their promise from time to time and had to repent and seek God to get their promise back. If we stay on the right track, once we reach Heaven and cross over into our promised land, there is no absolutely no way we’ll lose our promise. We’ll reside with our sweet Jesus for all eternity! Keep the faith— Cassi