Today was a full morning at Timberline Church promoting support for Teen Challenge of the Rocky Mountains through the Colfax Charity 5K. It was good to have John Kraner one of our current 180 Ministries staff members and Kyle one of our former graduates to come and assist for the morning.
These two men have great personal stories of God’s redemption and deliverance from addiction. I recall Kyle as a student and remember his sincere devotion to the Lord. I know the Lord had to work on him and share some of those ways (even like the cooking assignment) that the Lord used to help him deal with issues like anger and how to trust God to help him with challenging situations. His next venture is a missions assignment with YWAM in France. (Picture above me, John and Kyle at Texas Roadhouse)
Part of the highlight of the weekend was meeting Rich and Becky Dixon. Rich experienced a tragic event when he fell off a ladder at his home and ended up paralyzed from the rib cage down. His memoir of his how he came to experience hope for the future is in his book, “Relentless Grace.” I like the subtitle, “God’s invitation to give hope another chance.” Rich has had the opportunity to share his story in churches, prisons, conferences and Teen Challenge centers. Rich’s athletic past continues as a paraplegic cyclist. That has opened doors for him across the country at various competitive and fundraising events. I’m sure I will be sharing about Rich’s book as I have the opportunity to read it.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…“Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The eternal God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t grow tired or become weary. His understanding is beyond reach. He gives strength to those who grow tired and increases the strength of those who are weak.
Even young people grow tired and become weary, and young men will stumble and fall. Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the Lord will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired.” Isaiah 40:28-31(GW)
I read these familiar verses this morning. I have used verse 30 in the past but decided to use the greater context today. This chapter of Isaiah actually begins with a note of good news.
“Comfort my people! Comfort them!” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and announce to it that its time of hard labor is over and its wrongs have been paid for…” (Isa. 40:1)
After prophetic pronouncements of judgment and then calls to return to the Lord, now it is time to receive words of comfort and reassurance. Just like the sun beginning to dawn on a new day,or the storm clouds finally dissipating, so comes the long waited “enough” of God’s message of judgment. God reassures His people after the taunts of captivity and the oppression of an ungodly King that they would once again be shown favor and they would rise as a people strong once again. But they needed to understand some important concepts…
1 – Renewed Strength Requires a Supernatural Source
In the past Israel had trust in foreign gods and relied on the strength of their King and his army. But these are undependable and limited in strength. In contrast, the Eternal God has endless strength and inexhaustible understanding. That is what you need to bounce back, to have hope.
2 – Renewed Strength Requires Receiving What We Need, When We Need It
The Eternal God gives strength and increases strength. God gives strength to those who are tired and can’t take another step and actually don’t want to! I recall Isaiah himself after victory over the prophets of Baal, and being tired and exhausted; he is threatened by Jezebel and tells God he is ready to die.God tells him to get up and eat and then lie down and sleep. The prescription was to repeat until feeling stronger.
God increases the strength of the weak when they are “running the race” but aren’t sure if they will make it to the finish line. To me this is like a “second wind.” It is the boast of energy needed, the word of encouragement that you can take one more step, make it to the next corner, live another day.
3– Renewed Strength Requires Waiting in Hope
The Lord promises those who place their hope in Him an artisan well of strength to see them through their challenges. The Brown Palace Hotel is the oldest in Denver and is served by an artisan well. When the water level gets to a certain level it is automatically replenished by a water supply of fresh water that has been flowing for over 100 years.
We can count on the strength the Lord gives, more than people count on the artisan well at the Brown Palace. It has been so consistent over the years people “take it for granted” that it will be there. In the same was our confidence in the Lord can and should supersede anything that we can relate to in the natural.
In my physical condition, I relate to walking (trying anyway) and getting tired or especially being weak. These verses are an encouragement to me in my physical recovery. But I realize that I must wage a battle with my mind and emotions and in my spirit. These verses as well promise the strength of the Eternal God, The Creator God, who has strength I can’t fathom and understands what I can’t, so I choose to trust in Him! I hope you will as well.