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Welcome to the End of Me - A Devotion

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Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

I have a bum shoulder. Not really sure what happened, if I overdid it at the gym or if my propensity to sleep with my right arm over my head finally caught up with me. I seriously doubt it was some exercise that put me in this position yet it will still affect my performance there over the next few days. It is more likely the latter which poses a bit of a problem. When I go to bed at night, it is not my intention to put that right arm up under my head as I have a perfectly good pillow. However, somewhere in the night I wake up with an arm fast asleep and my neck tilted in an awkward position. I really don’t know when I adopted this way of sleeping. My greatest dilemma is how do I stop? Can you imagine trying to sleep with your arm tightly secured to your body? I would go completely crazy. So for now, each night I go to sleep tired, I wake up weary of my own inability to maintain a suitable position. Each morning I have no strength because my body did not get enough rest.

Now I know this may seem a little bit crazy to you, but I am beginning to think this is not a random event but one that is purposed by God. No the Holy Spirit does not sneak into our room at night and reposition my body. But this discomfort has brought my attention to some things in my life. Not only am I not sleeping because of this arm, but my mind is racing as we get closer to our son’s transplant. I can blame it on my shoulder. However, the truth is if I was truly sleeping peacefully it probably would not be an issue until morning. It definitely is more noticeable with all of the tossing and turning that I am doing through the night. Lack of sleep makes me somewhat (understatement) irritable. Sleep deprivation is one of the worst methods of torture one can endure. After almost three years of battling cancer with our son, it is my right arm which would be the physical side that I would wield a weapon from if this were a natural assault. See it seems odd but fits together. This is not my battle. It does not belong to my son. When this enemy came into his life and tried to alter his forever, God said, “Enough!” Now the battle is the Lord’s. He is the One who is fighting for us. When did I decide to pick up my own sword rather than maintaining my hold on the Sword of the Spirit and Shield of Faith. Something has to change. I am losing my grip. My strength is failing. I am barely holding on.

Psalm 73:25-26 (NLT)
Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.

The Lord began working in my heart when I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior. I was just a child still somewhat naïve. I thought that Jesus would come and change the heartache of my life bringing my divorced parents back together. Ending the struggle of a child lost in the midst of divorce. But He didn’t change any of that. My dad would go on to marry another woman. My mother would fall into the generational curse of alcoholism that was drowning her family one-by-one. Yet still with child-like faith, I waited for my rescuer and deliverer to come and set us free. When things did begin to level out, our blended family ended up in the local church it was that or another failed marriage was on the way. We began to grow together in baby steps of faith and I found peace, joy and happiness for the first time in my young life. It would be short-lived as I wandered from the Lord soon after that. When I met my husband, I too had gone through a failed marriage. I was a single mom barely getting by with three wonderful yet rambunctious children – everything changed the moment we both expressed a deep desire for the Lord. As we joined our lives together, it became apparent that it was just in the nick of time for me. My health was failing from the stress of my life. My weight almost in the double digits. Hair falling out from emotional overload. The stress would cause blisters to form in my mouth that would overtake my tongue and throat resulting in my doctor prescribing anxiety medicine. I was at the end of myself. My spirit broken and weak sure that God could not ever do anything with my life now but determined to give what was left to Him, we are where we are now because of Jesus. He took what was left and made something beautiful. He did it in His Great Power and Love. So now as my body cries out from pressure and stress once more. My spirit is weak. The Lord is reminding me of that day when I decided that there was nothing that I desired more than Him. God remains the Strength of my heart forever. He promises to be forever mine.

Job 29:18-20 (NLT)
“I thought, ‘Surely I will die surrounded by my family after a long, good life. For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water, whose branches are refreshed with the dew. New honors are constantly bestowed on me, and my strength is continually renewed.’”

The words of Job in the midst of his dilemma recall the image of his life before tragedy struck. He knew that he would live a long life and leave this earth surrounded by love ones but now his family was dead. His reasoning? I am like a tree whose roots reach water, whose branches are refreshed with dew. New honors are constantly bestowed on me and my strength is continually renewed.” The trauma of life will often allow doubt and fear to hack away at the connection of faith that comes in our life with Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that Job was in the midst of a terrible ordeal. It is clear that his family and friends where not much help. But maybe that was also in God’s Design. Strength is found in God alone. (Psalm 28:7) Endurance produces strength of character, this type of strength leads to confident hope. (Romans 5:4) When God gives us strength it comes with His Peace which is confidence in His Word, Will and Way. (Psalm 29:11) We must know the Truth to be set free from worry, stress, fear, doubt and frustration which create dull axes. (Ecclesiastes 10:10) The more we know God the greater the peace we have as a product of trust that has been fulfilled over and over again. He is an everlasting God. His Love, Joy and Peace in my life are endless in duration. It is up to me to remain connected to this valuable resource for my life. His Will is evident in my every day activities. We do not have to “find” His Will – you are living it. When we decide to use our life to pursue good rather than following evil – we are now living in the Will of God. It is simply obeying His Word, and doing what His Spirit is telling you to do. The Way is Jesus Christ. He never changes. What He does, who He is, How He acts is constant – as we learn to follow the Lord our life should become consistent as well. Even when our life as a believer does not turn out as we planned – this is not the time to give up but press in to know Him more. This is the source of our strength. He is our greatest potential.

Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (NLT)
“Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.”

I have a good friend who lost her husband a few years back after a brief but fearless battle against cancer. He is now with the Lord. If you met this woman, the first thing that overtakes you is her smile that is until you are close enough for her to wrap you in her bubbly personality culminating in a big hug. When she worships the Lord, it is sincere filled with love and passion. It is clear that her faith is secure and confident hope is the anchor for her life. When we get a moment to chat, it is like two little girls with a secret. We huddle together to talk about how good God is. She asks about our son then offers profound words of encouragement that can only come from the Lord. She has this to give because of the faith she discovered through the hardest moments of her life. Faith is not secure until we give it all we are. The moment that we decide to love God with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength comes at the high price of self which is seldom given away thoughtlessly but is an act of survival. It doesn’t have to be. We make it that way through our stubborn and sinful nature. God wants to strengthen us with His Love. He wants to fortify us with His Spirit. He is a warrior ready to fight every battle for us. (Exodus 15:2-3) We must learn to search for the Lord and His Strength now – before the hard times come so we will know where to run. (I Chronicles 16:11)

Philippians 4:12-13 (NLT)
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Do you really believe that you can do everything through Christ who gives you strength? No, really think about it. Are you channeling your entire existence through Jesus Christ and His Power? Anything still guided and directed by your own free will and not surrendered to Christ is still under your control. “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:27-29) What if I told you today that everything you decide to take to Jesus Christ that He will give you the strength and wisdom to handle? God put EVERYTHING in His Hands. Now if you want to limit “everything” keep trying to do it all yourself thinking it is too small or insignificant for God. But the Lord is exercising our faith to makes us more like Jesus Christ. We must learn to “roll and repose” every single weight, burden and care to the Lord. The Lord will not become our strength until we rely on Him to be our strength. (Psalm 18:1-2) God has already secured my inheritance including every blessing and promise. I do not have to fight for it or be strong enough to attain it. I must just learn to trust Him more. (Psalm 18:29-32) Instead of trying to muster enough strength to get by, we must learn to search for the Lord and His Strength. When we strive to walk in right standing with the Lord, it makes way for His Purpose and Provision in our life which includes strength and rest. Righteousness brings about strength and healing in our life. (Proverbs 3:7-8) God’s Weakness is greater than any human strength so why do we insist on being self-reliant? (I Corinthians 1:24-25) As we build up our spirit with His Spirit, we will be strong and well-rested even in the midst of great tragedy and hardship. “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” (Ephesians3:16-17)

Colossians 1:9-12 (NLT)
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.

God uses every detail of our life to bring about His Goodness. Even when we do not understand what God is doing – He is doing His Best for us. When we choose to walk through our life, our way it leads to weariness. When we try to do the Will of God in our own strength, we get tired and give up in human weakness. I am not entirely sure why my body cannot figure out that when I sleep on my arm it hurts and is useless the next day. This is not the only way that I wear myself out. I am always trying to be the strong one and do it myself. Maybe you are the same way, trying to hold it all together, but ready to fall apart. The Lord wants to strengthen us today. He wants to restore us. Jesus did not give up. The Word of God reminds us that if there is still breath in our body the good fight of faith is still on as we look to our Champion – Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 12:1-4) When we arrive at the end of ourselves, the Lord meets us there with His Strength and Peace. He empowers us to do His Will. He strengthens us to walk and not fall. He gives us His Wisdom so we will be confident until the end. My only question is “Are we there yet?”

I Peter 5:9-11 (NLT)
Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.

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