Tag Archives: strength

Endurance Running


If you’ve never heard of an Iron Man race or been to one, the people who do it are incredible. The race starts off with a 2.4 mile open water swim. Then they ride a bike for over 112 miles. Once they’re done with that, they have to run a marathon. Did I mention that it all has to be done on the same day and within a certain timeframe? These men and women push their body’s to the limit like nothing I’ve ever seen. To me, they are the very picture of endurance. 

In high school, i ran the mile. Yes, it was just one, and they called that endurance running! I still had to train and condition my body to be able to run four laps around the track at the fastest speed possible. I had to get my muscles to the level where they could maintain that speed for close to five minutes. I also had to condition my lungs to not get winded so I wouldn’t run out of breath in the race. It’s a far cry from an Iron Man, but I still had to train.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (NLT). We each have our own race to run in life. Some of us will run a short distance, some will run a 5k, others a half marathon or a marathon, while others an Iron Man. Whatever race God has set before you, run with endurance and don’t compare your race to someone else’s. 

There’s an old saying that goes, “It’s not the mountains ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” To run with endurance, and to run to win, we need to get rid of sin in our lives, even small ones. They keep us from running our race the way God wants us to. We must discipline our flesh and our spirit through prayer, reading God’s Word, and running alongside other believers to be able to endure the race we’ve been given. We each have a certain time frame within which we must run our race, so we need to run to win.

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God Provides


One of my favorite names of God in the Bible is Jehovah Jireh. It simply means that God will provide. For Abraham, God provided a way out. For Moses, God provided food daily for over a million people. For Sampson, God provided strength to win the battle. For Nehemiah, God provided a vision to rebuild the walls. For David, God provided shelter and protection while he was being chased. We always tend to associate that name of God with providing money, but He provides so much more.

Each one of us have needs in our lives that are different. Do you need healing? God provides that. Do you need comfort? God provides that. Do you need hope? God provides that too. Whatever your need is today, I’m confident that God can provide for it. For generations, He has been caring for us as a parent would their children. He doesn’t always give us what we ask for, but He always provides for us what we need.

Here are some Bible verses on God as a provider. 

1. Come, let us bow down and worship him; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! He is our God; we are the people he cares for, the flock for which he provides. 
Psalm 95:6-7 GNT

2. For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
2 Corinthians 9:10 NLT

3. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].
MATTHEW 11:28 AMP

4. Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.
1 Corinthians 10:13 GNT

5. So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:31-34 NLT

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Undefeated 


Have you ever been on an undefeated team? I have, but it was my seven year old soccer team at the YMCA. We were the Green Machines and we had one kid that was awesome at soccer. The rest of us were good, but without Jaimie Ramirez on our team, I don’t think we would have gone undefeated. It was a good feeling to have the confidence going into each match with Jaimie on our team. There were some close matches, and we were down some games, but we always found a way to win.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go undefeated in life too? It would be great to have the confidence to know that whatever we face, we could be victorious. It is possible. Psalm 125:1 says, “Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever” (GNT). When we have the Lord on our side and learn to trust Him, we can go undefeated in life’s battles. 

That doesn’t mean we won’t face battles or that we won’t be down at times. It means that we have Jesus Christ on our team and He’s awesome at helping us win the victory. We can have confidence going into whatever battle we face knowing that He’s on our side. I Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (GNT).

Just like my team had to trust Jaimie to do his thing, you and I have to trust Jesus to do His. We still have to show up to the battle. We still have to do our part. Life is not going to be a cake walk just because you’ve put your trust in Jesus and you’re playing on His team. In this world you will have trouble He said. But He also told us to take heart because He has overcome the world. Yes, you and I can go undefeated in life if we trust in the Lord and fight our battles with Him.

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Choosing Joy


There was a time when I was so broken, hurt, and angry that I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes I would see images that got me worked up. After a while of it, I gave up trying to sleep and turned on the TV. As I was flipping through, I found a local, Christian station. All night they played the music of worship songs. As the songs played, they showed pictures of flower covered hillsides and had Bible verses pop in and out. As I listened to the music and read the verses, I began to heal.

One of the verses that came on the screen was Philippians 4:4. It said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” The old song for that verse, that I had learned as a kid, began to play in my mind. After singing it a few times, I began to sing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart” and “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. Slowly the anger began to leave me. God’s Word was brining the healing that I needed and eventually restored the joy in my life.

King David was a man who had stresses and worries too. Running a kingdom is hard work. Plus he had many enemies, including his own son Absalom. In Psalm 119:143, David wrote, “I am filled with trouble and anxiety, but your commandments bring me joy” (GNT). No matter how much anxiety or trouble he was facing, he could turn to God’s Word and find joy. He knew he could choose to wallow in his anxiety or he could choose joy.

Each of us have the same choice. We can choose to focus on our troubles and become anxious or we can choose to read the promises of God and find joy. In the darkest nights of my life, I found the joy that comes from God’s Word. Did it take away my situation? No, but it helped me get through it. It reminded me that I can choose to rejoice, I can have joy and that the Lord’s joy gives me strength. With His strength I was able to make it through that time. You too can make it through whatever you’re facing in His strength.

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Your Strength Is Enough


The story of Gideon has got to be one of my favorites in the Bible. In Judges 6, Israel was being tormented by the Midianites. When they planted crops, the Midianites would come camp on top of them to destroy them. If they had cattle or sheep grazing, the Midianites would steal them. It says the Midianites would show up in numbers too high to count. The Israelites were in fear and had hiding places in the caves and mountains to get away from them. It was a dark time for Israel. 

Gideon was threshing wheat hidden from sight when an angel showed up. He greets Gideon in verse 12 with, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” (NLT) Gideon then questions how the Lord could be with Israel in this time of suffering. He even goes as far as saying that the Lord has abandoned them. The angel calmly replies, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” Just like that, Gideon received his calling.

What sticks out to me in this verse is that Gideon was told to fight these people, who were too numerous to count, with his own strength. God wasn’t offering supernatural strength, just the promise that He was with him and that he was called to do it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed for God to give me supernatural abilities to fulfill my calling. I don’t see myself as able to do what He’s called me to do in my own abilities, but this story gives me hope.

I feel like a kid who’s scared even they first learn to ride a bike without training wheels, tThe parent holds the back seat and says, “You can do this. I’m with you holding the seat.” That’s the image I get from this story. God was telling Gideon, and us that we can do what He’s asked us to do in our own strength because He’s back there holding the seat running with us. It’s up to us to pedal in our own strength.

Whatever God has called you to do, He’s equipped you to do in your own strength. It may seem, impossible, but because He has called and is with you, it is possible. Don’t look at the task ahead. Look at the One holding the seat and trust Him to fulfill His promise through you. You are more capable than you think. You are more qualified than you believe. You are stronger than you know. Don’t be afraid to walk in your calling. The Lord has sent you.

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Walking Freely In The Fire


To me, one of the coolest stories in the Bible is the one where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace. As you know, they refused to bow to the god King Nebuchadnezzar built and set up. When the king confronted them, they didn’t back down from their beliefs knowing it would mean their death. In Daniel 3:17-18, they said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (NLT).

Their response visibly angered the king. He ordered that the furnace be heated up seven times hotter than normal. He then had the boys bound up, hand and feet, dragged to the furnace, and thrown in. It was so hot that the men who dragged them there died. The king then noticed something odd. In verse 25, he said, “Look! I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” He then called them out of the fire and promoted them to higher positions.

When you look back on your life, when was God most evident? Where can you see Him most clearly? For me, it’s in the hardest times. You could say it was when I was walking through the fires of life. When we are cast in the fire, we don’t always know if we will survive. We know God is able, but there is no guarantee He will get us out of the fire. Even still, we are required to endure and to be willing to be subjected to the fires of life.

Remember, it was in the fire that they were freed from the ropes that bound them. But even before that, God was with them. He’s not always visible leading up to the fire, but I know He was standing there with them as they refused to bow. It was only in the fire that He was revealed. God is most evident in the hardest times of our lives because those are the times we trust Him the most. When we all through the fire, our faith is deepened, our character is strengthened, and God’s love for us is proven.

You and I don’t have to fear the flames. We can walk freely in them with the Son of God beside us. I don’t know if the three Hebrew boys saw the Son of God in the fire with them or not, but He was there. We don’t always see God walking in the fire with us until we look back on it. So if you’re in the furnace now, look around. God has not abandoned you. He is there walking with you. He may not be visible now, but He’s there growing you, preparing you, and making you more like Him. Don’t give up in the furnace. Walk freely in the fire. 

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Comfort In The Chaos


To me, one of the most comforting promises of God is found in the first two verses of Isaiah 43. God says, “Do not be afraid—I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you” (GNT). I can know that whatever mountain I’m facing, trial I’m going through, or difficulty I’m having, God will not let me go through it alone.

This verse reminds me to get rid of fear first. Fear takes my eyes off of my savior and puts them on my problems. Fear makes my problems appear to be bigger than God. It can cripple me and prevent my progress in the middle of a trial I’m called to walk through. It makes me want to give up because the struggle is so difficult. But God does not give me a spirit of fear. He gives me a spirit of power and a sound mind so I can advance through whatever I face.

The next part reminds me that I’m His child. When my own child gets in danger, the first thing I do is shout his name to get his attention. God does that to us. In the midst of our chaos, God calls our name to get us to look to Him. When we’re facing uncertainty and feel like we’re drowning in sorrow, it’s His voice we need to listen for. He reminds us that we are His, and He will not leave us nor abandon us in our times I’d desperate need.

When I feel like I’m overwhelmed and I can’t seem to find the light of day, I have the promise that God is with me. He is the rock that higher than I am when those floods come in and wash me down stream. When everything I’m standing on appears to be sinking sand, He is the rock of my foundation. I know that my life is built on Him, and even though everything else seems to be lost, I can trust that my foundation is sure.

Finally, I can rest knowing that my trials will not hurt me in the long run. I know that God works in all things for my good. Set backs, unanswered prayers, times of darkness in my life, and fiery trials all make me stronger and purify my faith. When I feel like giving up, I remember that there’s no fire great enough to burn me when God is with me. I know He leads me by still waters while protecting me with His rod and staff. I can find comfort in the chaos because He sees me, knows me, and walks through fire with me.

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