Tag Archives: strength

Enduring Love ii

Elisha Heals Naaman

Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army. The Lord had helped him and his troops defeat their enemies, so the king of Syria respected Naaman very much. Naaman was a brave soldier, but he had leprosy.

One day while the Syrian troops were raiding Israel, they captured a girl, and she became a servant of Naaman’s wife. Some time later the girl said, “If your husband Naaman would go to the prophet in Samaria, he would be cured of his leprosy.”

When Naaman told the king what the girl had said, the king replied, “Go ahead! I will give you a letter to take to the king of Israel.”

Naaman left and took along seven hundred fifty pounds of silver, one hundred fifty pounds of gold, and ten new outfits. He also carried the letter to the king of Israel. It said, “I am sending my servant Naaman to you. Would you cure him of his leprosy?”

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in fear and shouted, “That Syrian king believes I can cure this man of leprosy! Does he think I’m God with power over life and death? He must be trying to pick a fight with me.”

As soon as Elisha the prophet heard what had happened, he sent the Israelite king this message: “Why are you so afraid? Send the man to me, so that he will know there is a prophet in Israel.”

Naaman left with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent someone outside to say to him, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan River. Then you’ll be completely cured.”

11 But Naaman stormed off, grumbling, “Why couldn’t he come out and talk to me? I thought for sure he would stand in front of me and pray to the Lord his God, then wave his hand over my skin and cure me. 12 What about the Abana River or the Pharpar River? Those rivers in Damascus are just as good as any river in Israel. I could have washed in them and been cured.”

13 His servants went over to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. So why don’t you do what he said? Go wash and be cured.”

14 Naaman walked down to the Jordan; he waded out into the water and stooped down in it seven times, just as Elisha had told him. Right away, he was cured, and his skin became as smooth as a child’s.

15 Naaman and his officials went back to Elisha. Naaman stood in front of him and announced, “Now I know that the God of Israel is the only God in the whole world. Sir, would you please accept a gift from me?”

Such a simple thing
you ask of me,
that I can be made clean
and whole,
yet so hard for me
to do.

I was looking
for something complicated,
something splendid looking,
a grand gesture I could make,
but no,
your requirements are small,
your blessings simple.

So what can I do,
but come and be washed,
and step out
cured,
healed,
clean
and free.

Lord,
I come,
in humility,
in obedience,
wash me clean
in your love,
I pray

that I may go,
strengthened
by you,
for all you ask of me

Wash Over Me

Prayer in Temptation iii

The Lord’s Invitation

55 If you are thirsty,
    come and drink water!
If you don’t have any money,
    come, eat what you want!
Drink wine and milk
    without paying a cent.
Why waste your money
    on what really isn’t food?
Why work hard for something
    that doesn’t satisfy?
Listen carefully to me,
and you will enjoy
    the very best foods.

Pay close attention!
    Come to me and live.
I will promise you
the eternal love and loyalty
    that I promised David.
I made him the leader and ruler
of the nations;
    he was my witness to them.
You will call out to nations
    you have never known.
And they have never known you,
but they will come running
    because I am the Lord,
the holy God of Israel,
    and I have honored you.

God’s Words Are Powerful

Turn to the Lord!
He can still be found.
    Call out to God! He is near.
Give up your crooked ways
    and your evil thoughts.
Return to the Lord our God.
He will be merciful
    and forgive your sins.

The Lord says:
“My thoughts and my ways
    are not like yours.
Just as the heavens
    are higher than the earth,
my thoughts and my ways
    are higher than yours.

10 “Rain and snow fall from the sky.
But they don’t return
    without watering the earth
that produces seeds to plant
    and grain to eat.
11 That’s how it is with my words.
    They don’t return to me
without doing everything
    I send them to do.”

God’s People Will Celebrate

12 When you are set free,
you will celebrate
    and travel home in peace.
Mountains and hills will sing
as you pass by,
    and trees will clap.
13 Cypress and myrtle trees
will grow in fields
    once covered by thorns.
And then those trees will stand
as a lasting witness
    to the glory of the Lord.

I wander,
lost,
hungry,
thirsty,
with nothing.

I have left behind
the things I relied on,
things
that I thought
kept me secure.

For so long
I chased after the wrong things,
things that hindered
rather than being the help
I longed for,
when all along
you had
what I needed.

If I’m looking for life
I should seek it in you.

And so I cry out to you
from my pain,
my anguish,
the temptation to do otherwise,
from deep within the wilderness,
I call

and you wait,
ready,
longing to forgive,
refresh,
restore.

I would run if I could,
but I turn,
exhausted,
hurting,
thirsty,
in need of strength,
to you.

In place of prickly,
sharp,
thorny plants
you will place
beauty,
scented,
life-enhancing growth;
in you
sadness and struggle
will turn
to joy,
peace
and hope.

Strength
to endure the journey;
strength
to travel in peace
home to you.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Give Me Strength

What would your last words to someone be?  What advice would you give them? What would you long to say whilst you could?  What encouragement would you give?
These are Paul’s parting words to the Romans.  He has written a lot to them, but this is what he leaves them with:

Romans 16:17-27 (CEV)

17 My friends, I beg you to watch out for anyone who causes trouble and divides the church by refusing to do what all of you were taught. Stay away from them! 18 They want to serve themselves and not Christ the Lord. Their flattery and fancy talk fool people who don’t know any better. 19 I am glad that everyone knows how well you obey the Lord. But still, I want you to understand what is good and not have anything to do with evil. 20 Then God, who gives peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet. I pray that our Lord Jesus will be kind to you.

21 Timothy, who works with me, sends his greetings, and so do my relatives, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater.

22 I, Tertius, also send my greetings. I am a follower of the Lord, and I wrote this letter.

23-24 Gaius welcomes me and the whole church into his home, and he sends his greetings.

Erastus, the city treasurer, and our dear friend Quartus send their greetings too.

Paul’s Closing Prayer

25 Praise God! He can make you strong by means of my good news, which is the message about Jesus Christ. For ages and ages this message was kept secret, 26 but now at last it has been told. The eternal God commanded his prophets to write about the good news, so that all nations would obey and have faith. 27 And now, because of Jesus Christ, we can praise the only wise God forever! Amen.

He warns them to beware of troublemakers, those who purposely put obstacles in the way and make life difficult.  For such people, it’s all about them and not about God, they want the attention – but they talk a good talk, and so a discerning ear is needed.  And a choice – between what is good and what is harmful.

That’s a choice for us all.  Are we swayed by those who have plenty of noise and bluster, but who are ultimately not rooted in God and what he asks?  Or are we wise to it, and able still to hear God’s voice?  Even worse, am I one of those people who causes divisions and wants everything my way, without necessarily thinking about what God wants?

But Paul’s final word, is a word of hope,

God can make you strong

when we waver, when we lose focus, when we are unsure of ourselves or of which is God’s way, he makes us strong.  When we realise we may have got it wrong and don’t know how we can turn things around, God can make us strong.  On our Lenten journey of wilderness, of self-examination, of time with God,

He will make us strong

Lord,
often I am weak,
unsure,
unclear;
I find it hard to hear you clearly.

Sometimes I want everything my way,
the way I like it,
the way I’m used to,
and I don’t always think about what you want.

Lord,
give me strength,
your strength,
to know the right way,
and do the right thing.

May I rely entirely on you

You Alone are my Strength