I stood against the wall watching women greet each other, chat a moment, and sit together continuing their conversation. I told myself I could do this—go into a new group and make friends. After all, it was a Bible study. How hard could it be?
The woman was sweet-natured, giving, loved by so many who met her, efficient in what she did, and had a good business.
But fear threatened to snuff out the gifts and abilities in her for one simple reason: lack of confidence.
Every year, before Christmas, I spend time reading the prophecies of Christ’s coming and the gospel accounts of His birth. I love to think about all of it. I love the way the truth of the season is threaded through the Old Testament and the New. I like to make notes of little tidbits of grace or wisdom that God highlights for me.
I used to love winter. Anticipation grew as leaves turned to colors of amber, terracotta, burnt orange, and umber. Trees would lose their coverings and soon the whiteness would fall covering the ground in a blanket of sleep. I adored being the first one to step out onto a field covered in white and leave the first footprints across the scape. I didn’t even mind the cold as I wore sweaters and many comforting layers and adorned my feet with new slippers.
The tingles began around my heart, moved down my body, flowed through my legs, and right out my toes. The lightness that wrapped around my heart came from only one Source.
God and I had just done some business I didn’t even know needed doing.
My husband pulled the car into the church parking lot. I said something. He responded. I started feeling edgy. He doesn’t want to be here, and neither do I. Complaints started rising in my heart and mind.
This is the latest devotional blog I wrote for Pandora's Box Gazette. I hope you enjoy.
I woke up disturbed. The dreams I’d fought all night now eluded me. Everything inside churned. My heart beat like a bass drum—slow, deep, hollow. My thoughts searched for a quiet place to land. My spirit couldn’t rest.
There are so many new names now . . . names that weren’t often heard when I was a kid. There are names that have stood the test of time like Mary or Bob or Naomi or David. The names that intrigue me most are the ones God says.
When my son was a baby, while on his back, he could hold his legs up at a 30-degree angle for many minutes.
Another time, I saw a toddler go from being flat on his back to suddenly sitting straight up. No struggle or anything.
My brother used to wrap his arms around a light pole and pull his body up to a 45-degree angle off the side. Amazing to me!
Core Strength. Physical therapists stress its need. Gyms make money providing equipment to enhance it. Hard work is necessary to achieve the goal.
I’ve seen pictures of men and women with rock-solid muscular abs. People are not just born with those well-crafted abdomens. It takes years of hard work.
There’s another kind of core more important than physical strength which leads my mind to a question.
How strong is my Spiritual core?
Max Lucado once said that Jesus reached a point of knowing who He was. I’ve always wondered if He knew from birth. Or was there a time in His human life when He thought, “Oh, I know who I am.”
Maybe spiritual core strength begins with that moment when we say, “I know who I am.” Perhaps it’s in reaching the point of personal identity knowledge, we will quit wondering, searching, people-pleasing, or fighting within ourselves.
Perhaps it’s that one instant we say, “I know who I am.
I am God’s child. He is my Father. I was made to walk with Him, to be in relationship with Him. Nothing else matters.”
Our spiritual core strength then is based on the deep connection with Him.
The devil tries to make greater priority of other situations or relationships. We seek approval from this person or another. We desire recognition and identity in a job, or a ministry, or in what someone thinks and says about us. Satan tries to convince us that how we look to the outside world is of primary importance.
For many believers in God I know, coming to grips with His identity doesn’t pose a problem. Followers of God will come to a place of understanding Him as Creator, Lord, Sovereign, Redeemer, and much more.
We learn to trust Him. Put our faith in Christ. Treasure the Father’s love. Accept God’s gift of forgiveness. And we learn to give over control to Him so we can learn to live in relationship with Him.
But, knowing individual identity is more problematic.
I read a children’s book, again by Max Lucado, where one little character wasn’t bothered by happenings around her while many others were. Why? Because she knew the craftsman who made her and trusted his love for her. She had confidence in belonging to him.
When our identity is in God, our spiritual core strength helps us believe God’s words when He said He would never leave us to deal with life alone. (Hebrews 13:5) In trusting our identity in Him, we can take Him at His word when He said nothing would ever take us out of His hand. (John 10:28) We can have confidence because He said nothing can separate us from Him. (Romans 8:38-39)
By spending time getting to know who God is through His word, your Spiritual core strength will build as you come to understand who He says you are. Let Him be your foundation so when the devil attempt to skew your priorities,
the faith God gives you will be the core you rest upon.
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