Be Strong

Of the 12 personal “Purpose Statements” that I wrote, wrote about, read often and meditate on, this one #8, “Be Strong”, has had the greatest impact on my life. In Joshua 1:9 Moses says to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous” and in 2 Timothy 2:1, Paul tells Timothy “Be strong”. This command is not talking about physical strength but an inner strength to deal with anything in life and to carry a heavy load of responsibility. It is all about how we think when pressures mount, crisis comes, and major obstacles come into our life that have to be fixed or solved. As I talk to young pastors I often say that their inner strength determines the maximum size of their ministries. I have 5 rules that I follow to “Be strong”. The first is “Never talk tired or stressed”. People often say, “I am so tired”, or “I am so stressed out”, or “I am so busy” or “it is so hard”. I work at not saying things like that because it only makes it worse and it is not what strong people say. Second, “Don’t grumble or complain about anything”. If I am going to be strong, I need to act like a strong person and strong people don’t whine. Third, ” don’t think weak, negative, self pity, or anxious thoughts”. I control my thinking by replacing weak thinking with Bible verses that I have memorized and begin to meditate on them. This requires the daily discipline of memorizing Bible verses and reviewing them.I practice this with immoral thinking, angry thinking, prideful thinking, bitter thinking as well. Forth, I ask God to fill me with the Holy Spirit and give me His strength whenever I am feeling tired, discouraged, depressed, or unmotivated. Fifth, I spend time every day “waiting on the Lord” reading the Bible, praying, journaling, reflecting and listening to my thoughts. Isaiah 40 says that those who wait on the Lord will “be renewed in their strength”. An additional key principle is to “Rest systematically”. Rest for me is not only sleeping but doing things that I enjoy and are challenging in a fun way. I would like to say at 85 years of age what Caleb said at that age, “I am as strong today as I was when I started on this journey” about 40 years earlier. I will do my part.

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