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I ask the Father in his great glory to give you the power to be strong inwardly through his Spirit. Ephesians 3:16 (NCV)

One time I met a person while camping that told me about an experience he had about 15 years earlier. The guy seemed like a regular guy, nothing stood out about him. Plain and simple. But his story still makes me shake my head.

He and his fiancé’ (now wife) decided to take their boat acrossLake Erieto a restaurant on a small island for supper. During the meal they overheard some other guests talking about a storm that was on its way. They finished eating and decided to make a run for home since the sky didn’t look all that threatening. Long story made short, they didn’t make it. The boat was swamped by a wave from the fast moving storm. The couple spent 8 hours in the icy water clinging to the overturned boat, in the storm before being rescued. It was a phenomenal story of strength and determination

I hear similar stories and wonder what it is that gives people the inner strength to endure, to press on in the face of adversity when death seems immanent. What is the trigger in our minds that tells us, against all odds, I can make this happen? What motivates us to say “I will not be defeated?”

Stories of physical determination are intriguing to say the least, but what of our spiritual lives? What can we rely on for the emotional strength we need to endure addictions, to stand up in the face of abuse or persecution, to face job loss, cancer or divorce? What can we cling to when our kids take the wrong path or we lose a loved one? How can we pick up the pieces after natural disaster takes all we have?

The humanist will tell you we must rely on our inner being. You just have to believe in yourself. Have the will to succeed. Go the extra mile. While there may be some truth to that, just believing in ourselves is no guarantee of peace. Sometimes it just leads to denial.

The ‘religionist’ will tell you to rely on your faith. They have an easy answer to all the obstacles. They set up rules for you to follow. If things go bad they simply point to the rules. If you are enduring struggles you must have broken a rule. Follow the rules and all will go well. Believing in religious systems won’t, in and of themselves, offer much comfort.

The weakness in the humanist and religionist view point is that they both tell you that YOU are the main source of strength. Believe in yourself. Believe in, and follow the rules. You are the common denominator in endurance.

Jesus says, rely on me. With his Spirit within you, even though the world crumbles around you inside you know who is in control and it’s not you. It’s not ‘faith’ in yourself, it’s the spirit of the  almighty creator God who just happens to be passionately in love with you!

Stop trying to do life in your own power. Ask the creator God of the universe to indwell and empower you. Life may not get easier, but by God’s strength you will find a way through it all.

PRAYER: Father God. I’m tire of trying to do it myself. I hear all these voices telling me I CAN but I can’t! Forgive me for trying it my way. Indwell and empower my by your Spirit to endure what lay ahead. In Jesus name, Amen.

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October 2011
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