Thursday, August 16, 2018

He Arms Me With Strength: Thoughts on Doing Hard Things

As we get back to our school year, I always like to start with some food from the Word. What will be our motivation for this year, what will we turn to in times of difficulty and frustration. This year, it is Psalm 18:28-36. Here are some thoughts we talked through on our first morning of school ~

verse 28, "You keep my lamp burning...":

I love how this reminds that God provides what we need. When our "lamp is burning" we can see what we are doing and accomplish what He wants us to do.

I'm reminded of Psalm 119:105, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

What does it bring to mind for you?

" God turns my darkness into light."

What could our darkness be? Sin, hard things, struggles, things that are not clear or easy. It could mean that no matter what we are walking through and how dark it is, He is still with us and He is light!

For a visual of this, go in a dark room and light a candle!

verse 29, "With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall."

Advancing against a troop and scaling a wall: how easy do those things sound to you?

What are the things you might face this year that may be difficult? Who can you rely on to help you? What does that look like or mean? How does God help us? Do we have any responsibility in that?

I can't advance against a troop if I'm sitting still or buried in hiding - I have some action that is my responsibility too!

Does this mean I will be good at everything? No! God might help me to do my best or have a good attitude, it doesn't mean everything will become easy!

verse 30, "As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him."

If we only learn one thing each day and that one thing helps us to know and love God more, that is the most important thing we can do.

His Word is flawless - what does that word mean?

So many times, we want to be perfect or do something perfectly: but only God's way is perfect!

What does it mean to take refuge in God? What is a refuge?

verse 31, "For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?"

What do you know about rocks? How do you feel encouraged by this verse?

When I think I can't do something because it is too hard - how can this strengthen me?

verse 32, "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."

I love this verse, 32-33 are what most stood out to me in thinking about our upcoming school year.

How do you think this verse could help each of us with school this year?

Are we to do everything perfect? Or in our own strength? I think this is the key - that it is His strength and things are only perfected in and through Him.

Do you see that it says He makes my way perfect? I think He is reminding us that He makes Emily's way perfect for Emily and Rachel's way perfect for Rachel and Samuel's way perfect for Samuel and Mama's way perfect for Mama. It isn't a one size fits all way and won't be the same for all of us.

Reminds me of what my friend Jen says: Compare and despair!

verse 33, "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights."

I picture the deer running fast through the woods or up a rocky path; look up a video of a deer if you choose. Are they timid of foot? Do they fall easily?

They are sure-footed and move with speed and confidence; God does that for me too! So that even when my work is hard {uneven ground} or Latin feels impossible {the path is steep} or dangerous - God gives me the strength and confidence to do my best for Him. Having a good attitude is better than getting a perfect grade!

What does it mean to stand on the heights? It is harder to get to, the view is more glorious, good feeling getting to the top of the trail, not down in the dumps, not stuck; we have victory and success through Him and His strength!

verse 34, "He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze."

What does train mean? It takes practice and exercise to work up to strength. It isn't easy, it is hard work, little by little, day by day that all adds up.

How easy do you think it is to bend a bow of bronze? There it is again about God helping us do something hard!

Notice the training is mentioned first and then the bending/display of strength!

verse 35, "You give me Your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great."

More of God's promise to equip us to do the things He has put before us.

verse 36, "You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn."

We recently did two different hikes on our camping trip, one with a very narrow and underprepared trail and one that was wide and gravel lined. Which one was easier? Definitely the wider one. Why?

Think about what it means for your ankles to turn - what would that mean on a hike?

The bottom line is this: God is able! He is enough for us and He has enough strength to help us do hard things!

How can you take this with you into the new school year?

How can we remind each other of these truths?

What challenges should we all commit to Him even now?

What do you hope to learn or accomplish this year?

How do you hope to grow?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My God turns darkness into light. What a much needed reminder. He is our strength and our shield. Thank for the encouragement from His precious Word and Lord bless your homeschooling!!!!! ~tammy