Strengthen Yourself

“Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:5-7

This is a quote from Bill Johnson’s book, Strengthen Yourself in the Lord.

“In spite of many breakthroughs with others, I arrived at my own Valley of Baca (weeping) when my Dad died of cancer following a six-month battle. It was as though I pushed against a thousand-pound rock for six months; it never budged. Spiritual disease can set in when any of us has disappointment that is not brought into the open for God’s healing touch. ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick…’ Proverbs 13:12. I knew that allowing disappointment to dominate my heart would cause a blinding of my eyes to the hand of God working in me.

Strengthening myself in the Lord helped me to stay away from anxiety long enough to make an important discovery: next to the thousand-pound rock is a five-hundred pound rock that I couldn’t have moved before the battle for my dad’s life. Pushing against the rock that never moved actually strengthened me by reinforcing my resolve to live in divine purpose and to establish the backbone of perseverance. By refusing to change my focus, I discovered that I can now move the five hundred-pound rock that I couldn’t have moved before the battle. To keep myself from the sickness of heart warned about in Proverbs 13:12, I monitored the attitude of my heart. This was one way of turning my valley of weeping into springs of refreshing, for it is from the heart that all the issues of life flow. (Prov. 4:23)

While God is big enough to use every situation for His glory, it doesn’t mean that the given problem was His will….God is always good and is the giver of only good gifts. His goodness and faithfulness become the focus of my praise. I celebrate those aspects of His nature during what sometimes appear to be contradictory circumstances. After my dad’s death I discovered the privilege of giving God a sacrificial offering of praise that I will never be able to give Him in eternity. My offering was given in the midst of sadness, disappointment and confusion, none of which will I ever experience in Heaven. Only in this life will we be able to give an offering with that kind of fragrance….

So I challenge you to take the time each day to look past the problems and needs around you long enough to give God an extravagant expression of praise and rejoicing. I promise you’ll discover that while His blessings are awesome, He is the greatest blessing of all. You might also happen to realize that you’re becoming a joyful person. After all, God is in a good mood. If you hang around Him, His joy is bound to rub off!”

I (Karen) like to turn this scripture into a decree: I make a declaration that I will be happy because my strength is in the Lord. I set my mind on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When I walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs, where pools of blessing collect after the rains! I agree with the Word of God that I will continue to grow stronger in the Lord, and I will appear before God in Zion. (based on Psalm 84:5-7)

If you can watch this Praise Video without smiling, you need to check your pulse!

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1 Comment »

  1. Miss Linda said

    Thank you so much for such an inspiring post, dear Karen!

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