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Living in the strength of the Lord

Brad McKenzie

Children still hear bumps in the night that cause fright and sleeplessness.  I’m sure that all of us can remember those moments as a child when the fear of unknown shadows was so great that we were paralyzed.  

As adults, many still find themselves caught in the fright and paralysis of the darkness that comes in the difficulties of life.  

Often the fear of the unknown weighs heavy on us and can become debilitating in even the simplest aspects of life.  Finding a way to stay strong, encouraged and trusting in the face of the “bumps in the night” can radically impact how life is managed.  

The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6: 10-13 (NIV 1984) says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”  

In this letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul has spent his time again ratifying the supremacy of Christ and the impact that has on human relationships, especially that of the church.  As he comes to the end, he uses the word finally. He is summing up all the previous things with these words from chapter 6. “FINALLY, BE STRONG IN THE LORD!”

Over the past several years, the word strong has been used often, especially in the face of violence, storms or illness.  

El Paso Strong: Orange Strong: Chuck Strong. 

In these declarations of strength, we humans admit that we must be strong in the face of difficulty.  

Most of these declarations are situation based and do not normally extend to ongoing, everyday living.  The response must be supported by the question, “where does the strength come from?”  

The Apostle Paul would implore us to ALWAYS find our strength in the Lord and in His mighty power.  It is not only finding strength in the Lord during violent acts, storms or illness but also in the ordinary battles that happen again and again and are not covered in the news or even in a personal social media post.  

We can ALWAYS find our strength in the Lord, even if it is just a bump in the night.  

I’m captivated by what the Lord said to Abraham (well he was still Abram here) in Genesis 15:1 (NIV 1984), “Do not be afraid, Abram.  I AM your shield, your very great reward.”  

The reminder to NOT be afraid, to trust in God and His plan is something we all need to continually hear.  

Choosing trust over fear is the necessary step in not only finding strength in the Lord but also living in that strength from day to day.  I suggest that in the city of Orange and all of Orange County, we should declare that we are The Lord Strong.  

Start using #TheLordStrong on all your social media posts to encourage others to live the same way.               

Friends, we can’t go wrong when we TRUST in the Lord and find our STRENGTH in Him.  He will never let us down! That Is Good News!

 

Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Frist Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Orange.