Empowerer of me

EagleSoaringPhil413“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  I memorized that verse many years ago when I was going through some tough times.

A divorced woman whose married friends had suddenly become “busy” all the time, a single parent with growing teenagers to raise, sometimes no car, always too many bills and never enough money to pay them with, sometimes I had a hard time keeping a positive, Christian, faith-filled attitude.

I would stand in the middle of my bedroom floor and repeat that verse with clenched fists and teeth, refusing to give in to depression, frustration, and anger toward the Lord.

Whispers of “Why me?” ran through my mind and heart. It was tempting to demand that out loud – “Yeah, God, why me?”

Occasionally I did say it aloud, but then would determinedly follow it with that verse. I’d say, “No matter what it looks like, God, no matter how I feel, I will praise you. I will thank you for Jesus. I can do this. I can get through this. I will survive this!”

And I did. Amazingly, usually my hurt and anger would subside in a few moments and I could go on with my day, as though I hadn’t just been having a pity-party. A not-too-spiritual temper tantrum. The Lord brought me through those times with my faith a bit battered but intact. Even better than intact, actually; stronger. (I learned by experience what John 10:10 means.)

I was thinking about Philippians 4:13 this morning and decided to do a word study using an online Strong’s Concordance. (http://www.eliyah.com/lexicon.html) Here’s what I found:

I can do = ischyō (Greek)

. To be strong in body, to be robust, to be in sound health
. To have power as shown by extraordinary deeds
. To exert, wield power, to have strength to overcome
. To be a force, avail
. To be serviceable
. To be able, can

all things = pas

. Individually – each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
. Collectively – some of all types

through = en: In, by, with, etc.

Christ = Christos: anointed. Christ was the anointed one, the Messiah, the Son of God. However, this word doesn’t actually appear in the original Greek verse. It was added by the translators.

which = ho: A definite article such as the, this, that, or these. Means the particular one.

strengthens = endynamoō (en plus dynamoo)

. To be made strong; endue with strength, strengthen
. To receive strength, be strengthened, increase in strength

strength = dynamis = strength power, ability (dynamite comes from this word)

.  Inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person    or thing exerts and puts forth
. Power for performing miracles
. Moral power and excellence of soul
. The power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
. Power and resources arising from numbers
. Power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

me = me:  personal pronoun I, me, myself

All of that was really good in helping make the verse even more meaningful. Then I took a look at the original Greek and found only a few words. Literally translated, they would say:

“Empowered am I for all things by the Empowerer of me.”

I like that even better.

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Linchpins

Feeling sort of blah the other day, I thought about the time I spend praying most days, in amongst everything else I do to occupy myself since I retired. (You know, old TV shows, emails, online news, Facebook, Twitter, books, magazines, etc.)

How important are those prayers really, I wondered? I seldom see any results. Occasionally I might, but most of the time I don’t because I’m praying for international situations. Does that do any good, actually?

Quietly the Holy Spirit began to interrupt me. Prayer is a linchpin, he said. Not the only one, one of many supernatural linchpins. Linchpins that have prevented some things in the past are going to start moving this year, and linchpins that can cause other things are also going to be moving this year.

I sort of knew what linchpins were, so I didn’t go look it up right away, as he continued speaking.

ropeYou know what a rope is, he said. A rope is made of several cords, each cord made of several strands, and each strand made of many threads, some very fine.

If you unravel a rope, untwist the cords and strands and lay out the individual threads, the rope becomes longer. Sometimes much longer.

Back to linchpin – I did look it up to refresh my memory – it is a pin fastener. Originally the word referred to a wood or metal pin that ran through holes in an axle and a wheel, fastening them together and keeping the wheel from falling off. They have been found in ancient chariots and wagons.

wheel-linchpin grenade ChurchillFDRStalinYaltaConf

Of course, some linchpins are used to prevent things from coming together, like in a hand grenade. When removed – when the pin is pulled – it allows two things to come together, i.e. allows them to make contact, thereby causing an explosion.

In political circles, it refers to a person and their work, or a specific event that causes another larger event in the world. During and after World War II, for instance, Allied leaders British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and USSR’s Joseph Stalin met a number of times… historic linchpins, they are called.

After telling me this, the Lord went back to discussing rope. He showed me an unwound rope with one end tightly fastened. Dozens, even hundreds of individual threads were stretched out in a fan-like pattern. Each thread was attached to something different, a different linchpin. Some were people, some were events. Here are a few of those attachments:

– A man or woman purchasing something from a particular store on a particular day at a particular time
– Traveling at one time rather than another
– Traveling to one place rather than another
– Taking one job rather than another
– Speaking to someone that causes behavior or actions to occur
– Publishing an article in one of various venues, print, television, radio, internet, etc.
– Reading that article and then doing some behavior because of it
– Meeting certain people, sharing and learning specific information
– Being in a certain place and time that acts as a catalyst
– A weather event that causes delays or cancellations
– A solar event that disrupts electronic communications, resulting in faulty or erroneous messages, or missed data, such as spy satellites, communication networks or weather satellites not receiving information and/or not transmitting information, which results in other things happening or not happening

There were many other examples, too many to list, ending with the most important one of all: praying God’s will.

The most critical linchpin of all is prayer that allows God to intervene on the earth, gives him permission to act in certain situations, with certain people, places and times.

Then he showed me the rope in his hand, slowly turning and twisting the fastened end to regather the threads into cords and the cords into rope. As the rope turned, it shortened, and the linchpins began to move out of their individual places, away from whatever they were keeping together. The final results will be an event the Lord has designed.

I don’t know what that is or whether it will be big or little, he didn’t tell me. Middle East nuclear warfare? Another Great Awakening? Both of those is what I’ve been feeling for some months now.

No matter what it is, every linchpin is important and praying what God says to pray is the most important one of all.

Plans, as in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

I came across this in a book the other day. The verse being quite familiar, my eyes were skipping down to the next paragraph when the Lord stopped me. “Plans,” he said. “What are plans?”

He often does this, asking me a question to get me to stop and think, to meditate about something. To not just read, but to communicate. To have a conversation with the Holy Spirit.

So, okay, plans. Automatically I began to define plans. Agendas. Itineraries. Events. Happenings. Occasions. Places to go, people to see, things to learn, things to do, those are plans.

blueprints2Blueprints, he said. Think blueprints. Oh, wow. My thoughts took off in a very different direction.

He began to unroll a set of blueprints in my mind’s eye, and then to show me the results of those blueprints. Mud huts and wood shacks. Three-bedroom brick houses. Manufacturing plants and office buildings.

Chapels, churches and cathedrals. Ornate palaces and castles. Fortresses.

Temples.

For many minutes we discussed this concept, as he began to describe the steps necessary to build a natural structure. Foundation. Electrical. Plumbing. Insulation. Walls. Roofing. Furnishing. End goal? Inhabit it.

There was so much more, many details. And then he began to describe what he is doing in the spiritual, building a supernatural structure for himself to inhabit.

Plans are good, he said, and he has plans for every one of his children. No two are alike, but all have one thing in common. He has building plans for each one, and he himself will inhabit them.

You know, it’s really fascinating to read God’s word with the author at your elbow.