faith

Without Trust: My Story of Failure

We all have moments when we fail in our faith. Have you ever felt alone, ashamed, or like you’re the only one who has ever failed in this way? Today, Pastor Frank shares a story of one of his own failures and God’s unwavering faithfulness through it all.


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Without Trust: My Story of Failure

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Most people have a tendency to read things quickly. This is especially true with the Bible; we read the Bible quickly. I have a mantra at Grace Life Fellowship, it’s “Never read the Bible casually.” When we read the Bible casually, we can miss the intensity of what God wants to teach us and place in our hearts so we can know Him better and trust Him more fully. 

Today, I want to focus on a verse from the book of James. Many of you know this verse, but I don't know if we take the time to ponder it. It says, “We all stumble in many ways.” James 3:2a (NIV) 

None of us walk through this life perfectly. We all stumble. We do things we don't want to do; we get seduced by the enemy, we make a choice of the will, we take our eyes off God, we put our eyes on the world, and we act out of character. And when we do these things, we can be prone to walk in guilt and shame and feel very, very lonely, as if we're the only ones who have ever failed. 

Today, I want to share with you one of my worst failures. 

My daughter, Morgan, developed late onset epilepsy. It was progressive and got very, very serious. We eventually had to pull her out of college because she could no longer do the work. She was heavily medicated and still having seizures. She didn’t want to sit and watch life from the sidelines. She decided to attend a Bible school out of the state so that she could continue to try and help her mind while learning more about God as the medicine hopefully balanced out in her body. 

Around late September we received a phone call from the school. They told me that my daughter was having a seizure. I asked them how long it had been going and they replied, “9 minutes.” If you are not familiar with epilepsy and seizures, you need to understand that a seizure longer than 5 minutes can be very serious. It can mean brain damage or even death. 

She has medicine that we can inject to help stop her seizures, so I hurriedly told them, “Give her a shot,” to which they responded, “We've already given her one.” 

I cried out, “Oh no! Give her another shot and call 911.”

While I stayed on my phone, I grabbed someone else's so I could call one of her neurologists - she has three of them. In my fear and anxiety I cried out to the woman who answered, “Quick! Get the doctor out of his room. Morgan is having a seizure and we can't get it to stop! I've given her two shots already and I need to know if I can give her a third shot!” The lady on the other end said, “Well, I'm going to follow protocol. I need the date of birth.” I said, “Ma'am, I don't have time to give you her date of birth! Please get the doctor, I've got to see if I can give her a third shot!” 

All this time, I can hear the people with Morgan saying, “12 minutes, Pastor Frank, 12 minutes!” They were desperate, and I grew desperate too. I said, “Ma'am, I don't have time for this! Please get the doctor out of his office!” She forcefully replied, “I am going to follow protocol! He's going to want to see the chart.”

I gave in. I gave her the date of birth, and as the receptionist typed it in she stated, “Oh, my, my... My computer is so slow today.” While she slowly waited on her computer, all I could hear from my other phone was people screaming at me saying, “14 minutes, Pastor Frank, 14 minutes! … 15 minutes!” 

I began to believe this little girl was going to die and there was nothing I could do.

After about 7 minutes, the lady came back on the phone and said, “Oh, I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking! He's not here today.” I hung up the phone which was a good idea, before I said something! I immediately called her second neurologist. I got the nurse who told me that the doctor wasn’t in the office. I hung up again thinking, do these people work? And all the while I can hear voices shouting, “Pastor Frank, it's 20 minutes!... 21 minutes! What are we going to do?” 

Shaking, I called her third neurologist and I quickly told the nurse what had happened. I said, “I've given her two shots. She's at 21 minutes now, what do I do? What do I do?” The nurse responded, “Well, give her a shot and call 911.” I said, “Ma'am, are you listening to me? I've already given her two shots! We've already called 911! I need to find out if I can give her a third shot or if that third shot will kill her!!!” To these words she replied, “Well, I don't know. The doctor's not here today.”

I hung up the phone and cried out to God, “What do I do? What do I do?” The thought came to my brain to call the pharmacy. So I called the pharmacist and said, “I've given Morgan two shots, she's now been seizing for 24 minutes. Can I give her a third shot or am I going to kill her?” He said, “I don't know. Let me call the factory and I'll call you right back.” I hung up the phone. 

Here's where I failed. 

I cried out to God, “God, if You take her, You and I are done! I will never preach another sermon for You.” 

I listened to the people who were with Morgan continued to call out to me: 28 minutes, 29 minutes, 30 minutes. I felt so helpless and I so alone. At minute 31 the pharmacist called back, “Frank, I talked to the factory. It's one shot every four hours.” I said, “I've already given her two and I can't stop the seizure. What am I going to do?” And he said, “You're going to have to make a decision.” 

I hung up the phone. I cried out as a father, “What do I do? What do I do? If I give her a third shot, I could kill her; if I don't give her a third shot, she could die!” Through the phone I can hear them screaming, “33 minutes, Pastor Frank! ... 34 minutes, Pastor Frank!” I was indecisive, I didn’t know what to do and then suddenly they called out, “EMS is here!” EMS came in and made the decision to give her a third shot which stopped the seizure. 

She had eight more seizures that night, seven the next morning. 

I booked an immediate flight and was in Colorado in six hours. I had appointments with Mayo Clinic lined up within days. After many, many tests, we were able to finally bring her seizures under control. 

Up until about a year ago, I hadn’t told this story publicly. I did share it privately with a few people but had never spoken about it outside of that. A little over a year ago, I shared it with one person because they were so upset over how they had failed God. As I said earlier, when we fail God we can feel very guilty, very ashamed and very alone; like we're the only ones who have ever failed God in such a way. And so I decided to share my story with her. The story of how I failed God in my faith, of how I didn't trust Him. My friend, I didn’t trust God to get my daughter through that situation, and on that day, I chose that I wasn't going to trust Him if He decided it was time for her to go home to Heaven.

I shared my story with this lady, and I told her, “You're not the only one who fails; I failed in my faith, I failed to trust God in a crisis.” The moment those words left my lips, deep in my spirit I heard these words, “Yes, son, you failed in faith, but you did not fail as a dad. You fought for your daughter the same way I fight for you, My son.” I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, those were not my thoughts. 

The Holy Spirit of God spoke words of comfort and encouragement to my mind and my heart. 

My friends, what I want you to understand is that our God loves us and He fights for us even when we are faithless, even when we fail to believe that He is good, even when we fail to believe that He will fight for us. He IS good, and He IS fighting for us, even if we aren't aware of it. 

I pray the story of my failure encourages you, because the reality is, 

My failure was not the end of my story and neither is your failure the end of your story. 

Our God’s New Covenant tells us that He is bringing us to an appointed end, and beloved, it is a good end. I love you. Even more importantly, He loves you. And I pray that in His richest favor, He will open your eyes and give you revelation to see how good He is, and how much He fights for you. 

God bless you in Jesus' name.


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When You Feel You Can't Go On

Life is unpredictable; it’s full of hurt, rejection and disappointment. In today’s short video, Frank reminds us that the One who holds today and tomorrow is holding you. You have His strength and His Life in you, no matter what circumstances come your way. 


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When You Feel You Can't Go On

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I've been learning a verse for the past forty years - the key word there is “learning.You see, I haven't learned it yet, but I'm in the process. 

The verse is found in Philippians,

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NASB)

We’ve heard this verse, we know what the verse says, but what does it mean? 

Well, first you have to keep the verse in its context, otherwise, you'll make it say something it doesn't say. For example, I could say, “I can do all things through Christ.” So, I'm going to claim that and I'm going to “move my mountain!” But, that's not what this verse is saying. Paul gives very clear context to this verse: he says that he knows how to have a lot and how to have a little; he knows how to be healthy and how to be sick; he knows how to be full and how to be empty; he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. Paul says he can live confidently and assuredly in whatever circumstances he finds himself in. 

A classic example of this is found in Acts 16 with Paul and Silas. They preach a sermon, there was great conversion, people are doing wonderful and Paul in his heart of hearts says, “I can do this!” He was later arrested, falsely accused, beaten, and thrown into jail. The fascinating thing is what he does while in jail - he and Silas sing praises - “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” 

I don't know what you're going through today, my friend, but I know this world we live in so you're likely experiencing some hurt, sorrow, frustration, rejection or disappointment. Hear me, beloved, I don't know what today holds for you, but I know who holds today, and I know who holds tomorrow. And the One who holds today and tomorrow is holding you and offering you His strength and His very own Life, in whatever circumstance you find yourself in. 

Walk in the faith that He will be all that He is, to whatever you need, and you will experience Him. 

You’ll look back in your life and remember what He brought you through and you’ll think, “I didn't think I was going to make it, but I did.” Trust Him, He's up to the demand!


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The Gift God Only Gives His Children

As parents we do very special things for our children because we love them so much - and God is no different with us! In today’s short clip, Frank shares the beautiful gift that God promises His children. May you experience His joy today!


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How To Give Thanks When Life Is A Mess

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In the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:18) we’re told, “In everything, give thanks.” Now stop right there. Let’s be honest and let’s not read that casually. That is a startling statement! We live in a world where a lot of nasty things happen. And God didn’t say “in all the good things give thanks,” He said “in everything give thanks.” Let’s notice what else He did not say. He did not say “for everything, give thanks.” There are a lot of things that come into my life that are not good. They come in a fallen world with devastation as their goal and it’s so wonderful that God does not call me to thank Him for the pain that comes into my life. He didn’t say “for everything,” He said “in everything.”

Now what does that mean? It means that I am going to choose to believe that God is going to fulfill His promise. I choose to believe that He is so powerful that all things will work together for good in my life as I trust Him. So what comes into my life as pain I can fight against it. It’s going to cause me emotional turmoil but I can bring it into harmony with what God says He will do and who God is. And when my life is hard I can say, “In this, I’m going to give thanks because this is not the end of the story.” Remember what the Bible says, “God will restore the years that the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25). God will take the ashes and He’ll bring beauty out of them. He’s going to take the sorrow and the suffering and put it around your neck as a garland of praise.

I love what He says to the widow in the book of Isaiah, “You will not remember the bitterness of your widowhood” (54:4). Now, that’s so cool because it’s so honest. He doesn’t say “You’re going to forget your widowhood.” He says, “You won’t remember the bitterness of it. I’m going to bring good out of it.” So we don’t live in a fairytale world where bad things don’t happen. We don’t have to say “Oh, I’m doing great. My mother just died.” That’s stupidity! No, we can say “My mother just died and it broke my heart and the tears are streaming down my cheeks, but that’s not the end of the story.” That’s the key. It’s not the end of the story. We are the people of the good ending. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). It’s good! That’s why in everything we can give thanks and we can live a thankful life today.

Bring to God whatever comes into your life by faith and trust Him that even if it’s bad, it’s going to end good because of who He is. In the Psalms it says “He is good and does only good” (Psalm 119:68).That’s a God I can trust. That’s a God you can trust.

Walk in faith today, my friend, in Jesus’ name.


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The Only Thing to do When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

When our eyes are on our circumstances we quickly lose sight of God. We become overwhelmed as we try to make sense of things, forgetting that there is only one thing God has called us to do. In today’s short video, Frank reminds us that it is our Father who will be our strength as He leads us through the darkness.  


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It's not you, it's Him

If you know anything about this world we live in, you know that it's incredibly hard to hold onto God when the storms of life come our way. In this short video, Frank reveals the glorious promise that we have in God, that frees us with the truth that it’s actually not about us and how much we hold onto God, but about God and how much He holds onto us.


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The Freeing Truth that Can Radically Change Your New Year

Many of us have recently determined all that we’ll be and do differently in this coming year. We try, we fail, and we try harder, all while getting more discouraged. In this clip Frank shares the simple good news that can change this coming year for you: The moment you say yes to Jesus, God says, “You are now right.” May you be delivered from resolutions as you revel in His saving Life.

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The Freeing Truth that Can Radically Change Your New Year

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Listen to what Jesus said, “I came that they may have Life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). He doesn’t make it hard, He said, “Whoever believes in [Me], shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). He said, “I am the way, the truth, THE Life” (John 14:6). And I love 1 John 5:12, “Whoever has the son, has the Life.” That’s a definite article, THE Life.

That's why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that are adequate in ourselves.” We're not! We're not right in ourselves and if we're going to have adequacy, if we're going to be made right, it's from God, who when we look at the tense of the verb, has made us adequate. He made us right; not from the Old Covenant, not from the law, not from performing, not from resolutions to do right and not do wrong. Throw all that out! It’s by the One who made us right by the Spirit who gave us Life. 

Paul tells us in Philippians 3:7-8, that whatever things were gain to him—the fact that he was a Pharisee, the fact that he was zealous in trying to keep the law, and the fact that he made resolutions ad infinitum and kept them—none of it brought him Life. That's why he continues and says, “I now count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” So it’s not from performing, or from resolutions. No, no, no! It’s through faith! 

Listen beloved, did you hear what he said? The moment you say yes to Jesus, God says, “You are now right.” And you are right. Oh my goodness. Is it any wonder that it's called good news?! 

Paul continues, saying, “This is my one thing: I forget what lies behind and I press on for the prize of God in Jesus Christ.” In the moment we place our faith in Jesus, we are removed from the economy of performing to achieve. We are delivered from resolutions, and placed instead into an economy of the saving Life directly from God, and now, having found Life, we enter into true revelry. The definition of that word revelry, is noisy partying and merrymaking and that's what the Church of Jesus Christ should be known by!

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The Truth About What Faith Actually Looks Like

Has feeling sad or afraid while facing a difficult time ever caused others to question your faith? Has it ever made you ask yourself if you were really trusting God? In this freeing video, Frank shares the truth about what faith actually looks like.

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The Truth About What Faith Actually Looks Like

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Have you ever been there with God, the place where nothing in life makes sense? Where you just cry out, “This makes no sense!”

Oh, how hard it can be to remember that He is God, and His mind is bigger than ours. He knows what He's doing.

Habakkuk just couldn’t come to grips with that, have you been there? When you just can't come to grips with what God is allowing? So, he gets tenacious, and he goes up in his prayer tower and he tells God, “I'm not coming down until you answer me!” Two weeks go by, and God finally answers. Hallelujah, God answers! Now, are you ready for what God said? He told Habakkuk to trust Him. Wait, that's it? Now he has a whole new problem; he's cried out to God, and God has said, “No.”

I don't like it when God says no, do you? So what does Habakkuk do? He starts recalling to his mind, all that God is, and all that God has done. He remembers how God parted the Red Sea and made the sun stand still for Joshua, and he says, “Bring on the Chaldeans.” He makes the choice to rejoice, a choice we all have.

In chapter 3, he makes this famous statement, “There was trembling on my lips and decay in my bones.” I love that statement because faith isn’t always a huge smile on our faces, faith is trembling, faith is decay, faith is “I'm dying and I don't understand, but I believe you because you are good and all that you do is good. This doesn't look good, but somehow by faith, it's going to be good, and I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

David says, “Though the fig tree does not blossom and there be no fruit on the vine, my soul is going to cling to you.” And what tense does David use there? He uses the present tense. You see friends, you can cling all you want in the past, it's not going to deliver you in the present. You can say that you will cling in the future, it's not going to deliver you in the present. His name is I AM, and your faith must be present tense to connect to the I AM. Take a look at what David adds, “Your right hand is going to uphold me.” That's what God does beloved, our part is to believe and trust, and God's part is to deliver or sustain.


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Believing in a God You Can’t See When Life is at its Hardest

In this short video Frank talks about the great tenacity required to believe in what we cannot see and reminds us that if we’re hanging onto Jesus, we’re secure, no matter what is happening in our lives.

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Believing in a God You Can’t See When Life is at it's Hardest

The Christian life is not easy, and it's not for cowards. The Bible says, “We believe that which we do not see,” and that requires tenacity friends!
Read “Believing in a God You Can’t See When Life is at its Hardest” here":

Everything you Need to Know to Run the Race

In the midst of the weary, long race of faith, we can become exhausted. In this short video, Frank reminds us to keep our eyes on Jesus because He has promised that His strength will never fail. You can finish the race!

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Everything you Need to Know to Run the Race

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We don't run this race in our own strength. The verses in Isaiah chapter 40 are ones we’ve heard so many times before. “Young men grow weary, even the vigorous young men grow tired and stumble, but those who will wait on the Lord,” and that word “wait” in Hebrew is “abide,” so it’s saying those who “braid” with Him. And it goes on to tell us that they shall what? Renew their strength? No, the Hebrew word “renew” means “exchange;” they will exchange their strength.

In the midst of that weary, long race of faith, if you keep your eyes on Him, and abide with Him, even though your strength becomes exhausted, He has promised that His never will. And because we run this race in His strength, you can mount up with wings like eagles and run and not grow weary. You CAN finish the race.

In verse 12, it says, “Lay hold of that eternal life to which you were called.” In other words, you already have eternal life, now lay hold of it! Lay hold of Him and the abundant life that He's brought to you.” I would put it this way, as you live in a natural world, make sure you lay hold of the supernatural life that is within you, waiting to be released through you.

This is a very important issue, my friends because though we strive, we must remember that our striving is not against each other. We strive WITH each other. We're not competing against one another, we're all in the same race to lay hold of the same prize. We compete with each other against all that comes against us, and if something comes against another person, we’re ready to step into their lives and assist them in that which has come against them. Likewise, when something comes against me, you stand ready to step in with me and help me to run that race.

Beloved, we must never forget that we're not competing against each other, we're competing against this world, and the false teachers, the enemy, and sin in the flesh. That's why I love the quote, “Keep your faith with a trowel in one hand for building others, and a sword in the other for battling.”


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Faith Doesn’t Change Anything - The Surprising Truth

In this short video, we get a quick peek into the lives of two men changed by their darkest days. May you find freedom as Frank reveals the truth about what having faith really accomplishes.

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Faith Doesn’t Change Anything - The Surprising Truth

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David said that because God was for him, those who sought to destroy his life were going to go into the depths of Sheol and they would be delivered over to the power of the sword and would become prey for jackals. He said the mouths of those who spoke lies would be stopped. And it all happened. Absalom fled from the army of Israel, his wild hair getting caught in a tree, and Joab came and delivered the death blow with his sword. We can’t read this casually; we can’t forget that this is a dad we’re talking about - David just lost his boy. And let me tell you, I'm a dad, and no matter how much that boy rebels, he will always be my boy, right? So David is going to grieve, and if we go back and read what the passage says, he grieved heavily, but he also rejoiced that the will of God ended the rebellion and restored the nation of Israel.

I've said this many times, and I’m going to say it again, believers are the only ones that can have tears of sorrow AND joyful hearts at the same time.  And when the world sees that, they don't know what to do with us! It’s one of the greatest times we have to testify for the faithfulness and truth of who God is. The world can't relate to a foolish plastic facade of the Prosperity Gospel, they don't relate to that! But they do relate to your tears, and they'll see your faith and that will give you a bridge to introduce them to who God really is.

In David, we see a man in the wilderness. Did you notice in this passage he didn't get delivered from the wilderness right away? The world is still the world and that's not going to change. We're not going to get restored to a playground until Jesus Christ comes back, this world is going to remain a wilderness. The key here is that not only does the wilderness never change, our God never changes! He will be all that He is, to all that we need, at the moment of faith and that will allow one thing to change, and that's us. We will be the ones who change.

Like David, Jeremiah too became a changed man. The book of Lamentations reveals to us Jeremiah's heartache; he was a man of affliction.

While sitting in the ashes of destruction, with murder babies and slaughtered people all around him; miserable, hopeless and dying, he recalled to his mind that he had a hope greater than the death around him. He had the mercies of God. He knew that it was only by God’s mercy that they weren't destroyed. He knew this was not the end of the story.

Nothing had changed; the ashes and the slaughter, the murdered babies, Jerusalem, nothing had changed. The wilderness had not changed but Jeremiah had. This might tempt you to say, “That is what faith will do.” But that would be a lie! Faith doesn't change anything; all faith does is connect you to to the One who brings the change. That's the key beloved, and when you have faith in Him, He will be all that He is, to all that we need, at the moment of faith.


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God Commends the Weak

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Did you know that in the book of Revelation, the church in Philadelphia was commended because it had “little strength"?

In our modern world that is a very strange basis for being commended. Modern society values strength. Our media driven culture beckons us to be men of steel and women of iron. The city in which I live heralds, for example, that we are “Baton Rouge Strong” and “Baton Rouge Proud.” God, however, says that it is the weak, those that have recognized their minimal strength who are to be commended. Why is that?

Let’s ponder Moses for example; he was a man of great strength. Raised in the court of Pharaoh to be a leader in the nation, he was trained to be a warrior. When he thought the time had come for him to deliver his people, he mustered all the strength he could and killed an Egyptian, but failed to rally the people around him and ran like a scared rabbit into the desert.

There, he spent the next 40 years tending sheep and growing weak. How do we know that? Because when God appeared to Him, to call Him to lead Israel into freedom, he bemoaned that he was not the kind of man God was looking for. Early in his life, Moses thought he was that man because he was strong, but now that he was weak he could not dream of being a leader. He thought himself a nothing and informed God that he could not speak very well. Ironically, the book of Acts tells us that Moses was the most eloquent man in all the earth!

So how are we to explain that? Some say that after spending 40 years with a bunch of sheep, any of us would speak b-a-a-a-a-d too! I don’t buy that. I believe that after his failure, Moses no longer trusted in his natural resources, he recognized that he was not up to the demand, which forced him to depend on God in a way he would never have without his failure. His failure opened his eyes to his true state of weakness so that he could then see the greatness of God that would be exercised by God on his behalf; transforming him into a man who received the strength of God!

Though this is a hard lesson for most of us to learn, it is one that we desperately need to understand. The Holy Spirit told Paul that when he was weak, then he would truly be strong because he would no longer be trusting in himself, but in God. This is why God would offer that “not so strange” commendation for those who have little strength. I want to hear that commendation, and I hope you do too, for it is the true path to the strength we desperately need to secure to live victoriously in this fallen world.

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Exchanging Our Strength

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I have found over the years, that so many people have been comforted by the words of Isaiah 40. There we are told that, "young men stumble and fall" and that even "the vigorous young men grow weary and stumble." BUT – "those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, mounting up with wings like eagles, to run and not grow weary!" That is glorious, but it is even more glorious than it sounds. Let’s dig deep into some of the individual words and watch this glory be magnified.

"Young men stumble and fall," that is true for all of us. I take this to be a reference to the average guy. We live in a tough world and for most of us, our strength is very often, not up to the demands of life. There are, however, living among us, the elite ones; the strong and the mighty who seemingly have the fortitude of personal resources that enables them to conquer this world we live in. Uh-oh, this text tells us that they too grow weary and stumble.

This world can stand ominously against us with the demands that it places on our lives, and when even the strong and mighty are not up to the task, we could easily find ourselves overwhelmed and frustrated. Fortunately, we find one of the great words of the Bible intervening in our desperate situation… "BUT!"

"But those who wait upon the Lord." Now, if we take an honest look at that phrase, it is really not all that encouraging. We are stumbling and falling, so we need to “WAIT”… WHAT?! For how long must we wait? When will the Lord show up? Will He show up? It is an encouraging phrase, but not encouraging enough! Wonderfully, that word does not mean “wait” at all. It really means “to braid.” Think of a girl braiding her hair, intertwining, placing individual hairs into “one” – DO YOU SEE THE GLORY? It is not calling us to "wait" for God to show up, but in the moment to recognize our “oneness” with Him. It is really the Old Testament word for abiding. So as we are growing weary, and as we are stumbling, as we are in great need, in that very moment we can recognize our “oneness” with God, and “renew” our strength.

That is so awesome, but it gets even better!

The Hebrew word for “renew,” can actually be translated “exchange”. So, as we recognize our “oneness” with God, we can go way beyond having our strength "renewed," we can "exchange" our strength, for the strength of God. That is the reason we will be able to mount up with wings like eagles and run and not go weary because through faith we can experience the very life of God being lived out and expressed through our lives.

My prayer is that if these verses comforted you before, they will now comfort you more than ever as you realize how much God wants to offer Himself to you, and for you, as you walk in faith with Him in this dark and desperate world.

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Each week, Pastor Frank sends several short, encouraging videos to his circle of friends.
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