Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
When I built my house, I knew nothing about construction. I watched the blocks go up to the top of the second story. I thought how strong it looked. Then, I noticed that the contractor put in steel rods every few blocks and then knocked a hole in the bottom block. Inquisitive, I asked him why and he said that the blocks alone wouldn’t be strong enough to bear the weight until he poured concrete in each hole that had what he told me was rebar.
He explained that rebar when massed as reinforcing steel or reinforcement steel, is a steel bar or mesh of steel wires used as a tension device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures to strengthen and aid the concrete under tension. Concrete is strong under compression, but alone without rebar has weak tensile strength.
When they pour thick slabs of concrete, they use rebar to help make it stronger. The tensile strength is significantly increased by inserting carbon steel bars or mesh steel wires into the concrete during construction. The rebar helps resist cracking and breakage, and it absorbs stress and the other forces that will try to destroy the concrete over time.
I thought about my strong body and how I could bear the weight and endurance of life only because of the bones inside that I had seen only on an Xray. Without those bones, I would be limp as a dishrag and fall like a ball of clay, but my bones give me strength, just as rebar gives concrete strength.
The wording in Daniel 2:41-43 implies that the iron and clay do not mix, and do not combine to make each other stronger, but instead constitute a structural weakness. In addition, for generations the phrase “feet of clay” from Daniel 2 has been used to describe someone who gives the outward appearance of strength, but has a hidden weakness that causes his downfall.
Imagine your life as that concrete for a moment… What kinds of rebar can we insert into our own lives to provide extra strength and help us resist cracking, breakage, and stress?
We’ve all been there. Life takes us right to the edge where the pressure layers on, and we’re on the verge of breaking. The tensions in our lives create stress, and just like concrete, we begin to develop cracks on our surface.
Most of us have experienced stress and pressure at work and in other areas of our life. We’ve experienced tension and strain in our relationships. We’ve felt the squeezing of life from time to time… the expectations, the comparison, the demands that the world puts on us.
Only God’s rebar of the relationship with Christ can give us the inner strength to carry on with the strength to live our daily lives to the fullest.
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
God either removes our challenges or redeems them for larger purposes. He miraculously freed Paul from his Philippian jail (Acts 16:25–26), but he did not remove his “thorn in the flesh” despite the apostle’s repeated entreaties (2 Corinthians 12:8). Instead, God used this “thorn” to draw Paul into greater dependence on himself. As a result, Paul wrote these immortal words: “When I am weak, then I am strong” (v. 10).
Our performance-based society measures us by what we do and how well we do it. But God wants us to see our challenges differently—as opportunities to experience his grace, strength, and guidance.
We can be self-sufficient or we can be Spirit-dependent, but we cannot be both.
In Keeping Hope: Favorite Prayers for Modern Living, Michel Quoist writes, “Don’t refuse to acknowledge your limitations. To deny their existence doesn’t make them go away. If they do exist, ignoring them would give them the opportunity to undermine and destroy your life.”
Instead, he observes, “Your limitations are not simply obstacles to your success—they are also indications from God of the path your life is to take.”
What limitation does God want to redeem in your life today? Jim Denison
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It may seem that everywhere you turn, costs are going up. Earlier this year, Chipotle raised its menu prices by about 4 percent. Food products were 2.4 percent more expensive in June 2021 than in June 2020. Used cars are creeping toward the typical tag of a new car, and rent prices are up 7.5 percent nationwide. Inflation will grow more over the next couple of months as businesses recoup their pandemic losses.
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Do you have NOMO phobia? Fear of being without your mobile phone.
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Wife did laundry, all was put away, but the sheets and bedding. Those she left on the bed. Wife asks husband, hey sweetie, could you put the sheets on the bed. Husband asks where are they? On the bed she says. Husband replies, well it looks like my job is done. Contributed by Beverley Grant
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What matters today is not always what will matter tomorrow, much less in eternity. By contrast, we cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness. Will you be “devoted to eternal truths” today? Jim Denison
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Also contributed by Beverley Grant
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
Do not trust in anything outside Christ for your righteousness, even the law in the Old Testament was meant to point to Jesus, not to accomplish salvation for us. Edgar Aponte
When you put God first, He takes care of all the rest. Dan Shock
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” M.F.K. FISHER
The struggle you are in today is developing the strength you will need tomorrow. Anonymous
Don’t ever let anyone dull your sparkle. Anonymous
“Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow.”
NORMAN VINCENT PEALE
Jesus triumphed over temptation and can help you to have victory also. Dan Shock
Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he isn’t. A sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.”
God’s hand is in every disruption and every detour. Dan Shock
Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” CARL SANDBURG
Deposit your riches carefully. Dan Shock
Keep talking to Jesus. His Presence will give you strength, and He will bless you with Peace. Sarah Young
How glorious to realize that Jesus Himself is praying for you! Dan Shock
Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has grace, and power in it. JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. Martin Luther