Completely

Crush me, God,

with Your love

 

Drown me

in Your grace

 

Break me

with Your goodness

 

Smother me

in Your joy

 

 

Push me

in Your strength

 

Suffocate me

with Your peace

 

Do all this

until I am completely overwhelmed

 

with You

 

– Susie Stewart

 

 

Still, Eternal One, You are our Father. We are just clay, and You are the potter. We are the product of Your creative action, shaped and formed into something of worth.

– Isaiah 64:8 (VOICE)

 

Power belongs to You, God,
     and with You, Lord, is unfailing love.

– Psalm 62:11,12 (NIV)

 

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.

– Psalm 73:26 (NLT)

 

I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

 
-Ephesians 3:16-21- (NLT)
Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

Trial Perspective

You are right in the middle of it,

and it is painful

 

It hurts

and it pulls downward

 

Your trial threatens

your heart

your mind

your faith

 

But friend

look UP

 

Recognize what is happening

 

This time

this moment

this circumstance

 

God wants to use it!

 

Please don’t miss that

 

Your growth

your strengthening

your unexplainable peace

 

is yours for the taking

 

Don’t turn your back

on the One who blessed you

with easier times

 

He is close

 

And His Spirit-help is there

for those who turn their eyes to Him

 

HE

is your strength

is your peace

is your joy

 

IS the One who feels the deepest

about your situation

 

He is kind, you see

 

Walk with HIM

when you need Him most

 

and KNOW

God-strength

in the middle of it all

 

– Susie Stewart

 

In his kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.

– 1 Peter 5:10 (NLT)

 

If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!

– Proverbs 24:10 (NIV)

 

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line—mature, complete, and wanting nothing.  If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.

– James 1:2-5 (VOICE)

 

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.

– Romans 8:28 (VOICE)

 

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You,
        for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You.
     So trust in the Eternal One forever,
        for He is like a great Rock—strong, stable, trustworthy, and lasting.

– Isaiah 26:3,4 (VOICE)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

Bold

Whisper not

the name of God

Speak it boldly

for He is all

Hide not

your inner Light

for it is exactly

what they need

Tame not

your worship of the King

for your audience

is Him alone

Hide not

your story of saving grace

for it is precious

and important

Stand confidently

worshipper and witness

in the strength and power and goodness

of your great God

– Susie Stewart

I have seen You in Your sanctuary
    and gazed upon Your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise You!
I will praise You as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to You in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise You with songs of joy.

I lie awake thinking of You,
    meditating on You through the night.
Because You are my helper,
    I sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings.
I cling to You;
    Your strong right hand holds me securely.

– Psalm 63:2-8 (NLT)

It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts Him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting Him really lives.”

– Romans 1:16-17 (MSG)

Paul lived for two years in his rented house. He welcomed everyone who came to visit. He urgently presented all matters of the kingdom of God. He explained everything about Jesus Christ. His door was always open.

– Acts 28:30, 31 (MSG)

Photo by Susie Stewart

Defender

He is defending you,

firm and resolute in your corner

 

He Himself,

when all others have turned away

 

The God of the Universe

is your defense

your strength

your vindication

 

And isn’t it so good

to have a Defender

who sees all?

 

Who sees what you are going through?

 

Who sees what is not fair

or right?

 

Be at peace knowing

that He’s got you

 

– Susie Stewart

 

The LORD, the LORD Himself, is my strength and my defense;  He has become my salvation.

– Isaiah 12:2 (NIV)

 

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. …The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.

– Exodus 14:13,14 (NIV)

 

I love you, Lord;
You are my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and He saved me from my enemies.
The ropes of death entangled me;
floods of destruction swept over me.
The grave wrapped its ropes around me;
death laid a trap in my path.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
yes, I prayed to my God for help.
He heard me from His sanctuary;
my cry to Him reached His ears.
Then the earth quaked and trembled.
The foundations of the mountains shook;
they quaked because of His anger.
Smoke poured from His nostrils;
fierce flames leaped from His mouth.
Glowing coals blazed forth from Him.
He opened the heavens and came down;
dark storm clouds were beneath His feet.
Mounted on a mighty angelic being, He flew,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
He shrouded Himself in darkness,
veiling His approach with dark rain clouds.
Thick clouds shielded the brightness around Him
and rained down hail and burning coals.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded
amid the hail and burning coals.
He shot His arrows and scattered His enemies;
great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused.
Then at your command, O Lord,
at the blast of your breath,
the bottom of the sea could be seen,
and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.
He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
but the Lord supported me.
He led me to a place of safety;
He rescued me because He delights in me.
The Lord rewarded me for doing right;
He restored me because of my innocence.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I have not turned from my God to follow evil.
I have followed all his regulations;
I have never abandoned His decrees.
I am blameless before God;
I have kept myself from sin.
The Lord rewarded me for doing right.
He has seen my innocence.
-Psalm 18:1-34 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

My brother, Danny Oertli – “Fight For Me”

Strong Vulnerable

…the strength of vulnerability. I am speaking of that paradoxical place where you discover the strength God has placed in you by actually risking the pain you would normally run from — especially in close relationships. You step into the difficult place and find you are not blown away. Hearing a friend’s criticism, you resist being defensive. You take the humble road, and find that it is the means of walking straight and tall. You say the words you need to say. In these kinds of moments, you can almost feel your soul expand.
Have you ever had an ‘impossible person’ in your life, with whom most of your interactions inevitably led to rejection and hurt feelings? If so, then you know the courage it takes to risk your heart – to be vulnerable – and to love in the face of that. That courage, exercised wisely, is like lifting weights in a gym, except that the strength you gain is an inner one.
In many ways, vulnerability is the last thing we would expect to combine with strength. The word literally means ‘able to be wounded,’ and therefore, vulnerability flies in the face of our usual concept of strength, certainly the one served up to us daily. To be vulnerable is to voluntarily place yourself, for the sake of a larger purpose, in a situation that could bring pain. You see something at stake — your own spiritual growth or someone else’s — and you are willing to risk your heart in a vulnerable way.

– Paula Rinehart

 

My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
He is mine forever.

– Psalm 73:26 (NLT)

 

Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

– 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Strength

 

I get, Lord,

that I need to love You with my everything

 

heart

soul

mind

strength

 

and I find myself pausing at the strength part

 

because it’s an interesting word to use

and I ask You to help me grasp what that means…

 

…what it has meant to me

in my life

 

Loving You with all my strength

brings to mind

times of feeling weak

and life was dim

but I trusted

and I loved

beyond reason

because I was loving You with the strength

that I had

 

You were my strength

 

My body felt weak

but I loved You with my trust

and You would remind me

that Your grace is always sufficient for me

 

And I think about times

when I felt so confident

and strong

but I was easily pulled down

because my eyes were on self

and not on You

 

Love of self

focus on self-preserving

focus on self-promoting

weak

 

Not loving God with all my strength

 

Seemingly strong on the outside

but compromised on the inside

 

And so I know that

no matter my weakness

my suffering

my conditions

my surroundings

 

I can love You with all my strength

because it is the power

that You give that’s important

 

Everything I can love You with

first came from You

 

Which is all the more reason

to love You

with all of it.

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart,

all your soul,

all your mind,

and all your strength.

– Mark 12:30 (NCV)

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

– 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)

 

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (MSG)

 

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

– 1 John 4:7,8 (NLT)

 

Photo by Nicole Stewart

Strong

The Christian often tries to forget his weakness;  God wants us to remember it, to feel it deeply.  The Christian wants to conquer his weakness and to be freed from it;  God wants us to rest and even rejoice in it.  The Christian mourns over his weakness;  Christ teaches His servant to say, “I take pleasure in infirmities.”  The Christian thinks his weaknesses are his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God;  God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success.  It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that give us our claim and access to the strength of Him who has said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

…And if we want to know how the power is bestowed, the answer is simple:  Christ gives His power in us by giving His life in us.  He does not, as so many believers imagine, take the feeble life He finds in them and impart a little strength to aid them in their feeble efforts.  No, it is in the giving His own life in us that He gives us His power.  The Holy Spirit came down to the disciples direct from the heart of their exalted Lord, bringing down into them the glorious life of heaven into which He had entered.  And so His people are still taught to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  When He strengthens them, it is not by taking away the sense of feebleness and giving in its place the feeling of strength.  By no means.   But, in a very wonderful way, leaving and even increasing the sense of utter helplessness, He gives them along with it the consciousness of strength in Him.  The feebleness and the strength are side by side;  as the one grows, the other also grows, until they understand the saying, “When I am weak, then am I strong…I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:10,9).

…He lives a most joyous and blessed life, not because He is no longer feeble, but because, being utterly helpless, he consents and expects to have the mighty Savior work in him.

– Andrew Murray

 

For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.

1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT)

 

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

– 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)

 

“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”

– Luke 24:49 (NLT)

 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere.”

– Acts 1:8 (NLT)

 

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

– Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart