Strength, Courage, Stamina, Endurance
Where do they come from? How do we acquire them?
Without knowing why, I felt inspired to paint a white oak leaf at a place where musicians worship before an audience of one—God. I asked the Lord for understanding and heard Him simply say, “Abide.” Trying to follow His instruction, I began to paint slowly and steadily. As time passed, I became anxious to see and show the finished work, but I repeatedly heard the Lord say not to rush. I was told only to go at the pace of His grace. He kept reminding me that I was not painting to please myself or others. I was painting for Him alone. The fruit of my labor was to bring Him pleasure in fulfilling His purpose as an act of worship from start to finish. What He had inspired me to paint was to be accomplished by the direction, timing, and power of His Spirit. For this to happen I had to abide in Him.
What does it mean to abide? Webster’s dictionary says it means “to remain; continue; stay—to have one’s abode; dwell; reside—to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship—to endure, sustain or withstand without yielding or submitting—to wait for; await—to remain steadfast or faithful to.”* How does all this relate to a white oak leaf and the trunk of an oak tree? Well ,,,
By, Ginger E. Mosher
© All rights reserved by Ginger E. Mosher
People and their opinions, circumstances, situations, seasons, and all types of storms will come and go. But we remain in Him like mighty, majestic oaks standing the test of time. According to Isaiah 61:3 (NIV), we are called to be “oaks of righteousness.” Psalm 92:13-15 (NIV) says, “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright. He is my rock; there is no unrighteousness in Him."
For this reason, I am asking the Lord for an extra portion of His grace—His enabling power—to remain steadfast and planted in Him; to abide in Him as He abides in me. Abiding in His love—as His love abides in me—eliminates fear and confusion. Relying on Him, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 NIV). I will not lose heart because I believe and “wait on the Lord” (Psalm 27:14 NKJV). After all, He did say, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7 NKJV). Therefore, “be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart” (Psalm 27:13-14 NIV). His steadfast mercy— His loving kindness—remains. His “grace is sufficient” and His “strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV) We “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” us. (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
** “Abide.” Def. 1,2,3,5,6,9c. Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language: The Dictionary Entries Are Based on the Second Edition of The Random House Dictionary of the English Language. New York: Random House, 1996. p. 1856. Print.