Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review - Quiet Strength

During the time we were itinerating and preparing to move to Ukraine, I read the book "Quiet Strength" by Tony Dungy - which is an autobiography about the life of a football coach and Godly man. It was during a period that I needed some of that strength.  Anyone who has prepared to move knows that it can be more than a little stressful at times.  That is even more true when you are preparing to move overseas.

As Coach Dungy has honored God, God has blessed him. And it was the relationships that he had with other people that helped develop him into the man that he became.  We could tell that same story over many times in the body of Christ, couldn't we?

The coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers told new players that "We have a great group of guys here. But you have to understand that this is Pittsburgh. It's a tight-knit community, and you are now Pittsburgh Steelers. Wherever you go, you're going to represent us as a team and as a community, so govern yourselves accordingly." (page 55)

When I read that, I thought it sounded like the church. The church is a great group of people that should be tight-knit. Whatever we do reflects on the church - and the body of Christ universal. We should make wise choices with God's help so as not to bring harm to the reputation of other Christians.

That reminds me of the prayer of Jabez, whose mother named him that because she bore him in pain, from 1 Chronicles 4:10 (NKJV), "And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested."

The Minnesota Vikings chaplain met with Tony on a regular basis to study the book of Nehemiah. He summarized three key truths from Nehemiah as follows. "First, Nehemiah's opportunity came in God's time, not his own. Second, Nehemiah diligently prepared his mind and his heart so he would be ready when God's time arrived. Third, Nehemiah needed to be prepared to take on the problems, doubt, and adversity that would come his way both from the outside and from within." (page 87)

At that time, I recognized that was right where I was living.  We were waiting for God's provision and timing of the house to sell.   We were trying to use this time to prepare for when God says "GO" and to be ready for what is in store for us when we get there.  My prayer at that time was that God would help us be ready to GO, ready to SERVE, ready to PREACH, and ready to LOVE.

Looking back, I can say that God has been 100% faithful - just like always!  God gives us what we need, when we need it, and all for His purpose, even if we need to wait.  When we wait, do we wait in quietness?  For Coach Dungy, God gave Him quiet strength when He needed it.  The Psalmist reminded us to be still and know that He is God.  Isaiah told us that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.

Isaiah 30:15-18 (NLT) says,
"15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:  “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved.  In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt.  They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’  But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!
17 One of them will chase a thousand of you.  Five of them will make all of you flee.  You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”

18 So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion.  For the Lord is a faithful God.  Blessed are those who wait for his help."

I have learned that as I wait, even though it is hard, the promises in the Bible are true - without a doubt!  My strength is renewed.  I am blessed.  And God gives me the grace to wait on Him.

Psalm 37:5 (NLT) says, "Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.  Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes."

How about you?  Are you waiting for something?  Keep trusting that God will give you what you need when you need it!

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