Friday, June 19, 2015

When Iron Sharpens Iron

Our yard was looking pretty shabby and needed a complete clean-up.  Without supernatural help from the Lord there was no way I could achieve this on my own in one day.

We hadn’t been able to do much in it because of all the extenuating health activity the past eight months. I knew my work was cut out for me realizing that my husband wasn't able to lift or bend much.

Last Saturday I prayed for strength physically to handle all the tasks that I had before me.  However, it was the meeting earlier that week that gave me emotional strength to endure in the first place. 

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Read updates on Hubby’s Heart and visit the Q & A or other sections.
Setting A Date

While hubby was in the hospital I had to run errands that he usually made, including paying the local bills. I remember distinctly that it was a Friday afternoon when I needed to drop off the car insurance payment before they closed. 

The place was empty except for the receptionist.  She seemed glad for the company and expressed that it had been a quiet day.   Since she knew us I filled her in on how my husband was progressing.   

Our conversation led to her sharing her own husband’s story with his heart surgery in 2012.  I was glad to hear the details, but intrigued as to how she handled the situation, especially because she had children.  Their journey was quiet difficult with him having his operation over 100 miles away from their home. 

The verbal engagement left me wanting to learn more, so I asked Merry if we could have lunch to discuss what things she did to help her stay in faith.  On Friday, June 12th, 2015 we kept that purpose driven lunch date.

11:30 AM ...

Not a second was wasted in our outing. Even our order was exactly the same with both of us getting iced tea (mine unsweetened), and a baked potato with broccoli and cheese. 

Our discussion was seamless and flowed from topic to topic, with each of us interjecting our life story throughout the conversation. To my surprise the things that concerned me had also plagued her thoughts during her family crisis.  She shared concrete information on what to expect and in what areas I could be supportive in the coming days of my husband’s rehabilitation. 

Both of us discussed how we prayed while we were in the midst of the storm.  In some instances our requests before the Lord were mostly the same when it came to healing our loved one. 

Not wanting to sound grim, I asked her about the emotional part and if she thought about what might happen.  Without saying the “D” word, she admitted that her thoughts did take a side detour down that road.  Chiming in I confessed that I was feeling selfish, because my concerns weren’t about that as much, because I knew he was born again.  No, my thoughts were mostly about not wanting to be alone. 

It felt good to openly discuss what we had been experiencing emotionally, since neither of us had shared these feelings with anyone before that time. Sometimes I think Christians believe that talking over such things are a sign of weakness and lack of faith, but I feel it’s the opposite.  Being able to remind one another of how God was in all of it was a comfort and boosted our faith. 

11:45 AM ...

Around fifteen minutes into the meal we talked about the physical side of all this. I questioned how she handled all the work load of caring for a farm, family and completing her “honey-do” list while getting very little sleep. 

Merry assured me that her strength to persevere did come from the Lord, but that she cast some of the burden on to her children when it came to chores around the house and farm.  Jokingly I said, “I don’t have any munchkin slaves to help, so I asked God for what I needed concerning those matters.  She began to smile when I proceeded to explain my statement. 

I went on to say how I used to kid my mother that the only reason she had so many kids was so she didn’t have to do anything.  Well, if you knew my mom you certainly knew that wasn’t true.  My lunch buddy totally understood the humor coming from an extremely large family on both sides of her parents.  Large families have to work together or the household would always be in chaos. 

Say What? 

After we finished laughing about the sizes of our families, she followed with this statement.  “You did something right.”  That phrase will cause anyone to perk up and listen.   

“What did you say?" I inquisitively asked not being sure I heard her correctly. 

She repeated, “You did something right.” 

When we first sat down to talk, I explained how I asked God to pour out His favor and send people to help me do what I couldn’t do for myself. One of the things I prayed was for someone to mow and weed-whack (trim around the bushes, trees, etc.) our yard.  That was one prayer God answered, but there were others. 

I cast the burdens on the Lord and He met each need as they came.  My friend said she never thought to pray that way.  Several years ago I may not have either. I confessed to her that teachers have no problem asking for help or designating duties, so I did what I knew to do.  Knowing what the Bible promises was another thing that helped me in decision making.

Not in My Strength 

For as long as I can remember I have trusted in the verse Philippians 4:13 and relied on God giving me strength in every situation. Sometimes it’s physical, but not always.  God may give me strength to do a task on my own, but being of a small stature he often sends someone to do those things for me. 

What I was in need of at that time was spiritual and emotional encouragement.  The Lord has given me wisdom, guidance and understanding to recognize what happens when iron sharpens iron. 
In other words, what I can expect to happen when faith sharpens faith, and that is what this luncheon was all about for me.  

King David gave this declaration of faith in the promises of God concerning favor on his life. 

“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation. Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Psalm 27:1(b) 

God promises that when we truthfully believe what we claim we believe about His Word, we won’t be disappointed or put to shame. (See Romans 9:33)  I have to believe that if I commit my life to Him, He will deliver me “through the fire” and grant the favor (answer my prayer requests) in the areas I asked. 

“Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it (our requests) to pass.” (Psalm 37:5 NKJV) 
Take a look at how the Wycliffe Bible states this passage.

“Show thy way to the LORD; and hope in Him, and He shall do (it). Give all thy ways to the LORD, and trust in him;
and He shall make it happen." (Psalm 37:5 WYC)
Whether it is spiritual, physical or emotional strength needed, it won’t come from me but from God.  He chooses how He will answer my requests and who He wants to use to accomplish the plan He has for me. I have to trust that those He brings into my life are for a specific reason by embracing every encounter as God ordained.  It will take fellowshipping with Him for me not to mess it up or miss it! 

Find God, Find Favor 

My husband and I have both sought out ways to sharpen with iron this week to uplift others and kindle our faith. 
Our decision over who we were to fellowship with came from time spent with the Lord and seeking His wisdom.  In doing so each individual come away from the meeting encouraged and enriched. 

Proverbs 8:35 tells how those that seek the Lord will obtain favor.  Literally if we “find” God, we will “find” His favor.  When we take action in doing the Word of God it means we want to find the Lord, because we are inviting Him to be a part of our lives.  Since He is in on the task, His favor will always be available. 
What does “iron sharpens iron” really mean?   

In the physical realm it is when two iron objects are struck against one another making the object(s) sharper.  Obviously a sharp tool is more effective than a blunt one.  The same metaphor is used in scripture concerning people of like faith, whether it is a man or woman.  

People of like faith stimulate, excite, spark, inspire and fuel a fire of God inside one another. The devil tries to extinguish that flame by using anxiety, worry or fear.  This is why we need one another to keep our spirit man sharp even when the flesh is weak. 

Proverbs 27:17 states “iron sharpens iron: so a man (or woman) sharpens the countenance of his friend."

When I seek out the company of my friends of faith for support it gives me joy that shines through the expression on my face (countenance). 

“Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.”
(Proverbs 27:9 NKVJ) 

Irons of Faith 

Spending time with God’s people should always leave individuals feeling inspired, light hearted, encouraged and invigorated to press on to the prize of the high calling. Passages of scripture like “I can do all things through Christ” and “all things are possible,” are the foremost thoughts as conquerors through our Lord and Savior. 

When I am weak God’s Word says for me to say I am strong. Why? It’s the Word of God living in me that fills my life with joy, knowing that all things are possible to me when I believe. 

If a feeling of being renewed over a time of fellowship doesn’t happen when you are with your Christian friends, than you’re doing something wrong or you’re not with iron strong believers.  You decide which you want to spend time with if your journey to believe what you believe is to succeed.  It takes iron faith to sharpen iron faith. Nothing else will work or last.

Our faith should be so strong that other believer’s would seek our godly counsel to sharpen their iron! 

Watch this 1:34 minute video that briefly explains the purpose of staying focused irons of faith. 

What happens when iron sharpens iron in the life of a believer?

This Week’s Challenge:
Become an Iron of Faith 

It’s usually enjoyable to go out to lunch with a friend or visit them at their dwelling. However, do we always leave that place of fellowship with the other person glad they spent time with us? 

Our challenge this week will have us seeking God’s wisdom as He directs us to the individual(s) that need to have their faith iron sharpened.  Perhaps you are in need of that as I was.  Make sure your visit is with someone that will be able to give you the “edge” you are looking for in any given situation. 

Here is a key factor in making sure you stick to this task correctly.  Set your appointment in the middle of other engagements, this way you will not lolly gag or get on to another topic.  Also if you can, try to set something up outside of a person’s home, that way you will not overstay your welcome. 

Also, make it known that the purpose of the meeting isn’t for chatting, but to sharpen irons of faith.  Each individual should leave with spiritual and practical solutions along with answers to their questions.  Remember you selected this person for a specific reason; keep that in mind throughout your appointment. 

My time limit was one hour.  We set it that way so we could both be back to work on time and it helped us to stay on the topic.  Now my husband’s was one and a half hours, but he still redirected the task when it started to go off the purpose of the meeting. 
Both time tables worked, but I wouldn’t suggest it going over one hour if you can help it. 

Go - Do Something! Be strong faith irons for Christ this week and no power will stand against you! 
All things are possible to those who BELIEVE!
All Things Are Possible - by Hillsong/Darlene Zschech

Until next time, God’s favor is always available!
“My favor is always where I Am.”
Jesus Christ

Note: The words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives.

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

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by Donald Devereaux

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Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible.
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  June Calendar  Baked Potato with Broccoli and Cheese  Blessings of God's Favor  Proverbs 27:17 Iron Sharpens Iron   One Hour Rule
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.

Believe in God, Daily Favor Blog, Do Something, Encouragement, Favor, Favor of God, Favored1, Mentoring Believers, Philippians, Prayer, Purpose Driven, When Iron Sharpens Iron, Christian Living, Darlene Zschech, Hillsong