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Overboard Blog

Living the extraordinary life of faith!

Filtering by Tag: God's strength

Suck It Up Buttercup

Joseph Castaneda



Every time I read these words in the book of Joshua, I am reminded of what the prophet Isaiah would share with Israel about 700 years later:

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives STRENGTH to the weary
and increases the POWER of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and wary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their STRENGTH.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and NOT grow weary,
they will walk and NOT be faint.
--Isaiah 40:28-31

[written in August 2018]: As I finish up this week's prayer email, I realize that I'm running on fumes! The last few weeks have been exhausting in a strange sort of way, and tonight, after a fairly long day, I spent two hours moving lumber in preparation for future remodel work at the bowling alley. I've been burning the midnight and early morning oil, and as I look to my calendar I realize I'm not 100% ready for 20+ hours of teaching at the YWAM base next week.

And this is where I must realize that the strength I need, the power that will help me pull it all together, won't come from within me; I don't have much left going in to the weekend. No, the strength and power I need comes from another comes from The Source! So I'm clinging to Joshua 1:9 to be strong and courageous, and I'm clinging to Isaiah 40:28-31 that assures me God will give me the strength, courage, and power that I need to accomplish life over the next few weeks.

Are you running on fumes right now? Is your tank on empty? If you're looking at Joshua 1:9 and thinking that strength and courage must come from within you, you might be feeling even more depleted and defeated. Thankfully Isaiah reminds us that God is the giver of the very thing He requests, and when we lean in to Him, He provides more than enough.

Spiritual Steroids

Joseph Castaneda



When it comes to character qualities desired by most, strength would likely be near the top of all of our lists. People who are strong, people who demonstrate inner resolve and an unbending will in the face of opposition are usually admired and honored, and their strength becomes a source of inspiration for others.

The Scriptures give us many examples of men and women who were strong, and without question, David was one of those men. We're talking about a man who faced a giant—enduring the scorn and disbelief of his own brothers!—when he was probably 13 or 14 years old. We're talking about a man who had to hit road and run from King Saul from about the time he was 17 years old, until the time he became king nearly 15 years later! We're talking about a man who ruled a land caught up in turmoil and brought unity to millions of people. We're talking about a man who worshipped with unmatched passion while being mocked by his own wife. We're talking about a man who was chased out of his palace by the uprising of his own son, and who would later return and restore a broken kingdom. We're talking about a man who would confess a heinous sin and willingly accept the consequences handed down by God. We're talking about a man who was very strong.

And I love how David uses Psalm 46 to dispel any notion that his strength was his own.

You see, David didn't have some special inner-strength reserve that he could draw from, a personal store of courage that was part of his DNA. No, David's strength was not his own. He didn't face the giant on his strength. He didn't rule, worship, restore or confess on his strength, he did it with God's. The same strength available to you and me, today.

There are too many days when I'm struggling that I turn inward for that little extra something, when in fact, I need to turn upward to receive the strength God provides. My strength will fail, but God's will not. My courage will give out, but God can never be overcome. When I turn to me, I stand on shaky ground rooted in some insatiable desire to prove my own worth, but when I turn to God, I stand on solid ground rooted in a desire to bring Him glory and honor.

Let me encourage you today to tackle life with great strength and courage...just make sure it's the strength that comes from the Lord. Turn and rest in His strength and you will find yourself able to stand up under temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), resist the devil (James 4:7), serve the Lord (1 Peter 4:11) and encourage others (2 Corinthians 1:4).

The words of Psalm 41 do not represent a man boasting about his own strength. Instead, Psalm 41 represents a humbled man revealing the secret source of his admired strength: the Lord. From where does your strength come from today?



Thank you. 300 times, thank you! Thank you for your amazing support.

Thank you for friendships.

Thank you for your encouragement and willingness to walk this Overboard journey with me and my family.

Thank you for reading this blog.

In fact, 300 times you’ve come to this blog and dialed up the words and challenges put on my heart by God and His Word. Thank you for following, reading, commenting, correcting my lousy grammar and encouraging me along the way. Most of all, thank you for growing with me as Overboard Ministries is becoming a movement of people eager to live their God-designed lives of faith, out of the comfort of the boat and out on the water where Jesus is building His Kingdom.

Over 50,000 times this blog has been read by people from 75 different countries. (I know, small potatoes for some of you bloggers, but for this boy, I’m blown away by what God has done!) 12 books have been released, with several more scheduled before year’s end. We have dozens of financial partners supporting our work each month, and nearly 100 people who pray for us regularly. The list goes on and on, and all I can say is “Thank you!”

I am humbled and grateful and can’t wait to see what God does in the next 300 blog posts.

As a way of remember the path we've traveled, here is one of my favorite blog posts (definitely t0p-5 out of 300!), dating pack to April of 2013. This was blog #102 (198 posts ago!). Enjoy.

Joe Castaneda


Every time I watch a movie, read a story or see something about Dick and Rick Hoyt, I usually end up wiping tears from eyes. Over 950 times Dick has pushed his son Ricky in a wheel chair or pedaled him on a bike or pulled him in a canoe across race finish lines all over the U.S. Every time I think of this duo, I am reminded of what the power of a father’s love can do.

Rick Hoyt is severely disabled. And when doctors told the family to just “put him away” because he would never be more than a vegetable, the Hoyt family decided to take him home and prove doctors wrong. Take ten minutes to watch this special piece on Team Hoyt as they tell their amazing story:

My favorite part of the video is when Dick says, “He’s competing. I just give him my arms and legs, but he’s competing.” I am so moved by that father’s love and I am so reminded of the love of my own Heavenly Father in the same way.

I’ve often heard people use the phrase, “we are the hands and feet of Jesus” -- and in one sense it is very true. We represent Jesus in this world, and the way we walk and serve will be the best (or sometimes worst) representation of Jesus some people will ever see.

But in another very real sense, we are all like Ricky Hoyt. “Powerless” on our own, but with God as our hands and feet, we are able to compete in this life. We are able to put aside our own selfish ambition and vain conceit, we are able to serve others as we have been served, we are able to love as God loved and we are able to run our race because of God’s power in us. We aren’t gods; we are God’s.

At the end of his life, the Apostle Paul told Timothy, “I have the run the race” and he was ready to receive his reward. How did Paul run? He ran as man pushed by God. He didn’t run on his own strength, He ran with God’s! In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul lists out the trials he worked through in his life while serving God. Then, in chapter 12, he discusses a “thorn in flesh” -- some sort of extreme suffering that kept him dependent on God. And at the end of this recounting of all of his hardships Paul says this, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Paul was just admitting that he was like Ricky Hoyt. No mistaking it -- Paul was competing. But he was competing with the power of God’s arms and God’s legs, so that using God’s strength, God would be glorified in Paul’s life.

You can’t live Overboard in your own strength for very long. Let God give you the power you need to press on so, like Paul, you too can finish your race!

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

When you hit the wall


Last month I was working out in my friend’s gym, having one of those days. You know, the ones where every exercise seems painful and hard? Some days exercise is fun and energizing for me, but other days it feels like the weights are extra heavy, the treadmill is extra fast and my whole body just lacks the umph it needs to keep going.  

As I finished my first set of reps (I usually do five activities two or three times, then do a different set of five activities, two or three times, for a total of ten activities in a regular workout), I thought, “Ok, today I’m only going to get through 2 reps” and I felt a little energy boost knowing that I was already half way done.


I stood up on the gym floor, faced the mirror to do a set of dumbbell curls, and that’s when I noticed the verse my friend had stenciled on the wall opposite the mirror: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” It’s from Isaiah 40 and the whole passage reads like this:


“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young me stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31).


As I reflected on the passage from Isaiah 40, that line really struck me: “...will renew their strength.”


When I think back to my youth, I can think of just a few times when I was one of the “young men” who “stumble and fall...” In fact, I can vividly remember a time when my youthful energy totally betrayed me and I had nothing left to give.


I played basketball my freshman year of high school, and we played for a tough, but very good basketball coach. Coach Miller had a very important philosophy about practice and it was very simple: “We are always going to accomplish something. And if we can’t accomplish anything else, we will get better conditioned.” That was code for running our butts off.


One particular torturous conditioning drill was called a mop-up. When doing a mop-up, you took your practice jersey off and placed it on the floor. You then grabbed it with your hands and ran a basic line drill. There were only three rules: The jersey had to stay on the ground. Your hands had to keep in constant contact with the jersey. And you could never sit down.


You and I are probably thinking the same thing when we look at this picture: "#lookslikearnold"

One mop-up was painful, but doable. Two mop-ups was excruciating, and required breaking through a pain threshold most of us had never approached. But the day we screwed up in a basketball game so badly that coach gave us three mop-ups, I found muscle groups in my body that I used that day, that have never been exercised before or since!


Coach walked in with a stack of papers and said, “Well boys, you know what we have today. So all we’re doing is three mop-ups, and when you’ve done your three, you can go home.” Then he sat down and started grading papers he was behind on. The fastest of us took the better part of an hour; our slowest teammate took almost two.


There was a point in which my legs burned so badly! I honestly have never hurt that much in my life, and that was after I had completed two full mop-ups, with on full one left to do. I kept praying that coach would just tell us to stop, but he didn’t. I knew that if I stood up I wouldn’t be playing in next week’s games. I pressed on through the pain and after about 75 minutes, I had completed my third mop-up. I waited in the gym until our whole team had finished then we hobbled to the showers together and committed to never, EVER, play in such a way as to need a mop-up as torture. If I remember right, we didn’t do a single mop-up the rest of the year.


I hate hitting walls. I always wish my walls were further from the starting line, but it seems like any time I get going on a new project, new workout plan, new eating goals or a better morning routine...SMACK! I run right into some personal, internal opposition. And all-too-often, the wall wins.


When living the Overboard Life, we are bound to hit some walls. That’s when the words of Isaiah 40 have to be embraced. We have to hold on to the truth that God will provide strength when we have only pain and weakness. He will give energy when we are weary and exhausted. He will restore power when we are faint and feel out of control. He will move our standing to walking and our walking to running. He will always give us what we need to get through the next wall.


Have you recently hit a wall? Are you staring at one right now, exhausted, weary and feeling defeated? Have you smacked your head one too many times, and certain that you’ll never get through, over, under or around?


Then you’re in Isaiah 40 country. You need to remember that God doesn’t grow weary and He is always working on behalf of His children. “Since God is for us” wrote the Apostle Paul, “who can stand against us?” And the answer is “No One!” Will you lean on Him again today as you face your wall?


14 down, 26 to go!


Go ahead and take the plunge, life is better on the water!