Category Archives: Honor

In Honor of Ordinary Fathers

Sometimes you find heroes in the most unlikely places. Since today is Father’s Day, I want to honor those ordinary dads everywhere who are living quietly, faithful lives. These guys are the real heroes.

A few months ago, I traveled to our nation’s capital. I was there with my husband for the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast. David and I walked our nation’s corridors of power and met influential men and women who faithfully serve our country. We spent time with our congressmen. And we took fascinating tours of the capitol,  awestruck at the compelling stories about the faith of our Founding Fathers. They were truly great men of honor. Their names are written in history, and their impact will last for generations.

But the real hero showed up—of all places—in a taxi while we were traveling back to our hotel. Our driver was a gentle,  friendly man with an east African accent. He began talking about his 33 years driving a cab in Washington DC. Times had changed, he explained, and drivers now had to guard against criminals who no longer just robbed, but sometimes killed taxi drivers.

So he had moved his family to the suburbs. His three kids, he went on to tell us, had all graduated from fine colleges on scholarships. He beamed with that special dad-kind-of-pride. All three now held prestigious jobs in the DC area. “I’m blessed,” he smiled. “I have my health and I’m able to work. I have all I need,”

“You must have done some pretty good parenting on your part,” I commented. “What’s your secret?” “My secret,” he laughed, “is America.” “In America, if you’re willing to work hard, you can reach your dream.”

“Hmm,” I replied. “There are some who would say it’s not possible here.” “Ah,” he paused. “They have never lived in another country.” He was from Eritrea, he went on to tell us. One of the most oppressive countries in the world, Eritrea heavily persecutes Christians. Some refer it the “North Korea of Africa. He was a man of deep faith and I noticed the cross prominently displayed on his dashboard. “People here don’t know what it’s like to not have freedom,” he said quietly.

He fled the persecution and came to America. Educated as an accountant by trade, he managed to find work as a cab driver.  A job he’s held ever since.  Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. But he made sure his kids were successful. “They are very smart kids,” He smiled.

His other secret to raising successful kids, he confessed, is his wife. “My wife, too. She is very nice.”   “Even though our kids now have professional careers, they call every weekend and want to come see us.” They say, “Mom, what are you cooking?” “Yes, I am a blessed man, indeed.”

I reflected on how the extraordinary can happen when an ordinary man lives a faithful, ordinary life. I knew we’d been in the presence that day of an honorable man. A hero.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the subject of honor this year since David and I completed our books on how to reclaim honor in marriage: Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Husband and Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Wife. One way I’m trying to recapture this lost art is to notice and celebrate honor when I see it.

Let’s reflect on those quietly honorable husbands and fathers in our lives today. And perhaps let them know just how thankful we are for their faithfulness in the ordinary.

The Power of Love-Day 21

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of 21 Days of Strength. I hope you’ve found a few strategies that will help you strengthen yourself in the Lord. Remember. God is near to the broken hearted.  He loves us when we’re weak.  But He delights in making us strong.

We’ve talked about the importance of abiding in Christ, of spending time alone with God in His Word and prayer. Jesus Himself reminds us to make time to “go to our room and shut the door and pray to our Father in secret.” If we want to remain strong in the fight of faith, it’s important to stick together with our fellow believers, to de-clutter the sin that weighs us down, to obey God’s calling, and to give our lives away to others.

Growing strong in the Lord occurs as we fervently seek Him day in and day out. But even when we grow weary and weak, we know that God is ready and waiting to give us His strength. It’s His character and His very nature to give out of His own storehouse of strength and power to His children. The Apostle Paul puts it this way as he pours out his heart in prayer for all believers, including you and me:

“I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:14-16).

Did you catch that? Strength comes in the form of power through the Holy Spirit in our inner being. We grow strong so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. Amazing. No wonder God wants to make us strong!

The next verses give more reasons to grow strong in the Lord: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Strength from the Holy Spirit helps to ground us….to root and establish us in love.  Together with other believers, united by love,  we’re enabled to grasp this enormous love of Christ.  A love that’s beyond comprehension.  A love that fills us with the “fullness of God.”  A love that gives strength and power!

Paul attempts to describe this wonderful love-power in his final benediction.  May this promise from the Word of God send us back out into our hurting and broken world, armed with unshakeable strength and wrapped in love:  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” ( Ephesians 3:20).  -Amen!

Guard Against this Enemy-Day 16

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:16). 

In order to grow strong in the Lord, we need to stick together.  It’s true. We are better and stronger when we’re part of a team—a body of believers. Who would dream of fighting a war alone?  Or playing against an entire basketball team by ourselves?

I heard a statistic recently that sobered me. Guess why most missionaries leave the field? Not because of living conditions or less creature comforts; not fear of threats like ebola or isis; not rejection or even attacks from the locals; not family issues. The reason most missionaries leave the mission field is because of conflict with other missionaries.

Internal strife is destructive—perhaps the most painful type of conflict. Those who know us best have the power to wound us most deeply. Just ask anyone who has experienced divorce. Continue reading

Strong Like a Rock-Day 6

God loves us when we are weak, but He wants to make us strong. It’s true. The Bible is filled with stories of how God empowers broken men and women to conquer enemies, pull down strongholds, move mountains, and accomplish His work on earth.

Gideon sure felt weak.  He referred to himself as the “least” in a family whose clan was the “weakest” in his tribe.  But God sent an angel who greeted the tired and broken man with these encouraging words:  “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”   It took a little persuading, but God gave amazing strength to this unlikely hero who defeated enemy armies and returned Israel to her glory.

God wants to make us strong–especially in our marriages.  When we’re strong in the Lord, we don’t drain our spouse through our neediness. My husband David and I deal with this subject in more detail in our recently released companion books: Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Husband/Wife.

God’s original purpose for marriage was to provide companionship. He looked at Adam and said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” There was no “suitable helper” for Adam, so God makes a “helper.”  (Genesis 2:18-24).  Sadly, our English word, helper, has evolved to a very watered-down version and can mean anything from a distress call, to roadside assistance, to domestic servants.

The word translated as “helper”, or ezer, means “to support.”  Actually, as one scholar points out, ezer is actually a combination of two roots meaning: “to rescue, to save,” and “to be strong.” Ezer is used over twenty times in the Old Testament–just twice for the woman.  The other times,  ezer refers to God Himself as the helper, especially during battles. So when David says, “The Lord is with me; He is my helper, I look in triumph on my enemies,” he uses the word ezer (Psalm 118:7).

Ezer is related to the word for “rock,” or eben. Thus, the Ebenezer stone mentioned in the Bible was a “stone of help.” It was a tangible reminder for the Israelites of the Lord’s power and support.  Even the famous prophetEzra’s name comes from ezer and means “helper.”

Wives, let’s  think about what it means to be strong like a “rock” for our husbands, our families and the broken and hurting world around us.  Your challenge is to draw strength from the Lord so that you are a source of strength for a husband who will sometimes be weak.

Now, I don’t want you guys to feel left out.  So tomorrow, we’ll take a closer look at Gideon and explore how God transformed a man who felt “less than” into a “mighty man of valor.”  I’ll say it again. God loves us when we are weak, but He delights in making us strong!

Honor Book mar


Honor Book DEC



Becoming a Woman who Builds

My friend Sara always challenges me to dig deeper.  Never one for easy answers, she makes me want to discover the “how to” of Scripture as well as the “why.”  So I was delighted when she offered her thoughts in response to my new book, which is officially released today.  (David has written the companion volume for you guys).  So glad Sara has entered the conversation about honor–especially in our marriages. I hope you will, too!

GUEST BLOG:  Sara Miller

I love reading so I was delighted to receive a copy of Marilynn’s new book Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Husband. I quickly dived in over Valentine’s Day weekend and enjoyed learning and being reminded about ways I can honor my husband well.

I was just about to wrap up my reading and start my day when the last page of Chapter 3 stopped me in my tracks. It says, “Becoming a Wife Who Builds” and centers around Proverbs 14:1 – “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears it down.” And, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” from 1 Thessalonians 5:11. (ESV)

I’ll be the first to say that the word “builds” and the Scriptures included aren’t all that revolutionary for me. I’ve read them many times. I’ve used that word throughout my life. We all have, right? So why did I stop and stare at the page?

Here’s the definition she includes. “To build, to build up, rebuild; to edify, strengthen, develop another person’s life through acts and words of love and encouragement.” Also, “to build a house, to construct; to advance a person’s spiritual condition.” Wow. There’s a lot more to building than I initially realized.

As a wife, mom, friend, family member…I am called to be a woman who builds. I took a quick glance through that definition and used it as a checklist, and it was convicting. Am I building up? Edifying?

Strengthening others’ lives through my acts, words of love and encouragement? Through God’s strength, I try to, but when I act only out of my own strength and willpower, I fail. Am I advancing anyone’s spiritual condition? Am I an ezer to my husband and a good role model in my walk of faith for my kids? Am I sharing God’s love with others who don’t know Him yet?

It’s safe to say I have plenty of opportunities to be a builder. I’m guessing you do too! When I’m tempted to be overwhelmed by this opportunity, I’m grateful for the reminder that God is the master builder and He just lets me take part in His work. When I’m weak, He is strong! I’m praying for His strength to work in me and through me today. I’m praying that for you too!