Category Archives: Wake Up and Pray! Be Alert

“Trust Me” -God

Trust.  It’s hard to earn and easy to lose. Who do you consider to be truly trustworthy? In our fast-paced world, dominated by social media, it’s easy to create a friendly facade.  How much harder to maintain trust.

The Bible talks a lot about trusting God.  Our relationship with Him is based on trust.  So if we struggle with trust, we probably struggle with God.  That’s nothing new.  People have struggled with trusting God since those fateful days in Eden.

I remember several years ago when I had one of those “mother moments.”  It all boiled down to this: I was having a hard time trusting God with one of my children.  Ever been there?  I was letting my imagination run wild with “what if'” scenarios.  I carried the anxiety to bed with me.  I was still worrying in my sleep, when an audible voice whispered these words: “I can be trusted.”  First person, singular.  “Who was THAT?” I wondered, now half-awake. Continue reading


Endure with Joy

I’ve long been inspired by the vibrant faith of believers in China’s underground church. No one is sure, but some think there may be over 60 million believers in these secret house churches. Astounding when you consider all the forces over the years that have tried to stamp out the Gospel in China!

Chinese believers are known for their steadfast and joyful faith in the face of intense persecution. A man who had just returned from visiting members of an underground church was asked how the believers were able to cope with the continued trials.

“These brothers and sisters know this is not the end of the story,” he explained.  “They EXPECT God’s glory to come at the end of their trial.  They believe the trial will end. And they expect to be victorious.”

Are you wrestling with a tough problem? Maybe it feels like your trial will never end. Perhaps we don’t suffer the same kind of intense persecution as Chinese believers, but we fight the same devil. James urges us to “resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7).

Peter also challenges us to join the “resistance:” Resist him [the devil], standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8).

We can draw strength from the example of Chinese believers. They remind us that our trial “is not the end of the story.” They inspire us to “expect God’s glory.”

We strengthen our own faith when we encourage each other to stand “firm in the faith.” Joy in our journey comes as we team up with other believers.

The Christian life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured.  So daily, let’s ask the Lord to help us find joy while we endure!


Worry Robs Our Rest

Don’t worry about anything.  Instead, pray about everything…(Philippians 4:6 NLT).

Do you have a problem with worry? Maybe you’re exhausted from worrying about everything from your family to the elections, to the economy, to the condition of the world.  But here’s some good news:  The Lord has given us a secret weapon to use against anxiety. He tells us we can overcome worry through prayer.

Now, I happen to be a world class worrier. I didn’t have to learn how to worry. It just came naturally as a by-product of an overactive imagination, a curious mind, and a relentless memory. Marriage and a family only brought more responsibility, and therefore more things to worry about.  I agree with my friend who defines worry with the acronym: W.O.R.R.Y:  Worry-Only-Robs-Rest-from-You. It’s true. Worry is exhausting.

 So as one who is prone to worry, I’m inspired by Paul’s letter to some persecuted Christians in the town of Philippi. They were always in danger of getting killed, and therefore had lots to worry about. “Don’t worry about anything,” he encouraged them. “Instead, pray about everything.”

I’m struck by that word instead. Paul didn’t just say to stop worrying. He said, instead of worrying, to pray.  He tells us to redirect all that furious, anxious energy into prayer.  To make worry work for us instead of against us!

I get that concept.  It sounds a little like a trick I learned back in high school when I took karate in between sports seasons. I was taught to use the enemy’s energy against him. A violent attack could be redirected to incapacitate my attacker.  The Bible reminds us that daily, we are in a spiritual battle.  So, in a similar way, prayer is one way to use the devil’s energy against him.

When we use all the energy (that we are not using for worry) on prayer,  we can begin to experience gratitude and peace, instead of anxiety.  Paul puts it this way: “Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.” Then, “If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT).

Reminder: When you are tempted to worry, try redirecting all that energy into prayer!

(Adapted from Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning How to Hear the Voice of God,  By Marilynn Chadwick, Howard Books, 2012).


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.


Training for Trials-Day 18

Trials are the food of faith. –George Mueller

The Olympic Trials will be held this summer. They’re sure to be spectacular events, with young athletes from all over the United States competing for the few coveted spots on the 2016 US Olympic team.  These athletes have endured strenuous training regimens–sacrificing a normal life–all for the chance to compete in these trials.  Some will even make it to the Olympic games.

As believers, we, too, should train for our trials.  Have you thought about how your daily routine of prayer, reading and obeying God’s Word, day after day,  prepares you to stand strong when faced with a trial?  Training for trials prepares you in advance to fight the fight of faith.

Friends, do you love the fight?  Paul calls the fight of faith a “good fight.” It’s been said that we should love the contest of faith in the way an  athelete loves his sport.

I can’t say I love trials.  But there is something invigorating about approaching each day on the offensive, strengthening myself in God’s Word and being intentional about prayer. Thus, the reason for  21 Days of Strength.

I should walk away from my time in prayer and study each morning armed and ready.  Expectant and watchful.  Alert to signs of God at work and opportunities to step out in faith.  Ready to share the Gospel, to meet a need, to take back territory from the enemy.  Prepared to stand strong in the inevitable trials that are part of daily life in a broken world.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).

Let’s reflect on these verses.  We challenged to consider trials as an opportunity for  joy.  The same kind of joy awaits us when we prevail in our trial that the athlete experiences when winning his race.  Another great reason to grow strong and train for our trials!