Tag Archives: Courage

Mighty Man of Valor

Valor comes in all kinds of packages. Perhaps you or someone you love is in the military—bravely guarding our freedom. Or maybe you’re a first responder. Or a caregiver holding the hands of the dying. You might be quietly and faithfully caring for your children—raising up the next generation. Or nursing your spouse through a long illness. People show courage in different ways.

Perhaps you don’t feel strong enough or brave enough to do what’s required of you. If so, you’re in good company. Some of God’s most courageous men and women started their journey in weakness. But God’s power transformed them into mighty men and women of valor.

Take Gideon. He was the youngest son in a family and tribe that were the weakest in Israel. The people had fallen into great evil, so the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. “But Israel grew weak and cried out to the Lord” (Judges 6:11 CEB).

So the Lord sent His angel to Gideon with a message: “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12). To which Gideon said something like, “Who me? I’m just a frightened nobody.” “Mighty man of valor” was a term that described warriors. Heroes. Champions.  Not a scared young man from the weakest tribe in a beaten down nation. The word translated “valor” is chayil, the very same word that describes the “woman of valor” in Proverbs 31.

God must have seen something special in Gideon and said to him: “You have strength, so go and rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not personally sending you?” The Lord promised, “Because I’m with you, you’ll defeat the Midianites as if they were just one person” (Judges 6:14-16 CEB).  And that’s just what happened. It took some persuading, but Gideon took courageous action to save his nation. He became a new man in the process. A man sold out to God. A mighty man of valor.

Friend, God sees within you the strength and courage He put there—even if you’re anxious and full of fear. Even if your family is a mess. He loves us when we’re weak; but He delights in making us strong. Men and women of valor.

We may feel exhausted, rejected, ignored, or afraid.  If so, His words to us are His words to Gideon: “Because I am with you, you will defeat your enemies. Enemies like job loss, depression, anxiety, marriage problems, a rebellious child, the inability to have a child, or loneliness. Maybe you struggle with fear like Gideon did.

God is whispering to you right at this moment: “The Lord is with you mighty warrior, man or woman of valor. And because I am with you, you will have strength to prevail!”


Love Makes Her Brave

I agree with Indiana Jones: “I hate snakes!’ Or maybe I don’t actually hate them…I’m just terrified.   A few days ago, our son ran in the house to tell me he found a young copperhead while cleaning out our garage. My first thought was “Yikes!” My next was, “Go get him!”

Like any good soldier, I ran toward the danger. I went after that snake with a vengeance and sent him into the next life. Why? Because he was in my garage…near my kitchen door…a threat to my home and family! Even though I’m scared of snakes, my love for my family made me brave.

Maybe you can relate. Is there a time when you did something that scared you to protect someone you loved? You were showing valor.

I’m captivated by the Hebrew word chayil, translated “valor,” used to describe the Proverbs 31 woman. Who can find a woman of valor? (Proverbs 31:10 OJB). God created woman to be a nurturer. But He also made her brave.

Simply put, valor is personal bravery in the face of danger, especially in battle. In its nearly 100 uses in the Old Testament, the word for “valor,” chayil depicts warriors, like King David’s “mighty men.” Other times, chayil describes God as a warrior for His people. It’s the same word for heaven’s angel armies.

I find woman of valor both compelling and poetic. My 30-something daughter, a young wife and mother, likes this expression because it makes her think of courage and strength. Valor is courage. But the woman of valor also embodies honor, strength of character, virtue, and so much more.

I believe we need to become women of valor as we face our own battles today. Unlike the woman of Proverbs 31, we enjoy breakthroughs in medicine, science, and travel. But consider some of the enemies we face in our world: Addiction, divorce, domestic violence, child abuse, poverty, unemployment, pornography, human trafficking, joblessness, homelessness, racism. Plus, it seems almost daily, we’re bombarded by news of random terror attacks somewhere in the world. If this isn’t war, my friend, I don’t know what is.

The woman of valor is essentially a warrior, a “fighter” at heart. She fights not only for her personal world, but also for the world around her. As I listen to conversations with women of all ages, stages, and walks of life, I’m hearing a recurring theme—their heart’s desire to be strong for their families and communities. In short, they long to be courageous women God can use to change the world. Is God calling you to become a woman of valor? Remember, it’s love that makes you brave.

Adapted from: 

Marilynn Chadwick, Woman of Valor: Discovering the Courage and Strength God Gave You (Eugene: Harvest House, 2017).


Weakness Turned to Strength-Day 8

Welcome to 21 Days of Strength. I hope you’re encouraged by stories of the mighty men and women of valor in the Bible. Each started out weak and ended up strong. World changers. Let’s take another look at Gideon. He was least and last in a family whose clan was the weakest in their tribe. He was the runt of the litter. A self-described loser. Yet the angel of the Lord approached Gideon with these astounding words, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”

“The angel of the Lord” is a term reserved for a very special kind of messenger. Most scholars believe “the angel of the Lord” describes an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. God in physical form. Read a little further. You’ll notice that instead of “the angel of the Lord,” this visitor is actually referred to as the Lord Himself:  And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” (Judges 6:11-14 ESV).

This was a defining moment for Gideon. He asked for a sign to see if this was really the Lord.  He made an offering of meat and meal which the Lord touched with his staff.  The offering burst into flames so Gideon knew it was the Lord.  He was terrified, certain he would die because he had seen the Lord. But God assured Gideon he would not die.   So he built an altar to the Lord and called it, “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24).

God then asked Gideon to do a very hard thing.  He was to tear down the altar to Baal at his father’s home. Gideon took ten servants and did as the Lord had told him. “But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night” (Judges 6:28).

“Who could have done such a thing?” the men of the town asked the next day. They discovered it was Gideon. So they went to Joash and said, “Your son Gideon knocked over Baal’s altar… Hand him over, so we can kill him!” Gideon’s father replied, “Are you trying to take revenge for Baal? If you are, you will be the ones who are put to death…If Baal really is a god, let him take his own revenge on someone who tears down his altar.”

That same day, his father changed Gideon’s name to Jerubbaal, explaining, “He tore down Baal’s altar, so let Baal take revenge himself.” (Judges 6: 30-32 CEB). This marked the beginning of Gideon as a leader of Israel against their enemies.  And a new day of courage for Joash, his father.

God delights in making weak people strong.  Isn’t that great news for all of us?  Gideon, who started out “less than,” is listed right up there among the great heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, a chapter that many call the Hall of Fame of Faith:

“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies” Hebrews 11:32-34 NIV).


A Minute a Day for Saeed

Be alert and self-controlled so that you can pray. 1 Peter 4:7

My son and his friend were recently having dinner in a local restaurant.  Suddenly, everyone’s cell phone alarm went off at exactly the same time. The National Weather Service had just issued a flash flood warning for our area.  So a chorus of loud buzzers echoed throughout the small eatery reminding everyone to be alert to potential hazards.  I wonder what would happen if we as believers had our own early warning system calling us to pray?  The Bible reminds us that we wrestle continually against the forces of darkness  so we’re to always be  ALERT for prayer.

I recently met a young woman who’s story burdened me so much that I have committed to pray for her every day.  So I created my own little “early warning” system to remind me to pray.  I set my iPhone alarm for noon each day reminding me to pray for one minute for Naghmeh Abedini and her husband Pastor Saeed Abedini.  After you hear their story, I hope you’ll consider doing the same.

I happened to be seated next to Naghmeh at a recent gathering where she had been invited to share the plight of her husband, Saeed, an American citizen imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith. I got to hear firsthand about the living nightmare she and her family have endured for nearly two years.

Like many, I have been troubled by Pastor Saeed’s imprisonment and went to the event eager to learn more about his condition and what world leaders are trying to do to secure his release. I came away with a new hero. His wife.

The attractive, articulate young Naghmeh spoke to a group of men and women gathered at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “We as Americans don’t like to suffer,” she said quietly as one who knows this full well.  Suffering has been her daily companion as she wrestles with the agony of knowing of Saeed’s prison hardships and even torture.  As daily, she watches her children, Jacob and Rebecca, missing their dad. “But it’s when we reach the end of our human strength that we discover the supernatural peace that only Jesus can give.”

Naghmeh is Iranian born but raised as a US citizen in Boise Idaho, accepting Jesus as her savior when she was just nine. She prefers a quiet life to the grinding schedule of worldwide travel speaking on Saeed’s behalf. Her itinerary has included appearances before the United Nations and European Parliament. “I wasn’t an upfront person,” she smiled. “Saeed would be very surprised to see me speaking all over the world on his behalf.”

When asked about her surprising sense of calm, Naghmeh says that she depends on Jesus each day to even get up in the morning.   A self-described anxious person by nature, she says the Lord has enveloped her in a supernatural peace throughout this harrowing ordeal. After speaking to the United Nations, she even had Muslims and atheists come up to her to ask the reason for her unexplainable calm in the face of such a fierce ordeal. And she tells them. It’s only Jesus.

More than anything, Naghmeh wants to glorify Jesus as she works for Saeed’s release.  And she asks for believers everywhere to join her in continued, fervent  prayer for his release. Click here  to join the worldwide Prayer Vigil for Saeed,  September 26, 2014. 

And every day, will you join me in setting your cell phone alarm to pray a minute a day for Saeed?   Together, let’s  pray each petition in the Lord’s Prayer for Saeed and his family.  It only takes one minute.

Hope I will hear other cell phones going off at noon as many of you agree to Pray a Minute a Day for Saeed.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


my heroes of hope

Have you ever faced a trial so painful you couldn’t endure the weight of it? The enemy taunts you with lies whispered in the dark:  God is not even listening to your prayers.  Why else would He seem so silent?  When all seems hopeless, I find encouragement from believers who have passed through the furnace and come forth with faith shining.  Their stories inspire me to hold onto my hope. I want to share one such story with you.

I met Ange during one of my first missions trips to Rwanda and Burundi. Most everyone I encountered was a genocide survivor with a hard story to tell. But it was Ange’s journey of agony-turned-into-hope that gripped my soul. Continue reading