Tag Archives: love

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).


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


Day 30: Love Hopes All Things

I’ll never forget the time a good friend listened as I shared the special dream I held close to my heart.  I hadn’t told a soul about my secret hope.  She looked at me and said with conviction, “I’m believing with you that this dream–which I sense is from God–will come true!”  Hope filled my soul.  I breathed in fresh resolve to keep standing on what I believed was a promise from God.  My friend was now “hoping with” me, and that gave me strength.  It was Jesus Himself who said to his followers:  “If two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19, 20).

Through a remarkable series of circumstances, my dream eventually came true.  As someone once said, “Our dreams are the seeds of reality.”  My hope did become reality–and I feel sure the “prayer of agreement” with my friend helped pave the way.

Love does that, you know.  It shares the dreams of another.  Love hopes with someone.  When you think about it, hope is an action.  A verb.  It’s something you do.  The Bible even tells us that hope is a practical way to show  love:  “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Love hopes all things.  That means that nothing within the realm of God’s will is off limits.  Love also bears, believes, and endures all things.  Love believes for our dreams to come true, endures with us when the going gets rough, bears with us when we get weary.  Love characterizes God, for God is love (1 John 4:18).

We are called to carry His love into a broken and dying world.  A weary people, desperate for the “thrill of hope.”  So as we reflect on 30 Days of Hopeful, let’s rejoice in the wonderful assurance of God’s love for us–let’s get a fresh grip on our hopes and dreams.

The Bible tells us a secret: Faith, hope, and love are eternal (1 Corinthians 13:13).   What’s more, love never fails.   And love hopes all things, so a God-given dream cannot die.  Because if our dream is His dream, He will work in us and through us to accomplish His will.

We’ve had 30 days to reflect on hope–30 days to rekindle the fires of our dreams.   Moving forward, let’s remember to be alert and watchful as we go into the world today: Look around you.  Whose dream is dying?   Is there a hurting face in your crowd who needs hope–somebody you can “hope with?” What more fitting season than Christmas to sow seeds of hope into the lives of those who are thirsty for hope.


30 Days of Hopeful: Day 20

Here’s a little secret: Hope is not just an attitude or an ambition. It’s a person. His name is Jesus. But my guess is you already knew that.  Sounds so simple—yet if you’re like me, you sometimes forget that Jesus is a real, living person. He’s the whole point of our faith. The indwelling presence that animates our very life.

I’ve heard it said that if you want to succeed in life, then “the main thing is to make the main thing the main thing.” In our case, as believers, the “main thing” is Jesus.

The Apostle Paul knew this full well. Here’s how he identifies himself in his letter to his young protégé, Timothy: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1). He says that Christ Jesus, Himself, is our hope.

We often try to build our hope on strength, ambition, dreams, Bible study practices, knowledge, or even friends. But in the end, the only lasting hope, the hope that stands up under fire, is Christ Jesus. Paul fastened his identity and his hope to Jesus.  It’s clear he knew his destiny and calling as an apostle by the command of God. But beyond that, he knew Christ Jesus as his “hope.”

This is day 20 of 30 Days of Hopeful. Hope is just one dimension of our life as believers. The Bible lists hope, along with faith and love, as the three attributes which remain with us into eternity (1 Corinthians 13:13). I can’t quite get my head around that one just yet.

For now, let’s simply ponder the thought that hope is a person. We have hope as we reflect upon Jesus; talk with Him; dwell in Him; meditate on His Word; get to know Him better.

So Pray. Listen. Worship. Serve. Give. Spend time in solitude with Jesus. Look for Him in the faces of the least and the lost. You’ll increase the fires of your hope because you’ll get to know true hope—His name is Jesus.


amazed!

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel” (Luke 7:9 NIV).

Amazed!  Jesus was amazed at the man’s faith.  I’ve never seen such “great faith,” He remarked to the crowd of onlookers.  What was it about this man, a Roman army officer and an outsider, that inspired Jesus to marvel at his faith?  This centurion happens to be one of my favorite characters in the entire New Testament.  As I reflect on Luke’s version of the story, three things stand out:  Continue reading