Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)
And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and He wants you strong. – (Ephesians 6:10, MSG)
Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)
If anyone can speak truth into our lives as we are limited in what we can safely and wisely do, it is Paul, through his letter to the church in Ephesus. Paul was writing from a Roman prison, encouraging all to find strength in God. His reminder to us is that as we are invested in our walk with God, His strength will rise up in us and flow through us, in all things. In a space of rapidly increasing restrictions and limited availability, there are still a plethora of freedoms that we are granted that Paul did not experience in a Roman prison. We are able to communicate with loved ones, near and far; we are able to get outdoors and take in the fresh air and move. Technology grants us access to far more than ever before, even in as much as the opportunity to worship together, separately, from our own homes, with our own congregations, online. No, it doesn’t look the same, but it is far better than the space Paul was in, and likewise, far better than the confines of a hospital bed, fighting for life. In this time of being primarily home bound, there is room to grow closer to our family, with whom we reside, and time to invest in things that we seldom otherwise do. Yesterday, I walked around the perimeter of our yard and snapped some photos, choosing to be intentional as I looked through the lens. I found great delight in observing how the light and shadows danced among plants ready to bloom, and soaked in the sunshine that has been present all week. Our evening ended with a family game night, and our middle son dominated at Dominoes. Smiles were on each face around the table, and there was a sweet peace in one another’s presence as we laughed and played together. God is so good, and His strength is granted as we trust and depend on Him in all things, great and small.
Be strong in the Lord,
For that is how strength;
Rises within us,
And reaches great lengths.
As we trust in Him,
For life, love and grace;
He meets and equips,
To run well, our race.
Trust in His goodness,
Look around and see;
He’s ever faithful,
Watch and you’ll agree.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength is limitless and Your love, boundless. Thank You that You make us strong as we seek You. Forgive us for our lack of faith when times are tough. Teach us to trust You, no matter what we see. Show us how to love in the strength You give us, so that others may come to know the abundance of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust in You to be our strength all of our days. Amen.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)
Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)
Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)
We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.
In worrisome space,
Give all unto God;
The Lord cares for us,
Despite all our flaws.
He sees and He knows,
Our each anxious thought;
He’s present to help,
Each time He is sought.
Even when all things,
The Lord has a way,
To give grace, redeem.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.
Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)
“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)
“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)
This is a timely reminder, as there is an uneasiness, driven by fear, that is greatly impacting society right now. Though the spread of sickness is a reality, it is not something that we need to fear to the point of panic; rather, we ought to walk in wisdom and take preventative measures to stay safe and well. We are commanded to be strong and brave. Strength and courage come when we choose to trust in God, rather than panic at every story released by the press. Hand washing and maintaining healthy habits are ways that we can be wise. May we set our hearts and minds on He who is our strength, and choose to walk in courage knowing that God is with us every step we take.
As for mom, she is doing well. There have been several cases of norovirus (puking flu) where she is living, and they placed residents on quarantine to help prevent further spread around the complex. The dining facility is closed for corporate meals, and instead, they are delivering meals to each apartment, individually. All activities are cancelled as well, so if it weren’t for mom’s fabulous friends who come and rescue her to get out and about, she would be quite restless. Thankfully, she is remaining well and aptly entertained by loving friends. Mom is strong and courageous, and she knows well, that God is with her, everywhere she goes.
We are commanded,
Be strong and be brave;
Not by our own will,
But through Him who saves.
For God doesn’t give,
A spirit of fear;
He grants us wisdom,
And draws ever near.
Rise up in courage,
Be strong in His love;
His grace is present,
All help from above.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to the strength and courage that You supply. Thank You that You are always with us and You never leave us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see solutions to what lies before us. We ask that You would bring healing to all those impacted by illness, protect all from further spread, especially those with compromised immune systems, and that You would grant us Your wisdom and peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that fear would flee and peace would be present. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose courage and strength in You, knowing that You are with us every step that we take. Amen.
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)
Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)
Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)
Sundays are bittersweet. The sweet comes through the blessings found in gathering with my church family to worship and hear the word together. However, the challenging portion of Sundays are found in the reminder that my weekend has come to a close, and much of the day is spent preparing for the week ahead. Today is no exception, as I will have to go in to work to take care of things that must be ready for Monday afternoon, and require far more time and energy than my planning period permits. Sometimes, the need to go in on a weekend feels a bit like a failure, as I cannot wrap my head around how people are able to complete all that must be done during the week. I am worn out, and six days spent at work are more than I desire, even if only a few hours extra on a weekend. That being said, God provides what I need, as He grants me the strength and the help as I go. Always He is faithful to meet me in my weakness, and supplies the strength that I need. May we ever trust in the Lord, for His strength and His presence are the provisions we need to rise.
No matter the day,
Or how my heart cries;
God remains faithful,
And grants strength to rise.
Rise up from weakness,
Step out of despair;
Strengthens as He cares.
Our God of all grace;
Our help and our hope,
For now, and always.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fall short, You are always enough. Thank You that You are our strength and our portion forever. Thank You that You meet us in our weakness and provide the strength of heart required to press on in the direction that You are calling us to move. Forgive us for our frustrations and lack of faith. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times; for You are strength and hope and love and life. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen in spaces where hope is hard to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength and provision forever. Amen.
The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)
The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)
For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)
This is an interesting verse to land upon on the Friday of a very long week. Exhaustion is throbbing throughout my frontal lobe, and my resolve needs renewing in a supernatural way. That being said, I know my charge is to lean into God; and as I do, He will supply the strength, wisdom and love to navigate today. The Lord removes hesitations and frustrations, as I give them to Him, and grants me what I need to rise up and run. In the power, love and strength that Christ provides, I am going to choose to enjoying being present with those who are placed around me. I am blessed to work with a phenomenal group of colleagues, have some incredible students and artists, and am gifted with a fantastic group of gymnasts, who support and encourage one another. May we all seek the Lord for strength, as He removes our hesitations and replaces them with power, love and self-discipline.
Our God makes a way,
Where it seems there’s none;
He grants us the strength,
To rise, get things done.
He takes away fear,
Provides what we need;
Wisdom, power, love,
His gifts to succeed.
When our strength is gone,
He won’t let us fall;
God grants strength and hope,
To love one and all.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know our needs far better than we do. Thank You that as we lean on You, You supply the strength, wisdom, love and self-discipline that we need to navigate each next step. Forgive us for our frustration with our own weariness, for we are fallible and desperately need You. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times, for You are all that we need. Show us how to love others with the strength, power and grace that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our timidity and hesitations, and trust You to provide all that we need to press on. Amen.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – Romans 15:5
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – (Exodus 14:14, NIV)
You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you. – (Exodus 14:14, ERV)
The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence. – (Exodus 14:14, VOICE)
The fourteenth chapter of Exodus takes us back to the account of when Pharaoh had at long last released the Israelites from captivity, and they had begun their trek in the desert. God led them on a path that made Pharaoh believe that the Israelites were wandering around in confusion, and his heart grew hard as he determined to send out his army and retrieve the people who had served him for so long. As the Israelites began to catch sight of the Egyptian army moving their direction, they became fearful and started to question everything. Moses responded with verse fourteen, and the events that followed were: the safe passage of the Israelites on dry land between the walls of water of the Red Sea, the Egyptian army marching into the middle of the parted sea, chariot wheels breaking, chaos and confusion, followed by the walls of water crashing over the entire Egyptian army, leading to their ultimate demise. God had fought for the Israelites, just as He said He would do. Their part was to walk forward where He was leading, and to choose to trust. Often, God calls us to the same today. Our portion is to be still, be silent, and trust Him to fight on our behalf. As we listen and trust, He shows us what our “next steps” are to be, and is faithful to go before and behind us, as we move boldly in faith. May faith rise up within us to trust the Lord, as He fights for us faithfully.
It has been way too long since I have updated about Mom, but much of life has continued as the status quo. She is participating in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, all as outpatient during the week. Mom continues to work tirelessly, yet we all wish she could partake in each therapy daily. Yesterday, my nephew had a big lacrosse tryout in Portland, and mom was going to go along to watch and cheer him on. Any time that mom returns to the stands to watch and cheer on grand-kids, is a very positive step forward in recovery. We know she is very much missing her community at home in Wenatchee, and are praying hard as to how to best love and support her as she continues to heal. If you are the praying sort, please pray with us that we would be still and listen as He fights for her and shows us all how to navigate each step of this journey.
The Lord is faithful,
Let us choose be still;
Trust in the silence,
What He says, He will.
God meets us with grace,
His goodness and love;
As we wait on Him,
Our hope from above.
Whatever the fight,
God’s presence will be;
Before and behind,
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us and not against us. Thank You that so often when we have obstacles or battles before us, You simply call us to be still and trust in You; for You fight and move on our behalf. Forgive us for our fearfulness that struggles to trust. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your still small voice within, as You lead us in the direction that we need to go. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may know Your goodness and faithfulness that is for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose be still when You call us to wait on You; for Your way is always best. Amen.
He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, NIV)
In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)
You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. – (Matthew 5:16, VOICE)
What we do and how we live speak volumes about God. Our choices either point to Him in a positive light, or one that is less than edifying. For some, our light, life, and approach in what we do, is the only exposure to Christ that exists in their lives. How we choose to live, matters. As we invest in our relationship with Christ, our lives are transformed to more clearly reflect His light through how we choose to live. May we ever invest in the Light of the World, for He grows the good within us that fans the flame of our light to shine ever brighter before those around us.
As for Mom, she is happily back in the routine of life with my sister and her family. It is a joy to receive texts and sneak in quick phone calls, as we lovingly laugh about the fun we had shopping with the driving carts and checking in with one another. She continues to build confidence with using her cane, as there has been no looking back. Yesterday marked one whole week of only using a cane as a walking aid! We are celebrating and praising God, as this is remarkable progress in this healing process Mom is walking through. Please continue to pray for strength to return to her right arm and pathways to be made. She is able to move her right arm when it is unweighted in a hydraulic contraption at physical therapy, but she does not yet have the strength to move the weight of her arm on its own. Again, the capacity to move is there, she now needs the strength to be built up and returned to make it all work together. Mom’s positivity and perseverance shine brightly wherever she goes.
We are all equipped,
To rise up and shine;
Embrace all God gives,
Love as we’re designed.
For how we choose live,
Determines the light;
That shines to others,
Through both day and night.
As we choose give good,
God’s love light’s made known;
Darkness fades away,
As kindness is shown.
Let us choose to love,
To live in God’s light;
Extend love and grace,
And do what is right.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be light wherever we go. Thank You that it is not something that we do on our own, but rather it is Your light within us that shines through us, as we trust and follow after You. Forgive us for neglecting to listen to Your leading and doing what serves us best, rather than seeking the good of others. Show us how to be Your light wherever we go. Teach us to love all those around us as Your do. Help us to do the practical and tangible good that blesses hearts and soothes minds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path that You make plain before us so that we may shine Your light before those around us through doing good. Amen.
Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it is dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you. – Luke 11:36
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. – (Matthew 3:15, NIV)
Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do whatever God says is right.” Then John agreed. – (Matthew 3:15, ERV)
But Jesus said, “Please do it, for I must do all that is right.” So then John baptized Him. – (Matthew 3:15, TLB)
This verse is part of the story of when Jesus went to the Jordan River, where John the Baptist was baptizing people, in order to be baptized. At first, John tried to dissuade Him, for he felt the roles should be reversed. John understood who Jesus was, and did not feel worthy to fulfill such a significant role in the life of the Savior. However, Jesus let John know that it was an act of obedience to God. With that in mind, John’s mind quickly changed and he somberly moved forward in fulfilling that which was being asked of him. Because John was willing, he also was witness to heaven opening and the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus, with a voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.” One act of willing obedience, despite it not making sense, led to a tremendous blessing that few were privileged to see. God still works the same way with us. Often, He calls us to things that seem strange or beyond our capacity, yet when we rise up and move forward in faith, we discover more of who He is and how much He loves. May we ever choose to do all that is right, according to what God asks of us; even when it does not make sense or is far beyond our capacity to complete on our own. God is faithful, and He does not lead us anywhere that He will not also meet us and see us through.
Be willing to walk,
Into the brand new;
Despite how it seems,
God will see us through.
For He will not call,
Us where He won’t lead;
He supplies us strength,
And grace to succeed.
For in Christ there’s more,
Than our hearts can dream;
We have to choose trust,
In Him we’re redeemed.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us into new things that are beyond what we think we can do. Thank You that in You, we are granted the strength, wisdom, grace and help we need to keep moving forward in all that is asked of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as we look at what we can see, rather than who You are. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how love, encourage and support those around us in the same way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and move forward into the new that You call us to. Amen.
Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. – Psalm 106:3