Category Archives: Send Us Out

What Does it Mean to Speak Life?

Silent Images is a non-profit organization with a mission to educate and inspire Christ-followers to get involved and make a difference in the areas of human trafficking, high school dropouts, homeless children, abortion, prisoner re-entry, refugees, and the elderly. Silent Images produced the GOOD (Get Off Our Donkey) series to encourage the Body of Christ to follow the good Samaritan’s example when he got off his donkey to tend to the wounds of a hurting soul. Jesus told His followers to “go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

It’s the testimonies from the GOOD series that mess with me. Lord, have mercy.

Brave, very brave, women share their experiences with human trafficking and abortion. Their stories are graphic and heart-breaking. And yet redemptive. These women can speak now because someone reached past the comfort zone and allowed everyday life to be interrupted so that time & effort could be taken to shine light into their darkness, extend mercy into their shame, defend them from injustice, and speak life into their pain.

I picked up on a common thread woven in the onset of several of these stories:

“I didn’t feel like I was worth anything …”
“I didn’t feel that I was fearfully or wonderfully made …”
“I didn’t feel that I had any worth or value …”
“I thought I was unworthy, unlovable, not beautiful …”

After the GOOD premiere, I experienced a renewed compassion and conviction to get off my donkey and be Christ’s love in action.

And something else –

I could. not. wait.
to get home and love on my daughter. And tell her that she is beautiful inside and out. And desperately loved by her mommy and daddy and her God.

Our children need us to speak life into them. Now. Our community needs us to speak life. Today.

“What does it mean to “speak life?” Here’s what I’ve been thinking …

A “pro-life” position is usually, and unfortunately, staked in political and divisive stances these days. For many years, I aligned myself with an anti-abortion stance. And one day I realized that it wasn’t enough. I had just finished an internship at the local crisis pregnancy center. The next internship brought me to a nursing home – which was not at all my preference. But I grew to LOVE those people.

And it struck me that God had tenderized my spirit and revealed to me the preciousness of life at both ends of the spectrum; in the pre-born child and in the aged I saw the imago Dei – the image of God. I finally got what it really means for me to be “pro-life.”

Whether the skin is bathed in amniotic fluid or covered with wrinkles of many years, the person is one whom God loves. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Unhidden from his or her Creator.

The Scripture says –
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.”
(2 Corinthians 5:14 – 16)

Christ died for my life. Your life. Your neighbor’s life. The sex slave’s life. The refugee’s life. The unborn baby’s life. As a Christian, that truth has to radically transform how I see and treat life – whether young or old; rich or poor; able-bodied or impaired; slave or free; weak or strong.

According to Proverbs 18:21, the tongue has the power of life and death. We “speak life” when our words are life-giving – when they reflect and honor the inherent value in every single person who has been created out of God’s plan for His purposes. More than ever, people need to hear that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves them. More than ever, there are young, old, and in-between people who need someone to speak up for the free and hope-filled life that God meant for them to live.

What would happen if we were more intentional about speaking life? If we stopped playing with our gadgets and looked one another in the eye? If we stopped asking “how are you?” while pretending to care? If we told our daughters that they are beautiful? If we told our sons that they are honorable?

If we took off our masks? If we decided to store up treasures in heaven rather than stuff on earth? If we got serious about advocating for the orphan and the widow? If we became an undeniable voice for the 27 million men, women, and children trapped in slavery today? If we took the blinders off of our eyes about the injustice in the world? If we took time to wrap another’s wound?


There are times and ways, even when you’re sitting in your own darkness, to carry the light to someone else. Image-Bearer, even if your circumstances are dark, the light within is not extinguished. Lift the flicker up to God and give it a chance to shine even brighter against the backdrop of your life, however dim at the time it may be. The Holy Spirit, the breath of Heaven, will kindle hope within you. You will be ignited with a compassion that is compelled to shine into a hurting soul.

So now I’m on a “pro-life” mission. I’m re-reading some books on Sacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. I’m re-energized to intentionally love on my 95-year-old friend. I will express to my daughter that she is valued, not for what she does but for who she is. I’m exploring ways to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. I’ll speak up for those who have been pushed to the margins of our society. I’m thinking about ways to affirm the true beauty and purpose of people in my community – preborn to old to in-between.

Join me in choosing and speaking life!

Isaiah 58: 9 – 11 ~

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

“How I treat a brother or sister from day to day, how I react to the sin-scarred wino on the street, how I respond to interruptions from people I dislike, how I deal with normal people in their normal confusion on a normal day may be a better indication of my reverence for life than the antiabortion sticker on the bumper of my car.” Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

Shine a light on slavery –

Find out more about Silent Images at

Sacred Parenting and Sacred Marriage books are written by Gary Thomas.

Songs – “Speak Life” by Toby Mac and “Words” by Hawk Nelson

Anticipating Joy

There’s a wonderfully HUGE event happening in Matthews, NC this weekend, and my husband and I are so excited to be a part of it. Our church family, along with scores of volunteers from the Charlotte-area, will throw a big party for 800 guests with special needs. “Joy Prom” is truly a full-scale prom with music, evening attire, dancing, formal pictures, and some special extras like a dessert reception, a red carpet introduction for every guest, tiaras and jewelry for the ladies, and shoe shines for the gentlemen. Guests will travel from many miles away (like Canada!) for this incredible evening (and some of them arrive in limousines – so fun!) This is the fifth year that my husband and I have participated in Joy Prom, and we always say by the end of the evening that the aching of our feet doesn’t compare with the aching in our faces from smiling for hours.



Joy Prom has been on my mind often this week as we prepare (as I write, my husband is out shopping for a bow tie to go with his new suit – I love that!) I’ve spent the afternoon baking cookies for our guests’ caregivers who will sit back and relax in the hospitality suite on Friday and Saturday nights. As I’ve mixed and stirred, I’ve also been thinking about Sunday morning when my friend and I will share stories and pictures from our recent mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

Whenever I think of our mission in the Dominican Republic, I remember Psalm 126:

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.

Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.

 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.

During the mission trip, one of our team members read Psalm 126 aloud. The psalm served as our devotion before we began another day of hand-fitting wheelchairs for people with severe disabilities who had never before had a means of mobility.

I re-read Psalm 126 several times over the course of the trip; it was so beautifully fitting and hopeful. When the Israelites were freed from captivity, says verse 1, they “were like those who dreamed.”

The people of Israel must have dreamt of



A fruitful Promised Land

God’s Favor



A Home

Are our dreams not the same for ourselves and our children? We are still longing for the Promised Land. In her book Believing God, Beth Moore describes the New Testament concept of the Promised Land. Followers of Christ can experience the Promised Land this side of Heaven. It’s not necessarily a physical place found on the other side of the river or exclusively a spiritual place entered into on the other side of death.  The Promised Land can be known to us today as a life-place of freedom, fruitfulness, favor, safety, security, and a home with Jesus.

From my American perspective, it might be natural to think of the Promised Land in terms of nice house, safe neighborhood, healthy family, couple of dependable cars, full pantry, etc… But the concept of the Promised Land transcends history and culture. It surpasses the dream of health and wealth.

The true Promised Land is the place where we can say, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” It can happen even in – perhaps more authentically – in the midst of illness or hardship or disability.


Among impoverished people in the Dominican Republic, I witnessed mouths filled with laughter and tongues singing with joy. Mothers and fathers arrived with heavy burdens, in more ways than one, as they carried their disabled children into the church. But many of these families received not only the gift of mobility but also the gift of an everlasting relationship with Jesus.  As an older woman saw her son placed in his new wheelchair, she said, “He’s never sat so straight. He looks like a king, and I feel like a millionaire.” The love of Jesus became tangible to her, and her joy made her the richest woman in the world.

The day after I came home from the Dominican Republic, I returned to my work-study in pastoral care at the hospital. At chapel service that morning, the chaplain read Psalm 126! As I sat in stunned silence, I realized that joy can be harvested even in a hospital, a place where many tears are sown. God, I prayed, send me out to plant seeds of joy – not just in a village hundreds of miles away, but in my home, my neighborhood, and in the sterile hospital rooms I will enter today. And I witnessed again how the Holy Spirit, through suffering, tills the soil of a soul, uproots the weeds of bitterness and discouragement, pours out the love of Christ, and cultivates His joy. A patient cried as I prayed with her, but through her tears she praised the Lord. “Praise You, Jesus,” she whispered, “I prayed for someone to show me love, and You sent this girl.”

Joy Prom is a large-scale banquet prepared for those who have sown in tears. Our guests have dreamt of and prayed for someone to show them love, to treat them like millionaires. At Joy Proms past, we’ve said that the event seems like a picture of heaven although we know that doesn’t really fit because there will be no disabilities in heaven. Perhaps what we’re experiencing, no matter how abled our bodies are, is the anticipation of ultimate joy. Every one of us is handicapped by sin, but in Jesus we will be fully free.  We are all dreamers, and there will be a Day when we awake to His glory.

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”


Great and Small

If you are sufficient for your task, it is too small.” Those words, spoken by Pastor John Piper, have captured my attention in a great way this year. At the beginning of 2013, I discovered a prayer included in a Salvation Army book of prayers. It begins like this…

“We hear Your call to go – go and make disciples,

Identify with strangers, walk on shifting sands, and

Build a kingdom church.

“Go” is not a comfortable word.

Teach us how to depend on You again…”

As the year began, in my heart I knew that God was leading me into a season of depending on Him like never before. Pastor Alex Kennedy has been challenging Carmel Baptist Church to align our mission and our values with those nearest (our families), our neighbors, and the nations.

Ministry to the nearest is hard. But it’s the incredibly important place where ministry begins. I’ve recently participated in two Bible studies focused upon marriage (Respectfully Yours) and parenting (Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter). We know that this is where the rubber meets the road. I’ve learned that if I want to glorify God in my church, my community, and my world, then I have to honor Him in my home first. Marriage and parenting relationships are designed by God to help me to depend on Him more fully, love Him more deeply, image Him more truly, and glorify Him by being the same person at home that I am to the rest of my world.

Ministry to my neighbors is hard too. Especially for an introvert like me. I love my church, and along with my family, it is the place of those nearest to me. It is the place where I love to serve. But I knew that God was urging me to look beyond the walls of the church building and to think about being the church in my community. So I signed up for a work/study program at a local hospital as an entry-level chaplaincy student.  Believe me, I quickly learned that this was a task for which I was completely insufficient. “Go” is not a comfortable word. With a degree in Christian counseling and many experiences in nursing home and hospital visitation,  I actually feel at-home in the hospital. But to knock upon the door of tragic despair and attempt to bring hope to a stranger….that’s really hard. And really, really good. It is one of those opportunities to experience inadequacy and peace at the same time. To be weak and to trust that He is strong. To know with certainty that I CAN’T but to believe with even more certainty that He CAN.

Relying upon the Holy Spirit in a bold new way is energizing. So, I decided, no more small tasks for me. Let me be uncomfortable! My thoughts turned to the nations. A few weeks ago, I boarded a plane after a tearful goodbye and traveled to the Dominican Republic. It was probably the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever done. And the most unexpected. I was part of team which represented Joni and Friends International Ministries. Our mission was “Wheels for the World,” meaning that we distributed almost 300 wheelchairs to children and adults living in poverty with profound disabilities. The team was primarily made up of physical therapists and wheelchair mechanics. Since I have none of those skills, I was a support person. I expected that I would interact with the families while they waited for their turn, work alongside the rest of the team with their duties, hand out Bibles and hygiene supplies, share the Gospel and pray.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that my job would be in “the shop” with power tools, hammers, plywood, and staple guns. Me – use a saw? Mention “power tools” and I imagine hair dryers, food processors, etc… But so it was. I wanted to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but I never pictured making seat cushions, back rests, and neck supports. It was a place of unexpected insufficiency. It was really hard. And at the time, I couldn’t say that it was really good.  It was awkward, hot, and monotonous. I didn’t pray aloud or pass out Bibles or give anyone a hug or even speak the name of Jesus. After five long days in the shop, I was discouraged, tired, and homesick. But on the sixth morning, one of my teammates led a devotion about the widow’s offering (Mark 12: 41 – 44). Jesus watched as many wealthy people put large sums of money into the offering box. An impoverished widow gave 2 coins valued at a fraction of a cent. Certainly, everyone considered her contribution as small. But Jesus called her offering the greatest because she gave all that she had.


Cutting foam, sawing plywood, and stapling vinyl fabric seemed quite small. But I decided to give it all I had. In the shop, I chose a new perspective: “this is not about me.” I knew that going in, but sometimes monotony dulls our spiritual senses. Life becomes so much simpler and brighter when we see it through eyes of worship. And the Holy Spirit gave me His eyes. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).   I would make comfortable seats for people who were literally broken. I became grateful for the opportunity to give a great offering.  I could not have done it, but God did it.


And so I came back home and went to my work/study the next morning, beyond exhausted. My visits were flat. No one was interested in what a chaplain might offer. In most cases, I was politely dismissed and didn’t get a chance to pray. Normally, I would have considered those visits as unsuccessful and of small significance. But I realized in the Dominican Republic that only God can decide what is small and what is great. He judges differently. We may never know the significance of the small things that we do in His Name. Knocking on the door, no matter the result, is a act of obedience. Cutting the plywood, no matter the level of satisfaction it gives, is an offering. Honoring my husband and spending time with my daughter, no matter how spiritual it seems, is an act of worship. It occurs to me that my kitchen is kind of like my “shop” (and I’m much more comfortable with culinary power tools!). And on those days when I think that making another pot of spaghetti is just a small thing, I need to remind myself – whatever we do, as unto the Lord, matters.


As recorded in Zechariah 4:10, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah: “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” In Zechariah’s time, the Jews were greatly discouraged over the foundation of the second temple (being rebuilt by Zerubbabel) because, in their limited perspective, it could not be as great as the first temple. But God spoke to remind the people that their human standards didn’t matter. He is able to take small offerings and make them great in His eyes.

Later that morning, I had the opportunity to pray with a young woman who was deeply grieving over a hysterectomy that was her only medical option.  Great or small – the Lord decides and appraises the opportunities that come our way. He is glorified when we give all that we have – when we come to the place where we can’t but He can.  God often chooses small and unlikely vessels to bring about great things for His glory.


Just three days until our mission trip to the Dominican Republic with Joni and Friends ministries begins! I am filled with anticipation, as I have been for several weeks now. I wish I could stay that it’s an excited anticipation, but in all honesty, I have been weighed down with busy-ness, sadness, anxiety, and fatigue. Sometimes I think that anticipating must be harder than actually going. Soon I will know….

I can’t even remember the last time I posted on this blog! But hopefully soon, this will be my way to share pictures and stories from the Dominican Republic. I know that God is going to work in a mighty way.  That is the hope that carries me through these days of doing laundry, packing, taking time for last minutes details, and saying goodbyes.

Steadfast.  The much-needed encouragement that God brought to me today came through the word “steadfast.” The devotion that I read this morning from Jesus Lives reminded me:

“I am teaching you to depend on Me alone – content with whatever I provide. Relying solely on Me is a way of rich blessing, even though it may lead you along paths you would not have chosen. If you are truly content to live with my provisions for you – now and in the future – you will not be plagued by anxiety. Instead of worrying about “what-ifs” your heart will be firmly fixed….”

How I need my heart to be firmly fixed! I confess that the “what-ifs” have stolen my joy. Last night I held my little girl as she sobbed, and my heart was broken. After I left her bedroom, thinking that she had finally fallen asleep, I heard muffled cries. She is afraid. Knowing that the Dominican Republic is next to Haiti creates fears in her mind of earthquakes. What if there is an earthquake? she whispers. What if there is a tsunami? Are you coming home?

My own what-ifs don’t have me thinking about natural disasters so much. But I don’t like to fly, so sometimes my anxious thoughts wander there… Last night my what-ifs were focused on the disaster within my own heart.  The swirls of self-doubt, with strong blasts of guilt.  What if I can’t do this? What if I break down while boarding the plane? What if I am totally ineffective? What if I can’t sleep? Can’t eat? What if these sacrifices are just too much for my family?


God whispers it to my heart. I can be steadfast because He is sovereign. I can be steadfast because He is sufficient. I can be steadfast because He is secure.

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal (Isaiah 26: 3- 4)

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear (Psalm 112: 6 – 8)

I may not feel it at the moment, but I will believe it. My heart can be steadfast. Not because I can conjure up the courage, but because peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. He is my source, my strength, my help. And not only for me, but also for my precious family.

A few days ago, I was thinking about jars of clay. The Bible tells us that we are jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4). As I studied what this means for Christ-followers, I learned that in biblical times, people sought out cracked jars of clay because they made effective lanterns.  To me, this is so comforting. It’s okay to carry some broken places in my heart to this mission trip. Through those cracks – those places that remind me that it’s not my ability that counts but the Spirit’s power – the Light shines.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)

… be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Jesus Lives is written by Sarah Young





When You Feel Weak

I’m beginning a new adventure! Yesterday was the first day of my entry-level course in spiritual caregiving and chaplaincy. The course is being offered in a very large hospital in my town, and yesterday was an overwhelming but exciting day of learning to navigate the hospital and interact with patients. It’s an amazing opportunity to explore this type of ministry and get out of my comfort zone. I awoke yesterday morning with lots of butterflies in my stomach and self-doubts rolling through my mind.

As we began the day, our chaplain presented a lesson on the holistic nature of people. Basically, a “holistic view” of persons takes all aspects of our humanity into account – physical, mental/emotional, social, and spiritual.  Effective health-care providers understand that there are multiple factors beyond the physical ones that influence a person’s healing process. The chaplain referenced Luke 2:52: “All Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and with all the people.” The gospel writer Luke was also a physician, so it’s fitting that he described Jesus’ growth not just in physical terms (in stature) but also mentally (in wisdom), spiritually (in favor with God), and socially (in favor with people).

Because I was sitting closest to the chaplain, he asked me to stand for a visual illustration about the connection between what goes on in the mind/emotions and what goes on in the body. He asked me to raise my arm to shoulder level and to keep it raised as he tried to push my arm down. We did this several times, and each time I could resist his pressure against my arm.  When he let go, my arm would spring upward because of the force I was exerting into keeping it raised.

Next, he asked me to do something surprising – to say “I am weak” 15 times aloud. He counted as I stated each “I am weak.” By around the 12th time of saying this, my voice started to tremble. When I finished, we did the exercise again, and I could barely resist the downward force of the chaplain’s hands upon my arm.  When he let go, there was no spring in my arm; I couldn’t help that it just sank to my side. The “fight” had been taken away.

Anyone who lives this life of faith knows that everyday a downward force works against us. Followers of Christ truly experience spiritual resistance, and I have no doubt that it can affect every part of the persons we are. The average person, according to our chaplain, thinks about 80,000 thoughts each day, approximately 80% of which are self-questioning. That means that if I fit these approximations, I think 64,000 negative thoughts about myself every day!

“They’re not going to like me.”

“I’m wasting my time and theirs.”

“What am I doing here?”

“I’m not qualified.”

“I am weak.”

Our chaplain didn’t realize that I was truly struggling with these self-doubts. But maybe he did. The Holy Spirit did. Because when I took my seat, He whispered to my heart a sweet reminder:  “I am weak but He is strong.”

There’s been several times in my ministry journey when I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone. Counseling at the pregnancy center. Walking into the room of a dying person. Making an appointment with a counselor when my joy-tank is running low. Asking for forgiveness when remaining silent would seem far less awkward. Leading a Bible study.

Every single time, I have been very well aware of the “I can’t” thoughts. Sometimes I admit these thoughts have kept me from moving forward. And then other times I’m encouraged by the ones who have run this race before me and overcome, with the help of God’s presence, the doubts, questions, and hesitations. Even Moses, when God called him, responded with, “Who am I?…Oh Lord, I am not eloquent…I am slow of speech and tongue….Please send someone else” (Exodus 3:11; 4:10,13).

God did not reprove Moses’ honest hesitations.  Instead God assures Moses: “I will be with you.” According to the footnotes in my Bible, when the Old Testament says that God is “with” someone, the emphasis is on God’s power to perform His calling. Moses, in dependence on God, went on to lead His people prayerfully and victoriously.

The only reason I can ever take the next step is when I believe Jesus’ gentle reminder: “You are weak but I am strong.”

The “BUT” makes all the difference!

(Jesus’ promise): “You did not choose me, BUT I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit…” John 15:16

(Jesus’ promise): “In this world you will have trouble. BUT take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

(Words of Paul):

“I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, BUT with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, BUT on God’s power.” 1 Corinthians 2: 3 – 5

“Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, BUT our competence comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3: 4 – 5

“We are hard pressed on every side, BUT not crushed; perplexed, BUT not in despair…” 2 Corinthians 4:8

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, BUT gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  BUT He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 7 – 10

Walking in God-confidence means that every day I need to fix my mind on the truth that Christ can walk into my places of weakness and make them avenues of His strength. I need to speak the truth that I am weak BUT He is strong.

And times may arise when I simply cannot hold my arms up. The pressure of pain, negativity, and doubt is heavy against me, and I want to give up the fight.

So as I was walking around the hospital yesterday, I observed the friends and family members gathered around their ailing loved ones, and I thought of this story from Exodus 17: 8 – 13…

While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”

So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill.  As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.

To me, this was a picture of what the relatives and friends were doing for their loved ones. Holding up their arms.  God often works through a friend, a neighbor, a relative, a spouse, a parent, a caregiver, a teacher, a mentor, a “Jesus-with-skin-on” to bring help and strength into the fight.

As I’ve been preparing for this new class, I’ve shared a bit of my “I’m weak” worries with my friend Rhonda who has walked this path before me. In recent days, Rhonda’s encouragement has held up my arms:

“…you will be so blessed as you bless others!!! Felt just the same way as you do but you are so equipped for the class…So excited to see how God works in and through you for His Glory!”

So, would you join me today, in lifting up our hands and surrendering those “I am weak” moments? Or lifting up someone else through your encouragement? Words are powerful. Listen carefully to the words that you speak to yourself and to others. Are they consistent with what God says? Together, with God-confidence and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can choose life, strength, and hope and rise above the discouragement that would hold us down.

Apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5), BUT through Christ we can do all things! (Philippians 4:13).

… the tongue of the wise brings healing. ~ Proverbs 12:18

The soothing tongue is a tree of life … ~ Proverbs 15:4

“Go” – A Prayer for the New Year

We hear Your call to go – go and make disciples,

Identify with strangers, walk on shifting sands, and

Build a kingdom church.

“Go” is not a comfortable word.

Teach us how to depend on You again;

We need Your initiative, Your boldness, Your blessing,

Your plan.

Make us unafraid to break new ground,

To take new steps of faith with You.

Do a new thing, Father…

Give a new passion for worship, a new love

For the lost,

A new unity in purpose, a new strength in our resolve,

A new heart of repentance, a new humanity of spirit,

A new pulse for the people, a new heart laid bare,

And send us out.

~ A Salvation Army Prayer, printed in It’s Just You & Me, Lord: Prayers for a Woman’s Life by Marion Stroud (2012)

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28: 18 – 20