Tag: Devotionals

Fear of Flying, Wild Monkeys, and the Call to Courage


Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears. –Arthur Koestler

Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed,
for the LORD God, my God, is with you.
1 Chronicles 28:20

A cold sweat drenches my palms. Fear courses through me in jagged waves. My stomach lurches wildly as the panic ebbs and flows. I am falling, falling, falling.

Well, not really. It only feels that way as the plane jostles in mild turbulence as it skirts Hurricane Bertha. The year is 1996, and I’m on my first international flight to Brazil with my husband, pastor, and his wife.

Not only did I make it there without incident, we had a wonderful trip and returned safely back to the States two weeks later. Along the way I saw the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Bryce Canyon, and the night lights of Miami for the first time from the air. We flew above a lightning storm and watched the light show beneath us. Although it was in the dark, we flew over the city of Caracas, Venezuela, the Amazon River, and the Brazilian capital of Brasilia. We landed in Sao Paulo on a sparkling day twenty-eight hours after we flew out from the Spokane airport in Washington.

In Brazil we were introduced to its beautifully exotic land and people. We fed bananas to wild monkeys, swam in the Atlantic Ocean, sang worship songs in Portuguese, and drove over hair-raising roads traversing the country. We visited large cities and slums. We held the babies in an AIDS clinic. We wept and laughed and prayed with the wonderful people we met everywhere.

We returned home more thankful for all we have here.

What an amazing journey I would have missed had I given in to my fear of flying and stayed home!

Our family has been in some fearful places since then. God has always brought us through safely with a new understanding of His glory, richer for the losses we’ve gained.

Lately, doors have been closing and others have been opening. Fear once again sits on the doorstep, baring its ugly teeth and challenging us to pass by. We can stay with what is safe, known, near to the water line of our comfort level.

Or we can take that terrifying step into the skies.

Today the familiar feeling of falling has hit my insides once again. I’m not on a plane right now, but our lives have just entered the boarding gate. God’s revving the engines.

Do you feel God calling you out of the ordinary? Are circumstances driving you to the border of the unknown? How do you handle fear when God calls you out of your comfort zone?

Is faith or fear going to win today?

Lost in Space


The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard
And it totters like a shack,
For its transgression is heavy upon it,
And it will fall, never to rise again.

Isaiah 24:20

They were intrepid. They were bold. They wandered space encountering monstrous aliens and fearsome worlds. The story line in the old sci-fi television series Lost in Space was as cheesy as the aliens, but it fed the new interest in the world above us ignited by the space race. This theme was revisited on a slightly more sophisticated level with the Star Trek series Voyager.

No trip to outer space has yet revealed signs of the Borg, though, but instead has offered us a breathtaking glimpse into the expansive mind of God. High above our heads, planets spin at God’s command; the sun blazes at exactly the right distance to sustain life on Earth; the constellations and nebulae thrill us with their serene beauty. The only dastardly creatures to roam the galaxies are the unseen leagues under the command of Satan.

Even then, the skies hold little interest for them.

After all, the battle is here, on Earth, the only piece of God’s real estate actually lost in space. While the universe whirls obediently at His word, our planet alone lurches headlong toward destruction as its inhabitants brazenly moon their Creator. The angels watch in amazement, the demons cackle in amusement, and creation longs for the day the rebellion is finished.

Earth was created to be the best of God’s work, a blue jewel in the crown of the King. But our sins rained down death upon our heads and a curse that could only be broken by royal intervention. And intervene, He did. God is at work in our world, redeeming a people for Himself and displaying the majesty of His grace to His entire realm.

It may not look like it, but each day brings us closer to rescue. At precisely the right moment, Christ will return to deliver His people, end the rebellion, and restore the planet to its intended glory.

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of Him who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption
into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.


For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons,
the redemption of our body.

-Romans 8:19-23

Today those who trust in the Lord Jesus wait for Him, aliens trapped aboard a toxic rocket hurtling through space as nations battle to throw off the final restraints to all-out lawlessness. The world appears to be running into the fire. A conflagration is coming, but the Lord Jesus has given us a powerful promise: 

Take courage; I have overcome the world. -John 16:33

God, we are told, is the Blessed Controller of all things. Nothing surprises Him, and nothing is beyond His power. We are safe in His hands, and we will be delivered. We are not lost in space. With our eyes on those beautiful heavens from which our Redeemer will appear, we say with the Apostle:

 http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-planet-earth-space-image19328303We are looking for new heavens and a new earth,
in which righteousness dwells.

2 Peter 3:13

In the War for Independence, Who Will Be Their Voice?


Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless;
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.

Isaiah 1:17 NASB

A heat wave has gripped the nation as the United States celebrates Independence Day. In the midst of withering triple-digest temperatures, a cold wind blows. The chill is coming from the icy fingers of death…the death, that is, of compassion.  

On July 4th of every year we cheer the American Revolution, committed to the radical notion that every human is equal in the eyes of his Creator and deserving of the most basic of freedoms: 



The pursuit of happiness.

How ironic that the end stage of such a war would, over two hundred years later, those three essential rights would come with asterisks, that the basic foundation stones for our society would be moved at will by those to whom we have charged the defense of our nation.

Today life is only granted for those who are deemed wanted or useful to society. Disabled, defective, or incomplete humans have no place in Darwin’s brave new world of the survival of the fittest. As medical resources have become more scarce, we are already in the process of moving quietly toward allocating care to those most likely to benefit from it in restored contribution to society. 

The tenets of liberty and the pursuit of happiness have also been perverted to legalize perversion and squash religious freedom. The long slide down this slope began decades ago, when we began throwing innocence in the trash along with unborn babies, nativity scenes, and school prayer. 

I’ve been there. I’ve seen it. Over twenty years ago, I was fighting to keep the doctor from making my disabled mother die because, in his words, “Her life is worthless.” This was not a woman in a coma, but simply crippled and silenced by strokes. 

When she first knew something was going wrong in her body, she told me, “Pam, give me every chance to live.” When the time came to give her that chance, the doctor didn’t even ask what she would want. She was worthless, no longer counted.

Sixteen years ago, I was fighting to keep the doctor from pulling the plug on our son after his spinal cord injury. Kevin also wasn’t in the mood to die, but that doctor didn’t ask his opinion, either. Evidently, he no longer counted in the economy of life.

One fight occurred in America; one in Canada; but both were part of the deliberate parade toward exterminating those who do not fit our definition of “useful.” This march transcends nations, politics, and administrations. It’s not being orchestrated by doctors, nurses, or even politicians. It’s the heavy boot step of an unseen enemy with one goal: to destroy all humanity and thus hurt and rob the Creator who made us.

He’s found plenty enough help from us. Our society is sick; in fact, our world is sick. As we fall collectively farther and farther from God, the compassion and care for others that naturally flows from His heart falls with it. Life no longer has dignity by virtue of being. The body is no longer considered the temple of a living soul, but a glob of throbbing tissue and random brain waves. Life itself is open to interpretation.

It’s all been complicated by the advance of medical technologies that have blurred the lines between living and dying. When to give up has become harder and harder to decide. I understand the pain endured by many families in making the tough medical decisions necessary for their sick and injured loved ones.

This isn’t about those issues.

This is about speaking for those without either voice or choice. It’s about remembering that we are made in the image of of the great I AM; valued because we are. It’s about those with power using that power to protect the powerless. No one should have to prove that they can be useful on order to deserve life. 

No one but God has the right to give and take life. Nor does anyone have the right to decide who is worthy of our care. The more I learn about what is being done today in the name of medicine, the more I mourn, and the more I determine this:

For those without a voice: I must speak.
For those whose limbs are silent, I will, by the grace of God, be their hands and feet.
To a hurting world, I long, with all my heart, to be the expression of His comfort.

America, America, as we celebrate this birthday, may God shed His grace on us, the undeserving. 



Everybody loves a hero. From white knights to Spiderman, Wonder Woman, and firemen – we all adore larger-than-life figures. Hero is a timeless concept, a word chiseled in stone and swathed in red, white, and blue. It evokes images of dashing figures and just-in-time deliverance.

A hero is someone we can believe in, lean on, and trust with our lives and sacred honor. A hero is always there.

My hero is the Lord Jesus. He’s the only person who ever lived a life that was absolutely unsoiled, perfectly gentle, and truly wise. He has never left me forsaken on the railroad tracks of life as the inevitable wheels of death came charging down the rails- although I’ve squirmed a few times as I heard the rumble of disaster approaching. But He’s always arrived…just in time… every time.

He’s big. He’s strong. He’s amazing. He’s the royalty that bends down to pick up the peasant. He’s my King, and He never tires of riding out on the white horse to swoop me up out of my latest fall into some messy pit.

But life for us is not about being the eternal damsel in distress. God has saved us for a purpose:

He calls us to follow Him. He commands us to take on the nature of His Kingdom. He calls us to purity, wisdom, discernment, and courageous action.

He calls us to a life of heroic deeds.

Rise to the challenge. Live like you belong in the Kingdom. Be someone’s hero today.

Two Wolves: When Your Soul Is Shredded


There are two wolves inside us.
The one we feed is the one that will grow.
-Native American proverb

The attacks came without warning, one after another. These last months our family has been reeling from a series of setbacks we never anticipated. Problems we didn’t cause and can’t fix.

Yesterday was so bad I just had to escape from the phone and the stress and the numbness shredding my soul. I bolted down the driveway and glanced around, remembering to check for snakes and the coyotes that had been calling this morning up the dry canyon above our house. Occasionally they wander all the way down to the yard looking for wayward scraps or cats.

Usually I alternate between anger and pity for them. Anger when they kill our animals. Pity when the summer is hot and barren and they comb the hillside in mangy coats looking for food.

Yesterday I envied them.

I wanted to flee up the canyon wall far away from humans and their struggles, to find a way out. I needed escape. I wanted to release the fear and the anger and the helplessness.

Actually, I wanted to howl.

Instead, I walked for a bit and returned to the house. Our family circled the wagons, as is our habit when new challenges threaten one or the other of us. We spent the evening together, drawing strength from each other as we enjoyed a meal and movie.

Today, the wolves are again at war. Today I halt between two opinions. Is disaster on the horizon? Or is God at work in a mysterious and mystical way?

Fear and Faith sit at my door. Both are ravenous. Will I feed one and allow myself to be consumed, or will I feed the one that will send the predator packing? Which one will I give my trust?

So it comes to this. I must choose to turn off the outside voices feeding the beast and give my mind permission to feed my starving soul on the goodness of God. This was surely what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote these words:

…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8

Dwell on what is good and holy. Frolic in the fruit of the Spirit. Reach for the joy set before you. Trust in a faithful Creator.

If you’re as hungry and dry as I am, pray with me:

Here I am, Lord. 
I’m dying on the inside.
My enemy is too strong for me.
Strengthen my faith; teach me how to trust You.
Help me to close my ears to the voice of the predator.
Give me eyes to see Your great power and love.
Feed me.  




Will You Survive the Storm?


Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.
He caused the storm to be still.
Psalm 107-28-29

He is called the “prince of the power of the air.”* He invades world events, rattles our physical world, and causes havoc in the hearts of men. We know him as the devil, or Satan. He always blows in bringing trouble for God’s creation.


It had been a particularly busy and productive time of ministry for Jesus, though danger lurked everywhere. Many were healed and heard the Good News. But His cousin had recently been beheaded by the king. It seemed a storm was brewing.

“Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest awhile,” He told His disciples. They took a boat across the Sea of Galilee to find a quiet place.

The crowd followed them, however, and were waiting for Him as their boat reached land. Although Jesus was bone-weary, He was filled with compassion at the sight of the people, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He spoke to them until it was very late, then He filled their empty bellies with a miracle dinner of five loaves of bread and two fish.

If He was tired before, He must have been exhausted by then.

He told the disciples to go on ahead of Him in the boat while He sent the crowd away. Then He went to the mountain to pray for awhile.

As Jesus prayed, a strong wind came up and threatened the boat and His disciples. It was nearly morning. The disciples were caught in the middle of the sea, buffeted by the winds, unable to reach safety.

In the dark, in the middle of a sea, Jesus saw them struggling. He came to them in their crisis; He met them in the storm. He didn’t have to join them. He had just miraculously produced enough food out of thin air to feed a crowd. He could have spoken the word from His mountain and calmed the waves.

Instead, He went to their side, walking on the storm as if were His personal highway. The disciples were terrified. Who was this man? 

He told them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Only He did not actually say “It is I.” He said, literally, “I AM.”

I AM. The ancient name for the LORD God of Israel. The name given to Moses out of the burning bush. The Eternal God.

Our Creator.

Are you weary of fighting the storm? Are you caught between destruction and the safe shore for which you long? Are you more certain of the strength of the evil one than you are of the Savior?

Take courage.

God sees you. His Son Jesus has conquered the winds and the waves that threaten to sweep you away. Even when His power was restrained by the constraints of a human body, Jesus commanded authority over every challenge raised against those He loved. Now at the right hand of the Father, He has released the awesome power of the Holy Spirit to fight for you.

You’re not alone. You won’t sink. Watch and trust Him to come to you and conquer your storm.

He has promised, “I AM”    …everything you need.


*Ephesians 2:2

Knights in White Satin: Taking Out the Dragon


Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7

The princesses are everywhere. Most grandparents in the United States have probably wandered through the bewildering array of Barbie royalty at some point in their search for that perfect gift. There are princess movies and princess jewelry and princess dresses and even the lady who gives the ultimate princess experience for birthday parties – complete with gowns, crowns, and portraits.

And we buy that stuff because we all love the fairy tales we learned as children. Who hasn’t dreamed of being a knight on a white horse or a beautiful lady waiting to be rescued? Who hasn’t looked at pictures of castles and imagined entering their own great stone hall?

Somewhere along the way, we grew up and learned life isn’t a fairy tale. Few men can measure up to the fantasy a young girl has of her knight in shining armor. And few women can pull off the perfect princess bride countenance. The truth is, we all live in a gritty, flawed world.

Though princes and princesses are rare, dragons abound. They come in all shapes and sizes and feed exceptionally well on human souls. They wear commonplace names that disguise their fearsome natures: FearDespairDoubtDisbelief, and Gluttony.

Some have darker names. But they all have one thing in common: They belong to a cold-blooded family of reptile called Sin. Fornicasaurus ona bigscreenacus is a large dragon that invades many unsuspecting homes. Hisnameacus vex is a pervasive monster. Some little ones, like Gossipin agroupus, seem harmless enough but have sharp little teeth that cripple those unwary folks who step on them.

And there are more. Many more. They are legion.

It’s hard to make it through a day without encountering at least one of these creatures. Thankfully, we don’t have to live under their power, because there really are such things as kingdoms, kings, and happy endings. There is a King who sits on a throne and rules from one end of eternity to the other.

This King has a Son who wears many crowns and the name Prince of Peace. He’s good at slaying dragons, and He is available on call to slay ours.

Deliverance is as easy as calling on His name. There are, however, a few things He requires:

  • We have to belong to His kingdom. The reptile called Bondage will only fall under the sword of the Prince. No other weapon is sharp enough to kill our tormentors.
  • We have to actually want to escape. Some creatures are annoying but just too cute to kill. They remind us of the rescue dog we got from the shelter. We enjoy their company and comfort. We even feed them. We attempt to ignore the damage they cause and tell ourselves we’ll send them to obedience school one day.
  • We have to do our part. The King has forged powerful weapons to destroy our enemies, but He puts them into our hands to use. We need to learn how to swing that sword and aim the arrows to sink deep into the heart of the enemy. There can be no holding back in battle; this is no time to be squeamish. There will be blood.

We must have no pity on Sin. None should be spared, ever, to hide out in our hearts. As the little foxes ruin the vineyard (Song of Songs 2:15), so small sins ruin our lives.

Are you needing peace in the kingdom today? Start swinging your sword. Take out the torturer of your soul.

Resist. Submit. Rest. In proper order. To the right king.

One day, we will live happily ever after. Our Prince will return for those who love Him. Look up, and take heart. He is here. You are not fighting alone.

 The Lord will deliver me from evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom;
to Him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.
2 Timothy 4:18

The Angels of Woolrich


Greater love has no one than this, 
that one lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13

The last public images of Drummer Lee Rigby alive show him ordering take-out at one of his favorite haunts.

Two days later, he lay in a pool of blood on a London street, butchered by two men with a knife and a meat cleaver. He was wearing the same hoodie he’d worn at the pizza shop, the one that proclaimed “Help for Heroes.”

The 25-year-old from Manchester was part of the 2nd Batallion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the father of a two-year-old son. He served with distinction in Cyprus, Germany, and Afghanistan before working in the recruiting office in London, England.

As he lay dying, a mother and daughter drove by and saw the gruesome scene. It occurred to Amanda Donnelly that the body in the street could have been her daughter, 20 year-old Gemini Donnelly-Martin. Her heart went out to him. She just had to help the young man.

They stopped their car and approached the attackers, one of whom was still holding a weapon in his bloody hands. They asked to be at Rigby’s side. Surprisingly, the killer consented.

Amanda stood guard as her daughter Gemini knelt at his side. Ignoring his massive wounds, she shielded him and prayed until the police arrived.

Ingrid Loyau-Kennett was also at the scene. A Cub Scout leader and mother of two, she was concerned the men would attack nearby children. She approached one of them and began talking to him in the hopes she could divert his attention until the authorities came. According to the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail report, she decided if anyone else was going to be hurt, it would be better if it was her than a child. The attacker told Loyau-Kennett he wanted to start a war in London. To this she replied, “You’re going to lose.”

In the days since the brutal attack, these three women have been called the “Angels of Woolwich.” All three reject any references to heroism, sure that they were only doing what needed to be done.

Their courage reminds us, on this Memorial weekend, that battle comes in many forms. We are all warriors in one way or another in the fight against evil. Lee Rigby’s murder has drawn world attention to the value of each soldier’s life and to the brutality of war. It has also shown us how important each of us are in this struggle to support and pray for one another, and to confront evil wherever it appears.

Special thanks to our soldiers around the world who must place their lives on the line for us every day. Thanks to those who pray for them, comfort them, and honor their memory.

What a lesson for us who struggle against the forces of evil in heavenly places! What courage it takes to stand against the oppressor, to lay our own lives on the line to care for the wounded! How can we drive by another body in the street without at least a prayer?

No soldier should die alone. No one, ever, should suffer without someone to fight for them. Confront the oppressor. Protect the innocent.

Be an angel to someone today.

This Old House


The Master spoke, but I scarcely heard
Above the noise and the din
Of hurrying feet and hammer-stroke
I was building a house for Him.
Then He took me aside and He taught me this
While earthly things grew dim
He would rather a place in this heart of mine 
Than the house I was building for Him.
– “The Master Spoke” Author Unknown

My old joints are groaning today. My husband and I have been slowly remodeling our aging log home. The process is slow because time, money, and energy are always just short of what we need. I spent the afternoon yesterday sanding the new doors and sidelights that adorn the little “office” overlooking my beloved Clearwater River.

This morning my body is complaining.

The log cabin we built in the radical seventies is really showing the years. Raising five children has taken its toll on it. Like me, it’s sagging in places and looking a little tired.

But there’s one thing I know. This house may be frayed at the edges, but it’s solid right down to the foundation. I know this because I know who built it. My dear carpenter husband poured the foundation himself, and he builds things to last.

He made the foundation walls especially strong because he knew they would have to bear the weight of the logs. He envisioned the end result and built the house especially to the design specifications.


 I know another carpenter, too. Really, the best. This builder doesn’t work with wood. He works with flesh, soul, and spirit. He doesn’t build houses; He builds lives.

  Consider Jesus,
 the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses was also in all His house.
For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, 
by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.
For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
Christ was faithful as a Son over His house-whose house we are,
if we hold fast our confidence 
and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
Hebrews 3:1-4, 6

 We are His house! A temple, actually. A place of worship.

The foundation is the Rock set in place by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Upon this foundation we add our lives:

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
each man’s work will become evident;
the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire,
and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.
1 Corinthians 3:12-13

We are a living temple, our souls the holy altar upon which we offer the sacrifices of a broken heart. Here we give the dreams, hopes, and desires of our lives to Him. From here our prayers rise like sweet incense in the holy place.

Jesus’ sacrifice tore the veil separating God from humanity. Here man walks with God once again. We are as holy to God as the temple that once stood in Jerusalem. We are holy because God has chosen to live in us.

May that knowledge inspire us to set aside the things that weaken and dishonor His house. May He teach us to build with an eye to the future, choosing the precious stones for the work.

May His House be forever holy and beautiful in His sight.

What are you building today? Do you feel like a temple or a shack? How do we decide the proper building materials for our templesWhat things might we have to change to build with an eye toward the future?

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