Conntecting the Dots

When We Feel Attacked

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve recently felt attacked on every side—another stress fracture in one foot, mouth sores, an eye infection, and a chest pain incident. I didn’t mention the near-miss car accident. And then there was the tumble I took on our boat-home. I’m sure my guardian angels received bonus pay for the last two incidents.

I’m not one to look for the devil behind every bush when things go wrong. In many cases, stuff happens just because that’s the nature of things. But sometimes the devil is to blame, and I’m blaming him for the litany of recent misadventures.

I’ve been working on my new book and discovering more about the character of God as manifested through His names. I suspect the devil doesn’t like what I’m doing. Neither does he  want this information to get into your hands. Researching and writing on this topic is changing my life and bolstering my faith in the Lord, so it’s likely to do the same for you when you read it. The thought of a believer’s faith growing scares him, so it seems he’s going out of his way to distract me and make my life difficult. If he considers me a threat, then I must be doing something right!

With all that’s happened, the chapter about Jehovah Sabaoth has proven especially meaningful for me. By using this name, God is telling us that he is the Lord of hosts, the Commander-in-Chief over armies of men, angelic beings, and the heavenly hosts including stars, the moon, and the sun.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Jehovah Sabaoth rules supreme over the universe. Nothing is stronger than Him. No one is wiser. No one is bigger. No one possesses forces like His, and no one has authority like His to call those forces into action to help us when we feel attacked.


when we feel attacked

These truths are amazing in themselves, but there’s more…


No one loves us more than God does. He holds us in His hand. He knows the number of hairs on our head. He hears our cries and promises to rescue us. He surrounds us with His lovingkindness. No one wants to see us flourish more than He does.

Considering these truths about who God is and the depth of His love and care for us, we have no reason to entertain fear or to doubt His ability and desire to rescue us.

Alicia Britt Chole writes, “When placed in the light of our awesome God, our lives find new perspective. Anxiety is replaced by hope when we see that nothing could ever be bigger than God. Fear loses its strength when we recognize that God’s power and love are a million times greater than our weakness and failure. Peace floods our lives when we remember that all our needs are safely encompassed by God’s brilliant sufficiency.”

Keeping one’s courage can prove challenging when we feel attacked on every side. Persevering can be tough when you feel like you have a target on your back and the devil is taking aim. Don’t let him intimidate you, my friend. Jehovah Sabaoth, Commander-in-Chief of the heavenly hosts, is on your side.

As Ms. Chole says, “When placed in the light of our awesome God, our lives find new perspective.” We needn’t wake with a knot in our stomach about what the day might bring. Instead, we can wake with gratitude in our heart and confidence that God is with us no matter what the day brings.

May I pray for you? “Father, we praise You for being Jehovah Sabaoth, Commander-in Chief of all the forces in heaven and on earth. Satan and his armies don’t stand a chance against You. When difficult circumstances cause us to feel afraid, please remind us that You’re in charge, and send Your forces to fight on our behalf. Teach us to trust in You and to not entertain fear when we feel attacked. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Enjoy “Battle Belongs” by Phil Wickham

Practice Perseverance

It’s one thing to know what the word “perseverance” means, but it’s another thing to practice perseverance. Life has brought me to a place where I’m learning the latter well.

Four weeks ago, I suffered a stress fracture in my left foot. Bone density tests prove that I don’t have osteoporosis, so I’ll discuss this issue with my doctor in early August. In the meantime, I’m supposed to wear an aircast when I walk any distance.

It’s no secret that I’ve been on a decade-long wellness journey. Joining First Place for Health as a participant in their weekly online Bible study and accountability program helped me lose 65 pounds. I had to practice perseverance for two years to take the weight off through proper nutrition and regular exercise. I considered every ounce of effort worth it because the results changed my life.

My body hurt less. I regained mobility. International travel became easier. My clothes fit better, and I became more confident. Our dream of living on a sailboat became a reality, partly because I was stronger and healthier than I’d been in years. Best – my relationship with God deepened as I learned to turn to Him rather than to comfort food to satisfy my wants and needs

But over time, the weight began to return. I’m nowhere near where I was when I first began my wellness journey, but I need to rein it in. Once again, I need to practice perseverance. As the dictionary says, I need to develop “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.”

Last year, I suffered two stress fractures in my right foot and landed in an aircast for nearly two months. Understandably, the gym I attend wouldn’t allow cast-wearing clients into the facility, so I skipped my workouts for weeks. This contributed to my setback.

This year, I’m choosing to practice perseverance despite the difficulty. Every morning, I do as many exercises as possible without putting unnecessary strain on my foot, and I take one or two short walks around the marina while wearing the boot. As I practice perseverance to maintain good health, I’m asking God to honor my efforts with success. I’m grateful for the results already felt.

practice perseverance

Practice Perseverance in Our Spiritual Lives, Too

Regaining or maintaining our physical health requires us to practice perseverance despite challenges and setbacks. If we stick with it, we reap the benefits. The same is true for our spiritual lives.

Summer brings a change to our routine. We travel someplace for a holiday or guests choose to holiday at our place. Late nights make it tough to get up early. Our best laid plans to spend a few minutes reading the Bible and talking with God fall apart. Before long, we feel spiritually starved and disconnected from Jesus.


Spending a few minutes in God’s Word should never become so regimented that we feel guilty if we miss a day or two or three. Sometimes life happens and interruptions can’t be helped. But as much as we’re able, we ought to seek space to seek God’s face daily. Heaven knows we need it. Those living closest to us might agree.

The way we meet with God might look different in the summer months than throughout the rest of the year, and that’s okay. Perhaps taking a walk while listening to an app with Bible readings might work well. Or sitting outside on the back deck with Bible and coffee in hand before anyone else rises. Or listening to Scripture reading or praise music while walking the dog.

Find a method that works for you. Practice perseverance, my friend. Galatians 6:9 says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” This principle applies to so many areas of life—showing kindness to someone who appears stand-offish, praying for a prodigal, coming alongside a newcomer to our country, caring for a senior parent, making time with God a priority, and even sticking to a wellness plan.

I’m going to practice perseverance on my wellness journey this summer despite the challenges that are accompanying it, and I’m trusting that I’ll reap a harvest of restored wellness in due time.

Practice perseverance in your spiritual life this summer despite the challenges that will accompany it, and trust that you’ll reap a harvest of blessing if you don’t give up. It will come as surely as God promised.

You may enjoy incorporating “I Want to Know You” by CityAlight into your time with Jesus this week. This song is new to me, but it feeds my soul.

The Cross’s Power in Our Lives

The cares we bear and the pace at which we run can cause us to forget the cross’s power in our lives. This sad reality struck me as I packed a family member’s boxes for moving.

My three-year-old granddaughter wanted to help, so I invited her to seal boxes with me. I taped the containers lengthwise; she taped across the top widthwise. At one point, after smoothing the tape down, she said, “This is a cross. It’s like Jesus. He died on the cross.”

Sure enough, she was right. Two strips of tape formed a cross. She noticed it, but I did not. The busyness and concerns of the day had absorbed my attention.

The incident begged me to take note and ask the question, “How often am I oblivious to the cross and its power in my life?”

I fret over gas prices and gasp at my grocery bill. I stress over too much work and too little time. I worry about my kids and grandkids and how they’ll flourish in a world gone wild. I wonder how I’ll meet my next book deadline and what the future holds for the ministry my husband directs—who will his successor be, and how will higher airfare prices affect volunteers wanting to serve in Eastern Europe and the Middle East?

I see only deadlines, worries, and chores waiting to be done while Jesus wants me to see His presence and involvement in the details. I fret and stew even while the cross stands ready to offer strength and hope and victory over all those things and much, much more.

Can you relate? Do you sometimes unconsciously try to do life on your own, forgetting about the cross’s power to help you rise above fear and uncertainty and despair? If so, you and I are not alone. I suspect that’s why hope is in short supply these days and why fear runs rampant.



Let’s commit to asking God to make us more conscious of the cross and its power in our lives.

the cross and its power in our lives

The cross’s wooden beams are where Jesus proved the depth of His love for me and you. It’s where He bridged the gap between us and our holy heavenly Father. It’s where He conquered our worst enemy once for all and made a way for us to rise above all that robs us of freedom and joy and peace.

The apostle Paul expressed the truth so eloquently when he wrote, “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT)

The cross is far more than a piece of artwork at the front of a church sanctuary or a piece of jewelry to wear around our neck. It represents the power of Jesus over death and the power of God that works mightily within those who place their faith in His Son.

When we feel betrayed or unlovable, the cross erases all doubt of God’s love for us.

When we feel alone, the cross reminds us that Jesus promised to be with us until the end of the age.

When we face a situation that appears hopeless, the cross declares victory.

When we feel trapped by besetting sins or addictions, the cross breaks the chains and sets us free.

The cross represents God’s undefeatable power at work around us and in us. May we learn to live in its power rather than our own. “Father, make us more mindful of the cross and its power in our lives. Help us to live in its truth every moment of every day, grateful for the work Jesus accomplished for us on its wooden beams. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


Casting Crowns’ song reminds us of the power of the cross. Let these lyrics stir your heart to worship and joy.


My latest three devotional books are filled with reminders of the cross and its power in our lives. Order your autographed copy here:

Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos

Keeping Hope Alive: Devotions for Strength in the Storm

Fresh Hope for Today: Devotions for Joy on the Journey


What Does Humility Look Like?

What does humility look like? To me, it looks like an elderly woman who attended my church years ago. My family fondly dubbed her “Granny Maude.”

Granny Maude’s short, stooped frame made it difficult for her to see over the steering wheel of her car but that didn’t stop her from driving all over town. Wherever someone needed help, she showed up with a smile and a willing heart.

Some folks thrive on public recognition for doing what they do, but Granny Maude never fell into that category. She blessed others with no expectation of favors being returned and no desire for accolades. She loved and served freely because she understood Jesus’ love for her and wanted to share it.

Granny Maude’s eager willingness to serve others spoke volumes to me when I was a young mom in my late 20s, and her example remains embedded in my memory four decades later. She showed me what humility looks like, and I’m grateful for the lessons she taught me without words. I’m also grateful for God’s Word that teaches other lessons about what humility looks like.


what does humility look like

What Does Humility Look Like?

  • Strength of Character

Pride wants to rush into self-defense mode when someone hurts us. Humility refuses to go there. Instead, it prompts us to pray for that person, to ask God to help us see her through His eyes, and to trust Him to be our defender.

Humility demonstrates strength of character, like the strength Jesus showed as He hung on the cross. He could have hurled insults at those who hurt Him, but He did not. Instead, He asked God to forgive them. (Luke 23:34)

How do we respond when someone hurts us? Do we rush to defend ourselves or hurl the insults back? Humility refrains from doing so. Instead, it chooses the high road. It trusts God to defend us and to deal with the offender in His way and time.

  • Teachability

Pride says our way of thinking or doing things is the best. Humility admits that another’s way might be as good or better. It accepts correction and direction. (Proverbs 15:32)

I’m saddened when new writers show me their works-in-progress and insist they ought to be published as is. I can relate to their passion; I felt the same about my writing at the start of my career, but I had to undergo an attitude revision.

In 1999, at my first writers conference, an editor used her red pen to butcher the first two devotionals I’d ever written. I watched and muffled horrified gasps. Then she asked to critique a third. Moments after she began reading it, she shook her head and said, “Grace—this is awful. I want you to go home, read the comments I made on the others, and rewrite using my suggestions.” I swallowed my pride and heeded her advice.

Humility admits that we don’t know everything. We can learn from others’ experience and expertise.

  • Willingness to Get Our Hands Dirty

Pride tells us we’re above doing certain tasks. It says we’re justified in leaving the dirty work to those less qualified or important than ourselves.

Humility jumps in to get the dirty work done like Jesus did when He knelt and washed His disciples’ feet. Under normal circumstances, the lowliest household servant performed this task, but Jesus did it without hesitation because He had nothing to prove and no need to impress. (John 13:1-17)

Humility sees a need and steps in to meet that need with no worries about losing status, respect, or authority in others’ eyes. Getting one’s hands dirty, literally or metaphorically speaking, is not an issue.

What does humility look like? Ultimately, it looks like Jesus. He humbled Himself, left heaven’s glory, and assumed human form for our sake. He gave up His rights and became a servant to benefit us.

What might humility look like in our everyday lives? Much the same as Jesus. Or Granny Maude, for that matter. It’s demonstrating strength of character when others hurt us. It’s being teachable and admitting that we don’t know it all. It’s being willing to get our hands dirty. But it’s also showing up with a smile and a willing heart to benefit others with no thought of the favor being returned or receiving public accolades.

Which one of these descriptions resonates most with you today, and why?

#bgbg2 #humility

Standing on the Promises of God

One of my favorite old’ hymns is “Standing on the Promises,” written in 1886 by Russell Kelso Carter. The lyrics remind us that the storms of life will blow, but God’s promises enable us to stand on firm footing and face them with courage.

I especially appreciate the second verse:

“Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God.”


The concept of standing on the promises of God is more than a lilting ditty that makes us feel good when everything around us looks bad. Standing on the promises of God is rock-solid truth based in Hebrews 6:15-18. You see, God cannot lie. When He says He will do something, He will do it. He can do nothing contrary to truth because He is truth by nature. But there’s another layer to why we can trust Him to keep His word.

God’s Oath to Us

God made an oath to keep His promises, and He did so by swearing on His own name. If we were to swear by someone’s name, we’d choose a person with higher authority and more influence than ourselves, and we’d be inviting him to hold us to our word. God swears by His name because there is no other name higher than His. He is the ultimate authority on earth and in heaven, and He sees to it that His Word is reliable and trustworthy.

My friend, standing on the promises of God is not just something we sing about. It’s a life-changing truth. The storm winds of life may threaten to topple us, but we stand firm because God’s Word cannot fail.


standing on the promises of God

Seven Promises on Which to Stand

No matter what challenges you face today, God has equipped you to stand firm in the midst of them. Here are seven promises He will fulfill as you trust in Him and look to Him for help.

  • He will deliver us from fear. “I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
  • He will never leave us. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
  • He will guide us. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • He will forgive us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
  • He will give us everything we need to live godly lives. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” (1 Peter 1:3)
  • He will give us rest. “Come tome, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
  • He will strengthen us. “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Which of these promises resonates most with you today?

Find the hymn “Standing on the Promises” and the story behind it.

#Godspromises #GodKeepsHisWord #GodCannotLie  #Hope #Hopeful #BiblePromises

Can God Be Trusted?

When life takes an unexpected, difficult detour, we might catch ourselves thinking, Can God be trusted?

Can God be trusted when a loved one receives a terminal diagnosis?

Can God be trusted when a natural disaster wipes out our home and material possessions?

Can God be trusted when evil takes an innocent person’s life?

Can God be trusted when we pray and pray and pray over a specific concern, but nothing happens in response to our pleas?

Let’s turn to Scripture for the answer when we find ourselves asking the question, “Can God be trusted?” This verse sheds light on our query:

“Jesus said, ‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me’” (John 14:1 NLT).


let not your heart be troubled

Jesus’ words tell us that God can be trusted.


His words also tell us that trusting Him requires intentional action on our part. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled” implies that we have control over anxiety in our lives. We can choose to let anxious thoughts run rampant or we can choose to trust God instead.

Letting our hearts be troubled yields no benefit. Worry can’t change what’s already happened and it won’t help resolve the current challenge. It does, however, encourage fear to take root. It makes it difficult for us to rest well at night and ties our stomach into knots.

I’ve let my heart be troubled too many times to count, and guess what? Doing so has never made my life easier. So why live like that, right?

We don’t have to let challenging circumstances disturb our inner peace. If we take Jesus’ words seriously, then we can rest assured that trusting in God is the better way to respond. Here are five good reasons for choosing that better way:

  • God promises His presence. He is with us no matter what happens in the course of a day. Nothing we face takes Him by surprise. Why, then, should we be afraid or anxious? (Joshua 1:9)
  • God promises to give us wisdom, and lots of it. When we face circumstances that baffle us, we can ask Him for insight, and He will answer. (James 1:5)
  • God promises victory. He’s on our side if we belong to Him. Who can stand against us? (Romans 8:31)
  • God promises to turn negative situations into something good. He specializes in transforming the bad into beauty, the sad into splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)
  • God promises joy. Sorrow may last for a night, He says, but joy comes in the morning. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. (Psalm 30:5)

What difficult detour or challenging circumstances are you facing today? Can God be trusted in the midst of them? The answer is yes.

Take a moment to thank God for His promises and that they apply to your situation. Take another moment to bask in the beauty of this song by Chris Tomlin. Don’t let your heart be troubled. God is a good, good Father, and He’s got this.



God’s Voice Alone Matters

Friends and family supported Sailor-Man and I when we prepared to move to Nepal to volunteer with a faith-based organization for three years. Everyone, that is, except one nay-sayer.

“You’re making a terrible mistake. You have no experience. You’re not qualified to serve overseas,” this person said.

I believe that the enemy of our souls hoped the criticism would cause us to question God’s calling and cast it aside. His ploy failed. We determined to follow the path God laid before us regardless of what others said. His voice alone mattered.

David Endured Criticism


David is one of my favorite Bible characters because he experienced many of the same things I’ve experienced. Dealing with criticism was one of those things.

On one occasion, David went to see several of his older brothers who were in the Israelite army and engaged in battle with the Philistines. That’s when he witnessed the nine-foot bully, Goliath, taunt the Israelite soldiers as he’d done twice a day for the past 40 days. As soon as the Israelites saw the giant, they ran away in fright.

When David offered to fight Goliath, his oldest brother levied criticism against him. “What are you doing around here anyway? What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” (1 Samuel 17:28 NLT)

When King Saul heard about David’s offer to fight Goliath, he said, “Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33 NLT)

When Goliath saw David approach him, he hurled insults and curses at the boy: “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. (1 Samuel 17:43-44 NLT)

Perhaps the enemy of David’s soul hoped criticism would cause him to lose courage and run away in defeat. If so, his ploy failed. David wasted neither time nor energy trying to figure out a smart comeback. Instead, he chose to be unoffendable and to keep his focus on the truth—God’s voice alone mattered.


God's voice alone matters

Let’s Respond Well


Friend, others will say unkind and undeserved things about us. They might question our integrity and calling. They might mock our God-given dreams, strengths, and passions. Rather than offering support to our Spirit-led endeavors, they say, “You’re making a terrible mistake. You have no experience. You’re not qualified.”

Let’s choose not to listen to those voices. Let’s not let criticism deter us from doing what God has called us to do. Let’s choose to be unoffendable to keep our focus on the truth—God’s voice alone matters.

This song by Lauren Daigle speaks to the importance of listening to what God says about us.

Pray Like This When Someone Hurts You

What’s your natural response when someone hurts you? Mine is to stew about what’s happened or been said, and then I have internal conversations that sound something like, “I can’t believe she said those things about me,” or “How could she do such a thing? What’s wrong with her thinking?”

Our natural response is to take offense—sometimes a little, sometimes a lot—and hang onto it. After we’ve had a chance to process what’s happened, we might ask God to forgive the offender. Or maybe we’ll ask Him to get even.

But here’s the thing—if we profess to be Jesus’ followers, then we need to do as He did.

Jesus was innocent of all wrongdoing yet He suffered ridicule and an excruciating death. As He hung on the cross, a crowd gathered to watch and soldiers gambled for His clothing. A lesser man might have spent His dying breath uttering curses over them, but Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive these people for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Jesus recognized that the crowd who cheered for His crucifixion and the soldiers who hammered spikes through His hands and feet were not His real enemies. The unseen forces of evil led by Satan himself were the ones bent on His destruction.  Knowing this, Jesus was able to pray for those who mocked and crucified Him.

Consider this truth when someone hurts you deeply: “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

When someone hurts you, remember that he or she is not your real enemy. Their behavior is rooted in unresolved issues and sadly, you’re taking the brunt. Hurting people hurt people.

pray like this when someone hurts you

When someone hurts you, spend your emotional, mental, and spiritual energy fighting the real enemy—Satan. He wants to keep the offender stuck in whatever issue they’re struggling with, and he wants to sink you in anger and unforgiveness. Let’s commit to not giving him the upper hand.

One of the most important battle strategies, then, is to pray. Here are some suggestions for how to pray when someone hurts you.

  • Ask God to help you see the offender through His eyes. Maybe this person is under alot of stress at home or work and is at her wit’s end. That doesn’t make it okay to treat others poorly, but it might explain a few things. Maybe she needs understanding and a helping hand—a practical demonstration of kindness that will help her survive the challenges she faces.
  • Ask God to show you the root of her behavior so you can target your prayers. Maybe the offender’s behavior is rooted in jealousy toward you. Don’t just pray that the relationship will be restored, pray for her to realize that she’s jealous and why, and that she will develop contentment with her circumstances instead.
  • Ask God to ensure the offender’s well-being in every part of who she is—mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. Doing so is akin to donning protective gear against anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. It’s impossible to harbour anger and unforgiveness when praying for the offender to flourish.
  • Ask God to bring the offender to repentance, restore her soul, and lead her in paths of righteousness.

Here’s a suggested prayer: “Holy Father, thank You for Christ’s example when He did the hard thing and prayed for the forgiveness of those who killed Him. Please give me the strength and integrity to respond to my offender in the same way. Lord, do not hold this offense against her, but draw her to repentance. Grant her an accurate understanding of who You are and of Your free gift of grace and forgiveness. Give her a heart that seeks after You. Lead her to a place of freedom from strongholds in her life. Restore her soul and lead her in paths of righteousness. I ask this on the basis of who You are—the God of truth and justice, the God who promises to be my Defender. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

May this song by Matthew West bless you today, my friend.

#bgbg2  #Forgiveness

Praying in Jesus’ Name

Praying in Jesus’ name is something I’ve done from childhood. Why? Because I heard my parents, my Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, and pastor end their prayers with, “In Jesus name, amen,” so I followed suit.

I’ve been guilty of rattling off these words without much thought to their significance. It has done me good to pause and to ask, “Why is praying in Jesus’ name important, anyway?”

Here’s the thought that comes to mind in answer to that question: We pray in Jesus’ name because it encompasses His character, authority and reputation.

praying in Jesus' name

Jesus is God incarnate. He conquers death, overcomes evil, and transforms lives. He grants sight to the blind and enables the lame to leap and dance. In His name, the mute sing and the deaf hear. Broken bodies are healed, and broken hearts find hope.

There is no name higher than the name of Jesus. No name possessing greater authority. No name more reputable.Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. (Philippians 2:9 ESV)

Praying in Jesus’ name releases His power.

Here are a few examples of prayers I pray often. Becoming more mindful of the power of Jesus’ name has helped me bring these requests to God with greater confidence.

  • “Heavenly Father, a friend fighting cancer is losing hope. Surround and fill her with a sense of Your presence and peace. Have mercy on her and heal her body and soul, please. I ask You this in Jesus’ name, amen.”

  • “Dear Lord, the world seems to be going crazy. Amidst heart-stopping news broadcasts, rise up and show Yourself strong. Rush to the rescue of the innocent suffering around the world. Conquer evil once for all. I ask You this in Jesus’ name, amen.”

  • “Oh God, my children and grandchildren are growing up in a society that gives You little regard. Protect them from the evil one, and teach them Your ways so they can shine as lights in the darkness. I ask You this in Jesus’ name, amen.”

Because of who Jesus is, praying in His name gives us faith to believe that God will hear and answer in a way that is completely right and in the right timing. It bolsters our confidence to expect the impossible and fills us with expectant watchfulness.

What concerns are on your heart today? Turn them into a prayer, and bring them to God in Jesus’ name—the name that is above every name on heaven and on earth.

Take a few minutes to listen to this song by Katy Nichole. I know it will bless you today.

What Does it Mean to Cling to God?

What does it mean to cling to God? Perhaps my experience in a church nursery gives a good visual.

I was volunteering one Sunday when a young couple came to check in their toddler for the first time. The father signed the child into our program while the mother prepared to hand her to one of the volunteers. The little girl immediately sensed that something was up, so she threw her arms around her mom’s neck and hung on for dear life to the one she knew loved her most.

An online dictionary says the word “cling” means “to hold fast” or “to adhere closely.” That’s exactly what the toddler did to her mother. She held fast. And that’s what Joshua told Israel—the children of God—to do to their heavenly Father. “…But you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day,” he said. (Joshua 23:8 ESV)

cling to God

“Cling to God” Means to Forsake All Other Gods

In the King James Version, writers used the word “cleave” rather than “cling.” The same word is used in Genesis 2:24 –“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Here, the word denotes forsaking others to focus our love on one and only one. That’s the same idea Joshua had in mind when he told the Israelites to cling to God only.

At the time he spoke these words, Joshua was elderly and knew he would die soon. He called all of Israel’s leaders together and reminded them of God’s faithfulness to them over the years. Then he exhorted them to love God and remain faithful to Him. They were to forsake all other lesser and false gods in lieu of devoting themselves to Yahweh.

Cling to God Because He Deserves Our Loyalty

Joshua mentioned a particular aspect of God’s faithfulness several times in the verses surrounding Joshua 23:8. That is—the fact that God had fought their battles on their behalf. He’d promised them the land, and then He delivered by going before them and taking out the enemies. By clinging to Him, the people would be giving God the undivided loyalty He deserved for being their mighty and invincible warrior.

At the same time Joshua exhorted the people to cling to the true and living God, he warned them not to cling to the customs of the survivors of the enemy nations. If they chose to compromise by falling into sinful thoughts and behaviors, they would break the covenant relationship God had established with them and they would pay the consequences.

Joshua said, “Be very careful to follow all the instructions written in the Book of the Law of Moses. Do not deviate from them in any way. Make sure you do not associate with the other people still remaining in the land. Do not even mention the names of their gods, much less swear by them or worship them. But be faithful to the Lord your God as you have done until now.” (Joshua 23:6-8) So – no compromise. Love God only and remain faithful to Him.

How Can We Cling to God Today?

How do we cling to God in everyday lifet? First, by reading and obeying God’s Word. Joshua told the Israelites to be careful to follow everything written in Moses’ book of the law and to not deviate from it. We, too, are to be careful to obey and not deviate from God’s words. Timothy wrote, “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Let’s dive into the Scriptures, explore what they meant to the people in whose day they were written, and discover how their principles still apply to us today.

Second, we cling to God through worshiping Him alone. We acknowledge Him as the only true God and refuse to listen to the voices of lesser gods vying for our affection. Money, material possessions, power, position, and even social media – none of these things deserve our devotion. Only God—the One who created us, and who saves, heals, and sustains us—deserves our love, praise, and worship.

Third, we cling to God by refusing to compromise. As our society slips further and further from God’s standards, our human bent becomes expert at justifying sin. We become masters at making excuses for doing what we want to do rather than doing what we know we ought to do. But clinging to, or cleaving to God means we stand firm on His truth even when it’s inconvenient or costly.

And finally, we cling to God by surrendering ourselves to Him. We let Him fill us with His Holy Spirit. We let Him take control of our desires rather than letting our desires take control over us. We let Him lead us in the way He wants us to go rather than pursuing our own path.

In Matthew Matthew 22:35, an expert in religious law asked Jesus, “What is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Jesus’ words, spoken two thousand years ago, remain true for us today. We are to cling to the Lord with everything in us. Let’s hang onto Jesus and His teaching with all our might. This is the way to life and victory in our faith journey.

May I pray for you? “Father, thank You for teaching us the importance of clinging to You. Help us love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Give us the faith and strength to follow hard after You and to live surrendered to You. Everything else falls into place when we keep You in first place. Help us do that and do it well. In Jesus’ name, amen.”