Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. I Peter 5:7


We all know we’re not supposed to worry or be anxious about anything, but have you ever experienced a dull sense of heaviness that isn’t readily identified? You don’t know what it is or where it possibly could have come from, so how can it be dispelled?
That happened to me recently. I went through the checklist to see if I’d overlooked anything:
• Was there anyone I hadn’t forgiven?
• Was there someone with whom I’d been unloving?
• Was there unconfessed sin?
• Was I worried about anything?
• Was I coming down with an ailment?

Over and over I tried to discover the cause of my dis-ease without any success. Finally, I went to the One who knows us better than we know ourselves and asked that he show me why I was walking around with a cloud overhead. That evening, I picked up Hannah Smith’s Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life that I’ve read for the umpteenth time. Hannah talked about how we heap various concerns on ourselves when we should be giving them to the Lord—not always just worries but concerns, too.

I reflected about my distress at the lack of courtesy that I seem to see in all aspects of the political spectrum—I’d picked that one up. Then I thought about my concern over how a community was lavishly spending money—none of my business, but I also put that on my back. I’d fretted over the way an event had been organized—again, out of my purview. As the Holy Spirit reminded me of the ways I’d allowed the affairs of others to weigh me down, I almost laughed. As if I didn’t have enough in my own life to think about.

The remedy was simple: casting all my care on him. These weren’t worries, but they still weighed me down. One at a time I gave them to the Burden Bearer and refused to take them back. I saw how foolish it was for me even to spend energy thinking about politicians or community spending or myriads of other things that hadn’t been assigned to me. And yet, I think I am not alone in picking up things that are not my responsibility. Where God gives us a task, he also provides the wisdom and the grace to carry it through with ease.

If you’ve picked up luggage that doesn’t have your name on it, drop it right away and let God carry it. We simply don’t have the strength to do more than he’s given us. When we do have a burden, we roll it over on Jesus and find it’s the easiest thing in the world to allow him to carry it for us.

Father, thank you for mercifully carrying our cares and for forgiving us when we forget. You are a good Father. AMEN.


The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Because the Arameans think the LORD is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the LORD.'”  I Kings 20:28


Have you ever awakened feeling glum?  And the day hasn’t even begun.  For no reason, it’s a “blue Monday.”

Oswald Chambers says that when we’re experiencing that sort of mood, we’re to kick it out.  That may be well and good for Mr. Chambers, but I’ve discovered I have more success when I wait it out.  Essentially, remembering that we can cast any care on our Father, praising and thanking him, his peace will surely fill our hearts in his time.  Rather than fretting, waiting in trust for him to appear always works.

In the story mentioned above, the Arameans had mistakenly thought that God only brought deliverance in the mountains.  Typically, we are already joyful in him when we’re on a mountaintop, but the Arameans didn’t realize that God is still there when we’re down in a valley.  In fact, he’s everywhere and waiting brings the peace that he’s promised.


Lord, remind us to keep our focus on you so that we’re not dominated by our emotions or moods.  You ARE the God of our ecstasies and even of our low moments.  Thank you.  AMEN.


Now the just shall live by faith…  Hebrews 10:38  (NIV)


Have you ever been glad that our forward progress is simply by faith, sometimes by just putting one foot in front of the other?  If we tend to measure our spiritual temperature by the way we feel, we can become terribly discouraged.  Feelings fluctuate with the weather, an unpleasant phone call, a news report, or any number of random things.  Sometimes we can feel bland for no reason at all.

But, thank God, he says that’s not the way we live.  We learn to disregard our feelings (emotions) and continue walking by faith in his faithfulness.  Someone once told me to fake it till I make it.  There’s no need for a Christian to do that.  Instead, we can faith it as we make it.

By faith we can give God every care, every disappointment, every wound, every anxious thought without sensing any spiritual gain.  By faith we place those troubles in his hands and walk away knowing he will bring peace or provide wisdom or whatever the need is because he said so.

Because he said so we can thank him that he is doing in the unseen exactly what is needed for our particular situation.  We can praise him for who he is, and we can walk on until the answer (or the feeling) overtakes us.  Nothing more is needed from us but simple faith.  We live by faith.  Thanks be to God.


Father, I’m so grateful that through you we are given love, power, and a spirit of discipline to faithfully navigate the ups and downs of this fickle earth.  Strengthen us with all goodness to glorify you in all we say, do, and think.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.  Psalm 30:5  (KJV)



She was tall, blonde, beautiful, and with all the proportions of a runway model—our new staff member.  She was charming, naïve, and newly married.  Carrie reminded us of the thrill of new beginnings and the dreams of great accomplishments.  She was visionary, and she caught us up in thinking that fairy tales just might come true.

The school year rocked along through the fall, and then we enjoyed the camaraderie of the Christmas holidays with numerous festivities.  Valentines brought a plethora of love notes and an abundance of sweets.  And then the honeymoon was over.  As Carrie moved into life as we know it, she came to my room and said with wide eyes, “I really believed the Cinderella story.  I thought all I had to do was make some promises, and I would live happily ever after…”

And that’s what many of us do in our lives as believers.  We get the heartbreak/rescue/ ever after business, but somehow we miss the classes that prepare us for the intensity of life following the rescue segment.  We look at rescue (salvation) to mean “immunization” –from worry, struggle, cares, hardship, pain, suffering, unpleasantness, heartbreak, and so on.  In actuality, rescue means access.

As God’s children, we can now access his grace in difficulty, his peace in suffering, his joy in heartbreak, his strength for struggles, his comfort in pain, and every single thing we need for life and godliness (II Peter 1:3).  We no longer have to merely “make it through” hard times; we discover the ability to be more than conquerors—being strengthened by virtue of the struggle (Ro. 8:37).

Dear little Cinderella needs her prince to rescue, provide, and care for her.  We have a constant, unfailing (Josh. 23:14) Father who sets a course for us that goes through stresses and storms while all the while ensuring that his Son is with us navigating the winds and waves (Matt. 8:23-27) and bringing us through to safety.  Our trust is strengthened, our confidence renewed, and we are better prepared for the next challenge of the voyage.

We have not been rescued to be put on a shelf and admired.  We have been and are over and over rescued as a testament of God’s grace, his power in our weakness, and his faithfulness to his promises.  Hebrews 12:12, 13 (NLT) invokes us to “take a new grip with [our] tired hands and strengthen [our] weak knees. Mark out a straight path for [our] feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”

We have more than a Prince (or Princess) Charming.  We have access to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  AND we can live happily ever after.


Father, how blessed we are to be walking with you every day of our lives.  We don’t have to wait for eternity for our joy.  We have YOU.  Amen.


But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”  Luke 2:10  (NIV)



What must those humble shepherds have thought when they heard the angels proclaiming joy for everyone?  Did that include them, even them?  Did they anticipate freedom from Rome?  Perhaps relief from their hardships and marginalization?  How did those shepherds define joy?

As part of that vast throng to whom the message of joy applies, how do we today characterize joy?  Is joy a permanent fix for chronic physical suffering?  Is it the mending of broken hearts?  Is it the realization of a dream that has long eluded us?  How do we define joy?

We know that joy is distinguished from happiness, which is dependent on circumstances.  Joy is not temporary; it’s not based on emotions, relationships, or things; and it’s not egocentric.  Joy can’t be intimidated.  It is a gift from God and is a fruit of the Spirit.  We don’t produce joy; God causes it to grow in us as we love, obey, and abide in him.

This abiding in him in which our heart is turned to him produces that joy that strengthens and empowers us in all circumstances when happiness would abandon.  While happiness seduces us to look inward, constantly measuring personal satisfaction and comfort, joy opens our eyes to the eternal and God’s perspective of our world.  We see his hand, his care, his love, his provision, his opportunity, and so on rather than time-bound circumstances.

On our recent trip to Uganda, we took time to visit the Martyr’s Shrine that honors 45 Christians who died in the late 20th Century when they acknowledged a King greater than the Kabaka (tribal king).  The young men refused to abandon their faith even when threatened with death.   Some were dragged, others experienced amputation of extremities, and still others were disemboweled.  Those brave Christians were next wrapped all around with sticks and then roasted on a huge fire.  For some it took three days to die.

So what does this have to do with joy?  Those young men are not honored every June 3 on Martyr’s Day simply because they would not denounce Jesus Christ or their faith in him.  The eyewitnesses who watched them suffer said that they all died while singing hymns of praise to their King.  Joy cannot be extinguished by earthly devices.  Perhaps they each experienced that Fourth Man in the fire (Daniel 3:25) who graced them with joy that overcame all pain.

The angel’s message of joy to the world is the gift of Jesus in whose presence is fullness of joy; at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11).  REAL, never-ending joy that lasts forever.


Father, we are so easily satisfied with temporary, superficial things.  Awaken us to the eternal riches that are found only in you.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.



For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  I Timothy 1:7  (NKJV)


Have you been as baffled as I at the outpouring of fear and anxiety that’s coming from so many mouths today?  And many of these concerns are from the Millennials, those whom one would think would be most hopeful of all.  The concerns that are being voiced are based on speculations, not facts.  Where, I wonder, are we placing our trust?

When my brother and I were growing up, Momo had a little ceramic plaque on the wall of the kitchen.  It read,

“Said the robin to the sparrow, ‘I should really like to know
why these anxious human beings rush about and worry so.’

Said the sparrow to the robin, ‘Friend, I think that it must be
that they have no Heavenly Father such as cares for you and me.'”

The same God who saw our forefathers suffer and survive a revolution while building a nation founded on godly principles is the same One who sustained a divided nation during the Civil War to later reunite them.  He’s the same One who took us through the Great War and kept us when we might have perished during World War II.  On and on we could go through our modern history to see God’s mercy and blessing even when we so little deserve it.

God is still in charge.  If we really want to make a difference in our land, we can pray and then act.  Oswald Chambers says that prayer does not change things.  Prayer changes us, and we change things.  We embrace the Sermon on the Mount,* and we begin to live it out.  As we dispel fear through obedience, love and power and a sound mind fill the vacuum.  Who are we that we should be identified by our fears and our uncertainties?

God is still God and still waits for us to cast all our cares on him because he cares for us (I Peter 5:7).  He is the solitary power in the universe who longs to be gracious to [us]; therefore he will rise up to show [us] compassion (Isaiah 30:18).  “The eternal God is [our] refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” (Deuteronomy 33:2)

Let’s stop whining about our circumstances, whatever they are, and look to Jesus who takes away our fears, is our refuge, and who loves and cares for us.


Father, sometimes we get caught up in our secular culture and forget that you are still God.  We give you all our anxieties and fears and ask, instead, for your love, your power, and your sound mind.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


*If you haven’t read the Sermon on the Mount lately, take a little time to really chew on it:  Matthew 5-7.