For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11, 12

My brother was a Green Beret on the front lines the whole time he served in Viet Nam.  For us at home, it was a time of stress and vigil.  Every day our family prayed the 91st Psalm that promises protection from so many types of danger:  night terror, pestilence, lions and serpents, and even tripping on rocks.  And Jack would remind his platoon that people were praying for them.

We heard tales of close calls and firsthand reports of life in a war zone.  And we also heard tales of God’s faithfulness.  It was a joy and relief when Jack was delivered home safely after his tour of duty.

Often we look for “second meanings” in Scripture, as described by C. S. Lewis, and are aware that the dangers we encounter daily may be of a different nature than either of the Psalms mentioned above.  But these dangers can threaten us to the eternal peril of our spirits:  anxiety that God is preoccupied just when we need him; sleepless nights due to all sorts of worries; the hidden presence of Covid 19; and multiple insecurities.  THESE are the everyday enemies against which we most likely need protection.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) lived through the Black Plague and the Peasants’ Revolt spending much of her life in seclusion in a small cell (room) attached to one of the churches in Norwich.  Julian, to whom many came for counseling and prayer was known for writing, “All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”  Even though she lived through some of England and the world’s darkest times, her trust in God’s goodness brought assurance to those who sought her wisdom. 

Think of all the verses that God has provided for our encouragement in times like these: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1).  …my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation (II Sam. 22:3). You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance (Ps. 32:7).   Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Ps. 23:4).  And then, Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us to put on God’s armor for protection from the enemy.

No matter what our circumstance, “His divine power has given us everything we need…” (II Peter 1:3).  God is faithful.  “The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this” (I Thess. 5:24).

Father, outside you, there is no place of safety.  Let us hide ourselves in you.  AMEN.


For in him we live, and move, and have our being… Acts 17:28

I’ve just returned from a delightful trip to our nation’s capitol with my daughter-in-law Brooks and grandchildren William and Caroline. We landed and hit the ground running, making the Air and Space Museum our first destination. I marveled at the progress made from the Wright Brothers’ first flying machine to the tiny space capsule housing our brave astronauts and remembered that the first “meal” taken in outer space was the holy Eucharist. And then watching the stars and planets and all the various systems fly at us at breathtaking speeds in the planetarium: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3, 4)
Walking back and forth between museums and our hotel was a visual reminder of our nation’s place in this global society. Restaurants offered dishes from many countries while unfamiliar languages swirled about us. We met people from everywhere, and our drivers all had different homelands. One of our drivers had Jesus stickers all over her dash and told us she was a Christian from Ethiopia. Everyone had a story. “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9)
In the Museum of Natural History, the array of animal life, its variety, size, and color called for appreciation of a Creator not only with great imagination but also a wonderful sense of design, color, and humor. Who else but God would give mama kangaroos pockets for their babies? (That might have been helpful for the mother who forgot her baby in the airport’s waiting room last week.) Or the fish who live in the deep sea and are almost transparent for safety’s sake? Think of giraffes whose long necks allow them to nibble on the tree tops… “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this.” ( Job 12:7-9)
Just at the point of our being totally exhausted, eight-year-old Caroline would run ahead of us with a huge toothy grin and twirl and spin her way down the sidewalk, bringing laughter and smiles. Reminding us of why we were there and the joy of being. “…a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)


The Museum of American History evidenced divine protection against overwhelming odds as this nation was created. Our forefathers battled enemies stronger, better equipped, and better trained. But their reliance was on God. At Valley Forge, Isaac Potts discovered General Washington praying in the woods, entreating God’s mercy when all seemed to be lost: “Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying.” “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Such stories were repeated multiple times: In the War of 1812, the British Navy bombarded Ft. McHenry, and yet only one life was lost after the battle. Throughout our history, people have prayed for this nation. Lincoln issued nine calls for prayer and fasting during his time in office, and on it goes. We know of the Miracle of Dunkirk, and I remember the prayers we all prayed for our boys (and my brother) in Vietnam. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Psalms 91:1, 2)
Even the monuments reflect God’s sovereignty. At the top of the Washington Monument are the words, “Laus Deo” (“Praise be to God”). Throughout the Capitol there are references to God and faith, and the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” is engraved on a plaque on the wall. President Lincoln’s second inaugural speech is carved into his Memorial in which Lincoln mentions God fourteen times and quotes the Bible twice. The Jefferson Memorial is filled with Jefferson’s references to God. The Supreme Court has images of Moses with the Ten Commandments while all sessions of the Court open with the “Courts Marshal announcing: God save the United States and this honorable court.” “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalms 33:12)
Our visit to Mt. Vernon, Washington’s beautiful country estate was initially chaotic as hundreds (if not thousands) of school children descended on the gates about the time we arrived. After the initial onslaught of students, we discovered that farm demonstrations were limited to small groups. (Whenever we felt overwhelmed, God brought quiet and respite.) We learned of our first president’s humility, ingenuity, and remarkable leadership skills. There is debate about his religious inclinations, but his practices certainly demonstrated a man of great integrity and charity. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
At the close of each day, we unanimously agreed that the day had been wonderful. And then we awoke to the news that our flights had been cancelled due to the grounding of certain aircraft. But even then, our God who strengthened our nation’s founders and guided them in creating this unique experiment in democracy, remembered us and made provision. Brooks and the children got a bonus day in D.C., and I returned in time to host a missionary brunch in my home the following morning. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
I love knowing our heavenly Father is with us every single moment for every single occasion, not just the good times. He’s a God for every day.
Thank you, Father, for reminders of you wherever we go.


The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.  Psalm 34:7


Sometimes our work involves a touch of risk, and I am awed when God provides ways of escape.  A few weeks ago the city where we were holding a conference  was under attack from warring cartels.  We continued with our teaching and later discovered that the city had been shut down by gun battles after we left.

And then there was an instance when I was doing leadership training in an African nation.  A dispute arose between tribes; university students were unhappy with certain conditions; and local laborers were in conflict with the government.  Three riots broke out over a period of several weeks.  On one occasion there was gunfire in front of the restaurant where I’d gone for lunch; another time opposing groups were shooting at one another at the bottom of the hill where we were in a policy meeting.  But none of it touched us.

My friend Cissy* was driving down the highway with her ranch foreman when they were stopped by members of a group looking for a particular man.  Cissy and the foreman were pulled out of the truck, hands and feet were bound, and they were held for a few hours while they were interrogated.  One man grabbed the gold chain and cross on Cissy’s neck and started to pull it off.  She stopped him while she unclasped and handed it to him.

Cissy and her foreman waited tensely not knowing if they would live or die.  Later, I asked her about her thoughts and emotions at the time:  Was she afraid?  How did she feel?  Cissy said she was praying the whole time, confessing, and repenting, but she felt only peace.  Cissy told God she was ready to go at any time.

Finally, a phone call came back to the thugs to say that they had the wrong man.  Cissy and her foreman had their hands and feet untied, and Cissy’s necklace was returned.  God had kept them in body and spirit, and Cissy moves with confidence wherever she goes knowing that God is with her.

I see God’s hand regularly keeping us at home and abroad.  From drivers who run red lights to household accidents to medical emergencies and everything in between…  He watches over us all.  One of my friends reminds me frequently, “The center of God’s will is the safest place to be.”

I also see saints bravely giving their lives in service to their Lord.  They know that sometimes deliverance means going from this temporal life to being forever with the Lord.  One of those brave ones who travels in one of the risky areas I mentioned reminded me this week, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s”  (Romans 14:8).


Father, thank you for saints among us who remind us that our citizenship is in heaven, and we are always kept by you.  AMEN.

* Her name is changed for confidentiality.



For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways…  Psalm 91:11 (NIV).


The thought of praying for adventure may seem a bit hedonistic to some.  I didn’t pray the prayer, but when my friend did, I accepted it as a gift from God.  I have learned that God orders all our steps (Ps. 37:23), is never surprised at occurrences in our lives (Isa. 46:10), and doesn’t just stay in a church building (Ps. 139:9-12).  Furthermore, he has given us all things to enjoy (I Tim. 6:17).  It’s when we start looking for him in every circumstance that we begin to see him (II Kings 6:17).  And that’s what we were doing on this memorable vacation.



Peter and I were stranded on the side of the autoroute just outside the little village of Givors, near Lyon, France.  The sun was going down, and a soft rain had begun to fall.  When the carjackers left us, they took everything:  passports, airline tickets, French francs, and our suitcases full of clothes.  We must have looked strangely out of place there on the edge of the road:  two Americans, one in a business suit and tie and the other in slacks with a bright orange turtle-neck jumping up and down with arms frantically waving.

I was the jumper.  Surely, I thought, some kind person will be attracted by my bright sweater and obvious distress.  And, eventually, someone did stop—a curious young man who listened and was sympathetic to our plight.  He took us to the emergency telephone, called the police, and waited with us for their arrival.

For the second time, we told our story to the dutiful gendarmes who meticulously wrote every detail on their little pads.  By the time we were safely in their patrol car, the rain was pouring, and I was seated by the broken window that refused to close.  The whole plot was beginning to remind me of Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther fame.  Naïve tourists carjacked, aided by friendly passerby, rescued by energetic policemen.

Even though I was being inundated, our brave heroes insisted on driving back and forth down the autoroute to ascertain exactly where we had been carjacked.  (Jurisdiction is extremely important in the Givors village, and the police didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.)  Only when it was determined the precise spot where we had been hit and robbed did we proceed to headquarters.

Peter patiently spent the next several hours filling out reams of reports and answering the eager policemen.  (This might have been the most excitement they’d had in weeks.)  I worked with another team of police trying to reach home to cancel our credit cards – they were also in the stolen car.  I tried to emphasize the importance of quickly canceling the cards and the need to reach my mom, but the dauntless policeman insisted on making the call himself.  In heavily accented English, he said the few words he knew telling my mom that he was a policeman and had my daughter with him.  My mother, thinking someone was pulling a prank, hung up on him.  Several tries later, I was actually talking to Momo, explaining what had happened and thanking God that we hadn’t been hurt.

Later, the police released us for the night saying they would conduct further investigations the next day.  We got into the squad car, stopped at a drug store for toothbrushes and toothpaste, and were soon deposited at the Hotel of the Station (Hôtel de la Gare).  With great warmth we were bid à bientot  and left to register and find our way to our room.

Since it was after midnight, the proprietor was probably asleep, but he courteously guided us up the darkened spiral stairway to our second floor room.  When the door handle fell off in his hand, Peter did laugh, and we settled in at the Hôtel de la Gare .  Throughout the night, the room vibrated as every train going through Givors passed under our window.  And the rain was falling.

In the darkness, laughter and a song kept bubbling up, “All day, all night, angels watching over me, my Lord…”  With his typical dry humor, Peter intoned that we have would no longer have to worry about the crazy drivers on the autoroute.

Numbers of trains later, we joined our police friends in the bar where they were drinking coffee.  We had a quick breakfast and were prepared to return to headquarters when the gendarmes announced a change of plans.  The hierarchy had determined that the crime had not occurred in their jurisdiction, so we were being turned over to the police nationale.

After a drive up into the hillside, we arrived at the headquarters of the police nationale, a butter-colored manor house with patrol cars scattered about.  The officer in charge greeted us, spoke briefly to our departing friends, and we exchanged au revoirs.  Then we turned to the new agent de police who beamed at us and directed, “Follow me to zee bedroom.”

Join me on Thursday to see how God’s providence not only protected us but provided more than we could have asked or thought.


Father, thank you for parents who taught me that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord.  And thank you that you blessed me with a healthy sense of humor.  You have enriched me at every turn.  AMEN.



I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Psalm 91:2  (KJV)

After much cajoling, my brother Jack reluctantly allowed me to polish his boots.  His ROTC unit was having a major inspection the next day, and he wanted to look his best.  I was confident a girl could make his shoes shine as much as any guy, so I spent the evening brushing and rubbing and buffing until the boots looked almost new.  And it worked.  I was commended for my efforts.

Not long after that, America became engaged in a brutal war in Viet Nam, and the draft was re-instituted.  Jack joined early on, following the tradition of his uncles on both sides of the family during World War II.  As he tends to do with all his undertakings, Jack focused on being prepared for battle in a place that had only recently become part of our daily news.  He graduated from basic training with top honors, and when he finished OCS as the top graduate, my father took his first airplane ride to see his son receive the commanding general’s award.

Deployment soon followed.  Jack had trained to be a Special Forces soldier, so we knew he’d be living in harm’s way throughout his assignment.  That’s when our mother, Momo, told us about the soldiers from her church.  With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, men all over the country (and from her small community church) formed lines to join the military.  (Those were the days of high patriotism:  nations were allied to preserve freedom; women went to work to fill the vacuum here in industry; rationing was instituted; and people prayed.)  Just before the young men deployed, their pastor called them all forward.  The congregation gathered ‘round, and they all prayed the 91st Psalm, the Soldier’s Psalm.  Every day during their absence in far-flung places around the world, the congregation prayed.  And every one of those boys returned.

The Sunday before Jack was to leave, our pastor called him forward, and the congregation prayed over him.  And our family prayed Psalm 91 for him every day:

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High

shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,

and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:

his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness;

nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand;

but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge,

even the most High, thy habitation;

There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:

the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him:

I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble;

I will deliver him, and honour him.

With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

This weekend I sent a long email to Jack that he shared with his buddies from Viet Nam days to thank him and them for their selfless service to our beloved country and to thank God for protecting and keeping them safe.  Jack continues to pray the 91st Psalm for himself and his two boys who are now deployed.  God has blessed us with his mercy.

Father, your loving care is overwhelming.  We’ve all been through danger and difficulties but none like our military men and women.  Thank you for people who are willing to make the utmost sacrifice to keep us free, and keep them in your love .  God bless America.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.


Give to everyone who asks you… Luke 6:30 (NIV)

Some of Jesus’ sayings are hard to understand; others are harder to do. Occasionally, I struggle with the latter, thinking that perhaps Jesus doesn’t really mean what he says…

I had just rolled my cart into the parking lot and was filling my trunk with plants when she approached.

“Ma’am, I need to get home to Corpus Christi,” she said.

I listened, wondering what that had to do with me.

“My husband and I had a fight, and I left him and the children. But I know I need to go back,” she elaborated. “Can you give me money for a bus ticket?”

Quickly, I processed what I was hearing. She says she made a mistake and needs to get home to her family to straighten things out. But what if she’s scamming me and wants the money for drugs or something else? But Jesus told us to reach out generously. BUT WHAT IF… I argued with myself in the milli-seconds as I stood listening.

“You need a bus ticket to get back to Corpus?” I repeated.

“Yes,” was the hopeful response.

After a mental struggle I found myself shifting into automatic, and a voice inside said, “You wait here, and I’ll go to the bus station and buy your ticket.” Caution had been thrown to the wind. If necessary, I would err on the side of foolish generosity. I closed the lid of the trunk and walked around to the driver’s door.

“Ma’am,” she stopped me. I turned to listen. “I’m lying to you. I just want a drink, and I don’t have any money.”

With that we began a short conversation about the help that was available to her. “I know someone who can work with you and who would walk with you through this,” I offered.

“I’m not ready,” she responded, letting me know the conversation was over.

“What’s your name? At least I can pray.”

She looked up sadly and gave me a sweet smile, “Lanae.” And then she left me.

Lord, do not let fear keep me from obeying your commandments. Remind me that YOU will keep me from harm while I follow you. And, Lord, heal Lanae. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 (KJV)
We were en route to the Alamo this past summer reviewing the events surrounding the fateful battle that is part of our Texas lore. Suddenly, my five-year-old granddaughter Caroline made a dramatic plea to her seven-year-old brother, “William, I don’t want you to go into the Army and be killed.” “Can’t you just be a doctor?” Caroline begged. “All right,” William consented, “I’ll be a Marine.”

That made me think of how we Christians mistake our calling. We forget that we are part of a mighty army whose battle is not against flesh and blood (people) but against powers and principalities, against spiritual wickedness in high places (supernatural powers) (Ephesians 6:12). And there’s no way we will escape the fight – even if we join the Marines. When we mistakenly identify people as the source of our difficulties, we overlook the real enemy that strategically uses and manipulates people to do his bidding.

But we’re not to be distressed or fearful. We have everything we need for the battle: a full set of armor (the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, truth for a belt, shoes of peace, a shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit – Ephesians 6:14-17), empowerment by the Spirit, more fighting with us than with our enemy (II Kings 6:16), and a promise of victory (II Corinthians 2:14). And, of course, we know what happens at the end of the Book.

The battle is the Lord’s (II Chronicles 20:15). Let us daily go out fully equipped to overcome whatever foe that threatens to destroy our peace, our joy, our relationships, or our confidence in him and his promises. We are mighty through Christ Jesus to pull down strongholds (II Corinthians 10:4) and anything that would defeat us. Let us go forth and conquer in his name.

Heavenly Father, strengthen me and my faith to defeat those small and large things that every day attempt to rob and harm me. Remind me that you have already won the battle. All I need to do is access your victory for your glory. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


Shew me a token for good…because thou, Lord, hast holpen me, and comforted me. Psalm 86:17 (KJV)

Ordinarily, I’m not someone who looks for “signs,” but when my husband told me to begin planning for my first transatlantic flight, I needed reassurance. Peter had traveled widely prior to our marriage, but I’d never flown so long over the water. I wasn’t exactly afraid, but I didn’t relish all those hours suspended over the ocean.

Our destination was Ireland, and I would have an opportunity to see firsthand the beauty of the Emerald Isle. I threw myself into preparations, hoping to ease or forget my apprehension. Still, I couldn’t get rid of that nagging anxiety.

Chastising myself for lack of trust, I recalled verses of Scripture that related to God’s protection. Nothing seemed to help. I was too embarrassed to admit to my family or friends that I, a Bible study teacher and mentor, was nervous about such a silly thing. Privately, I prayed about my misgivings and surrendered them to the Lord.

The night before we were to leave, a simple thing happened. I stepped into the shower before going to bed and was surprised by the most wonderful scent. Someone, I still don’t know who, had placed in the soap dish a bar of Irish Spring hand soap which literally permeated the atmosphere with hope, joy, and reassurance. I knew it would be a wonderful trip.

Nowadays I spend days and nights on planes going to our various mission ministries around the world, and I am always grateful for God’s patience in giving me such a little thing to assure me he was in control. He prepared me for what he had prepared for me.

Father, your kindness and mercy are beyond comprehension. You answer our prayers and reassure us in the most unexpected ways. Help us to be open to any way in which you choose to comfort and care for us. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.


The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34:7 (NIV)

Sometimes my work is in areas that have security risks, not necessarily overtly dangerous, but places where I must exercise prudence. Such was the case recently when we went to facilitate a conference in another country known for its violence. When we do this, we always request prayers from our faithful supporters.

After a tiring day of travel we were escorted by our hosts through the encroaching twilight to the place we’d be staying for the next several days. Imagine my surprise and gratitude when I saw at least fifteen vehicles parked just in front of the building, all marked with signs indicating they were federal police. Surely, this had to be divine protection for us.

The next day during a break in sessions, I walked to the front entrance and looked out to see banks of uniformed, armed officers facing the building. Now, that was a prayer that was answered even beyond my thinking or imagination. Not only did we have one angel, but, apparently, there was a multitude of angels guarding us waking and sleeping.


Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful ways in which you answer our prayers and for your protection. All honor be yours. Amen.