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Honoring Our Country's Hidden Heroes

This week, I was so honored to speak at the Hidden Heroes Military Caregivers Awareness breakfast on Capitol Hill organized by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation which is a coalition, founded by former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, designed to raise awareness about the struggles facing military and veteran caregivers. 

Over 5.5 million Americans have devoted their lives to caring for loved ones suffering debilitating health conditions that have resulted from their military service. Spouses, mothers, fathers, and other family members and friends have halted their lives in order to care for their loved ones. Oftentimes, they can't take a break from their all-consuming responsibilities to attend church or seek a pastor's guidance. That's why I'm so grateful for the work that Elizabeth Dole and her foundation are doing to bring awareness to these needs.

Today, I want to urge all churches and members to reach out into your community and help support these Hidden Heroes, the caregivers who are often overlooked. Millions around us face incredible struggles and battle depression while working 40 hours a week or more to care for their friends or family members. We can be the hope and light they so desperately need.

Join me to help get the word out so that together we can embrace these families and find solutions. When we reach out to help these families, it's one way we can say thank you for their service to our country. Remember, together, we are the hands and feet of Jesus. When we serve others, God says it's as if we are directly serving Him.

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Choosing the Best Thing

The other day I was reading about Mary and Martha in the Bible. In Luke 10 it talks about how Jesus came to the house of these two sisters. Both acted very differently when He arrived. Mary chose to just sit at His feet and soak in every word He was saying. Martha chose to serve Jesus, working tirelessly making preparations for Him. She wanted everything to be perfect. Martha began to get frustrated because she was doing all the work and her sister, Mary, was just sitting there and so she said, "Jesus, could You tell Mary to get up and come help me. I mean there's so much that needs to be done here and I'm the one doing all the work."

Now, how often do we approach Jesus with the same attitude Mary did? "Jesus, do You see how hard I'm working? Do You see how overwhelmed I am? Can You get someone to help me? Do You notice how much I'm doing for You?" I think Jesus would respond to us today in the same way He responded to Martha. He said, "Martha, you are worried about a lot of things, but only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen the good thing." See, Martha chose to take time to be in Jesus' presence. She set everything else aside to learn from Him and to receive His grace and mercy.

When we make time to sit in the presence of Jesus, we are choosing the one thing that is needed—we are choosing the best thing! When you spend time in His presence there is peace, joy, favor, and rest for your soul. He'll give you wisdom to make better decisions; He'll give you favor, increase, and blessing. He'll restore, refresh, and renew you so make time to sit at the feet of Jesus every single day!

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).


Be Who God Made You To Be

I love the story in the Bible about Jacob's son, Joseph. Joseph was a young boy dearly loved by his father. His father distinguished him from his eleven brothers with a beautiful, luxurious coat of many colors. That coat set Joseph apart and symbolized the favor and affection of his father. It also represented God's mantle and anointing on his life. In essence, that beautiful coat displayed Joseph's identity.

As you might imagine, Joseph's brothers were jealous. They didn't like Joseph very much to begin with, so this didn't help the situation. In fact, they were so jealous and angry that they plotted to kill him. One day, they found their opportunity and ambushed him, stripped him of his coat, and threw him in a pit. One of the brothers pleaded on Joseph's behalf, so they sold him into slavery instead.

I find it interesting that the first thing they did was strip him of his coat. It symbolized that they were trying to strip him of his identity, favor and anointing.

Soon after, Joseph was taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, a high-ranking official. Joseph worked diligently for Potiphar and found great favor. Even though he was stripped of his coat from his earthly father, he wasn't going to let anyone strip him of his robe of righteousness from his heavenly Father. The Bible says that Joseph excelled in Potiphar's house, and Potiphar's wife took notice of him. She tried to trick him and seduce him, but Joseph stood strong. When she approached him, begging him to go to bed with her, he turned around and took off running. As he ran out the door, Potiphar's wife grabbed his cloak. She was trying to steal his robe of righteousness, and when she couldn't have that, she took the cloak off of his back! She then lied to her husband about it, and Joseph was sent to prison.

Now, that's not the end of the story. Even though Joseph was knocked down many times, he rose again in great victory. He stayed faithful to God, and God blessed him beyond his wildest dreams.

Joseph's journey is a powerful reminder that all throughout life, people may try to strip us of our identity; our robe of favor and righteousness. We have to stay on guard and be aware of all the subtle ways this can happen. Do you ever find that you try to adjust who you are in order to be accepted by others? You may not be like everyone else, but that's okay. Be who God made you to be. You may get knocked down sometimes, but just like Joseph, you will rise again! Stand strong in faith and don't let the world strip you of your robe!

"I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness..." (Isaiah 61:10 NIV)


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