Crop group stacking hands together

Dear friend, be courageous and strong…

Dear friends,

Carol and I have had back-to-back events almost since the beginning of the Summer. Conference season is always like this, but it really does wear us out. At the same time, our team back home spread out across the country has their own individual challenges and trials from serious physical illnesses to family crises to health scares to mental health issues with a loved one … the tribulations are far and wide and a heavy load to bear for each person.

As I pondered this heavy weight on so many of our team members, my quiet time this morning was filled with Scriptures:

On the day I called, You answered me,
You emboldened me and strengthened my soul.
Psalm 138:3

I will keep watch for You, O my strength,
because You, O God, are my fortress.
Psalm 59:9

But I will sing of Your strength and proclaim Your loving devotion in the morning.
For You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 59:16

To You, O my strength, I sing praises, for You,
O God, are my fortress, my God of loving devotion.
Psalm 59:17

Then at the end of Habakkuk, after much back and forth complaining to God about His seeming silence and lack of response to this prophet, Habakkuk declares:

God the Lord is my strength,
He makes my feet like those of a deer,
He makes me walk upon the heights!
Habakkuk 3:19

You would think all those verses would make His point well enough, but He wasn’t done. Streams in the Desert delivered the final punch to knock me out (in a good way!) with His amazing precision!


Be courageous; be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13

Never pray for an easier life—pray to be a stronger person! Never pray for tasks equal to your power—pray for power equal to your tasks. Then doing your work will be no miracle—you will be the miracle.


We must remember that Christ will not lead us to greatness through an easy or self-indulgent life. An easy life does not lift us up but only takes us down. Heaven is always above us, and we must continually be looking toward it.

Some people always avoid things that are costly, or things that require self-denial, self-restraint, and self-sacrifice. Yet it is hard work and difficulties that ultimately lead us to greatness, for greatness is not found by walking the moss-covered path laid out for us through the meadow. It is found by being sent to carve out our own path with our own hands.

Are you willing to sacrifice to reach the glorious mountain peaks of God’s purpose for you?


Be strong!
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle; face it. It’s God’s gift.

Be strong!
Say not the days are evil—Who’s to blame?
Or fold your hands, as in defeat—O shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, In God’s name.

Be strong!
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long,
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.


Excerpt From
Streams in the Desert Morning and Evening
L. B. E. Cowman
Zondervan Publishers

So, I don’t know what struggle you are facing, a wayward child, a frightening diagnosis, a failing parent, a distant spouse, a financial crisis … the list could go on for days with the ways the enemy tries to wear us out, to drive us to despair. But I know this … we all need His strength, and He loves to answer our prayers asking for it!

How has the enemy been wearing you out lately? How has the Father been reminding you to be strong in His strength?

Thanks for spending time with me today!

Athena Dean Holtz
Welcome, I'm Athena!

I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.

Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!

The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.

Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!

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