Welcome to the  MOHC blog, a daily dose of encouragement from Pastor David Chadwick. 

  • David Chadwick

Elijah is considered among the greatest prophets in the Old Testament.  God sent him and Moses to visit Jesus, Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-11).  What an honor that must have been! Elijah and Moses were chosen by the Father to visit the Son and encourage him as he headed toward the cross.

Yet this mighty man of God experienced severe anxiety and depression.  These negative emotions overcame Elijah with such intensity that he wanted to die, to leave this planet immediately.  But God restored him.  How?  Amazingly, by first taking care of his physical body.

1 Kings 18 and 19 tell a captivating story of Elijah in his fight to defeat Baal.  It’s a story of good versus evil.  Light versus darkness.  The forces of hell against heaven.  I hope you’ll read it.  At one point in the story, Elijah expects spiritual renewal but instead becomes filled with fear.  Defeated and discouraged.  Hopeless.

In fact, Elijah was so fearful, he tried to run away from his problems.  Literally.  He ran roughly 120 miles to a different city.  His anxious heart motivated him to run, run, and run some more – as far away as he could go.

After a day’s journey, Elijah sat down under a broom tree.  Exhausted, he spoke to God, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life” (1 Kings 19:4).  He had reached the end of his emotional health.

What happens next is fascinating.  God showed Elijah the interconnectivity of the body, soul, and spirit.  He let Elijah sleep.  God knows the importance of sleep and its restorative power.  He invented it.  Sleep was the Almighty’s idea.  He knows its healing strength.

One way to care for your body, and stay healthy during COVID-19 is to get plenty of rest.  Sleep.  It requires no effort other than getting into bed.  That’s a goal we can all easily accomplish.  Go to bed early each night.  Sleep for 8-9 hours.  Feel the difference in your rested mind and body. 

Sleep researchers suggest that as you age, more hours of sleep per night are needed.  They recommend nine hours.  The greater the physical activity, and the more the body ages, the more sleep that is needed.  It’s that simple.

Most of us can remember times when we, like Elijah, felt discouraged.  Yet after a good night’s sleep, we felt invigorated.  We awakened with a sense of renewed hope that we could move forward and overcome the difficulty we faced.  Sleep is a gift from God.

So tonight, go to bed early!  Wake up tomorrow rested and refreshed.  Replenish your body with the energy and strength it needs.  Tonight, put your anxiety to sleep. 

  • David Chadwick

Dear Hopester Family, We hope David's daily messages are helping you combat anxiety during COVID-19.  We encourage you to forward these messages to someone you know who is in need of a moment of hope, as we are uniquely positioned to reach spiritual seekers during this time. ---------------------------------- After four years in seminary, I was interviewed by a group of church leaders to confirm my ordination into gospel ministry.  Toward the end of the interview, one of the leaders said to me, “How would you respond if someone called you a gnostic?” I knew from my church history classes what Gnosticism was: an early church heresy that suggested Jesus was just a spirit, not human.  It was a mystery cult that believed the physical body was unimportant, even polluted, because of sin.  Therefore the gnostic faith emphasized the spiritual, not the physical. After explaining my understanding of Gnosticism, my ordination was approved.  Now, more than forty years later, I wonder if many contemporary Christians aren’t influenced by Gnosticism when it comes to confronting and defeating anxiety.  I wonder if we are so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.  I wonder if we are so set on spiritual answers that we forget we have a physical body that influences our emotions. The Bible teaches that every human has a body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  Each division of the human personality is inextricably connected to the other.  What happens in one area affects the other. For example, our thought life affects our emotions.  If we constantly think dark, foreboding, fear-filled thoughts, our emotions will follow with anxiety.  That’s the way God wired us.  Our minds and emotions are connected to each other. The same is true of the physical body.  If we don’t pay attention to it, and we deprive it of good health, our emotions can go haywire.  The body and emotions are also inextricably intertwined. Our human bodies are a temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells, and are the only bodies we will have while on earth.  While we will receive a glorious resurrection body when we join our Father in heaven, we live now in the body God has given us, and we need to take good care of it.  How well we do so will affect our emotional health. Due to COVID-19, gyms are closed.  But God’s creation is open all the time.  Even a brisk daily walk gives our bodies an endorphin boost, which moves our minds toward positive thinking. This body is the only one you will have on this side of eternity.  Take good care of it!  Enjoy God’s creation!  Go outside today, and walk your anxieties away.

  • David Chadwick

Mother’s Day is Sunday.  A day to celebrate all the mothers in the world.  As I’ve said many times, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”  In honor of this day, I want to share a story about how my wife, Marilynn, and I taught our children to sing their anxieties away. Our daughter Bethany is the wife of a church planter - perhaps the most difficult task a person can undertake.  She’s a talented writer and artist.  When she speaks and teaches, she does so with authority.  She’s also the mother of five children under the age of 11.  But there was a time when, as a child, her heart was beset with gnawing anxiety. Marilynn and I came up with a name for Bethany’s worries: fret flies.  Every time a worry arose, we would try to draw Bethany’s attention to it so we could confront it.  We wanted to help her see the danger of letting these fret flies dominate her life.  We hoped that somehow the act of recognizing the problems would help her to overcome them. But nothing seemed to work.  Anxious thoughts dominated her life.  Finally, Marilynn and I had a breakthrough.  We discovered what was able to help set her free: singing God’s Word.  Bethany enjoyed singing, and we would find songs for her that were set to Scripture.  We would sing those songs with her throughout the day.  Sometimes I would even dance with her hand in hand, as we sang the song together - sometimes for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Eventually, Bethany memorized the words to almost all the songs.  They became a part of her vocabulary.  She would sing them to us as she danced for us or when I danced with her.  And over time, Bethany’s fears diminished.  The stronghold was broken.  She learned how to conquer her fears.  Whenever a fret fly would appear, she would sing it away. Does that sound familiar?  We’ve learned that singing songs with others has transformative power, especially when the songs are from God’s Word.  Find a song of faith and sing it until you memorize it.  Sing it over and over again.  Songs you love to sing, the ones straight from Scripture are the most powerful songs to fight anxiety. When anxiety knocks on the door of your heart, or your child’s heart, sing a song of praise from God’s Word together.  Over and over again.  Maybe even dance a bit! And for all the mothers who we honor on Sunday, thank you.  May you spend this Mother’s Day singing worship songs with your children, as you show them how to sing their worries away.