In The Middle

Today, “In The Middle” is a phrase I’ve been pondering in John 19:16. There’s so much in those 3 words: “Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus “in the middle”.

When Jesus was crucified on the cross, we know that there were two criminals that were crucified with Him. At the cross, Jesus was “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12), one at his right side and one at his left. We would not be amiss in reasoning that the one criminal might represent unbelieving humanity who chooses to reject Christ, while the other represents believing humanity who sees the necessity of repentance and extends His hand to Jesus.

Moreover, both criminals insulted Jesus (Matt 27:44). However, after a time, one of the criminals had a change of heart and repented: “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:41-43) Although both men were in Jesus’ presence, only one man, even though a criminal, chose to receive Jesus and the unconditional love and eternal life He offered him.. “In the Middle” was such a key position for Jesus and it is also for us, as His image-bearers.

In another story “…when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’ “NEITHER,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the Lord, I have now come.’ Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’ The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua obeyed” (Joshua 5:13-15).

“NEITHER?” “Did He say neither?” What a startling response? “No choosing of sides?”… just focusing on a Holy God, on Holy ground, submitting in prayer, and obedient to God’s direction.

Today we see so much division and infighting among both believers and unbelievers. There is so much pressure to take sides and cancel out those who don’t follow suit. Today, I was imagining Jesus hanging on the cross” In the Middle” and thinking about all He represents: truth, unconditional love, faithfulness, peace, intercession and more. By the grace of God, may we choose to stand “In the Middle” surrendered to Jesus, and as He did on that cross: forgive our enemies, love the unlovable, share the truth of His Word with others, and cry out for the lost and those who persecute us. Lord may we not breed hatred and division through gossip, judgment of others, condemnation and self-righteousness. Father, persecution has escalated and the Great Accuser is trying with all His might to divide, tear down and destroy the churches, the believers, our witness and our ministries. May we not be entangled in taking sides, but rather position ourselves “In the Middle” with Jesus. By no means is this a weakened, inactive position. If we believe that, then perhaps we do not understand the fullness of the power that resides within us. May the Holy Spirit strengthen us to take an active position “In the Middle “with Jesus. After all, the One “In the Middle” arose, and in that one single, power-filled moment, mankind was changed forever !

Blessings to you,

Karen

Good Friday

Thinking of Good Friday and Jesus’ sacrifice in spite of others responses:
Not everyone will respond to you with kindness. Not everyone will respond with gratitude for the things you do for them. Sometimes it can be difficult, especially when it’s a close friend or family member. However, we should never let someone else’s response decide our level of joy. They may not notice, but God does. He observes every day and every detail of their lives and of ours. Jesus set the path for us. He moved toward the cross with purposeful precision. Nothing ever discouraged Him on His way to Jerusalem. He never hurried through certain villages where He was persecuted, or lingered in others where He was blessed. Neither gratitude nor ingratitude turned Our Lord away from His purpose to go up to Jerusalem.

Since “the disciple is not above his Master,” the same things will happen to us on the way to our Jerusalem (the path he has marked out for us).There will be the works of God manifested through us, people will get blessed, and one or two will show gratitude and the rest will show gross ingratitude. However,nothing must deflect us from the mission He has marked out for us.

Ultimately, who are we wanting to please? “God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” Paul writes, Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord” (Col 3:17 NIV). We must stay the path my friends. Please know that I am speaking to myself as well. Keep giving. Keep caring for others despite how they respond. That’s the way of it—do it for Him!
Blessings to you and your families this Good Friday…

Karen

Glorious Vision

Often times we need signs to get where we want to go. Those signs are realities that point to a greater reality as we travel on our journey. For example, an exit sign is real, but it points to something greater… the exit. We don’t need signs when we travel on familiar roads. But, if we go in where we’ve never gone before, (a star-trek ☺ journey), we will need signs to get there. On that journey as a believer, “revelations” from God become those wondrous signs to guide us. The key to navigating those unfamiliar roads and shifting seasons of God is the “Spirit of Revelation”. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” Ephesians 1:17.

It’s been said, ”What I know will help me, but what I think I know will hurt me.” It’s the Spirit of Revelation that helps us know the difference. Hosea 4:6 states “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you”… Isaiah 5:13

Therefore my people go into exile for their lack of knowledge and their honorable men are famished and their multitude is parched with thirst.” Those scriptures are difficult to read and even more difficult on the receiving end. Let’s face it, we can really set ourselves up for a “pain walk” when we really don’t understand what to do and how to do it, but we try to fake it anyway.

The word “Destroyed” in Hosea 4:6 means to cease, to be completely cut off. Without revelation we are completely cut off from the purposes of God on the earth. We can be busy with the Lord‘s work, yet separated from His purposes. Just ask Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42)… We talked about these two ladies a few weeks ago, but their story is so apropos in this topic as well. The word of God has such an unlimited range of perspectives. Remember Martha was found busy working “FOR” others and “For” His presence, while Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus “IN” His presence. Poor Martha. Maybe Martha was trying to win Jesus’ approval through pleasing Him with food. Hospitality was pretty important in that culture. We could say Martha had a good motive or did she? Or was Martha a people-pleaser or just works-oriented like so many others… Work before Jesus! Not good. However, Jesus wasn’t there asking for anything. He was there to share the truth of His word and His presence with them. He wanted a relationship with them. And a relationship with Jesus requires that we not just do works or pray and talk “at” Him, but that we take time, sit, wait, and “listen” to Him. What an incredibly intimate opportunity she missed. But Martha had no revelation of His purpose, because she wasn’t listening to Him. She was too busy. We’d rather be “IN” His presence than working “FOR” His presence, right? Sometimes we are just so busy working “FOR”…that we end up missing out on intimate moments with Him and in knowing what He really wants us to do. Jesus admonished Martha saying, “Mary has chosen the better part.” Doesn’t that make you want to take a moment and reassess what you are doing and why? Am I spending as much time “IN” His presence so that my work will be done “FROM” His presence, and therefore, more ordered, organized and multiplied by Him. I’m convicted…Definitely! After all, greater access to Him means greater fruit for His Kingdom.

You know, I really like that girl Mary. I’m so grateful to be blessed with friends like her ☺. And what about that other passage mentioned above in Isaiah 5:13 “Therefore my people go into exile for their lack of knowledge and their honorable men are famished and their multitude is parched with thirst.” Isaiah 5:13”

Yikes…“Go into exile” means to remove, to be exiled from his purposes. Why? Because they were unfit to carry the weight of such a responsibility apart from the spirit of revelation working in their lives. It is costly to have access to knowledge and not use it (Luke 12:56). The word “knowledge” here is experiential knowledge, intimate knowledge. Revelation leads to a God encounter and that encounter forever changes things within us and within others. In fact, those encounters can change our world. Revelation means to lift the veil or remove the cover. Revelation gives us access to the realms of greater anointing available for our children, our grandchildren and for us.

1) Father may the spirit of revelation rest on us. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give to us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him having the eyes of our hearts enlightened, that we may know what is the hope to which he has called us, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” (Ephesians 1:17-19.)

2) “Open our eyes, that they we behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Psalm 119:18)3) “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5) Father we ask you to generously pour out your wisdom and spiritual understanding on us.

4) “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18) Father may we have eyes to see what the Spirit is doing. Fill us with fresh vision and order our steps to complete your works.

5) The New King James Version of the above verse says “Where there is no revelation. The people cast off restraint.” In other words they cannot restrain themselves from doing things that work against the purposes of God for them. Father, may we be filled with Your revelation and spiritual understanding. May we restrain ourselves by your spirit from temptation to disobey you Father. May we sit at your feet regularly, listen attentively and obey you. May we rise up by your Spirit and demolish every plan of the enemy to defeat us in Jesus’ name. Amen

***You know, I’ve heard it said…”Well, we need more Martha’s in the world to get the job done.” But that is simply not true. An encounter with Jesus breeds “passion” in our hearts, and a “passionate worker” will far out work a servant’s heart every time!

Blessings, Karen

Single-Minded Daniel

I’m sure you all remember the story of Daniel and the lion’s den. Here’s a little review for prayer:

Remember Daniel was made one of three governors over the 120 satraps (regional rulers) in King Darius’ administration. There was a plot hatched by the satraps, persuading the king to sign a decree saying that anyone worshipping a god or man other than King Darius would be thrown into a den of lions.What was Daniel’s response to the decree?

Daniel 6:10-12 states: “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, “giving thanks” to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men (the satraps) went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree.Notice that Daniel, not saying a word in spite of the decree, heads straight to his room, boldly throws open the windows (which would allow anyone to see), and falls to his knees praying three times a day and giving thanks to God just like he had always done. He’s certainly not cowering in fear. 

What would be our response in crisis? What would our children and grandchildren’s responses be in crisis? 

1) Father please make us single-minded like Daniel and “make our joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”

2) Father please instill in us that our “citizenship is in heaven. And to eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”(Phil 3:20-1)

Eventually a report from the satraps reaches King Darius that Daniel has prayed to his God. Daniel is then thrown into the lion’s den. “So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

“Continually! ” What a profound word demonstrating the model of Daniel’s faithful modeling of God to his godless witnesses, King Darius and his administration. 

3) Father may we “in all things show ourselves to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,”(Titus 2:7)

4) Father may we “Be imitators, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)

“Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night.” (Dan. 6:18)

Here we see a heathen king favoring Daniel so much that he spent the night fasting for him(probably as he had seen Daniel fasting), refusing his normal evening festivities, and sleepless throughout the night.

5) Father please pour out your favor on us. “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.(Psalm 5:12

6) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.(Ps.84:11) Father, may we walk blameless before you in abundant favor.

The next morning the king was greatly pleased to find Daniel alive! “Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:”

“May you prosper greatly!

 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“For He is the living God and he endures forever;

his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end.

He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.

He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Here we see that Daniel’s prayers impacted all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth… One man in obedience by God’s spirit.

 Also Daniel served three kings in his lifetime, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius and Cyrus.  “So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.” And we know that Daniel prospered during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign as well. 

It didn’t matter at all who was king then or even now in our country who is president, vice-president, your boss or any other leader. God is sovereign and his favor pours out on all who are faithful and obedient to Him. 

7) May we understand fully the impact of prayer to transform a nation or nations.

“See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah 60:2-3)

 May we surrender ourselves to God completely and be single-minded in our love and obedience to God so that we are able to breakthrough any obstacles hindered by leaders or any others for the glory of God and His kingdom.

“Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” (Daniel 2:20-21)

Blessings,

Karen

The Power of Influence

Influence is more powerful than we may think…Everyone on earth has influence. Paul said, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself” (Rom. 14:7). You will influence others—whether for good or for evil.

Our influence will impact our families for generations after we are gone. When we follow the Lord, our life has a positive influence on our children and our children’s children. If we refuse to follow and be obedient to God, it also influences our children and our children’s children. Bright-eyed children are watching mom and dad. Precious little ones are watching grandma and grandpa. Older adults are influencing young adults. Yes, we are all influencing others in some way. The important question is “Are we leaving a Godly influence that will pass through the generations after we are gone?”

Jeroboam was an evil king who desecrated the altar of God in Bethel by turning it into a place of idol worship. God, in His mercy, sent a young prophet to give a warning message to Jeroboam. The young prophet did as God instructed and delivered the message to the king. However, the king wasn’t at all pleased with the message and refused to listen. Therefore, God used a drastic measure and withered the king’s hand and subsequently healed it. Then King Jeroboam invited the young prophet to his home to eat. The prophet answered, “For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’” (1 Kings 13:9). The young prophet started for home, declining food and drink, and leaving by a different direction, just as God instructed him.

But now the story takes a tragic turn. You see, there was an old prophet in the land who heard about the encounter between Jeroboam and the young prophet. He got on his donkey and rode to find the young man. When the old prophet found him, he invited the young prophet back to his house to share a meal. Again, the young prophet declined, and explained that God told him not to eat or drink anything while he was in Bethel. But the old prophet said: I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, “Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.” (He was lying to him.) So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water (1 Kings 13:18-19).

 The old prophet used his influence to lead this young prophet (the next generation) into disobedience. The old prophet’s use of influence destroyed that young man’s life. When the young prophet left, a lion met him on the road and killed him. When the news reached the old prophet, he went and found the corpse, brought it to his home, and laid it in his own tomb.

This is a challenging story for us to accept. The consequences do not seem fair. After all, the old prophet, who lied to him, tricked the man of God. Therefore, shouldn’t the lion go eat the old prophet who lied, not the man of God who was deceived? As a prophet the young man was held to a high standard. He knew that nothing was to be accepted that contradicted God’s prior decrees. The young prophet got himself killed because he listened to the old prophet and the young man put what “he thought was true” ahead of God’s truth.

Of course, I’m not at all suggesting that we will be lion food if we disobey God, but we know there will be consequences.  And in this climate folks, we certainly don’t want to be deceived by “thoughts” ahead of the truth of God’s word. That could be dangerous!

1) (Galatians 1:6–9 ESV) “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 

Father when we have received a command from You (through the word or from You directly), strengthen us to obey You, and not be turned aside by the words or ideas of others. Father, increase our gift of discernment to be able to recognize and value your truth and your words.

2), “I will not break My covenant, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” (Psalm 89:34) May we learn and believe the truth of God’s word that we not be tempted or swayed by the enemy.

3) “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15

“Father, we pray that we will love others the way You love them. We pray that our love would be perfected in unity so that the world might know You.” (John 17) We pray that we will be steadfast and keep all your commandments.

4) Lord strengthen us to reject the word of false prophets, or of others who speak soothing words, but not God’s word. 

5) Lord, anoint us to influence others for You and your kingdom. May we leave a legacy of Godly influence that extends through the generations. 

6) Lord, help us to experience the words of Ephesians 2:10: “You are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” 

Think about that. As we follow Jesus unreservedly, He makes our entire life a masterpiece, a work of art, a symphony, abundant with joy, authentic success, and a constant transformation “from glory to glory into God’s likeness” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Blessings,

Karen

The Lord Will Provide

This day we praise you Lord as our “PROVIDER”. Father please take our children and grandchildren by the hand and teach them to trust you as their Provider. You are our heavenly Father who knows what we need and longs to provide for us in exceeding measure. Help our children to experience firsthand the character and provision of You as provider in their lives. Help them to look to you as their “ultimate provider”. You areJehovah Jireh, meaning “the Lord will provide.”

Tear down any fear of living “without” and increase their faith so they will trust in you for all their needs. Help them to be willing vessels, humbled by your generosity.Help them to live their lives expecting your grace and your glory. Lead them by Your Holy Spirit to boldly come before your throne and ask you for what they need. Convict them of wanting things that are not your best for them. Help our children to be more aware of what you have already provided. Expand their comprehension of your love. Let childlike faith rise up within them as a shield to meet every threat of “lack” the enemy launches against them.

Thank you for being their Good Shepherd and provider who leads them to greater faith in you. As parents, we rest in your word that you will not forsake the righteous and ourchildren and grandchildren will always have your provision.We declare the truth of your word and each of these promises over our children and grandchildren’s lives today and every day:“

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt. 6:30-33)

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worryingcan add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith… Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:24-32)

“All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” (Psalm 104:27-28)“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.” (Psalm 54:4)

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”(Phil. 4:19)

We send forth these prayers with expectant hope and thank you Father for answering our prayers. “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess.5:18

In Jesus’ name we pray,

Amen

A Servant’s Heart

Please join me in praying for our children/grandchildren:

The highest position, the highest calling that we can have in the kingdom is as a SERVANT. (Micah 6:8) “He has shown you, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? But to act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk HUMBLY with your God.Throughout the New Testament we see the apostles continuously describing themselves as a SERVANT:

*(Romans 1:1) “Paul, a SERVANT of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle”Notice the scripture tells us not only what he is called to do, but more importantly, tells us who he is…a SERVANT of Jesus Christ. *(Philippians 1:1) “ Paul and Timothy, SERVANTS of Christ Jesus(James 1:1) James, a SERVANT of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ *2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a SERVANT and apostle of Jesus Christ.The “highest position” for believers is as a SERVANT.

Today in our culture, it seems as though we are so fixated on what our position is or what our calling is that we frequently lose sight of our humble position as a servant in this world. Our culture has become very “title oriented” to say the least. Therefore, our tendency is to let everyone know our title, what we do and what we have accomplished. Our title seems to jump to the forefront of our conversation in order to establish our significance before others… “This is my calling, my job. This is what I’m called to do. I have accomplished this or that.” For those who view themselves as title-less or lesser in title, insecurity can breed as they feel devalued and ill-fitted in our culture.

However, even though Paul, who wrote a third of the New Testament and who many view as the greatest of the apostles, declared his greatest value was as a servant of Jesus Christ: *Ten years before he died he stated in 1 Cor. 15:9 for “I am the least of the apostles, not worthy to be called the apostle, because I persecuted the church.” *Three years before his death he writes in Eph.3:8,”…I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people…” *One year before he dies he declares in 1 Tim. 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” The more Paul matured and grew in His relationship with Christ, the more he was humbled and understood that anything he had accomplished for the kingdom was only by the grace of God not in or of himself. He was merely a servant of the Lord. Father, may it be so for our children and grandchildren as well.

In the kingdom, the most important title we can take upon ourselves or that we want our children and grandchildren to take upon themselves is to be a SERVANT like Jesus was. Jesus said he came to serve not to be served.Therefore, may our children/grandchildren be called to serve as Jesus did.Father, let our children’s identity not be in “what they do”. It’s not in “what they have”. It’s in “whose they are”. (Luke 12:15)…”For one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses”…. It consists in Jesus.

Mark 9:33 states “Then he (Jesus) came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, what was it you disputed among yourselves on the road? But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves whowould be the greatest. And he sat down, called the twelve and said to them if anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Father, may our children understand that success in the kingdom is not about how many people can be under them, but in how they spend their lives in service to others.

(Philippians 2:3) “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in the lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” Father, please help our children to understand that If they really want to help more people, they must learn to serve them and to serve them well.

(Matthew 23:12) “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” The benefit…If God exalts our children, then, by His hand, they can have a greater influence in the kingdom to help others, to lift them up.

Isaiah 57:15 “For thus says the high and lofty one, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is contrite and has a HUMBLE spirit.” May our children be humble in spirit that the Lord may dwell with them always.

Psalm 138:6 “ Though the Lord is on high, yet he regards the lowly (humble).”

Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly (humble) in heart, and you will find REST for your souls.”May our children mature in the faith, may they become more and more humble.

And as the scripture states, knowing Jesus, the lowly, humble one, will bring REST to their very souls. Let it be so Father, let it be so…In Jesus’ name we pray,

Amen

Simply Pray

Simply pray… Early this morning I put together some scripture verses for prayer. Please join me in prayer for our children and grandchildren.With each prayer is a verse to proclaim. I would like to encourage you to speak and declare the verses out loud (so powerful) and trust God to work on the heart of your children/grandchildren:

1. Lord, we pray our children/ grandchildren will believe in you with a devoted heart. “I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:1). It’s not enough to believe. The Bible reminds us that even the devil believed. But we pray that our children would fully and completely devote their hearts to God.

2. Lord, we pray our children will let you transform their lives.“I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7). Life change is what we all desire to see in our children. We want the old to be made new. And we want our children to walk in truth. Father grab hold of their hearts and mold them into the masterpiece you have made them to be.

3. Lord, we pray our children will be protected and convicted when sin tries to creep into their lives. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom hereceives.” (Hebrews 12:6).

4. Lord, we pray our children will do what is right according to your word. “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” (Psalm37:3)

5. Lord, we pray our children will believe the truth about who they are in Christ. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).Identity is foundational to each of us. Most of us take on an identity early in life and many times it sticks with us for life. We pray that our children would believe the truth about who they are in Christ.

6. Lord, we pray our children will listen and obey your voice.“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).These days we are bombarded by noise. Social media has overwhelmed us in many ways and has made it hard to hear from God, to distinguish His voice. We pray that our children would be sensitive to God’s voice. Father, tune their ears to listen to what You tell them over what the world is telling them.

7. Lord, we pray our children will make wise choices in the face of peer pressure. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1Corinthians 10:31).

8. Lord, we pray our children’s hearts will be protected from evil. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

9. Lord, we pray our children will have compassion on others.“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”(Romans 12:10).

10. Lord, We pray our children will love you with their heart, soul, and mind. “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”(Matthew 22:37)

Blessings,

Karen

Through The Fire

I wrote this a while back and posted it but it still seems so timely during this season. It ministers to me and and I hope to you…..”

When you walk “through” the fire, you shall not be burned.” (Isaiah 43:2) “Through” the fire, not around it, not beside it, and not outside it. Before God changes our circumstances, He often uses our circumstances to change us.

Heidi Baker, a missionary from Mozambique did a teaching on Psalm 84 while Bruce and I were visiting in Southern California a few years back. She had been “through” numerous trials and much suffering on the mission field. Many times she and her husband had almost been killed. She shared how God had helped them “through” these hardships. Their path was long and difficult and still they stood before us sharing their lives in strength and joy. Psalm 84:5-7 states: “As they pass “through” the Valley of Baca [brokenness, loss, grief, and weeping] they make it a spring…they go from strength to strength”.

I love the hope and power instilled in those words… “from strength to strength.”No matter how tragic the circumstances, when my father died, my mother died, when my baby girl died, when I was frightened, alone, and penniless as a young woman, God met my needs. He carried me and He will carry you…”through” it all. When we embrace him and yield ourselves in absolute surrender to Him, He, in His mercy and grace takes us from strength to strength.

“When you pass “through” the waters, I will be with you; and “through” the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk” through” the fire, you shall not be burned” (Isaiah 43:2). The refiner knows how long the ore must stay in the fire to produce gold. The potter knows how long the clay must stay on the wheel to become a thing of value, beauty, and usefulness. Be comforted this day my friends, our Father God is working for you, “through” you and in you. If you’re crying out right now, ‘ God help me get “through” this.’

Be strengthened. Rejoice! There’s abounding hope in the word “through”.

Are We Running With The Wolves?

As our culture becomes more polarized, we are seeing more anger, division, and war rhetoric rise up in believers than ever before. Clearly, I don’t doubt that we are in a war, but we must remember who we are fighting. This is a spiritual war. The question we must ask is this: Is a warlike posture the proper response to an increasingly anti-Christian society? Is this how we will win them to Christ? Joining and running with the pack? Does such an approach represent the “wisdom that comes down from above,” or the wisdom that is “earthly, unspiritual, [and] demonic” (James 3:13–18)?

Two Kinds of Wisdom 

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”(James 3:13–18)

Our proper response is, as Jesus himself put it, “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting. . . . But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36). “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). 

When Jesus was being arrested and, Peter, in his pitiful attempt to intercede, cut off the ear of a guard with his sword, Jesus told him to put down the sword. 

Peter and the disciples must have been incredibly shocked by Jesus’ response. It was indeed countercultural. 

And while Jesus was on trial and eventually being crucified…Note His response:

*We don’t see Jesus spewing in anger, resorting to name-calling and mockery. 

*We don’t see him imitating outrage culture or giving in so easily to the pack. 

*We don’t see Jesus fighting and quarreling with his opponents—forgetting that such skirmishes stem from selfish motives (James. 4:1), 

*We don’t see Jesus mocking those in opposition, using the popular rhetoric of sarcastic memes, name-calling, and condescending language.

*We don’t see Jesus in their likeness RUNNING WITH THE WOLVES.

“But shouldn’t we oppose the evils being spread in our society?”

A recent article in the Gospel Coalition answered this question so very well: 

“The answer is a resounding YES. Engaging with—and even confronting—our culture is a legitimate form of being salt and light in the world.

Again, the deciding factor is the NATURE of our engagement. Are we seeking to destroy or to rescue our opponents? When we correct or oppose or reprove, is it with the goal of winning the conversation or winning a neighbor? Do we confront others in the right spirit? To engage with our culture in a militant and hostile manner is to forsake our role as ambassadors. It’s trading our diplomatic visas for military dog tags. It’s trading the armor of God for the fig leaves of human striving. It’s a capitulation to earthly wisdom—attempting to fight for the kingdom of God on the world’s terms.Too often, when push comes, shove follows. Too often, when the culture opposes us, we feel like equal opposition is the only answer. But the second greatest commandment reminds us that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. And the parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that our neighbor is any person we come into contact with—including those who insult and threaten us.

By divine decree, everyone is our neighbor. No exceptions. And we win our neighbors through the same love that won us.”

Blessings Friends,

Karen