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

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

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

Splashing Prayers

I know a lot of people are going through some very difficult times right now. I read this excerpt in a devotional by Robert Morris. I love this…be blessed my friends:

**PRAYER-FILLED TEARS In 2007, New Life Church in Colorado was devastated when a young man armed with guns came onto the church campus during weekend services, ending the lives of two young girls and then his own. Later, the details of what happened were being shared with a classroom full of men and women who had gathered to learn more about prayer. As the teacher was relaying the information, she meant to say, “Upon learning of the event, my eyes splashed tears.” But what she actually said was, “My eyes splashed prayers.”**

There are times in our lives when we find ourselves overwhelmed by circumstances out of our control: a bad report from the doctor, a prodigal son or daughter, a nation under attack—situations that cause more questions than answers. It’s during times like these that people say they don’t have the right words, they don’t know how to pray or they don’t know the right scripture. Yet sometimes the deepest form of prayer is tears—to be so moved by a situation that your spirit cries out from your deepest being and your tears become a sweet incense of prayer to the Father.The Holy Spirit was sent to help us when we don’t have the words to pray, when all we can do is cry out to God with tears. Romans 8:26–27 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought,but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” When we don’t have the words to say and only tears come forth, the Holy Spirit understands those tears and groans and articulates them to the Father on our behalf. Honest, heartfelt tears move the heart of God.

Tears are a powerful weapon in our arsenal of prayer. Through the Spirit, they propel us into genuine, selfless prayers on behalf of others and ourselves. The Holy Spirit understands those tears and conveys them to the Father. The Father, full of compassion, acts upon those prayers in His perfect will.Please join me in “splashing prayers” for those we know who are suffering greatly this morning.

Blessings to you my friends,

Karen

Prayer for Vision

Prayer for VISION: Today we need vision more than ever my friends! The word vision appears 103 times in the Bible. While the notion of vision may seem unusual to some, it’s not unusual to God. Vision is given to us by God to direct and guide our path. I have put together scriptures (some are personalized) and personal prayer concerning vision. I hope you will join me in praying each day this week these scriptures over yourself and your family for God’s vision/direction in all that you say or do. 

I. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the laws of God (Proverbs 29:18 NASB).

Where there is no understanding of the Word of the Lord, people do whatever they want to, but happy is he who keeps the law (Proverbs 29:18 NLT).

II. Pray : 

Father, I praise you for inviting me into your eternal purpose. I thank you that you are working everything in me according to your will (Ephesians 1:11). You are the master strategist. Father, please give me a greater vision of your purpose. Awaken my heart and establish your reign in my life. I pray that out of Your glorious riches You will strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being and give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation that I may know you better (Ephesians 3:16-17). I want to know you Lord. Grant me greater vision that I may fulfill your destiny and purpose for my life. May I never surrender to a lesser life than you have designed and created for me. 

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

IV. Father I pray your Word over myself knowing it never falls void but always accomplishes its purposes:

1)“ I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” Joel 2:28 Father please give me vision. Anoint me with your gifts that I may see clearly your will for me.

2) And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 Father give me vision and I will record it and be guided by you. Then I will go forth and fulfill your purposes for my life.

3) Where there is no prophetic vision the people are unrestrained, but blessed is he who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18 Father restrain me to your will and vision for my life.

4) For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 

Father I will wait expectantly for your vision and the steps I should take according to your will. I will go forth in faith as I step because I surrender my will to you.

5) For I know the plans you have for me, declares the Lord, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

6) Help me to …Seek you Lord and your strength; help me seek your presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11 Father I know that alone I am not enough, but by your strength and spirit I am more than enough in all things. I surrender myself to you.

7) “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for me and those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 

Father, I thank you and praise you. Please seal all these prayers in the name of Jesus. Amen

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

Did Rahab Shelter in Place?

One of my favorite books of the Bible is Joshua. The book of Joshua is dramatic and contains well-known miracle-filled episodes of the courageous leader Joshua who was used mightily for the glory of the Lord. An important theme of the book of Joshua is repeated in the beginning: “As I was with Moses, I will be with you” (Joshua1:5, 3:7). God assures Joshua He will be with him always. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” This theme is developed as Joshua is compared to Moses, and repeats many of his actions throughout the book. Joshua is a leader without hesitation, valiant and bold. He reminds me of an audacious robin hood type character who is enflamed and empowered by the Spirit of God. Joshua braves impossible feats of courage, rescuing and caring for the meek and helpless, and fearlessly crushing great evil and despair through the hand of God. Joshua is portrayed as a prototype for future Kings and one who keeps the teaching of Moses in its entirety (1:7-8, 11:15). 

The interesting figure of Rahab is introduced in Chapter 2. This chapter reveals the exciting story of a brave prostitute and innkeeper, living in the evil city of Jericho. Rahab was a dauntless woman who risked her life and the lives of her family to hide Joshua’s spies from the King of Jericho. In return for her service Rahab survived the conquest of the city. Joshua’s spies had instructed her to gather her family and stay in her house till the battle and wrath of God passed. You might even say that Rahab was told to “shelter in place.” This reminds me of another passage along the same order in Isaiah 26:20 when God brings judgment on the wicked and protects the people of God. He says: “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.”

Rahab was also told to hang a scarlet cord over her window to distinguish her and protect her. Just as the blood of the lamb covered the doorposts of God’s people in Egypt and protected them, a scarlet cord symbolized the blood covering for Rahab. Today as we “shelter in place” it is the actual blood of Christ that covers us. We don’t need the blood of a physical lamb or a scarlet cord in the window to “shelter in place.” We are covered by the precious blood of Christ. 

Even though Rahab had a really dark and dirty past, her great faith in the Lord gave her a significant role in history. Surprisingly she is later listed in the lineage of Christ. Rahab proves to be a woman of authentic faith: she had heard what the people of God had done in crossing the Red Sea and in defeating other nations. She recognized and trusted that this was the true God who would lead Israel to victory over Jericho and deliver her family from the coming wrath. 

Most remarkably we see the fruit of this faith in the grace Rahab shows her family. Women did not become prostitutes in the ancient world unless they had no other options. It was only if a woman was a captive, had no family, or was abandoned by her family, that she would turn to prostitution. Since we know Rahab’s family was alive and well, the fact that she negotiated for their salvation, despite the fact that they left her to this lifestyle, demonstrates Rahab’s incredible grace in saving them. To risk her life to save her family was/is a sign of her faith in this great God, the one true God. And the spies, far from despising Rahab (a social outcast and traitor to her country), they not only offer her protection for protecting them, but, they offer her hesed. “Hesed” is the Hebrew word used in this chapter of Rahab and throughout Scripture to refer to the kind of love God shows His covenant people. It is not just affection, but it is the loyal, unrelenting love of God. It is God’s love that never stops pursuing His people until they are safely with Him. When the spies hear Rahab’s testimony, they recognize a person of faith and offer to her and her family not only physical protection, but also offer her a place in the covenant community. One might call it an adoption of Rahab and her family into the people of God. 

This is so exciting to me! No matter what terrible mistakes we have made in our lives, no matter how dark the city, the state or the nation we live in, there is hope for adoption in the family of God. Who would have ever thought that Rahab, a prostitute and an outcaste, basically a leper in her own city, would be found in the lineage of Christ. She lived in Jericho, the most evil place around! Horrible influences! Words can’t even describe the depth of depravity there! And yet, through it all, God made a way for Rahab and all of her family. God allowed her to HEAR of Him and His great testimonies. And Rahab, through a thick veil of darkness, dared to LISTEN and HEAR. She saw the LIGHT and dared to BELIEVE! What a merciful God we serve! What HESED! How truly blessed we are! 
“Sheltered in Place” or not, God can cut through the darkest of evil! He can cut through the worst environments! Nothing can hold God back! He can cut through the deepest despair! He can cut through the deadliest of viruses! He transcends time and space! He will use us even in a gripping season like this one. 
Yield yourselves to Him, allow Him to use you even now! 
For He says to His anointed, to all of us who believe in Him (Isaiah 45:2-3):

“I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.

I will give you hidden treasures,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”

Blessings,
Karen