Wrestling with God

Wrestling is a sport that involves grappling with an opponent while trying to obtain a position of advantage using different methods or techniques. Surprisingly, it is a wrestling match that the Lord often uses to become our portal into faith. Jacob’s wrestling experience described in Genesis 32 can be used to shape our view of God and His blessings.  There are times when God only releases His blessings on us after a season of prolonged and sometimes painful wrestling with Him.

            In Genesis 32, Jacob is returning to His place of birth with his small tribe of wives and children after twenty years away and is mustering courage to reunite with Esau, the brother whose life he damaged through deceit and manipulation. Jacob is quite frightened because his estranged brother, Esau, is coming to meet him with four hundred men. Jacob doesn’t regard this as a welcome party! It appears to be quite an army, which terrifies him! So Jacob splits up His household into two camps and sends them all ahead of him, to try and avoid complete annihilation. Jacob, restless and unable to sleep, is left to spend the night alone — no doubt in desperate prayer. On this lonely night, he can’t hide behind his vast wealth, his many servants, or his large and complicated family… they’re all gone. He is alone in the dark in a desolate place…until he’s not. Until a nameless, stranger leaps out of nowhere, throws him to the ground and proceeds to wrestle Jacob until daybreak. At some point during this strange contest Jacob realizes that he is wrestling with God. Now that’s quite a revelation! Then amazingly, when God decides it’s time to end the match, he dislocates Jacob’s hip and demands to be released. Jacob, in significant pain, replies, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). This response evidently pleases God, who pronounces this blessing on Jacob: “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob (deceiver), but Israel (struggles with God), for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Genesis 32:28). That next morning Jacob then limps toward his tense reunion with Esau with a weakened body and a strengthened faith. Having wrestled with God, he knows his prayers regarding Esau will be answered. 

            This story may resonate with you as it does me. Have you ever found yourself alone in the dark in a desolate place?  How often, in that menacing darkness, have you done solitary battle with something you don’t recognize as God until much, much later? It is in relationship with God and in His all-encompassing presence that we fight the fights that bend, break, and remake us.  It is in God’s company that we face down our personal demons.  It is God alone who brings us to the ragged edges of our own strength so that finally, finally, we’ll surrender (a death of self), and allow ourselves to be transformed.  

            Take note of what God did when he wrestled Jacob. Jacob began the night dreading Esau’s arrival. He was full of fear and desperation. But he ended the night of struggle with God’s blessing and a renewed faith. All of our struggling with God in faith leads to rest, resting in Him that is. And isn’t it interesting that God did not simply speak to Jacob in a dream or vision as he had at other times and reiterate His promise with comforting words? This time God addressed Jacob’s fear by requiring him to wrestle all night. This probably felt to Jacob like a badly timed hassle when he just wanted comfort and assurance. However, later he realized just how comforting it was. Sometimes when we want God’s comfort, he sends it in unexpected and even unwanted packages. Surprisingly, God afflicted Jacob with an injury. This had the effect of making Jacob even more vulnerable to Esau, forcing Jacob’s faith to more fully rest on God and not himself. Evidently, from Jacob’s story, we learn that, if necessary, God will even cause us to limp to increase our faith.

Furthermore, wrestling with God changed Jacob’s identity. He was no longer to be known as one who received his blessing by deception. He was renamed Israel and received God’s blessing by prevailing with God by faith. This struggle turned out to be a profoundly gracious gift of restoration that God gave Jacob. Jacob’s tenacious faith pleased God and he rewarded Jacob’s request (Hebrews 11:6). When God calls us to wrestle with Him, there’s always more going on than we first understand and God always uses it to transform us for good. Jacob wasn’t the only person in Scripture to wrestle with God. David wrestled (1 Chronicles 13:11). Jesus wrestled (Matthew 26:39). These moments of personal struggle with God’s will are grounded in genuine relationship. That’s the kind of relationship God wants with us: one in which we learn (through experience) to trust his character, even when we struggle to understand and accept some of His choices. Wrestling with God is a matter of reaching out to Him as He is. It requires embracing his vastness and unpredictability. It may be kind of scary, but it’s the foundation for deep levels of trust in a faithful Father who is trustworthy even when we don’t understand.

            When God makes us wrestle Him for blessing, it is not because God is reluctant to bless us, even if that’s how it first feels. It is because he has more blessings for us in the wrestling than without it. Remember, God was the initiator and pursued Jacob for this match. Jacob was grappling in his own anxiety over Esau and his approaching army when God showed up. The wrestling drew Jacob out of his fearful preoccupation and forced him to focus on God. I doubt that Jacob wanted this forced focus or even believed he needed it at first. It wouldn’t surprise me if at the beginning Jacob had prayed as I might have, “God, would you get rid of this guy? This is the last thing I need right now.” But what he discovered was that the wrestling was a means of God’s grace, a channel for God’s blessing on Him. 

            So my friends, what is it you really need from God right now? What blessing do you want from Him and how badly do you want it? What I carry away from the story of Jacob’s wounding is the troubling, but solid truth, that blessing and bruising are not mutually exclusive in the realm of God.  We can limp and prevail at the same time.  I can’t dictate the terms of blessing.  I can’t say, “I want the blessing but not the limp.”  Sometimes, the blessing is the limp.  As dawn breaks, the stranger asks Jacob to disengage, and Jacob, tenacious as ever, says no: “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”  I love this line. I want to make it my life’s stance, because it assures me that sometimes, “winning” involves nothing more than not giving up.  Sometimes, the spiritual life is about little more than hanging on for dear life to a God who appears mysterious, bewildering, and a bit frightening.  Sometimes the whole of Christianity comes down to saying, “There’s so much I can’t wrap my head around, but I know there’s a blessing in this mess somewhere and I’m going to hang on until I find it.” God will meet you in your anguish, fear, and uncertainty. But He may not meet you in the way you expect or desire. Your greatest ally may show up looking at first like your adversary, inciting you to wrestle with him. If so, remember Jacob. There are multiple blessings in the wrestling. So when God calls you to wrestle with Him in prayer, it is an invitation to receive His blessing. Stay with Him and don’t give up.  He loves to bless that kind of tenacious faith and you will come out transformed. My friends, don’t let God go until He blesses you! Keep wrestling!

Rooted in Grace

This month our church has been in the midst of fasting and praying for 21 days as we begin the New Year 2024. A fast is a way of expressing a greater need beyond ourselves, our need of God and greater intimacy with Him. There is so much more I could say on the subject, but essentially, it’s a surrender, a renewal, a relinquishing of self, and a pressing in to the very heart of God. During a fast there comes a moment when you have to come clean with God…A moment when you need to unveil your secrets, struggles, and sins… 

A moment when you need to fall full weight on the grace of God.

During my prayer time, I’ve asked the lord repeatedly what is an attribute of God that he would like to have me focus on and grow in this year? Matthew 11:28-29 says: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you will find rest for your soul”. I want so much to learn of Him. So, in response, I began to notice Him speaking to me each day of His bountiful “Grace.” Praise God for abundant grace! I have so many questions that I’m asking Him and little by little answers are unfolding.

Sunday at church our pastor spoke on the familiar story of David and Goliath. Even though it’s a well-known story, I’m always amazed by the layers of treasure-filled wisdom hidden in God’s holy word, layers upon layers. I’ve always thought of David as such a strong, mighty, powerful man of God. Yes, I know he sinned greatly with Bathsheba, it’s true. However, as believers why do we sometimes believe or act as though our sin disqualifies us or others from the grace of God? According to Romans 5:15:

 “If many died through one man’s trespass, how much more did God’s grace and the free gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many.” 

So, therefore, grace is that quality in God that produces free gifts for guilty sinners. 

And according to Romans 11:5-6, you can’t work to earn grace. It is free and undeserved. 

“At the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise, grace would no longer be grace.”

None of us would be saved if grace was not undeserved favor.

So back to David’s story…Over the years, I’ve grown to really appreciate David. I know that he has his clear failures, and yet he is such a compelling and genuinely good king and man. I think of him as the shepherd who became king and “the sweet psalmist of Israel”. 

(2 Samuel 23:1). I think of him as a young warrior, who fought, lions, bears and a 

9-foot 6-inch giant. And this young boy was even strong enough to draw Goliath’s massive sword from its sheath and cut through his giant neck to take off his head! That seems unfathomable! 

In 2 Samuel 17, we see David’s son Absalom rebel against his father, march on Jerusalem, and send David retreating. David’s loyal friend Hushai characterizes David to Absalom:

“You know that your father and his men are mighty men, and that they are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides, your father is expert in war.” (2 Sam. 17:8) 

Not just his men, but David himself is mighty — and David in particular is expert in war.

In fact, the first time Scripture speaks of David, even before the Goliath account, he is introduced by one of Saul’s servants not only as “skillful in playing” but as “a man of valor, a man of war” and “a man of good presence.”

“Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” (1 Samuel 16:18)

Eventually, in celebration of David’s many feats we read of women dancing in the streets, singing of the strength they see in David: “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands”. David grows up to be a fierce warrior and Saul sets David over the men of war. Then in order to win Saul’s daughter as his bride, David brings the king two hundred Philistine foreskins. Even later we hear of David leading thirty thousand warriors in battle and being victorious wherever he goes (2 Sam. 8:6). At the end of his life, the reason God gives as to why David will not be the one to build the temple is that he is “a man of war.” The Bible further describes him in 2 Samuel 22 He “can run against a troop,” and “leap over a wall” (verse 29).

He writes that God “equipped me with strength” (verse 32) and “made my feet like the feet of a deer” (verse 33). God “trained my hands for war,” he adds, making his arms strong enough to “bend a bow of bronze” (verse 34). To be sure, an amazing physical specimen, a fierce warrior, an all-around mighty man is king David!

Yet, as David celebrates God’s good provision of physical, prowess, David makes a striking claim in verse 35. To me this takes David’s manhood to a brand-new level, and surpasses the glory of slaying a giant in his youth. He says to God in 2 Sam..22:36, “Your gentleness made me great. Did you hear that? He’s telling God, “Your gentleness made me great.

David is saying physical manifestations are not what made him great. He is saying it was God’s gentleness that made David greatWhat does it mean that God’s gentleness made him great? We might understand this in two ways. One, God had been gentle with David. David had flaws, many failures and sins. God could have rejected him and cut him off from the throne at any point. Yet God was gentle with him; he was gracious with him. And what’s more, David recognized the fact. Ladies, I’m talking “Grace” of God. Gentleness is graciousness. Gentleness is “Grace.” David did not deserve it, but God was gentle with him. Actually, I think David is saying even more here. Not only had the omnipotent God been gentle with David, but God’s own gentleness with David had changed David. God’s own grace had come to take root in David’s heart and characterize his own life and leadership. I’m suggesting that when David grew in His relationship with God and came to the throne and wielded kingdom power, he did so with gentleness. He did so with “Grace.” In humility and gentleness, David chooses to let Saul go free, even though he could have seized the kingdom from Saul. Even after Saul’s death, David takes initiative to show kindness and gentleness to make provision for the house of Saul. In fact, there are many more instances where David demonstrated gentleness and grace.

The greatness of David is not that he slew the giant Goliath. 

The greatness of David is that as a man he slew the giants in his own warrior’s heart: arrogance and pride, selfishness, unrighteous anger, petty disputes, personal offenses, and luxuries. David was a great king, and the type of the Anointed One to come. He was a man who was not weak, but strong, brave, kind, patient, and gentle. David, having learned from God’s own gentleness with him, learned how and when to be gentle with others. Rooted in grace is greatness!

1.”For by grace our children and grandchildren have been saved through faith. And this is not their own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8–9

2.”But he said to our children, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9–10

3.”For sin will have no dominion over our children, since they are not under law but under grace.”Rom.6:14 

Deceitful Questions

The most common attack of the enemy is through his questions. The enemy will do all he can to make you question: 1) What God has said and 2) Who he says you are(your identity). When he succeeds in making you ask his same questions, it always leads to deception and unbelief. On the contrary, when God is in the mix, and He leads you to start asking questions, He will always lead you to revelation and ultimately greater faith. You can readily tell what the enemy fears about your life by what he attacks. When the Israelites were nearing victory in the Promised Land, it was then that the enemy attacked with fear, deception and unbelief. Sadly, only Joshua and Caleb had courage to fight for the promises of God.  The others succumbed to fear and unbelief.  With some of my own family conflicts, I’ve come to realize that what the enemy fears about my family life, is the incredible power and strength that unity would bring to our family. Therefore, the enemy attacks and tries to bring division wherever he can. When I focus on my own fears and listen to the doubting questions of the enemy, it weakens my resolve to stand for God’s promises for my family.

In Genesis 3, the enemy deceived Eve with his first question. 

“Did God really say, You must never eat the fruit of any tree in the garden?”

“Did God really say?” was the first deception. Many people have fallen away as they begin to question the truth of God’s word. However, the Bible is the only book in existence where the author shows up when you read it. It’s alive and His words give life. Others have fallen away because they were confused by His word and don’t fully understand certain passages, so they reject the word and ultimately reject God.

I love Peter’s response to His lack of understanding in John 6:

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

 Many disciples left Jesus after that day because they couldn’t understand and they were frustrated by what he said. 

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

That’s it folks!  You have the words of eternal life! Even if we don’t completely understand the word, even if we don’t completely understand His time frame, His plans, and all the “whys” that can flow from our mouths, 

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

To repel the enemy’s attacks, we must abide in God’s word. Abide means to let the word become us. We are designed to hear from God. We are designed to perceive Him. 

In Luke 3 Jesus had just been baptized and God spoke from heaven saying: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” What an incredible moment! What an incredible word! Then Luke 4 states that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. In the wilderness, “The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

 Note this phrase… “If you are the Son of God.” The last thing God spoke to Jesus before he went in the wilderness was “this is my beloved son.” Satan is attempting to make Jesus question His identity and to react defensively.

 The devil can’t change “who” you are are but he can alter your confidence in who you are, which can lead you to doubt and unbelief. The devil wanted Jesus to prove that he was the Son of God by changing a stone to bread. But Jesus did not need to prove himself and certainly not to the devil! Sometimes when we set out to prove ourselves, it becomes more of a fleshy reaction, a defensive posture, because it’s born out of insecurity. The enemy is working hard to foul up people’s identity. 

As we can see, our culture has really been listening to the wrong questions and it’s taking a toll on the body of Christ especially on our young people. “Did God really say?”  “If you are a child of God?”. The enemy will do all he can to make us question these two key areas: 1) What God has said and 2) Who he says you are (your identity). 

Lord, we pray that You would unlock our hearts that we might be fully alive to our true identity in You. Give us clear revelation to see ourselves the way You see us. Help us to stand in Your truth against all enemy attacks and guard our hearts with all vigilance (Proverbs 4:23). Help us to identify the lies, and reveal to us any places where we are chained to the past in a negative way.  Teach us to hear Your voice and not believe the enemy’s destructive lies and questions about who we are. Thank You for our uniqueness and that we are made in Your image (Genesis 1:27).  Help us to choose to believe the truth about how You see us.  Help us to live a fruitful life and overflow with Your love to others. Give us greater authority in our prayer life. Thank You for the identity we have in You. Help us to live out this truth in our lives every day. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen

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,


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).



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,


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,


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



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”.