Power for the Weary

The other day, my husband, Joe, spent the entire afternoon outdoors cleaning our duck pond, mowing the lawn, and tidying up our shed. When he came back indoors, he exclaimed, “I’m exhausted and can hardly move!” I had been cleaning house all day myself, so I had a pretty good idea of how he felt. Nevertheless, I told my husband that Scripture tells us, “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’” (Joel 3:10 NKJV) Joe laughed it off, but I told him that if he continued to voice his exhaustion and weakness—guess what?—he was going to feel more and more tired all the time, and he wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything for the rest of the day.

The prophet Isaiah received some startling revelation on this subject that has been encouraging God’s people for centuries. He wrote: “[The Lord] gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29 NLT) When you and I have reached our apparent limits, we can remind ourselves that God offers us His supernatural power and strength. But we have to ask Him for it, and receive it by faith. We can simply say: “Lord, I’m feeling tired, weary, and worn out right now. But I thank You for Your offer to revive me. I ask that You fill me afresh with Your power and Your strength. I believe I receive them right now, Lord, and I give You all the praise, in Jesus’ name!” Then, go about your business, and declare with confidence, “I am strong in the Lord!” (Ephesians 6:10)

With the Holy Spirit dwelling in you and me, and with God’s Word and promises stored in our hearts, we have access to heavenly resources in trying times that will enable us to live fruitful, productive, and energetic lives. Don’t settle for less than God’s very best in this area. Rise up and walk in the victory that belongs to you in Christ!

Deliverance for Your Descendants

As a parent, Proverbs 11:21 has always been near and dear to my heart. But when my son, John, and his wife were expecting my first grandchild, this promise from God became even more vital to me and my family.

Scripture says: “The descendants of the righteous will be delivered.” (Proverbs 11:21 NASB) That means that no matter what dangers come against our children or grandchildren, or even our descendants in the future, if we pray and stand on this promise for them, God will intervene on their behalf in a mighty way to deliver and protect them.

Below is a prayer that I pray for my own descendants every day, and that I invite you to pray, too. I believe that it is totally scriptural, and therefore, filled with the power and authority of God.

“Lord, I thank You that Your Word says, ‘The descendants of the righteous will be delivered.’ On the basis of Your Word, I ask that You deliver all of my descendants from all evil, harm, destruction, disease, and defeat; from all poverty, debt, and lack; from every sickness, disease, infirmity, pain, symptom, wound, and injury; from every accident, catastrophe, calamity, and disaster; from every sin, bondage, and evil addiction; from all fear, dread, doubt, and unbelief—and from everything that is not of You. Thank You, Lord, that Your Word is true, and You are true to Your Word!”

You Don't Have to Be Afraid

When I was outside tending to my ducks, Lily and Larry, the other day, a hawk suddenly flew over our heads. The terror in my ducks’ eyes was apparent, and they stiffened and became paralyzed with fear. I happened to be standing right next to them at the time, so I emphatically told them, “You have nothing to fear while I’m standing right beside you!” Even though I knew that hawks were a real threat to Lily and Larry, and that they could do them serious harm, I didn’t understand their fearful behavior when it was obvious that their protector and provider was so very close by.

Suddenly, I heard the Lord’s voice deep in my spirit say, “That’s exactly how I feel when you forget that I am with you, and you become fearful and fretful.” I instantly felt ashamed, and the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance a verse from Isaiah 41:10 (AMP), which says: “Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.” The truth is that, for those of us who are abiding in Christ, “there is nothing to fear” when trouble comes. If I felt indignant when my ducks became afraid while I was standing right next to them, imagine how the Lord feels when we become fearful every time we feel threatened in some way.

Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” (John 14:27 AMP) You and I have the privilege of claiming the peace of Christ in the midst of our trials, and we don’t have to allow ourselves to be intimidated by circumstances, other people, or the devil himself. The next time trouble comes knocking on your door, remember that you have a choice. Take your stand in faith and declare with confidence—“I choose peace, in Jesus’ name!”

Rewards for the Good We Do

“Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do.” Ephesians 6:8 NLT

My son, John, didn’t get his first job until much later than most kids his age. We allowed him to stay home during his summer vacations from school, because when he was only 16, he created a Christian web site that began touching the lives of others from its earliest stages. The site, “Jesusfreakhideout.com,” grew rapidly, and maintaining it became more and more time-consuming for our son.

Eventually, when John decided that he wanted to buy a car, he began looking for a full-time job one summer. Even though he was 20 years old, he had absolutely no job experience, and we weren’t sure he had any marketable skills. We began earnestly praying that God would move mightily on his behalf, and that He would open doors of opportunity for John, and give him favor with the right people, so that he could somehow secure an excellent job with good pay. One day, a friend of my son’s mentioned that he had a relative who worked for a nearby company, that had a job opening requiring web work experience. Shortly afterwards, this company called my son on the phone, asked him a few questions, and told him to report for work immediately. John never needed to go for an interview. He never even filled out an application. And he got an excellent starting salary from these folks. As it turned out, the skills that John developed from maintaining his Christian web site–his labor of love for the Lord–were the very skills that opened exciting doors for him in the job market.

The above verse is a promise from the Lord that He will reward us for the good that we do. The Living Bible puts it this way: “Remember, the Lord will PAY you for each good thing you do.” (Ephesians 6:8 TLB) Even though John wasn’t being paid a regular salary for his ministry efforts, God showed that He had creative ways to reward him, just the same. Don’t ever hesitate to invest your time, your treasure, or your talents in the kingdom of God. For nothing you do in His name will be left unrewarded by the Lord!

Lord, I praise You for being the “Rewarder” that the Scriptures say You are. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV) Do a new and mighty work in my heart, so that I’ll actively look for ways to serve You. Thank You that as I do everything as “unto the Lord,” You will “pay” me in ways that will delight my heart, and glorify You!

Discipline's Bonus Benefit

While raising my two sons, who are now both in their 30’s, I discovered that there are some benefits to disciplining children that we rarely hear about. That is, in punishing one child for disobeying, we can teach the other children to obey. The Bible says: “Punish the insolent–make an example of them. Who knows? Somebody might learn a good lesson.” (Proverbs 19:25 MSG) While my older son was growing up, he was a lot like me as a child—strong-willed and obstinate. He needed a firm hand, and my husband and I had to discipline him regularly. On the other hand, my younger son was more obedient and eager to please. And if you ask him why, even throughout his teenage years, he gave us little trouble, he will plainly tell you that it was mainly because he saw his older brother getting punished for doing wrong, and he wanted no part of it.

Scripture says: “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.” (Proverbs 13:24 NLT) God expects us to discipline our children out of love for them, and respect for Him. When we do, it will not only benefit the child we are correcting, but it will also profit our other children, too. Pray that God will give you the wisdom and the courage you need, to give your children what they need!

Different Styles of Parenting

I’ve been a mom for almost 33 years now, and one of the most profound lessons I’ve learned as a mother is that no two children are the same. They have different personalities, and different needs. So while you can love all of your children the same, you cannot teach, correct, or discipline them the same. The Lord used a passage in Isaiah to remind me of this fact years ago: “[The farmer] doesn’t thresh all grains the same. A sledge is never used on dill, but it is beaten with a stick. A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin, but it is beaten softly with a flail. Bread grain is easily crushed, so he doesn’t keep on pounding it.” (Isaiah 28:27-28 TLB) These verses reveal how the Lord deals with each of His children differently. But it also applies to how we should deal with our own children.

Because my older son, as a child, was more stubborn and obstinate–like his mom was–my husband and I often needed to back up our instructions with disciplinary action. On the other hand, most of the time, all my younger son required to demonstrate obedience was a firm voice of instruction. It didn’t take long for my husband and I to figure out that each of our children required a different style of parenting and correction.

The final verse of this passage of Isaiah’s says: “The Lord Almighty is a wonderful teacher and gives the farmer wisdom.” (Isaiah 28:29 TLB) You and I, as believers, have a wealth of wisdom available to us to raise our children to be happy, healthy, and godly. Our God is a “wonderful teacher,” and He is eager to help us succeed as parents. Are you making the most of your privileges as a Christian parent today?

Divine Increase for You and Your Children

You don’t have to spend much time in the Scriptures to realize that our God is a God of increase. Most of the time, though, divine increase is not automatic. We must pray for it with pure motives, believing that the Lord desires to bless those who love Him and serve Him with wholehearted devotion. Those of us who are parents have a duty to pray for increase for our children, as well as for ourselves. And we need to realize that God is not only interested in increasing our finances, but other aspects of our lives, as well.

That’s why every day, I say: “Lord, on the authority of Your Word, I declare to myself and to my family—“May the Lord make you increase, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. May the Lord make you increase in numbers, wealth, and strength, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!” (Psalm 115:14-15 NIV) I studied out these verses in Scripture, and that’s how I came to discover the various ways that God wants us and our families to increase.

I also pray a verse from the Gospel of Luke over my children that speaks of the increase that Jesus Himself enjoyed as He was growing up. I say, “Lord, I pray that my children would keep increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52 NASB) I’ve already begun praying like this over my grandchildren, even though I won’t become a grandmother for real until this October.

Deuteronomy 7:13 (NIV) says: “He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers.” Our God is committed to increasing His children. Begin partnering with Him today, so that you and yours can enjoy all of the increase that He has in mind for you!

God's Promise of Provision for Your Children

There have been many promises over the years that the Lord has spoken to my heart in times of trouble, even where my job as a parent is concerned, but one of the most precious ones for me is Psalm 37:25 (NIV), where David says: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Because neither of my sons were all that thrilled about school or their studies, there were times when I doubted that they would even graduate from high school. This was bewildering to me, because I had always been a conscientious and high-achieving student, and it never even crossed my mind that my children would be anything different.

As a mom, I longed to see both of my sons win full scholarships, so that they could go to college and not worry about the cost. When it became obvious to me that this dream of mine would never be realized, I cried many bitter tears. As I brought my heartbreak and concerns before the Lord in prayer, He led me to His promise in Psalm 37:25. It was His way of assuring me that He was not going to abandon my children, and that He still had bright and beautiful futures ahead for them that included divine protection and provision. Both of my sons did attend some college, but neither of them graduated with the usual 4-year degrees.

Today, my older son, Joseph, has a great job in the computer field, and already makes more money than his dad ever did—something my husband is very proud of—and John has one of the largest and most popular Christian music websites ever. All without any student loans to pay off, I might add. I’m sharing all this with you in case you, too, are concerned about the future of your own children. If you are living your life for the Lord, and if you are covering your children in prayer each day, and entrusting them to His care, you can bet that He has awesome plans for their lives, and that He will never forsake them or let them go hungry!

Cultivate Thankfulness

I recently heard a godly man talking about how upset he was when his father passed away. As he thought about all of the plans he and his dad had made for the future, he became bitter and depressed. When the Lord dealt with him about having an unthankful attitude, and refusing to appreciate all of the years he shared with his dad, this man became repentant, and adopted an attitude of gratitude. Joy and peace sprang up in his heart, and he was greatly comforted and consoled.

I knew that hearing this man’s testimony was no accident. My oldest son and his wife were planning on traveling to the East Coast to visit with my husband and me, as well as other family members, for the upcoming Christmas holiday. And I had already begun asking people to pray that I wouldn’t be too depressed when they left and went back to the West Coast. The Lord was clearly dealing with me about my lack of gratitude, and my tendency to feel sorry for myself whenever I focused on my loved ones living so far away. I apologized to the Lord for my unthankfulness, and I asked Him to show me how I could demonstrate my appreciation for all of the good in my life. He led me to some Scriptures that opened my eyes and equipped me for victory in this area.

Colossians 3:15 (AMP) says, “Be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” The Message Bible puts it this way: “Cultivate thankfulness.” The apostle Paul is referring to a lifestyle of thanksgiving here. It’s a constant mindset or attitude that permeates everything we do, think, say, and feel. And it never quits or fades. Paul says the same thing when he writes: “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be; be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP) Paul knew that nothing invites the presence and power of God into our lives like praise does. He was undoubtedly familiar with David’s declaration in Psalm 22, which says: “But You are holy, Who inhabit the praises of Israel.” (v.3) When God’s people lift up heartfelt praise to Him, He manifests Himself in extraordinary ways. Unfortunately, grumbling and self-pity have the opposite effect. You can’t feel sorry for yourself, or gripe about something or someone, unless you are pointedly ignoring God’s goodness, mercy, and faithfulness. I heard someone say that self-pity is downright dangerous. That’s because it is actually rooted in pride, self-centeredness, and self-absorption. And it opens the door to the dark forces.

David wrote: “My tongue shall talk of Your righteousness, rightness, and justice, and of [my reasons for] Your praise all the day long.” (Psalm 35:28 AMP) When the Lord showed me this verse, I knew what I had to do. Before, during, and after my loved ones’ visit, I repeatedly lifted my hands to heaven, and gave thanks and praise for everything and everyone that blessed my life in any way. And I constantly expressed my gratitude for every moment I was able to share with my son and his wife. I refused to focus on their departure, which protected me from that awful feeling of dread that I had always experienced in the past. And every time a sad or negative thought or emotion threatened to take hold of me, I found some reason to thank God. This strategy enabled me to truly enjoy my son’s visit, and to be filled with joy and peace the entire time. I once heard a godly man say, “There’s nothing better you can do than to give God thanks even in the most difficult situations.” Now I know firsthand just how true that statement is.

If you are in a painful place today, please know that God wants to show Himself strong on your behalf. And He will do exactly that, if you will begin lifting heartfelt praise to Him for all of the good in your life. Right now, declare with me the words of David that have the power to transform the lives and circumstances of God’s people: “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works and wonderful deeds! I will rejoice in You and be in high spirits; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High!” (Psalm 9:1-2 AMP)

Lord, forgive me for my lack of appreciation. And give me a thankful and grateful heart for who You are, and all You do for me on a regular basis. Guard me from self-pity, complaining, and grumbling, and remind me of what they can cost me. Thank You for teaching me to worship and praise You in ways that will deepen my love for You, and my intimacy with You!