Reaching the Unreachable

My husband, Joe, has a long-time friend who has been running away from God all of his life. Several years ago, the Lord led me to begin praying for this man and his family on a regular basis. I stood on God’s promise which says: “He will even deliver the one [for whom you intercede] who is not innocent; yes, he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.” (Job 22:30 AMP)

Well, my husband’s friend didn’t turn his life over to Christ after I prayed, but his son did. Not only did this son get saved, but he married a Christlike believer who encouraged his devotion to the Lord. They have three children now–grandchildren of my husband’s friend–and God is using these little ones, and their godly parents, to draw this man to Him. Now they can claim God’s promise in Acts 16:31 (NASB), which says: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And I believe with all my heart that it’s only a matter of time before Joe’s friend surrenders his life to the Lord.

If you have people you care about who are unsaved, pray faithfully for them. Even if they look like a hopeless case, rest assured that the Lord has a way of reaching them, perhaps even through their own loved ones. Let this encouraging promise from the Scriptures fill you with a fresh sense of hope today–“The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16 AMP)

A Living and Mighty God

Every day, I like to remind the devil and his cohorts that my God is alive and well. I like to remind myself of it, too. Apparently, David and Job felt the same way. David declared: “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!” (Psalm 18:46 NIV) As I declare these words aloud each day, my spirit is refreshed and revived, and hope and joy spring forth inside of me.

I like to follow up David’s words with Job’s in Job 19:25 (NIV): “I know that my Redeemer lives”! One translation says, “I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives”! (AMP) Job’s words remind me that Christ is not only my Redeemer, but He fights my battles for me, too.

As I lift my hands in praise of the Lord, I continue with my declarations of faith by adding: “I know that my Healer lives! I know that my Provider lives! I know that my Deliverer lives! I know that my Savior lives! I know that my Comforter lives! Praise His Holy name!”

I make these declarations in good times and bad. They serve to remind me that God is everything to me, and He’s all I will ever need in this life. They also remind the Lord that I am aware of His precious promises, and I am taking Him at His Word, and expecting Him to make good on it.

If you are a follower of Christ, you serve a living and mighty God. Begin declaring your faith in Him today, and watch Him move heaven and earth to be all that you need Him to be!

The Problem with Pampering

“Discipline your children while there is still hope. If you don’t you will ruin their lives.” Proverbs 19:18 NLT

My husband and I were at a neighbor’s house one day, when the father and husband of the household confessed in exasperation, “The better I treat my kids, the worse they treat me!” This man began to describe in detail how for years, he had bent over backwards to win the approval of his children by striving to meet their needs, and even their wants. These children were now in their teens and early 20s, and they were spoiled and selfish, and showed a definite lack of respect for their parents. As I began to think about this man and his family, and to pray for them, I asked the Lord to help me understand what might have gone so terribly wrong in this household. First of all, let me say that my own family and I have had our share of ups and downs over the years. My husband and I have made many mistakes in raising our two sons, who are both in their 30s now. They are fine young men, but I know in my heart that I could have done a much better job as a parent, and I regret not seeking God more, so that I could follow more closely His divine plan for my family.

When I was growing up, there was a famous child “expert,” who had a tremendous impact on an entire generation. He advocated permissive methods of parenting, and he condemned the kind of discipline that the Bible teaches. Decades later, this man said that he had been terribly wrong, and that after conducting long-term studies, he discovered that permissive parents almost always raised rebellious children. His revelation made me think of the Scripture that says, “A servant who is pampered from childhood will later become a rebel.” (Proverbs 29:21 NLT) One reason why pampered children often become rebellious is that they usually have very little respect for their parents. The Bible says, “We have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.” (Hebrews 12:9 NIV) I had a very tough father, and though I resented much of his discipline when I was growing up, I have to admit that I always had a tremendous amount of respect for him. I know a young man who is angry and bitter, and if you ask him why, he will tell you point blank, “My father didn’t say ‘No’ to me enough.” This man equated discipline with love, just as the Bible does. Proverbs 13:24 (NLT) says: “If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.”

One of the biggest mistakes that parents are making today is that they are desperately trying to win the approval of their children. Do you think that God worries about winning the approval of HIS children? No, He does not. And why is that? Because He is more concerned with doing what is best for His offspring. And we, as parents, should have the same attitude. God is not pleased when we focus on pleasing our children. Instead, He wants us to focus on pleasing Him–in our parenting, and in all other respects–and when we do things His way, HE will give us favor with our children. God is never going to let us earn our children’s respect or approval when we are busy trying to please them, instead of Him.

When Jesus bitterly rebuked the Pharisees for their lack of concern and respect for their parents, we have to remember that He was speaking to grown men. (Mark 7:9-13) Parents of grown children should still expect their sons and daughters to treat them with respect. That doesn’t mean that we should try to control their lives, but that we should never have the attitude that our kids have outgrown their need to respect their parents. Likewise, we as adult children, should always remember that when God commanded His people to “honor” their father and mother, He was speaking to adults, at least as much as to children. (Exodus 20:12)

Scripture says: “Discipline your children while there is still hope. If you don’t you will ruin their lives.” (Proverbs 19:18 NLT) No matter how old your children are, and no matter how many mistakes you’ve made as a parent, let me assure you that there is still hope for your family, through God’s redeeming power. May this precious promise from the Lord encourage you today: “Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did–they’ll turn out delightful to live with”! (Proverbs 29:17 MSG)

Lord, forgive me for the mistakes I’ve made as a parent, and for neglecting to seek Your wisdom and grace in this area. Remind me that if I want to do what’s best for my children, I need to focus on pleasing You, instead of them. Thank You that as I give You first place in my life, You will equip me to be the godly parent that You want me to be!

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 Will Do a Strange Thing!

Some months ago, I got fed up with driving my old car. It was going on 22 years, and it was breaking down so often that I no longer felt safe driving it. For years, I had been praying and believing God to provide me with a more reliable car, but my husband, Joe, and I were still not in a position to replace it anytime soon. Once again, I called on the Lord to consider my plight, and to act on my behalf somehow. I asked Him to cause my husband to sympathize with my situation so much, that he would be moved to offer me some real help. We talked about buying a new car, and we prayed about it, but we knew in our hearts that it would just put us deeper into debt.

Then, it became obvious to me that God was really working in my husband’s heart for my sake. Joe told me, “From now on, I will take your car to work, and you can drive my car!” After getting over the initial shock, I told my husband that I would give it a try. Suddenly, instead of driving a nearly-22-year-old car, I was driving a 3-year-old car every day. To top it off, my old car has been working fine for my husband, and he actually enjoys driving it to work.

The Scripture says: “[God] will come to do a strange thing; He will come to do an unusual deed.” (Isaiah 28:21 NLT) I’ve discovered that when you ask the Lord to come to your aid, He may surprise you by doing something totally unexpected and unusual. Whatever need you have today, God has a creative, custom-made solution to your problem. Call on Him right now, and open the door for Him to do something strange and wonderful on your behalf!

You Don't Need Any Helpers

Yesterday was one of those days when my relationship with my husband, Joe, was sorely tested. With houseguests soon to arrive at our house, I was really counting on him to help me with some major chores. Unfortunately, he chose to begin working on another project that had absolutely no bearing on our imminent houseguests and their comfort. I expressed my desire to my husband to have his help with the cleaning, but my requests fell on deaf ears.

As I turned to the Lord in silent prayer, I confessed that I was struggling with anger and frustration. That’s when I heard Him speak to my spirit, “You don’t need any helpers. All you need is Me.” Now, I know that God is not against us asking for help when we need it. But what He was telling me here was that when I ask for help, and my request is refused or ignored, I don’t have to get angry or vengeful. Instead, I can bring the situation before God, and He will supply all the help I need—whether He uses someone else, or gives me all the skills, energy, and strength I need to accomplish the task myself.

As I set about my work for the day on my own, the Lord reminded me of His Word in Hebrews 13:6 (NIV): “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.'” I’ll be honest and tell you that I still was not happy about having to do all that work alone. But because I was determined to resist getting mad or vindictive toward my husband, God gave me all the help I needed to complete the task, and to do it beautifully. You, too, have a divine Helper who is there for you when you call on Him. If you are in a place of need right now, let Him hear from you today!

God is Prepared to Do the Impossible

I once heard someone say, “God is prepared to do the impossible if we trust Him enough to ask.” The Holy Spirit has been bringing these words to my remembrance a lot lately, and I feel as though the Lord is really stretching my faith. I’ll be thinking of, or praying about, a need or desire, and I’ll feel prompted in my spirit to ask for something out of ordinary—even something miraculous. Even though my head tells me that it makes no sense in the natural realm, I go ahead and ask for whatever the Lord puts on my heart. That’s when I hear Him say to my spirit, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” This is Jesus’ pointed question to two blind men who came to Him for healing, as recorded in Matthew 9:28 (NIV). When the men answer the Master with, “Yes, Lord,” He tells them, “According to your faith will it be done to you.” (Matthew 9:29 NIV) And they are able to receive the miraculous from the Savior.

Since I’ve gotten into the habit of saying, “Yes, Lord,” when He prompts me to pray for extraordinary things for myself and for others, I’ve witnessed God doing some pretty amazing things. I’ve seen Him open closed minds, and soften hard hearts. I’ve seen Him provide in ways I never dreamed possible. I’ve even seen Him create opportunities where they didn’t exist. The Lord is prepared to work wonders on your behalf. Are you prepared to ask Him?

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!

God Will Do it Swiftly!

Have you ever been in a situation—or had a loved one in a situation—where time was of the essence? It seems that all you can focus on is how the clock is ticking away, and nothing seems to be happening. I felt that way the other day when I was reading my Bible and asking the Lord to speak words of encouragement to my heart. He led me to Isaiah 60:22 (AMP), which says: “I, the Lord, will hasten it in its [appointed] time.” God was telling me that there was a very specific time when He would act on my behalf, and when the time came, He would bring it to pass quickly. The NIV translation says it this way: “I am the Lord; it its time I will do this swiftly.”

Can God speed up the answers to our prayers when He has a mind to move? Yes, He can. I have seen Him do it time and time again, and when it happens, it is a beautiful thing. But in order for us to witness this kind of supernatural intervention, we must keep our eyes on God, serve Him faithfully, and wait patiently for Him to act. Failing to trust Him in a situation can rob us of His best. God has not forgotten you. You will see Him fulfill those promises that He has spoken to your heart. If they seem delayed, know that when the appointed time comes, He can do a very quick work on your behalf. Thank Him today that He has good things in store for you!