Lead and Follow! Who is in the Lead?

Some people find it naturally easier to lead; others prefer to follow. Whether we lead or follow, the question arises “Who is the leader here?” Without followers, a leader isn’t leading; without a leader it is difficult to know who to follow.

Who is in the lead?

Lead and Follow

I introduced a practical exercise to a group of children learning worship dance. First a leader was chosen. Each child faced the leader and mimicked the lead dancer’s movements. After a couple of minutes the leader  became a follower designating the next dancer as the new leader. Around the circle we went. Everyone had opportunity to lead; all attempted to follow.

Afterward I asked what was difficult about leading. These answers and more came in childlike honesty:

  • “I was afraid no one would follow!”
  • “What if others didn’t like what I was doing!”
  • “Everyone was expecting me to come up with the ideas!”

Then I asked what was difficult about following.

  • “I was moving in one direction and the leader went the other way!”
  • “When I thought I had the leader figured out, she changed what she was doing!”
  • “I never knew what the leader would do next!”

If we are honest, we too would acknowledge similar problems when leading and following.

A Leader who is Safe

Whether we articulate it or not, we want leaders who are safe and predictable!

Jacob had connived his brother out of his birthright and his blessing. Then, fearing for his life, he fled to the far side of the known world. God met him in his running.

In a dream, he saw angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven.

” There above it stood the Lord, and he said:
I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.
I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.”
Genesis 28:12-13


Leaders who are safe and predictable

Needless to say, Jacob was disturbed by the dream. Frightened, he bargained with God:

If God will be with me and will watch over me
on this journey I am taking
and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear

so that I return safely to my father’s household,
then the Lord will be my God…”
Genesis 28:20-22

If my thoughts and prayers were publicly exposed to scrutiny, they would appear just as self-centered. If God will be a safe God, a me-serving God, ensuring my comfort, provision and care, then I will worship and follow Him.

Jacob wasn’t ready to give up the lead, until God proved He was good!

A Leader who is Present

How do you follow a leader you cannot see? That was Peter’s predicament!

Just a few short years prior, Peter made the choice to “leave all” and follow Christ, even when leaving meant passing up the greatest windfall catch he had ever seen.

“Then Jesus said to Simon,
“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
So they pulled their boats up on shore,
left everything and followed him.”
Luke 5:10-11

Peter was a natural leader. For three years, his leadership training took him through unfamiliar territory of following Jesus. Just when he was beginning to get the hang of this following stuff, Jesus left. What does a follower do without a leader?

The most natural leadership Peter knew was from a fishing boat. He immediately diverted to old patterns. Three years of training appeared to fly out the window, or should I say jump overboard?

Follow the leader!

“Quack! Quack!” Thomas, Nathanael, James and John, plus two other disciples joined the line of would-be-deserters and followed Peter’s lead. Like it or not, a leader is always leading – for better or worse!

Just like his last fishing excursion, Peter’s all night fishing accomplished nothing. Then Someone on the shore suggested he try fishing in a new way,

“Throw your nets on the right side of the boat
and you will find some.”
John 21:6

The immense catch of fish revealed Jesus’ identity. Peter immediately jumped overboard and approached Jesus, leaving his would-be-followers alone in the boat.

Jesus challenges Peter’s devotion three times and then finishes with,

Follow me!”
John 21:19

This unpredictable, unseen One is still asking and inviting one-time followers and would-be leaders to follow undeterred His lead. “Follow even when you can’t see Me. Out of heart of love, follow Me, leading others well!”

A Leader who is Predictable

I have always felt drawn by nature into secluded places. As a young girl, I chanced upon a herd of white-tails. The buck sensed something alien hiding in the willow bush and advanced with nostrils flaring and antlers flinging dust in the air. I crouched breathless – unmoving! Though he could not see me clearly, he was wary. With one flick of his tail, the entire herd of thirty-or-so deer turned, springing effortless over fences and out of sight. My heart raced in the midst of unpredictable danger and wonder!

Whitetail deer - encountering a stag in the lead!

Following God often leaves me breathless in heart-racing uncertainty with a combined sense of danger and wonder!

Following God often leaves me breathless in heart-racing uncertainty with a combined sense of danger and wonder! Click To Tweet

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

I want God predictable! But ask Job how predictable God is! Or maybe Joseph!

God, unpredictable? Yes! He seems unpredictable only because His ways and thoughts are brilliant and magnificent in every dimension.

Climbing to mountain heights

While He is leading the way to jagged mountain peaks, I’m content frolicking in the plush meadow. I’m know I’m not alone! Others have been caught slip-footed as He has leading them through flooded rivers, toward “invincible” armies, or into prisons and cave fortresses.

Lead And Follow

Following well has always been difficult for me. I echo the sentiments of my little dancers. It is uncomfortable to follow, when I’m not sure where, how or when God is about to move, change directions, or lead toward unfamiliar terrain.

I often sense God looking over His shoulder wondering if I will follow here… now… ever…

Though His ways are confusing, at the least, and perplexing more oft than not, I know I can (and should) trust His lead. Why? Because I know He is indescribably good. Where He leads is for my inevitable benefit, though perhaps lacking in personal comfort.

“Lead and Follow” is far more that a children’s activation exercise. I, too, am perpetually working on my step-by-step follow to my Father’s perfect lead. You see, to follow well requires complete surrender to another’s will and ways.

The only way I will grow as a leader is to ultimately become a faithful follower. It is wonderful paradox!



More on leadership!

 Leadership 101 – Take it from the Eagles

Moses – The Defining Qualities of a Great Leader


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A Daughter’s Redemption! Dawn Enters a New Day!

A Daughter's Redemption - Dawn of a New Day!

Most of us have heard stories of redemption where someone is saved from something.  The something could be a person, a destination or place, or a situation of their own or other people’s making.  My name is Dawn; the story of my life is one of a daughter’s redemption.

I have been saved many times from situations, beliefs or ideas, and behaviours of my own and others.  Sometimes my salvation has been quick or even instant.  At other times, I have come to a slow awareness of salvation available before I could walk into it.

The Most Important Salvation

The most important salvation of my life was both instant and a slow realization: salvation from my own worst self, fears, sin, and ignorance of Jesus Christ.

“For the Son of Man came to seek
and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:10

As a young girl, my little sister, Rhonda, and I lived with my addicted dad.  He was one of the few single fathers in the 70’s. I already had experienced much fear, pain and loss.

Fear, pain, and loss!

When my parent’s marriage disintegrated, my mother was separated from Rhonda and I.  My father loved us deeply; he also loved the drugs he used to pacify his wounded heart and mind.

In the midst of:

stints of foster care,
multiple moves and school placements
(6 schools by grade 4)
parties, strangers, threats of violence in our home,
weapons, secrets, jail visits
and lack of adult supervision and structure.

Jesus introduced Himself to me.

I was 8 years old and beginning to have an awareness of and feel frustration with my home life.  My entire little-girl heart LOVED my father deeply:  flaws, secrets, instability and all. I was beginning to see direct effects of his poor decision-making on Rhonda and I.

I was also beginning to be angry towards him. Questions filled my 8 year old heart and mind:

Why can’t we see our mom?
Where is mom?
Has she forgotten us?
Why do we have to keep secrets about guns
drugs and drinking?
Why do we move all the time?
Will we have to go to another foster home?
Why are police always at our house?
Why can’t we be like my friend’s families?”

In the midst of the darkness, danger and fear in my home and heart, the strangest, most unexpected thing occurred!

A School Bus

A school bus started coming to our home to pick Rhonda and I up for Sunday School!  Not only that, the same bus came and picked us up on Wednesdays for Pioneer Girls, a fun group for girls at church.  Twice a week, the yellow bus brought us to a Holy Spirit-filled church where we learned about Jesus for the first time.

School bus, church and Pioneer Girls

During one of these groups, my teacher took me aside and shared how Jesus knows and loves ME.  She asked if I’d like to know Jesus and invite Him into my heart to be with me always.  I did not have to think long! I did not know much about Jesus. What I had heard so far sounded wonderful!

I chose to believe that God and Jesus were real and that they could and would help me. And He sure did help me!  The change was instantaneous!

 “Then you will call on me
and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you.”
Jeremiah 29:12

I was no longer alone as a small girl in a big world.  I began to talk to Him and believed He heard my prayers.  My father was not a believer. He made it very clear he would never set foot in church. Either he knew we needed it, or he was glad for the structured activity it gave us, so he let us attend.

The Unexpected

Sometimes, the help Jesus offers is painful to receive, centering around earthly change and loss.  This is also my story. Within a few months of being introduced to Jesus, our lives would be forever changed.

We moved that spring to a large house outside Calgary, Alberta.  The indoor pool, 4 bedrooms and 100 acres of land were welcome.

As a little girl, I had no way of knowing my dad had become deeply involved in a drug ring. The property was owned by someone in that circle.  We were allowed to live there with expectations of my dad.

We finished the school year at a new school and experienced another month in foster care, before returning home to dad and country life.

Our grandparents came to take us to Regina for the summer vacation.  We were excited! We loved time with grandma and grandpa!  Here there was Sunday school, lots of yummy food, love, attention and care.

Within 2 weeks of kissing and hugging our dad goodbye, we received the worst news any child can hear — our dad was no longer alive. He shot and killed himself!

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Psalm 34:18

Grief, loss, tears and sadness became our companions that summer.  Adults decided the best care for us. Two little girls aged 9 and 7 were required to begin a new chapter in life.

Without Dad

Early in this experience of loss, I came to a realization:  life was not easy nor always good with my dad.  We LOVED our dad and wanted him back with us, but I also had to admit we were heading down a dangerous road in life.  I began to see how Jesus was intervening to save Rhonda and me.

God was not responsible for or caused my dad to take his own life.  God’s will is never death or sin.  I am assured that God was grieving for the loss of his son, our dad, alongside Rhonda and I grieving for our father.

Grief, Sorrow and Pain - A Father Gone!

After my heart healed a little, I was able to look back at life before and after losing my father. I began to learn that God sometimes allows deep pain and loss because He knows it can lead to equally deep trust and life.  Can and will we surrender and trust Him to allow His tender healing of the hurts?

God sometimes allows deep pain and loss because He knows it can lead to equally deep trust and life. Click To Tweet

Life began again in July, 1980 for me.  It is not the end of my story, but it was the end of that chapter of my story.  I thank Jesus, Father God and Holy Spirit for walking through that season with me.

I’m also thankful to the Pioneer Girls leader, loving praying grandparents, and for the prayers and actions of others who gently circled us. When we meet Jesus face to face, He will introduce us to the many people who influenced our young lives.


And today? These many years later, how has life unfolded?  Twists and turns! Lumps and bumps! Jesus continues to surprise!

The latest is a call to the woods of Tracy, New Brunswick.  Here my husband and I have committed a year of our lives to volunteer. We are learning a program model for a Christ-Centered residential addiction program for men called “Village of Hope”.  Some days we feel we fall short of the call, but we press forward knowing He has led us here for this time and His purpose.  There’s no other place I’d rather be!

Village of Hope New Brunswick

Jesus continually called my name, even after a long season of running away and denying hearing His voice.  I am blessed on earth to be called “mother” “grandmother” “wife” and “friend”.  The core of my identity though is knowing my name as “Daughter”.

“And, “I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:18

I spent many years not knowing the experience of being addressed as someone’s daughter. Now my Heavenly Daddy gave me the mind and heart-jolting revelation,  “You are MY daughter”. The sweet reward of redemption!

My response is to live as a child of the King – by spreading seeds of His joy, His peace, His love and light.  To do so allows me to thrive.



Thrive Dawn does! Dawn loves and cares for others passionately and genuinely. It is fitting that Dawn is the first to share her testimony, as representative of her First Nations Indigenous heritage.

Dawn’s redemption continues to influence numerous lives nationally. She effectively “mothers” multitudes, inspiring them to break free from generational and personal places of pain and addiction.

The Dawn of a New Day! Philip & Dawn

I am proud to call Dawn a friend, a sister, and partner in the work of Christ. She is a humble “daughter” of her Father God in the fullest extent of the word.


PS: You are invited to join their support team here: Phil.dawn.voh@gmail.com.


More Good Reading:

Rebuild the Walls! Fight for Your Families, Your Sons And Your Daughters!


The Heart of a Servant – To Serve is in Your Hands

Heart of a Servant - It's in your Hands

To be a servant literally means “to tie or to bind.” Jesus taught and demonstrated a life of absolute service, to His Father, to His disciples and to the world. No other person in history has given Himself as wholly to serve as Jesus did. The privilege to serve is in our hands and in our hearts.

Serve Upward

There are multiple examples of people serving those of higher status or position. These are only a few:

  • Joseph served Potiphar and then Pharoah
  • Samuel served Eli even as a young child
  • the Shunammite woman served Elisha
  • Nehemiah was servant and cup bearer to the king
  • Ruth left her home caring for her mother-in-law Naomi, and gleaned in the fields
  • David carried cheese to his older brother’s who were stationed at the front lines of battle
  • Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna served Jesus

Someone has to carry the cheese

Carrying the cheese may seem like the most insignificant of tasks, yet it was the first step from shepherd boy to king. Great promotions are often wrapped in small acts of kindness and service.

The easiest One of all to serve is, of course, Jesus. He has given so much for us, loves us beyond comparison, and paved a wide road of selfless servitude.

“Whoever serves me must follow me;
and where I am, my servant also will be.
My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
John 12:26

The words “servant”, “service”, and “serve” are found over 1100 times in the bible. To serve in Hebrew had two key ingredients: the action of working and obedience. In the New Testament, it refers to “a relation of absolute dependence, in which the master and the servant stand on opposite sides, the former having a full claim, the latter having a full commitment.”

Serve Outward

Jesus disciples lived in a culture much like ours with people striving for bragging rights to top-dog positions.  These chosen men quarreled over who was the greatest and best.

“He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him,
and said, “Whoever wants to be first
must take last place
and be the servant of everyone else.”
Mark 9:35

I flip the page in my bible to find the same problem within their ranks. Jesus admonished them,

“You know that the rulers in this world
lord it over their people,
and officials flaunt their authority…”
Mark 10:42

Blow our own balloons or lift others up

Flaunting and lording remains common place; however, it has no place in God’s kingdom!

“But among you it will be different.
Whoever wants to be a leader among you
must be your servant,
 and whoever wants to be first among you
must be the slave of everyone else.”
 Mark 10:43-44

Paul later wrote: 

“Don’t push your way to the front;
don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.
Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.
Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.
Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
Philippians 2:3-4

Daily we have opportunity to either puff ourselves up or propel others to reach their full potential. It is no surprise that God blesses and promotes those who serve and honour others above themselves.

Serve Down

Throughout the world, most cultures demonstrate a healthy expectation to serve those in higher position. It is quite easy to serve within our peer groups. It remains beyond our understanding to comprehend Jesus, the King of Glory, willingly serving downward.

Shoes of humility serve others

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power,
and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
so he got up from the meal,
took off his outer clothing,
and wrapped a towel around his waist.”
John 13:3-4

Remember, the meaning of servant is “to tie or to bind.” The towel wrapped around the center of Jesus’ body was a perfect symbol of servanthood. He bound Himself to serve. It was such a profound illustration that the disciples were shocked by His move.

After that, he poured water into a basin
and began to wash his disciples’ feet,
drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
John 13:5

Peter, one of the dog-eat-dog Twelve, at first refused the gesture. Later he grasped the concept:

 “Each of you should use whatever gift
you have received to serve others,
as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
I Peter 4:10

To follow Christ’s example we must know who we are, Who we belong to, and why we are here. Unless we are secure in our identity in Christ, we will have limited capacity to serve with wholehearted devotion.

Am I prepared to pick up the servant’s towel and wash the feet of all those around me? My honest answer is not entirely! Yet, the challenge is before me!

“I have given you an example:
you should do just as I have done for you.”
John 13:15

Humility to Serve

Through Christ our only right is to humbly serve!

Through Christ our only right is to humbly serve! Click To Tweet

The mark of every Christian is humble service. When Peter began to comprehend what Christ was doing, he declared emphatically,

“not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
John 13:8

We may have good intentions with hearts rightly positioned and yet still get tripped up in the follow-through. It is our feet that need cleaning – these feet that embrace the ground, the dust of humanity, taking the most abuse and getting the dirtiest.

Need only to wash your feet!

As Christians, Christ has already purified our hearts and cleansed our minds. Still, we need foot-washing reminders of our purpose in serving others.

Jesus actions prepared the disciples for servant leadership. Each of them would eventually lay down their lives in service for others.

All, that is, except one! Jesus washed the feet of Judas, who would soon betray Him to the cruelest of deaths. What an expression of ultimate servanthood!

Servanthood Demonstrated

Last fall I was privileged to attend a Women on the Frontlines Conference in Winnipeg. On opening night, a group of prominent male leaders, apologized for not being willing servants to women in their churches, communities and homes. They acknowledged the glass-ceilings they had perpetuated over women.

The sounds of gentle weeping crescendoed around me. Many women had never experienced such a gesture of respect and honour, even though the majority were recognized leaders in their churches and communities, sacrificially serving in various capacities.

For the remainder of the weekend, these men served consistently, joyfully and lavishly. Their acts of service washed deep wounds and lifted invisible burdens from many women present.

No towels wrapped the waists of these men, yet they displayed how people of strength open doors of opportunity, minister healing, and restore dignity through humble service.

Servants open doors for others

Participants were impacted by this “upper room” experience. They were inspired to greater acts of service as they returned to cities and towns from Ontario to Alberta. Why? Because a handful of men showed the way!

Let each of us be encouraged to pick up the towel of service where we live and serve well. May we activate the words of Jesus, “do just as I have done for you.”


Further Reading:

Creating a Culture of Honour – Honour God – Honour All!

The Righteous are as Bold as a Lion – Survive and Thrive

Survive & Thrive - The Righteous are as Bold as a Lion

Apparently one way to age a lion is by scarring on its face. Scars show the fearless characteristic of a lion. The bible calls the righteous “as bold as a lion”. The scars of those who survive and thrive are evidence enough of their bold faith and tenacious perseverance!

“The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
Proverbs 28:1

The righteous are as bold as a lion!

Do you notice the difference between the “wicked” and the “righteous”? One runs from harmless shadows, the other faces real and impending threat squarely. We have to admit, there isn’t much a lion will back down from.

Brave of Heart

To be lionhearted describes someone who is unflinchingly brave and courageous in the face of danger.

In the months ahead, I will be sharing stories of personal heroism demonstrated in the lives of some incredible people I know and appreciate.

Unflinching in danger they thrive!

Though none would consider themselves either brave or “bold as a lion”, their journey reveals a different story. Each one has faced dangers of various kinds. They have the scars to prove it!

Those who thrive hold wisdom like gold dust loosely in their hands. They willingly and with liberality reach into their experiences and share the treasures they have found in Christ, allowing the winds of the Spirit to inspire others. Their stories igniting faith, hope and courage in the rest of us.

Jesus said,

“In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

As we examine their lives, we will clearly see the difference between surviving and thriving is rooted in their faith and the unshakable love of Christ.

Love of Christ

Paul prayed for the Ephesian church,

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high
and deep is the love of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:17,18

Rooted and grounded in the love of Christ

“In this is love, not that we loved God
but that he loved us
” 1 John 4:10

God’s love is unconditional! God loves, because He is love!

Courage and bravery are not necessary to somehow merit His love. He loves us as we are. He loves us completely, even in our weakness and frailty. God will never love us more; He has no capacity to love us less.

It is in the basis of this relationship of love that survivors thrive.

Thriving Against all Odds

What makes someone brave? What compels one person to face life’s toughness squarely while another turns and runs?

“Courage is not the absence of fear, 
but the triumph over it”
Nelson Mandela

Thriving against all odds!

David’s bravery was tested in the pastures with his flock:

“…When a lion or a bear came
and carried off a sheep from the flock,
I went after it, struck it and rescued
the sheep from its mouth.
When it turned on me,
I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed.”
I Samuel 17:34-35

Acts of bravery aren’t always physically!

It takes courage to not only see your own way through difficult, but to lead others into victory as well. “Thrivers” are mothers and fathers who

love with the love of Christ,
disciple younger ones to maturity,
foster godly character,
instill hope and impart vision.

Lioness protecting and providing

Those Who Thrive Speak

My husband still teases me about my “farmer’s call”. Being the mother of five active sons who enjoyed roaming the acres beyond our farm yard, this “momma” learned to call her young in for supper or bedtime with a distinct “Yoohoo” that could be heard far and wide. It is a non-comparison to a lions roar, however!

I have read that the spine-tingling roar of a lion is as loud as a turbo fan of an aircraft on takeoff, reaching 114 decibels. It is one of the loudest voices in the animal kingdom heard up to 8 kilometers away.

Lions roar to tell other lions their location, to show how big they are and to warn lions from other prides to keep away from their home territory.

“They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb and
by the word of their testimony
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.”
Revelation 12:11

As these people share their stories, it may sound more like a whisper than a roar. Truthfully though, God has given them voices that echo through generations, powerfully declaring the faithfulness of Him who is greater, Jesus Christ!

Those who Thrive Rest

I have chosen people who have discovered the power of waiting! Waiting is the womb of courageous strength!

Wait patiently for the LORD.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”
Psalm 27:14

Lions resting and waiting patiently!

Waiting is the womb of courageous strength! Click To Tweet

In the natural, the most intense development and formation occurs within the concealed and protected womb. For these, waiting and trusting in the Lord has formed the foundation of their courage and strength.

Those who have studied lions say it is a boring of occupation. Lions sleep for over 20 hours every day! That is a lot of rest! In resting, a lion is able to conserve strength for when it is most needed. It is also a position of watching; the place where wisdom is gained.

I am excited to use this blogging platform to share their stories.  It is my hope that we will all draw from their wisdom, be inspired by their strength, motivated to action, and invited into deeper faith.

“A final word:
Be strong in the Lord
and in his mighty power.”
Ephesians 6:10

The Tomb Raider and Bondage Breaker! Chains no More!

Chains No More

The tomb is meant to be a burial place for the dead; it is not a habitation for the living.  Jesus made a perilous journey to meet a man who was so bound by tormenting spirits, tomb dwelling seemed the only fitting place to be. Until “Jesus stepped ashore”!

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke present the account through almost opposing lenses. Luke calls the region “the Gerasenes” which means “alien, stranger or foreigner”or more specifically “a stranger drawing near.” Matthew, on the other hand terms it the region of “the Gadarenes” which means “rewarded in the end.”

A Stranger Draws Near

Only one person in the entire region came to meet Jesus welcoming Him. Everyone else treated Jesus like an alien, a stranger or a foreigner!

“When Jesus had stepped out on land,
there met him a man from the city who had demons.
For a long time he had worn no clothes,
and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs.”
Luke 8:27

The living among the tombs

This was neither his original home nor his original condition!

We don’t know how long his existence was relegated to the tombs; only that it was “a long time“. A long time

without family or relationship,
crying out night and day,
cutting himself with stones,
naked and exposed to shame,
rejected and ridiculed,
bound and chained.

It is no wonder Jesus was willing to endure the severest of storms to come and to release this man from bondage.

Most of us would have caught one glimpse of his condition and scampered right back into the boat paddling hard in the opposite direction. Not Jesus! Then too, most of us are impressed by crowds. Not Jesus!

For this one man, Jesus came!

Though an entire city was close, only one man welcomed Him!

Among the Tombs

What causes a man to trade a home for a tomb? This isn’t normal human behaviour, after all.

“…(For many a time it had seized him.
He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles,
but he would break the bonds and
be driven by the demon into the desert.)
Luke 8:29

Though no earthly chain could hold him, this poor man was completed bound by the demons that inhabited him. Up until this moment, they had complete control.

When Jesus stepped in, everything changed!

All around us are people “out of control!” Daily we encounter hurting people who hurt people. Our lives and neighbourhoods are affected by those who have long ago forgotten personal worth or identity. Behind closed doors many are driven by drugs, addictions and lust. They appear to be alive, but reside within personal tombs of death.

For these Jesus comes!

The Pigs Nearby

Living among pigs!

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.
 The demons begged Jesus,
“Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.”

Mark 5:11-12

The imagery is more than symbolic! Jesus allows the demons to enter the pigs who quickly make a suicidal dive into the nearby lake.

The saddest part of the story is about to unfold. The people of the Gerasenes were perfectly comfortable to have a demon possessed man among them, naked and screaming in agony night and day. However, they were totally unprepared to allow Jesus, The Healer, Deliver, Tomb Raider, and Bondage Breaker to stay one moment more.

“…they came to Jesus and found the man
from whom the demons had gone,
sitting at the feet of Jesus,
clothed and in his right mind,
and they were afraid.”
Luke 8:35

As twisted as a living man dwelling in the tombs is, the reaction of the locals was even more so. Rejoicing over the man’s deliverance would seem to be a more appropriate response.

Enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season!

Pigs were considered “unclean”. Their delight in wallowing in “mud” representing the human tendency to enjoy and cling to our pet sins. Jesus came into their region to free everyone who lived there. Only this destitute and demon possessed man responded. The rest preferred to “enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.”

Jesus came to release them all from sin’s cruel bondage! They preferred the swine, instead!

Only One Man

Only one man from the region of “the Gadarenes” was “rewarded in the end.” He was the only one — unnamed but completely changed.

“And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes
begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone,
for a great wave of fear swept over them.
So Jesus returned to the boat and left,
crossing back to the other side of the lake.”
 Luke 8:37 

The evidence of Jesus’ authority and transforming power sat before them, gentle, calm and dressed. Perhaps up until this moment, they could look at him, aiming their pointed fingers while wagging condemning tongues, “We’re not as bad as he is!”

But standing before Jesus, the Truth and Deliverer, they were without excuse. No other man, except this one, was willing to fall on their knees and surrender to Jesus as Lord.

“You are already clean
because of the word I have spoken to you.”
John 15:3

One man received The Word and was cleansed. Every other person treated Jesus as a stranger. rejecting Him. Out of fear, they clung like pigs to their own filth.

When Jesus came, only one received the reward of surrender.

Tomb Raider

Jesus stepped ashore!

He raided the tomb of death, restoring dignity, value and life. He broke the bondage of sin and shame, releasing its prisoner to everlasting freedom.

Grateful the man pleaded with Jesus to allow him to come with along. Jesus lovingly refused.

Tomb Raider and Bondage Breaker! Freedom in Christ!

Jesus did not let him, but said,
Go home to your own people and
tell them how much the Lord has done for you,
and how he has had mercy on you.”
Mark 5:19

Jesus restored him to his home, family and relationships. He sent him back into his community with purpose and value. There is no greater testimony to the mercy and grace of God than a transformed life.

Reluctantly, the man obliged! Though his heart longed to stay with Jesus, his mission was to his world.

Jesus steps into lives again and again, giving opportunity for freedom. What is my response? Will I consider Him a “Stranger drawing near” and refuse? Or will I welcome Him, allowing Him to do whatever He desires in my life, ultimately being “rewarded in the end“?

Jesus never stays where He is not wanted

 “…So he got into the boat and left.”
Luke 8:37

On the other side of the lake
the crowds welcomed Jesus,
because they had been waiting for him.”
Luke 8:40

Today I ask, “Which side of the lake am I on? Which side of the lake are you on?”

Jesus is stepping ashore!



If you need help, there are many organizations that will assist you:

Freedom in Christ

Pure Desire Ministries

or a local bible believing church.



If the Shoes Fits, Wear It! Walking, Running and Warring

If the Shoes Fit! Walking, Running and Warring

Have you ever heard the expression, “If the shoe fits, wear it!” It means if something applies to us personally, we are to accept responsibility and acknowledge it. I have worn several different types of shoes in my lifetime. some bring back positive memories, others the reverse.

There are many types of shoes in my closet and my spiritual garment bag, each is for a specific purpose.


The foot attire in bible times was, of course, sandals. When God commissioned Moses he commanded,

“Do not come near here;
remove your sandals from your feet,
for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
Exodus 3:5

I have a painting of Moses and the burning bush above my bed. It illustrates Moses’ surrendering to God’s call. When Joshua met the commander of the Lord’s army before the battle of Jericho, he too was asked to remove his shoes.

Our Hearts Response by Candice Snyder

Removing the man-made sandals was a reminder that nothing we can or will do qualifies us before God.  We come into His presence by grace alone. Like Moses, God asks us to lay aside human effort in surrender to Him.

Sandals are my favorite footwear, slipping easily on and off. Their comfort, ease and simplicity exemplify the warmth and freedom of summer.

My response to God’s invitation to draw close and submit to His leading, should consistently be quick and humble.

Humble Shoes

Humble hardly describes my next illustration!

My husband and I recently moved from farm to city. Everyone in our wonderful new church dressed classy. I mean really “put together”! My laid back country-style hardly qualifies as either classy or put together.

One Sunday I made special effort to rise to this new standard. Checking myself in the mirror before we left home, I thought, “Yep! Looking good!” On getting out of our vehicle at church, however, I noticed one minor problem. I forgot to change shoes. My feet were clad with fuzzy blue slippers!

Blue slippers - Shoes of Humility

I know God laughed, even before my husband did! The laugh was appropriate. I was taking myself way too seriously!

I had three options:

  1. Go home, change and be late for church
  2. Dishonestly feign a limp or injury
  3. Or admit my blunder, swallow my pride, laugh with God and give a few other folks a bit of a chuckle too!

I actually chose the latter, learning an important lesson!

“…And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8

I think God would like to write this verse permanently across my forehead as a reminder to never remove shoes of humility. Instead, He has written it upon my heart.

Walking in the Spirit

Spring time on the farm required special footwear to navigate the challenges of muddy yards. Mud-walking has two potential hazards: slipping and falling, as well as losing a boot in the suction like grip of the muck. Unfortunately, I have experienced both!

Mudboots - Corral Boots

Navigating life has similarities!

 “So I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Galatians 5:16

Walking in the “desires of the flesh” is like mud walking. The consequences of gratifying fleshly desires are more far-reaching. Here is Paul’s mini list of mud walking:

The acts of the flesh are obvious:
sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy,
fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
 and envy;
drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I did before,
that those who live like this
will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Galatians 5;19-21

On the farm, it was always a relief when the season changed and boots could be stowed away. The comfort of walking sure-footed on dry ground was a relief!

Though an apt illustration, it doesn’t compare with the difference between walking in the flesh and walking by the Spirit.

“just as he who called you is holy,
so be holy in all you do”
I Peter 1:15

God has more for us than mud walking!

Shoes of Faith

The best looking shoes may not be the most practical.

Talk of the Town - Access TV - with Lisa Peters

Shortly after the release of “Olivia & Me”, I had the honour of being a guest on “Talk of the Town” with Lisa Peters. Just before air time she sat down and put on her best looking shoes. She laughed explaining they were very good sitting shoes, but a little dangerous for walking.

Christians need the sure-footed ability to walk the heights:

The Lord God is my Strength,
my personal bravery, and my invincible army.
He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk
[not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and
make [spiritual] progress upon my high places
[of trouble, suffering or responsibility].”
Habakkuk 3:19

Maneuvering through trouble, suffering or increasing responsibility requires faith.

The feet of a mountain goat has a hard outer shell and a rubbery, concave foot pad which acts like a suction cup. This helps to cushion their feet when they leap from rock to rock. Incredibly, they are also able to pull themselves up from ledge to ledge with their front feet.

Lisa’s shoes were a beautiful accent to her equally wonderful personality.

Can we honestly settle for only looking good when God has given us strength to climb with faith? He wants us to be able to leap and overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.

Shoes to Run

Serious runners need shoes of tenacity and endurance to run and finish strong.

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”
Hebrews 12:1

Running Shoes

Our city hosts an annual marathon luring runners of various capabilities. Avid runners train through the heat of summer and the cold blast of winter. They are focused! Each runner wants to reach their peak finishing the 42 kilometer course in their best time.

There are also those who don’t understand the benefits of training. Their bodies groan under the stress for days after the event.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run,
but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
I Corinthians 9:24

Endurance is developed in the training; the benefits will not be seen until much later.

Shoes For Battle

Part of every Christian’s armour is

“having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE
Ephesians 6:15

The word, ‘shod’ reminds me of the process of shoeing horses. Pleasure horses don’t need shoes;  serious work horses do. The farrier trims each hoof, grinds down rough edges and cleans away any debris, before nailing each perfect fitting horseshoe firmly in place.

The Greek word “shod” comes from two words mean “under, beneath, inferior position” and ” to bind, be in bonds, knit or tie.” Acknowledging Jesus as Lord over our lives is part of the binding and preparing.

Shoes for Battle

To effectively share the Gospel of Jesus Christ I must be both bound to and convicted of its liberating truth. I want to be prepared to

“Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life.
Always be ready to give an answer
when someone asks you about your hope.”
I Peter 3:15

The Roman soldiers maintained a secure foothold because they wore heavy sandals studded with hobnails. They were able to stand firm in any combat situation. The best stance is the one provided by the peace we find in Jesus.

As Christians we wear many different types of shoes. These are only a choice few.

I haven’t mentioned shoes of compassion and mercy, or shoes of justice and righteousness. We need to be ready to pull from our spiritual garment bag whatever is necessary to re-present Christ well to our generation.

Whether walking, running or warring, the shoes God has provided fit. Let us wear them well!




Your Time Will Come! Be Ready! Be Prepared for Every Good Work!

Be Ready! Your Time Will Come!

Experience has taught me “your time will come”! Be ready! We never know, however, when that time will be. It is important to always be prepared and in the best position to take advantage of the opportunity when it comes.

I remember tensely waiting as teams were chosen at school. Of course, the strongest and best were picked first! As a small child, and only girl, in a small country school, I would invariably be chosen last. There was something reassuring, though, to finally hear my name being called.

When you aren't chosen!

There were other times when I wasn’t chosen at all; I would wander off and amuse myself elsewhere. Experiences of disappointment mark each of our lives at some point.

Jesus, on the other hand, leaves no one behind! He is getting us ready for the place of His choosing!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Parable of the Vineyard

When in Guatemala, I saw men from the slum villages sitting by the roadside hoping to be chosen to work for the day. Some days they were picked! Other days they went home empty handed!

Jesus tells a parable of  The Owner of a vineyard calling workers to come and work for Him. He came to the marketplace, early in the morning, at nine, again at noon, then at three in the afternoon looking for workers.

Early in the morning, many would gather ready to work. As the sun grew hot, hope grew cold! Fewer and fewer waited! One by one they drifted away, their faces etched by experiences of rejection and discouragement. It always hurts to be passed by.

But a few lingered, hoping against hope they would be noticed and welcomed into the field. Undaunted, they sharpened their tools in faith. They would not give up! Here they waited ready for the call to action!

Workers ready for the vineyard!

“About five in the afternoon
he went out and found still others standing around.
He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ ”
Matthew 20:6-7

Ready to be Chosen

The workers didn’t shrink back with the accusation of “doing nothing!” The persevering ones frankly expressed their willingness to work in the fields. They were ready!

God chose the lowly things of this world
and the despised things…”
1 Corinthians 1:28

God is still calling for workers! He continues to choose the unlikely ones, giving them value and purpose.

‘Call the workers and pay them their wages,
beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came
and each received a denarius.”
Matthew 20:6-9

Ready for every good work!

Whether the workers had worked an hour or a whole day, each received the same reward. The Owner paid the workers the denarius He promised. Those who worked through the heat of the day were indignant! Outraged is probably more accurate.

Such is the response of a lethargic, self-righteous people, “What? That’s unfair! I deserve more!”

To those who have waited, persevering in their love and devotion to God, while honing their skills, gratitude fills their hearts! They find the Owner as lavishly generous!

Ready for God’s Timing

A denarius represented a day’s wage for an unskilled worker or common soldier. God so valued each worker, whether their hours were few or many that He treats each equally.

It is God’s timing I often struggle with! I know I’m not alone! Often, we think we are ready for the opportunity or promotion long before God knows we are truly ready.

Wisdom is choosing to constantly walk in God’s ways, developing the necessary skills, serving wherever the need is and preparing ourselves in every way possible. God doesn’t waste any part of our lives, especially our waiting seasons!

“Whatever your hand finds to do,
do it with all your might…”
Ecclesiastes 9:10

Ready for God's timing!

Even in the waiting, be ready! Prepare for action!

Ready with Vision

Vision endures the wait, disappointment and rejection of being passed by.

“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.”
Proverbs 29:18

Without vision impatience incites us to

move when God is saying, “Stay!”
arouses frustration and anger
ignites comparisons and competition
provokes self-promotion or self-abasement.

“Vision” includes revelation, prophecy, or divine guidance. Knowing God’s will for our lives helps us to stay the course even when we don’t tangibly see the fulfillment being realized. When we are ready, listening and obeying in the little things, blessing will follow.

Preparing in the waiting!

Sitting and waiting has never been my strength! Quite the opposite! God has been consistently building patient endurance in me.

Resting in wait…
Preparing in the wait…
Trusting in the wait…
Optimistic in the wait…

I am still a work in progress!

God so values each of us! He will always be the Rewarder of those who wait on His timing for their lives. We can trust Him to know what is best. In the process, let’s be ready when He comes our way and invites us into His field in a new or different capacity.

Your time will surely come! Be prepared and ready for every good work!


What To Do When The Answer is “No”


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Gold and Silver – Refined Through Suffering

Gold & Silver - Refined through Suffering

Gold and silver are among the rarest and most precious metals; both need a refining process to remove impurities, thereby increasing their value. It is through suffering, in the heat and pressure of life, that we are refined for God’s glory.

Every trial, assault, persecution or difficulty God uses to purify, refine and even promote us to excellence. God does not cause the suffering we face. He is not the evil one, our adversary! He does, however, use “the furnace of affliction” as an instrument to remove impurities from our lives.

I have refined you, but not as silver is refined.
Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.”
Isaiah 48:10

Refined into usefulness!

God does not cause the suffering we face. He is not the evil one, our adversary! Click To Tweet

Strength Refined

The psalmist David, prophecies of the Lord “announcing the word”, giving a command to release a mighty and victorious army before whom great kings and fierce armies will flee. His description of this army is unlike any other:

“…the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver,
its feathers with shining gold.”
Psalm 68:13

A dove? The symbol we typically relate to peace?

The Lord’s army, refined, purified, sheathed, and shining, going forth with gentle strength fulfilling His command; it is an army equipped and ready to do great exploits for his kingdom.

An army with wings sheathed with silver, and feathers shining with gold.

In this psalm, the army returns sharing the plunder with those who stayed safely home.

Refined ones don’t hoard the spoils of victory. With purity of heart, people are treasured above accolades and wealth. “Dove” people gently and sincerely place genuine value in everyone.

David speaks from his own experience. After defeating the Amalekites, David and his fighting men returned to camp, where those too weary to fight had watched over the supplies. The account tells us the “evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers” (vs 22) were not willing to share the plunder.

David modeled the true warrior as gentle protector:

“…the share of the man who stayed with the supplies
is to be the same as that of him
who went down to the battle.
All will share alike.”
David made this a statute and ordinance
for Israel from that day to this.”
I Samuel 30: 24-25

David had allowed the furnace of suffering to refine him into a golden dove of gentle protection to all.

Reflection Refined

Many people do not consider themselves “leaders”. Truthfully, we all lead. We are continually leading and teaching through our example.

“Lord, the LORD Almighty,
may those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
may those who seek you
not be put to shame because of me.”
Psalm 69:6

These words pierce my heart like a sharp well-aimed arrow. The truth that my choices may cause someone to stumble is humbling. The more God promotes and increases our sphere of influence, the greater our capacity to cause offense leading people away from, rather than toward, Christ.

Refined into the heart of the Father

The heat and tension of suffering transforms us,

pressing and shaping
turning and bending,
polishing and illuminating…

until we re-present the Father’s heart. It is in suffering that we are formed into His image of love, a love that causes us to lead others well, without disgrace or shame.

Honour Refined

Hidden impurities in our lives will tarnish the “positions of voice” God elevates us to.

The higher the place of honour we are given, the brighter the light shines on us. That exposure will automatically reveal scars, blemishes, blunders and impure motivations. I am thankful for God’s loving care in allowing suffering to first eliminate what needs removing before elevating us.

“Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done such wonderful things.
Who can compare with you, O God?
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship
but you will restore me to life again
…You will restore me to even greater honour…”
Psalm 71:19-21

Beautiful marks of suffering and refining!

The intricate working of The Master Craftsman, every indent and swirl, does not blemish us. He is enhancing and bringing out greater beauty and increasing our worth. Though the process is painful, the result is impeccable perfection.

We may cry, “Enough, God! Stop the pain!” He alone knows the end from the beginning and is making a masterpiece of our lives.

With God suffering always has purpose! When suffering ends, honour comes! In fact, God’s word says greater honour!

With greater purity comes greater beauty that brings Him greater glory.

Glory Refined

There is more to Isaiah’s words:

“For my own sake,
for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed?
I will not yield my glory to another.”
Isaiah 48:11

The ugliest dross in my life is the “self” portions, that tarnish His reflection, contaminate His goodness, pollute His love and hide His glory. God knows that only through the intense fires of suffering will His glory be fully revealed in and through me.

No one else deserves glory; God alone is worthy of glory, honour and praise!

My struggles and suffering have been minor in comparison to others. Nonetheless, it is here I have seen God’s

faithfulness in the fire,
recklessly love in the midst of storm,
strength in battle,
and light in darkness of night.

"I carried you on eagles' wings"

I have experienced God’s presence…

“I carried you on eagles’ wings
and brought you to myself.”
Exodus 19:4

So we say “Yes, Lord! Transform our lives to reflect your image and display your glory. Refine us as warrior doves, molded by your love, positioned for your honour. May we not waste this season of refining, but may we come forth as gold and silver.”


Read more:

The Lord is my Helper! “I Will Help You!”

Great Trials Matched by Great Joy – James 1 Perspective

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Inheritance and Promise – Our Heritage in Isaiah 55

Isaiah 55 - Inheritance

The inheritance and promise within Isaiah 55 is for every follower of Christ. Even though I have studied this passage repeatedly, I continue to glean new and fresh insights from this little portion. Isaiah 55 is like seed producing continuing harvest in my life.

There is an old Arab proverb that says,

“Man can count seeds in grape!
Only God can count grapes in seed!”

God uses the seeds of His written word, the bible, to speak directly to us regarding our identity and purpose. These seeds become our personal inheritance to absorb in faith.

Isaiah 55 invites us to come, listen, see, seek and go.


Invitations welcome us to one-on-one fellowship, business meetings, weddings, home groups, family reunions or larger gatherings; relationships are important. God designed us for relationship with Him and with others. Even introverts, like me, must resist the urge of solitude and embrace community.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
Isaiah 55:1

Our Inheritance to Come

The only requirement is thirst! That is a good thing! We don’t need money; the expenses around this invitation have been paid in full.

As a young girl, I would stand on the ridge of a coulee along the Qu’Appelle Valley and call, funneling the sound of my voice with small cupped hands around my mouth. The echo would resound again and again and again off the valley walls.

I hear God’s echo through the generations, “Come…come…come…come…” My little echo diminished with each repetition, His never does. God calls,

“Come as you are!
The door is open!
Everything is ready just for you!
I’m waiting!
Come quickly and linger long!

The ability to come into God’s presence is part of the wonderful inheritance we have through Christ. We are welcome here with Him, our friends are welcome, so is our family, and wonder-upon-wonders, I am too!


Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.”
Isaiah 55:2-3


God is much more anxious for us to come and listen than we are to respond. Our hesitancy proves our doubt in His good character, His loving nature, and His desire to bless us.

When you stop and think about it, this is an astounding verse. God is giving us the same promises He gave to David. (II Samuel 7, I Chronicles 17, and Psalms 89) That is a lot of inheritance!

Nonetheless, it is part and parcel of the covenant relationship we have with the God of heaven and earth, through our Lord Jesus Christ.


“…Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”
Isaiah 55:4-5

God wants us not just to hear, but to grab hold of, this vision He has for us.




God's faithful love is revealed through His promises, provision and purposes for our lives. Click To Tweet

God’s faithful love is revealed through His promises, provision, and purposes for our lives. These Davidic promises include:

freedom from enemies and oppression,
generational blessings,
unending love,
bringing blessing to the nations,
authority and power….

We dishonour God by thinking small! His promise to us is international in scope! We each have a part to play in bringing the Good News to all nations.

Because His splendor is within us, it also radiates from us. Endowed “with splendor” may mean promotion and honour. Receive them humbly and graciously.

It is important to recognize every advancement is God’s inheritance for us. Let’s be sure to thank Him when our sphere of influence grows. These opportunities are less a reflection of us than of God’s goodness.


Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.”
Isaiah 55:6

Today is a good time to respond to God’s invitation to draw near to Him. It is arrogant to think we will always have this opportunity.

A friend of mine has recently accepted God’s, “Come!”

She is perplexed as to why she hesitated so long. What held her back? Ashamed  by the weight of personal sin and afraid of being transparent, she had refused His invitation time and time again. Only in desperation and loss of all hope was she willing to say, “Yes!”

Her life has been a progressive journey of freedom ever since, full of excitement, new friendships, and a sense of belonging and value.

She is thankful!


“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Isaiah 55:12


It is easier to go when we know we are being led!

Our lives are not aimless; God is faithfully leading and sending. Even when we are uncertain of our direction, we need not fear. He continues to guide.

Our lives are not aimless; God is faithfully leading! Click To Tweet

In Christ, we not only go, we go in joy!

Good Inheritance

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

God’s thoughts and ways are absolutely brilliant; we have no capacity to comprehend them.  One thing is certain; God is good! In responding to His invitation to participate in our inheritance, we come, listen, see, seek and go, trusting in His excellent design.

Life in Christ is a process of discovering His higher and better purpose. Today as we consider this one little portion of scripture, may we with new awareness go in all He has promised.

In coming to Him, we go with joy!


Another good read!

Moving and Change – Welcome or to be Avoided?


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Wake Up Deborah! Part 3 – Jael Strike the Enemy!

Deborah Arise - Jael Strike the Enemy

God planned every detail of their victory, not just for Israel, but beyond. Deborah’s voice and Barak’s bravery secured the battlefield, but the courage of Jael would extend the victory to all. It is time to strike the enemy!

You never have to go looking for your enemy! The enemy is looking for you!

Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8

Our story began with a woman, “the wife of Lappidoth.” Let me introduce you to Jael, “the wife of Heber.”

Opposites Attract

If ever there were opposites, Deborah and Jael are a perfect illustration. Jael’s husband Heber had

moved away from his tribe…
Heber’s family was on friendly terms with King Jabin.”
Judges 4:11, 17

Heber means “alliance”. As a descendant of Moses’ brother-in-law, Heber believed in God but allied with the enemy.  Heber had led his whole family to do the same. In this no-man’s-land of compromise, Jael’s home was in constant jeopardy.

Heber a lover of God but ally of the enemy

They lived by the Oak of Zaanannim, “removings”.

Before you throw too much judgment at Heber, consider his predicament. He was a foreigner in a foreign land. The incessant and degrading worship of non-gods was invading his home. However by “removing” his family from Israel’s wicked influence, he was also exposing them to a greater threat of destruction by invading troops.

Heber and his family walked a fine line for survival!

On one side, we see Deborah married to a powerful man of fire and faith. She was an anointed, fruitful and honoured woman, a beautiful and rare “palm” within Israel. On the other, we find Jael as common, as ordinary, as the sheltering oaks that surrounded her tent. Yet, she possessed a strength she did not yet know.

Defeated before she began!
Struggling to make ends meet!
The cards stacked against her!
The wrong family!
The wrong place!

The Enemy Knocks

Before Sisera knocked at her door, Jael saw him coming. His presence always signaled trouble for her and her household. Alone and running for his life,

Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael.”
Judges 4:17

A heart as dry as the desert

Though her ears never heard Deborah’s prophecy, God had this courageous, quick thinking woman ready!

“The LORD’s victory over Sisera
will be at the hands of a woman.”
Judges 4:9

How trapped in the cycle did Jael feel?  She knew already Sisera’s army lay defeated. Why else would he be on the run, fearfully glancing over his shoulder. Even without an army, Sisera possessed enough personal strength to annihilate her family.

God had asking her distant relative,

“What is that in your hand?”
Exodus 4:2

What could she, a woman, possibly do now? Courage rose above fear! She steeled her heart and steadied her mind! Her existence depended on it!

Sisera’s wild eyes and hands whitened against his sword disclosed his unpredictable nature.

What is in Your Hand?

It was a woman’s responsibility to tend to every aspect of her tent, from construction to maintenance. She would be the one to set up, repair and dismantle it. Like every mother today, it was her responsibility to protect it!

“Come into my tent, sir. Come in. Don’t be afraid”
Judges 4:18

Jael disarmed Sisera’s fear and used his fatigue as opportunity. She calmed the wild bull of a man with warm milk, settling him in a secluded corner of her own tent. Jael covered him with her blanket assuring him to rest.

“If anybody comes and asks you if there is anyone here,
say no.”
Judges 4:20

No where to run! No where to hide!

So many lies! The deceiver asleep in her tent! How tired was Jael of running, moving and longing for security? There was no where to hide. No more lies! No more making peace with the enemy!

The Courage of Jael

How many times had lies increased trouble for her household? Countless! Each lie strangling, poisoning, numbing to truth.

“No more! No more lies!”

As Jael watched her tears fall to the dusty ground something caught her eye. There they lay where she had fastened the last cord of her tent.

Numbly she reached for the long spike and crept toward Sisera, her heartbeat echoing in her ears.

As Deborah spoke in a voiceless land, Jael would no longer be silent! If Barak moved in audacious faith to engage Sisera in battle, she would not sit still! Because 10,000 men rose to the call without sword of shield, she would not rest!

While Israel’s warriors raised their voices in triumph, one obstacle prevented lasting peace. He was asleep on Jael’s floor.

God, who brought victory for the army of Israel, steadied her hand and her resolve.

“with her left hand she reached for a tent peg,
and with her right hand for the workman’s hammer.”
Judges 5:21

Courage is contagious. It started with Deborah, ignited Barak, and activated an army. Once awakened, courage flowed to the common, the ordinary, the survivors, the crippled, and the wounded. From the same dust that drank the blood of Sisera, courage continued to rise.

A Hammer and A Nail

Jael did not know that she was the fulfillment of Deborah’s prophecy. She was simply a mother watching over her tent.

Jael also didn’t realize she signalled another blow that would crush another head.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
  Genesis 3:15

Every believer since Adam and Eve has lived, like Heber and Jael, in the borderland between faith and alliance with the enemy. Some are caught in this broken place paralyzed by fear, incapacitated by sin, and numbed by lies.

In the North American Church today only 5% of Christians live in vibrant faith:

 bible reading full of exciting revelation
readiness to share the Good News of Christ
stepping into areas of ministry
praying with fervent faith
caring for the poor and under privileged
raising up disciples
enjoying God’s abiding presence.

Borderland is the prison confines of the too many!

Christ has paid the price for freedom! In His death and resurrection, He has crushed the deceiver once and for all!

May Deborah, Barak, 10,000 warriors and an ordinary woman named Jael, ignite an appetite for more. May we not settle for borderland living, but move toward freedom! If Satan has gained access anywhere in our homes, our families, our communities, our nation, or our world… arise!

Through the victory of the cross, STRIKE the enemy! God has already crushed his head and won the battle! Reach for the hammer and the tent peg. We may only get one swing, so let’s make it good!


If you missed the first two parts of “Arise! Wake up!”, read on!