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    Entries in revival (3)

    Sunday
    Sep202015

    How Can We Kill the Root of Human Trafficking?

    We don’t think much about Hagar.

    But if we’re going to address human trafficking in the spiritual realm and there are seeds sown in that realm that play out in the physical world, we’re gonna need to talk about Hagar.Image from the 1994 movie "Abraham" starring Richard Harris. Carolina Rosi portrayed Hagar.

    What is human trafficking? At its core, it’s the usurping of one human’s rights to serve the desires of another. Before that person can be used to serve the desires of another, they must be viewed as property. The servant is slave to the master. The master “owns” the servant.

    The one viewed as property has no rights, over their circumstances or even over their own body.

    Abraham and Sarah heard from God that Abe would be the father of a great nation. The years drug on with no son for them therefore Sarah took matters into her own hands. She told Abraham to impregnate Hagar. Abraham resisted but, to appease his wife, he went along with the plan. (Sounds like Adam, eh?)

    Did anyone give Hagar a choice in the matter? No.

    She was Sarah’s property therefore, when Abraham and Sarah doubted God, they used Hagar to force the fulfillment of God’s plan.Pimps often tattoo those they traffick, marking them as the pimp's property. Image from http://www.ijreview.com/2015/09/413813-sex-trafficking-survivors-show-brands-pimps-forced-wear/

    The true travesty is, though Hagar was from a pagan nation—Egypt—she was misused by people who worshipped the One True God. What do you think this did to Hagar’s trust in God? Is it any wonder she detested Sarah later? Is it any wonder Hagar pitted her son Ishmael against Isaac, the “child of promise” who kicked Ishmael out as Abraham’s heir?

    This situation was not God’s doing but rather was born of Abraham and Sarah’s doubt.

    What came of this huge lapse in faith for Abraham and Sarah? Enmity, strife, murderous intent, discord in the family and a woman—Hagar—used and cast aside all in the name of “fulfilling God’s promise to us.”

    Through thousands of years, those seeds have grown into poisonous, ongoing, worldwide war.

    Now before we pass harsh judgment on Sarah and Abraham, we must realize we do the same thing… even as followers of Christ. We hear from God, receive His wonderful gift of salvation, commit our lives to serve him BUT—our hearts are still pagan. We’re impatient and lose faith that God is going to keep His word. We get jealous of others who seem to have more favor, anointing, prestige, or talent. We believe somewhere in our little insecure core that God does not favor us like He favors others therefore, if we are to succeed, we have to make it happen.

    I propose this very issue is at the heart of why so many despise what they perceive as “the church.”

    The examples of those committed to “Thy kingdom come and thy will be done” are drowned out by those screaming, “MY kingdom come and MY will be done.”

    To a me-centered person, people are either a stumbling block and/or a stepping-stone to selfish ambition. 

    What’s at the heart of human trafficking? Selfish ambition that doubts God can or will fulfill our desires and needs therefore we grab what appeases us—even if it robs another of dignity, hope, and a future.

    I could go on with stating the obvious about our me-centered culture, but a better use of our time is to take action, starting with speaking death to the very root of using people as we play God—in the church and outside it. Please join with me in this prayer.Not Our Will but Thine be done (image from www.trailreflections.com)

    Holy Father, we ask You to give us eyes to see and ears to hear truth.

    We ask for Your heart on the matter of human trafficking and every other horrific effect of selfish ambition. Together, we as the Body of Christ—imperfect though we are—speak to the very root of using people while slapping the label of Christ across our self-serving actions. Image from http://oneofthehoraios.tumblr.com/post/8380100916

    We identify that root of human trafficking inserted by the patriarch and matriarch of our faith who, much like Adam & Eve, sought a shortcut to God’s promises. We curse the very root of fear and pride that causes us to look, sound and even act like those who unashamedly put self on the throne of their lives.

    We recognize the root of stealing personhood from another while we try to disguise it as fulfilling God’s will.

    We curse that root and command it to shrivel and die. We curse the poisonous trees borne of that root: bitterness, hatred, chaos, war, murder and pride. Into those trees, we speak a wonderful virus of humility and overwhelming love for all God’s children. We repent together and ask Your forgiveness. Please break our hearts for what breaks Yours.

    We lay our hearts and ambitions before You, asking for selflessness to replace self-worship.

    May we choose the path of Christ who laid aside His rights in order to serve.

    In the holy name of Yeshua-Jesus our Messiah we pray.

    Amen.

    Chana Keefer is wife-of-one, mom-of-four and the best selling author of four with many more stories jockeying for position in her brain. She brakes for old barns, hot chocolate chip cookies and ANY version of Pride & Prejudice. Chana and her family reside in southern California but dream of touring New Zealand—on horses—with Peter Jackson as their personal guide.

    Please check out Chana's #1 best selling books on Amazon

    Read them, recommend them, enjoy them with your book club, write reviews, loan them to friends, buy a box for a local crisis pregnancy, youth group or non-profit organization and, (Chana's favorite) read them aloud/discuss them with your family. Your heartfelt recommendations and reviews are the most effective publicity.


    Friday
    Sep182015

    Why We Don't Pray

    Image of Joan of Arc prayingThe video in my head of what I thought a powerful prayer life would look like? Picture Joan of Arc peering into Heaven with an angelic expression as a beam of light shines down from above. In reality, It’s me in the floor of my closet, still in my p.j’s, with hair in some sort of knot, and one of my robes thrown over my head. So romantic, eh?

    But the truth remains that prayer—according to the Bible and saints who have rocked the world for God in ages past—is the most important ingredient of our walk with Christ. So why don’t we pray more?

    No Time

    I sooo understand how frazzled we get these days. I was speaking with a mom's group yesterday and one gal even had a t-shirt that read, "We Never Sleep!" Especially when we have tiny ones, the thought of ever getting enough sleep again is a pipe dream. However, as frazzled as we are, with family, job, etc, prayer is exactly what we need. Every day our multi-tasking and emergencies tax us to the limit. While we get to the end of our energy and resources so quickly, we can never get to the end of God’s. Scheduling that time with Him helps us get the priorities straight.

    Don’t Know How

    I get it. Prayer is intimidating. But here’s a fact to encourage you—there are NO experts in prayer. To say one is an expert means that person has a grasp on all facets of a particular subject. After praying every morning for more than 11 years, I can honestly say I still feel like a novice. However, I can also say I know God better, understand His love better, and trust Him more.

    Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if it’s complicated, your agenda is probably getting in the way. Jesus instructs his disciples to come to the Heavenly Father as children—simple, no deception, no agenda, trusting and humble. Think how kids have NO problem asking or even demanding something right after they’ve blown it! That’s trust. That’s a natural understanding of grace and the fact they know you love them even when they’ve screwed up. That’s how God wants us to come to Him.

    But, it’s true we often don’t know how to pray as Jesus taught us, with confidence that Our Father in Heaven hears us and wants to give us good things.

    Don’t Believe Prayer Works OR Prayer Doesn’t work FOR ME

    We’ve all had those painful experiences in life where we bargained with God and pleaded with Him and things didn’t turn out the way we wanted. Here are principles we need to keep in mind when praying:

    1. We don’t know everything and can’t see what God can see. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
    2. We live in a fallen world. There’s a lot involved in the bad things that happen—sickness, mean people, etc. because God has never taken away free will. For a really great discussion about unanswered prayer, grab Pete Greig's book God On Mute.

    Don’t really want to

    1. Sounds Boring: Prayer, at least from most of the examples we’ve heard, sounds pretty boring, eh? And if you’re not fully convinced it’s accomplishing anything, ya just feel foolish. Who wants to talk to a wall?
    2. I want what I want: It’s often very hard to truly want “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done” when we’re really wanting “My kingdom come & My will be done.”
    3. Mad at God: Sometimes we are holding a grudge against God and other people for the things we’ve suffered. Often those experiences scream louder in our ears than the truths of the Bible. Studies show this is usually the case for those who profess atheism. Life has hurt them and they blame God. “You didn’t show up? You didn’t STOP them from doing that to me? Then You must not exist—at least not as a God I want to have anything to do with!

    Truth—You have Spiritual Enemies who don’t want you to pray

    We don’t often talk about the devil and evil spiritual beings these days, even in Christian circles. However, if you can wrap your head around an all-loving God Who sent His son to die a vicious death in order to pay the price for us—there is also a reason God paid that horrible price. Because there is an enemy, an active intelligence who has an army of evil spiritual beings at his command, who wants us to stay separated from God. That’s a HUGE reason it’s so hard to pray. It’s also a huge reason why we should fight through any obstacle to have our time with God.

    Also, from a mom's point-of-view, we are fighting a huge battle against the forces of darkness that want to screw up our kids. We have NO GREATER ADVOCATE in this fight than our Father in Heaven who wants to teach us how to shake the foundations of Hell as we pray.

    What’s Your Reason For Not Praying?

    All of these hurdles can be summed up in this statement—If we truly understood God’s character and the power available to us through prayer, wild horses could not keep us from it!

    Try it. Commit to meet with God, same time every day, for at least 30 minutes for the next 30 days. You can even connect with our 30/30 Prayer group on Facebook or join with a few close friends for the journey.

    I can't wait to hear what God does.

    a couple amazing books to spur you on your prayer adventure:

    Red Moon Rising by Pete Greig: 

    An extraordinary story about the adventure of faith and the power of persevering prayer… On a summer’s day in 1727 a community of Moravians started praying and didn’t stop for more than 100 years. Throughout history God has mobilised such movements and moments of 24/7 prayer – from the Upper Room of Pentecost to Azusa Street in Los Angeles, through ancient Celtic saints and extraordinary characters like Alexander the Sleepless.This is the story of a movement of the Spirit in our time, a move as ancient as it is modern.

    Servant of the King: Memoir of Modern Apostle Kemper Crabb by yours truly: 11 MILLION SALVATIONS. 1,800 CHURCHES. 400 ORPHANAGES. 17 RESURRECTIONS. 3-TIME NOBEL PEACE PRIZE NOMINEE. From the palaces of kings, to the slums of India, and to the belly of dungeon-like prisons, Kemper Crabb spreads salvation, love, and alleviation of suffering. It started with one suffering child. Armed Gurkhas would not let Kemper near the child for fear he would "alter Karma." The child died--frightened, alone, and unloved. Kemper cried out to God, "Why do You allow such suffering?" God gave Kemper a vision of the child sitting on Jesus' knee, but He gave the heartbroken missionary much more: a vision of how to relieve the spiritual and physical suffering of millions. Included: Kemper's Spiritual Warfare Training Handbook.


    Chana Keefer is wife-of-one, mom-of-four and the best selling author of four with many more stories jockeying for position in her brain. She brakes for old barns, hot chocolate chip cookies and ANY version of Pride & Prejudice. Chana and her family reside in southern California but dream of touring New Zealand—on horses—with Peter Jackson as their personal guide.

    Please check out Chana's #1 best selling books on Amazon

    Read them, recommend them, enjoy them with your book club, write reviews, loan them to friends, buy a box for a local crisis pregnancy, youth group or non-profit organization and, (Chana's favorite) read them aloud/discuss them with your family. Your heartfelt recommendations and reviews, dear reader, are my favorite and most effective publicity.

    Monday
    Jun292015

    Weep, Mourn & Wail

    “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, I will forgive their sin and I will heal their land.” 2 Chron. 7:14

    Family of God, it’s time to mourn and fast and pray and take responsibility for our sin, not the sin we see “out there” but for what is inside us. Revival begins in the House of the Lord, not among those who claim no allegiance to Him. It’s time to search our hearts and lay all our bitterness, unforgiveness, idolatries, fears and selfish egos at the foot of the cross. Weep, mourn and wail, not about the sin “out there” but about the sin in the secret places of our hearts. WE are the ones who take Christ’s blood for granted. WE are the ones who proclaim His praise then live as if He doesn’t see. WE are the ones who take God’s precious love then grind it in the dirt because we can’t love our fellow man.

    Heavenly Father, forgive us. We bow before you and confess we have so many gods before you, so many habits and fears and appetites that control us and have our hearts. May we be broken vessels, completely reliant on Your grace for our next breath, transformed on the deepest level by Your unfathomable love. We confess our laziness and self-absorption and the way we hoard the blessings you give while millions suffer without the most basic necessities. We cry out for the mind of Christ and the love of Christ to truly manifest in us. May every breath, every inclination, every desire yearn toward knowing You and making Your love known in this world that groans in the pain of bondage.

    Holy Father, please give us the Spirit of repentance. May we truly turn from our wicked ways and be transformed vessels of Your grace.

    “Then will you call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. And you shall seek me and you shall find me, when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, and will lead you out of captivity.” Jer. 29:13