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This is a place where we share the astonishing, hilarious, and holy moments where God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit intersect with people on earth.

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Trail of Grace: Transforming Grace

B y Martha Bush Trail-grace

For the past couple of weeks, we have been traveling down A Trail of Grace with Jacob, an Old Testament character, known as The Deceiver.  You can read about his experiences here: Conversion Grace and Sufficient Grace

Today, we are going to see Jacob experience Transforming Grace on his journey back to his homeland after having been deceived by his Uncle Laban for twenty years.

Before we start down this trail, let’s talk a little bit about Jacob’s character. 

It goes like this:

  • Surprise! Surprise! Jacob had his own little game of deception going on.
  • He fixed it so that he had the strongest of the flock and Laban had the weaker ones.
  • When Laban’s sons realized Jacob’s scam, they told their Dad. Jacob, in essence, says to them, “Your father cheated on me, and now the shoe is on the other foot!”
  • Laban is outraged. Just in the nick of time God tells Jacob it is time to return home. So Jacob loaded up the family and headed for Canaan.  (Genesis 30: 25-31)

Now, ain’t that something, folks! Jacob had had an out-of-this-world Conversion experience after he had deceived his father into giving him The Blessing that should have been for Esau. God met him at a certain place in the desert, and gave him a dream.  Angels were descending up and down the staircase; the Lord himself was at the top of the staircase.  Well, it jolted old Jacob, and he accepted the Lord right then and there. (Genesis 28: 20-21)

Yet, there was a flaw in Jacob’s character that had not changed.  Hold on to your seat belts and we'll what is about to go down about that flaw a little further down the road. Right now, Jacob had other things on his mind. He knew he had to face Esau, and the words of Esau still rang in his ears from twenty years ago:  “One of these days, my father will be dead, and then I’m going to kill you for deceiving him." 

So, as Jacob and his entourage moved closer to his home town, fear gripped him, and he put a package deal together for his brother.  “I have oxen, asses, flocks, men servants and women servants, and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in your sight.”  Genesis 32:5) 

What was he trying to do? Buy grace, which cannot be bought. And yet, here is Jacob trying to buy Esau off. But, the night before his meeting with Esau, Jacob has an interesting experience.

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” (Genesis 32:24-30 NIV)

Who was the man that Jacob encountered that night?

  • Some scholars say it was an angel sent from God, some say they don’t know.
  • But, something happened to him that night. 
  • Grace came and TRANSFORMED his character flaw of manipulation and deception.
  • He left that place that night a new man. His name was even changed.

My friends, from my own experience, I believe that because we are born into a world of sin, we come into this world having weaknesses, aka, character flaws, along with our strengths. Some of those flaws are present because of our genetic inheritance; some are present because of our own personality. This character flaw needs to be purified, refined, and be transformed. And yet, many times we ignore it, and refuse to do anything about it. 

I was a people pleaser, along with having a phlegmatic temperament - -the easy going personality type that never rocked the boat. But, just like Jacob, there came a time when God decided it was time to deal with that deep-seated issue in my life. And that is when He took me to the wrestling mat to change that flaw in my character. Oh yes, I had been a Christian many years, but I was not living up to the potential He wanted me to be - -I needed to be transformed. 

What about you? Share your Grace Transformation experience in the comments.

Join me next week for the meeting between Jacob and Esau.

 


Barriers To Healing: Unbelief

Jesus Heals June 2021The next barrier to healing: Unbelief

Warriors in the Kingdom, I write about all of these topics as a student in the classroom with Christ.

Last time we looked at fear as a barrier to healing. And I guess fear is the expression of unbelief or doubt. These all overlap and are always at the root of abiding in powerful faith. I struggle in areas of unbelief or doubt. However, I hope you are like me. I’m pressing into to walk in absolute faith and belief.

What is interesting to me is generally much of the church views unbelief as a harmless weakness. That we can’t possibly believe, and God knows this and it’s okay.

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but [b]exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. – HEBREWS 3: 12-13

Yikes!

This passage doesn’t allow us wiggle room. Unbelief is a sin and sin is a catch of the demonic.

So, how do we move out of this place into faith? We exhort one another. We encourage one another into greater faith. We share stories of healing and miracles and choose with an act of our free will to believe that Jesus heals and heals us today and others.

We need to do two things:

  1. Pray and confess our sin of unbelief
  2. Proclaim our faith in Jesus and the Word and receive belief.

Pray this aloud: Father, in the name of Jesus, I confess my fears and thoughts of unbelief. I confess that there are moments when I haven’t believed with a full and convinced heart that You are good. I confess that I haven’t embraced the truth that the Word of God is filled with promises of healing and health. I confess that I have doubted that Jesus would heal. Or that I’m unworthy to be touched by You and healed by Jesus. I confess that I’ve held on to lies that create fear within me that if I pray for healing and it doesn’t happen that I failed or that I don’t haven enough faith.

As of today Jesus, I release all fear, all doubt, all unbelief and expectations that I placed upon myself regarding my healing and praying healing for others.

Today, I embrace the truth and declare it over my life and faith. Jesus, you heal. You supernaturally heal and heal instantly. Your took every illness, disease and injury upon your body with your beating. And by Your stripes I AM HEALED. I believe You heal and greatly desire to Heal me and others. I will command all fear to depart and I proclaim. I believe in healing and I receive healing in________________ Right now. Your name is above every other name and by Your name I AM HEALED.

Thank you Jesus. Amen


A Trail of Grace: Sufficient Grace

By Martha Bush Trail-grace

I am continuing our series on Grace - - God’s unmerited favor. We can’t earn it; it’s a free gift.

Last week, we started down a Trail of Grace with Jacob, known as the master of deception. He had just deceived his aging father and stolen The Blessing that was intended for his brother, Esau. Esau threatened to kill him. While on the run to his Uncle Laban's house to get away from Esau, God met him at a Certain Place, and Jacob had a Conversion experience.

Here’s a young man who could not be more off course in terms of God’s plan for his life. But, God was waiting for Jacob out there in the desert to correct his course. That's Grace.

Today, we are going to continue down our Trail of Grace with Jacob as he travels the remaining several hundred miles to Uncle Laban's house. I can just see him singing praises to God along the trail now that he was saved. But----it wasn't long before he got a dose of his own medicine. 

Genesis 29-31 tells the story of Jacob's twenty years with Uncle Laban. 

  • First of all, Jacob fell in love with Uncle Laban’s daughter, Rachael, and wanted to marry his cousin, which was permitted in their culture.
  • Laban cut a deal with Jacob to work for him seven years without any pay for Rachael’s hand in marriage.
  • When the seven years were up, Laban deceived Jacob and gave him her sister, Leah, for his bride. Jacob had finally met his match - the deceiver met the deceiver.
  • But, that’s not all Laban did to him during those years. Jacob sums it all up in Gen. 32:7—Your father (talking to Laban’s sons) has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.

Jacob realized God had kept the promise made to him at the time of his conversion. “I am with you and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised to you.” (Genesis 28:15)

Grace didn’t bail out on Jacob during those twenty years. This reminds me how Jesus responded to the Apostle Paul's third plea to “take this from me” concerning his thorn in the flesh. (2 Cor. 12:9-10.)

My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

How well I personally remembering hearing those words years ago. I won’t go into detail, but I’ve had this on-going situation in my life for years. Many times I prayed,  “Please take this from me, Lord,” but the event kept playing out year-after-year. Finally one night, at a very low point, I heard the words of an old chorus: 

"My Grace is sufficient;
My Grace is sufficient.
My Grace is sufficient.
Enough for you, enough for you.”

And with that, a peace settled deep within me, and I went on with life. But, as the years continued to roll by, I occasionally go back to that place and cry out again, “How long, Lord, how long? Isn’t it time for You to bring this all to a conclusion as You promised You would?”

This past week, I was alone in a motel for a pre-planned quite time with the Lord, and it seemed as though He  “explained” a few things to me:

"You see, Martha, there was a certain place Jacob’s conversion happened. There was also a specific time in history I was going to use him to bring about my plan that had been proclaimed to his grandfather and father, Abraham and Isaac. The appointed time COULDN’T HAPPEN ANY SOONER; IT WAS INTENDED FOR A CERTAIN PLACE AND SPECIFIC TIME IN HISTORY. As you know, it was through Jacob's lineage that you now have Me as your Savior." 

And then He talked to me about my situation: 

  • "I want you, Martha, to be a part of the history making event for your family, just as Jacob was.
  • I have chosen you to be the repairer of the breach for your family.
  • I have chosen you to pull down strongholds and generational curses that have been passed down to your family through the years. 
  • Those things you have lingered years for, I am using it to glorify My name, and for you to comfort others.
  • In the meantime, my grace is sufficient for you as you wait for the certain place and specific time for my promises to be manifested in your family."

My friends, I believe there is a person in each family who, like Esther, has been brought into the Kingdom for such a time as this.   Are you willing to be that one to change the course of history for you and your family?

Back to Jacob - - after twenty years, God gave Jacob permission to return to his native land. Next week, we will see what happens when it's time to meet Esau.

 

 


Barriers To Healing: Fear

Jesus Heals June 2021Barriers to healing and divine health

Friends, recently the Lord has been speaking to me about praying for healing. I was listening to someone on Sid Roth who said this (my summary). When I feel I’m facing something scary, I press into it instead of move away.

Whoa. Instantly I knew this was a word for me. This is for me because I sometimes sense fear when I’m praying for healing. Not for myself necessarily, because I pray healing over myself all the time and experience divine healing. However, I didn’t realize how much fear lurks in the back of my mind when praying for others.

Well, that is until recently. The Lord brought to mind a recent prayer session where I believed for healing without fear. It was wild what happened.

I was in the process of joining a Zoom call to pray for a young man. As the screen opened up this brilliant young man was experiencing pain in his leg. Immediately, my spirit knew Jesus was going to heal him. I began to pray immediately and released healing. Commanding fear to leave and Jesus to touch and heal the leg. I could almost see an angel standing by the boy and healing the leg.

I instinctively KNEW that healing was happening. I happened incredibly fast. I hadn't finished praying. Yet, I just knew, that I knew, that I knew in my knower, Jesus was healing this boy of the pain in his leg.

And indeed, the pain subsided and we then began our prayer time.

The revelation from Jesus to me through this is: NO FEAR. I had absolutely no fear in this situation. No false responsibility that I often (in error) place on myself that I’m somehow responsible for healing or the lack thereof. I do this to myself a lot. My position was absolute confidence that Jesus was touching him.

And He did! Period. The end.

So in this season I'm praying with intentionality to remove all fear about healing and all doubt. I choose to believe, anticipate and expect with complete confidence that Jesus is healing.

Interestingly, when I commanded fear to leave, I could literally feel fear depart. Whoa. And double Whoa.

What is fascinating is supernatural healing occurs in an instant. It happens extraordinarily quick. I remember watching my left leg grow out in a moment. If you blinked you would have missed it. But before my very eyes, it stretched a tiny bit to match the length of my other leg. It's wild to be a part of the Kingdom of God. Never a dull moment!!! *grin*

So, if we desire to pray for healing we must hear what the Father is doing and partner with Jesus. We should pray for instant healing and expect it but also move forward into divine healing and health as a process. Without intimacy with the Lord, we can’t navigate the healing process for ourselves and others.

Everything is centered in our intimate relationship with God.

Okay, next session: Barriers to healing: A prayer we all need. Love you, Lynn


A Trail of Grace: Conversion Grace

By Martha Bush Trail-grace

I began a series last week on GRACE - - God’s unmerited favor. We can’t earn it; it’s a free gift. Several of you shared your salvation experience, and we were blessed.

Today, we start down a Trail of Grace with Jacob, an Old Testament character, to show how grace is active in all areas of our life. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you fresh revelations of this old story.

Genesis 27 records how Jacob deceived his father into giving him The Blessing that should have gone to his brother, Esau. Actually, this wasn’t the first time Jacob had played the deception game; he had manipulated his brother into selling him his birthright. (Gen. 25:29-34)

When Esau realized he had once again been the recipient of his brother’s deception, he threatened to kill him. Mom Rebekah got wind of Esau’s threat and told Jacob to leave town and go to her brother Laban’s house.    

Uncle Laban lived hundreds of miles away, and it was going to take awhile to get there. When Jacob reached a certain place, he stopped for the night to get some sleep. (Genesis 28:11)

In this certain place, Jacob had a dream:  a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven, and angels of God ascending and descending on it.  There above the staircase 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. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. (vs 12-14)

  • Commentaries say the ladder shows there was a connection between heaven and earth.
  • The presence of angels ascending and descending up and down the ladder means God was at work.
  • The Lord confirms the covenant He had made with Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac.

God then gave Jacob a personal word: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”  (vs 15)

Jacob awoke the next morning and made a vow:If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God,” and he went on his journey!  (vs. 20-21)

The deceiver himself had a Conversion Experience. In New Testament language:  By GRACE, Jacob got saved!

_______ 

Friends, as you know, sometimes an old familiar Bible story will touch you in a way it never has before. As I recapped Jacob’s conversion experience, ironically, my thoughts turned towards my own unsaved loved ones.

First, I took notice of how Rebekah dealt with Jacob’s deception. Instead of witnessing to her son about the Lord, in essence, she said: “Don’t worry about your sins and repenting; RUN!”  I have been a Rebekah. I pushed things under the rug to keep peace. In the process, I enabled my loved one in their sin instead of standing for what was right in God's eyes. Actually, I was protecting my own skin by being too intimidated to confront. 

Next, that certain place where Jacob stopped to spend the night jolted me. Jacob randomly picked a place to stop, but it was in this dark, dangerous desert while he was on the run he had an encounter with God. The Holy Spirit nudged me, “I have a certain place picked out for your loved one, too. I am behind the scenes working. In my time, I will show up in a certain place to meet them. BTW---it may not be in church. Jacob was in the desert running; Paul was on his way to kill Christians when my light shone upon them.” 

Then the Renewal of the Covenant God had made with Jacob's descendants, and what He wanted to continue through him hit me hard. I stand guilty of often thinking, “If they got saved, my life would be easier.”  The Lord clearly showed me there is a bigger picture going on than ME and my pity parties. It’s about a plan He had for them before the foundation of the earth. They may have taken a detour, but God’s plans did not change. The Kingdom work He has for them to do could also change the course of human history.

With these new revelations, I got Holy Ghost goose bumps all over my body. 

What about you?  Please share any revelations you have from this Old Testament story.

 Join me next week to see Grace in action when Jacob reaches Uncle Laban’s home.