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August 25, 2023

Stay Focused

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” One possible metaphoric meaning to these words is very interesting and very pertinent today.

The word “ways,” is translated from the Hebrew word derek, which can be used for a “way, road, journey, manner, work.”(1) More often than not, however, it is used metaphorically, referring to the actions and behavior of people.(2) It “has the unusual sense of ‘sexual favors’ in Jeremiah 3:13 and Proverbs 31:3.” Derek is the word chosen for the act of courting in Proverbs 30:19.(3) To court someone is to seek their affection or love. Courting God would mean pursuing spiritual intimacy with Him.

Imagine that, courting God.

Consistent with this relational theme, the word “acknowledge” in the above verses comes from yada, which is the Old Testament word for knowing someone intimately.(4) Adam knew (yada) Eve, and she conceived (see Genesis 4:1). Because of this, the Passion Translation translates verse 6: “Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go.”

People “court” many things: success, advancement, fame, other people, glory, money, favor, and a myriad of other goals we humans strive to reach. Gordon Dahl aptly said, “Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship.”(5) Seeking and loving God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength is often lost in life’s melee. When this occurs, the source of our spiritual life and strength is cut off.

We must drink daily from the fountain flowing from Christ. Sometimes I feel like the small child in the “Family Circus” cartoon who ran up to his mother exclaiming, “I need a hug, Mommy. I used up the last one.”(6) It doesn’t take long to use up our spiritual hugs.

Just as physical intimacy leads to conception, spiritual intimacy with God leads to spiritual conception. Jesus referred to our spirit as a womb, koilia(7) (John 7:38). He said this is where His life resides in us and the place from which it flows. He referred to His words as spiritual seeds (1 Peter 1:23, Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8), meaning they reproduce, multiply, and bring forth life in our spiritual wombs. When we are “intimate” with God, spending time in worship and in His Word, He speaks to us, planting seeds that reproduce His thoughts, plans, and ways. As this occurs, our vision, actions, methods, strategies, etc., are born of God, not just ourselves.

Where our spiritual lives are concerned, God isn’t into “surrogate parenting” - someone else carrying His seed of revelation for us. He wants to sow His Word into us personally. Insights we receive from others are good and valid, but if that is the only way we receive revelation, we’re living far below our privileges.

Nor does He want to reproduce in us through “artificial insemination” - placing His “seed” in us without relational connection. Podcasts, conferences, and books are all appropriate, but they must not take the place of hearing from God personally and directly. Conferences, where the Word of God is flowing wonderfully, can become nothing more than a sterile laboratory of information. Under the guise of not reinventing the wheel, we sometimes don’t regenerate revelation, either, endeavoring to live on what someone else has birthed.

The problem is not that we receive insights from others - this is obviously one of the ways God teaches us; the problem is when this becomes the primary source of our information. We cannot live life solely on someone else’s revelation. We must hear from God ourselves. And when He does speak to us through another, we still should pray and meditate over the information (courting God) until it becomes a personal word of revelation to us.

As strange as it may sound, people often become “pregnant” with someone else’s revelation and, yes, even birth another person’s spiritual child. The church is filled with individuals trying to walk out someone else’s revelation, vision, ideas, and methods. And we sometimes wonder why so much of what we do produces so little fruit.

We may clone church growth, but we can’t clone spiritual life, and we certainly cannot clone revival. Revival is the release of God’s life; it is not produced, but reproduced - born of the Spirit! We often run our churches and ministries from the boardroom instead of the prayer room. The first one produces the works of man; the other births a move of God.

Going Around in Circles

I get a little nervous when God sends me to the gospel of Luke, chapter 10. My response is usually, “Uh-oh.” I know what He said there. Luke 10:38-42 is the story of Mary and Martha - or should I say, the story of Mary and most of the leadership of the church. As I feel drawn to or am reminded of this passage, I know Father is about to correct me for prioritizing ministry for Him over ministry to Him.

“Now, as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover, was listening to the Lord’s word, seated at His feet.

“But Martha was distracted with all her preparations, and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’

“But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

Mary was seated at the feet of the Lord, and Martha was busy in the kitchen, ‘distracted with all her preparations’ (v. 40). The word “distracted” comes from the Greek verb perispao. It means to literally “drag around in circles.”(8) The word for “preparations” is the New Testament word for “ministry,” diakonia, the same word we would use for service to God. Even ministry for Jesus can become a weight we drag around! I call this the “treadmill anointing.” In this passage, God isn’t glorifying laziness. He is prioritizing listening to Him and receiving His “seeds.”

In an interview for Today’s Christian Woman, writer and speaker Carol Kent says:

“One day when [my son] Jason was young, we were eating breakfast together. I had on an old pair of slacks and a fuzzy old sweater. He flashed his baby blues at me over his cereal bowl and said, ‘Mommy, you look so pretty today.’

“I didn’t even have makeup on! So I said, “Honey, why would you say I look pretty today? Normally, I’m dressed up in a suit and heels.’

“And he said, ‘When you look like that, I know you’re going someplace; but when you look like this, I know you’re all mine.”(9)

I love praying in the outdoors. I usually wear grubby jeans or shorts, old shoes, T-shirt, a ballcap, and other casual, non-professional attire. When I go to the office, I change into my nicer clothes. Somehow, I think God prefers me in my non-professional uniform. When He sees me dressed that way, He knows I’m all His.

Courting God is always essential. In seasons such as the one we are now in, however, it becomes critical. When Joshua was about to lead Israel into war to possess the promised land, one of God’s commands to him was, “Meditate on My words” (Joshua 1:8). This was not to make Joshua religious! Settle forever the fact that God is not religious! He desires relationship, not religion; family, not hirelings and organizations. He told Joshua to do this, not to make him a good Jew - or, in today’s language, a good Christian. Yahweh told him this because His words produce life, faith, divine strategy, and strength. “You're gonna need Me, Joshua. And here’s how you’ll find Me!”

God wants to talk to you. Court Him!

Pray with me:

Father, as we live life in this confused and unstable world, remind us to remain tethered to our lifeline. May our spiritual wombs be ever-pregnant with Your plans and vision, causing us to birth Your life and actions. Like Joshua, help us to keep first things first, so that we can prosper and be successful.

We pray also today for those on the front lines of the legal battle being waged for America. We intercede for those being unjustly persecuted and charged with crimes by our corrupt justice system. For President Trump, those who served him, and those who appropriately questioned election activities, we ask for speedy justice. We also ask that justice be served to those operating in unjust ways. Expose and shake down their evil systems in our land. Shatter the teeth of the wicked (Psalm 3:7, 58:6).

We ask You to give provision to these individuals being unjustly charged, one of the goals being to drain them financially. We also ask that boldness and courage be given them, as one of the purposes of these charges is to stop people from questioning elections in the future, and from speaking out against the evil in our government. They want righteous people to stay out of government for fear of slander and financial drain. Give strength against this intimidation from Jezebel. We ask that strength be given to the righteous and for the shaking of the wicked and their activities.

We ask for all these things in Jesus’ name, amen.

Our decree:

We decree that evil structures in America are being judged and destroyed, and that we will stay connected to our source during this time of shaking.

Click on the link below to watch the full video.


  1. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Workbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p. 196.

  2. Ibid., p. 197.

  3. Ibid., p. 198.

  4. Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Kay Study Bible - New American Standard, p. 1720.

  5. Rowell, Quotes & Idea Starters for Preaching and Teaching, p. 181.

  6. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, A Third Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc. 1996), p. 99.

  7. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no. 2836.

  8. Ibid. Ref. no 4049.

  9. Craig Brian Larson, Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996) p. 70.

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