Chapter 10. Difficulty

Chapter 10.  Difficulty

per — Capturing God’s Heart Volume #10

Today I am sharing about Difficulty, and some of what I have come to find about the Lord through the hard things of our lives.

We all have trouble in this life. Each of us experience things that are simply difficult. In fact the Bible speaks quite a bit to difficulty. Jesus said this:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 NLT 

I used to think that God was going to fix all my difficulty and that the overcoming that Christ spoke of was to do with the stuff of this world.  That perhaps God was simply magic applied to my life and that I could pray and all of a sudden the hard stuff would go away.

I have found that this is not so.  I have learned that God does not fix our lives so much as He wants to walk alongside us in our lives.

The overcoming of the world that Christ speaks of is the process of finding God in the midst of the worst things, and in turn finding our strength from the inside out.

“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9 NLT

Will our lives get better and better with God in the mix, for sure.

Will all our troubles go away? No, they won’t.

Difficulties are the refining fire that proves our love for God, proves our walk alongside Him, and establishes us as trustworthy in His kingdom.

The pressures of life test and prove what we have inside us.

“He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.” Malachi 3:3 NLT 

Are we interested in God because he is going to help us, or are we interested in God because we love him and want to be in his company and to serve in His kingdom?

The Levites were the priests of the Lord. Chosen by Him to serve Him in the temple. 

Today we are all priests. Chosen by God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and it is the difficulties that purify us.

Difficulty purifies our motives.

Difficulty also strengthens us.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”  Romans 5:3-5 NLT

Like carrying a load of wood or jugs of water, we start off with our small muscles and can only carry so much.

But then we are able to carry more.  Our muscles are stronger.  Our strength is increased.

This is what difficulties do for us.  They grow our inner muscles.  Difficulties grow our character and our wisdom and our resilience.

Difficulties are not something that happens to us, but rather they are for us.

“Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.” Ecclesiastes 7:3 NLT 

God uses difficulties to prepare you and I for the assignments in His kingdom.

There is no way around difficulty.

Each of us must travel through the various difficulties that have come to us.

Certainly, many of our troubles are our own doing, but many of them are not.  And it doesn’t even matter as much as we think, for God will use the difficulties to do a work in our life.

“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.” Psalm 71:20 NLT 

Once we have faced difficulties we are stronger.  Once we have faced the worst things and found God in the midst of it all, we are not so afraid of difficulties anymore.

The thing is, difficulties never go away.  Even when we reach success, success brings its own set of difficulty.

There will always be hard things.  And we have a choice to either fight God in the midst of our trouble or to grow and mature under the hard things.

“In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God.  We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.” 2 Corinthians 6:4 NLT 

Unfortunately some of us take our difficulties to others.  We want someone to save us and to make it better.

Or we take our frustration and anger out on those closest to us, hurting others as a result.

None of this grows the fruit that we want.  We want inner strength, not destroyed relationships. We want maturity and integrity, not child-like frustrations thrown on other people.

Each of us are responsible for our own lives and this starts in the inner place between ourselves and God, that place where we take the difficulties and we work them through with God.

We find His strength in the midst of our weakness.

“So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” 1 Peter 4:19 NLT 

Once we stop fighting difficulty, we become better equipped to deal with them well, to grow in wisdom and knowledge, to add to our faith with understanding and a bigger perspective.

Most important we find God in new and fresh ways when in the midst of difficulty.

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”  Isaiah 43:2 NLT

Will life get better and better as we walk with Him? Yes it will.

But not because life changes necessarily (although it will by and by), but more importantly because we change.  And when we change, everything changes.

Thanking God for our difficulties is the starting place.  Where we give a sacrifice of praise even in the difficulty, we are most blessed.

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”  Colossians 2:7 NLT 

God responds to this kind of faith and heart.  Our lives will not be the same.


“Thank-you God for our troubles.  Thank-you for bringing us difficulty that refines us and purifies our hearts before you.  We are glad that you have trusted us with hard things, knowing that we are equipped and strengthened in this.  We trust you with the hardships of our lives.  We invite your hand into our troubles, but just as much we ask that you would teach us everything we need to know as we face our difficulties.  May we see the hard stuff as opportunities to come to know you more.  Thank-you Father that you walk alongside us through the middle of all our trouble. We bless your name today.  Amen”

Troubles in one shape or another will always be with us.  Today let us dedicate our lives to God regardless of our circumstances and difficulty. Regardless of the trouble we praise you Lord!


As a prayer minister and as I work with my clients toward inner healing I have found it very powerful for us to take our difficulties and troubles and claim them for the glory of God. 

For instance, “God I take this accident I was involved in and I declare it for your glory and honour. 

I remove from it any authority of the enemy and I state in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ that even this circumstance can be used by God for his glory and for my future.” 

When we claim every part of our lives for the glory of God we declare in the spirit realm that God is Lord over our life, and that even though the enemy might be sending trouble our way we will not be overcome by it, but rather we will overcome it by the power of the cross. 

And in this, our hearts and minds are changed as well.  We move from blaming and accusation (even against the enemy) and we begin to hold a space that declares that God can use everything in our lives and we are glad to have him do so.  We do not need to be angry with the enemy for we are confident that God can use our current circumstances for his glory and for our future. 

When we change our hearts and minds in this way we remove from that trouble its authority or ‘say’ to upset our lives.  We firmly declare that God is in control of everything and we begin to give thanks for each thing in our lives whether they are good or bad. 

As we give God the glory for everything in our lives the grip of the enemy loosens for he simply cannot stay where God is glorified.  And in it’s place we see the powerful outworking of the Lord beginning to inhabit and move through the very things we think are the worst. 

Our faith is built.  Our trust is established.  Our perspective is broadened.  We are made more glad in all things.  Our Joy increases. 

1.  Today, make a list of all the circumstances of your life that you would consider to be trouble and great difficulty.  Write each thing down.  Leave nothing out. 

2.  Gather with another person (or the entire group) that is taking this course with you. 

3.  Then, each person, one by one, declare each thing for God’s glory. 

4.  Then, stand in agreement with each other.  Pray and declare that the trouble of the person beside you, is also for the glory of the Lord. 

5.  Use a prayer like this: 

“God I come before you today in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. God I have a lot of trouble and many difficulties but today Lord I claim each of these difficulties and trouble for your glory. 

My (speak out your first trouble) I declare for the glory and honour of my Lord and God. My (second trouble) I declare for the glory and honour of my Lord and God. My (third trouble) I declare for the glory and honour of my Lord and God. (Continue in this same way until you have read through your entire list). Every single part of my life I claim 100% for the glory of the one true God.”

Summary – difficulty 

We can have peace in Christ.  John 16:33

Difficulty purifies our motives and heart.  Romans 5:3-5

God is with us in our difficulty.  Isaiah 43:2 

Chapter 7. Worship

Chapter 7.  Worship

per — Capturing God’s Heart Volume #32

Worship is an important part of our lives as believers.  Each Sunday around the globe finds multitudes coming together in praise to our Lord.

But what if worship is more than singing and dancing before God?  What if worship is intertwined throughout our lives and the manner of our hearts?

I propose that worship is much more than what we think it is; lets take a look and see.

1.  The Work of our Hands

In Colossians we find, 

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:17 ESV

The work of a craftsman, an artist, a gardener, a builder, is also a way to worship.  There is no work that is more pious or sacred than any other work.  All that we put our minds and efforts to accomplish is holy unto the Lord as we commit it to him and invite him into it.

Today, be grateful for the work of your hands and give it the honour it deserves, and allow it to usher you into the presence of God as worship.

Today, honour and celebrate the work of other’s hands.  In this way we also worship our Lord who has equipped each of us for beauty and excellence in everything we do.

2.  Trusting God

The Psalmist writes,

“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!  You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you!  I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.”  Psalm 40: 4-5 ESV

I suggest you read all of Psalm 40. It is a chapter thick with the presence of God when we remain in trust of him.  This is of course always the challenge.  How do we continue in trusting God when circumstances appear that we must do things on our own?

To remain steadfast and in trust of our God is also worship.  It is the refusal to give up on the character and goodness of God in our lives.  This will be tested time and again for trust is not easy to have.  But for those who remain in him, these ones prove their worship.

3.  Leaving Revenge to the Lord

“The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.  Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”  Psalm 34:15-22 ESV

When we are under attack from others we often want to cry out and

• defend our reputation

• declare our innocence

• hurt those who are hurting us

But none of these things are the way of the Lord.  In fact, God calls us to a different way. God says, ‘leave it with me, trust me.’  And when we put our reputation, our innocence and our hurt into the Lord’s hands, trusting Him, we are worshipping.

Proving by our actions and our restraint to go after others we enter into another deep layer of trust and rest in the Lord, here our worship is pure and sweet.

4.  Treating Our Enemies Well 

In Matthew we read this one sentence, 

“And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”  Matthew 5:41 ESV

Jesus was talking in this passage about how we are to treat our enemies.  He was speaking to the jewish people who were under Roman rule.  Their very lives were always under scrutiny and oppression.  The Romans were present in the land and a law at the time was this: If you are on the road and a Roman soldier is going the same way as you, that soldier can make you carry his pack (his bag) for one mile.

The people obviously hated this.  It would have been like having dust and dirt ground in your face by the one you hate.  It would have been humiliating and degrading to carry the pack of your enemy.

So Jesus speaks of a better way.  A way above humiliation and degradation, and that way was to bless over and above the required amount.  If one mile is required then carry it for two.

As we overcome evil with good we step out of ought and should and law and we enter into love and good deeds that again prove our understanding of God and his ways and in this we enter into profound worship.

5.  Being an Honourable Person

Proverbs says, 

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Proverbs 4:23 ESV

It is up to us to choose what we see and bear in our hearts.  We are commanded to keep our hearts with vigilance.  This means to take great care about what we put into our hearts and the thoughts and attitudes that come out of our hearts.

We are to be:

• honest and truthful

• patient and gracious

• holy and with a clean heart

• prayerful and trusting

• keeping our word

• gentle and kind

The manner in which we care for our hearts can also be worship.  Make good choices without excuses and here we also worship our Lord.

Honour him today and you will be honourable and your worship will be honourable.

6.  Being a Peace Keeper

In James we are admonished, 

“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” 

 James 3:18 ESV

I suggest you read all of James 3.  This entire chapter is speaking about our language, the things we say and the spirit in which we say them.

It is a chapter about being careful with our tongues and our words.  The passage finishes off with this verse that speaks of peace.  We are told that righteousness is sown by peace.

This is important to know and to remember.  Righteousness does not come about by violence or under compulsion.  Rather, peace is our method if we are to be in the Lord.  Here too, as we seek peace and lead with peace we are worshippers.  In peace we honour the heart and ways of the Lord and here we also worship.

7.  Enjoying Ordinary People

Romans tell us, 

“Live in harmony with each other.  Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.  And don’t think you know it all!”  Romans 12:16 NLT 

As leaders and pastors we must leave our importance behind if we are to please the heart of our God. 

There is nothing more offensive than Christians who think they are better than everyone else.

In fact, arrogance and pride make filthy our worship.  When we think we know it all we leave no room for God or others to give us a hand, and this is offensive to the ways of the Lord where we are to be receiving from each other.

As we leave our importance behind, only then can we truly enter into worship. Enjoying ordinary people is our worship.

8.  Honouring People

And in Romans we read, 

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour.” 

Romans 12:10 ESV

The love of our God is people.  It is for people that Christ came to earth.  It is for people that our Holy Spirit remains with us.  God is for us and as we are for others we come alongside the Lord.  This too is worship.

To be concerned with what concerns God is worship.  To take action and advocacy on behalf of others is exactly what Christ did for us and this too is our worship.  In fact, all of our lives can be summarized by how we have loved people.  This in fact proves our worship. 

We may very well come each and every Sunday to worship, but if our treatment of others is ill-kempt the rest of the week our worship is nullified.

“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”  Matthew 5:23-24 ESV

And there is more.  Basically, in any way that we agree in words and heart and action with our God, this is worship.  For in the heart of worship is acknowledgment and due respect and honour proven by our actions and choices, by words and deeds.

Worship the Lord today and every day.


“God we bring you our very lives and ask that worship would become a part of every day.  As we interact with our children, our spouses, our families, our neighbours, remind us that our kindness and care reveals our hearts of worship, or not. 

We want to express you through every part of our day.  Enable our actions to speak of you.  May the work I must do today be unto your glory and honour.  I worship you with my work. 

Teach us patience, trust, faithfulness, and peace that in all things my manner may worship you.  Renew my heart and my attitudes so that you are honoured in all things by my life and mind. 

Thank-you God for worship and adoration.  May my outer worship on a Sunday morning be supported and proven true by my actions and words and love the rest of the week.  With all honour to you Lord,  Amen.” 


Our worship is proven, or disproven, by our integrity in all things.  Scripture gives us standards by which we can check ourselves to see how we are doing. 

  • Are we honest?  Leviticus 19:35
  • Do we honor others?   Romans 12:10
  • Are we kind and patient?  Colossians 3:12
  • How is your speech?  James 4:11-12
  • Do we respect our elders?  Leviticus 13:92
  • Are we gentle with children?  Ephesians 6:4
  • Do we work with diligence?  Luke 16:10
  • Do we make excuses or blame others?  Hebrews 12:15
  • Are we taking responsibility for our lives?  Luke 12:48b
  • Are we considerate of our co-workers?  James 3:17
  • Do we receive from each other?  Ephesians 5:21
  • Are we holding grudges?  Matthew 15:18
  • Are we people of peace?  Proverbs 14:30
  • Do you lead well?  1 Peter 5:3

These are just some of the questions we can ask ourselves. (15)

Again, in our walk with God we can bring all parts of our heart to him.  This kind of honest and authentic relationship is what he desires to have with us.  There is nothing too big for God and this includes every part of our hearts. 

And again, conviction and revelation of our hearts sin is a gift from the Lord; we cannot see our own sin without the Holy Spirit showing us our hearts.  So begin by inviting God to show you the sins of your heart and life, that you might be transformed by his power. 

1.  Invite the Lord to convict you and to bring to mind where you may be violating the heart of God. Write down what the Lord reveals to you. (16)

2.  Use the prayer process  to confess and repent of any areas of your life that do not reveal a true heart of worship to our Lord. 

3.  Take the time to pray through each thing the Lord reveals to you.  Do not rush this. Allow your heart to come into true repentance and a turning from the sins of your heart and life. 

4.  Become conscious of how you might change your habits.  For instance, if you have had a habit of holding grudges consider how you might come to God on a regular basis, confessing your hurt and leaving justice in his hands. 

5.  Ask the Lord to guide you as you continue to seek him on a daily basis.  Be consistent and diligent in your relationship with God.  Come to him each day and he will transform your life.  

Summary – worship 

Worship is much more than singing and dancing to God.  Colossians 3:14-17

Worship is how we: 

Live our lives.  Romans 12:1-2

Treat other people.  1 Peter 4:8

Go about our work.  Colossians 3:16

The Bible tells us to take care of things before we come to church.  Matthew 5:23-24

Worship is: 

Heart attitude.  Proverbs 4:23

Taking action to make things right.  Isaiah 1:17

This life-hearted worship pleases the Lord.  John 4:23-24



15. Note: We ask ourselves these questions. Do not take these questions and use them for your congregation this next Sunday. Begin with yourself and the Lord! Only in time, after you have done business with the Lord for yourself, are you free to take these things to those you serve. 

16. Remember to first set the space with the Lord, “I come before you God in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. I desire your revelation God. I declare that all lying, deceiving, and confusing spirits must be silent in the name and blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. I invite you God, to speak to me.”

17. From the Freedom Chapter (in the course found on Pages 31 – 34). Linked HERE

How to Pray

In my ministry travels I’ve become aware of the fact that not everyone knows how to pray. In fact, I’ve found in some places that it isn’t traditionally thought that the people can pray but rather believed prayer is only for the learned and the leaders, the bishops and pastors. But of course, this simply isn’t true.

Jesus himself taught those around him how to pray and we find this instruction in Matthew 6:9-13:

“9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”

Jesus begins this prayer with an intimate term of Father. This would have been surprising to those he taught, scandalous even, because he is suggesting familiarity with God, the kind of close relationship that we may know in our earthily families but that would never be imagined with the creator of the universe.

And yet this is the start of Jesus instruction. He is basically opening up a new dimension of prayer as that of intimate, close, familiar, conversation. Imagine if you will a kingdom and a king. In this kingdom there are the common folk, those who work in the palace, other leaders alongside the king and then there is the family, the children of the king.

In any kingdom there is protocol that governs which people can approach the king and in which manner. The rules might be many and few would have opportunity for an audience with the king. But imagine that in that kingdom and with that king, though there are many rules, that the children of the king require no protocol and are not subject to the same rules. A son or daughter of the king bypasses all the rules and protocol by virtue of being a son or daughter. They have unparalleled access to the king.

This is the image that Jesus paints. As sons and daughters of God we have full access. It is the same as when my children would crawl up onto my lap when they were smaller. They needed no permission and no invitation even, they simply knew and acted on their freedom to snuggle in whenever they wanted. This is how we approach our prayer life, our whole life, with God.

At the same time we find Jesus directing our hearts and minds to honour God, “hallowed by thy name”. We acknowledge the greatness of the name of God. In this we declare his goodness, his might, his holiness, his omnipotence, his governance; we give honour to God.

We say ‘Father’ and we say ‘How great you are’.

Both hand in hand, familiarity and comfort and ease alongside worship and adoration.

In verse ten Jesus directs our prayers into agreement with the Father’s will on this earth. Throughout scripture we are taught about the power found in agreement of two or more. In our natural and human life we find it all too easy to agree with Satan. Our minds are often full of his lies, his condemnations, his attacks, his confounding, but for a life that goes forward in the strength of the Lord it is imperative that we begin agreeing with God, with his promises, his purposes, his hope, his strength. ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ gives us the model of how to align our hearts and minds with the plans of God.

Here we put down our own best thoughts and wisdom and declare our allegiance to a wisdom higher than ours.

Verse eleven with its simple ‘give us this day our daily bread’ declares and admits our dependance on the Lord for our very lives. Taken literally we cry out to the Lord for the necessary food and resources to get us through each day. This simple line also models to us that we take it one day at a time. Notice that Jesus did not instruct us to pray ‘give us this years bread’. Rather we walk day by day with the Lord.

Taken symbolically this simple line points us to our need for spiritual bread which is of course Jesus Christ himself. John 6:35 finds Jesus saying, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Here we acknowledge our need of a saviour and when we do this we enter into all the possibilities and resources that heaven holds.

Verse eleven is interesting. The ability to speak out ‘and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’ brings us face to face with our own hearts for only if we have forgiven others can we speak this with sincerity. Our attention is immediately, yet indirectly, drawn to the state of our own hearts and we are given pause to consider a moment the truth of what we are speaking for ourselves.

It becomes apparent very quickly if we have in fact forgiven others or not. Our hearts catch us if we have not and we are compelled to enter into this work of forgiveness. Here we are simply reminded of the heart of the gospel and compelled to live it out.

In addition to this simple remembrance for our own sakes is the incredible power in forgiveness unto another. John 20:23 says, “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

It appears that we are entered into the work of our Lord and his grace unto each other. Suggested here, if not explicitly stated, is the power unto life or death. Consider how it reads in the Complete Jewish Bible, “If you forgive someone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you hold them, they are held.”

Without forgiveness we hold the sins of others. And don’t we know this to be true. To hold the sins of others in our being becomes a heavy and tortuous thing. Bitterness destroys us from the inside out.

The depths of this Matthew 6:11 verse we may never fully comprehend, never fully fathom the depths of, yet we can agree and bring our hearts into alignment, into agreement regarding God’s forgiveness of others and therefore our forgiveness of them as well.

Jesus finishes off by instructing, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This last part of The Lord’s Prayer holds for me the least clarity. It seems to be a cry of our need to be delivered from our own wayward heart and ways; an acknowledgment that we have this huge propensity to sin and to evil and our subsequent and desperate need for the Lord’s help.

Its a good place to end I think. For we’ve just traversed a wide journey. We started off familiar in the Father’s arms and we declared the glory of his name (vs.9). We’ve stood alongside in powerful agreement unto his will and heart over our lives and this world. As vice-regents we have commanded the kingdom of God into our realities (vs.10).

We then immediately fall to our knees declaring our utter dependance on his provision both physically and spiritually (vs.11) and are reminded of and brought to account the state of our relationships with the Lord and with others (vs.12).

Finishing off finds us once more standing alongside the Lord simply stating our humanity and declaring his omnipotence (vs.13).

Prayer is first and foremost a matter of our hearts position before the Lord. It isn’t the words we speak or the length by which we pray, it has nothing to do with eloquence, nothing to do with volume, and its not really about repeating what we know about God, rather it is a private conversation between God and you.

In this the simpler the better. Too many words and we lose our effectiveness.

On my recent trip to Mozambique, where prayer was a loud repetition of facts about God my own prayers became simpler and simpler.

“God we welcome you. God we love you. Thank-you for this day.”



Capturing God’s Heart – Worship – Volume 32

Worship is an important part of our lives as believers. Each Sunday around the globe finds multitudes coming together in praise to our Lord.

But what if worship is more than singing and dancing before God? What if worship is intertwined throughout our lives and the manner of our hearts?

I propose that worship is much more than what we think it is; lets take a look and see.

Continue reading

Capturing God’s Heart – Holiness – Volume 30

Holiness is the call of those who claim to know God.

Holiness is the work of the cross done first in our own lives.

Holiness is our personal proving ground before we head out with the gospel to others.

Before Christ we were enslaved to our flesh. Our hungers were focussed on our physical body and our heart sins. We lied, we cheated, we were licentious and gluttons.

It was easy to hate. It felt good to slander. We brought others low so we could feel big. We were consumed with how we could bring pleasure to ourselves.

Then we came to know Christ.

Continue reading

Making an Impact

Pastor Timothy in India

This is Pastor Timothy from his most recent crusade on July 3, 2013

Some years ago there was a prophecy spoken over Capturing Courage International that the Holy Spirit was going to go out from CCI all around the world; like colorful ribbons of joy and healing and comfort extending from our home base to many in many other places all over the globe.

We made note of this prophecy, and yet wondered at the vastness of the content, ‘How might this be?’ we asked.

As you may know we have been making available a small Bible study called Capturing God’s Heart on a monthly basis to indigenous pastors around the world. And we thought it was time to take a survey and to see how many people are being impacted so far.

While we do not have all replies yet, the first response from Pastor Timothy in India tells us this,

“I am going to many public crusades and pastors conferences and more churches for preach the word of god to the pastors and Christian leaders and many people as a main speaker in Andhra Pradesh in India.

Already we distributed Capturing God’s Heart studies to a minimum of 1000 church pastors and evangelists Christian leaders and bishops. 100’s of  people they are reading and understanding and they are asking me for some more Capturing God’s Heart studies for distribution to many people; it is very needful to every church and everyone.

Many people are benefiting from the Capturing God’s Heart studies I am hearing from them some words they are telling with me, “We are healing and understanding, comforting, filled with holy spirit, Praise the Lord!”

 My sister, your Capturing God’s Heart studies are really touching to the hearts of pastors and evangelists and every one in India.”

Pastor Timothy finishes off his email by requesting more God’s Heart Studies so that he can distribute them further.

One of the things we have learned at Capturing Courage is that when we show up and do our part, God shows up and does the rest. It is the pleasure of our Lord to take our simple offerings and make them into something that could have never been on our own.

While we have been regularly communicating with Pastor Timothy we had no idea that he was distributing Capturing God’s Heart to this extent. We know, that for every leader that receives one volume of God’s Heart that they in turn pass it on to anywhere from 10 – 500 other people themselves.

I’m not sure we are really going to be able to add up these numbers once they all start coming in.

We simply claim this work for the glory of God and God alone and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To find out more about Pastor Timothy’s ministry, go HERE

To Donate a one-time gift or to commit to a monthly support of Capturing Courage and the work we are doing go HERE

NOTE that our next trip is to Mozambique where there are 9 churches and then area pastors, evangelists, prophets and bishops waiting to fellowship with us. We are accepting donations specifically towards this trip. Make your donation HERE

“And then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life could be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.” Mark 6:12-13 Message

Capturing God’s Heart – Honest Prayers – Volume 25

We find intimacy with our Lord through prayer, and yet for many of us we are unsure how to pray. We worry that we are not saying the right words. We may think that the burden of prayer lies with us. We may not understand how conversational prayer works.

While we do not have time for a full study of prayer here, we will look at a primary principle of prayer:   – Come before the Lord with a commitment to honesty –

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” Psalm 51:6

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Forced Sabbaticals

283 compressedThere is incredible power in sabbaticals. Those times and spaces where the doing is lessened and the being is increased always reaps grand rewards.

This week I’ve been on a forced sabbatical in a sense. I’ve been sick and just not up to snuff and so certainly haven’t accomplished most of what I was hoping to get to.

While I’ve been frustrated and sad through it, playing in the back of my mind is the knowledge of the power of fasting and of Sabbaths. And in an odd way I am glad for this lack of ability, for I know it is setting 2013 up with an investment of less, which always leads to more.

Let me explain, (for I am sure that sounds like gobble-gook).

It is really the power of fasting that is in play. That up-side down law of life that when we are weak God is strong, when we pause and rest in him he shows up, and when we invest in constraint the whole world opens up to us.

Under the tangible of fasting lies the intangible of faith and trust.

Fasting brings us to our knees. Literally speaking fasting is hard work. We find out loud and clear the nature of our humanity and the limitations of our spirit when we fast.

In fasting we are brought low and God is exalted.

In fasting we admit our limitation and acknowledge God’s omnipotence.

Fasting harnesses our less and coupled with God’s most, amazing things abound.

It is the same habit as that of taking a Sabbath. In pausing to rest for one day a week we state in word and deed that we are trusting our livelihood to God. That though the work never ends, though there is always something that must be attended to, we will pause for one day and worship, and trust, and rest.

A Sabbath is simply the power of fasting brought into our work week and our responsibilities.

Sabbaticals are extensions of the same.

Twice through my own last dozen years I had two (complete and separate from each other) years in which I did no ministry, was on no boards, and contributed to community in no way whatsoever.

They were very hard years. They felt like vacuums in my existence. In the midst of such things we wonder if we will ever be useful again.

And yet in the midst we find ourselves. We make friends with self. Being takes the upper hand. Our doing is transformed. Rather than a constant bid to fill the holes in our hearts, doing comes from a much cleaner and purer place once we need not do.

I am convinced that unless we are free to ‘not do’ to ‘not be involved’ to ‘not minister’ that we aren’t really free to minister.

It is far too easy growing up in church and community life to think who we are revolves around ministering. What if it doesn’t? What if who you are revolves around a much deeper relationship based on God’s simple masterpiece of you?

Fasting gets us in touch with this. Fasting, be it from food or tv or makeup or jewelry or chocolate or caffeine or ministry or hobbies (all of which I have fasted as led), brings us back to us and God.

It’s a scary place. And a profoundly powerful place.

It’s why though I’m sick and sick of it, I understand that in my weakness there are powerful things afoot. I trust the bigger picture to a much bigger plan and my life is simply one small piece.

Somehow sickness and sabbaticals and Sabbaths and fasting sets all this back in proper order.

It is simply the place from which all life springs.

Maturity – Part Two

210 compressedIt is the season for celebrating Christ. It’s a time for coming together to honor and worship our Lord of Lord and King of Kings.

And I’m thinking there is no better time to highlight the true saving grace of Jesus. He came, after all, to make everything different. He came to heal and to make whole. He came to save us in the deepest places of our hearts and minds.

My last post was about the stuck places of our lives. Of emotions frozen in time, of maturity stalled in place, and of perspectives chronically that of a child’s way of thinking.

I’ve witnessed and experienced time and again the healing of Jesus in the very deepest parts of our beings. But while I’ve witnessed many miracles I’ve also witnessed many tragedies.

There are not many things as tragic as individuals aging with frozen thoughts, hardened emotions, little empathy and certainly no grace. Entire lifetimes, decade upon decade, given over to lies and bitterness’ multiplied over and over.

The most horrible thing with the stuck places (you know how we used to call a record that would skip and skip on the same spot a broken record), when they are not healed there are grooves of negative and damaging thought trenched into our minds and hearts.

Like giant ruts in an exceptionally muddy road that dries and hardens, we cannot leave the ruts if we tried.

We simply continue in well-worn habits of thoughts and judgments and condemnations.

While all of it can be healed and we can be freed to mature and find great satisfactions in life many don’t seek healing. Perhaps they don’t know it exists.

I’ve been prayer ministering for some twelve years and in that time I have come to be convinced that prayer actually heals our brains.

That neurological set-points are freed from those trenches. That emotional default settings are transformed. That an individual’s brain is literally rewired into the beautiful and complete original image as created by God.

No longer do we react the same ways. Those buttons that used to send us into emotional high-jackings are simply not there any longer.

The expectations and lenses by which we expected the worst from life are removed and replaced with expectations that lead to life and miracle of all miracles we receive lenses that see the good and gracious of this world.

We are no longer victims to negative emotions but we are rather celebrants able to fully experience and romp in the beauty of every range of emotion. We are free.

Without maturity freed up to continue on its natural course we simply become rigid in our thinking. Our minds literally freeze into place, repeating like broken records the disappointments and the regrets, the losses and the injustices, as though talking about them non-stop will bring restitution. It never does.

The minds that I have personally witnessed that run on old hardened pathways end up in dementia and Alzheimers. Rigidity of thinking, like a record skipping but never rescued, goes on into eternity stuck in one place.

It is one of the saddest things to behold.

Thank-you Jesus that you came to save us from this place. Thank-You that you made a way, thank-you that you are The Way. Only in you are our minds covered in the oil of the lamb that keeps our thinking supple and flexible. Only in you are our hearts justified in our experience of emotions. And only in you are our negative and deadly experiences laid to rest at the cross, that we might get on with life.

Thank-you. We celebrate You this season.



God’s Cologne

P1130613 web compressedThere is a man who lives next door to me with his wife and daughter. Being at the end of the hall our doors are less than three-feet away from each other. And many are the day when leaving my building that I follow the scent of his cologne down the hall and into the elevator.

I cannot tell you how amazing this is. To find myself drinking in aroma meant to inhabit my senses is a giddy start to any day to say the least. I simply love men’s cologne and I’ve thought a number of times to thank his wife or daughter for that magnificent purchase.

A few weeks back I was thinking about the smell of God. Wondering what he would smell like. What aroma clings to God? It was a thought I’ve never thought before. A new one for me. Yet I found it inspiring to think about and to wonder over.

This Christmas season, the dark winter days, the peace of my home has inhabited my senses in a surprisingly fresh way this year. I’m settled like never before, am finding creativity oozing out of my being and generally have been feeling a heady giddiness with life that has me wondering and in awe.

Today I’ve been writing. I’m working on a book and a course about walking in spiritual authority and of bearing the mark and representation of God. My portions of work today have been about the character of God, of integrity and honor and of God’s passion and heart for us and the way in which this has been expressed through the ages in a masterful plan of rescue and redemption.

I’ve been so overcome as I write that I have paused over and over just to worship and have had to simply sit, allowing my spirit to soar in awe and delight. Entering onto my knees for there is no better response, I’m simply driven to adoration.

And I think I have my answer. This is the cologne of God.

His presence. His grandeur. His might.

The atmosphere in my home and in my spirit has for some weeks now been heavily laden with the presence of God, such that I simply sit in Him stunned and slightly giddy. Not unlike the walk down the hall in the wake of my neighbors cologne.

I must say, God smells pretty good.

Capturing God’s Heart – Life – Volume 18

Today is a new day. It is a day of expectation and a holy hush about all that will take place.

There is excitement in heaven over this day and every day. For every single day is a gift.

“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” Genesis 1:31

Life is something to be celebrated, welcomed and fully enjoyed. Like a savory meal or a cool drink on a hot day, like a beautiful flower in the midst of a dull landscape and like the rainbow in the sky after a storm, every single day is to be relished and enjoyed to the full.

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