Friday, December 7, 2018

No More Excuses

I’m here to speak to those who are ready to leave your excuses behind. Excuses cause a chain reaction of always missing out on our miracle and our blessing and lead to situations that leave an imprint of regret. My question to you today is, “What is keeping you from your miracle?”  Are you waiting for tomorrow?  Have you allowed excuses to steal from you what God has for you today?  Tomorrow is the elusive hope that maybe what you’ve longed for, dreamt of and prayed for might actually come to pass!  Making excuses and Waiting for tomorrow is a way of putting off the God encounter that might require you to change!

I spent the entire first half of my life with “tomorrow” as my nemesis! Making excuses for why I wasn’t doing all that I was called to do! But look at how Jesus confronted excuses in John 5:1-6, “Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”

Can I tell you today, I believe that so many of us are standing at “The crossroads of pity and power”!  I hear Jesus declaring to us, “Do you want to get well?” Can you imagine being so thirsty when you are only steps from the well of life, but being willing to die in a pit called excuses? I am calling you to action! I MUST WARN YOU! If you miss your moment today….Your grandchildren will someday miss the opportunity to brag about the freedom you delivered to your family! 

I can HEAR the sound of Marching! It is the sound of those that have waited on the sidelines, watching their family be distracted by the moral code of the world – All the while our savior is asking, “Do you want to get well?” If that is you, then it’s times to get in the pool and stop sitting on the sideline! I SEE the longing in the eyes of our families for hope to be revealed - and we must be the reflection in their pupil with our hand extended – saying, “Do you want to get well?”  I FEEL the tug – of the Holy Spirit saying, “Quit making excuses and climb to your feet and lead a revolution!” DO YOU WANT TO GET WELL? John 5:6, When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”

Here was this man, he was stuck only steps from the water, steps from his miracle, steps from his refreshing, but it may as well have been miles! This man’s mindset of blaming others stood in the way of his miracle. It was everyone else fault that he couldn’t get in the water and be healed! There have been times where God has had to wait until our excuses have run out so that he can give us what we dismissed as only a mirage of yesterday’s hope! But, TODAY is the day that superstition gets interrupted by the supernatural! 

The Bible says that Jesus went to Jerusalem. He ends up at the Pool of Bethesda. (A place that had five porches where the sick were divided into groups).   Here is what Bethesda means: house of mercy or house of grace. This was the place where the wounded, lame, crippled and diseased would camp out day after day. Here is the Superstition - the sick believed that periodically an angel would come down and stir the water! If the angel stirred the water then the first one to get in the water would be healed of all diseases! I’m so amazed that this place was called the "House of Mercy and Grace", but it was all dependent on works! They had to make it happen! Look at what Ephesians says about grace, Eph. 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God!”

Here is a rule: Grace means to empower! If you’re not at a place 
that is empowering you then you are not able to live a life of Grace!

Can you imagine? Each day these people stared at the water! Each day they watched for the whirlpool! Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months and months to years! Stuck in a cycle of pain/disappointment and every day waiting on tomorrow to be different.  It is a form of insanity to do the same thing every day, expecting a different result. These people knew each other by name. They knew each other’s pain. They knew each other’s story. They were a fraternity of people waiting for a miracle! It was every man for himself! When the water started bubbling up ... People started diving in!  I believe this is a key to see giving up excuses and seeing your miracle - When it becomes more about helping others and not ourselves we will see miracles! That is why I love the four guys in Mark 2:1-5. Remember these guys busted a hole in the roof to lower the paralytic down to Jesus. It wasn’t about them! Sometimes you got to get crazy enough to remove the roof! 

The Bethesda Pool was every man for himself! I imagine there was hair pulling, people kicking other people’s walkers…. Just mass hysteria….. They were either lethargic or alive it just depended who stirred the water! But before you judge them, think about us today, waiting on the right sermon, song or tweet or Instagram post. Key: THEY HAD MISSED WHO WALKED IN!  I wonder how often God walks into our homes, but we don’t notice because we have never included him in the plan or schedule for our day! These people were waiting on Mercy and Grace, but no one noticed that Mercy and Grace had just walked in. They were so desperate to be healed that they ignored the healer! They were mere steps away from an encounter, but they were so consumed with their issues that they probably thought Jesus was just the pool boy!

There was about to be an altar call at the city poolThis man was about to experience a powerful altar call!  He had waited so long! His tomorrow was about to become his today! Because there is but one place that will change everything!….  One place that will restore your joy!…. strengthen that which remains!….. stir you to change your world! ….. One place that will renew your mind and transform your heart! That place is called the altar! The Altar is the place where what you have been gets interrupted by what you can become! So, Jesus walks up to a guy who was lame whom had been sitting at the same church for 38 years. Watch now…Here comes the excuses! Jesus is asking, “Do you want to be healed and set free or not?” John 5:7, The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

For 38 years he had been so close to healing and freedom, but had no one to help him get in! Key: You will never get free as long your blaming the ones who have gotten in your way! Dare we sit silently licking our wounds of yesterday’s failures while the enemy plots out tomorrows tragedies! God is asking… How long will you make excuses?!  will you choose me! What do you even BELIEVE?!  Jesus was asking this man, “Have you had enough?” Enough of the slavery! Your standing in the house of Mercy and Grace without even experiencing it! There comes a moment when your faith invites God into your issue, and He is forced to respond to your obedience. What has held you back and kept you from walking out your destiny must be put aside! Jesus is at the door knocking! (Rev. 3:19-20) 

It’s time to leave your pool of sorrow for the river of life! Here comes the powerful moment! IT’S TIME TO WALK IT OFF!  John 5: 8-9,Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.” It’s time to activate your faith! It’s time to stand up and declare my God has healed me! Some of you have dreams that have died! You have been stuck as a slave to your circumstances! Blaming everybody else! Blaming everyone for your hurt/past/offenseIf you are holding everyone around you hostage to the pain of your past then you have now become the terrorist.  Get free so you can free others. I have learned that If the dream was easily obtained then we would have never learned the power of activating our faith.

I have come to tell you that this is your moment!
The water has been stirred! Get in the river of God! 
There are NO EXCUSES!

I made excuses for years, but when I picked up the freedom that was won for me on the cross and carried it out to the world as a testimony of God’s power, I found my purpose and my calling. It was then that I was able to shine light into the darkness and show others where hope could be found. You may have issues that have placed you by your “POOL OF BETHESDA”, waiting for your healing.  Perhaps it’s a dream that has died and needs resurrecting. Maybe you have been a slave to your circumstances for too long. Whatever it is, blaming and making excuses won’t bring you freedom.  It’s time to stop waiting on someone else to stir the waters of freedom in your life. Stop looking for another inspirational quote, tweet, or meme.  Realize, you have direct access to the throne room of God.  He is waiting for you to look up and see that He wants to heal you.



Hear Karen share more on "No More Excuses" on this episode of "This Breathing Room" by clicking below:

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Attitude of Gratitude

It is Thanksgiving time, my absolute favorite holiday, along with Christmas. This past year has shown me a lot about being grateful.  I am grateful for my health, my family, God’s provision, contentment, peace, hope and many other things.  But, I believe that having an “ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE” is at the heart of finding that peace, joy, hope and a happy family and restored health and freedom in life. If we’re not careful, we can start to focus on everything we DON’T have and forget exactly what WE DO have and what GOD HAS DONE FOR US. I’m learning that a grateful heart sees each day as a gift. Thankful people focus less on what they lack and more on the privileges they have.

Gratitude has a way of getting us through the hard stuff, difficult times and the chaotic times. To reflect on your blessings is to remember God’s love and grace and mercy. To rehearse God’s  blessings is to discover His heartTo discover His heart is to discover not just good gifts but the Good Giver.

I love how the Message Bible translates 1 Thessalonians 5:18!  It says this,Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens.  This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”  I’m learning that not every day will be perfect, but I’m learning that in everything I do, an attitude of gratitude and praise, and worship can change everything!  It can change my mindset from focusing on me and whatever is bothering me to focusing on the One True God who has promised to provide for ALL my needs according to His riches in Glory. In Psalm 136, It states 26 times that we should give thanks to the Lord. We live in such an age of entitlement and “the world owes me” mentality, that we lose sight of gratefulness.  Next time we feel less than grateful, let’s remind ourselves of all we should be thankful for. The only thing we are entitled to do is give thanks to the Lord daily. Without His faithfulness, we would be lost forever!

Look at this scripture again in the (NIV)1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. Can I be really honest? Sometimes it's the "all" in that verse that gets me. Most of us can be thankful, for lots of things, at lots of times, but in "all" circumstances? That can be a challenge. What about when you find yourself suffering sickness (Cancer), or defeat, what about when a loved one leaves this world too soon and you still can't see past your tears, or when you've been praying for your prodigal child to come home and it seems like the prayers will never be answered. What about when you're discouraged, disillusioned, and struggling with disbelief; or what about when you're overwhelmed, overextended, and just simply fighting being over-stressed; what about when the needs mount so high and your bank account is empty, or when life seems unfair, and the enemy seems to be camping out at your front door?  Yep, even these situations fall under the "In all" things, and honestly, they can be really hard to find gratitude in. Don’t you love how God's word never changes to fit our circumstances. His Truth rises above our circumstance, so that we can too. He doesn't say give thanks "in some of it" or “in the fun times”, but "in ALL things".

Because He says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that IN ALL THINGS, God works for the good of those who love Him”.  He can take ALL the things and bring GOOD out of it. But are we willing to be grateful before we see the GOOD in it? IN ALL THINGS, we're gaining strength, we're gaining perseverance. In a culture that tells us that everything is based on how we feel, We're learning that true joy is never based on our feelings or our circumstances. God's ways are bigger, His thoughts are higher, and we can be assured that He holds us in His hands. He is with us always.

But for all its benefits, gratitude doesn’t often come naturally to us.  Look at Luke 17:11-19 Jesus was met by 10 lepers and they all cried out to be healed and for Jesus to have pity on them. Jesus didn’t hesitate, He told them to go show themselves to the priest and as they walked, they were cleansed.  But look what happens next, “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and THANKED HIM, and he was a Samaritan” Luke 17:15 -16

Jesus was amazed that only one man had thought to thank him. “Where not all ten cleansed?” he asked. “Where are the other nine?” Jesus looked at the one leper that came back to say thank you and said, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”   What did Jesus mean when he said, “well”.  To be made “WELL” means to be in good standing and in good favor. I believe that not only was the leprosy stopped and cleansed from his body but that He was completely restored and renewed.  His skin grew back, fingers grew back, limbs grew back, whatever he had lost was renewed.  Why?  Because he came back with thanksgiving and gratitude.  The other nine lepers were just cleansed, the leprosy stopped, but the 1 leper who came back with a grateful heart was made “well”, he was made whole. 

Being thankful, for me, should be an automatic response to knowing I’m forgiven when I know I don’t deserve it.  Recognizing God’s grace causes me to have a thankful attitude. No matter what you might be facing, the good news is this, you woke up this morning, He gave you today.  And if we're still here, living and breathing, then our every breath should bring praise and honor to Him.You never fight the battles alone. Stay strong. Choose joy. Choose to be grateful in it "all".
It takes time to develop a habit of appreciation for all He has done.  Why not start today?  Today is as good a day as any and I encourage you, pray, tell God how thankful you are for His grace He has given you.  Tell Him you accept His sacrifice for you and want Him to help you develop a rich and passionate appreciation for all He’s done for you.  Then watch how your thankfulness grows.  One way to acknowledge the good that God’s done in your life is to make a list of all that He has done for you. Start a gratitude journal by listing all the things you have to be thankful for.  Going over that list can improve your attitude of gratitude.  Cultivating a spirit of thankfulness honors God and strengthens our faith. It also strengthens our relationships with other people. We can’t be in a right relationship with God or with anyone without a spirit of thankfulness.

I love Thanksgiving!! It’s a great time of year to remind us to be thankful, but there is something so powerful about living a daily life of gratitude. It is not always easy to give thanks, but it’s what we must do in order to see God’s will accomplished in our lives. This is how we move into higher realms of faith for ourselves, for our family, for our city, nation and world. Satan is defeated when we have a thankful heart because thankfulness during difficulty is a sacrifice pleasing to God. Are you thankful? Thankfulness is the key that turns your situation around because it changes you, your outlook, and your attitude. There is power in a thankful heart.  So… what do you have to be thankful for today?  Take time this Thanksgiving to share with others exactly what you’re thankful for and praise God, for He is good!  Spend time in prayer today with paper and pen listing all that you are thankful for and watch how God responds. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

For more on having an "Attitude with Gratitude", you can listen to Pastor Karen share about this blog on her video blog, "The Breathing Room", Episode 22, by clinking this link:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Faint Heart

There is a battle raging! The enemy is not concerned about who you have been, but where you are going! Fear is a liar! I have learned that … FEAR is a learned or perceived aberration (hallucination) that grows into an absolute! Fear is the thief of yesterdays’ dreams! The intimidator of today’s promises! The emasculator of tomorrows warriors!  In Matthew 14:28-31 (msg.), Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come ahead.” Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

I have learned that: FEAR is not the absence of fact...FEAR is the EMBRYO of courage! FEAR is COURAGE waiting to be AWAKENED! Someone reading this today needs to awaken and see your battle in the spirit realm. Satan is at war with your future courage!  

For years I battled fear. You see I have had a nemesis my whole life. This nemesis has been with me as child, teenager, and adult. It has traveled with as I have traveled the world ministering. It caused me to wear a mask when underneath the mask was tears. It has caused me at times to shrink back in crowded rooms. It has delayed my destiny at times and even shrouded my potential.  Its name was fear. Sometimes God has you minister to the very thing that tried to destroy you.  See, I am here today to declare that somewhere beneath the layers of insecurity … Is a bold “For such a time as this” interrupter of pain. Somewhere beneath the shy exterior ... there is a declarer of truth! Somewhere between I can’t, and I must ... is a Warrior preparing for battle! Somewhere between what others have said and what God has declared is a Freedom Fighter!

If you recall, the disciples were on a ministry trip. Jesus had sent them on ahead. Jesus went into the mountains to pray all night. The disciples were floating along. They were probably asleep. Jesus decides to go hang out with them. They were suddenly awakened by a “ghost” in the distance.  Matthew 14:23-26, “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.”

They were afraid, because in their night season they had misplaced Jesus. 
Never negotiate your anointing away, because you do not believe that Jesus is close by. The disciples are freaked out. They think it’s a ghost and Jesus says, Matthew 14:27, But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”  FEAR IS COURAGE WAITING TO BE AWAKENED! Remember Peter on the water, don't ever forget that if He called you out, then He will meet you at the point of your doubt. Jesus will always speak to your heart before he convinces your intellect! He said, “FAINT HEART what got into you"! We are living in the day of faint hearts! Our affections and our passions so often do not match His heart. That’s when fear takes over. The beating of your heart will always grow faint when His heart is not intertwined with yours!

Peter allowed the chaos around him to make him forget who it was that called him out! The enemy is wearing out those that are supposed to be strong and bold. But I have great news for you today, God has given us all we need to defeat fear!

God Has Given You 3 Weapons to Defeat Fear:

2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of POWER, LOVE, and a SOUND MIND!!

POWER - DUNAMIS (meaning in the Greek) dynamite - ability to see and walk in miraculous signs and wonders.  The ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events - to CHANGE THE ATMOSPHERE.

LOVE perfect love cast out all fear because 1 Cor. 13:4-7, says “Love is patient, kind, not proud or self-seeking, not easily angered and forgives, rejoices in truth...ALWAYS PROTECTS, ALWAYS TRUSTS, ALWAYS HOPES, and ALWAYS PERSEVERES!"

SOUND MIND - SOPHRONEO (meaning in the Greek) - mind that has been delivered, rescued, revived, salvaged, protected and brought into a place of safety and security so that it is no longer affected by illogical, unfounded and absurd thoughts.  2 Corinthians 10:5 (MEV), “casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”

It is time to cast down fear and restore the faint heart! People are watching you!  You are the revelation of who they can become! It’s time to step out! He is about to meet you in your sinking. He is about to grab your hand and pull you up! Peter would go from being "faint heart" to being the "rock" and a "lion heart".  Like Peter, God is calling you to rise up, take courage and defeat fear!  

Watch and listen to the full "faint heart" message by clicking here:  "click here"

Friday, June 1, 2018

I (We) Need His Breath!

I recently began a new video blog (vlog) on Facebook called, "The Breathing Room". Its purpose is framed in the scripture, Job 33:4, "The spirit of God has made me; the breath of the almighty gives me life." God's breath gives us life!  We need His breath!

Many know me as an international evangelist and author, but you don’t know my story! My entire journey has been one that can be defined as almost out of breath! Then God would restore me!
  I call it the SHH Factor!  

From shy to shunned to shoved to shelved to shouting from the rooftops!

You see, the first half of my life I was hidden. Whether it was a shy young girl, my park bench experience, desiring more in life, married a bold man, an overwhelmed youth pastors wife (lost at times in fear), a sidelined evangelists wife, a desire to have another child, heading to China, Abby rescues us, raising a family, fighting for our son,  to speaking all over the world, writing the book "Dehydrated" and then "Rebuilding the Altar" with my husband, Pat; there were hidden moments long before there were stage moments. Listen to me, you will never become known until you are first hidden! I have spent more time in the hidden place than on the stage! As my husband Pat says, "the greater the anointing the greater the isolation!"  I love this scripture in Psalm 27:5, For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.  Don't discount the hidden times.

Have you ever felt as though you are out of breath?  I hate that out of breath feeling. I recently struggled with asthma and breathing issues (praise God for the healing He gave me) but I hate not being able to breathe in deep.  That feeling that you aren't getting enough air into your lungs.  When you can't breathe deeply it effects all aspects of your body and health.  The same is true of our spiritual life, we all need deep breaths and to breathe Him in deep.  There are many "breathing rooms" in the Bible:  Moses encountered a "breathing room" on the backside of desert;  Isaiah found his in a cave; the Shunamite Woman found hers in her son's bedroom; the disciples found it in an upper room.  There are "breathing room" encounters all throughout God's Word. 

Let’s talk about the BREATH of GOD. Genesis 1:2-3 says, “The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light.” Look at this, God “SAID", He SPOKE and BREATH went forth. He SAID, “Let there be light” and there WAS light! It’s through your BREATH that words take FORM.  God SPOKE – BREATH came FORTH – The WORD of GOD was FORMED!

The Gospel of John says, “In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with GOD…And the WORD was GOD!  They were separate but all the same – ALL ONE.  I think sometimes we miss things in scripture by just trying to get our daily reading in. Look back at Genesis 1:2-3, if we just use the English word, SPIRIT, we will miss what is being described here.  The Bible is describing a scenario where BREATH is involved.  The BREATH of GOD!  The word, SPIRIT in the Hebrew is “RUACH” which means, AIR IN MOTION and is the same word for “BREATH”.

The Greek word for “Spirit” is “PNEUMA” which means, WIND OR BREATH. So I think we can read in Genesis 1, “The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the BREATH of God was hovering over the waters, and Gods spoke (or breathed) and there was light!” God’s Spirit or “Breath”  always brings LIFE! The Bible says that God breathed into the nostrils of Adam, Genesis 2:7, Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

What about Eve? Has it ever struck you like it did me that it never says God breathed into Eve?  Why didn't He have to breathe life into Eve. It just says, Genesis 2:22, Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. I don’t know about you, but this bothered me. Why would God not have breathed into her?  Then God revealed to me the answer.  See, God didn't need to breathe into her because life was in the bones! (Ezekiel talks about bringing bones to life).  But catch this also, we’ve heard that Eve was taken from Adam’s ribs, why the rib bone?  Maybe because they are called to walk side by side.  Yes, but that is not all there is to it, what is the purpose of the RIBS?  The ribs protect the lungs! They house the breath.  We must be protectors of the breath!  Come on, that is powerful! 

So we know that breath is important and we need His breath, but just how important is it? Here are Four (4) Things the Breath of God does for us and one thing we must do as well:

1. His breath gives you life!
Job 33:4, The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”  It’s His breath will gives you LIFE!  Psalm 33:6, By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.”

2. His breath drives back the enemy!
Job 26:13, "By His breath the heavens are cleared; His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.”

3. The breath of God brings understanding
Job 32:8, "But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.”

4. His breath will heal your bones!
Ezek. 37:5-6, "Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.”

We were meant to give His breath back to GOD!
There are 150 Psalms and the very last Psalm….Psalm 150 declares this “Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord. Praise the LORD.”  Our breath is meant to praise Him, it is meant to be His echo here in the Earth (as it was for Ezekiel) and to tell others of His goodness!

I want to create a ROOM or a PLACE where the BREATH and WIND of GOD blows freely at all times!  God is about to give CPR to some of you (Christ, Power, and Resurrection)  Romans 8:11 says, The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, Lives in You – Will quicken your mortal body.  We need His breath!  I need His breath!  In His breath is found life, freedom, understanding and healing!  Breathe Him in today and allow it to bring life to the places in your life that might be dead or dying.  His breath can restore and replenish.  And as He breathes into you, then become His echo and bring life to others!

Join me on Tuesdays (every other) on Facebook Live for "The Breathing Room" at 10amCST.  Below you will find the first episode but you can find all of "The Breathing Room" episodes so far by logging on to our YouTube page:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rebuilding the Altar in Your Home

*Article from: Evangel Magazine, a publication of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) and Pathway Press

"Mommy and Daddy, there's someone in our backyard!" Those are the shocking words our daughter yelled early one morning as we were getting the kids ready for school. That morning is one we’ll never forget because it is when we began a journey to rebuild our family altar one stone at a time.
I (Karen) will share more about that particular morning later in this article, but first let me tell you that Satan desires to steal, kill, and destroy your family’s destiny. We learned that without a divine interruption, even Christian parents will find themselves raising up a generation that does not know how to walk in the freedom, power, and presence of God. The Enemy is busy stealing the hearts of the next generation and blinding them to truth. It is our job to take them back.
We can regain ground lost to the Enemy by stepping onto the battlefield in God’s power and authority, but in order to do that, we as parents must be awakened to the battle that is taking place in our own backyard. Ours is a generation of dry bones (Ezek. 37), and the greatest terrorist among us is named “lethargy.” Our families need to be awakened to the power and presence of God, and we do that by teaching them how to build an altar.
The devil’s agenda against the home is vicious and bold, yet many times we don’t even realize when the Enemy is at the front door of our house. The culture, media, and educational systems are working tirelessly to remove Jesus from the lives of this generation, and too often those of us who know God just stand by. There is an agenda that has spread across the land to present perversion as normal. It is as the prophet Isaiah wrote: “They say that what is right is wrong, and what is wrong is right; that black is white and white is black; bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter” (5:20 TLB). While the culture is busy proclaiming there are no absolute truths, we must listen to the cries that declare, “Someone is in the backyard!”
In the parable of the weeds, Jesus said, “While everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away” (Matt. 13:25 NIV). Families all across the globe are sleeping while the Enemy is busy sowing seeds of destruction in our youth. Are we falling asleep spiritually because we are worn out from the stress and the busyness of life? Know this—while we are sleeping, the Enemy is busy destroying the next generation. It’s time for an awakening. “Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light’” (Eph. 5:14 NKJV).
It’s time for Christian parents and adults to wake up and crawl to the altar because the Enemy is at the door! It’s time to become aware of the devil’s schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). We cannot allow this generation to walk into the abyss of lost purpose, power, and protection. If we sleep on and do nothing, then the next generation will say of us that we neither protected the presence of God nor showed them how to experience it. Judges 2:10 says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” (NIV). Let not the same be said of us—that a generation grew up who knew not the power of Pentecost!
Our family has been on an intense journey for many years to press into the fullness of Christ. It all started when we began to see “9:11” constantly. Little did we know that God was calling us back to Psalm 91:1 and reminding us that “he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (MEV).
We take great joy in our family and have always worked to keep our family healthy and our first priority. Our motto has always been, “We can’t win the whole world and lose our own family.” Sometimes, though, life gets so hectic and crazy that things get out of whack. We are public figures, and it’s easy to become great at public prayers but fail at creating an atmosphere at home for God encounters. That is, until you hear your daughter exclaim, “Mommy and Daddy, there is someone in the backyard!” Moments like that definitely put life back into perspective and set off your spiritual radar.
I remember the day clearly. Our son, Nate, was a senior in high school, and our daughter, Abby, was in first grade. On this particular morning, as we were preparing the kids for school, a figure appeared in our backyard. Our backyard is fairly large, and we have a tall privacy fence that completely encloses the yard. As soon as Abby told us she saw a person in the backyard, our son, Nate, looked out and said, “There is a guy in dark pants and a black hoodie in our backyard.”
I looked as well and saw the figure standing there. Immediately Pat ran out the back door to confront whoever had entered our yard so early in the morning. But the moment that Pat ran out the door, the figure disappeared. It simply vanished.
It would have been impossible for anyone to run from Pat and scale our tall privacy fence without being spotted. Yet there was no one to be found anywhere outside our fence or on our street who fit the description of the person we saw in our backyard. He was simply gone.
At that moment we realized our home was under a spiritual attack and that a demonic figure had been in our backyard. We realized Satan would do anything to get in our home (and he wants to get in your home as well). Then and there we awoke to the fact that it was past time to make our house a place of prayer. With the words of Jesus from Mark 3:25 resonating in our hearts—“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (NIV)—Pat and I committed that day to build an altar in our home.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Satan was still boldly coming after our children. Shortly after the incident with the man in the backyard, Pat and I were out of town leading a conference when we were awakened early one morning by a call from Nate. “Mom and Dad, I’ve been up all night, and the Enemy is trying to take me out. I can’t take it anymore,” he cried. That’s another moment we’ll never forget. It was 6:00 on the morning of June 15, 2010.
"We cannot allow the next generation to walk into the abyss of lost purpose, power, and protection."
Nate was desperate for our help, and we were out of town ministering. Our hearts sank as parents. Nate was weeping as he began to explain the destructive path he had been on over the last several months since he’d started to be recruited to play college football. We were devastated. As his parents we wanted to run and embrace him, but we couldn’t. Nate has always been an amazing, fantastic son. While he was growing up, he traveled the world with us as we ministered the Gospel. He had become sold out to Christ at a young age.
So how did this happen? How did we not see this coming? Had we allowed the busyness of life, ministry, and personal ambitions to blind us to the fact that we were losing our son to the world? As all these thoughts swirled around in our minds, we remembered a recent dream.
Just two weeks earlier, Pat and I both had a dream on the same night. In the dream Nate had died in a car accident, and we could not locate his body. It was every parent’s worst nightmare. The next morning on our walk together we began to share the dream each of us had, only to realize God had given us both the same dream. God was speaking to us and warning us, saying, “Wake up!” With this realization we immediately went into battle mode in prayer. For the next two weeks we petitioned God to protect our son.
When we got the call from Nate that June morning, we finally understood what the dream was all about. The Enemy wasn’t trying to take Nate out by killing his body. He was going after his soul. That morning on the phone with Nate all we really wanted to do was get to him and embrace him, but all we could do in that moment was to pray with him and encourage him to hold on.
Pat was scheduled to speak before hundreds of teens later that morning, but all he could think was, We have no right to preach; our son is in trouble. We are failures as parents. The same thoughts were swirling through my mind. As the Enemy was busy whispering these lies in our ears, God spoke to us, It’s time to go to war for your family. Let this day mark you both forever with an urgency to rescue your home first, above all else. I will use your son to change lives!
When we arrived home after the conference, we didn’t scream or yell at Nate. We just wanted to embrace him. The minute Pat walked through the door, he ran and embraced Nate, and they fell to the floor weeping. Over the next three months our family closed ranks. We made up our mind that we didn’t need another visitation from God where He was merely a guest in our home. We needed a habitation. We needed God to move in with us and reside in with us as a permanent resident. So we decided to build a room of praise, a place where God’s glory could dwell among us. Restoring Nate and our family was all that mattered.
In the weeks that followed, we helped Nate walk back into the freedom of an intimate relationship with God. We wanted him to know that the past does not dictate the future. He needed to know that we still believed in him and that we had not turned our backs on him or given up on him. His mistakes could not change our love for him, nor could they change God’s love for him.
As the father did in the story of the Prodigal Son, Pat placed a ring on Nate’s finger, signifying the freedom and dignity that is ours through Christ Jesus. As we wrapped Nate up in love, he was able to feel the love of the heavenly Father demonstrated through us. That time of demonstrating the love and honor between father and son became an altar experience in our home.
On that day Nate began his journey to healing, restoration, and freedom. God was able to take what the devil meant for great evil and turn it into a powerful testimony that has changed lives. Nate is now a father himself. And he and our beautiful daughter-in-love, Adrienne, lead a movement of thousands of students and leaders as youth pastors at The House in Modesto in California along with Pastor Glen Berteau. Nate is now using his testimony to snatch a generation away from the lies of the culture. Take that, devil!
Pat and Karen Schatzline are international evangelists and authors who co-lead Remnant Ministries International and the I Am Remnant Movement. This article is an excerpt from their newest book, Rebuilding the Altar (Charisma House, 2017).