It’s important to realize in this passage that before Isaiah was so enthusiastic about signing up to be God’s messenger, he had an encounter with God’s transcendent BEAUTY which caused him to recognize his sinful humanity, confess it and receive forgiveness and redemption. Intimacy through worship and relationship MUST come before service if we are to have grace for perseverance and not burn out. It is only through fiery passionate love for Jesus that we are able to (and even WANT to!) sign up for the most challenging assignments in the Kingdom. He has called us to grand adventure–a LOVE STORY set in the midst of a great battle! There will be tremendous adversity and even devastation as Isaiah saw but he also knew that LOVE “Immanuel ‘God with us'” (isa 7:14) would have the final say. \m/,
Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram…completely” 2 Kings 13:18-19
I can be pretty persistent. Or so I’ve been told. Jeff wanted me to be an attorney because he was convinced that I could persuade any judge, jury or courtroom to “see the light” (read let me have my way) simply by wearing them down with my “persistence” (read arguing my point with someone until they think their ears are bleeding.) Those are his words. I know, right? He can be so dramatic.
In 1999, we had been on the list to be able to purchase a home in Coweta through the Creek Nation Housing program for about six years when I read the story in Luke 18 about the widow and the unjust judge. I realize now the story is about persistence in prayer and about continually asking our King and Judge for justice, which really means making the wrong things right. Justice for a sick body is healing. Justice for addiction is freedom. Justice for lost souls headed for eternity separated from God is salvation. Jesus was telling us to keep asking, keep barging into His Courtroom and pleading for justice—for ourselves, our loved ones and our nation.
At the time I believed my revelation meant that we would surely get our new home if I kept calling and occasionally dropping by the housing authority office to “check on the status of our application.” I left some very kind messages, sent cards and even baked brownies for them (only once because I didn’t want them to think I was crazy.) Crazy or not, my plan worked! I often pictured the woman on the other end of my then daily phone calls turning around after hanging up and saying, “Can someone PLEASE give this woman the keys to that house?!?!” Ok maybe Jeff was right.
In 2 Kings 13, Elisha was angry because the king was half-hearted in his obedience and quit after only striking the ground three times. Aram means “highness; one that deceives; curse” and I want to point out that the same message to that king is true for us today. Is there a curse of cancer or alcoholism or poverty that has attacked your family or people group? “I prayed,” you say, “and nothing happened.” They are still in the hospital bed, still in prison, still in bondage, still homeless, still poor, still under the influence of deception. Can I tell you something? Pick up your arrows!
God spoke this word to us awhile back concerning prayer for Native Americans. There have been many short term mission trips to reservations, outreaches to boarding schools, and they are good works to be sure. But if we do not continue to cry out to God for justice, we will be like the king who Elisha told to “strike the ground.” We will have small victories here and there, a lost soul saved, a decision to enter drug and alcohol rehab, a decision to choose life. I don’t take that lightly and those victories are definitely cause for celebration, but what if we could defeat these enemies COMPLETELY? What if your family could be completely out of debt? What if your son or daughter could be completely delivered from drugs and alcohol? What if your marriage could be completely restored? What if our nation could be completely redeemed?
There must be a continual “striking the ground” in order for us to see complete victory. That is why I am asking God to raise up night and day prayer on every reservation and for every native tribe. Jesus told of the widow’s persistence in that story so that we might “always pray and never give up.” He promises that our heavenly Father, the Righteous Judge, WILL give justice to those “who cry out to Him day and night.” His next question in Luke 18, though, is one that pierces my heart.
But will I find that kind of faith when I return? Will I find anyone who is still praying and crying out for justice, still believing in My unfailing love and mercy?” I imagine Him looking off in the distance, wondering to Himself….”Will there still be someone going to prayer at midnight to fight for the girls kidnapped for human trafficking? Will there still be someone asking for the hand of violence to be stopped from domestic violence or child abuse? Will I have a Bride who cares?”
As it turns out, Jeff was right. I DID become an attorney of sorts, and so can you. The “arrows” we strike the ground with are our gifts and we petition the Judge through prayer and faith. I strike the ground when I type on this keyboard or play the piano or teach a class. I strike the ground when I cry out for justice in prayer. Next month we plan to strike the ground again for Pine Ridge. What are your arrows? What is the cause God has commissioned you for? It’s time to strike the ground again.
We are making plans to attend this conference that my Brother Henry Mena and his amazing family are hosting in Banning, California. Part of our ongoing mission is to “train up forerunner messengers from the place of night and day prayer” and we long to see an army of First Nations Youth ARISE! We need to raise $1,000 in the next few days to secure travel reservations and $1500 more by April 15th. Please partner with us (click on donate button below) and make a tax-deductible donation here to help send us to the Morongo Reservation to cry out for Revival in Native America! “So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” \m/,
or mail donations to: Frontier Missions, P.O. Box 374, Coweta, OK 74429
A True Christmas Story…maybe even a Christmas miracle?? This picture was taken Christmas Eve just months before our daughter Maegan went “Home” to heaven and four years before my Daddy Vann (I was named after him) died and went “Home” on Christmas Day 2000. This past week we decided to sell a sofa for extra space and Christmas money so we posted it on the community fb page for IHOPKC (International House of Prayer in Kansas City). When I saw the young woman’s name was Megan who was interested in the sofa, I told Jeff I felt we were supposed to give it to her and although we could definitely have used the money, he immediately agreed. The young woman named Megan was visibly moved when she and her husband came to pick up the sofa. She said “you really have no idea what a huge blessing this is for us…we just had a baby 9 days ago…” They told me they had read Maegan’s story on my blog site (vanessavancleave.com–click on “Maegan’s story”) and were deeply moved. Her husband seemed equally as grateful and when he shook my hand I realized I hadn’t asked his name. “My name is Van” he said. Huh??…time seemed to stop as Jeff and Savannah (also named after my dad) and I exchanged tear-filled looks. It was almost too much to take. Y’all, we got to give a Christmas gift to a Megan and a Van!!!Truly the gift was ours. #moreblessedtogive #missionarylife#everygoodgiftisfromabove
I am praying for those missing loved ones today…that God will “wink” at you as He did us. Merry Christmas \m/,
We are on day 5 of a 21 day fast to cry out for breakthrough for Pine Ridge Indian Reservation where there has recently been an outbreak of suicides and suicide attempts among the youth. Read the New York Times article here. The article says that “As the suicides began to mount in February, the Oglala Sioux tribe president, John Yellow Bird Steele, declared an emergency on the reservation. In response, the Indian Health Service deployed additional counselors, but many people here say it is not nearly enough. . .” Many ministries are recognizing the spiritual warfare and need for prayer for this area. We opened Remnant House of Prayer on Muscogee Creek property on February 27, 2010. One of our main mandates was to pray for Native Americans. The Grand Opening date was during Purim, when Queen Esther asked for the salvation of her entire people group, the Jews. February 27th was also the anniversary of the Siege at Wounded Knee, when A.I.M., a group of Native American activists took over the town of Wounded Knee in protest to the conditions in Pine Ridge and the broken treaties between the U.S. Government and Native Americans.
In Ezekiel 4, God tells His prophet to put a map of Jerusalem in front of him and “lay siege to it. . . It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. . .” The word “siege” means “3.
At the end of this 21 day fast, I will join other leaders and prayer warriors from around the country at Wounded Knee, SD for the ANNA Cry, three days of continuous worship and prayer to cry out for breakthrough and the power of death to be broken over Pine Ridge. I need your prayers as we enter into this spiritual war zone. I also need help with financial provision for this assignment. I need to raise $2,000 by May 21st. My goal is to take some One Year Bibles and possibly some t-shirts like this to hand out to youth there. . .it would be a way of “prophesying to the winds” so to speak, a declaration of a decision to CHOOSE LIFE.
I recently gave financial gifts to missionaries going to Israel. I wanted to go with them but felt the Lord impress on me, “this is a way you CAN go with them…by sending them…“. I am asking, would you “go with me” to Pine Ridge by sowing into this work of prayer and missions? Please share this with others and pray for grace and protection on our ministry and family throughout this mission.
To find out more about the fast and ANNA Cry, visit www.allnationsnorthamerica.com and click on the video.
Thanks so much!
Night and day until He comes,
Today is Maegan’s birthday. Hard to believe she would have been 26 today! This picture was taken at Give Kids the World, where we went for Maegan’s Make a Wish trip the year before she died. It was a dream come true for all of us. Unlike many of the children there, Maegan felt exceptionally well that week. I remember writing her name on a star on the ceiling there and that week, truly she SHINED. Jeff and Savannah and I have an opportunity to take a volunteer vacation trip this summer to minister to other families with children facing terminal illness at Give Kids the World. This has been a challenging year for our family, traveling back and forth from Kansas City to be trained and equipped as forerunner messengers, but God’s grace has been on us and we can see Him leading and guiding us every step of this journey. We are looking forward to the summer together but on a missionary budget it is very difficult to take a vacation. Would you pray about making a donation to help us fund this trip so that we can share God’s love and hope with hurting families of terminally ill children? We would leave on June 25th, the anniversary of the day Maegan went HOME to heaven. We need to raise $4,000 to be able to go on this trip. Any amount will help! Please mail tax-deductible donations to: Frontier Missions, P.O. Box 374, Coweta, OK 74429 or give online here through paypal. Thank you so much!
with love and much HOPE,
“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” —Luke 4:42-43 NIV
“He’s like me..he came here to teach people about love and about Jesus. Now he has to go back home to heaven and soon I will too. . . ”
Two weeks before our daughter Maegan died in 1997, we were watching a movie about an angel who had come to earth on a mission and at the end of the movie when it was time for him to return, she turned and said this to me in sign language. (Maegan was deaf) There was a hint of sadness in her expression, but I was taken aback by how confident she seemed, knowing that she had completed her assignment on earth and was ready to go “Home.”
I decided then that I wanted to be like Maegan—to know without a doubt what I was made for and to walk out that purpose in my everyday life so that I can hear one day as I have no doubt she did, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” As believers, we all have the same purpose in that we were made to love and be loved by God and to bring Him glory with our lives as we love and serve others, but we each have an unique personal mission as well—a “Tailor-made blueprint” for our days on the earth. Our problem is that we get sidetracked or loaded down with the cares of this world or even helping someone else with their mission, which is not necessarily a “bad” thing. In fact, it is most often a “good thing”, but we have to continually be asking the question, “is this God’s Best for me? Is this why I was sent?” It would have been a “good” thing for Jesus to stay and continue to minister to the group in Luke 4, but He recognized it was not His Father’s BEST and so in this circumstance, Jesus said NO.
One of my favorite stories (from the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver) is about a man who asks God if he can do something for Him and God gives him the task of carrying three rocks in a wagon up to the top of a hill. The man is thrilled about his “mission” for God and takes off singing. Along the way, friends hear what he is doing and ask if he could take their rock or “bag of sand” or “handful of gravel” to the top of the hill too. He agrees and lets them put their burdens in his wagon because well, surely God would want me to help my friends, right? As the wagon grew fuller, the man was no longer singing praises, and resentment began to build until he was ready to give up and let go of the wagon altogether.
God comes along and asks what the problem is. “You gave me a job that is too hard”, the man sobbed. God begins to unload the items others had placed in the wagon until only the three stones He had given him were left. “Let others shoulder their own belongings,” God said gently. “I know you were trying to help but when you are weighted down with all these cares, you cannot do what I have asked of you.” (pgs 51-52)
The first step to finding out “why you were sent” is to ask God what “rocks” He has placed in your wagon. My rocks are prayer, writing and teaching. Recently Savannah’s school had need of someone to organize the library and for someone to plan special events and parties. While I was tempted to meet the needs out of a genuine desire to serve her school, I waited and I’m so glad I did because the following week, I was asked to join a weekly prayer group with other parents to intercede for staff and students and later to substitute for an elementary Bible class teacher. I was able to say “Yes!” to these requests that were God’s “best” for me, and clearly rocks that He had placed in my wagon. (AND the event coordinator and library organizing positions were filled by others who were gifted in those areas and thrilled to serve!) One of the best definitions of stress I have heard is “when your mouth says yes to a request while your heart says no.”
There’s a commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” Today I am asking you, “What’s in your wagon?” As we near the end of the year, take some time to go to a “solitary place” and ask God what rocks HE has placed in your wagon and ask for the grace to remove some rocks that are not His “best”. In John 17:4, Jesus was able to say “I finished the work You gave me to do”. So did Maegan, and by His grace, so will we.
“That money is not for you. It’s for her. . .”
It was 2006 and I had been at the altar praying with a single mother about a desperate financial need. At the time I occasionally interpreted for a deaf person who would visit our church and sometimes ministered in song using sign language. As soon as I finished praying with the woman, one of the ushers walked up to me carrying an offering envelope that said “sign language lady”. Inside was a stack of twenty dollar bills and I rejoiced as I got in the car and shared our “good fortune” with Jeff. Then I stopped in mid-sentence. I suddenly had a vision of praying for the financial need and turning to see the usher walking up to me. “That money is not for you. It’s for her. . .” the Holy Spirit nudged me. I remembered the verse in James about not simply praying for someone and saying “be warm and well fed” then walking away if you have the ability to meet their need. So we drove to the woman’s house and gave her the money. That same month I received three unexpected speaking invitations and our “seed” multiplied to over $4,000!
A few years later, God would “nudge” me again to give my car away and walk to our prayer room through the summer. One day Savannah and I were walking to the library and I exclaimed, “Hey—I just realized that I’ve been praying for us to get more exercise and look—God is answering!” Savannah, red-faced and sweating, did not see the humor OR feel the gratitude in that particular revelation. “Well MOM, stop praying that!” I laughed out loud and put my arm around her. These walks gave us lots of time to talk and I shared with her how I wanted her to have her own “history in God” concerning faith with finances. I explained that faith is like a muscle, and the only way for it to grow is if you use it and “stretch” it. She rejoiced with us when, at the end of the summer, we were given TWO cars (one of which we sold and gave the profit to another missionary and the other we are still driving), but she decided she wanted to grow her own faith muscle. She has several cool stories but one stands out to me.
One day as I was preparing to leave for an internship in Kansas City at the International House of Prayer, we were out for a walk (because we wanted to 🙂 Savannah reached into her pocket and pulled out a twenty dollar bill. She shyly handed it to me. “Mom, I already gave my tithe this month but I want to give this to you for the internship and to show you I believe in you and what God is calling you to do.” I teared up and reluctantly took the money, knowing it was probably half of what she had been saving. When we got back home, Jeff (knowing nothing about her seed offering) said, “Oh, Savannah—I almost forgot—I sold your two old bicycles and here is the money.” It was 40 dollars! She looked at me wide-eyed and said, WHOA!
A couple months into the internship, we were feeling financial pressure because of some unexpected expenses. I sat in the prayer room, trying to connect with the intercession for revival on college campuses, but my mind kept going to our financial need. I saw a missionary named Isaac walk past and recalled how I had prayed for his financial need in our small group that morning. Give him your envelope money, I heard. That can’t be God, I reasoned. It was my household and grocery money for the whole month! I received confirmation it was God, then went to the bathroom and took out all of my envelope cash, not counting it but knowing there was over $200. I put it in a card with an encouraging word and verse and gave it to Isaac, who praised God out loud in the lobby. Later that day Jeff called to tell me we had received an unexpected check for $500, exactly what we needed plus I wouldn’t have to fast the rest of the month! (wink) I share these stories to encourage you to “exercise your faith muscle” in the area of partnering with Jesus in the realm of supernatural provision in finances. My point is NOT that we give in order to get money back, but rather to partner with Him in building His Kingdom. And when we release our faith with our seed and God answers with supernatural provision, our hearts soar and we respond as Savannah did, WHOA! God is AWESOME and He loves me and hears me! And THAT will be the point.
*We recognize that God uses people like you and me to partner with His work in the earth. Would you consider partnering with us in this work of prayer and missions? Our ongoing mission is to train up forerunner messengers from the place of night and day prayer and to help keep a 24/7 sanctuary of perpetual worship and prayer. We currently need 5-7 more monthly partners to cover monthly expenses and $2,000 in special gifts to help with re-location costs during this season of equipping at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. You can mail donations to Frontier Missions, P.O. Box 374, Coweta, OK 74429 or click on the link above. All donations are tax-deductible.
“Hey while praying for you I’m reminded how when the Lord gives a vision sometimes that vision has to die so it can be reborn even stronger to complete the work. Look at all the things I have gone through. . . he birthed it (the vision), it died only to come alive again. But it’s not without a fight. He is able to keep that which you commit to Him. . . hold onto the word of the Lord. . . even if it looks like it will never happen. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. . .”
This was a text I received from one of God’s “messengers” this month. It came on an emotionally difficult day and I clung to it like a drowning woman to a life raft. The truth is I have had an extremely difficult time “letting go” of the dream God placed in my heart for Remnant House of Prayer—for a 24 hour place of worship, for a forerunner arts academy to train up warriors from the place of night and day prayer. . . especially when I felt so strongly that God had told me to “hold on” so many times. I realize now, though, that sometimes you have to let go of a dream with your hands, while still clinging tightly with your heart. Remember that scene from Titanic when Rose is letting go of Jack? Even as his cold body slips into the ocean, she whispers, “I’ll never let go…” Then we hear the haunting music “the heart will go on…” And why is Titanic the second highest-grossing film of all time? Because it is our story, yours and mine, for while the “ship has gone down” so to speak and all seems lost, our Beloved Jesus has given His life so that we might live and urges us to “stay alive” until He returns to restore all things. And so the movie does not end with death in a frozen sea of despair, but with a ship restored, a radiant bride prepared for a wedding. It gives us hope, does it not?
On Good Friday this year, Savannah had a vision concerning RHOP. She saw “scenes like in a movie” of bringing her toys to the prayer room on 24 hour prayer weekends, prayer walks, learning to play drums, etc. The last “scene” was the last prayer set we had where all the kids were onstage leading the prayer meeting on Aug. 31st. (One year ago today) “You know how sometimes it will say at the end of a show, ‘To Be Continued, then dot dot dot? That’s what I saw, Mom, the words ‘To Be Continued . . . then dot dot dot. . .”
On the same day I received the text I shared earlier, my friend Angela (remember Angela means “messenger”) approached me before a prayer meeting with a gift. “This is not the box they came in,” she said shyly, “but a dear friend of mine gave me these turquoise rings when I was going through a very difficult time in my life and I believe I am supposed to give them to you.” I had just asked the Lord for a ring to replace one I had lost and the ring that looked like a turquoise flower fit perfectly! When I got home, I kept looking at the other ring and the box, feeling there was a “message” in it. Then I remembered Angela had whispered as she left, “I am supposed to tell you that the woman who gave these to me—her name was Dot” And there it was—the message from God’s heart to mine. “You’re in the dots…” I heard Him whisper to my bleeding heart. It’s still not over. Any time you see that (. . .) in a book or text, it means more is to come. This is His message to you today as well. Remember the dream He gave you? The ministry, the career, the book, the home, the marriage, the child? I love the Message translation of Romans 4, “When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.”
Here is a pic of the rings. . .
Angela later told me, “He’s also connecting the dots.” Hmm… think of the dot-to-dot coloring pictures we were given as children. The dots looked like a big mess until we started connecting them one at a time to reveal a picture. Like me, you may have to “let go” of a dream with your hands for now, but hold on with your heart because He is making a beautiful picture with your story (HIS story) and well, it’s “To Be Continued . . .”
“We’ve just been singing a song about how much God loves us and I feel like I am supposed to tell you that. . . ”
I had gone into Country Mart after one of our worship and prayer meetings at RHOP and noticed a woman holding her neck with one hand while pushing her grocery cart with the other, visibly wincing in chronic pain. Now, I’d like to say that I acted just like Jesus and went immediately over to minister to her, full of power and love and anointing to heal, but the truth is I acted more like Jonah, ducking my head and heading for Tarsus—er, the chip aisle, arguing with the Holy Spirit. “Lorrrd…..can I pleeease just get my chips? I mean, I’ve been praying for people for the past TWO HOURS and since I prayed for everyone in Coweta, that means I already prayed for her annnyway….” But He wouldn’t relent and since I’ve been “in the belly of a whale” more times than I care to admit, I decided to take the risk of feeling foolish and “put feet to my prayers” as Lou Engle often says. Sometimes God will use us as part of His answer.
On that particular night, we’d sung “How He Loves Us” so many times that I had been tempted to slide a new chord chart over onto the worship leader’s music stand as a “hint”—but thought better of it, and remembered that the reason we need to sing the same thing over and over is not because God didn’t hear us the first time, but because WE didn’t hear us the first time. And if ever I would need to remember singing about how much He loves me, it would be in those coming months that would be full of change and transition and uncertainty. Sigh. But I digress…I watched the woman walk out with her groceries and had to leave my bag of chips with the cashier to go out after her. “I’ll be right back, I promise!” I ran out to find the woman about to get into her car, still holding her neck. “Excuse me, Ma’am? I couldn’t help but notice you are in a lot of pain. Can I pray for you?” She hesitated, taken aback and then nodded weakly. I prayed a simple prayer asking God to heal her body and nothing seemed to happen except that I felt like a nut ball and almost wished a whale would come swallow me up, but I felt led to ask her name and she said, “Angela”. I smiled, “You know, Angela means messenger and I feel like I am supposed to be your messenger tonight. I’ve just come from a prayer meeting where we’ve been singing about how much God loves us and I feel like God wants you to know that—that He loves you and your life has value.” She began to weep then, and told me how she had contemplated suicide that week and had asked God to show Himself real to her. As we talked about His love for her, she suddenly started twisting her neck from side to side and looked at me incredulously, “My neck! It doesn’t hurt!” Then she stopped and stared at me for a second and asked, “What church do you go to???”
Many people think the prophetic has to be some spooky-spiritual thing where we tell people things about their past or future that we couldn’t possibly know and while that may happen occasionally, Revelation 19: 10 says that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” I didn’t need to see a vision or have a giant scroll unroll from the sky to tell this woman God loved her. I simply shared with her the testimony of what Jesus had already done in my heart that night—told me how much He loves me.
A couple weeks ago, I took a picture of the sun breaking through the clouds. It gave me a burst of hope and since He has sent me “pictures of His love” many times, I decided to print it and share it. The woman I gave it to held it to her chest and with tears streaming down her face said, “you have no idea what this means to me…I’m gonna hang this on my mirror so I can see it every day and remember that breakthrough is coming…”
Another young mother recently told me that she had kept a text message with a verse and encouraging word I had sent on her phone two years ago and kept reading it over and over again during tough times. She had been ill at the time and recently divorced with two young boys, one with special needs. She has since graduated and has a new job that she loves. “I literally don’t think I would have made it through nursing school if it hadn’t been for that word of encouragement you sent me…thank you so much.”
One definition of prophesy is “to speak as a mediator between God and humankind or in God’s stead.” Why not send a verse or a picture to someone today to “prophesy” life over them? You are God’s messenger.
Would you please consider partnering with us in this work of prayer and missions by making a tax-deductible donation to our ministry? We have several specific needs right now such as 1) Savannah’s tuition to Forerunner Christian Academy; 2) A fence that is in need of repair; 3) a Mac laptop so I can continue to send out newsletters while I am in Kansas City.
You can donate here by clicking on the button below, or mail donations to: Frontier Missions, Vanessa VanCleave, P.O. Box 374, Coweta, OK 74429. Thanks so much!