I Raise A Hallelujah

This weeks #SongSunday is the official video for Bethel’s – I Raise A Hallelujah off Victory album.

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An Uncrowded Path

“Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” “If anyone loves this world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Strong statements from both the apostle James and the apostle John. You may ask: “Why?” What is this “world” that they speak of, and what do they mean by being a friend of the world and by loving the world? Doesn’t God “love the world?”  

The apostle John explains the love of the world as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

The reason God hates the lust of the flesh is that he wants to indwell us and he wants us to crave spiritual pleasures like love, joy and peace.

Bodily cravings for various pleasures can take the place of spiritual pleasures, and Our Father wants us to desire the pleasures that he offers, not the pleasures that the world offers.

The reason God hates the lust of the eyes is that he wants our spiritual eyes to be on him, not on some chosen idol of physical beauty that we crave to possess. He wants us to desire him in our life, not some earthly idol.

The reason God hates the pride of life, which the apostle John describes as “the boasting of what we have and do,” is that he wants us to glory in him; he wants us to boast about him, not ourselves.

Our Father is “a jealous God.” He created us for himself, and he is jealous when our affections are shared with this world system. He wants our hearts to be pure. He wants us to be single mindedly devoted to Christ.

And we must remember that the majority of the world hated Christ. They did not like him pointing out their sin, and they didn’t like his strict standard of exclusive devotion to him. That is why the majority of people still choose the “broad and easy path” that leads to destruction. The “straight and narrow path” is still an uncrowded path, but it still leads to heaven.

~ Brad Heilhecker

True Rest

Jesus knew that he came from God, was going to God, and that everything had been delivered into his hands. So, he took off his good clothes, put on his work clothes, and began to serve his disciples—quite the opposite mentality of many earthly rulers who revel in their exalted status and have many who serve them.

We are to emulate Christ, not worldly rulers. Christ promises that, if we will do as he does and serve each other, we will be blessed.

Isn’t blessing what everybody wants, what everybody is working so hard for, and what everybody can’t seem to find?

We are to “labor to enter into his rest,” to “cease from our own labors.” Maybe that means that if we will give up our own ambitions, we will find true rest in knowing and imitating Christ. Maybe that means that we will find our life’s meaning and purpose only if we give up everything for Jesus.  

Like the old saying goes, “You always find what you’re looking for in the last place you look.”

~ Brad Heilhecker

Foolishness

When Jesus was confronted with the fear of death after fasting for 40 days, he conquered the fear by bringing into the situation the fact that “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  

Not to be easily vanquished, the enemy appealed to another human weakness, our propensity toward foolish behavior. Jesus wisely responded, “You shall not tempt the Lord Thy God.”

We “tempt God” when we behave foolishly or presumptuously and expect God to rescue us. We are tempting him to not help us when it is in his nature and character to render assistance whenever possible. He just doesn’t like it when we purposely put ourselves in harm’s way and then expect him to come through for us.

He expects us to do our part and act prudently, and, then, he will do his part and see us through difficult times.

So, he conquered the fear of death with faith, and then he conquered foolishness with the fear of God.

It is written that “The fear of God is to depart from evil.”  Also, “With humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life.” And lastly, “Because there is forgiveness with God, he is to be feared.”

By holding on to God’s promises and nurturing a healthy and wholesome fear of Our Father, we, too, can overcome two of the enemy’s most potent weapons – the fear of death and the temptation of foolishness.

~ Brad Heilhecker

Falseness

During Jesus’s wilderness temptations, after he had conquered the fear of death with faith, and after he had conquered the temptation of foolishness with the fear of God, he faced the ultimate battle—the temptation of Falseness.  

Satan pulled out his big guns—he offered Jesus the whole world if he would bow down and serve him.

We get tempted by boats, cars, houses, titles, and million dollar lotteries; imagine how it must have felt when he was offered Everything—all riches, glory, and honor!

It was no small feat that he was able to respond: “Be gone, Satan, for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord Thy God, and him only shall you serve!’”

He conquered Falseness with Faithfulness.  

It is the final battle in the heart of every believer—Will we stay true to the end?

In Revelation, it is written, “They overcame him with the blood of The Lamb, the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives unto death.” Make no mistake—it is a battle to the death; the enemy knows that he is doomed already, and he has nothing better to do than to “steal, kill, and destroy” what belongs to his arch nemesis, Jesus.  

The only way that he can hurt Jesus now is to hurt one of his followers.

We have Jesus living inside us to help us conquer the fear of death with faith, the temptation of foolishness with the fear of The Lord, and the temptation of falseness with faithfulness.

Will we surrender to his sovereignty and allow him the victory in our lives?

It is written: “He is able to save us completely, for he ever lives to intercede for us.”

He is with us in every temptation, every battle, and every victory.

He is with us in the morning, noontime, and night. He is with us in our weakness and in our strength. He is Emmanuel – God with us!

~ Brad Heilhecker

5 Fold Ministry

There is a lot of talk in some circles of being in the governmental 5 Fold Ministry – Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers.

I am not going to say that this is a bad ambition, but I think that there is a better one – being in a spiritual five fold ministry. That is to say, a life and ministry consumed by Christ – our eyes, ears, mind, heart, and tongue all in agreement and all seeing, hearing, thinking, loving, and speaking the same thing, “Christ.”

Spiritual eyes on Christ – his person, his word, and his ministry. Spiritual ears tuned to the voice of the Spirit of Christ, listening for his rhema (spoken) word. Our thoughts and our minds meditating and reflecting on the things of Christ. Our hearts loving the kingdom of Christ and its citizens. And our tongues committed to speaking the words of Christ.

When Christ becomes our everything, then everything becomes new.  

Each person we meet is a whole new world of possibilities. Every place we go is holy ground. Every day is a new adventure in living and loving. Every moment counts, and time is precious. Souls are wealth, and money is just a tool.

When trials come, we are prepared to walk through them hand in hand with the one who overcame sin and death.

Five fold has come to mean “completeness” in some circles.

The truth is that, “We are complete in the one who is the head of all spiritual authority.” We don’t need a spiritual title or position. We are already “seated with Christ in heaven.” Let us walk with him here and now, just like we will walk with him on streets of gold for all eternity!

~ Brad Heilhecker

He Was There All Along

There was a time

not too long ago

When pain was her habitation

And the weight of her challenges

pushed her to the ground

Like so many woman

finding their way

through hardship 

and disappointment 

She came to the end 

of herself

Disillusion followed her

like a cloud

Pain her dwelling place

Anxiety clinging to her

Worry, holding her hostage

Voices numbed her

Taking her to dark places

Too weak to defend herself

She did not know her worth

She watched

while she was stripped

Gave in without a fight

Wrapped in the pain of her past

She looks through blurred lenses

So used to her infirmity 

It became her truth

While freedom

was one step away

Oh, till that glorious day

When her spiritual eyes

were opened to the One

who held the key

to her healing

He was there all along

Waiting for her to notice Him

If only she knew the depth

and height of His love for her

Why didn’t anybody tell her 

how deeply she was loved?

She thought she knew Papa

Until religion lost its hold on her

When she was at her lowest

He was there

and her life was never the same

He took her to deep places 

in Him she never knew existed

Deep within she knew

there had to be more

than the mediocre 

life she lived

All she needed to know was 

how deeply she was loved

Papa’s love held the key

to set her heart free

Darkness had to flee

as His love invaded

every crooked 

place in her heart

Every chain

holding her hostage

fell to the ground

Only because of a revelation 

of Papa’s love for her.

~ Ebigale Wilson

He Was There All Along

The Journey

Why Faith?

Why has Our God chosen faith as the vehicle for our perfection? Why not character, virtue, sacrifice, or strength? What does faith do for the heart of God? What does it do for us? And, lastly, what does it do for others?

The writer of Hebrews tells us that those who live by faith show God that they are looking for their real home in heaven, and that, therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God. It goes on to say that those who come to him must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.  

So faith does two things: first, it shows God, others, and ourselves that we are looking to our heavenly rewards and, second, it proves to all that we love God more than this present life.

It is so easy to get caught up in the affairs of this life and all the cares, fears, and frustrations that go along with living in a fallen world. However, if we will discipline ourselves to step back and try to see things from God’s point of view, we will discover that this life is just a testing ground and that it was never designed to meet all of our needs or to make us completely comfortable.

Only God can meet all of our needs and provide the comfort that we desperately seek. And only heaven will take away this aching homesickness which seems to be our constant companion.

~ Brad Heilhecker