Still Small Voice

Anna Golden has a great line in her song – Still Small Voice.

“I’m not here to chase a miracle; I’m here to chase The Maker.”

Enjoy this weeks #SongSunday

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Happily Ever After

Is life about Christ, or is Christ life itself? It seems we can be consumed with making our lives about Christ, and still miss Christ himself.

He refuses to become one of our science projects or artistic masterpieces. He demands to be our life. That is – if we belong to him and claim to live in him.

So, how do we find Christ himself? Where does he hide? What does he do with himself? Where do we go to walk and talk with him?

Maybe, when we forget about ourselves and really seek God for God’s sake we are on the path. Maybe, when we help someone just because they need help, we are learning his ways. And, maybe, when our hearts seek his company in the quiet hours, we will discover him waiting patiently in the wings ready to share his heart with us.

When we discover that we are his life, it becomes a little easier to make him our life. When we get to the end of our rope and find him there, we start to trust in him. When we are weak and sick, and he gently comforts us, we feel his love. When we are strong and triumphant and he joyfully shares our victory dance, we become friends.

Like the marriage vows, we find him “in sickness and in health, and in the good times and bad.” The beauty of it is that, unlike wedding vows, there is no “till death do we part.”

This short life is just the preamble to an epic love story where we truly “live happily ever after.”

~ Brad Heilhecker

Will You Stand Alone?

This past two weeks I was traveling around Israel with two couples. It is always a blessing to stand and walk in the places where events from the Bible actually happened. Here are two verses that impacted me as I was sharing them one day.

Acts 10:1-2

There was a man in Caesarea named Cornelius, a Roman army officer in what was called the Italian Regiment. He was a devout man, a “God-fearer,” as was his whole household; he gave generously to help the Jewish poor and prayed regularly to God. (CJB)

I Kings 19:10

He answered, “I have been very zealous for Adonai the God of armies, because the people of Isra’el have abandoned your covenant, broken down your altars and killed your prophets with the sword. Now I’m the only one left, and they’re coming after me to kill me too.” (CJB)

As we traveled around, the Holy Spirit was impressing on my heart that most of the people we spoke about, read about and studied seemed to “stand alone.” Both verses above bring reality to that statement.

When we stood in Caesarea and read the account of Cornelius, I realized that he was alone. As a Roman army officer, no one else around him would have been following the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Even Peter, who went to visit Cornelius to help him understand who God is, had to stand alone.

The second verse is from Mt Carmel. This is about Elijah. He was the prophet who called down fire from heaven to defeat those who were worshipping Baal. Immediately after this event, Elijah was told by Jezebel that he was going to be killed. Elijah because afraid and used the word, “Now I am the only one left…”

Clearly Elijah felt alone. He became afraid and actually ran.

As I spoke about these events, I realized that many people today “feel” alone. They wonder if they are the only ones trying to do what is right. They either become extra bold in their faith, or they become fearful and hide.

When you begin to “feel” alone, remember that even years ago many people had to stand by themselves for their faith. We can go back to Noah, who was the only righteous man. From there forward the list grows long.

The question for us today is, how are we going to respond when we have a moment that “hits us” and we believe we are alone? Are we going to be like Cornelius and “move forward” asking God to bring people our way to help us? Or, are we going to be like Elijah and flee?

We are blessed to have the Word of God that reminds us of ALL who have gone before us. We are blessed to have LISTS of names in the Bible that STOOD strong in the midst of trials. We need to STOP and recognize that God has given us His Word in order to remind us of ALL that He has done.

When we come to the realization that TRUSTING God to walk through life with us assures us that we are NOT alone, than we can find REST in Him. We will RESTORE ourselves to Him. We are then REFRESHED to walk forward day to day.

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

 

 

 

 

 

Hope In The Window

We have a spare bedroom in our small cottage that we have turned into a prayer room.  It is a room that will someday host the fulfillment of promise that the Lord has spoken over us.  This room is actually my favorite room in our cottage – there are windows covering two of the four walls, it is the lightest and brightest room in the home, and it is bathed in prayers, tears, worship and the Presence of God.  

When I start to feel my hope fade, I find myself on the floor in this particular room where Jesus never fails to meet me there.

A few months ago as I was raising the blinds to let the sunlight pour in, my eyes caught a little painting in the window that simply says, “HOPE.”

This painting has graced our window-sill for so long that I had actually forgotten it was there.  

But for some reason this particular day it caught my attention.  

As I focused my eyes on the word hope, I heard Holy Spirit whisper to my heart:  “I am raising the blinds on HOPE in the life of My people!”  Within a few seconds the sun burst from behind the clouds and a stream of gorgeous sunlight came through the window and filled the room around me.

The Lord knows all things, and He knew that I needed this little kiss from Heaven this very day.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12, NASB).  

We understand that trees grow with sunlight, and all plants need light to produce life.  The Lord showed me that there are many hearts in this season, mine included at times, that have felt like hope has been deferred – that the “blinds” have been pulled down over our desires and promises and at times it feels difficult to see the light.  

The wait has not always been easy, and for many people, the past few seasons have felt as if the waiting room was a very dark room with blinds drawn.  Yet if you look carefully, when the blinds are drawn in a room while the sun is out, the room is not completely dark because a small amount of light can still seep through even if the blinds are closed.

God showed me that there has been enough “light” for hope to remain in hearts, but for many people hope has not burned as brightly as it once did.  

Here’s the good news:  God ALWAYS comes through.  “Hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5), so take courage, God is raising the blinds!  Hope WILL shine forth again!  

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NASB).  

Holy Spirit also challenged me in my little prayer room that day.  He reminded me that all He has ever asked of me was just to BELIEVE Him.

Numbers 23:19 says that God is not a man who lies, and He always keeps His promises.  He never, EVER, changes His mind.  

God never changes.  He is trustworthy – and all I must do is keep believing.  If God made a promise, He will always fulfill it.  

He is the God of hope, and He will indeed raise the blinds on hope.  

My job is simply to believe Him, and with my belief will come great joy and peace.  

I cannot afford to listen to and engage with any other voice than that of Holy Spirit in this season.

Let’s allow Holy Spirit to remind us how faithful God has been in the past.  

If you allow Him, He desires to raise the blinds on hope!!!!!!!!! You will again ABOUND in hope! Thank you, Holy Spirit!

~ Mandy Woodhouse

100 Percent

Sin.  Missing the mark.  Falling short of the glory of God.  

We all know what it is to sin and how it feels when we do – both the short term pleasure and the long term pain.

Maybe what we don’t know is how Jesus views sin.  

When he started preaching, he said, “Repent and believe, for the kingdom of God is near.”  I believe he was after the chief sin of unbelief in the human heart.  

Later on he said, “The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in me.”  He also said, “He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, for he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  

And herein lies the judgement: that the light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light.”

Jesus always went right to the heart of the matter.  

Too often, we take aim at the symptoms of sin and not the root cause.  All selfishness and bad behavior is rooted in and fueled by a refusal to believe in or trust in Christ.

Men and women spend their lives in all sorts of destructive behaviors because they don’t want to surrender their lives to Christ.  

The straight and narrow way of Christ may appear too restrictive, too dull, or even too impossible to them.  

Even many Christians find the spiritual life dull and confining (and modern day church may be partly to blame for this.)  It is only when we commit fully to Christ that the light begins to dawn and the road becomes a little more navigable.  

I learned a lesson in surfing, that once you commit to a wave you need to give it 100%; anything less will result in a disastrous wipeout.

The apostle John makes it clear in his first epistle that sin is to be the exception in the life of the believer, not the rule.  

In Christ, we have the power to overcome sin.  

Not always, but most of the time we can walk in love, in faith, and in obedience to Christ.  Habitual sins take time to eradicate and much help and grace from God and from our friends is often needed.

However, surrender to a defeated life is never a good option.  Even if we get knocked down every day, we need to get back up and try again.

The apostle Peter wrote, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of All Grace  will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”  (1 Peter 5:10)

~ Brad Heilhecker

The Seed We Carry

“The enemy is after the seed you carry” I heard these words loud and clear a few days ago. While talking to Papa God and going back and forth. He asked me why do I think the attacks on certain people in the Body of Christ where so horrendous and cruel over the last especially seven years. 

The enemy did everything in his power to make us despondent with one attack after the other. The attacks got more intense as time went on, because we were persistently holding on to the promises of Papa. Unknowingly Papa trained us to endure more and more pressure. Our faith grew to heights we never thought possible, our character was tested and transformed and Papa had His way in our lives in the presence of our enemies.

This was crucial training and the lessons learned will be our yoke breaking testimonies forever. The enemy tried to stop the seed that each one of us carry from growing, but he actually helped us to carry our seed full term. We now realise the battle was never about us, but what Papa has deposited in each one of us. Many personal and private sacrifices of obedience Papa asked from many of us, our lives were disrupted in different,  painful ways, but we did not give up on His dreams for us.

It was never just about walking out difficult journeys, the dark times formed Papa’s heart and character in us, that no other journey would have. We came to a place we never thought possible where our minds are at peace and our hearts are free and no amount of attacks would ever be able to take us back to our past. We have awakened to higher levels in the Spirit, we hear His voice clearly and our eyes and ears are alert to every plan of the enemy. We were trained to fight from a position of rest, knowing that every battle is the Lord’s. 

The seed we carry will impact countless people, every sphere of society, governments, nations and our families. Generations will benefit, because of the price we have paid, through our obedience.

This is the last stretch where training is fast, at times it will feel like our heads are spinning, because Papa is dealing with issues in our lives that were left unattended for so long. There will still be attacks to stop us from giving birth, but we will fight from a position of rest, because the battle is the Lords.

We will give birth to every promise Papa has for us, in the presence of our enemies.Satan could not stop us, and he knows that the seed deposited by our Father is going to set the world alight. Keep your focus, lean into Papa and rest in Papa. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.

Revelation 12:11

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Romans 8:19

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Romans 8:14

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.

 

~ Ebigale Wilson

The Seed We Carry

The Journey

The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars

Earthly romances fascinate us.  

To find someone who thinks the world of us and who we ourselves adore.  It is the stuff of legends and glorified in a multitude of books and songs.  

Whether we know if or not, the allure might be that, for a time, we get to be the sun, the moon, and the stars for someone else, and this lover, our beloved, is our sun, moon, and stars.  

If only young lovers would listen intently to those who have been married for decades and know the realities of keeping romance alive, we would have far fewer divorces.

In Christ, the vision is more humble. We don’t get to be the sun, moon, and stars for someone else.  

In this romance, God is the sun, Christ is the moon that reflects God glory so that we can gaze upon it, and we are like the far flung-stars that illuminate the night sky.  

The sun gives us life, the moon reassures us that the sun is still there at night, and each of us, like stars, gets to play our part and demonstrate the vastness and the mystery of Our Creator.

So let us “do everything without grumbling or complaining that we may become blameless and pure, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we shine like stars in the universe”—a sobering yet exhilarating vision, a high calling, a challenge equal to the loftiest of ambitions.  

What a wonderful Creator God is Our Father!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Return To Me

Some of my favorite words in the Bible are, “Return to Me...” these words bring me comfort and HOPE that God cares for me and wants what is best for me. These words are used often in the prophets. God spoke to them and used them to remind the children of Israel that they needed to “return to His instructions.”

 

I usually do not like to list verses without copying and pasting them in, but there are so many with these words that I wanted to give them to you and have you read them yourself!  

 

Zechariah 1:3

Nehemiah 1:9

Jeremiah 24:7

Hosea 6:1

Jeremiah 4:1

 

I chose one verse to share with you…

 

Malachi 3:7

 

Since the days of your forefathers

you have turned from my laws (instructions) and have not kept them.

Return to me, and I will return to you,”

says Adonai-Tzva’ot.

“But you ask, ‘In respect to what

are we supposed to return?’ (CJB)

 

The children of Israel often walked away from the heart of God and would follow what the cultures around them were involved in. They often chose to forget what God blessed them with and found it easier to be a part of the world around them. Maybe trying to follow the instructions God gave were too difficult. Maybe they just wanted to be like everyone else. I guess we will never truly know what caused them to turn away from God’s teachings, but one thing is for certain, they rebelled often.

 

I think these words need to be a reminder to us today as well. I think that as a “community of believers” we have given into events and teachings that the world holds too, but are not from the heart of God. We easily dismiss practices we participate in that do not bring honor to God by saying that God can redeem all things and turn it for His glory. We excuse our involvement in them by saying that God wants us to love everyone.

 

Don’t get me wrong… God does say to “love our enemies” and to “love our neighbor as ourself.” Love does cover a multitude of wrongs, and like I wrote before, GRACE is there for everyone! However, God also has HIS instructions that He holds too as important and we need to uphold those teachings. He gave them for a reason and desires that we follow them so we can live LIFE to the fullest and with freedom.

 

The word “return” is sometimes translated as, “repent.” If we look back to the original Hebrew understanding, the closer translation means to “turn back.” If we are repentant it does mean we do a 180 degree turn around. It is supposed to mean that we “turn away” from things in our life that are not from God. When the Holy Spirit convicts us to let something go, we must RETURN to what God requires.

 

My challenge for you today is to look at your life and clean out the area(s) HE wants to purge. Where is He challenging you to “return?” What teachings do you need to “return too?” Are you willing to go against the flow of society and follow His heart?

 

God does have grace for His people. Just like with the children of Israel, when we are willing to repent and return, He is there ready and waiting with open arms to bless us. We just need to LISTEN to our Father and heed His call to “return to Me.”

 

When we come to the realization that returning to the heart of God will bring REST, we will want to RESTORE ourselves to Him. We are then REFRESHED to walk forward day to day.

 

Love and blessings,

Rose