His Work Of Art

Everyone wants to be powerful, valuable, and loved.  We will sell our souls at the hint of such treasure.  If only we knew the source of this vision.  If only there was a treasure map.  

Thank God that there is.  

The map is none other than Jesus, “the way, the truth, and the life!”  

As we learn how to draw near to him, the way opens before us.  We discover love heretofore unknown. We realize just how precious God’s children are to him.  We are empowered to do things previously undreamt of.

The challenge before us is to evade all the impostors, the mirages, and the charlatans—those people and things that promise what only God can deliver.  

It is a lifelong adventure replete with villains, quicksands, fairy Godmothers, shining knights, and tests of skill and character.  

No one reaches the pearly gates without a lengthy testimony of disasters averted,  mercies and graces proffered, and chivalrous assistance from the Prince of Peace.

In this kingdom, there are no such things as “self made men.” Everyone is a product of The Father’s benevolent, beneficent, and magnanimous Spirit.  

We are all his works of art.  

We all are reflections of his glory.

Ultimately, we are the temples of his Holy Spirit—his chosen dwelling place.  He is Spirit and he chooses us, also spirit beings, as his home.

As we yield our earthly vessels to his good will, we experience increasing intimacy with his person, his power, and his providence.  

He becomes our “all in all,” and we become “the apple of his eye.”

One day, our visions and dreams will become our reality, and we will live in the perfection and ecstasy of face to face communion with Our Savior.  

All the glimpses of glory we get here on earth will be replaced with gazes at his holiness and goodness in heaven.  

The pains and trials of life will be eclipsed by life itself, life as it once was in the garden, life spent daily walking and talking with Our King!

~ Brad Heilhecker

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Choose To Praise

I went back and read what I have written the past several weeks and I felt like it was a bit heavy. It led me to want to lighten things up a bit.

This led me to the word, “praise.” There are many verses in the Bible about giving praise. I’m not going to expound on them much because they should simply uplift us and encourage us. They will help us WIN the battles we face everyday.

I Chronicles 16:8-9 Give thanks to Adonai! Call on his name! Make his deeds known among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him! Talk about all his wonders. (CJB)

Deuteronomy 10:21 He is your praise, and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things, which you have seen with your own eyes. (CJB)

Jeremiah 20:13 Sing to Adonai! Praise Adonai! For he rescues those in need from the clutches of evildoers. (CJB)

Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise Adonai!Halleluyah! (CJB)

Acts 2:46-47 Continuing faithfully and with singleness of purpose to meet in the Temple courts daily, and breaking bread in their several homes, they shared their food in joy and simplicity of heart, praising God and having the respect of all the people. And day after day the Lord kept adding to them those who were being saved. (CJB)

I discovered something interesting about the word praise… It is not mentioned much in the New Testament. There are many verses in the Old Testament about giving praise and giving thanks. The one in Chronicles is long (I encourage you to read the whole chapter). There are verses scattered throughout the prophets.

However, the New Testament, although it does encourage giving thanks and praise (see the verses from Acts and we know that Paul sang often in prison), there is not a focus on praise as much as we see in the Old Testament.

I think what we need to realize is, based on the verses from Acts, when the community of faith gathered together and PRAISED God, here is what happened,

“Day after day the LORD kept adding to them those who were being saved.”

PRAISE is where WORSHIP happens and when they went into battle they ALWAYS had the PRAISE first. The battle of Jericho was won by TRUMPETS blowing. I believe that even today, if we CHOOSE to PRAISE, we are better able to do battle against the spiritual forces that try to come against us.

We know today that we face more spiritual battles than physical ones. We need to “Put our praise on” (a song that my kids used to sing). When we make that CHOICE we can WIN the battles, even in our mind. Many of the Psalms are SONGS. I wish we could get back to them. They are TRUE WORSHIP. I wish we could find more songs that are SCRIPTURE and the WORD.

Take time today to SING or WORSHIP. Take time today to PRAISE your Creator. I believe it will lighten your load and help you win the battle.

When we come to the realization that PRAISING HIM is part of winning the battle, 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

 

Image – Benjamin Davies / Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kind Words

Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body (Proverbs 16:24, NLT)

Sometimes, I think that I may be in the kindest environment in the world – or at least the kindest environment I have ever seen in my life.  My friends are super kind and generous with their words, and my Church and work environments are as well.

 I LOVE how people are choosing to speak life over each other and their circumstances.  I have been so moved and challenged by this!

I’ve been thinking a great deal about the power behind these kind words.  In the past few weeks, when I have needed it most, I received cards or private messages with really kind things being said about me.  This isn’t a boast of how awesome I am or anything, but just a testimony to the love of my Heavenly Father who KNOWS when I need a kind word to bring healing to my soul.

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad (Proverbs 12:25, ESV).

 What’s the best way that I can remove anxiety from my friend?  A kind word.  A word that, like Proverbs 16:24 states, is dripping from the comb and overflowing (Strong’s H6686).  The Hebrew translation behind Solomon’s words in Proverbs are so powerful as they state that kind words aren’t just simply like honey, they are DRIPPING and OVERFLOWING from the source!  Our tongues can drip and overflow life, health and repair to those around us.

He also says in Proverbs 18:21 that our tongues actually hold the power of life or death, and we reap the consequences of what we sow with our words.  WOW – how awesome if every consequence that I reaped was HEALTH and LIFE and COURAGE and JOY to my friends!  This sounds to me like a fantastic invitation into an assignment from Heaven.  I believe that I can partner my words with Heaven to literally lift up the countenance of my friends (and myself if needed).  Proverbs 12:18 says that the tongue of the wise brings healing, and I believe that if I surrender my tongue to the Lord, He will use me to repair people’s hearts.  

As my friends have challenged me with their kind words lately, allow me to challenge you:  Who can YOU be kind to with your words today?  Your tongue is like a sharp sword (Isaiah 49:2) and with your encouragement you can obliterate the anxiety and pain that weighs someone down.  

Let’s bring the dripping overflow of Heaven down to Earth today over someone with our kind words!  We have the power of LIFE, so let’s always choose life.

~ Mandy Woodhouse

The Dry Empty Places

The key to watering those dry places – and filling up the emptiest of places…

Grab ahold of this Promise!

“Then Yahweh will answer you when you pray.

When you cry out for help, He will say I am here.

If you banish every form of oppression, the scornful accusations, and vicious slander, and if you offer yourselves in compassion for the hungry and relieve those in misery, then your dawning light will rise in the darkness and your gloom will turn into noonday splendor!

Yahweh will guide you where to go and what to do.

He will fill you with refreshment even when you are in a dry, difficult place.

He will continually restore strength to you, so you will flourish like a well-watered garden and like an ever flowing, trustworthy spring of blessing.

Your people rebuild long-deserted ruins, building anew on foundations laid long before you.

You will be known as Repairers of the Cities and Restorers of Communities.”

~ Isaiah 58:9-12 TPT

~ XXOO Michelle

Restored Ministries

Your Healing Hour

Three Sins Of The Church

There may be only three main sins that Our Savior hates in his church: the love of money, the disregard of his commands, and the persecution of the righteous.  

“In his church?,” you ask.  

“I thought these sins were in the world, not in his holy saints.”  

If they were in the world, the Lord would know just what to do about them; he would preach repentance from all sin and faith in Christ.

Mixed in and among his people, however, it is a little trickier proposition.  He is faced with the monumental task of purifying his people while still allowing less than perfect churches to exist.  

This requires eternal vigilance on the part of his saints.  

Do we see the love of money, the disregard of his commands, and the persecution of the righteous in our individual churches?  

If so, we should not be amazed, for such problems have been around since the beginning of time, and Our Father and Our Lord are no mere novices in dealing with such fallen humanity.

Our only concern should be to be found partnering with sin, especially sin among believers.  It is not easy, but we can gather with the saints and still maintain our integrity, even if it means standing against the status quo sometimes.  

This may be one means that God uses to purify his servants: that we love the church enough to speak up when it gets off course.

If we do, nothing may change in the church; but, if we don’t, we will change and not for the better.  We will become religious cowards, condemning sin in the world but allowing it in our midst—what God and the world both call “hypocrisy.”

So, when we need to make a stand, we do so gently, yet firmly.  If we are rejected, which we often will be, it will just be practice for the rejection that comes frequently when presenting the gospel to the lost.  

Oftentimes, we should “keep our knowledge to ourselves.”  However, there will come a time to speak, for “a time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine.”  God’s solution: “You preach the word in season and out; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.”  

Let us stay in the word, in prayer, and in the Spirit.  For it is written: “The wise heart will know the proper time and procedure, for there is a proper time and procedure for every matter.”

~ Brad Heilhecker

A Remnant Will Arise

So many daughters

going through challenges 

Running in circles

for remedies that are in vain

Trying to fill the voids 

with many things

Giving everything and 

everyone a chance 

To erase the pain

they try to hide

We don’t want to go through

the processes of healing

The high price of surrender 

is too much to ask

We live in a world 

of quick fixes

No one has time

to visit the wilderness

We have places to go

People to meet

We cannot afford interruptions

A journey of healing

requires commitment

and obedience

It requires dying daily

in different areas 

It require coming aside 

to face our issues

To face every demon

that keep us in chains

For many daughters

it’s too much to ask

We prefer to drift through life 

Repeating cycles passed down

from generation to generation

Walking around

the same mountains

going nowhere

While Papa has called us 

for so much more

than the mediocre lives

we live!

A remnant is arising 

A set apart holy people

That have been through

the fire, the storms, the valleys

They paid the ultimate price

of reckless obedience

Not bound by their circumstances anymore

They have overcome

They have conquered

What kept them in chains

A remnant trained

under the watchful eyes

of Father Himself

Who were fed up

with the conditions of their lives

Challenging the status quo

Scared, uncertain,

yet they went

where others fear to tread

Pressed pass their fears 

into the unknown

Focused, determined

they won every battle

New identities were birthed

Once scared, insecure, shy daughters and sons

Are stepping out boldly and unashamed into every plan and purpose reserved for them

A new breed so in love

with the Father

Anointed, empowered

for such a time as this!

~ Ebigale Wilson

A Remnant Will Arise

The Journey

Ours, Christ’s, God’s

It is written: “Everything is ours; we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”  

What more can we ask for?

Everything belongs to us – this earth, the new earth, heaven, riches, wealth, health, happiness, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, power, and peace.  What an inheritance!  What a promise!

And “we are Christ’s.”  What security!  What belonging!  What significance!  We are no longer orphans, strangers to the kingdom, or children of wrath.  We are now “in the family!”

And “Christ is God’s.”  Christ is not an usurper, or a pretender to the throne.  He is The One, the heir, the appointed King!  So when he makes a promise or speaks to us a word of knowledge, we can know that it has the backing of his Heavenly Father.

To fathom this mystery may take some time.  So let us remember that we have all eternity to enjoy our inheritance, and only a few short years to acquire our inheritance.

There are things that we can do here that we will not be able to do in the new heaven and earth.  We can stay faithful in trials; we can help the weak; we can pray for the sick, and we can be witnesses for Christ to a lost and dying world!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Firm…

I love to just ask Holy Spirit what it is that HE wants me to write about. Often it is something that I need to learn. Today He gave me the word, “firm.” Let’s look at a few verses with this word.

Joshua 23:6

“Therefore be very firm about keeping and doing everything written in the book of the Torah of Moshe and not turning aside from it either to the right or to the left. (CJB)

I Corinthians 16:13

Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, behave like a mentsh, grow strong. (CJB)

2 Thessalonians 2:15

Therefore, brothers, stand firm; and hold to the traditions you were taught by us, whether we spoke them or wrote them in a letter. (CJB)

I would love to go on and on because I enjoy the Word of God, but let’s just stop and see what these couple verses tell us. You can dig around and find more!

Let’s look at the Old Testament verse first. Be “FIRM” about KEEPING and doing EVERYTHING WRITTEN. It really doesn’t have to do with the “law.” It is about understanding what GOD wants and how HE wants us to carry out what HE desires. HIS teachings, Old Testament and New Testament, need to be followed. Even Jesus told us in Matthew 5:18 that:

Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud (dot) or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened. (CJB)

We must understand how the Old Testament and the New Testament work together and that HIS teachings are spread throughout the WHOLE Bible. If you notice, the Complete Jewish Bible uses the word, “Torah” instead of “law.” This is for a reason. When we read “law” we immediately think that all of them have been done away with (except the 10 commandments). This translation clearly tells us that it is not just the “laws,” but the whole Torah. What is taught there is what we need to learn from and realize that heaven and earth will pass away when those teachings have been accomplished.

My favorite verse, that I found several months ago, is the one from 1 Corinthians. Behave like “mentsh.” A “mentsh, according to wikipedia is a yiddish word meaning, “a person of integrity and honor.” If we are to STAY ALERT, STAND FIRM and be a person of INTEGRITY and HONOR, I believe we will grow strong. The stronger we are, the more FIRM we can STAND. It isn’t easy to knock over a person of strength!

2 Thessalonians actually ties in with the verse from Joshua. The word, “tradition” can throw us off. One needs to be careful with traditions and make sure that they are from the Word, and not man made. In this case, if you read the whole chapter (I encourage you to read it in the Complete Jewish Bible for a new understanding, it is clear they are being encouraged to follow what was taught from Torah.

We MUST realize what is in the Torah in order to know who is coming to deceive us. When the Thessalonians were told to hold to the traditions, it would be the ones taught in Torah. They were encouraged to UNDERSTAND ALL that was written so they would not be deceived by the evil one.

In order to STAND FIRM in our day and age today, we must KNOW the WORD of GOD. We MUST SPEAK the TRUTH from it. We must be DESIRING to learn and grow from ALL TRUTHS of the Bible, and challenge ourselves to understand the hidden Truths that are there.

It is easy to be swayed today by all kinds of teachings. It isn’t easy to stand strong when others are trying to bring untruth to us. Without a FIRM FOUNDATION in HIS WORD we will be convinced of things that are not WRITTEN in the Word.

Where are you receiving your teachings? Are you taking the teachings back to the Word and asking Holy Spirit to reveal HIS Truths to you?

Once you have received HIS understanding, it might mean that you have to “go against the flow” of the world in order to STAND FIRM on HIS teachings. Are you ready to face that?

The book of Ephesians (6:11) tells us:

Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary (CJB)

If we have not armed ourselves with the armor HE provides (the WORD of God), than we will not be able to stand firm. The battle is only going to get harder, my friends. Please, take HIS WORD and hide it inside of you. KNOW HIS PROMISES and SPEAK them daily. SING HIS PRAISE and GIVE HIM THANKS. This will make the battle easier.

When we come to the realization that learning HIS WORD helps us STAND FIRM, 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

 

 

 

A Dynamic Identity Calls For Dynamic Weaponry

Identity Definition: (noun) The fact of being who or what a person or thing is (thanks Google).

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (The Passion Translation):  For although we live in the natural realm, we don’t wage a military campaign employing human weapons, using manipulation to achieve our aims. Instead, our spiritual weapons are energized with divine power to effectively dismantle the defenses behind which people hide. We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One. Since we are armed with such dynamic weaponry, we stand ready to punish any trace of rebellion, as soon as you choose complete obedience.

What does identity have to do with this dynamic weaponry?

Everything.

The identity of a Christian is perhaps the most attacked thing in a Christian’s life, apart from time in the Secret Place.  And again, the Secret Place is where we remember and learn our identity, thus our need for this dynamic weaponry that Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians.

 Ephesians 6 also talks about the armor of God, which is not just reserved for a cute children’s Sunday School art project. The armor of God is to protect our identity in Christ!

My good friend Pastor Tony Thompson says that the devil tries to steal a person’s identity in three ways:  

1). Through the temptation of performance.

2). Through power and possessions.

3). Through fear of man.  

I would even go as far as to add a fourth way, and that’s

4). Through discouragement while waiting on unfulfilled promises.  

Identity must be important if it’s always under attack.

Before Jesus even went into the wilderness, God instilled identity into Him (“This is my Son, in Whom I am well pleased…” – Luke 3:22).

How ironic that in Luke chapter 4 when Jesus is tempted in the wilderness, the first thing the devil attacks is this very identity:  “The devil said to Him, ‘if you are the Son of God, turn this stone into bread'” (Luke 4:3).  

If You truly are who You are…then perform for it….

But Jesus knew His identity, and used the truth as a dynamic weapon:  ” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone’” (Luke 4:4).

The devil then tried attacking Jesus’ identity through the temptation of possessions. “And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.  If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours” (Luke 4:5-7).  But, of course once again, Jesus used scripture as a sword to overcome the devil’s lies.  Jesus knew Who He was and the authority that He carried, therefore showing Him what He could potentially gain was useless.

The last temptation that is recorded in the wilderness is from Luke 4:9-12 when the devil tries to bully Jesus and tells Him to throw Himself down and let His angels care for Him.  And once again, Jesus knows His identity well enough to give the devil the pushback needed, not falling into fear or the desire to show off.

My point is, Jesus KNEW His identity.  And it was a weapon.

I feel that the same is true for those who may feel discouraged.  When discouragement comes, it’s so easy to begin to forget your identity.  This is perhaps when we have to fight the hardest, when those dynamic weapons of warfare must be pulled out.  

We can demolish every deceptive fantasy that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One. – 2 Corinthians 10:5

Anything that raises itself up in defiance of the true knowledge of God CAN and MUST be captured and brought low.  As one who is crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), who has been made a new creation and the very righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21), and as one who is indeed a partaker of Christ’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), this also refers to the true knowledge of YOU.  1 John 4:17 says that as Jesus is so are we in this world, therefore every deceptive fantasy that tries to come and tell us that we are less than what God says we are is a LIE and needs to be captured and brought low in obedience to Jesus!

Knowing not just who you are but also what Jesus truly did for you is the best and most dynamic weapon you have.  Knowing it, and then reciting it back to the devil when he comes to tempt you, is powerful.  Clinging to it with all your heart and mind when you feel discouraged is imperative.  

You have also been given heavenly armor to protect you (Ephesians 6), so begin to ask Holy Spirit how to use what He’s given you to protect who you are.

A dynamic identity calls for dynamic weaponry.  

When you have Jesus, that makes you the most important recipient of the most powerful and victorious weaponry.

~ Mandy Woodhouse