Holy Bride

What do men desire in their choice of life companions?  

What is Our Father looking for in his church, his chosen life companion?

Is it intelligence, giftedness, or beauty?  These things are not to be despised.  However, are they the key ingredients that one looks for in a life companion?

Is it not rather humility, fidelity and a kind heart that are the chief characteristics that one needs in a lifelong friend?  

These things are precious in Our Father’s eyes, and they are highly valued among men.  For a proud spirit is not easily cared for, unfaithfulness is hard to live with, and meanness is heart wrenching. But a humble, faithful, good hearted person is invaluable as a friend.

These characteristics of humility, faithfulness, and goodness are the building blocks of a loving, holy life, and they contribute mightily to loving, holy relationships.  

Beauty, intelligence, and giftedness are natural endowments, but humility, faithfulness, and goodness are supernatural endowments.

Natural endowments may open doors for us on earth, but supernatural endowments open up doors for us to celestial mansions and, also, to heavenly vistas of usefulness and favor in Our Father’s eyes.

~ Brad Heilhecker

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Righteous

Through our faith in the sin atoning death sacrifice of Christ, we have been declared righteous in Our Father’s eyes.  

Nothing is lacking.  

We have satisfied his requirement for right standing in his presence.  

Now, we must hold on to our faith until the end.  If we do, there will be a great celebration throughout the corridors of heaven.

The temptation is to give in to our fears and start a desperate search for another source of strength and power.  

There is none.

 “We will stand by our faith, or we won’t stand at all,” – Isaiah 7:9.

 “‘Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit’, says the Lord of hosts,” – Zechariah 4:6.

Everything that our eyes see can tempt us to try to rely on our own strength instead of waiting on the Lord to deliver us.  

Everything that our heart knows tells us that Our Father is trustworthy.  

So, we must trust our Spirit inspired heart and not our fear inspired sight.  

This is our mandate; these are our marching orders.  This is how we will please Our Heavenly Father and prosper in this life.  This is how we lay up treasure in heaven.

~ Brad Heilhecker

Blessed

Is there any difference between being happy and being blessed?

Merriam-Webster gives one definition of blessed as “enjoying happiness or the bliss of heaven.”

Undoubtedly, heaven will be a blissful, happy place, and, since it is our aim to bring heaven to earth, we strive to stay in good graces with our Heavenly Father, and to encourage others in this same pursuit.

The apostle John records the account of Jesus serving his disciples by washing their feet and then telling them to imitate him, stating “blessed are you if you do these things.”  Sometimes, we find happiness in the last place that we think to look: humble service to our loved ones.  

The world has an abundance of those who seek to be leaders, and Godly leadership is a good thing.  However, only Jesus can give us the grace and wisdom to lead others to him by our humble service.  

The world can ignore our words, but they cannot ignore Christlike service, for it stands out uniquely in this fast paced, fame crazed world of ours.

Quiet, humble worship of God and Christ by simple obedience.  That is the path to bliss, happiness, and joy. There is no other.  All other substitutes crumble under the pressures of life.  Come what may, Christ is always near for those who will seek his face in humble obedience and service.  

We may remember that the call to faith is a call to surrender and service.  Christ cannot be our savior if he is not our Lord.  It is a package deal.

~ Brad Heilhecker

He Will Quiet Us With His Love

Priceless lessons we have learned on this journey of love we’re on

Many tests we have passed, yet 

there’s still much to learn

We surrender each time 

Papa asks us to trust Him

We know that He knows best

We see in part, He sees 

the complete picture 

We can see Father’s 

hand alive in our lives

Where would we have been 

If He didn’t call us out of 

our hiding places

Our caves

Our comfort zones

The best decision was when we answered when He called 

Turning our backs on our old ways of doing things  

To go on a journey with Papa

We left the safety of the familiar

To meet with Him on the 

open seas

Not a clue of what was 

waiting in the unknown

As waves crashed over us

Leaving us tired and 

confused at times

Our eyes were fixed on our Father

An urgency in our hearts

To embrace this set apart,

sacred time with Father

Away from all eyes, strenuous training we went through

Life as we knew it

was left in the past

We came face to face with every issue we tried to hide

Every character flaw was brought in the open 

Every habitual sin was highlighted

Dealt with and forgiven

We could not let this opportunity of growth and change pass us by

We had to let go of so many things that once held our gaze

Perfectionism was out by the door when we faced our hurts and worked through our pain

We didn’t have to hide behind polished cars and floors anymore

Our hearts tasted freedom

Our masks were removed

When we discovered how deeply 

we were loved

Timid, scared and broken

You found us

Courageous, confident, fearless

We have become through 

our journey of love

Our guilt and pasts now testimonies of Your grace

You have a habit of taking 

the least of us

And restoring us into reflections 

of Your heart

Steeper the waves have become

Crashing over us from all directions

Yet now we are prepared

Calling other sons and daughters 

to run with us on waves

We know the One who 

calms the storms intimately

He is our Prince of Peace

He will quiet us with His love 

as we go deeper with Him!

~ Ebigale Wilson

He Will Quiet Us With His Love

The Journey

Eve

EVE

She opened herself to the lie.

She opened her heart

to believe the lie.

She received the lie and it became a part of her. Her identity was stolen or did she give it away?

She chose this.

She saw.

What she saw terrified her.

What she felt shamed her.

Never before had she felt this.

Disobedience claimed her.

She became a daughter to it.

Disobedience shamed her.

She chose to trust the lie.

God never wanted her to see

what she saw.

God never wanted her to see

what she felt.

He warned her.

She didn’t believe Him.

Now she is exposed and ashamed.

Terribly and horribly alone.

Then came fear.

The fear drove her to manipulate and control.

She didn’t want to be alone!

Cover it up. Lie upon lie.

Stress replaces rest.

Poison pervades peace.

Separated in spirit from Him

she waits.

He comes . She knows! She knows!

It’s horrible and she knows.

She knows the difference now.

She knows the good and the evil!

What have you done?

She let the lie lead her.

She knows it and it rips her

to the core.

Her spirit dies. Her soul is seared.

Corruption claims her.

She wants to go back!

She doesn’t want this!

It wasn’t supposed to be like this!

Sick is the suffering like a deep hot poker searing her soul.

Pain like she’s never felt before.

Separated.

Put out.

So very alone.

She is sealed from the place of perfection.

She is thrust into pain and rejection.

I was there. It was me.

~ Michelle Knapton

Hidden Word: Conversational Christianity

How do you carry on a conversation with The Almighty?  

The psalmist wrote: “I have hidden thy word in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”  

Not a bad place to start, for if we do not know what Our Father likes and what he doesn’t like, then our relationship with him is going to be very unstable.

However, if we are diligent to learn his word and his ways, then the path is smoothed for us to approach him, to converse with him, and to walk with him.  When he knows that our hearts are set on obeying him, then the sky is the limit; there is nothing that he won’t do for us.

This is the key to intimacy with The Almighty, Our Father.  

People talk much these days about how we are “broken” people.  

The only brokenness that Our Father cherishes is a surrendered will, a humbled heart, and a sincere devotion to Christ.  

In the world that we live in, there is much hurt and pain and there are many broken hearts.  

However, in Our Savior’s loving arms of forgiveness and redemption, there is found healing for broken hearts and comfort for all of life’s life’s hurts and pains.

~ Brad Heilhecker

Faith, Hope, And Love

Faith, hope, and Love are the building blocks of the kingdom.

They stand right alongside mercy, grace, and peace and wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  And they all have to do with The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  “Our faith and love come from our hope in God.”  

Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Hope is our undying desire to be blessed by God.  Love is our high and holy calling—to become like the one who made us.

To appreciate these gifts of grace, maybe we should consider their opposites—doubt, despair, and hate (or indifference). Without hope in God, this unholy trinity can swallow us up and consume our lives.  Our God is faithful and he will deliver us from all the powers of darkness.  With his help, we will “soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, and walk and not faint.”

It is no exaggeration to say that a life lived with faith, hope, and love will be a successful life.  You are a success if you can keep your faith when you feel all alone.  You are a success if you can maintain hope when all of your plans have failed. You are a success if you can love even when surrounded by hatred.

Even Christ lived by these essentials while he was here on earth, though he was God in the flesh and heir to the kingdom.  He set the example that it is possible to live a victorious overcoming life by the diligent application of these precious graces.  And we have not only his example, but, also, he himself living in us to accomplish his heart’s desire—our perfection!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Happiness Or Joy ?

Perfect circumstances or a perfect heart?  Desires fulfilled or hope ignited?  

We work for happiness, but joy is bestowed as a gift.  Happiness is of earth, but joy is of heaven.

Happiness is often temporary, but joy is eternal.  People, possessions, and achievements often bring happiness, but only God can bestow joy.  It is his prerogative.  It is his honor and pleasure to rejoice the hearts of his children.

It is nice to be happy, and it is wonderful when everything is going well.  But to know that our eternal future is secure and that we will be cared for come what may—this excels all other pleasures.  

We know what makes us happy—a good job, good friends, good health. Often we don’t know exactly where joy comes from and for what reason. We are just walking along, minding our own business, and then we are surprised by joy.  It seems to be the counterpart of contentment.  As it is written: “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Maybe joyful moments are the only glimpse that we have of heaven this side of eternity.  We all want rousing revelations and awesome utterances from the throne, but maybe Our Father wants us to appreciate the subtleties of his presence rather than the glories of what is not quite yet.  

To be sure, grandeur and ecstasy are waiting for us on the other side, but quiet joy, restful peace, and obedient contentment are ours now. They are the building blocks of our eternal homes.  They are the stepping stones to the throne.  They are in fact “God with us”—Emmanuel!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Let’s Put Christ Back In Christians

I have always loved the quote by Ghandi….

“I love your Jesus – it’s your Christians I have a problem with, they are so unlike your Christ.”

Not everyone that claims to be a Christian acts Christlike.

That’s a fact.

I get saddened when I hear someone say they want nothing to do with religion or Christians because they are hypocrites and hateful people.

I always reply I don’t do religion either but I have a personal relationship with Jesus that changed my life and I try to be more like Him each and every day.

But guess what – I still can fall short of His glorious standards.

That’s a bit of a dramatic statement for them to make because definitely not all are hypocrites and hateful – but just scroll a bit on Social Media and see what some “Christians” are sharing and posting.

Some are pretty alarming things.

Look at the moral failure stories of countless people, from Presidents to Pastors to Church leadership and celebrities. And look at the comments on those stories.

Even the “good” headlines seem to have people so suspect of the validity of someone’s conversion that they all have negative opinions on how that just can’t be genuine or so because they have done this or that …or still do this or say this or that …

Everyone seems to have a strong opinion.

The sides are split on many of the big Headline Newsmakers.

Heck, these days you can’t even rely on the news for the truth.

So, what spin are we really seeing?

Have we gotten the whole story?

Or are we just repeating something we don’t even know is true or valid?

And at the end of the day are we really even qualified to make an assessment or judgement on any of it at all? Is it even our place to?

And what makes us feel entitled to give our opinion or 2 cents on ANY OF IT?

What makes us think that everyone else’s “stuff” is our right to weigh in on or any of our business?

Who are we to judge who is worthy or unworthy of being truly saved or forgiven? Or given another chance?

Who are we to decide that sin ABC is not as bad as sin XYZ ?

Who are we to comment on what we “think” we know about another persons heart? Or character? Or Faith?

I am guilty at times for sharing an opinion that maybe goes against the grain, reveals a less than pure heart, or is laced in judgement.

We all can be …

That is when I have to take it to God to rectify and repent.

That’s what we all should be doing.

Everyone’s newsfeeds were bombarded with the big story of forgiveness the last few days over the Dallas police officer that shot someone and his brother forgave her …

Some couldn’t grasp the ability of someone to do this …

Some that have been forgiven of much could understand how with Christ’s help we could …

I personally think that was just the first stone in a sea of ripples for us to begin to change.

I would like to challenge us all today …

May we put “Christ” back in Christian.

May we resign our

Holy Ghost Junior positions.

Our Holier Than Thou mindsets.

Our Judge and Jury stances.

Our Know It All, Prideful, Hating, Dividing, Judging, Resharing, Commenting, Talking, or anything else that is not 100% pure and lovely or of good report.

Let’s get back to liking each others kiddos, pets, vacations, being encouraged, praying for each other, finding good places to eat from your food pics and not stoop to that level anymore.

Let’s show a narrative forced upon us that the country is divided by so much that it doesn’t have to be anymore.

Let’s start standing up to say – NOPE – we aren’t choosing that anymore … we choose to put goodness, kindness, mercy, grace, forgiveness and ultimately LOVE back to the front of all we do and say.

We lay down the gauntlets and get on our knees for each other instead.

By putting “Perfect Love” first place in our lives – we show the world what Christ really looks like.

What “Christ”ians act like.

How LOVING THE UNLOVELY

is possible!

Let’s start by first putting “Christ” back in us… Christians.

And showing the World we aren’t hateful hypocritical people.

~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

#LiveRestored #MindBodySoul

RestoredMinistries.org

Go Out In Joy

Isaiah writes that God’s word that proceeds from his mouth will not return to him without accomplishing the desire for which he sent it.  

The next verse describes the effect on those who participate in this endeavor, “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all of the trees of the field will clap their hands.”  

So, as God’s messengers, we will experience both personal joy and peace and the sublime pleasure of being in partnership with all of creation.  

The oneness with the universe that some religions tout (moksha in Hinduism, nirvana in Buddhism) is found in God’s co-laborers who faithfully communicate his message of love to his children.

This is because God has no higher priority than having his word proclaimed to all of creation.  

Everything in life is proceeding in accordance with his plan, and he desires that this comforting thought be delivered faithfully to the faithful.  

Even the proclamations of the coming judgement are rooted in God’s desire that his children be fully prepared for every eventuality. He spoke the world into existence and, ever since then, the world proceeds according to his commands.  Even the chaos caused by the enemy is controlled by his word.

Life may inevitably contain some drudgery, but, even in the dullest of moments, we can joyfully anticipate the full emancipation of all creation and the full liberation of the children of God (Romans 8:21).  

Until then, there is ample joy and liberty to be found in his presence.

Through our partnership with him, we are now in the inner circle; we are now in the family.  All of the family secrets, the family fortunes, and the family joys are now ours.

Yes, there will be trials and tribulations, tests and temptations, but, as the apostle Paul discovered, “the sufferings of this present age are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  

Let us “go out in joy and be led forth in peace!”

~ Brad Heilhecker