Thought for the Week My title is a ruse. But it makes a point: There’s a widespread belief that loving your family and friends is the greatest virtue…Don’t Love Your Family!
I love this bloggers photography! Check out his blog.Water Lilies
“The glory of this new house will surpass that of the old,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot, “and in this place I will grant shalom,” says Adonai-Tzva’ot.’” Haggai 2:9
Sunday morning I woke up and a FaceBook Page I follow had shared this verse. It really touched me and spoke to me.
I was visiting some friends and they had invited me to their Community of Faith, so I went with them. We began to worship and I felt the need to write. I found a pen and began to write on the bulletin.
Worship continued for over an hour and when it finished the pastor looked at his wife (they co-pastor) and said that she was going to deliver the message and she replied by saying, “I don’t believe it is for today. I sense that it is not in the right stream and it needs to be saved for another day.”
As this was taking place my heart began to pound. I truly sensed that the Words I had written were from Holy Spirit and needed to be shared. I didn’t know these people. I don’t usually do this. But, I leaned over to my friend and told him that I felt like I needed to share something. He got up and went to the pastor and told her. She told him sure and had me come over. She asked what it was I felt led to share and I showed her what I had written and she got confirmation, so she told her husband and next thing I know I am holding a microphone and sharing what Holy Spirit had given me.
As I was writing the words, I also knew I needed to share them with others. Here is what I wrote:
“I hear the Lord saying this (a community gathering) is what He wants you to prepare in your homes. The days are coming when corporate worship will be difficult. Begin to prepare your homes to reach your communities. Your neighbors will be lost and look to YOU for HIS strength because it is IN you. You will be HIS lights in your neighborhoods. Don’t be afraid to share HIS worship that is within YOU with those around you. What you have here this morning will be in your homes. Your homes will be HIS safe haven for others.
I had the opportunity to live in Israel for many years. Living there taught me that when the Temple was removed and destroyed, the place where the Jews went to worship was taken away. Today, the Jews consider their homes their ‘temple.’ Their homes are the place they worship. Shabbat brings HIS WORSHIP. It is time to PREPARE your homes.
Some homes are a mess. It is time to change it. Prepare your homes!”
After church a woman approached me and said, “Thank you so much for sharing. When I moved into my home 12 years ago I called it a ‘safe haven.’ I even had a worship room with a piano. Over time, as my kids grew, things got packed away and it became another room in the house. Holy Spirit has been convicting me to get the piano out and prepare the worship room again. I was supposed to do it yesterday, but now I know I need to get it done.”
She went on to tell me that she had also recently gotten to know her neighbor a little better, and another neighbor was facing cancer. She knows her house will soon become a “safe haven” for those around her.
Friends, here is a verse we all have heard:
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (NIV)
I also tell you this: you are Kefa,” [which means ‘Rock,’] “and on this rock I will build my Community, and the gates of Sh’ol will not overcome it. (CJB)
The CJB gives a more accurate description here. God’s original intent was to build “communities.” It will be HIS Community. A lesson I always taught when I was in Magdala or Capernaum in Israel is this:
“God wants us to LIVE in our neighbors and communities. ‘Going’ to church is fine, and the Word does say, ‘Go and make disciples…’ BUT, if we cannot BE a part of the community around us, we are missing the mark. We miss the intent of being a LIGHT to our neighbors and a LIGHT in the place He has placed us. Early communities of faith met in homes. They WORSHIPPED in homes. This is where true fellowship took place. It did not happen at the synagogue.”
Covid has already given us the experience of not being able to meet together. Countries/Governments around the world have already stopped communities of faith from meeting. The Word is clear that we will face more and more challenges and difficulties as the return of the Messiah grows closer. I believe the day is coming when Governments will shut down communities of faith and we will be forced to gather and fellowship with those who are “in our community.”
The verse above from Haggai clearly says that the “new house will surpass the old and it will be filled with PEACE.” When we have Holy Spirit in the middle of it all, HIS peace will fill our house. That peace can, and SHOULD BE, shared with others.
The New Testament Communities of Faith grew FROM THEIR HOMES. They gathered together and shared together DAILY in their homes. Are you ready to do this?
We must begin to prepare our hearts and HOMES. We must purge and clean out physically, spiritually, and emotionally so we can be READY to approach the throne with “clean hands and a pure heart.” We must be ready to be HIS LIGHTS to our neighbors.
You ARE His vessel and will be used for His purposes. Don’t be afraid or fearful.
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Friends, neighbors, family, co-workers, and our church family are invaluable assets in this lonely world. We need each other. We are the blessing of which the imprisoned are deprived. We are the true riches of this life. Money and things can bring ease of living, but only people can add meaning to life. We are Our Father’s inheritance; we are why he created the universe, and we are those for whom he created heaven. To be sure: heaven is his home, but also just as sure: it is now our home.
We find ourselves in our community involvement. Just as we need solitude to know our private self, we also need our community to develop our public self. Church, work, school, and play are all just different avenues of developing our public self. Our private life is a valid and indispensable part of who we are, but, in a sense, it only prepares us for the larger world of community. Imagine who God would be if he had kept heaven all to himself and he had never borne Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the angels, or any of us. Yes, he would still be God, but he would not be The Father. He would be all alone in heaven, and we would not exist.
So, let us make room in our hearts and our lives for others. Let us pray for one another, play with one another, and work with one another. Let us serve one another, be kind to one another, and love one another. If we will, we will have Almighty God in our corner; we will hold all of heaven’s attention, and we will always be welcome in the homes and hearts of our chosen community. Despite all of its demands and trials, this life in community can be rich in rewards, both temporal and eternal. People can be sources of great joy and pleasure for all of those who will hold them in the same regard as does their creator.
~ Brad Heilhecker
What are you listening to? What is your favorite song or album?
We feature songs every Sunday for #SongSunday.
Many like her cross my path every day
Written all over their faces
The pain they hide away
They smile, but it never reaches their eyes
For isn’t the eyes the windows to the soul?
Exposing their pain and hurt
To those who are inclined to His heart
Yet so many times we turn our backs
and walk away
Going through each day
as if it’s a blur
Smiling and laughing and making small talk
Please just don’t see the person
behind the smile that is hurt
There is no one
who stops and listens
To offer a kind word
We are all too busy with our own lives
We don’t see the ones bleeding
before our very eyes
Pain and agony the place they abide in
Not knowing that there is a God
who knows them by name
A God who sees past the mask
To the fearless woman
He has created her to be
Your voice was silenced
Your heart still bleeding
Many broken dreams
in need of resurrection
Papa needs His daughters to arise
and shake off their grave clothes
The enemy is terrified
that His daughters will awake
To take up their position
in every sphere of society
He is eagerly waiting for you
to take your place
To step out and hand Him
your broken heart
He will put every broken piece
back together again
Where is the Esther’s, the Deborah’s and Ruth’s?
Who knows how to fight
Has giving up became our norm?
Who will take their place
fight back and say
“Enough is enough!
I will take my place!”
Many hurting hearts are waiting
for you to greet your past
Take the mask of your face
and face every demon
that has been stealing your destiny for years
Papa wants His daughters to step out
into His dreams for them
Time is running out
We need to make Him our focus
and follow His lead
There are too many broken daughters
still fast asleep
There is no time to waste
People are in pain, hiding and dying
without knowing our Lord
Your day of healing is at hand
I have been waiting to step
into all the impossibilities in your life
The enemy blindsided you
By painting pictures of your demise
I am here to declare that My daughters
will arise and take their place
Boldly and unapologetically
They will step out
and be atmosphere changers
Bringing life to every dead situation
Healing to every broken heart
They will decree and declare
They will know no fear
For intimacy with Me
will make them tenacious
They will be dead to self
and they will take me at My word
The dead will rise and
the blind will see
Breakthrough will happen wherever they tread
Restoration of broken families
Prodigals returning home
The time is at hand
take your place
and burn with My love
Step out dear ones
many are still captive
waiting for you to deliver
~ Ebigale Wilson
Step Out And Take Your Place
This weeks Song Sunday – Listen here now to Take Courage by Kristene DiMarco.
Image – Pinterest
Our L.A.N.D. Exercises – Loving, Accepting, Nurturing, and Discipling – the life of Christ flowing through us to others.
First, we love – we value highly each and every soul; we are patient and kind to all. Secondly, we accept each person at whatever stage of life they may be in; we love unconditionally. Thirdly, we nurture the life of God in each heart; we try to find out what each one needs in order to flourish. Finally, we disciple others; we find ways of bringing them along in the kingdom.
Loving. We do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We are patient and kind with everyone. We do not envy; we do not boast; we are not proud, rude or self seeking; we are not easily angered; we keep no record of wrongs; we do not delight in evil, but we rejoice in the truth; we bear all things, trust in all things, and hope in all things.
Accepting. The first step in any relationship is acceptance of the other person right where they are in their walk of faith. We are all in different stages of our journey, and we should not demand that others meet an arbitrary standard of perfection before they are worthy of our love and acceptance. Christ did this for us when he invited us into the kingdom. He met us right where we were, came into our lives, and initiated the great eternal love affair that we now have with him. If he had waited for us to meet his standards of holiness before being worthy of a relationship with him, we would still be stuck in our sins.
Nurturing. As a mother or father deals with their children, we must also deal with others: we must often overlook faults and focus on nurturing each area of growth and grace that may be manifesting in the life of the ones we love. This requires prayerfulness, watchfulness, gentleness, and patience. People grow and change in their own time, in God’s good time, not on our time table or because we want or need them to grow or change.
Discipling. We look for opportunities to bring people along in the faith, to immerse people in the knowledge of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to teach others to be obedient to the commands of Christ.
We practice and teach others to keep the faith, to walk in love, and to hope in our heavenly reward.
~ Brad Heilhecker
My story may be much different than others you may hear. It’s the kind that seems painful, raw, jaded, but disastrously radically beautiful and that is exactly what it is, beautiful. I think at times what makes me extraordinary is that I consider myself a lioness and am currently combining my warrior traits with the beauty of love and vulnerability and my truth. Quite the combo, if I must say, but a beautiful one at that.
I carry warrior qualities, I’m a fighter for what I’m passionate about, I chase after my dreams to succeed and better my family’s lives but I also am a work of art, a rare find, and a source of beauty through a jaded and difficult journey.
This isn’t to boast it’s to state that even those with hard times, difficult pasts, who have failed numerous times and had to repeatedly be humbled and get back up…that those people are beautiful also and capable of dreaming, doing, and succeeding. YES!!!
I also like to say that once I found my voice in the midst of being silenced and the midst of finding my true and authentic self that I now have the power and capability to ROAR my truth and to set myself free from the “bondage” that I have been entangled in.
The one thing I would love to tell, especially women, is that “You are worthy”.
In times society wants to make us seem mediocre, small, microscopic and that our views, stories, our voices don’t matter.
Well, I’m telling you that you can achieve your dreams, you can accomplish your goals, you most certainly have a voice and I encourage you to “roar” as a lioness and be the women that you are intended to be whether the world sees it as capable or not.
· Fight for your life, your dreams, and your soul, the love for yourself, your families safety and your voice.
· Love yourself
· Take each day at a time
· Don’t judge your journey amongst others
– dont rush your healing
· Offer yourself abundant amounts of grace when you do fall
· Find those who will support you back up
· keep going!
When I was young I began to explore the world and found myself on my different paths. At a young age I began to explore the world of sex, drugs and alcohol. I was not aware how this could deeply affect my life, my view of self, my view of others, my safety as well as my success as a woman in this world.
In high school I became very enraged and angered by my inability to be able to explore the world as I chose. I was uninterested in school and began falling behind, at one point having a .66 in high school and didn’t even think graduating with my high school degree would be possible nor did I desire it.
I was uneducated, wasn’t aware of what I was getting myself into and didn’t have the resources that were crucially important for me to succeed or protect myself.
I, like many, did not have any experience in relationships, drug or alcohol abuse or sexual encounters, ultimately this lack of educational resources prohibited me from making knowledgeable and educated decisions or be fully aware of what decisions I was making and how it was ultimately killing me.
The year of my enlightening journey was not easy; I found myself in a residential care facility for troubled teens for 7 and half months of my life with the intent to form respect, self-direction, counseling and ultimately support.
This time I was pulled from my current high school suddenly and found myself living in a home of 13 teen girls and went from being able to speak to anyone the way I chose, to having to ask for permission to even speak, eat, go up or down the stairs, in or out of rooms and in and out of the house.
I found support among women who were older than me. They heard my cry and desire to explore this world and ultimately understood who I was. I found support among the women who I lived with and shared difficult moments with, who were living in the same world of chaos, frustration and pain as I was. I began to see that I was not the only one struggling tremendously through my teen years.
Upon completing the program, I moved home and chose to shake these restrictions and feel free again. This turned into drug and alcohol abuse, consistent unhealthy relationships and ultimately choosing sleeping on friend’s beds and couches due to running away from home.
I found myself waking up numb, and in random homes, several pregnancy scares and continual drug use.
Still, within my soul I knew there was more. I knew I was worth more. I knew my life meant more and that one day I would be able to find it.
I began to research how to enroll myself into school and had a friend drop me off at a University for yet another chapter of my life. Unfortunately, at this school my drug and alcohol use continued because it was much easier to obtain. I began to lose sight of the course of life I truly knew I needed to be on.
After one semester I was already back on academic probation, struggling to find financial assistance to stay in school and was once again losing hope. I was living a life of numbness. I worked hard but was so caught up on seeking social acceptance that I did not realize where my life was heading.
I stayed numb.
At this university, I sought out the party scene and began to experiment sexually and dive into pill usage on a whole new level.
In a sense I was walking around with my eyes closed just trying to get by and manage life, thinking at times I had everything I had ever wanted, but so incredibly lost at the same time.
One evening, I found myself on my bathroom floor with a positive pregnancy test in my hand.
I remember leaving the University hospital, alone, on a very rainy day and getting in my car, after being told once again that I was pregnant and close to 6 weeks along.
Thinking….“Wait, I am only 20, not even close to being done with school, I am lost, completely unhappy and I am now growing a human being in my belly, when I can barely care for myself.”
For one second within the confines of my car I felt instant peace.
This was my day of awakening.
A child was growing in my belly and I had to radically change my life….
On this day I chose to better my life, not for me but for this soul that was begging me to be succeed, to be healthy, to be a powerful woman, an example, a mother, and for this,
I owe my son…my life.
At this point my mind, heart, and soul were focused on bettering our lives. My life became about becoming self-sufficient, growing together, and pressing forward to achieve my goals and dreams so that my son could have an example and a beautiful life
It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Elliot
I can tell you right now, it is NEVER too late to become more, to become better, to be who you were intended to be.
We made our way back home, to be closer to family. We had been and were in a very toxic environment but I was able to find support and guidance and began to dive into studies. After a strenuous and difficult journey, I came to a realization; I had been silenced.
I had been an independent woman, strong willed, and felt no shame in declaring who I was or what I thought and slowly I found myself silenced, unheard and ultimately speechless.
One evening, I was on my knees weeping by my bedside begging for the lord to give me a sign and give me the power and voice to step away, for good, because I honestly couldn’t do it on my own.
That night I had a very raw and real dream about my own life, but it was not happy, nor did it end well.
The next morning, I awoke from my own nightmare. I walked away from abuse and never went back.
I had tremendous support in my mother, who had seen me weep in pain for years. We both began weeping, in relief.
I found my voice and knew that I wanted to be a survivor, not another statistic and that I wanted to help others overcome and find their voice as well.
My real friends came to my side and I was close to completing my bachelor’s Degree.
On Mother’s Day, with my son in the stands, I graduated with honors, Magnu Cum Laude and walked straight into my graduate degree, a one-year advanced program for obtaining my Masters in Science of Social Work.
I have walked with my classmates again, after a long year in the Master’s program and obtained my MSSW the summer of 2016.
I never imagined the life I have today…with not one, but two diplomas.
Life has radically changed and I have been incredibly blessed.
We have been so incredibly blessed with such love and support in our journey.
I would have not made it this far without the support of my incredible mother, who is our biggest fan, The Family Scholar House program, my peers and those in my cohort, teachers who supported and empowered me, case workers, advocates on our behalf, my sisters and even bystanders, who without knowing, empowered my weak spirit.
I have been empowered by women within the community who have challenged me to speak out and share my story. They have helped me see my real beauty and my inner-warrior and to use my voice. They have also blessed me with the opportunity to speak my truth to others as an outlet and support to those who may be going through or who are healing from the same things.
Most important, I would not be here without my son, who has given me my passion, my drive and has instilled in me the real meaning of love within my heart. He is my heart outside my body and the reason I found the drive to strive to be the woman I am today.
I am now asking you to listen, to empower and to advocate for those who are uneducated in regards to violence and their harmful current situations whether it be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual or mental abuse, as well as those who you are witness to violence in an extent that has drastically changed their lives. Many people have been silenced and are living in silence, so please offer them the opportunity to be heard and to find their voice once again.
Choose to be that one person who makes a personal impact on another’s life that empowers them to be the person they were intended to be….so at this time please stand and face forward if you are able to commit to this…you are making a commitment to assist in diminishing the cycle of violence within this community, empowering those who have difficulty seeing any strengths within them, who have spent many nights and days weeping, bruised, naked, alone and emotional drained, who have spent days or even years in silence, who have difficult carrying for their children due to the abuse they are undergoing amongst the bills they are unable to pay, you are giving them an opportunity to be heard, to hear themselves, and to help them find safety and hope, you are allowing them to see support and to feel the presence of someone who sees them as more than just a statistic but yet giving them an opportunity to grow, flourish and be the beautiful soul that they have been trying so hard to be…. and recognize that you are not alone and others will be at the same time choosing to say no to violence and taking a stand in allowing survivors voices to be heard.
You are WORTHY.
Your journey is worthy.
Your freedom is Worthy.
Your Voice is Worthy.
My passion is to empower others by using my journey and my voice and so I began The Soul Grind, which is a place of self-exploration, radical self-love, soul searching, and some powerful empowerment!
A community where your voice is heard and your soul can grow and flourish in the company of some beautiful other humans on the same journey.
The Soul Grind pours love on wounds and allows you to be heard and also it emphasizes the importance of combining all of that with a big cup of coffee!
Join us! Let’s hear your ROAR.
~ Jaydee Graham
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