A Deeper Unity

Oneness, the desire of both God and man.  It is the heart cry of The Father, and it will be the great lie of the antichrist.  The Father longs for his children to get along so well that we move and act as one.

Even we long for unity between ourselves and between ourselves and Our Father, though we often can’t see our way to Our Father’s heart or to reconciliation with our fellow man.

And, admittedly, it is often a difficult and trying venture to maintain between ourselves “the spirit of unity in the bond of peace” and to live with Christ as “one in Spirit.”

In the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Christ prayed that we would all be unified with one another, with The Father, and with himself.  He gave two means for this unity, our common name and his personal glory bestowed upon us who believe.  

The unity from a shared name is the easiest to realize and mimics that unity found in natural families that share the same last name.  It mainly requires that we just accept each other and help each other.  

The second means that he gave for our unity, his glory bestowed on us, is a deeper unity, and it requires some cooperation to achieve it, for we must have some understanding of the nature of this inherited glory and then respond to it by nurturing it in our individual lives and in the life of the church.

The best way to describe these two aspects of unity is to observe the unity between children in a family as they grow into adulthood.  

As children, all that is needed for a mutual feeling of unity in the family is the simple fact of a shared name and ancestry.  As children mature and grow and discover each other’s unique gifts and powerful ways of expressing the family identity, their bond of unity matures; their unity is now partly based on the shared “glory” of the family legacy.  

There is still the unity of the shared name and blood, but now the unity is deepened by the broader understanding of what it means to be part of the family.

Christ spoke, “I have given them my glory, that they may be one.”  In the Old Testament, God said, “My glory I will not share with another.”  So, what has happened under the new covenant in the New Testament?What is this glory of Christ that Christ now bestows on us his followers?  

Christ’s glory while he was on earth was the fact that he was God The Father’s sole representative to the world.  

If you wanted to find out anything about God during his day, you had to come to him.  Knowing him was the key to the kingdom.

Now, we are in charge.  

Today, if someone wants to inquire regarding the nature of the kingdom, they must come to us. Granted, they might be able to read the New Testament for themselves and enter into a covenant relationship with Christ based solely on their own reading and Holy Spirit led prayer.  However, practically speaking, most people need someone to tell them about Christ and explain to them who he is.  

That someone is now us.

Christ’s glory has at least three unique aspects: his devotion to the Father, his devotion to the kingdom, and his devotion to us.  He perfectly reflected The Father’s love.  This glory that is now ours has at least three unique aspects: our devotion to Christ, our devotion to the kingdom, and our devotion to one another.  When we are “walking by the Spirit”, in obedience to Christ, we can powerfully express the Father’s heart to the world, just like Christ did.  

In fact, Christ himself abides  powerfully and passionately in each of us, working through each of us as we play our individual parts, for each of us is now a unique and invaluable member of the “body of Christ”, the church.

To facilitate our working together as a team, each of us has been endowed with one or more “spiritual gifts” as described in Romans chapter 12, 1 Corinthians Chapter 12, and Ephesians Chapter 4.  Ironically, these gifts that were designed to unite us have sometimes been the very vehicles that drove us apart.  This is not altogether bad, for if we disagree and move apart for the sake of peace, then we may expand into new territory and reach people with whom we otherwise would never have come into contact.   

However, at some point, we may have to be mature enough to come back together to work together with those with whom we may not fully agree, especially in complex projects such as community evangelism and city wide revival.  

Cooperation is needed because individual churches often excel in one aspect of the kingdom while neglecting other just as important aspects of the kingdom.  No one church has the market cornered on truth. The full expression of church life requires the various proficiencies of the different denominations.  

We all need to respect the reverence of the Catholic liturgy, the freedom of Protestant teaching, the powerful representation of zeal in the charismatic churches, and the intimacy and community of house churches.  As is stated in 1 Corinthians 12, “the eye cannot say to the hand nor the head to the foot, ‘I have no need of you.’”

Within each church, there should be a multiplicity of spiritual gifts in operation.  There are seven gifts listed in Romans 12, nine in 1st Corinthians 12, and five more in Ephesians 4.  There are gifts of leadership, mercy, service, teaching, prophecy, and healing.  There is the gift of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, the discerning of spirits, wisdom, and knowledge.  There are evangelists that excel in preaching the gospel, pastors who specialize in caring for the needs of the saints, prophets who hopefully keep the church focused on Christ, and apostles who venture out and start new churches.  Each gift is precious and needed in Our Father’s great house.

The scripture declares two aspects of the acquisition of these gifts.  First, that “the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts to each one as he wills.”  Second, that we are to “desire earnestly spiritual gifts, especially that we may prophecy.”  

So, we see that there is a sacred partnership between us and God.  He does his part, we do ours, and everyone is blessed.

As far as the utilization of these gifts, there is divine order in the way that these gifts should manifest, and we do well if we observe these guidelines.  Ignorance of the proper place and practice of the gifts is just as undesirable as is the ignorance of the gifts.  We must “study to show ourselves approved, workmen who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God.”

When we are diligent to fulfill our responsibility in the ministry of the word of God in the church of God to the children of God, blessings abound.  

People grow and mature, heaven is pleased, and people are saved.  The much ballyhooed revival that has been promised and proclaimed as imminent may actually come to fruition.  

Our Father and Jesus are always willing and waiting to fulfill their responsibility in our lives for Christ is the “author and finisher of our faith.”  As Psalm 80:17,18 says, “Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, upon the Son of Man whom You made strong for yourself.  Then we shall not turn back from you.  Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.”

~ Brad Heilhecker

Lead image by Robert Koorenny – Unsplash

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A Restored Life

She takes me on a journey 

to places in Papa that I 

have never been

She has been where I 

never tread

I hang on every word that 

flows from her lips

It is like ointment poured forth over my bruises and pain

Going deep, reaching my soul

Forcing me to take a look 

at my life

I don’t know if it’s the glow 

on her face

Or the peace that emanate from her being

Or the wisdom that flows 

from her lips

If I could only dwell in the shadows, which she calls home

Oh, how I long for life changing encounters with Him!

There’s no sign of the pain 

of her past

The cobwebs that used to 

keep her trapped

Had to let her go

For she dwells in the heart 

of the Father

Releasing the fragrance of heaven in the earth 

Her life a testimony of the power 

of the cross

She is a breathtaking picture 

of a restored life

Her face glows as if it was 

set alight by Papa himself

She gently moves through 

the crowd, ready to embrace the broken and lost

Leaving prints of Papa’s love wherever she treads

She can relate to others pain

She visited many painful paths

In her darkest hours, she was obedient to His call

When Papa summoned her to 

go deeper with Him

She joyfully abandoned everything

To go on a life changing journey with Him

He reached for her when 

no one would

Setting alight her dying embers

With one glance in her direction

She was forever changed

She couldn’t make pain her habitation

She used it to catapult her 

into His dreams for her

Oh, she is head over heels in 

love with Her Father

A tried and empty vessel

She died many deaths

She burns with His love

She drips with His oils

Her laid down life, her 

offering to her King

People are drawn to His 

divine love in her

That’s all she has, no silver 

or gold

She laid it all down, for what she has gained

Can never be compared to earthly wealth

Like Paul says “I have suffered the loss of all things and count them 

as rubbish, in order that I may 

gain Christ”

She now can relate, because she is dead to this world!

She now knows that she’s 

only a piece in His big puzzle

And that there are still many daughters that need to encounter His deep love for them!

~ Ebigale Wilson

A Restored Life

The Divine Disconnect

If we hold onto our faith in Christ’s sin atonement on our behalf, we are righteous and holy in God’s eyes.  

Why, then, the current age of complacency and self seeking in the church? From where comes the divine disconnect?

Could it be that the commands of Christ interfere often with our plans, so we choose to go our own way?

Do we then become practical atheists? Do we start denying the word of God piece by piece until we reach a level of relative comfort, a place where we can barely hold onto our hope of Heaven, but still maintain a steady grip on this life?

Is the alternative that distasteful?  

Is living a Christ centered life that impossible? Or is it just difficult, and we don’t like difficult?

~ Brad Heilhecker

Righteousness

Change

On Sunday’s the blog Restored Ministries posts is a song.

This past week it was a song called “Changing Me.”

A beautiful song that requires us to realize that change MUST occur in our lives. As God changes us, we can recognize that His voice is like the water running through us. As I listened, I wondered, “Who wouldn’t want God’s voice running through us like water?” It made me want MORE! So then, how do I get more?

When we KNOW that He is God and that only HE can change us, we WAIT on Him, and in the end we receive MORE!

Malachi 3:6 “But because I, Adonai, do not change,you sons of Ya‘akov will not be destroyed. (CJB)

Hebrews 13:8 Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today and forever. (CJB)

James 1:17 Every good act of giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father who made the heavenly lights; with him there is neither variation nor darkness caused by turning. (CJB)

In other versions this says, “Who does not change as shifting shadows.”

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a human who lies or a mortal who changes his mind.When he says something, he will do it;when he makes a promise, he will fulfill it. (CJB)

The verses above are HIS PROMISES to us that HE will never change. HE will be the same “yesterday, today and forever.”

His desire is for us to “wait for Him” and let HIM show up to work in us. He wants us to be OPEN and moldable. He wants to “run through us.”

We are not to be afraid. We are to TRUST. This verse in Lamentations should bring us HOPE that HE really is ALL we need. If we truly TRUST Him, than change should not be too hard.

Lamentations 3:21-22 But in my mind I keep returning to something,something that gives me hope —that the grace of Adonai is not exhausted,that his compassion has not ended. (CJB)

The song ends with a question, “How can I not be changed when You’re all around me?”

If God is truly all around us, and He does NOT change, than we should desire to be LIKE HIM and change ourselves.

I know these are all words we have heard before. I know that if we have been walking as a believer and following Jesus for years, this is not a new message. However, it is an important message. It is vital to our growth.

If we choose NOT to change, we are ultimately saying that HE is not enough. We are denying that HE is WHO He says He is and that we don’t trust.

My challenge to all of us today is too take a hard look inside and ask ourselves what we need to change. Is there anything hindering us from the PROMISES of God because we are stubborn and irritable? I am asking myself the same question as I type this and re-read it…

The song challenged me to once again, “wait and listen.” Two words which are not easy to do. Waiting and listening are not fun, but are required. Waiting and listening for HIS voice. Waiting and listening for HIS command.

Once we KNOW and we CHANGE, than we have HIS compassion and HIS promises.

When we come to the realization that allowing HIM to change us brings comfort and peace, 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

 

 

Functional Upgrade In Our Thinking

The Holy Spirit has been challenging me (once again) on not just what I think about myself and my life in Christ, but also what I believe to be true about my identity.

Am I fully engaged with the truth that the Bible teaches about my new nature in Christ?  Do I regularly partner with the Holy Spirit in the Secret Place to allow Him to wash over me with His truth about me, or do I constantly “work at” and strive to be something that I already am by faith in Jesus?  

I want to be vulnerable with a snippet of my conversation with the Father this week while fighting off feelings of anxiety and insecurity over our transition overseas.  I believe what He showed me and the scriptures He gave me will be helpful to you also as you navigate through your own identity in Christ.  

While trying to get myself organized for the trip, I had a moment when I realized that literally ALL of my personal possessions now fit into only 4 large suitcases – though some things could not fit due to the airline’s 50 pound maximum.  My first response to leaving some things behind was anxiety, and I melted down like a toddler.  As I began to fully engage with the thoughts of leaving so many other things behind as well, I actually opened the door for the enemy of my soul to speak yet more lies to me.

The devil tried his hardest to keep me from the Father’s loving embrace by then causing feelings of insecurity and inferiority to come at me. “What if I don’t fit in? What if I’m left out?  What if…what if…what if….” Now the devil is crafty for sure, but the Spirit of the Resurrected King is within me and is much greater than anything that comes at me (1 John 4:4; Romans 8:11)!  I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me that this thinking was indeed incorrect, but the devil jabbed me with one last attempt by trying to convince me that something was indeed wrong with me for feeling anxious, insecure and nervous about the future.  

Over the past two years, I have learned that in this type of moment I have to stop, turn to Holy Spirit and ask for a word from His heart to mine instead of continuing to engage with the lies that the accuser (the devil) is throwing my way.  When I paused and invited Him to speak to me, it was as if I was fine tuning a radio. Suddenly I heard not static and panic but the sweet voice of the Father say to me:

These ‘what if’s’ are the devil’s language, Mandy.  But MY ‘what if’ is this:  What if the only thing ‘wrong’ is not you, but how you are defining yourself in this moment, and what you believe about yourself?  What if there’s nothing wrong with you, just something missing in your thinking?”

What an important reminder!  

What if we learn to partner with the Holy Spirit immediately instead of engaging in the devil’s tormenting lies?  Let’s take anxiety for example.  If we define ourselves as anxious, we are speaking the language of the enemy.  We are not anxious people – we are new creations in Christ who partake in the divine nature of Christ, and we know that Jesus is not anxious (2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4).  

What’s missing from our thinking is peace.  Anxiety is already dead and buried with Christ (Galatians 2:20), and peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Peace ours in Christ, so rather than engaging with the spirit of anxiety we can work with Holy Spirit to gain greater access to what is already ours in Christ Jesus.  My husband calls it a “functional upgrade” in our thinking.

What if it’s not a matter of what we DO to be “better,” but what we believe about what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross?

No one who is born-again is ordinary.  And there is certainly nothing “wrong” with us if we are in Christ.  We have a real enemy who wants nothing more than to kill, steal and destroy us (John 10:10), and sometimes we are actually unaware of everything that Jesus actually did for us and who He made us.  

I’m so grateful for all my times in the Secret Place where the Word has come alive to me and where I have learned scripture for myself to be able to wield my sword when the devil tries to get me to think of myself as anything less than extraordinary.  1 John 4:17 has changed my life in this context:  “As He is, so am I in this world” (ESV).

What if being “alive in Christ” really is as simple as just fully engaging with Christ who lives inside of you?  Holy Spirit reminded me that day that this looks like knowing and believing my identity and agreeing with the Spirit’s prompting to access the things that Jesus died to give me.  It looks like partnering with Him to fill the gaps that are missing in my thinking.  I can envision anxiety on the cross with Jesus, dying with Him so that it is no longer a part of my nature because I was crucified with Him.  This means that I am no longer enslaved to it, or any other sin:  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6, ESV).

If I am feeling anxious, I can access peace.  If I am feeling insecure, I can access full confidence in Christ because I know that I am accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).  If I am feeling an unrighteous anger, I can ask Holy Spirit to come and remind me that I am actually a gentle person now and I can partner with the sufficient grace that He has given me to be a person of gentleness (2 Corinthians 12:9).  If I feel overwhelming sorrow or grief to the point of despair, I can walk in the joy that is already paid for by Jesus, simply by coming into the fullness of His Presence (Psalm 16:11).

What if we really learned to believe the truth about who we are and learn to engage with only those truths?  What if your world needs you to realize that you truly are “free indeed” (John 8:36)?  

What if I really AM as extraordinary as God says I am?

 

~ Mandy Woodhouse

What Are Your Words Laced With?

Out of the heart the mouth speaks…~Matthew 12:34

The Passion Translation says it this way:

For what has been stored up in your hearts will be heard in the overflow of your words!

~ Matthew 12:34 TPT

So what is in your heart?

Are you speaking words laced with bitterness anger resentments lies hate haughtiness selfishness crudeness cussing vulgar judging opinions offense?

Or are they laced with forgiveness acceptance mercy honor truth love humility compassion kindness purity?

I am challenged to weigh my words more carefully so that when they fly out they don’t crush anyone.

How about you?

~ XXOO Michelle

Restored Ministries

Your Healing Hour

Abundant Life

We have been given life.  

It required nothing on our part but to take that first breath of air. Our heart beats on its own; our brain works overtime whether we want it to or not; and our bodies grow and mature all by themselves.

We have been given eternal life. It required nothing on our part but to pray a simple prayer of surrender to Jesus. Our spirit is now alive, the Holy Spirit works overtime helping us grow in our faith; and we are part of the body of Christ, the church, whether we choose to associate with it or not.

Abundant life is a whole other animal. It is what Jesus wants to give us, but it will require a surrender of everything that we call “mine.”

There are few takers for this offer. People know subconsciously that the life of Christ requires suffering, and only the brave, the desperate, and the determined will sign up for this adventure. It might be compared to bungee jumping and sky diving; it requires an acquired taste for freedom and exhilaration.

As long as we are alive, the offer stands. Jesus stands ready with his arms open wide to impart to us his nature, his vision, and his power. He patiently waits until we are desperate enough to cast out on the sea of life with only our faith as a life preserver. He is much more patient and long suffering than we are; he has plenty to keep him busy while we make up our minds what to do with this brief life of ours.  

May we choose to invest our days wisely, for eternity is a long time to live with the choices that we make in our brief 70 or 80 years here.

~ Brad Heilhecker

The Time Of Your Singing Has Come

She is like a rare diamond to Me

When I look at her

All of creation is caught up in 

her whole being

Nothing will ever erase My deep love for her

Nothing she could do will 

stop Me from chasing after her

Her presence and warmth, brings Me so much joy and delight

Everything she needs is hidden 

in My love

She faced many challenges

When I lured her with My love

I asked her to give up her dreams

To go on a journey with Me

Without hesitation she followed me

Yet pain and confusion were 

written all over her face

She traded it all, because of 

her love for Me

She knew it was time 

to come aside

To face every fear she tried to mask

Treasures were hidden underneath all her scars

When I unpacked her heart

Removed all the dross

The daughter I created before 

the foundations of the earth arose

My love healed every crevice of 

her broken heart 

Before My eyes, she was transformed into My end time bride

She carries My fragrance 

wherever she treads

My heart beating through her 

will set other daughters alight

Her testimony is drenched in 

My anointing

She birthed it during her most 

trying time

She is ready to take a place

She paid a high price

The anointing on her life didn’t come cheap

Her purpose was hidden in her 

deepest pain

She is finally free from every fear 

of the past enslaving her

The heights and depths of My 

love will be a beacon to her

Leading her further and further 

from the natural into a 

supernatural walk with Me

The enemy tried everything in 

his power to keep her in bondage, but she has broke free

Her mind is at peace

Her face glistens with My glory

The enemy lost his control over her

She is only captured by the gaze 

of her Father

Uncharted territories will be 

your dwelling place

Your Knight in shining armour 

will be your guide

Generations are waiting on 

your arrival

Hold fast to every dream and promise I spoke over you

I am moving on your behalf

The time of your singing has come!

Rise up, My love, my fair one

And come away

For winter is past

The rain is over and gone

The flowers appear on the earth

The time of your singing has come!

~Song of Solomon 2: 11

~ Ebigale Wilson

The Time Of Your

Singing Has Come

The Journey

Authority

Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go and make disciples.”  

He also said, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”

Do we really believe these promises? If we do, we will go and make disciples, and we will overcome all of the attacks of the enemy. It is tempting to shrink back from ministry responsibility and from facing the enemy. It requires great faith to join the battle and to win souls for Christ.

With authority comes great responsibility, but, also, great privilege. We are privileged to defeat great enemy ploys, to walk and talk with kings, and to offer great consolation to all.  

Jesus said, “Fear not, little children, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” He even bestowed on us the power and privilege to forgive sins.  

How awesome is that?!

We err if we think that Our Father and Our Lord are stingy with their blessings and their graces—if we think that they are reluctant to empower us to walk with them and work with them.  

Like the servant who buried his talent and did not use it, we will not please Our Father, if we neglect to employ the talents that he has given us.  

It is true enough that we are justified by faith, but it is also true that we are judged by our works. “Faith without works is dead.” So, let us begin by using our authority to cast off fear and doubt and to lay claim to peace and joy.  

Let us make ourselves available to be ready instruments in Our Savior’s vast arsenal. Let us prepare ourselves to move out at the whisper of his command. May his kingdom come and his will be done!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Look Up

I keep hearing the words, LOOK UP.

This week as we read our Torah Portion these words teach us WHY we need to do this. We look up to be HEALED. When we LOOK UP we acknowledge that our Father is in charge and that HE will take care of us.

Numbers 21:9 Moshe made a bronze snake and put it on the pole; if a snake had bitten someone, then, when he looked toward the bronze snake, he stayed alive. (CJB)

John 3:14-15 Just as Moshe lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life. (CJB)

Psalm 121:1 If I raise my eyes to the hills,from where will my help come? (CJB)

In the wilderness the Children of Israel were dying because of their disobedience. God sent snakes that bit the people. As they cried out to Moses for a solution, Adonai told Moses to build a snake and all of those who looked on it would be healed and live. This required them to look up!

The book of John tells us the story of Nicodemus. He approached Jesus and asked how a man could be born again. The explanation Jesus gave included the incident of Moses and the snake. Nicodemus was told that just like Moses lifted the serpent up in the desert (a story Nicodemus would have known well as a scholar of the Torah), so the Son of Man was to be lifted up. It is through belief in HIM that eternal LIFE is found. Nicodemus found that he had to LOOK UP for his LIFE.

The verse from Psalms takes us back to David, but it is clear that David found his way to help was by LOOKING UP. He had to raise his eyes to the hills and BELIEVE that his help was coming. If you have ever been to Israel you know that there are lots of hills. To see above them one must look up.

How should all of these situations affect us today? HOW do we look up today?

So often we trust man to bring healing. We look to those around us to bring us health and peace. Yes, God sends people to us to help us. God brings ideas through people that might help us with our health or life situations. We must, however, take all ideas and thoughts to our Father and Creator. HE gives guidance and direction.

Moses actually had to build a pole to look at. I don’t recommend building anything like that today, but I have found that sometimes having a “reminder tool” in my room or house is beneficial. Maybe it is a verse card, maybe it is a painted rock, maybe a simple souvenir from a trip… something that REMINDS me to LOOK UP and BELIEVE in my Father.

KEEP TRUSTING that HE wants you WHOLE. He wants us to KNOW that HE is in control. HE wants to receive the glory for HIS accomplishments. I have found that when I keep my eyes on HIM, PEACE is in my soul.

When we come to the realization that LOOKING UP brings healing and peace, 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

 

Photo Credit is given to Serena Geiger who captured it in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre while we were in Israel several weeks ago.