New

New… As we approach the “New Year” of 2020 there is so much focus on new. This happens every year, but because we are entering a “new decade” there seems to be more of an emphasis on it this year.

I go back and forth about “new year” on the Gregorian calendar. Having an understanding of the Hebrew calendar sometimes makes it difficult to know how I want to celebrate. I know God has given us times and seasons to focus on His different attributes and look inward to reflect on what HE wants to do inside of us, but sometimes those moments get lost in the energy that is focused on what is happening externally in the world around us.

The work He wants to do within is lost because of all that we look for outside.

What I do know is that Christ said HE makes ALL things NEW! This doesn’t happen just at a “new year.” This can happen whenever we TRUST HIM with ALL our heart. NEW could happen in June, or August, or whenever we make a CHOICE to follow His leading in a fresh NEW way.

As you prepare your hearts for NEW, don’t become discouraged when it doesn’t look like what you thought. TRUST Him in a NEW way and follow HIS leading even when it might not make sense.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says: He has made everything suited to its time; also, he has given human beings an awareness of eternity; but in such a way that they can’t fully comprehend, from beginning to end, the things God does.

God knows exactly what is going to happen and as we walk with Him, HE leads and guides us in paths of righteousness for HIS name sake. HE leads us beside still waters and RESTORES our souls.

Take time to REFRESH yourself with HIS WORDS as you continue to walk the path He places before you. HIS Word is a lamp to your feet and a LIGHT. When we walk in HIS TIME, we can KNOW that HE is in control and HE will truly make ALL things NEW.

Let HIM and HIS Words make you NEW.

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

 

 

 

Accepted And Cherished

“Accept one another as Christ has accepted you in order to bring glory to God.” – Romans 15:7.  “The Lord delights in his people and crowns the humble with salvation.  Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.” – Psalm 149:4,5.  So, we are not only accepted, but we are cherished as well.  We are the apple of his eye.  We are his greatest treasure.  We are his eternal inheritance.

So, what is the upshot of all of this? What does it mean for us lonely wayfarers?  How should this impact our lives?  

First, it means that we no longer have to strive to earn his love; we already have it.  Second, it means that we no longer have to fear his wrath; it was poured out on Christ at the cross.  And lastly, it means that we are free to draw near to him, whether we are struggling with some sin or rejoicing in our newfound freedom.  

The door to his office is always open, and he is always awake and glad to meet with us.

Now, we are free to love and be loved.  We can embrace our fellow man with the same compassion and empathy that Our Father has shown to us.  We can be vessels of his presence, conduits of his mercy, and agents of his grace. For those of us searching for God’s will, this is it.

Daily settings and fellow travelers may change, but our purpose remains constant.  We want to be always available as Our Father’s ambassadors of good will.  We want our lives to be living invitations to others for them to join the family.

Accepted and cherished: there is no greater joy to be found this side of heaven!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Chanukah Self-Control

Self-control… the last fruit of the Spirit. If you think of progressing through emotions and actions, to be honest, I find this one the most challenging. People respond positively when we show love, or joy, or kindness. When we move to matters of the heart, people don’t often comment that we have shown great faithfulness or humility. Self-control is an action that we see outwardly, but when was the last time you heard someone comment, “that person showed great self-control!”

During the holiday season we often make mention of self-control when it is about food. There are sweets everywhere and we must have “self-control” to not eat them.

We teach our children to have self-control when it comes to their reactions. And yet, we ourselves don’t practice the idea. It is not easy to “bite my tongue” or “turn the other cheek.” I want to react to what is said about me, or to me. I want to defend myself and make sure that everyone knows who I am and what I stand for. It takes “self-control” to just let things be…

The definition of self-control is:

the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations.

When we are in a “difficult situation” and someone has upset us, God expects us to “control ourselves.” His desire is that we TRUST HIM to handle ALL situations.

A well-known verse from 2 Timothy has a little different translation in the Complete Jewish Bible, but the same idea, self-control is given by God.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a Spirit who produces not timidity, but power, love and self-discipline.

2 Peter 1:5-7 is interesting…

For this very reason, try your hardest to furnish your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with perseverance, perseverance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

This verse is almost backward from the fruits of the Spirit. Faith, goodness, knowledge (instead of humility), self-control, perseverance (patience), godliness, brotherly affection (kindness), and LOVE. These words are almost identical to the fruits we have been studying.

These words were written to BELIEVERS. These people were finding it difficult to “run the race” and Peter wrote to them to ENCOURAGE them. As we read chapter 1 verses 9 and 10 it says:

Indeed, whoever lacks them is blind, so shortsighted that he forgets that his past sins have been washed away. Therefore, brothers, try even harder to make your being called and chosen a certainty. For if you keep doing this, you will never stumble.

And then verse 12 says:

For this reason, I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you already have.

Peter felt led to KEEP REMINDING them.

So often we think, “I know the fruits of the Spirit. It gets old and repetitive to read them again and again.” This chapter from 2 Peter should make it clear that we are NEVER beyond the realm of forgetting what Christ has done for us and that REMINDERS are important. I don’t want to become blind and shortsighted! I don’t want to forget what HE has done for me! I need to THANK people who bring me the reminders!

Take time today to bring self-control back into your life. Take time to persevere with patience and KNOW that you are firmly established in the TRUTH from HIM. As you LISTEN to Him, HE will give you the ability to LET GO. Remember, the battles we fight are HIS and against spiritual realms we can’t see. When we remember this, we respond with HIS quietness and peace, than HE takes care of the situation. This is self-control.

It is fitting that self-control is the last candle we light. Prayerfully, we begin fresh and NEW with our personal temples re-dedicated to Adonai. When the Maccabees took back the Temple so many years ago, they did it because they KNEW that it was the House of God. It had become defiled and filled with trash.

Today, there is no Temple. Our hearts and homes have become the place Adonai resides. When we exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, we bring HIS PRESENCE into us. When HIS Presence is IN us, than we are HIS LIGHTS to those around us.

The evening of December 22 the LOVE candle will light JOY. For the next eight nights take time to reflect and remind yourselves of WHO God wants YOU to be. Take time to walk in the LIGHT and BE the LIGHT.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my foot and light on my path.

 

Happy Chanukah,

Rose Horton

 

 

Engagement

Can I be honest for second? I’ve had a battle in my thoughts this week, and the battle actually came from one little moment where I ENGAGED a lie from the enemy instead of dismissing it immediately.

I engaged his lies, which opened the door to more conversation in my head about the particulars surrounding this lie, which then caused full-blown warfare on my mind.  

We’ve all been there.  But friend, this is NOT our reality any longer!

Fighting off lies after we’ve engaged them does not have to be our “normal.”  It’s just not who we are in Christ.

Here’s a personal illustration to better paint a picture for you.  My previous neighbor across the road from us in South Carolina used to have issues with his 3 big dogs getting out of his fenced yard and running up and down the street. The dogs were rambunctious, would bark at people and would chase cars.  

They were intimidating and even the postal workers would carry sticks to be sure they were safe.

One day a man was walking down the street, and the dogs were out. They ran up and down the street along the opposite side of the road, barking and snarling and jumping around.  However, the man kept his eyes fixed in front of him and did not flinch.  After a moment the dogs got no response from the man so they backed off and the man continued his journey, dog free.  

That same afternoon, a woman was walking along and the dogs started acting up again.  The difference is that the woman engaged the dogs. Where the man kept walking and never made eye-contact, the woman looked straight at the dogs and started yelling swear words at them.  She picked up a stick from our yard and went to throw it at them, but the dogs charged at her and knocked her over.  The story ends with me calling 911 and the woman crying hysterically.  

The Lord really used this situation to teach me a valuable lesson about the lies of the enemy in my own life. How many times in the past had I engaged the intimidation, fear and accusations of the devil?  It’s such a trap, because the result was the same every time – there was always pain and I’d always feel overcome.

Yet had I not even acknowledged what the enemy was whispering to me and just kept my eyes on the truth about God and the truth about me, I would have saved myself years of grief and pain.

Friend, when the accuser of the brethren comes to lie to you about your identity, you must be like the gentleman walking down my road and not engage.  Remember the truth and only allow that truth to enter your mind.  Do not dwell, even for a second, on the devil’s innuendos.  He is a father of lies and there is absolutely ZERO truth in Him (John 8:44).  

Let’s look at how Jesus does it in Matthew 4:1-11:

And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, ’and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

I believe that Jesus is the perfect example of one who did not engage with the devil!  The devil came to him and tried to bring intimidation, but Jesus only responded with truth.  Jesus never once engaged, yelled at the devil or even tried to debate him.  Jesus spoke truth until the devil left Him alone.  And in doing this, Jesus taught us a better way than Adam and Eve had chosen.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Thanks to Jesus, the only truth you need engage with is the truth about HIM.  As He is, so are you (1 John 4:17).  You are like Jesus.  You are as righteous as Him.  Holy living is an overflow of your relationship with Him.  You are not an orphan, but a son or daughter who has full access to your Father.  You are in His image, with His characteristics and His Holy Spirit to remind you how loved you are.  The Bible says that you are a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), and you are seated with Christ in Heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).  Colossians 3:2 says to set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.  

Engage only these truths, and the devil will have to back down. Engaging only God’s truths will also help break off any strongholds that the enemy would want to use to keep us in bondage.  The devil is crafty, but TRUTH is way more powerful.  Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and begin to meditate on the Jesus-truths that you know to be true! Know these truths, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).  

 

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Worthy Life

Paul writes to the church of Ephesus that we should “live a  life worthy of our calling.”  He describes this life as humble, kind, loving, patient, forbearing, and unified with others.  A tall order to be sure but entirely possible if we utilize all of the resources that grace provides (where God guides, he provides).

For the church in Thessalonica, he prays that “God would count us worthy of our calling.”  He continues and adds “May he bless every good purpose of ours and every act prompted by our faith that Jesus may be glorified in us and that we may be glorified in him.”

Our God is a reciprocal God; he only requires of us what he first imparts to us, and he has wonderful plans for us to share his glory and his kingdom forever.

It all started when he “qualified us to be partakers with the saints in the kingdom of light” – (Colossians Ch. 1).  We only need to realize that he has done it; he has qualified us for our present position, and he will continue to qualify us and equip us for every challenge and opportunity between here and heaven.  “May the God of peace himself make us holy; may our whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; he who called us is faithful and he will do it.”

~ Brad Heilhecker

Do Yourself A Favor

The hurts you harbor won’t get you healed – it can actually get you killed.

Don’t let unforgiveness fester into bitterness and resentments.

It may not make you sick today – or tomorrow or next week or a month or a year from now – but be assured it will take you out eventually and taint every relationship in your life going forward with the hurt you harbor and don’t release.

Forgiveness is something we do as being obedient to the Lord and His Word. It is also something we do for ourself. It takes constant surrender of the hurts to the Lord.

Stop rehearsing the hurt. Forgive. Release. Bless those that hurt you.

God knows it will kill our souls and eventually our bodies. It’s not His best for us.

Really, who are we to withhold forgiveness of others when Christ so lovingly and completely forgives us.

Do yourself a favor and forgive.

~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

#YourRxForForgiveness #LiveRestored #MindBodySoul

Chanukah Humility

We continue to count the nights of Chanukah and we have reached day seven. We have seen, and observed, the progression of the fruits of the Spirit as moving toward issues in the heart. The next one is as well, although we often look for it in actions.

On night seven the candle we light is HUMILITY. Yes, I put this in capital letters. Yes, we often think it should be something “smaller or less than.” Without understanding humility, we cannot truly tell ourselves if we are humble or not.

Here is the definition of humility: the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.

The Cambridge English dictionary says this: the quality of not being proud because you are aware of your bad qualities:

I like the idea from the Cambridge dictionary of “being aware of your bad qualities.” I tend to think that if we are humble, than we KNOW what our faults are. We walk out our “bad qualities” with understanding and repentance. We place ourselves at a lower level when we recognize the personality traits we need to change.

There are many verses in the Bible about being humble, or that give the exhortation to be humble. One I find as a challenge for myself is in the book of Micah. Interestingly enough, we once again have a word difference between most translations and the Complete Jewish Bible.

Micah 6:8 (ESV) He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (CJB)Human being, you have already been told what is good, what Adonai demands of you — no more than to act justly, love grace and walk in purity with your God.

In this instance, the CJB uses the word, “purity” to describe being humble. I guess in many ways that is true. If we consider our “bad qualities” and have a “modest view” of ourselves, than we are cleaning ourselves and doing our best to be pure before God. We take the “bad qualities” we know about ourselves and we ask HIM to help us wash them away.

There are LOTS of verses in Proverbs about humility… I encourage you to google them and read them. So many reminders that humility is highly important in our daily walk.

Jesus taught about humility:

Matthew 23:12 (CJB) for whoever promotes himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be promoted.

I Peter 5:7 is another well known verse about humility:

Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that at the right time he may lift you up. Throw all your anxieties upon him, because he cares about you.

This verse is literally telling us to “lower ourselves” under God’s hand. When we submit to Him, HE will lift us up. I love how this verse says to “THROW” our anxieties on Him! When we KNOW that HE cares for us, than HE will LIFT US UP!

In our family we have discussed the idea of a “false humility.” Sometimes we try to “live lower” than someone else, and talk about how we don’t have the same “worldly goods” or the same thoughts as the other person, but inside of our hearts we have pride. It is a form of pride when we compare ourselves and say we are “lower,” but our hearts are far from being lower. The reason we are making the comparison is so that people will think better of us, which is NOT being humble.

Our reflection during this time should be looking inward and examining our hearts. Are we quietly submitting to HIS will for our lives? Are we seeking HIM in SPIRIT and TRUTH?

Our daily walk should reflect HIS LOVE and LIGHT to those around us. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t allow the enemy to creep in and bring pride to your thoughts. The minute you begin to believe you have all the answers and promote yourself is the minute that Adonai will bring things your way to humble you.

I think these verses about LIGHT can also bring understanding to humility:

Luke 11:34-35 The lamp of your body is the eye. When you have a ‘good eye,’ [that is, when you are generous,] your whole body is full of light; but when you have an ‘evil eye,’ [when you are stingy,] your body is full of darkness. So take care that the light in you is not darkness!

Don’t let your “evil dark eye of stinginess” affect your walk. Be GENEROUS and HUMBLE as you let your LIGHT SHINE. When people look into your eyes let them see HIS LOVE.

 

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

His Promise Stands

My friend Megan mentioned something a few days ago about the end of 2019, and the fact that there’s still TIME to accomplish things and complete some of the tasks that God has called us to.  

She reminded us that 2019 still has a certain number of days left, and she brought encouragement to really end the decade well and ask God what else, if anything, He would have us take action in the remaining days leading up to 2020.

Her words resonated with me and I mulled over this most of the weekend.

In the middle of asking God what areas I needed to work on, what still needed to be finished before the new year, etc., He spoke to me very clearly out of one of my favorite verses, Numbers 23:19: “Am I a man that I would lie?”

“Ok God,” I thought.  “You have my attention…I haven’t called You a liar, have I?”

Quick as lightning in my Spirit I heard His response: “No, but you stopped partnering with me on your Promise…just because the year is almost over doesn’t mean I have changed My mind”

Cue mic drop.

What has God said to you in the past that you may have “shelved?” Have you given up on the things that He has promised?  Do you believe Him?  Has your heart started to disengage because there is only a matter of weeks left of the year and you are still waiting on something He promised?

If He said THIS is the year, He will keep His promise.  Psalms 12:6 (TPT) says: “For every word God speaks is sure and every promise pure. His truth is tested, found to be flawless, and ever faithful. It’s as pure as silver refined seven times in a crucible of clay.”  

Let me ask you again – What has He said to you?  His word surely does not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

Even with just a short amount of time left this year, God is still God and has not gone back on His word. Don’t give up now! If He said it, you will see it. You’re almost at the end, I encourage you to finish strong and full of HOPE!

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.” – Zechariah 9:12 (ESV)

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Love Extravagantly

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.

So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant.

When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!

We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

1 Corinthians 13:3,8,11-13

Message Translation

The Way Of Love

Chanukah Faithfulness

Night six of Chanukah we light the LOVE candle again… Five candles and reminders of who HE wants us to be brings us to FAITHFULNESS. What does it mean to have faithfulness inside of us?

One of the most popular verses about faithfulness is in the book of Lamentations. Putting several together we read:

Lamentations 3:21-24 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.[On the contrary,] they are new every morning! How great your faithfulness! “Adonai is all I have,” I say; “therefore I will put my hope in him.

God’s great LOVE is what compels us to keep going. It is clear that when we RETURN to something that brings us HOPE, we will see the COMPASSION of Adonai. The last verse explains His FAITHFULNESS. I think it is easy for us to forget that Adonai is FULL of LOVE, COMPASSION, and FAITHFULNESS. HE really will never LEAVE us or forsake us.  HE ALONE brings us HOPE.

As I looked for the word, “faithfulness” in the Word of God, the only person I could find that faithfulness was attributed too was God. Verses in the PSALMS. Verses that bring understanding to God’s greatest attribute – being faithful. Both of these are encouraging to us as we understand WHO God is.

Psalm 119:90 your faithfulness through all generations; you established the earth, and it stands.

Psalm 36:6 Adonai, in the heavens is your grace; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

I said last week that as we move through the fruits of the Spirit, the attributes become closer to the heart. Faithfulness takes it a step deeper for sure… Lots of people were considered “full of faith.” We have the faith chapter in the book of Hebrews.

 

As I looked at chapter 11 in the Complete Jewish Bible, I noticed that they used the word, “trust” instead of faith. Now my thought process on all of this is highly intrigued! I want to know WHY????

What is the difference?

The definition of faith is:

1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

2.    strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

 

The definition of trust is:

firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.

I do not have a way right now to inquire with Complete Jewish Bible to find out why they used trust. I fully believe they have a good reason. I found a long article written in 2007 that has a great explanation. To go into all the details here is just tough.

Here is one paragraph from the conclusion:

So, we can see that true faith is more than just belief in the existence of God. It is not just believing in God; it is believing God. It is trusting God. It is trusting in what God is, what God has done, and what God promises to do. It is performing what God instructs us to do in his word.

Sermon by Philip Edwards

May 19, 2007

Copyright 2007, Philip Edwards

Studies in the Word of God

If we understand faithfulness in ourselves to be the idea that we do not just believe IN God, but that we TRUST God enough to know that HE will do what He says He will do, than I think we get the right concept. Having FAITHFULNESS inside of us is more than just a belief that God exists. If someone says that we are filled with faithfulness, it would mean that we truly believe God and trust God with EVERYTHING.

When we grasp FAITH in this manner, than we have to realize that carrying the attribute of FAITHFULNESS should not be taken lightly. We have shared things that everyone can agree should be shared (LOVE, JOY, PEACE…). Now we have reached faithfulness and we must acknowledge that the attribute goes deep. This is not “on the surface I believe in You.” Faithfulness is more than just confidence, it is TRUSTING Adonai so deeply that we WANT to do what He says.

If we say that someone has at the gift of FAITH, it needs to mean someone that is trustworthy. Someone who will “do what God asks” because they TRUST God so deeply that they do everything with Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness…

How are you in your faithfulness? Do you TRUST God so completely that others are drawn to Him? Or more importantly, do you TRUST Adonai so fully that others know you follow Him?

Faithfulness… It’s time to do a heart check and see where you stand. You might believe “in God,” but do you truly BELIEVE GOD? WHO is your heart putting faith in? Man, or God?

I know this is what I struggle with. I often want to believe man over God… Tough to trust when man fails. But, if we truly believe the statements above about God, than we have NO reason to not carry faithfulness inside of us.

Chanukah LIGHT… let’s think about HIS LIGHT.

Psalm 27:1 Adonai is my light and salvation; whom do I need to fear? Adonai is the stronghold of my life; of whom should I be afraid?

BE FAITHFUL. BE the one that TRUSTS so much. Share that LIGHT with others…

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton