100 Percent

Sin.  Missing the mark.  Falling short of the glory of God.  

We all know what it is to sin and how it feels when we do – both the short term pleasure and the long term pain.

Maybe what we don’t know is how Jesus views sin.  

When he started preaching, he said, “Repent and believe, for the kingdom of God is near.”  I believe he was after the chief sin of unbelief in the human heart.  

Later on he said, “The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in me.”  He also said, “He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, for he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  

And herein lies the judgement: that the light has come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light.”

Jesus always went right to the heart of the matter.  

Too often, we take aim at the symptoms of sin and not the root cause.  All selfishness and bad behavior is rooted in and fueled by a refusal to believe in or trust in Christ.

Men and women spend their lives in all sorts of destructive behaviors because they don’t want to surrender their lives to Christ.  

The straight and narrow way of Christ may appear too restrictive, too dull, or even too impossible to them.  

Even many Christians find the spiritual life dull and confining (and modern day church may be partly to blame for this.)  It is only when we commit fully to Christ that the light begins to dawn and the road becomes a little more navigable.  

I learned a lesson in surfing, that once you commit to a wave you need to give it 100%; anything less will result in a disastrous wipeout.

The apostle John makes it clear in his first epistle that sin is to be the exception in the life of the believer, not the rule.  

In Christ, we have the power to overcome sin.  

Not always, but most of the time we can walk in love, in faith, and in obedience to Christ.  Habitual sins take time to eradicate and much help and grace from God and from our friends is often needed.

However, surrender to a defeated life is never a good option.  Even if we get knocked down every day, we need to get back up and try again.

The apostle Peter wrote, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of All Grace  will himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”  (1 Peter 5:10)

~ Brad Heilhecker

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The Seed We Carry

“The enemy is after the seed you carry” I heard these words loud and clear a few days ago. While talking to Papa God and going back and forth. He asked me why do I think the attacks on certain people in the Body of Christ where so horrendous and cruel over the last especially seven years. 

The enemy did everything in his power to make us despondent with one attack after the other. The attacks got more intense as time went on, because we were persistently holding on to the promises of Papa. Unknowingly Papa trained us to endure more and more pressure. Our faith grew to heights we never thought possible, our character was tested and transformed and Papa had His way in our lives in the presence of our enemies.

This was crucial training and the lessons learned will be our yoke breaking testimonies forever. The enemy tried to stop the seed that each one of us carry from growing, but he actually helped us to carry our seed full term. We now realise the battle was never about us, but what Papa has deposited in each one of us. Many personal and private sacrifices of obedience Papa asked from many of us, our lives were disrupted in different,  painful ways, but we did not give up on His dreams for us.

It was never just about walking out difficult journeys, the dark times formed Papa’s heart and character in us, that no other journey would have. We came to a place we never thought possible where our minds are at peace and our hearts are free and no amount of attacks would ever be able to take us back to our past. We have awakened to higher levels in the Spirit, we hear His voice clearly and our eyes and ears are alert to every plan of the enemy. We were trained to fight from a position of rest, knowing that every battle is the Lord’s. 

The seed we carry will impact countless people, every sphere of society, governments, nations and our families. Generations will benefit, because of the price we have paid, through our obedience.

This is the last stretch where training is fast, at times it will feel like our heads are spinning, because Papa is dealing with issues in our lives that were left unattended for so long. There will still be attacks to stop us from giving birth, but we will fight from a position of rest, because the battle is the Lords.

We will give birth to every promise Papa has for us, in the presence of our enemies.Satan could not stop us, and he knows that the seed deposited by our Father is going to set the world alight. Keep your focus, lean into Papa and rest in Papa. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.

Revelation 12:11

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Romans 8:19

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

Romans 8:14

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.

 

~ Ebigale Wilson

The Seed We Carry

The Journey

Return To Me

Some of my favorite words in the Bible are, “Return to Me...” these words bring me comfort and HOPE that God cares for me and wants what is best for me. These words are used often in the prophets. God spoke to them and used them to remind the children of Israel that they needed to “return to His instructions.”

 

I usually do not like to list verses without copying and pasting them in, but there are so many with these words that I wanted to give them to you and have you read them yourself!  

 

Zechariah 1:3

Nehemiah 1:9

Jeremiah 24:7

Hosea 6:1

Jeremiah 4:1

 

I chose one verse to share with you…

 

Malachi 3:7

 

Since the days of your forefathers

you have turned from my laws (instructions) and have not kept them.

Return to me, and I will return to you,”

says Adonai-Tzva’ot.

“But you ask, ‘In respect to what

are we supposed to return?’ (CJB)

 

The children of Israel often walked away from the heart of God and would follow what the cultures around them were involved in. They often chose to forget what God blessed them with and found it easier to be a part of the world around them. Maybe trying to follow the instructions God gave were too difficult. Maybe they just wanted to be like everyone else. I guess we will never truly know what caused them to turn away from God’s teachings, but one thing is for certain, they rebelled often.

 

I think these words need to be a reminder to us today as well. I think that as a “community of believers” we have given into events and teachings that the world holds too, but are not from the heart of God. We easily dismiss practices we participate in that do not bring honor to God by saying that God can redeem all things and turn it for His glory. We excuse our involvement in them by saying that God wants us to love everyone.

 

Don’t get me wrong… God does say to “love our enemies” and to “love our neighbor as ourself.” Love does cover a multitude of wrongs, and like I wrote before, GRACE is there for everyone! However, God also has HIS instructions that He holds too as important and we need to uphold those teachings. He gave them for a reason and desires that we follow them so we can live LIFE to the fullest and with freedom.

 

The word “return” is sometimes translated as, “repent.” If we look back to the original Hebrew understanding, the closer translation means to “turn back.” If we are repentant it does mean we do a 180 degree turn around. It is supposed to mean that we “turn away” from things in our life that are not from God. When the Holy Spirit convicts us to let something go, we must RETURN to what God requires.

 

My challenge for you today is to look at your life and clean out the area(s) HE wants to purge. Where is He challenging you to “return?” What teachings do you need to “return too?” Are you willing to go against the flow of society and follow His heart?

 

God does have grace for His people. Just like with the children of Israel, when we are willing to repent and return, He is there ready and waiting with open arms to bless us. We just need to LISTEN to our Father and heed His call to “return to Me.”

 

When we come to the realization that returning to the heart of God will bring REST, we will want to RESTORE ourselves to Him. We are then REFRESHED to walk forward day to day.

 

Love and blessings,

Rose

 

 

 

 

 

And Yet…

I believe vulnerability is so important, especially in the body of Christ.  There is no doubt in my mind that my victories (and even my processing toward my victory) can encourage and inspire others along their own journeys.  

This all started a few months ago when I started diving in to the book of John.  Usually the Holy Spirit leads me to read a particular book in the Bible and won’t let me leave that book until I feel a release.  In this past season I have eaten up the book of John, and tried to imagine myself in every scenario with Jesus that John writes of. 

Of all the times that I’ve read through this book, this is the first time that the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet grabbed my heart and would not let go (John 13).  Much like most people I know, the foot-washing-Jesus story has been preached to me a hundred times, in many different ways.  But it wasn’t the actual foot-washing action that arrested my heart – it was the fact that Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, and yet He washed his feet and loved him still.  John 13:1 says that Jesus knew it was His hour (which meant He knew Judas would betray Him that very night), and yet “…He loved them until the end.” 

It doesn’t say that Jesus “loved the disciples that loved Him” or that Jesus “loved because He had to” or even that Jesus became jaded and put up walls and then struggled to love.  It states clearly that Jesus LOVED “the world” and it is everyone in that world (Judas included) that He gave His life for (John 3:16).

I stewed over this for several weeks, wondering how I had never really thought about this situation with Judas before.  I had asked Holy Spirit to make what I read very real to me, even as if I was there with them.  My desire was to feel what the disciples felt, to be overcome by love for Jesus the man, much like that of the Disciples John and Peter.  And yet my heart was constantly drawn to the betrayal of Judas and the love that Jesus still showed him.

“But Jesus was GOD divine, so He HAD to love,” I first thought to myself.  The Bible is clear that Jesus was fully man and yet fully God.  My mind wondered if it was the “fully God” part of Jesus that gave Him the ability to love Judas despite what He “knew” was in this man’s heart.  That’s quite possible; but at the same time Holy Spirit began to reveal to me the fully human side of Jesus as well.  This Jesus, Who wept when His friend Lazarus died (John 11:35).  The same Jesus, who in a fit of righteous anger overturned tables in the temple (Mark 11:15-18).  Jesus, who pleaded with the Lord to take away the “cup” if it would be His will (Luke 22:42).  A Jesus, who after fighting off the devil himself with truth in the wilderness, still needed angels to come and minister to Him (Matthew 4:11).  Jesus obviously had human emotions, and I believe that He most certainly felt the sting of the absolute betrayal of one of His closest friends. 

And yet....He loved Judas until the end.  And He bent down to serve him.

I wondered, while marinating in this, if I could do the same.

(Are you ready for the vulnerability now?)...

Read the rest here to find out…

 

~ Mandy Woodhouse

Prayer

WORTHY THOUGHT: Worrying doesn’t change things, prayer does.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ. -Philippians 4:6-7

Mornings are better when you talk to God first.

“God does business with those who mean business….so pray, believe, and get ready to receive. “ -Jeff Schreve

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, -Ephesians 6:18

~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill

Yokefellows

Our Father has placed us in relationships and given us responsibility in these relationships.  He has done this by his grace to develop Godliness and Christlikeness in us.  

Our relationships and responsibilities are meant to be a blessing, not a curse, a joy and not a burden.

So, what happened?  Where did we go wrong?  Better yet, how do we reclaim our God given favor and blessing in our numerous relationships and responsibilities?  I suppose we are to learn to hold everything loosely – people and even our responsibilities.  I suppose we must remember to constantly relinquish all of our cares into Our Loving Heavenly Father’s loving hands.  If we don’t, we will be crushed by what was meant to lift us up.

Ideally, we will be able to nurture such an intimate relationship with The Father, through faith in The Son, that he becomes our all consuming passion, and all relationships and responsibilities become just various aspects of our multifaceted, multidimensional love affair with God.

Alone, people and responsibilities can become oppressive to us.  As we unite ourselves with Christ, they can become a delight, both to us and to God.  We are co-laborers in the harvest, we are yokefellows; we are a team, and together we are the winning team!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Changing Me

You said You would 

change me

It came as a shock

I thought I was perfect 

Scales over my eyes

Deaf to Your voice

I thought I knew You

Hard to admit,

but I never did

Oh how I was deceived

I said all the right words

Knew my bible by heart

Yet I did not live it

I flowed in Your gifts

Yet I did not know You

I only knew what others 

told me of You

Looked through blurred lenses

While You were waiting for 

me to know You intimately

It would have happened 

sooner if I was brave enough 

to face my fears

You knew me better 

than anyone else

I lived in a bubble

A dark cloud followed 

me everywhere 

I had so many issues

I thought this was my lot

Passing down a baton of religion 

to the next generations

Oh how I was blinded

I held on to temporary fixes

Yet every time pain would 

come knock on my 

hearts door

Healing and breakthrough 

were waiting in the letting 

go of everything I held dear

The price You asked me to 

pay was too high

Then You

unannounced 

disrupted my life

You got my attention

Separated me unto Yourself 

Here I found myself facing 

every fear

That I for so long chose 

to ignore

When You looked at me

You saw the blood washed daughter You created me to be

You saw my journey of healing 

and dying many deaths

You saw me scared and crying 

and longing for the familiar 

You knew with You by my side 

I could eliminate every demon

In my deepest pain 

You interceded for me

You never let go of my hand

Not even when I begged You to

When I broke through the barricades trying to stop me

You were the Light 

surrounding me

That was the day I discovered 

that all I ever needed was 

You loving me

In my denial and selfishness 

In my rebellion and pride

You reached out to me

Using my deepest challenges 

and pain 

To bring me back to You

I will never comprehend 

the love You have for me

I wanted You to change 

everyone around me

In my ignorance I thought 

I was perfect

In Your kindness You 

reached out to me

You are so, so good to me!

~ Ebigale Wilson

Changing Me

The Journey

A Shift In Loyalties

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they treated the prophets who came before you.”  

Really?  Can this be done?  Can we really become not only indifferent but joyful when rejected?  This has to be a work of the Spirit; in the natural, this is a real impossibility.

So, let’s look at this…insulted, persecuted, slandered…rejoicing and gladness…great reward in heaven…treated like the prophets.  

This blessing is going to take great faith to realize.  Are we really going to depend on heavenly rewards instead of earthly rewards?  Are we really going to willingly suffer like the prophets of old?

This is where I would like to insert a hearty “Amen!”  Prudence tells me to be a little more cautious.  It is one thing to listen to the preaching. Another to accept it as true.  But entirely a whole different animal to live it.  

It requires a mentality divorced from natural human expectations and hopes.  So much of what we desire is earth bound.  We need much grace if we are going to shift all of our expectations and hopes to our eternal rewards.  

So, let us “Set our hopes completely on the grace to be given us when Christ is revealed.”  For, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.  For whoever comes to him must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”  

Jesus said, “He who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

We must have a change of citizenship, a shift in loyalties.  

He also said, “How can you believe when you receive honor from one another and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?”

And I do not think that he meant for this last question to be rhetorical.  The answer is “You can’t.”  They are mutually exclusive.  

To believe in God means that our hopes and our pursuits are grounded in pleasing him.  

And this necessitates forsaking the need to be pleasing to men.  

May the “Only Wise God” be gracious to us and bestow upon us abundant mercy and courage to run our race, fight the good fight, and keep the faith!

~ Brad Heilhecker

Hope

Hope…

 

Where does your hope come from? Hope… what exactly is it?

 

Romans 5:5

 

and this hope does not let us down, because God’s love for us has already been poured out in our hearts through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) who has been given to us.

 

What is the definition of hope? According to the dictionary it is, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.”

 

A friend recently said, “I have faith that God will work things out, but I don’t have hope.”

 

I had to stop and think about that. As we go through life there are many situations where we “hope” for something and then… when it doesn’t happen we feel let down. We question God. We begin to lose trust. If it happens too many times our faith may also be shaken.

 

There are many verses about hope in the Bible. The one above says, “this hope does not let us down.” According to those words, if our hope is in our Father and His Son, than we should not be let down.

 

As I read that I realized that I needed to stop and rethink about where I put my hope. It is a fine line to walk when it seems like man is supplying the funds for the work one does. Am I putting my hope in the job I do, or am I tapping into the love of God and letting the Holy Spirit bring hope to my soul?

 

So many days we put our hope in man. We think someone will do something and they don’t. We believe an event will take place and things get cancelled. When these things happen, we get let down. Frustrations set in. Suddenly, we do not focus on HIS love for us.

 

I needed to be reminded today that only God can bring HOPE. Only through the Holy Spirit being poured out in my life can I have a place of not being let down because I KNOW that His plans for me are the best.

 

I challenge us all today to BELIEVE that His love has been poured out! His Spirit is there to bring HOPE to our souls. Man will let us down, but God will not. Man will fail us, but God will ALWAYS take care of us.

 

When we come to the realization that TRUSTING God to walk through life with us brings HOPE to our lives, 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

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons From The Early Bird

One morning this week, I was awakened hours before the sun came up by the most beautiful sound – a little bird was sitting on our window-sill singing.  Singing at the most inconvenient time.

This little bird started her song at around 3am, and I have been pretty exhausted these past several months so I was not particularly thrilled.  We are in a season of intense transition and change as we purge our belongings, sell our home and move to Australia.  In the middle of it all God has been so faithful, but my body and emotions have been responding to this change (as they should).  I won’t lie…I wanted to shoo away the bird when I saw the time on my phone!  3am, I mean, REALLY?!  Yet I felt the Holy Spirit strongly encourage me to listen a bit longer and learn from this little creature.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. – Psalm 46:5

One of the things that I noticed first about this little bird is that she was singing while it was still nighttime.  Before the light of the sun even appeared, she was already serenading the dawn.  I kept thinking to myself as I allowed her song to lull me back into a slumber that she was actually singing in the dark.  I felt in my Spirit that this was a very symbolic act that I needed to follow if I was going to powerfully navigate through this next season of the unknown in my own life.  

The Lord began to speak some life lessons to me during the little bird’s song.  Here’s what I learned:

1. Even the darkness did not dim her song.  This little bird has the most beautiful song.  I still have no idea what type of bird she was, but her song was one I had never heard before.  She sang brightly, and her song lit up the darkness – even though it woke me up physically, it woke me up Spiritually as well.  “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5, ESV).

2. One lonely bird sang her heart out.  Not only did she light up the darkness with her song, but she was fully herself.  She sang at the top of her little lungs, and she sang the very song that God gave her to sing, even if she sang it all by herself!  “Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23, ESV).

3. It was dark and gloomy, but she made it a beautiful place with her glorious song. It was dark and gloomy out, and she made it beautiful. Both for me as well as for herself. I will let Psalm 84:1-4 speak for itself:  “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca [weeping] they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.”

4. Sometimes, it takes a prophetic act to awaken the dawn.  Personally, I have felt a sense of anxiety about my future during this time of transition.  What will next month look like?  What will I be doing in Australia?  I know that God promises a better future than I could ever ask for or imagine, but at times my “vision” for the next season has felt dark and clouded.  

But since I trust God, I can confidently sing to awaken the dawn.  I can smile at the future because I know that God is good (Proverbs 31:25).  

Like this little bird, I can sing before I see the full light of day because I have hope and I know that my voice and declarations will cause the season to shift.  “My heart is steadfast, O God!  I will sing and make melody with all my being! Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awake the dawn!  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;  your faithfulness reaches to the clouds” (Psalm 108:1-4, ESV).

5. I can sing while I wait.  That little bird obviously could not wait for the dawn, so she began to sing it into being.  Why can’t I do the same?  I may not physically see the sunrise with my eyes, but I can feel it in my soul.  Waiting it not easy, but it doesn’t have to be the grueling process that our human minds often make it.  Like David I can command my soul to wait on the Lord and I can sing while I wait.  “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning” (Psalm 130:5-6, ESV).

I am so grateful for this little song bird, especially at 3am.  What valuable lessons to learn!

“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”- Isaiah 58:8

~ Mandy Woodhouse