Don’t Sweat It, Rest!

Whole barley field
Written by: Mary Ann Manuling

Ruth 3:18 18Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”

God does not want you to “sweat”. Sweat here does not refer to your body’s perspiration, but your self-reliance or self-effort. God does not want you to believe that if you don’t do anything, nothing will happen. That may be true for someone without God in his life, but it is not true for you because you have God. And when He is in the picture, the God-factor changes everything!

When you are resting in God, He works for you. In fact, when He works, you end up with more. He is the one who is giving to you. It is not about you trying to give to yourself.

This was what happened to Ruth in the Old Testament. After laboring in the barley fields from morning to evening, she was able to glean one ephah of barley (Ruth 2:17), which was equivalent to a 10-day supply of barley. Certainly, this amount was a blessing to her.

But when she rested at the feet of Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer, and did not labor, she received six ephahs of barley (Ruth 3:15), which was equivalent to a 60-day supply! When Ruth sought her own blessing, she obtained only one ephah. But when she sought the blesser, she received much more.

Ruth’s blessings did not stop there. While Ruth rested and sat still as her mother-in-law Naomi had instructed, Boaz, who was the owner of the barley field, went to work, initiating actions, executing them and speaking on Ruth’s behalf. Right through it all, Ruth sat still and rested. Eventually, Boaz, the barley man himself, married Ruth. (Ruth 4) That meant no more measured wealth of six ephahs, but the yield of the whole barley field in total!

Boaz is a picture of Jesus, our heavenly kinsman-redeemer. When we rest in the Lord, He will not rest. He will work on our behalf. What do we do then? We just trust in and enjoy His love for us.

Beloved, stop striving and be at rest. If salvation, the greatest work, comes to us by resting in Jesus’ finished work, how much more will all the other blessings?

Mary Ann Manuling
Mary Ann Manuling
__________________________________________________________________

The Eyes of Our Hearts

eyes_of_hearts

Written by: Bob Hamp

The gas cap sat on the top of the pump 35 miles behind us. It was a strange and very unusual oversight. But it had been a strange and unusual several days. We were on our way across country to bury someone we loved, someone who should not be gone at the time or in the way he had gone.
We were all quite overwhelmed and quite honestly we did not know how much we were in shock. You know, shock, the function of the body that shuts things down so that the systems of our body won’t be overwhelmed. When thoughts or information are the source of being overwhelmed it is the mind that goes into shock. The difficulty with this is that the mind is that part of us that “knows” stuff. So when our mind is shut down, we don’t always “know” it.
Until a telltale gas cap mysteriously is not where you have put it every time you filled up with gas for the last 35 years. Then you stop and realize. Your mind is not working the way it normally does. And why? Because of emotions. Because of a natural function of the mind and body in unnatural circumstances.
Think about this.
We have lived in unnatural circumstances since Genesis 3.
We were not made to be limited only to the function of our senses. “Natural” for the human race included eyes in our head and eyes in our hearts. We often hear that humans use ten percent (or some other shockingly low percentage) of our mental capacity. I am afraid that we hear this as the capacity to hold data, instead of the capacity to Think Differently. More than capacity to contain information, we should consider our capacity to see. We apply our thought processes based on what we see, we see based on how we look.
I am convinced that Jesus views the human race as blind. (See John 9:39-41). Not in some critical way of believing we are dumb or bad, but simply because He sees all that is, including seeing what we do not see. He kindly offers to help those who cannot see gain sight. Ironically He makes a concurrent offer to help those who can see become blind.
He is simply making an observation about our willingness to consider our limitations. We either know we are blind and ask that He make us see, or we believe we see, and therefore ask for nothing.
I am blind.
I have found in these days that I can become even more blind. Whether overcome by grief, and forgetting a gas cap, or simply having the eyes of my heart covered over by the sheer emotions of today. I can become more blind.
Like peering through a pinhole, or having mud on my windshield, I can still see, but oh, so little. And like the mind in shock, I don’t know how limited I am until my life sends me back a message.
If I have eyes in my heart, then the condition of my heart directly affects my ability to see. If I am angry I see others wrongly. If I am hurt, I see others through the pin-hole of my own pain. If my heart is shrinking, or weary, the eyes within are clouded and the world around me appears distorted.
The more we have a heart that bears the Divine Image, the more we will be able to see the things that we previously could not see. The more we allow the shortcomings of another to change us, the less we are like the Divine Image, and our sight is already impaired.
We buy corrective lenses for the eyes of our heads, but we often allow ongoing distortions to run rampant in the eyes of our hearts.
I know better today what the Bible means when it tells us “Guard your heart above all else….from it, flow all the issues of your life…”
I am quite blind, how about you?

page0-page0-bob_hamp

Bob Hemp

__________________________________________________________________

Good Grief

GoodGrief

Written by: Bob Hamp

“I can fix this….” My mind insisted one more time. And when I say insisted, I mean high volume, high intensity. You see, I have fixed things my whole life. And I am pretty good at it.

For two days my mind had been scanning facts, and data, and perspectives, and possibilities (I think the Bible calls this “Speculations).
“If I could just find the key…”
“If I could just get others to see what I see…”
“There is another piece of information, if I could just find it…”

The problem was that my mind seemed to be taking on a life of it’s own. Moving faster, and with greater intensity. Not only would it not be still, it was speeding up. I had been up at night and was beginning to have difficulty staying focused. This was “Thinking Differently” in a way that I wanted to stop. But it seemed that I could not.

I called a friend and trusted counselor, and described what was going on. She asked a simple question.

“Bob, what is your mind, and all those racing thoughts distracting you from? If it is racing, what is it racing away from?”.

My mind got still for a moment, and the answer came. One word. One terrible, frustrating word.

Grief.

Grief.

Before I say that we do not do well with grief, let me first say that I do not do well with grief. Did I mention that I fix things? As a counselor, I was always a strategist, a chess player. Let’ set a plan in motion, and get this problem resolved. Until the issue was grief. Grief is not a broken thing to be fixed, nor is it a lie to be corrected. It is not a problem to be resolved. Grief is a reality to embrace, and a valley to traverse. It is a persistent reality in a world where we choose to love, and choose not to hold back our hearts.

We often grieve in proportion to the degree to which we attach. Grieving is about loss. And to not grieve, we must reduce the way that we attribute value.

Jesus was a man familiar with sorrow and acquainted with grief. So what did He do with it? Jesus wept. The pain of loss, and the value Jesus attributed to His friend moved His soul. He did not rationalize, He did not run into a firestorm of cognitive security. He wept. He felt. He did not recite Bible verses about comfort, or make trite statements about eventual outcomes. He wept.

My racing mind would not obey my racing mind, because it was serving a different master. It had been serving a heart that did not want to grieve.

If I were not careful, I could completely abandon my heart, for the safety and refuge of my own ability to figure out and resolve problems. I was well down this path when I called my friend.

My thoughts had become a convenient, though no longer easy, way to escape grief.

So I got out a journal, and I began to write about losses. I was less than a paragraph in when my heart connected. If Jesus wept, so could I. And weep I did.

Loss is a normal part of life, and the only way to not lose is to never have. Grief is the normal way that God allows us to purge the pain of loss, and keep a healthy balance in our souls. Jesus is not afraid to be with you in grief, in fact He is familiar with it.

I am now sure that He is much more at home in grief, than He is in the teeth-gritting smile that says, “I am fine” when in reality the soul is aching.

I am learning to make a home for Jesus in a new way. Grief is good.

page0-page0-bob_hamp

Bob Hemp

__________________________________________________________________

Are you “BROKEN”? Good. Now you got something God can work with.

man_broken

Written by: Julia Shalom Jordan

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise.” Ps. 51:17

Have you ever seen a “broken man?”  A man that is so destroyed, he no longer postures himself to disguise it?  This person has come to terms with his fragility and there is no more hiding.  This hopeless, feeble, searching and dependent state would cause most people to inwardly cringe at the thought. Every human being has their “breaking point”; a place where once he is taken there, he no longer is the same person again.  
Many people live their lives in fear of this
“breaking point”.  Thousands succumb to a tedious life of mediocrity stuffing their mouths or emptying their wallets to numb the desire for more; because they fear the risk of where it might take them, or what it would make them.  Some loose themselves in reckless abandon to do “it all” before life consumes them or their window of opportunity. But, in God’s eyes, a man who has risked it all to no avail, and has come to the end of himself is actually in the best position. He is in the position to receive grace.

When a person is completely broken, he can now accept his personal fragility and come to the humble beginning place where
God can rebuild him. 

God created man in His image and even with our human shortcomings, man is a masterpiece.  The gift of self-will has caused many to rebel with a spirit of pride. The nature of pride repels the hand of help from anyone–even God.  This is the quickest way to move
out from under the protection of the Almighty One.  Being broken is not bad; it is actually just the beginning.  The more broken you have become; the better God’s restoration power can be seen through you.  And when God is finished with the masterpiece of your life, it may not be what you expect, but it will definitely be better than anything you could have made of it.

“Dear Heavenly Father,
I am broken.  I am not going to lie or hide anymore for you see me as I am. When the doors are closed and the windows drawn, you know what a mess I truly am. I am so thankful to read that this is a gift to you.  In Psalms 51:17 it says that you do not despise me.  Oh, Lord.  I despise myself!  Lord, help me.  I am desperate for a change and desperate for a real life.  I would have thought that by this age, I would have gotten further.  But, Lord, I am here now, and I am asking for you to hold me in your bosom.  This is exactly where I need to be—and I cannot believe this is what I have been running from all along!  Thank you for your mercy.  I accept the love you are giving to me now.  Heal me so that someday soon, I will be able to show others just how good you really are.  In Jesus’ precious name, Amen...”


julia-shalom-jordan1

Julia Shalom Jordan

__________________________________________________________________

Pumped for God!

WindMill

By: Melanie Owens I was driving down the highway and saw a windmill. It was sitting in a field and was not spinning. I said out loud, “Lord why is the windmill not moving, the wind is blowing?” The Lord answered and said this, “My wind is blowing and some-things refuse to move.”
-
I pondered upon this. My grand-parents had a well and upon it was a windmill. The windmill was there to cause the well to pump water. I found that very fascinating as a child; it reminded me of a metal sunflower. I use to watch it purr and jingle as it twirled within the wind. At times the wind would whirl it around so quickly my heart would wait for it just to fly away; but it always stayed put!
-
... I began to think of what the Holy Spirit said to me… “My wind is blowing and some-things refuse to move.” I thought of the windmill on my grand-parents farm…I don’t remember it ever sitting still for long, it was always in motion.
-
Beloved the windmill is like the Holy Spirit within our lives. He positions himself over our pumps and causes them to produce. As He spins we pump more water. He is always in motion and causing us to climb higher. The living water of our God is what He draws out! Out of our belly flows living water. …He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water. (John 7: 38) AMP
-
There may be times we feel as if there is nothing going on. We are not moving fast enough or at all. Remember that the windmill is always in motion wither it be slow or fast…the wind is moving! I encourage you today not to look at the speed of thing but to rest in the promise of what is said. God knows what is up ahead and best for our lives. Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand. (Proverbs 19: 21) AMP
-
…But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Isaiah 40: 31) AMP
-
I love you all, Melanie Owens FathersHeart Ministries© 2011

Melanie Jill Owens2
Melanie Jill Owens
__________________________________________________________________

The Clue

I Still Haven't Found
By: John Eldredge

And I still haven't found what I'm looking for. U2

There is a secret set within each of our hearts. It often goes unnoticed, we rarely can put words to it, and yet it guides us throughout the days of our lives. This secret remains hidden for the most part in our deepest selves. It is simply the desire for life as it was meant to be. Isn't there a life you have been searching for all your days? You may not always be aware of your search, and there are times when you seem to have abandoned looking altogether. But again and again it returns to us, this yearning that cries out for the life we prize. It is elusive, to be sure. It seems to come and go at will. Seasons may pass until it surfaces again. And though it seems to taunt us, and may at times cause us great pain, we know when it returns that it is priceless. For if we could recover this desire, unearth it from beneath all other distractions and embrace it as our deepest treasure, we would discover the secret of our existence.
-
We all share the same dilemma - we long for life and we're not sure where to find it. We wonder if we ever do find it, can we make it last? The longing for life within us seems incongruent with the life we find around us. What is available seems at times close to what we want, but never quite a fit. We must journey to find the life we prize. And the guide we have been given is the desire set deep within, the desire we often overlook, or mistake for something else or even choose to ignore. The greatest human tragedy is simply to give up the search. There is nothing of greater importance than the life of our deep heart. To lose heart is to lose everything. And if we are to bring our hearts along in our life's journey, we simply must not, we cannot abandon this desire. And so Gerald May writes,
-
There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake? Our true identity, our reason for being, is to be found in this desire.
-
The clue as to who we really are and why we are here comes to us through our heart's desire.
-
(Desire , 1,2)
john eldredge
John Eldredge
__________________________________________________________________

Night of Surrendered

Night_of_Surrender
I see Jesus – standing with His disciples – all gathered together in the garden – In the distance I can see the soldiers coming – coming to take Him away. There must me a thousand torches and lanterns forming an eerie luminous snake - As they make their way from the temple mount – down through the ravine of the Kidron and back up toward us.

Standing here now – as an eyewitness – The night before the crucifixion... it is more than an “out of body” experience. I almost
feel like I am invading a sacred moment in time. I feel like maybe I shouldn’t be here today...

“Stay with me – watch and write what you see – record what I show you. – Step through the veil right now and be with me. There is no time and space in the spirit realmneither forward nor back in time. Time has no hold on me- “I Am!!!”

WOW, Jesus – just saying those words
“I Am” shook me to the core. “What infinite power there are in those two words...” “I will watch Lord – and I will record –as you wish...”

The soldiers come closer and closer – the smell of their torches now fills the cool night air. The smell brings with it a sense of evil – like something more has entered our presence then just what - we can see. – The soldiers begin to form a circle around us – Their torches and lanterns forming a mantle, or ball of light - by which dark figures - cast shadows that flicker and dance in the night. I can see the breath of the soldiers – I hear them snorting for air after their hard climb. The night is filled with anxious anger – a palatable driving force- retrained for now – by their leader- their Tribune...

Whom do you seek? Jesus speaks loudly for all to hear...

Jesus of Nazareth! Comes back their reply – The words spoken with arrogance and pride – They are strong and defiant.... BARKED!!! out with extreme distain and irreverence...

“I Am” was all Jesus replied – as I watch even now I see the story unfold as it was told... The army of soldiers all battle hardened and fierce... Are thrown back - lifted off of their feet ! in an explosive sock wave – that emanates from Jesus as its source – Like a stone in thrown in a pound – the ripple effect - knocks them on their backs. They don’t seem to be able to move – there are all caught off guard -paralyzed and pined to the ground. The only ones who are still standing are the disciples, Jesus and myself. Even Judas the trader is laid out – incapacitated...

Jesus asks a second time...
“Whom do you seek?

But this time they answer – with
respect, reference, fear and awe... Quietly they respond... “aahhh... Jesus of Nazareth...?”

“I Am” Jesus says again... and again they are pined harder to the ground.

“I Am --- the one you seek – let these men go free and I will go with you...”

They don’t budge – they can’t move

Peter then takes his sword... One that he had concealed on him... Takes it out/ and cuts of the ear of the chief / temple guard /
Malchus. Going for the his head he misses taking only his ear...

Peter!!! Jesus shouts! – Put that away –
Those who live by the sword – will die by the sword! – Can’t you see... I have this under control? I don’t need your help! – Shall I not drink of the cup that the father has for me to drink? Now go – get out of here...

The disciples – take off – scattering in all directions...

OK... I am ready – you may take me now... Jesus says...
Surrendering to their will...

The soldiers slowly get up... Two soldiers come near Jesus - sheepishly – Jesus offers up His hands - They bind Him - and begin to lead him away...

Jesus turns to me and says...

I willing did this – I surrendered –
so you could live! --- I laid down my lifeI died for you...

Yes Lord – I say now crying...

Jesus still looking at me asks...

Will you die for me –
So I can live in you?

Yes Jesus – I love you so much...

“I love you too...” Jesus says... as they take Him away...

Pastor, Ben Andrews

BenandMary5
Ben and Mary Andrews
__________________________________________________________________

THE QUESTION THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

Selling_Christianity
By David Ryser
A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: "Christianity started in Israel as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise." Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old, barely out of diapers, and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, "An enterprise. That's a business." After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha's raised hand, "Yes, Martha." She asked such a simple question, "A business? But isn't it supposed to be a body?" I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, "Yes." She continued, "but when a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?" The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, "Wow, I wish I'd thought of that." I didn't dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class. Martha's question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. "When a body becomes a business, isn't that a prostitute?" There is only one answer to her question, The Answer is "Yes." The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don't even know Him; and I mean REALLY KNOW Him. ....I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God…much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don't care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ - - that's pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers.... How can we love someone we don't even know? And, even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

Robin O'Dell_L
From: Robin O'Dell

Thanks Robin – This article really blew me away... Really something to think about. WOW! Awesome!
Ben...
__________________________________________________________________

What Had He Done?

Jesusandtheives

The people were many and the cry was loud
“Crucify, crucify!” came out from the crowd

The faint sound, a whisper, ran fast through the streets,
“What has He done? Why won’t He speak?”

Thrice, then the cock crowed, His last friend was gone,
Still the crowd mocked, but what had He done?

On His head a thorn crown was placed,
All human likeness had hence been erased.

A robe of purple was give to wear.
They tore from his beard, great handfuls of hair.

Once more from the mob came out the fierce call,
“Crucify! Crucify up on Mount Skull!”

Up the steep road He carried the cross,
Knowing today His life would be lost.

They pierced through His hands with old rusty nails.
Then through His feet. Oh, the pain that prevailed!

With all of His weight and the weight of the cross,
The sound of flesh tearing as it plunged in the rocks.

The earth trembled ’neath the darkening skies,
The mocking ceased as they looked in his eyes.

Not hatred or madness from Him did ascend,
But love and kindness from a heart-broken friend.

With one final breath, “It’s finished!” He cried,
He gave up the ghost and willingly died.

“Oh, what has He done?” I cried with a shout.
“And where is this paradise He told me about?”

The cold over-whelmed me, but now I’m so warm,
For now I’m in Heaven, this thief’s been reborn.

jesus-cross-407x1

Ben Andrews, Sr./ Treasure State Academy/Mar. 1979

BenandMary5
Ben and Mary Andrews
__________________________________________________________________

Let's Go Slay Some Dragons...

dragon01
I will never leave you nor forsake you... You are well able to accomplish the task that I have set before you... Rise up and be counted among the very elect... I am raising up warriors for such a time as this... I am placing around you a peculiar people – warriors that will stand by your side – when all others run... they will not! Are you with me? Yes Lord.. I am...Ok Then, let’s go slay some dragons...


Pastor, Ben Andrews

BenandMary5
Ben and Mary Andrews
__________________________________________________________________

Kind To Wounded Hearts


Wounded Heart
He, the Messiah, is kind to wounded hearts.
He does not turn away from our naked, raw hurt.
No, he does not, ever will turn away.
He turns to us and embraces us in His carpenter's strong arms.
He will take up all our broken pieces,
and make us brand new.



DottieHart
Dorothy Hart
__________________________________________________________________

Inside Our Protector

God's_Armor

I love dreaming God's word. Col 2:6 "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him."

Last night I dreamed God was this coat of armor and I got inside it and was walking around. No one knew it was me and I was protected. That is my hearts desire today that people do not see me but see God and oh yes we have protection. Ye have Jesus so walk ye in him.

At first it was a little clumsy because you know our flesh loves to have control - but as I submitted to the movements of the coat of armor I was “be bopping” all over the place... I love dreaming Gods word but I must say... I know this word is for someone that feels vulnerable and anxious...

Come with me climb inside our God - and walk - yes live –
inside our protector..

Paul_Conger
Paul Conger
__________________________________________________________________

Let It Rain


Let_It_Rain

Let it rain...
Let it rain...
Let it rain...
Pour out your spirit Lord...
Let it rain...Let it rain ....
...Fill me up till I over flow...
Let it rain ....Let it rain...
My heart is longing...
Send the latter rain...
Let it rain ...Let it rain....


Melanie_Jill_Owens3
Melanie Jill Owens
__________________________________________________________________

Thinking Differently About Church…

by Bob Hamp
Pendulum


Figuring out what we are doing wrong is not always the key to doing it right.  In fact, often, figuring out what we are doing wrong is the first step to doing it wrong again, but in a new way that deceptively feels like we have fixed the problem.

Here is an example; If you eat too many Oreo’s and you decide that this is wrong, you commit, instead, to only eating lettuce. Beginning on this journey of lettuce only pseudo-freedom, feels so productive until someone waves an Oreo under your nose.  You resist.  Then, the boss yells at you, your kids get put in jail, and your car is totalled in a freak accident.  Now you seek out and devour an entire shelf of Oreo’s.

The problem is that your solution was in response the problem of
what you eat, but you never addressed the problem of why you eat.

Defining the problem correctly is always the first step to an effective and lasting solution.

I am pleased we live in a time when the church seems to be diagnosing themselves better.  We have come to recognize that our separatist, judgmental, and cognitive past has

been an obstacle to really engaging and changing the world.  I am concerned however that as we smugly acknowledge how wrong our predecessors did church, that we might settle for something that feels better and deceptively makes us think we have solved the problem.

We have answered the question: “What are we trying to fix?” in this way.  We are trying to fix the churches mistakes.

What if we are actually trying to fix the problem of man’s state of existence and our separation from God?  What if we are trying to fix the problem of man being his own source?  What if we make this shift to a kinder and gentler, more culturally relevant church and we the people, are still the source of that change?

As we combat what Dallas Willard calls the “gospel of sin management” what if we simply shift over to managing the sin of the churches historical ineffectiveness? We might temporarily feel a bit better, but stumble again in a few decades and try again to manage the sin of an ineffective church.

For too long a season, we (the church) focused on trying to get people to get their sinful behavior under control.  We became known as a judgmental, non-loving group.

So now we focus on being less judgmental and more loving.  But if we are the source of those changes, we have not solved the problem that God is trying to solve.

God is trying to solve the problem of a human race, cut off from his Presence. God is trying to solve the problem of a human race who have became their own source.   Jesus said, “…I came that you might have life, and life abundantly.” He came that the Spirit of Life might again come to, and work through the human race.

If we move from our place of judgment to simply a place of greater love and acceptance we may inadvertently leave scores of people in the trap of a lifetime of bondage.  Jesus did not come to offer simply love and acceptance.  He came to bring the Presence of God’s power into the reality of human suffering. He came to move us back to a place where He was our source, and we did not solve our problems based on our knowledge of good and evil, and our ability to figure stuff out.

We must be willing to believe and declare that people are trapped, while offering them the access to God’s presence and freedom.  The same access that Jesus made available to the human race. Being nice does not set captives free.  Minimizing their trap, cannot get them out of it.

Let’s not answer the question, how have we done church poorly. Let’s be sure we answer the question:  What is the problem that Jesus came to solve?

page0-page0-bob_hamp

Bob Hemp

__________________________________________________________________

MOST WORTHY

rain_face
Just as the seven seas circle our world
So does our King's glory
Most Holy God - worthy of all praise.

We lift up our hands to the Savior and God
Of all that is good and true
Glory in the highest - the angels sing
Divine voices filling the heavens

I come just as I am Lord,
With only Your name on my lips
Thank you, Almighty God
For Your justice, peace, love and grace

We lift up our voices high
As they touch the sky
And wait for Your blessings
To fall like rain


David Mattioli
__________________________________________________________________

The Shadow of The Cross

shadow-of-cross
The shadow of the Cross
has never faded away.
The years have flown away,
still it remains.
Though man rale and riot and
deny His existence, the shadow remains.
Broken and ruined lives find life in it's shadow.
They rise whole, joyful, in awe within
the shadow of the Cross.
Though His Earth lies captive, torn and bruised
from it’s decadent, desperate plunge, still
the shadow remains....
Will remain until  the Cross no more lies in shadow
but shines forever in His Light.
~ hartsong ~
~ Dottie Hart ~


DottieHart
Dorothy Hart
__________________________________________________________________

As Good as It Gets?

another-world
As Good as It Gets?
If for all practical purposes we believe that this life is our best shot at happiness, if this is as good as it gets, we will live as desperate, demanding, and eventually despairing men and women. We will place on this world a burden it was never intended to bear. We will try to find a way to sneak back into the Garden and when that fails, as it always does, our heart fails as well. If truth be told, most of us live as though this life is our only hope.

In his wonderful book The Eclipse of Heaven, A. J. Conyers put it quite simply: "We live in a world no longer under heaven." All the crises of the human soul flow from there. All our addictions and depressions, the rage that simmers just beneath the surface of our Christian facade, and the deadness that characterizes so much of our lives has a common root: We think this is as good as it gets. Take away the hope of arrival and our journey becomes the Battan death march. The best human life is unspeakably sad. Even if we manage to escape some of the bigger tragedies (and few of us do), life rarely matches our expectations. When we do get a taste of what we really long for, it never lasts. Every vacation eventually comes to an end. Friends move away. Our careers don't quite pan out. Sadly, we feel guilty about our disappointment, as though we ought to be more grateful.

Of course we're disappointed-we're made for so much more. "He has also set eternity in the hearts" (Eccl. 3:11). Our longing for heaven whispers to us in our disappointments and screams through our agony. "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy," C. S. Lewis wrote, "the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."

(The Sacred Romance , 179-80)



john eldredge
John Eldredge
__________________________________________________________________

Someone Needs To Hear


can_you_hear_me

Someone needs to hear:
I have heard your heart-cry and I am near.
I will never leave or forsake you child.
The matter of your heart is important to me.
I ask you now to trust me in this matter.
...Let me have it completely and know I am strengthening you.
What you deemed as impossible is to man,
All things are possible for me your God!
So rest now...I am moving and I am an on-time God
~~
Daddy God

Melanie_Jill_Owens3
Melanie Jill Owens
__________________________________________________________________

A Word To Those Who Are Weary In Well Doing

Weary_Warrior

A word to those who are weary in well doing.

See a place of great beauty,
A perfect place of great tenderness with Jesus..
A true, real peace.
...
Find restoration, rest, and release in the secret dwelling of the most High God.
Find purpose, a space for wounded warriors to recharge before they step
out again into the battlefield.

See them, with sighs, laying their swords in His lap…
And then lying facedown in His presence serene and safe.




DottieHart
Dorothy Hart
__________________________________________________________________

A World Without Love

World_Without_love

A lot of people wonder why there’s so much pain and suffering in our world. If God is in control (and he is), why doesn’t he prevent more pain? Why has he made a world in which evil, not only exists, but seems to often go unchecked?

 One possible option is to think of God as a sovereign puppet-master. He pulls all the strings. If this is true, then evil exists because God wills it to exist. Evil, pain, and suffering are tools in the hand of a sovereign God who uses them to accomplish his purposes. In this view, creatures have no genuine freedom, for every choice is determined by God’s own sovereign will. My choices. Your choices. Everyone’s. If God truly pulls all the strings, then I think this is the only intellectually honest explanation available to us.

But what if he doesn’t pull all the strings? That’s the other option.
Some will immediately object to this view, arguing that this possibility undermines the sovereignty of God.

It doesn’t.

In fact, quite the opposite is true. To propose that for God to create a world in which he doesn’t pull all the strings would undermine his sovereignty is to make one of two statements about God’s sovereignty: either God can’t make such a world, or merely that he hasn’t made such a world. The second option simply begs the question. The first, that God can’t have created genuinely free creatures, directly challenges his sovereignty.

I recognize that many strongly believe that God hasn’t granted genuine freedom to humans. They are free to think that way, thus affirming my point.

If it is true that God has given free will to creatures (men, angels), then there are certain concepts that follow from this. Choices require options, alternatives. These options must be real and proportional. If God gives me the very real capacity to be a powerful source of blessing in my children’s lives, then, at the same time, there are few people with a  greater capactity to harm them. It is nonsensical to consider a world in which I have genuine freedom to bless with no option to do otherwise.

It is feasible to consider a world in which creatures have no capacity to harm, only to bless, but not while maintaining genuine freedom. In this hypothetical world where nothing bad ever happens, God must be pulling all the strings.

Either …
    The first option (1) is clearly not the case. The following two options (2) and (3) are the only viable alternatives.

    If we hold to (2), then we must determine that God, as the source of evil, is either (a) evil, or (b) good, but using evil to accomplish a greater good. Many believers who hold that God pulls all the strings actually balance these two options. Theologically, they affirm (b), while inwardly they retain a non-verbalized resentment toward the God they blame for their pain.

    If we embrace (3), then we see that God is not to blame for evil, he is not the source of evil. Instead, we find that evil exists because free creatures have chosen it. This is the only option where moral responsibility of creatures makes any sense.

    Once option (3) is chosen, another question follows. Why? Why has God made a world in which creatures have the capacity to cause so much suffering and pain?

    The answer, I believe, is love.

    Love is the kind of thing that must be chosen. You can have love-like behavior that is compelled, but you cannot have determined love. It is in the choosing that love is given. A world in which creatures cannot choose is also a world in which creatures cannot love. Pain and suffering in my life are a direct result of my choices, the choices of other men and women, or the choices of other creatures like fallen angels.

    Could God have prevented all this? Yes. He is sovereign. But he hasn’t.

    Why?

    It’s not because God likes to use pain to teach me lessons. That’s not it. It’s because God values love. A world without choices is a world without love. Yes, it also could be a world without pain, a world of well-behaved robots. I don’t want that kind of world. I’m convinced God doesn’t either.

    Having said all that, I’m continually amazed at God’s resourcefulness. He has an amazing knack for redeeming, healing, and restoring. He doesn’t ever waste my pain. He brings good from it.

    He doesn’t choose it, but he has chosen to make a world within which such things occur. And when they occur, he doesn’t merely explain my pain, he enters into it; he takes it upon himself. He chooses. He loves.
    “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” ” (Matthew 26:39, ESV)

    Pasted Graphic
    Alan Smith
    __________________________________________________________________

    God Yearns To Be Known

    passersby
    God yearns to be known. But he wants to be sought after by those who would know him. He says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13). There is dignity here; God does not throw himself at any passerby. (Captivating)

    john eldredge
    John Eldredge
    __________________________________________________________________

    All Men Die; Few Men Ever Really LIVE

    Hanging_On
    The most dangerous man on earth is the man who has reckoned with his own death. All men die; few men ever really live. Sure, you can create a safe life for yourself . . . and end your days in a rest home babbling on about some forgotten misfortune. I'd rather go down swinging. Besides, the less we are trying to "save ourselves," the more effective a warrior we will be. Listen to G. K. Chesterton on courage:
    --
    Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. "He that will lose his life, the same shall save it" is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. The paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.
    (Wild at Heart , 169)

    john eldredge
    John Eldredge
    __________________________________________________________________

    Before there were Places and Planets

    Places_and_Planets
    Before there were place and planets, while geography had yet to be invented, there was the Ongoing Expression of the Eternally Creating One. This Expression was always with the One-Who-Was-Speaking and It  was itself, the One-Who-Was-Speaking. He always had been both Being and Expressing, The One. In Him was aliveness, and that aliveness, opened the eyes of men and women and allowed them to see and think differently.  Though the illumination of that aliveness broke forth among those who could not see, and whose eyes and minds were darkened, none who were in that darkened state could really comprehend, much less fully see all that this illumination was.

    One of these, who could not see, one of these who themselves came forth from the Eternally Creating One, was named John. God used a blinded one to try to help the other blinded ones come to recognize and understand the Illumination and Expression of The One. By this it was possible that other blinded ones might see more than they could see alone.

    John was NOT the Illumination or the Expression, but the Eternally Creating One sent John that he might express in the language and style of the blinded ones Who and What was true about the Illumination.

    There was One Absolute and Undiluted Light which entered into places and planets and brought to men’s and women’s minds a way to see and a way to think which would allow them to know Truth from outside themselves.

    Even though He engaged with and within places and planets, and placed His feet on pathways and roadways, and even though places, planets and pathways were all made by His very Expression, somehow the blinded ones, we who live on planets and in places did not grasp that walking among us was the One-Who-Spoke-Us-Alive. The Expression and the Illumination came right to us, His very children, and His beloved ones, and we fought to not receive thoughts and understanding about The One, or The One Himself.

    But Some Did.

    To Those, He spoke within them the very expression of Himself that was alive from the beginning, to those He called them His Children. And because His Voice creates things, calling them His Sons and Daughters made it so.

    These did not come into Aliveness because they had bones, and brains, and they did not come into aliveness because they descended from other blinded ones. They came into Being and Aliveness because the Ever-Creating-One Spoke and they were.

    In one of the greatest acts of love and humility ever, The Ever Creating One, so that He might embrace and restore His children spoke Himself into the same form and body that the blinded ones inhabited. Some who looked saw. They saw more than the upright physique of another blinded one.  They saw that in and through this One the Ever Creating One was also the Ever-Expressing-One, expressing His Goodness, His Beauty, His Affection, His Power, and His deep deep Never ending, always giving Love, and they knew.  The blinded ones knew that this Love and Goodness had to have come from the One who started it all, and the  One from Whom all things had always originated.  They saw all that was True, overflowing with a molten, never-ending stream of love, and life-giving power.

    (This is my take on John 1:1-14)


    page0-page0-bob_hamp

    Bob Hemp

    __________________________________________________________________

    Healing Waters

    Healing Waters

    The healing waters of my heart are flowing swiftly, Leap forth into the goodness and tenderness of my love, I have what you need all is complete within my heart, Now the pain goes, fear releases, and hope and love abound, Release and praise me today I have touched you fresh and anew! ~~Daddy God

    by: Melanie Jill Owens

    Melanie Jill Owens
    Melanie Jill Owens
    __________________________________________________________________

    The Very Thing...

    That_Thing_About_You

    The very thing that the enemy attacks "about you"
    -
    Is the very thing God loves the most
    "about you".


    Example: If God has called you: "Faithful one"
    Don't be surprised if the enemy tries to discredit that very thing
    "about you".

    This is a war against - His design.
    -
    I know it hurts - but don't take it personal…
    -
    I know...
    Easier said than done, Right?


    Remember... The enemy uses people to accomplish his will - They themselves are being attacked as well...
    If we let God accomplish " His will" in us
    -
    Then the whole attack is called off - due to the lack of participation...


    Pastor, Ben Andrews

    BenandMary5
    Ben and Mary Andrews
    __________________________________________________________________

    My Prayer for the "Faithful"

    Open_Our_Eyes

    Father God – I ask you today – to open the eyes and ears of our hearts. Open our understanding and give us your wisdom. Let all of our selfish wants and desires fall like chaff to the ground and blow away in the wind. Create in us a clean heart O’ Lord – renew our spirits – strengthen us for your plans and destinies. Lord if you would open our eyes – we would look - and then we would turn - and be changed into the people you desire us to be. Lord we want to see you – we long - in our hearts to know you deeper – more intimately. Lord we seek your face and no other do we seek. You are our Great God- Our deliverer – Our Savior – Our Friend.

    Lord, lifter of our heads… Remember us… We are your bride. We will keep our lamps lit with the oil of your Holy Spirit. Fill us Lord – with so much of your Light and Love that the world only sees you - in us. We abide in you and you in us. Let your power and eternal flame consume us and refine us – into the spotless Bride of Christ… Amen

    Pastor, Ben Andrews

    BenandMary5
    Ben and Mary Andrews

    __________________________________________________________________