Archives for January2011

Let’s Get MESSY!!!

“Don’t worry… someday we will laugh about this.”

Messes Make Memories

“If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” Luke 9:5

It is NOT very often that I will recommend getting “dirty”, after all- just yesterday we were washing our spiritual faces and cleansing ourselves of the figurative mud left on and in us. Today however is not about getting spiritually “messy”. It is about NOT being afraid to make memories in lieu of life’s major and minor messes. Getting dirty in the “natural” (while staying uncompromisingly righteous in spirit and morality) can be a TON of fun!

I was talking with a good friend the other day, about what we do and do not let our children do. Like help us do dishes, clean house, paint walls, mow lawns… etc etc. This reminded me of our last summer, when I had my 10 &12 year olds yielding paint rollers, painting the hallway -complete with painters tape and brush. They really enjoyed the experience (making memories) and even my 7 year old was on clean-up detail. This worked for me! I wasn’t necessarily looking for “perfect”, it was not beyond my abilities to clean up after the misses.

As I was looking for a good scripture, in which to illustrate the point that “messes make memories” I was drawn to Luke 9:5. This famous scripture involves the “dusting off” of feet when someone does not receive your message. While it may be a stretch in illustration, it is a messy memory maker. The disciples are basically being told to leave a town, and CLEAN off your sandals of ANYTHING that reminds you of the way things used to be. MAKE A BIG MESS… MESSES MAKE MEMORIES. (Can’t you just see clouds of dust wafting up into the air as the disciples were all dusting off their Birkenstocks!)

When we look at our “messed” up lives, all the heart-ache, pain and sorrow- we may wonder… can we EVER get cleaned up?

The “Messier” We Are, the Better!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Cor 5:17

Christ’s death on the cross was neither clean nor private. It was messy and violent, painful and bloody. Jesus bleed from at least seven places on His way to and while on the cross.

  1. He sweat [as*] blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. [Luke 22:44] *depends on interpretation
  2. He bleed through his feet. [Psalm 22:16]
  3. He bleed through his hands. [John 20:25]
  4. He bleed through his head. [John 19:2]
  5. He bleed from his back. [John 19:1]
  6. He bleed internally. [Isaiah 53:5]
  7. He bleed through the piercing of His side. [John 19:34]

Yes, Christ’s death WAS MESSY. But what a MEMORY! Through His sacrifice, His blood shed- history became permanently impacted and an unwashable memory made!  There is something that happens when messes our made… the identity of the thing involved IS PERMANENTLY CHANGED.

Permanent change, comes from identity change. If your son takes your car for a joy ride, and gets in a fender bender… will your car ever BE the same? If your daughter helps you in the kitchen with dishes and breaks a cup… will it ever BE the same? NO! The cup and the car have taken on a NEW identity- how you handle the “accident” is based on your level of maturity NOT theirs.

When we look at our “messed” up lives, all the heart-ache, pain and sorrow- we may wonder… can we EVER get cleaned up? Could I EVER be clean? Scripture says YES! YES! Because, when you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior- you are not a “sinner” any more- you are saved by grace! You are now a “CHRISTIAN”  A follower of Christ. You have a new identity, and the day you turn your life over to Lord becomes a BENCH mark in your own personal history- because the day you CHOOSE Christ becomes memorable! Not only will you notice it- everyone else will too!

I find it funny how it seems as if (to God) the messier… THE BETTER! Look at the transformations of Moses (a murderer), David (an adulterer, and murderer), Job (a fearful man), and of course Saul who later became Paul! God isn’t looking for “perfection” He is looking for men and women who desire to begin making MEMORIES for and WITH Him!


“If they can clean THAT up..”

There is NO Mess Too Big For God To Clean UP

The week of March 24, 1989, permanently changed my life. On March 24, 1989, a vessel named Exxon Valdez ran aground on resulting in the second largest spill in United States history. The size of the spill was estimated at 40,900 to 120,000 m3 (10,800,000 to 32,000,000 USgal), or 257,000 to 750,000 barrels. The oil spill off the shore of Alaska became named The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.

I will never forget being a twelve year old girl watching the news as humanitarians were using “Dawn” liquid dish detergent to carefully scrub each feather off oil ridden birds. Birds and wildlife had been plagued with the oil spill, and as I watched them being gently bathed and washed (many, many of them) I decided that if they could clean up birds after an oil spill there was NO mess too BIG to clean up.

As a mother, I have learned that letting my children “get messy” does a couple of things- #1 It teaches them that failing is “AOK” and actually a part of life, #2 It creates a MEMORY, “Remember the time when Johnny put the car in drive and ran over the neighbors rose bushes?!”, #3 It demonstrates to others that every mess… CAN be cleaned up, and that NOTHING is too big to be cleaned up! (Just like you and me!)

“Who needs clean?”

Let’s Make a MESS!

As a new mother, with my first son- I never let him do anything that would get him messy. I was always a control nutso, I ALWAYS fed him out of a jar. I never let him feed himself, and FORGET sandboxes, mud, pudding- all the FUN stuff! Instead, he ate simple food and was in no way going to get “messy”. As a now experienced mother of 5, I can tell you that was A MISTAKE. EVERYDAY that someone breaks something, scuffs something, scratches something, tears something, rips something, and breaks something- is a day a MEMORY is made.

What is in your life that you have let get “too clean”? When was the last time you jumped into something with both feet and “made a mess”? Where are those dreams of yours- gone? Today is a day to be BOLD and create a mess, so big that you will be FORCED to have to clean up after it… AND be forced to have to remember the way your life was before and after the decision was made. Dear friends, don’t go through life NOT living… cleanse yourself in spirit and mind daily, but let’s not forget that: “Anything WORTH doing is WORTH doing poorly!” – G. K. Chesterton

God Bless you friends as you step out in faith and plan to “get messy!” God is right there with you, and I know you will begin to make memories together!

Love Always,

Jessica

Jessica Heilman is a Christian author, Preacher, wife and mother of 5. She blogs daily on life, family, and her walk with Christ in a modern and Biblically-applicable way. She believes that the Bible is timeless, and that it is THE foundational reading for the 21rst Century in regards to wholehearted living. Her mission daily: to do everything she possibly can to hasten the return of the coming Christ.

NEW! TWEETGIVING! For every new twitter follower Jessica receives in the month of January, she will be donating $1 (up to $200) to charitable organizations. Your follow counts! You can follow Jessica on Twitter @: http://twitter.com/imwholeheartedtell your friends!

NEW! Jessica has started a NEW Blog about her life as a mom, sharing with others her challenges and victories in parenthood/life. You can read these blogs at http://www.onewholemom.blogspot.com

You can subscribe to Jessica’s blogs and articles via email here @:http://feeds.feedburner.com/WholeheartedMinistries[Please, do not forget to verify your email address, when you receive a confirmation email]

You can become a fan of Wholehearted Ministries on Facebook @:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wholehearted-Ministries/75471627683

You can always contact Jessica @ jessica@wholeheartedministries.com


Are You Faithful or Just Full of… Hard Work?


We must be found “clean” down to even the minutest detail, from what we say to what we think… even to what we become witness to.

Walking Around Without Mud on Your Face

The thing a wicked man fears shall come upon him, but the desire of the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall be granted. Proverbs 10:24 AMP

Why do you wash your face? I mean, you don’t really have to. It won’t fall off, it won’t cause you to get sick… it would just be “dirty”. Yet, we still go through the process of washing and cleaning our faces so we can be “presentable”.

In the proverbs 10:24 amplified scripture, one cannot overlook this stanza without interest: “the desire of the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall be granted”. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Having your DESIRE granted?

While the Lord is the Mastermind and He has a timing that is perfect- this scripture holds within it a critical key to unlocking our answered prayers and “granted desires”. All who “desire” their prayers to be answered must walk righteous and uncompromisingly. What does THAT mean? Very much like not leaving the house with mud on your face… our prayers will begin to be answered as we choose to walk cleanly and NOT compromise in what and how we handle our everyday situations. We must be found “clean” down to even the minutest detail, from what we say to what we think… even to what we become witness to. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

A witness ALSO is an observer.

We Are MORE Than Just Message Deliverers- We Are Observers

For you will be His witness unto all men of everything that you have seen and heard. Acts 22:15

We know from scripture that we are called to be “WITNESSES” of Christ, and that we are to tell others about Him, but being a witness for Christ doesn’t stop at just TELLING others about Him- it also means we are to be WITNESS only of things that glorify Him! A witness ALSO is an observer.

When you decide that the beer isn’t working for you, the casual sex isn’t satisfying, the endless shopping isn’t filling you up- one of two things will happen:

  1. You WILL either turn to God and faith, and pray to “feel better” by being willing to “clean up your life”. OR
  2. You will begin to WORK harder than you have ever worked before, and there will be NO rest.


While the opposite of “faith” is fear. Many of us translate our FEAR into “work”. A completed Christian who communicates regularly with their Father understands the delicate balance between the two, (Faith and Work, Rest and Play) but a person who has NO discernment and NO voice of the Lord to follow and draw from will either GIVE UP their cares and begin TRUSTING in the Lord (Wanting to hear from Him) … or GIVE INTO their cares to an “inward strength” and attempt to solve lives nuances with endless WORK. Walking with God “uncompromisingly” simply means giving up and trusting 100% in the Lord (AND HIS POWER), and putting away and behind you all things that compromise the Word. The Word as a source, comes from our time spent reading the Bible, memorizing and LIVING by it. It in its very nature builds faith once it has been sown into our hearts. One of Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “How is it that you are going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (Read John 14:22-23)

What Is Your Tendency… WORK or REST in Faith?

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Gal. 3:13

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

There are only two choices in life, whether you choose to admit that or not. Even if you believe in evolutionism your only two choices are- evolutionism vs Creationism. In life, there are only two choices- FAITH or FEAR. It is only by God’s grace and through His Counselor, that we are able to “IN FAITH” seek Him and ASK Him the who, what, when, where, how and WHY we should be doing and what we should be “working” on. Seeking God TAKES faith, IS faith, and REQUIRES faith. Hard work alone requires nothing but PHYSICAL ability. This physical power alone, NEVER lasts and is never the solution- but 99% of the time, ALWAYS causes our problems.

“Old Faithful” 100% reliable… 100% pure. Bull- here today, gone tomorrow.

So… Which Are You, FAITHFUL or HARD WORKING?

For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,'” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. Hebrews 4:3 NLT

There is nothing wrong with hard work. But there is something wrong with trying to improve on God. God + House, God + Spouse, God + Car, God + Kids… is NO better than GOD alone. As you begin to walk in faith, righteousness and as an uncompromising (a FIRM NO means NO, and YES means YES) follower of Christ, you will begin to see your prayers getting answered and your life cleaning up. Being in FAITH will give you a “good work” to do, WORK alone… will only give you MORE WORK.

God has a rest for you that you have never experienced, if you have not yet SOLD out to Him 100%.

What is your movie watching habit, your friends, your dress, your book reading? Do you have gossip magazines, and sit-coms, and pornography on the web? Have things that once were not ok… become ok to you now? Has others agendas left you asking… is there any hope? Has that which God has called abominable become funny to you? (Rev 21:8) Do you find yourself laughing at others misfortunes instead of praying for them? THEN REPENT! Ask the Lord to forgive you, and recommit again to follow after Him! Jesus! The Son of God!… HE IS CALLING OUT FOR YOU AND HE WANTS YOU BACK!

Guess what… Give it up and commit to JUST GOD- JUST JESUS, ALL THE TIME 24/7… and you just might find yourself being BLESSED!

May God Bless you my friends, as you remember WHOSE YOU ARE,

Love Always-

Jessica

Jessica Heilman is a Christian author, Preacher, wife and mother of 5. She blogs daily on life, family, and her walk with Christ in a modern and Biblically-applicable way. She believes that the Bible is timeless, and that it is THE foundational reading for the 21rst Century in regards to wholehearted living. Her mission daily: to do everything she possibly can to hasten the return of the coming Christ.

NEW! TWEETGIVING! For every new twitter follower Jessica receives in the month of January, she will be donating $1 (up to $200) to charitable organizations. Your follow counts! You can follow Jessica on Twitter @: http://twitter.com/imwholeheartedtell your friends!

NEW! Jessica has started a NEW Blog about her life as a mom, sharing with others her challenges and victories in parenthood/life. You can read these blogs at http://www.onewholemom.blogspot.com

You can subscribe to Jessica’s blogs and articles via email here @:http://feeds.feedburner.com/WholeheartedMinistries[Please, do not forget to verify your email address, when you receive a confirmation email]

You can become a fan of Wholehearted Ministries on Facebook @:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wholehearted-Ministries/75471627683

You can always contact Jessica @ jessica@wholeheartedministries.com

May the Church Wail NO LONGER

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28

A Vision From Heaven

Have you ever had a vision of something happening? A wide awake dream in which you see something-perhaps even before it has happened? Maybe a vision that gives you a deeper understanding and causes you to say… “Oh, so THAT’S what that means!” Some like to refer to déjà vu AFTER a vision has manifested itself, and some see visions of things in the spirit that are actual visual metaphors. The Lord graces them with the ability to “see” into the spirit realm so that they can explain to others in more clarity what is really going on behind-the-scenes.

Last night I had one of those visions. The kind of blessed vision that the Lord uses to help me understand deeply complex and spiritual problems, then helps me to illustrate to others why things are happening- and more importantly what changes need to be made. I am not at liberty to share with you ALL of the details (as the Lord requested I do not), but I can share with you the message and the intent that I received from what I saw.

There will be a day!

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:4

A Weeping Church

Last night we went to our Wednesday evening church service, it was a cold and brisk January night. There was nothing out of the ordinary about my arrival, or the air or anything like that. I have known for a while now that there has been turmoil in the church (the church, meaning in general) and many church goers have been dissatisfied with the messages that they have been hearing their Pastors give. Time and time again I have heard of Pastoral indifferences, and members who are exhausted from trying to fit round pegs into square holes in their lives. This church however on Wednesday nights teaches a Bible study, and I have been very happy with its teachings. It wasn’t until more than half way through the sermon that I began to notice things changing.

I tuned out for a minute and stopped listening to the message, (this was atypical of me, as I am usually somewhere near the front and in plain view of the preacher) instead I started looking around the room. (You how have experienced visions-know what I am talking about, that day dreamy type tune out) I looked around the room at the lights, the ceiling, the stately columns all the things that made up the church. I looked to the balcony, and as I glanced up at the wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling curtains, I saw water drops start weeping down the walls of the church. Tears they were, salt water tears. What I was seeing was that the church was crying.

The weight of those heavy curtains way, way, way up the back of the church was weighing on the church, the cost of the draperies pulling it down. The Lord began to use the church (as a building) to show me the state of our churches in modern-day Christianity. I was shown the expensive sound systems, the light housings, the glowing crosses, the curtains behind where the Pastors preach… each expenditure added more and more tears so much so that the water was beginning to well up.

The Pastor was left standing, the preaching continued- but the entire building was gone.

I Saw the Pastor Continue to Preach and the Building Being Washed Away

There then became so much water in the walls that they turned to solid water, there was no more brick and mortar. The church to me was looking more and more like a clear and translucent Jello mold. The hard walls vanished, and I could see only walls of water, where the foundational walls had once been. As if held back by glass, there were waves of salty teary water nearly over flowing. It was only by the hand of God that the water remained held back.

Not long after I began to see this vision, the Lord permit me to see the building being washed away. As I closed my eyes, I could see the Pastor remain preaching, and waves of water wash over him as the large building of water gave under the pressure of the water, and as a dam breaks- so did the invisible force that was holding it together broke. The Pastor was left standing, the preaching continued- but the entire building was gone. This was the end of the vision.

What Did it All Mean?

It isn’t everyday you come in contact with crying buildings. I don’t usually sit next to rocks and talk to them, and find out what is wrong. Last night was a different story though. The vision was so real, and the spiritual weeping that I saw the building make was so true that after the service (probably looking like a fool), I went up to the churches wall in the sanctuary and laid my hand on it, closed my eyes, and asked the church to tell me what was wrong, why was it so sad? Throwing all of my credibility out-the-window, this was exactly what I knew needed to happen, it felt more like I was laying my hand on an elephant or an animal that can only use expression to explain itself. NO, the wall DID NOT talk back to me. But I did feel it was trying to tell me something.

I continued to touch the churches walls as I walked down the hall, running my hands along them, feeling the bumps of the textured paint. Praying in my spirit for the Lord to explain to me what He wanted me to understand in the vision. What did a “liquified” church mean, how was I permitted to see the church “cry”, and how could I deliver the message that He desired me to deliver?

The Bible says: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Phil 4:4

Clarity and Understanding At Last

After all five of our children were rounded up from the various Church locations, and we were on the road- I needed to go to the store to buy toilet paper and milk. As I was shopping (and thinking), the Lord revealed to me what it was that He wanted me to see. Ever sense I had seen the vision, I kept asking myself… “Why is the building crying? What can we do to STOP the crying? How can I HELP?”

WHAT WAS REVEALED

1. DRY EYES. The only way for the Church to stop crying, is to dry its eyes. We must clean up what goes on inside our churches, what our churches are witness too. We must return to treating our churches as HOLY ground, complete with altars to the Lord.

2. FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY. The fancy fixtures, the extra lighting, the promotional material that is here today and gone as “just a fad” tomorrow, must be thought of in terms of business operations and overhead. No company can continue to operate backwards indefinitely. Our churches are left crying like women with heavy weighted pearls hanging from their ears. They cry in pain, under the weight of  their “jewelry” but their ‘masters’ have commanded them to keep the jewelry on-and continue to add more pearls to them for what the masters consider MORE “beautification”. (When we try to accommodate and make EVERY person happy in a congregation-we quickly go broke. STICK TO THE WORD-STICK to the basics) In order to dry the tears of the church, we as church leaders must choose to spend within our means and live and run DEBT FREE churches.

3. REJOICE. Since the “economic down turn” and “recession” jargon has littered our media and ventured into the pulpit- the majority of the messages from our pulpits have been messages geared to mournful and sorrowful sermons. The worship music pleads for the return of Christ, and the messages evoke a sense of weight and heaviness, burdening the hearts of the church further and its members. This is not a guilt of just one church-this is a guilt of many churches. The Bible says: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Phil 4:4

2011 IS NOT A YEAR TO PREACH A HEAVY LADEN MESSAGE, THE CHURCH IS WAILING… ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

How do you “dry the eyes” of the burdened? How do you remove the pain and the sorrow of a grief riddled man or woman? JOY! JOY! JOY! UNMISTAKABLE JOY! If you are a Pastor, and continue preaching a sorrowful and heavy message for 2011- I am afraid that you will MISS IT. In the vision I had, the church was washed away… when the tears did not stop flowing. Don’t let your church get “washed away” the people are leaving our churches with heavy hearts… so much so that I am having visions of the buildings themselves WEEPING!

Sing unto the Lord a NEW SONG and let us see what the Joy of the Lord will bring!!

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn–shout for joy before the LORD, the King. psalm 98:4-6

Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel. Isaiah 44:23

Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. Isaiah 42:10

JOY! Is an unpopular message at the moment… let us choose to dry the eyes of the church- AND PREACH IT!

Inspiring Others to Heaven, and Delivering Them Straight From Hell

Solomon coined it perfectly when he said, “To everything there is a season, a time and a purpose under heaven”. 2011 IS NOT the season to burden each other with messages of doomsday and grief, recession and unemployment. 2011 is a year to preach a message of righteousness and the hope that springs eternal!

If you desire to teach others to “stay out of hell”, educate them on the glories of heaven and its completed finality. Remind them of the gold streets and mansions that the Lord has prepared for them. Remind them of the Glory of the Lord and the crystal sea! There is NO place on this earth that can compare to the jasper, carbuncle and sardonyx that lies in heaven for us. Read Revelations 21 to your flock, encourage them with what lies ahead! The JOY of the Lord is HERE now, and heaven awaits ALL of us who believe!!! Did Jesus preach hell to the man on the cross? Or did He say “Today wilt thou be with me in Paradise“! The end is near… let us rejoice and be GLAD in it!

Other things cause the church to cry and mourn. Fearful, sad, depressed, and over burdened people. In the first temple, if you were allowed to enter into it- you would have left it a changed man! No one who has ever had contact with God the Father, has remained the same! People need to leave our churches BRAND NEW! Having tasted the presence of God, and WANTING MORE! The church weeps when it is full with people who would “rather be somewhere else”.The Lord does not desire for His people to be in this state.

Counseling people out of this state can be very hard. Just stick to preaching the Bible. If you have a Bible church- you can choose to teach the hope that lies within its pages. People give out of cheerful and JOYOUS hearts. Hearts that are grounded on the Word, firmly planted in the Word and dried up from anxious laborious and mournful toil.

God Bless you my friends as you dry your eyes, and replace those tears with the Joy of the Lord. I am praying for every Pastor and teacher that they would see the opportunity that 2011 presents to them to preach the message of the Joy of the Lord! And that the Light that has come! Jesus IS HERE NOW. While we wait for His millennial reign- THE HOLY SPIRIT IS HERE and the people NEED TO KNOW IT! No more talk of things that weigh us down, no more burdens of the people with costs and financial unaccountability… Let’s let the redeemed of the Lord SAY SO!

Love Always and in Him,

Jessica

Jessica Heilman is a Christian author, Preacher, wife and mother of 5. She blogs daily on life, family, and her walk with Christ in a modern and Biblically-applicable way. She believes that the Bible is timeless, and that it is THE foundational reading for the 21rst Century in regards to wholehearted living. Her mission daily: to do everything she possibly can to hasten the return of the coming Christ.

NEW! TWEETGIVING! For every new twitter follower Jessica receives in the month of January, she will be donating $1 (up to $200) to charitable organizations. Your follow counts! You can follow Jessica on Twitter @: http://twitter.com/imwholehearted tell your friends!

NEW! Jessica has started a NEW Blog about her life as a mom, sharing with others her challenges and victories in parenthood/life. You can read these blogs at http://www.onewholemom.blogspot.com

You can subscribe to Jessica’s blogs and articles via email here @:http://feeds.feedburner.com/WholeheartedMinistries[Please, do not forget to verify your email address, when you receive a confirmation email]

You can become a fan of Wholehearted Ministries on Facebook @:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wholehearted-Ministries/75471627683

Is Your Church… Sick?

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

Back to Basics

It is becoming increasingly more common to hear about churches going through financial challenges having become over extended in their spending and over staffed. In Jerry Cook’s book, Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness:Equipping the Church to Be Truly Christian in a Non-Christian World he speaks of a problem that he had within his own church with his benevolence ministry.

He had discovered that this benevolence ministry had begun to take the place of its members, rather than seeing to each other- they had become 100% dependent on the churches outreach ministry for sustenance. It had become easier for the people to “give” to the church and then watch the church “give it out” to the needy- than for them to give directly to the needy themselves!

They had FORGOTTEN how to take care of the brethren! In response, he as a Pastor IMMEDIATELY cancelled the program, and taught his congregation why. It was not enough just to “have a great idea-to do great things” if the idea took away the enablement of the individual members to DO what was needed to be done for each other. While outreaches to the community, are to be admired, I would strongly caution those who run these types of ministries that they DO NOT come at a cost the church- nor detract from the individual members ability to “see a need and fill it” for themselves. Taking away a persons desire or need to give is DANGEROUS territory for ANY sized church. Most churches are “sick” because their members have desired that they DO NOT need to give. Being a “gateway” or a “portal” for delivery is one thing. Going into debt, or financial distress as a church in order to “meet a community need” can lead to pride and arrogance-and eventually financial ruin, for ANY business-but ESPECIALLY a church who depends on tithes and donations from its members.

Here are Jerry Cook’s own words from pages 118 & 119 in his book:

“East Hill has a benevolence ministry. We give food and clothing to those who are in need. As a part of this ministry, we operated a 17-acre collective farm. Our people marked it off in plots, grew gardens and supplied individuals as well as various social agencies with food. We provided hundreds of pounds of potatoes as well as other vegetables in this way. It was beautiful.

The man who coordinated this effort came to one of our council meetings to request a doubling of funds for the program. His request was legitimate, and he showed just how the funds would be used. But somehow, something didn’t seem right to me. I sensed a hesitation within, and I said, “Wait something is not right here. We need to table this for a while and think about it.”

What was wrong? Only one thing: we were beginning to institutionalize. We were getting everything centralized so that anyone who had goods to give put it in a pot. Then those who had needs were directed to the pot. We were training our people to say to a needy person, “Go on down to the benevolence office, they’ll take care of you.” This would replace, “Oh, you need help; I’d like to do something. We have some extra food. I have some clothes for your children, clothes my little ones have outgrown.”

Although we were acting from the best of motives, we were taking ministry away from the people and institutionalizing it. And it was happening without even realizing it. So we denied budget increase. I went to the congregation, told them about it, and said, “Now you are the benevolence department of this church. The garden plots are yours to continue growing things. But it is up to you to order your lives so that you have resources available to meet people’s needs.”

True, our members couldn’t get a tax break doing it that way. It wouldn’t show on their tithing record. But so what? It is what we give in secret without thought of reward or recognition that most pleases God.”

First our giving goes UP- THEN it goes OUT.

Taking Apart the Scripture

Let us look again at Luke 6:38:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV

STANZA #1:
  • Give, and it will be given to you.

Give in the Greek language (the original language in which Luke was written in, and spoken by Luke himself) is the word didōmi. Didōmi means: to give something to someone, to bestow a gift, to supply, furnish, necessary things, to grant, give to one asking, let have. “Giving” in this stanza DOES NOT mean to just carelessly hand over whatever you don’t need right now and cannot currently use. (This is a Cain type of giving, read the story of Cain & Abel in Genesis 4)

This first stanza in Luke 6:38 is saying: When you graciously give to someone what is unexpected, when you carefully think to furnish others with what is needed, when you bestow an anointing from you unto them… in this SAME manner- things will be done in return to you.

STANZA #2 & 3:

  • A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

What is a good measure”? A good measure here in the Greek are the words  kalos metron. The kalos metron amount is:

kalos (good): beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable, beautiful to look at, shapely, magnificent, good, excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends.

metron (measure): proverbially, the rule or standard of judgment, the required measure, the due, fit, measure, determined extent, portion measured off, measure or limit.

The second stanza in Luke 6:38 goes to a spiritual level. It would be awesome enough if God just left us with the comfort that when we give we get back. But NO! NOT our God! Our God goes further and says when we give out of a generous heart, to fill the needs of others we in return will get back not just the same we gave BUT… we get back in sums of kalos metron! GOOD MEASURE!

From here on, I hope that you understand that when you make the decision to give (no matter how much, or your motives why) YOU ARE GIVING IT FIRST TO GOD. HE is the portal to the blessing, it is in His record the intent of your heart, and it is UP TO HIM HOW exactly you will receive your “good measure”. First our giving goes UP- THEN it goes OUT. “For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” The simplest way that I can explain this exchange or transaction is that God is the intercessor of your giving, even though you may “hand” your giving to a friend, it first goes through a spiritual covering and accepting (or rejecting) from the Father.

The majority of the problem in today’s churches is found in the fact that the members have become apathetic, lethargic, and resentful givers.

Can God “Reject” an Offering?

Yes! Throughout the OT there are many times when the wrath of the Lord fell onto man for unholy and unrighteous giving. 2 Cor 9:7 (AMP) says: Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it”) giver [whose heart is in his giving].

In the KJV it simply states: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

God IS a cheerful giver, and therefore He LOVES a cheerful giver. The majority of the problem in today’s sick churches is found in the fact that their members have become apathetic, lethargic, and resentful givers. They give not in a didōmi way. They give according to and in the likeness of the stubborn and selfish Cain-who ultimately ended up killing his brother in jealousy. The Lord LOVED Abel’s offering, but He rejected Cain and his offering. In the Bible it says that the Lord “Did NOT respect” Cain’s offering. How has this happened?

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Giving From a Grateful Place

Giving from a grateful place requires a soft and malleable heart. It requires love and understanding and a knowledge that WHEN WE GIVE- WE ARE GIVING TO GOD. Each of us who desire to give, who desire to be blessed, who desire to receive “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” MUST UNDERSTAND THAT GOD is the recipient! When you understand this, and the opportunity comes up for you to give… WOOHOO! HALLELUJAH! DO IT! These opportunities to give DO NOT come from satan- he is a DOG, he is not a giver, HE IS A TAKER. These opportunities for you to give- come from the Lord God Almighty HIMSELF! Giving to the homeless? (GOD) Giving to the helpless? (GOD) Giving to your best friend? (GOD) Giving to your family? (GOD) Giving to your church? (GOD) Giving to your mentor or pastor? (GOD!)

Consider these scriptures:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matt 25:31-46

May God continue to Bless you my dear friends, as you give unto God and receive a kelos metron in return!

The Lord Looks For Cheerful Givers

I love that passage in the Amplified Bible: “God loves- He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without a cheerful joyous, “prompt to do it” giver whose heart is in his giving.”

I can just imagine the Lord taking dictation on a virtual spiritual iPad of sorts, I can hear Him going through a list of people and their givings saying… “Resentful gift… check… hateful gift… check… painful gift … check … manipulative gift … check … complaining gift … check (*YAWN*)… GENEROUS GIFT?! WOOHOO!… BLESSED, GOOD MEASURE! ANOINTING RAIN DOWN!… doubtful gift… check … fearful gift… CHEERFUL GIFT?! HALLELUJAH!!… GOOD MEASURE-AMEN!”

May God continue to Bless you my dear friends, as you give unto God and receive a kelos metron in return! A return giving of beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable, beautiful to look at, shapely, magnificent, good, excellent in its nature and characteristics- God the Father’s standard of judgment!

Love Always-

Jessica

Jessica Heilman is a Christian Author, wife, and mother of 5 who periodically posts excerpts from books that she is currently reading. She blogs daily on life, family, and her walk with Christ in a modern and Biblically-applicable way. She believes that the Bible is timeless, and that it is THE foundational reading for the 21rst Century in regards to wholehearted living. Her mission daily: to do everything she possibly can to hasten the return of Christ.

NEW! TWEETGIVING! For every new twitter follower Jessica receives in the month of January, she will be donating $1 (up to $200) to charitable causes-as the Lord leads-… Your follow counts! You can follow Jessica on Twitter @: http://twitter.com/imwholehearted tell your friends!

NEW! Jessica has started a NEW Blog about her life as a mom, sharing with others her challenges and victories inparenthood/life. You can read these blogs at http://www.onewholemom.blogspot.com

You can subscribe to Jessica’s blogs and articles via email here @:http://feeds.feedburner.com/WholeheartedMinistries[Please, do not forget to verify your email address, when you receive a confirmation email]

You can become a fan of Wholehearted Ministries on Facebook @:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wholehearted-Ministries/75471627683

The End Times ?

“I will sweep away both men and animals; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. The wicked will have only heaps of rubble when I cut off man from the face of the earth,” declares the LORD. Zeph 1:3

Birds Falling From the Sky, Earth’s Axis Off by 4°… Are We in the End Times?

Dispensationalism, Armageddon, The Rapture, Revelations… so many “theories” and various conclusions can we in any certainty begin to explain the “End Times” enough to say “We are in them”? Since the ascension of Christ, man has been left looking to the sky for His glorious return, and if we are believing as Fundamentalists- this has been going on 1900+ years!

Every man and woman who has felt the touch of the Holy Spirit and has received Christ and His doctrine, goes to bed thinking, “Is tonight THE night? And wakes up thinking, “Is today THE day”? Of course, there are those who have spent their lives studying the Bible, and have unlocked from it the prophetic symbolisms to point us to the end times portraying exactly who, what, when, and where things need to be in order for Christ to return. There are also those spiritualists that proclaim “Come home Lord, anytime ANY where!”

In such a time as these; birds randomly falling out of the sky, the earth’s magnetic field being off by 4°, earthquakes, floods, men with men, women with women… one would estimate that things could NOT keep going on the same for much longer. It is really rather a self-destructive pattern that mankind has gotten himself into. Polluting the earth, killing off babies, same sex unions, murders, vulgarities, fornications… How can mankind survive?

Thomas Jefferson himself was quoted by saying, “Democracy cannot last more than 200 years”.

Christ is a TODAY-RIGHT-NOW kind of fellow

There is Hope

There is hope for mankind. As much as I would like today’s message to be about the fact that, “There is hope found in Jesus” (a true statement), I am writing today instead to deliver a message that “There is hope in TODAY.” You see, Jesus IS TODAY. Jesus is not yesterday or tomorrow. He is a TODAY-RIGHT-NOW kind of fellow, and it is important to realize that as we believe and trust in Him… all our future (no matter how turbulent it may seem-no matter what time in History we are in) days will be found righteous and Holy, regardless of what we believe in regards to the end times.

Do Not Worry: Taken from Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

How long does it take for God to “get things done”? The Bible says to God a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day. Time-to God-is completely irrelative. His message, Christ’s message is: “There is NO time like the present- Today is THE day.”

“Oh Lord-let me do something.” he implored. “Trust me just to do something for you before you come.” – The Rev. Billy Graham

It is a Time to Be Excited!

On page 61 in David Aikman’s book Billy Graham: His Life and Influence, he briefly describes to us a young Billy Graham’s point of view in regards to the return of Christ:

“For Graham the desire to do something really big for God was growing stronger. At a conference in Michigan, Billy was outside one night with his Florida Bible Institute classmate Roy Gustafson and another speaker admiring the celestial phenomenon of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, when they began to speculate on when they thought the Lord might return. Being dispensationalists, they thought the current turmoil in the world indicated that the “end times”-the period just before the return of Christ-might be at hand. That prompted Graham to say, “I want the Lord to come, but I would sure like to do something great for him before he comes.” The men ended their reflections with prayer, but when it was Billy’s turn to pray, the only thing the others heard was a muffled groaning from the ground. Despite the dew and the fact that he was wearing a suit, Graham was spread-eagled on the grass, like a medieval monk, pleading with God to use him even more. “Oh Lord-let me do something.” he implored. “Trust me just to do something for you before you come.”

For those who love the Lord and desire for Him to return, (understanding that with the return of Christ comes a millennial reign and a ruling of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords on this earth) these “end times” prophecies DO NOT and SHOULD NOT scare us. These are EXCITING times! These times, like NONE OTHER IN HISTORY have given us a “time-stop” in Christ TO GET HIS WORK DONE.

Man was NEVER created to “see” death, we were not originally created to die.

What is God Telling You To Do… TODAY?

So far today 1/11/11; I have gone for a run, made homemade peanut butter, wrote this article,  taken the children for a walk to the library, instituted a “TV Free” day, and I am still open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in order to guide me for what to do next.

Last night/morning He had me up at 2:59AM to read about all of the recent mass deaths of the fish and the birds. It was an odd thing to wake up to do-but it was encouraging and not discouraging at all. How can I say that? I can say that because, I had the manual-HIS WORD-to go to to get answers and explanations. I simply went to my online Bible (www.bible.cc), typed in the key word search “birds and sky” and was bombarded with all the Biblical verses relating to “birds and sky”. Is there ANY other book in the History of mankind that you can go to for answers on EVERY SUBJECT at ANY PERIOD in History TODAY?! No! (This is how I came to the Zephaniah 1:3 scripture)

Upon googling and reading all of the various articles of birds and fish that have seemed to be ending in untimely deaths since 2011 began, I was grieved. More than once I uttered to myself “Oh, those POOR things.”  One article that I came to read had a picture of a dead blackbird, completely covered in blood and appearing rather flattened by gravity. The sight turned my stomach and I felt rather despondent for the poor creatures, then the understanding came to me as to why I felt so sick and repulsed at the sight… Man was NEVER created to “see” death. Originally, death was never a part of the equation for humanity. We were not created to see birds fall from the sky, birds ARE NOT MEANT to fall from the sky, nor are we supposed to see blood spilled in agony. (In Genesis it says that the Lord heard Abel’s blood cry out from the earth: The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Gen. 4:10) We can be comforted however in scripture:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24

Just as Romans 8:28 reminds us that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.”  When a living thing dies and death occurs, that life that once lived becomes a seed sown into the ground. From THIS seed… comes MUCH fruit. Death has NO sting any longer.

The Lord is preparing room for you in Heaven…

Not “THE END”, Just the BEGINNING!

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Mark 13:31

Yes, the “end” of this earth is coming, but the good news is God’s Word WILL never leave you or forsake you. The Lord is preparing room for you in Heaven and after THIS earth and THESE Heavens pass away, there will be a glorified life for all of us who believe. We caution those who think to commit suicide as an end of life by informing them that THERE IS NO END-if they choose to commit suicide they will be starting something new… SOMEWHERE else… and it may not be the “adventure” they desire. If you EVER have died, or talk to someone who HAS died, or known someone ON THEIR DEATH bed… you KNOW that there certainly is a life after death!

God Bless you my friends as you continue in a daily journey of faith, be NOT dismayed there is plenty of work left to do!

Love Always,

Jessica

Jessica Heilman is an author, wife, and mother of 5 who periodically posts excerpts from books that she is currently reading. She blogs daily on life, family, and her walk with Christ in a modern and Biblically-applicable way. She believes that the Bible is timeless, and that it is THE foundational reading for the 21rst Century in regards to wholehearted living. Her mission daily: to do everything she possibly can to hasten the return of Christ.

NEW! TWEETGIVING! For every new twitter follower Jessica receives in the month of January, she will be donating $1 (up to $200) to the Jubilee Outreach Center, San Jose Ca… Your follow counts! You can follow Jessica on Twitter @: http://twitter.com/imwholehearted tell your friends!

NEW! Jessica has started a NEW Blog about her life as a mom, sharing with others her challenges and victories in parenthood/life. You can read these blogs at http://www.onewholemom.blogspot.com

You can subscribe to Jessica’s blogs and articles via email here @:http://feeds.feedburner.com/WholeheartedMinistries[Please, do not forget to verify your email address, when you receive a confirmation email]

You can become a fan of Wholehearted Ministries on Facebook @:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wholehearted-Ministries/75471627683