“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither -- whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3).
My heart was encouraged as I read and thought about the verses above. As this year unfolds, the world faces many uncertainties and trying times, but those of us who are rooted and grounded in Christ need not worry or fear. In fact, we will be increasing in His goodness!
In the verses above, we are given specific direction so that we may prosper even when it would seem very difficult. The Lord does not want the circumstances that surround us to affect or hinder our success or our perception of His goodness. He wants us to experience prosperity and fruitfulness in the midst of drought. Prosperity comes in many ways, it’s not always financial. It may come as a God-given insight, a creative idea, or wisdom that will eventually bring great abundance to us personally and corporately. As we remain in Him, according to John 15, we will bear much fruit!
The root system of a tree is created to seek out water: it “sends out its roots by the stream.” The word sends out also means to shoot forth, to stretch out, extend, and direct. The Lord will take the difficulties, disappointments, grief, and illness in our lives and if we let Him, He will cause our “root system” to stretch, extend, and go deeper in Him. When we are in Christ, we are connected to the source of all living water!
Do you see yourself drinking from this living water? In Christ, you are planted by the life giving water. Isaiah 61:3 says, “So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
A tree so planted will not fear when heat comes, it will not experience damage from the blazing heats of summer, its leaf remains green, and it will yield fruit in season. We become like Him, continually bearing fruit so that others may find sustenance and refreshment in time of need. Remember, His resources are Eternal and they never run dry!
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President
From On the LeaderBoard | Volume 1, Issue 3
In this age of information, the average leader is awash with details. The great task of most days is wading through data to assemble, assimilate, and assign value to meaningful information. But information by itself, without context, isn’t particularly helpful. It’s likely just trivia.
Information must be organized into meaningful constructs to become knowledge. Knowledge becomes understanding when we find relevant application. Wisdom is manifested in how information, knowledge, and understanding are handled. Wisdom involves judgment, sensitivity, tact, and often, timing.
Where there is no choice, the exercise of wisdom is limited. It is when we recognize multiple choices, possibilities, or actions that wisdom can become our friend and ally. Judging between choices and possibilities leads us to questions about what we know, how we know it, and if we know enough.
Wisdom often involves balancing the need to gain more information with the available resources (including time) necessary to make an informed decision.
Besides information, there are other wisdom elements that come into play such as sensitivity to those involved or affected. The wise leader works to involve to some degree the stakeholders in the decision-making process. That could be in the form of a single brainstorming session or, full-on collaborative planning process. Even the most visionary thinker can have blind spots. Actively seeking the input of others, within reason, can minimize these as well as strengthen acceptance of the outcome.
The wise leader also factors the impact of the decision on others.
There must always be sensitivity to the fact that, even with the best of intentions, some people may be negatively affected. Therefore, the best decisions will include appropriate tactfulness in implementation. Tact is also important in communicating the decision. Crafting vivid, warm, vision-focused language can tactfully define a decision for all involved.
More than sensitivity and tact, wisdom seeks a process that honors all involved. Hard decisions, even those with difficult short-term consequences, can be implemented with this in mind.
A good decision, implemented in an untimely fashion, can produce negative results.
Wisdom involves timing for many reasons – maximizing return on investment, minimizing negative impact, speed to achieve expected results, slow implementation allowing others to adjust, etc. Tough decisions can require difficult steps that involve short term pain. But those difficult steps can be accomplished well.
Fortunately, wisdom isn’t just an innate quality reserved for a few. The book of Proverbs consistently implores us to seek and pursue it. Wisdom is promised by the Lord. Those serving in Christian ministry, at whatever level, should consistently pray for wisdom in all endeavors – personal, professional, and organizational.
Adapted from Heartbeat International’s foundational training manual, GOVERN Well™
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, it is not necessary for us to answer you on this point.If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up! (Daniel 3:16-18)
There is a battle raging over our worship. It’s an age-old battle, heating up as we see the forces of darkness aligning in greater measure. Daniel 3 gives us a picture of this scenario.
Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone, everywhere—in high and low esteem—to bow down and worship the golden image when they heard the sound of the musical instruments being played.
The strategy of the enemy is at all costs to get us to look away from the Lord to a “golden image” (our circumstances), and be ensnared in the “sound” (which creates an atmosphere of confusion around us). Babylon first appears in the Bible under the guise of the tower of Babel in Gen. 11. The Hebrew word for "confused" in verse 9 is babal, which sounds like Babylon.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship or serve any god but the living God. When they first arrived in Babylon, they had determined along with Daniel not to defile themselves with the royal food and wine. After fasting ten days, they were healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. Daniel 1: 20 says, “In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, they feared only the Lord—not even the threat of death swayed them.
Their refusal to worship another god infuriated the king, and he had the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal. The furnace was so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers preparing to throw the men in. We may walk through a fiery trial that the enemy has heated seven times hotter than normal… But God!
He can take the fire of destruction intended for us and use it to destroy the enemy, then turn it into a supernatural, holy fire of deliverance! Only that which bound the men was burned away!
It was Nebuchadnezzar who saw the fourth man, who looked like the son of God walking around in the midst of the fire. The Hebrew number for four is Dalet, it means a door. Jesus is the Door, the way to our deliverance. We may not always perceive the Lord in the midst of a trial, but be assured that Satan sees the Lord by your side. For He will never leave you or forsake you! The men emerged from an impossible situation unbound, unharmed, and were quickly promoted!
Jesus always walks with us in our fiery trials. His presence will make the fire of our trials, supernatural and situations will turn around from hopeless to hope-filled and beyond!
Worship Him, for He is worthy!
by Debra Neybert, Training Specialist
And there was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.She was very old, having lived with her husband seven years from her maidenhood, And as a widow even for eighty-four years. She did not go out from the temple enclosure, but was worshiping night and day with fasting and prayer. And she too came up at that same hour, and she returned thanks to God and talked of [Jesus] to all who were looking for the redemption (deliverance) of Jerusalem. Luke 2: 36-38 AMP
"The Prophetess Anna," by Rembrandt
Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem after their purification, and they presented him before the Lord. At this time, Simeon and Anna come on the scene. These two divine appointments, although obscure in their brief mention, were by no means insignificant!
Just as Simeon was prophesying that the child in his arms was God’s salvation, up walked Anna.
We are told much about Anna’s history. She is a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, and from the tribe of Asher. Anna’s name means “gracious” and her father’s name means “face of God.” Included in the blessings spoken over the tribe of Asher was the promise, “as your day, so shall your strength, your rest and security, be.” Deuteronomy 33: 24-25 AMP. Certainly, this applied to Anna, a widow of 84 years!
Although none of her prophetic words are recorded, imagine the amazing promises she may have proclaimed and rejoiced over in that moment.
Anna was a worshiper. In fact, that is who we are told she was even before we’re told she was a woman of fasting and prayer. In the face of significant losses early in life, she chose to enthrone the Lord on her praises. Anna did not allow her losses to dictate the course of her life. Rather, she chose to have a grateful heart, an undivided heart, and the Lord rewarded her and opened her eyes to behold Emmanuel, God with us!
Surely the decades she spent worshiping, night and day, with fasting and prayer had developed her deep love for God and an intimacy she enjoyed throughout her life. Worship catches the heart of God; it draws Him near, and changes the atmosphere around us.
Anna spoke of Jesus "to all them in Jerusalem that were looking for redemption." Here He is! All your expectations and joy are to be found in this Baby! He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!
May you, like Anna, worship Him this Christmas season. For He alone is worthy!
"For the love of Christ controls us..." -2 Cor. 5:14
Do you feel the weight of this simple, yet other-worldly profound phrase from the Apostle Paul?
As someone who's neck-deep in the difficulties, sorrows, and burdens of others on a day-in, day-out basis for the sake of the gift and the Giver of life, you certainly know something of this weight.
But what keeps you going? Why take on this weight?
Why immerse yourself in a work that promises to be exhausting, confounding, and--at least sometimes--totally deflating?
Because, as Paul says, "the love of Christ controls us." We get a better picture of what this dynamic phrase means as the Apostle unpacks its meaning in the words that follow:
"For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." (2 Cor. 5:14-15)
Why continue laboring in this field? Because the very love Christ had for lost sinners like us when he submitted himself to death for our sake is on full and glorious display when you sit across the table from a newly expectant mother who carries the weight of the world on her shoulders.
Love--more specifically, the love of Christ--is your language as you come alongside a woman who's mind, as one center director put it, "was only abortion." Love is your language as you take the time to help her slow down and truly consider her options, as well as the ramifications any choice she makes could have on her long-term physical, mental, and even spiritual health.
Why continue to hope--against all odds, it seems--that your words and very demeanor could change somebody's world and literally make the difference between life and death? Because the love of Christ controls us, and you no longer live for yourself, but for the sake of him who was raised.
Love is your language as you hope in Jesus, the ultimate Victor over sin, Satan, and death in all its forms. Love is your language as you communicate the unbelievably good news of peace and restoration with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus in a thousand ways to each client and family your center serves.
Love is your language when God gives you a glimpse of His ultimate triumph over death, as a family embraces a child they otherwise may have lacked courage to welcome, if not for you.
Take heart. The sacrificial, triumphant love of Christ is ours by faith. Ours to receive, and ours to extend.
Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too. (Genesis 48:11)
The Lord’s promises are sure to come to pass, for He is a loving and faithful God. Jacob never expected to lay eyes on his son, no less his grandchildren. From his perspective Joseph was gone forever. But God!
As we look forward to a new year, expect the love of God to surprise you! It’s a year to taste and see that the Lord is good!
In Genesis 48, Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” Concerned for his father, Joseph travels with his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim to see Jacob. Approximately 17 years earlier, we are told that Jacob had made Joseph a richly ornamented robe because he loved him more than any of his sons for he had been born to him in his old age. The robe symbolized his father’s love, favor, and the future destiny the Lord had for him.
His brothers became jealous of him as a result of this favor and because of the revelation he received in dreams. They attempted to take his life, but God intervened through his older brother Reuben! Instead, Joseph, and his dreams were thrown into a pit, and then into prison.
Now we must remember, in Jacob’s heart, he believed he would never see his beloved son again. He “had proof” that a wild animal had torn Joseph to pieces. He witnessed with his own eyes the robe dipped in blood. Joseph entered a time of exile, but when the prison doors swung wide 13 years later, the man who emerged looked very different than the young man who was originally thrown into a pit.
He was now prepared to fulfill the dreams and destiny the Lord gave him so long ago! Get ready for the Lord to resurrect and release what has been imprisoned in your life!
What a sweet surprise Jacob received from the Lord in his latter years, not only was he restored to his son, but he was given the opportunity to bless the next generation, his grandsons! As this year unfolds, expect the love and goodness of the Lord to overtake you. For truly, He desires to bless you abundantly, above all you could ask or think of!
So expect the unexpected, and taste and see that the Lord is good!
"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
1 John 4:9-11
“In this the love of God was made manifest…..” We have all heard it said, “Actions speak louder than words.” This is a true saying! God’s love language manifested louder than words….because in John 1:14 it tells us The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God with us, Emanuel!
So much of God’s love is communicated through His loving actions toward us. First and foremost He gave; He gave what was most precious to Him, His only Son.
How do we comprehend such love? God’s covenant love for us includes all His benefits. He is absolutely 100% committed to us, desiring for us to enjoy all the blessing that are ours in Christ. Those in relationship with God in the new covenant have many spiritual blessings as new creatures in Christ Jesus. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 1:3
Those spiritual blessings express God’s love for us, and some are listed in Ephesians 1; we have been chosen, adopted, and accepted in the beloved. We are redeemed, forgiven, and have become part of His perfect plan and purpose. In addition, we are laborers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9); we are ambassadors bringing the message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:20); we are the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2).
We have peace which passes understanding (Philippians 4:7); we prosper in every way and keep well, even as our soul keeps well and prospers (3 John 1:2); and we have the assurance that nothing is able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39).
The word for "covenant" in the Old Testament comes from a Hebrew root word that means "to cut." The death of Jesus ushered in the new covenant under which we are justified by God's grace and mercy. Jesus' sacrificial death served as the oath, or pledge, which God made to us to seal this new covenant.
In 1 Samuel 18 we are told that Jonathan makes a covenant with David because he loved him as his own soul. In verse 4 it tells us that Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his apparel, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.
Similarly, Jesus in covenant love for us, stripped Himself of His robe, His majestic apparel (John 13), and laid down His life for us. There was a divine exchange. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:13
The Father gave us His only Son, and now we have the ability to live, and to love through Him, to love others because He first loved us. Let our language and speech become a conduit of His love.
by Debra Neybert
Debra Neybert, long-time friend of Heartbeat International and former Heartbeat employee, is presenting an In-Depth Day at the 2019 Heartbeat International Annual Conference called Spiritual Retreat: Joy Comes in the Morning. This In-Depth Day is designed to instill great hope (confident expectation of what God has promised) in the hearts of participants as they journey toward personal wholeness and fulfillment. The day will include topics listed, worship and personal time with the Lord. See other In-Depth Day options and more information about this year's conference in Dallas by clicking here!
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done … I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth, whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. (Genesis 8:21 and 9:13-15)
by Debra Neybert Training Specialist
Noah’s name actually means rest or resting place. We see evidence of this word fulfilled in Genesis 8, when the Lord promised never to curse the ground again or destroy all living creatures as he had done in the flood.
The Lord then gave the covenant sign of the rainbow to assure us of His promise, which reminds us we can rest assured that all the promises He has made to us will come to pass!
Scripture tells us the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat after a 150 days (Genesis 8: 4). The use of the term “rested” is significant, because the Lord could have used another word to express the way in which the ark landed on the mountains, but very clearly in the original language it means, to rest, settle down and remain.
The Lord is emphasizing rest.
He desires to bring us to a place of rest in Him. “There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God,” one hymn declares. There may be some rivers to cross and valleys to travel, but He always takes us through to the other side so we can lie down in green pastures and find a place of rest and comfort in Him.
Circumstances may flood our lives like the deluge of Noah’s day. But the Father’s way involves not uprooting us in the midst of the flood, but—much better—uprooting those things that stand in the way of our knowing and understanding God's great love for us, so we can rest in Him.
May the Lord comfort you in your labor and give you rest!
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3
Jesus is our faithful Shepherd, and one of His promises is to lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. This verse is very encouraging because it holds a key to help us cycle out of the old and into the new!
Some paths may not naturally appeal to us because they lead us into a place of discomfort, but because the good Shepherd is leading, we can trust His paths will guide us from glory to glory.
The word for paths is actually taken from the Hebrew root 'agol’, which means to be round or a cycle. David is saying the Lord leads us or guides us in the cycles of righteousness. When we remain on the paths of righteousness, we will see the fulfillment of God’s purposes and plans for our lives. We often think of life as a linear landscape, but the Lord takes us in paths that are cyclical.
The Lord’s intent is to give us opportunities to advance each year, breaking old cycles and coming full circle into His blessings.
These paths are intended to give us a clearer revelation of who God is as a covenant-keeping Shepherd. Jesus is our righteousness, and He is able to keep us moving in the right direction for His name’s sake—for His reputation, His fame, and His glory.
The Lord has already gone before us and cleared the paths of promise and fulfillment. He is the Door, and when we enter by Him we are led in and out (on paths!) into green pastures where there is rest, refreshment, and refuge (John 10:9).
Jesus is the Way where there seems to be no way, and He guides us in the right paths to fulfill the dreams He’s placed inside us from all eternity!
Angel Visits Hagar in the WildernessGiovanni Lanfranco c.1620
Recently, in considering how many times the Gospels say, “Jesus saw” someone, often a woman, I was reminded of the Name of God, El Roi. That is the only name first ascribed to God by a woman.
Hagar was a pregnant outcast in the desert when the Angel of the LORD came to her. After this encounter, Genesis 16:13 says, “she gave this name to the LORD Who spoke to her. ‘You are the God Who sees me.’ For she said, ‘I have seen the One Who sees me.’
Isn’t it interesting how little girls want to be seen? “Mommy, watch what I do!” … “Daddy, did you see me?” And it’s this name that is given by a woman. El Roi saw Hagar. El Roi sees you. He sees you when you go into the center on a rainy day, expecting no one to come. But you will be there, just in case.
He sees you as you gently and lovingly listen to a girl pour out her broken heart—a story you’ve no doubt heard before. He sees you as you give formula and diapers. He sees you extending the Heart of Jesus through your hands.
Take heart! God sees you. And, because of His Son’s bloody cross and empty tomb, He is pleased.
Dottie Wobb, founding Executive Director (now retired) of Hope Pregnancy Centers of Broward County (now Hope Women’s Centers). Her anointing and experience has taken her across the nation and beyond, teaching and training on women’s and pregnancy help ministry.
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