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
by Debra Neybert, Training Specialist
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.
By Terri Fox, Heartbeat International
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” Psalm 107:1-2 (NKJV)
The headline read: “Last Abortion Clinic in Toledo, Ohio Closing on Wednesday.” As I read the article, posted July 29, 2013 at LifeNews.com, memories danced around the outer edges of my conscience.
In early July, 1983, I made the 45-minute drive from my home in a small northern Ohio town to that clinic. Dressed in a pale yellow pullover, khaki pants, and tennis shoes, I was alone, abortion-bound, and ashamed.
I felt abandoned and fearful, yet obedient.
Obedient because I could not bring myself to question the awful decision I had agreed to. My voice was buried beneath layers of paralyzing emotions, which pushed me to follow through with the abortion, hoping no one would find out.
Almost mechanically, I went inside that clinic, filled out the forms, took the valium and waited. Soon, the procedure was completed, and I sat in “recovery.” I returned to my car and cried. I was overcome by the oppressing guilt of knowing I went in as two, but came out as one.
I knew what I had done was wrong. I was broken.
For a fee of $200, I had surrendered the life of my unborn child, as well as my soul. I left the parking lot and drove myself to work.
In another July, 13 years later, my 4-year-old son was killed in a car accident as he and my husband returned home from a Promise Keepers event. While grieving the loss of my son, I realized I had never fully grieved the loss of my aborted child or dealt with the shame and guilt that had been my tireless task master.
Then one day, I came upon this priceless message in John 8:
So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Although I had confessed my sins and accepted Christ as my Savior in 1992, I had never fully accepted that His forgiveness covered my abortion too. Christ’s words penetrated my heart as I read His word, and at that moment, I finally understood God’s complete forgiveness and His mercy.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross had redeemed all of me from the hand of the enemy, not just the sins I thought he should forgive. I fully accepted His gift of forgiveness.
Now, 30 years later, as of July 31, 2013, that abortion clinic in Toledo, Ohio no longer has a transfer agreement with a local hospital, and is facing closure. I give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy has endured. By His blood, He redeemed me. God rescued my aborted daughter out of the hands of the enemy and held her in the palm of His hands.
Today, both my children are in heaven, singing songs and praises to the Lord.
Join me in singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for the imminent closing of the last abortion clinic in Toledo, Ohio—along with so many like it, across the U.S. Join me in praying for that building and land to be redeemed for the glory of God.
Join me in praying for every man and woman who has been wounded, crushed, and blinded by that clinic. Join me in praying these precious souls will be restored to wholeness, and redeemed.
Then, join me in telling your story of redemption to someone who needs encouragement and hope. I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! I love to say so!
Have you been redeemed? Then say so!
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” -1 Peter 4:12-13
The Apostle Peter, whose lack of preparation for a fiery trial was once exposed the moment the rooster crowed, warns his beloved brothers and sisters against making the same mistake all throughout his two short letters.
There is much for us to learn as we engage in the type of day-in-day-out spiritual struggle involved in every Christian’s life and ministry.
In the course of just two verses—1 Peter 4:12-13—the Apostle corrects our initial, earth-bound reaction to suffering and attacks, while pointing us to a truly Christ-glorifying, gospel-informed vision for responding to “fiery trials” of any kind.
Remember, says Peter, we’re engaged in a spiritual struggle. That suffering and attack should come our way ought to be about as shocking to us as enemy fire is to a soldier in a dug-out trench.
“This is strange,” says the soldier in the thick of battle. “Who on earth is firing on us? What are they so mad at us for?”
No, says the Apostle, “do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you… as though something strange were happening to you.”
As those called to rescue those who are perishing, we ought never to forget Whose side we’re on.
This is the God who “works all things together for the good of those who love” him. He doesn’t needlessly bring opposition and suffering our way, and no attack from the Enemy ever reaches us on accident or without our Father’s express permission (see Job 1).
God always has a purpose, and part of His purpose for “fiery trials” is testing—refining, purifying, sanctifying—His people.
But that’s not all this text has to teach us. Preparation and awareness of our surroundings, important though they may be, don’t tell the whole story of a gospel-informed vision for responding to attacks. The key is found in verse 13—don’t be surprised, but rather, rejoice!
Remember when the Apostles—including Peter—were beaten up and sent away by the synagogue leaders in Acts 5? Luke, the writer of Acts, tells us, “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.”
We share in that tradition when others attack us for holding fast to the gospel of life. What an honor! What a cause for rejoicing in the God who, for the sake of His Son, calls us beloved and adopts us into His family forever through our faith in Christ.
We rejoice because our present suffering points us to that Day when the glory of the risen Christ will be revealed. He suffered once for our sin and salvation, and each time we face a “fiery trial,” we share in that suffering with Him, as we’re beckoned to rejoice and be glad that One Day we’ll see Him as He is.
How do you respond when you’re attacked?
by Jay Hobbs, Communications Assistant
by Debra Neybert, Training Specialist
But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.~Numbers 14:24 (Amplified Bible)
When the 12 spies returned after 40 days of “scouting out” the Promised Land, 10 spies reported their observations through a lens of unbelief. The other two spies, Joshua and Caleb, had a different report In particular, Caleb states the following:
If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord, neither fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their defense and the shadow [of protection] is removed from over them, but the Lord is with us. Fear them not. (Number 14:8-9, Amplified Bible)
What a powerful declaration Caleb made in the face of tremendous opposition! We, like Caleb, continually face giants—both internally and externally. Even in recent days, decisions have been made in our land that would seem overwhelming and might cause us to wonder, “Will we overcome the giants and fortified cities?”
If we look forward with the spirit of Caleb and Joshua, to “claim the territory” of our inheritance, then the very giants who loom so large will become “our bread.”
Caleb had “a different spirit” about him. Those who follow the Lord with their whole heart are aligned with God’s victorious nature! The idea of a “different spirit” also denotes one who pauses or has a second thought. In other words, Caleb chose his response wisely.
Caleb saw with the eyes of faith! Faith always gives a good report, because faith sees what God sees—the victory! When we see through the challenges to the victory, it causes us to persevere until we possess the promise. In reference to Moses, the scripture says, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27)
Caleb saw past the fortified cities and giants to Him who is invisible! Faith doesn’t minimize the difficulties of our circumstances, but it also refuses to focus on them. Faith’s focus is, rather, on God, who is mighty in battle and always causes us to triumph!
The Lord eventually brought Caleb into his Promised Land, but it wasn’t until 45 years later. He patiently waited, as did Joshua, for the generation who remained in unbelief to die in the wilderness. When it came time for him to possess his inheritance, he said to Joshua, “give me this mountain” (see Joshua 14:12!).
There were giants on that mountain! But Caleb obtained his inheritance, not only for himself, but for his descendants too! Never give up!
Perhaps you have been waiting a long time to fully possess your Promised Land and giants are blocking your view of Him who is invisible. Our difficulties are really opportunities for God to show Himself strong on your behalf!
In reality, those giants who stand before us were disarmed at the Cross and in the Resurrection. May we, like Caleb, see—through eyes of faith—the giants as our bread, as we enter into our Promised Land!
By Susan Hart – Assistant to the President
I was thinking about you today and I was reminded of the following story in light of your generous commitment to saving the lives of moms and babies. This story truly applies to you for all you do for LIFE.
British critic and social theorist John Ruskin (1819-1900) once sat with a friend in the dusk of an evening and watched a lamplighter, torch in hand, lighting the street lights on a distant hill. Very soon the man’s form was no longer distinguishable in the distance, but everywhere he went he left a light burning brightly. “There,” said Ruskin, “that is what I mean by a real Christian. You can trace his course by the light that he leaves burning.”
You are lighting the way by courageously saving women and babies each and every day. Your calling is often thankless, but be confident—take heart!—knowing there are many who see your good work and thank God for you.
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name. – Malachi 3:16 (New Living Translation)
God always sees your excellent deeds. He is making note of it even this day. May God bless you richly for your dedication, love and generosity of heart. Thank you so very much from your friends at Heartbeat in Columbus, Ohio!
by Jor-El Godsey and Jay Hobbs
In 1963, writing while in a Birmingham jail cell, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned a stirring response to local clergy leaders who had publicly criticized his part in non-violent protests against racial inequality.
King’s words spoke powerfully to the commonplace injustice of his day. But his prose echoes throughout the decades to underscore the pro-life argument today.
We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.
The greatest strength of our life-saving efforts today is to continue with “tireless efforts” and “persistent work” as we remain “co-workers with God” in the great work of championing the sanctity of life.
It’s almost as if Dr. King was speaking directly to the questions surrounding the pro-life movement as a whole, and even the pregnancy help movement in particular, as the letter progresses.
His audience was Southern clergy who, while sympathetic to desegregation to some degree, had not yet become emboldened to stand for the equality of their black brothers and sisters. It was not the infamous Ku Klux Klan or other rabidly racist groups who presented the greatest challenge, frustrations, or disappointments to Dr. King. Another group posed deeper issues:
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
Far from a mere indictment or dismissal of the church, Dr. King wrote as a minister, who proudly proclaimed himself “the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers” who spoke to the church as a loving son or brother might lovingly—but earnestly—address his parents or siblings.
What an excellent example for those of us in the pro-life movement. We want to invite our churches into the good work of ministering to women and families who are vulnerable to abortion. We do best to address our pastors, priests, leaders, and clergy from a humble—“purified” in the words of Dr. King—position.
At the same time, we also do best to follow Dr. King’s example of relentless urgency:
By their effort and example [early Christians] brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are…
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
Take some time this week and read through the Letter from the Birmingham Jail. You’ll be thankful you did.
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.-Ruth 4:14-17
Naomi was very familiar with loss. She had lost her husband and her two sons while dwelling in Moab, where her family had fled due to a famine in Bethlehem. There, in a land not her own, Naomi cried, "Do not call me Naomi (which means pleasant); Call me Mara (which means bitter), for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty.” (Ruth 1:20-21a)
Her heart was broken and filled with grief from the loss of family. But little did she know that, in the midst of her bitterness, God was planning her fulfillment and restoration.
When Naomi heard that the Lord had provided food for his people, she decided to return home with Ruth and Orpah, the women her sons married while in Moab. On the journey home, Naomi insists that the women return to their homeland and their families.
Orpah went back, but Ruth would not be separated from her mother-in-law, saying, “Your people will be my people and your God my God.” In her unmatched loyalty to Naomi, Ruth the Moabite chose the God of Israel, through whom she came to find much grace. In finding that grace, Ruth was blessed and became a great blessing!
Ruth and Naomi arrive in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning. This would have been during Passover, Israel’s constant reminder and promise of God’s redemption. Ruth said to Noami, "Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor."
Ruth indeed found favor, as she was led by grace to the field of Boaz, who turns out to be a close relative—a “kinsman redeemer” of Naomi’s family. Boaz treats Ruth with abundant kindness, allowing her to glean in his fields freely and without fear of harm.
Naomi directs Ruth, in the custom of the day, to humbly go and present herself to Boaz. She does this by lying at his feet during the night. When Boaz awakens, Ruth requests that he spread the corner of his garment over her. This was a culturally relevant way to say, “I am a widow. Take me as your wife and fulfill your role as kinsman redeemer.”
The years of bitterness and loss came to an end for Naomi! Through grace Ruth meets Boaz (her kinsman redeemer), and they are married and have a child named Obed. This child becomes the father of Jesse, the father of David, and in the lineage of Jesus Christ.
Naomi goes from empty to full as her family life is restored to her!
You may be able to relate to Naomi, having lost those dearest to you. You may be grieving even as you read this. God can turn things around for you. He can restore all the years that were lost, bringing you into a place of fulfillment and blessing.
By Debra Neybert, Training Specialist
by Susan Dammann RN, Medical Specialist
At this Mother’s Day season, I would like to introduce to you one of Heartbeat’s favorite volunteers—my Mother!
Since the time of my father’s passing in 2011, she has been faithfully coming in to work with me at Heartbeat International every Thursday. She works hard for at least 5 hours each week, helping our Ministry Advancement team with important mailings and a myriad of other tasks they have for her to do.
She brightens everyone’s day when she comes in, and the staff loves on her and treats her like a queen. It is a win-win for everyone! Mom enjoys being productive and interacting with all the staff. Each week on our way home, she’s all smiles, telling me about what she did that day, and how wonderful everyone is.
Exodus 20:12 commands us to “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
Honor includes prizing highly, which I do. I highly prize my mother. She is one awesome woman, a woman of God who is a prayer warrior for our entire family, and you can be sure we keep her busy in her prayer closet!
She was selfless in raising me and caring for many of our family throughout her life. She is not only loved by everyone in our family, but also what I call the “Betty fan club”—the many people who invite her out to lunch or take her places and include her in their lives.
Though I was an only child, I now have many “sisters” because of all the gals who have “adopted” her as their mother too!
Honor means to care for. October 7, 2011, my father suddenly passed away. Mom, then 81 years old, and my father had been married 61 years. Dad had been incapacitated for several years due to a stroke requiring round-the-clock care. This left a huge empty spot in Mom’s life.
At that point in time, my husband and I invited Mom to move in with us, which she did. It was a difficult period of adjustment for her, processing both the loss of her lifelong partner as well as her own home, and adjusting to life in a new setting. But we love her being with us and we count it a privilege to care for her.
Honor means to show respect for. I have learned that this can take many forms. It is speaking in an honoring way, but it is also respecting her in her limitations, as her 83 years slow her down a bit, or it takes a while longer remembering a thought.
Honoring means preferring Mom over myself by watching Little House on the Prairie and Lawrence Welk with her. I respect her too, for the wisdom she’s gleaned through a lifetime of experiences that she now imparts to me and our family.
Honor means to obey. This is one we learn growing up but I have found we never outgrow it, no matter how old we get. Though adults with lives of our own, there are still times in life when our parents offer us instruction or wisdom, and I have found it’s still a blessing to obey her wise counsel and instruction.
There are so many wonderful things about my mother, I wish you could all meet her and get to know her.
I know you would all love her, just like everyone here at Heartbeat does! And me too!
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
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