- Written by Callie Neff
12 You will rebuild the ancient ruins,
raise foundations from ages past,
and be called “Repairer of broken walls,
Restorer of streets to live in.”
The promise of Isaiah 58 is foundational in my journey and the "Why I do what I do". It is on this premise that I have joined my heart with yours to bring encouragement and a reminder of the hope that we have even as we are spread out and spearated as it says in Nehemiah 4.
13(19)“This is a great work, and it is spread out; we are separated on the wall, one far from another. 14 (20) But wherever you are, when you hear the sound of the shofar, come to that place, to us. Our God will fight for us!”
The picture of what those returning to Jerusalem faced as they set their will to rebuild the wall is not unlike our call and work as we each, at our post along the wall, are in this to rebuild. We are builders, repariers, warriors spurred on by the love of Christ fighting for our families, communities and those bound in the darkness. Can you imagine with me what will be accomplished as we continue the efforts to "work with a will" together?
38 (4:6) So we kept building the wall, which was soon joined together and completed to half its height all the way around; because the people worked with a will.
...“Don’t be afraid of them! Remember Adonai, who is great and fearful; and fight for your brothers, sons, daughters, wives and homes.”
This is why I write. This is why I seek to build relationship and be part of the great collaborative efforts the Lord has been building. We are together in the work of dispelling darkness and setting prisoners free. I am honored to work alongside of you and pray that you will be encouraged in your place, have courage to hold your position, and hope that you are not working in vain.
May you work with a will! May you remember Adonai is great and fearful and fighting for us!
May your eyes be open to see [that even though we are separated on the wall] the wall is being joined together and it will be completed!
- Written by Callie Neff
Exodus 14:24 (CJB)
24 Just before dawn, Adonai looked out on the Egyptian army through the column of fire and cloud and threw them into a panic.
6 (5) For his anger is momentary,
but his favor lasts a lifetime.
Tears may linger for the night,
but with dawn come cries of joy.
2 Peter 1:19 (CJB)
19 Yes, we have the prophetic Word made very certain. You will do well to pay attention to it as to a light shining in a dark, murky place, until the Day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.
Just before dawn is said to be the darkest time of the day and in this sense is used to describe the hardest season or moment when walking through an ongoing struggle, waiting for breakthrough or holding out in faith. Just before dawn comes the momentary sense that just maybe the day will not come. It is in this season, this moment that hope seems lost and that perhaps the fight was all for nothing. How many times have I come to this moment and yielded to fear, turned back or stopped listening for the leading of the Holy Spirit?
Over the years I have walked with many young women and found "just before dawn" to be an overwhelming and daunting place to walk alongside of them. How many times have I heard someone say "it is just too hard" just before seeing a success and refusing to move forward? How many times have I heard someone say "it is too painful and hurts too much" just before they experience the hope of forgiveness and choose to continue in broken relationship? How many times have I heard someone say " I just can't wait" just before the next step is in place and choose to walk away? Understanding the reality of the struggle of "just before dawn" is perhaps the most vital to keep moving forward and remain faitihful to enter the battle again and again. In my passion for Jesus and seeing others know and experience His love I too can yield to the thought "why bother", "no one wants what I have to offer", "no one will press through with me", ..."I cannot wait".
How many times have I missed Adonai at work "just before dawn"? How many times have I given into despair instead of the joy that comes in the morning?
How many times have I stopped listening for the leading of His Spirit?
May you see Adonai at work on your behalf "just before dawn"! May you experience the joy that comes in the morning!
May you remain attentive to the revleation of the Holy Spirit as He brings to light the Morning Star in your heart!
- Written by Callie Neff
Psalm 42:5-8 (NIV)
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
8 By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
How often have I quoted these strains...echoing the refrains through the day. I feel the pull of the needs and demands around me. I give in to the weight and pressure from the unseen. I tend to walk beyond the grace given for today. I find myself looking for an easier path. I try to wall off my heart to the demands of extending grace and love. I avoid and defend. I argue and resist.
I insist on completing tasks instead of trusting and waiting in rhythm with the Holy Spirit.
When my eyes are downcast...when my spirit is disturbed ...I am moved to REMEMBER
REMEMBER ...who I am ...where I am ...what I have been given
Romans 5:2-5 (CJB)
2 Also through him and on the ground of our trust, we have gained access to this grace in which we stand; so let us boast about the hope of experiencing God’s glory. 3 But not only that, let us also boast in our troubles; because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance produces character, and character produces hope; 5 and this hope does not let us down, because God’s love for us has already been poured out in our hearts through the Ruach HaKodesh who has been given to us.
May you experience the deep love of the Lord! May you be able to boast about the hope of experiencing God's glory!
May you know and remember this hope will not let you down!
- Written by Callie Neff
Romans 6:17-19 (MSG)
What Is True Freedom?
15-18 So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
19 I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
I am FREE TO respond to doubt with a quiet and gentle resolve: I am FREE TO rest when things appear overwhelming: I am FREE TO engage in another's pain and release it to Jesus: I am FREE TO admit my weakness and failure and know the Lord is my rear guard: I am FREE TO receive and to give Love...I am FREE to live out TRUE FREEDOM living no longer to serve my needs but to live out the call to love and live as Christ!
May you be set FREE TO love and live as Christ ! May you be set FREE FROM the lies of the enemy ! May you know healing and the expansive holiness of God's freedom!
- Written by Callie Neff
Psalm 86:5 (CJB)
5 Adonai, you are kind and forgiving,
full of grace toward all who call on you.
Jonah 4:1-2 (CJB)
4 But this was very displeasing to Yonah, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to Adonai, “Now, Adonai, didn’t I say this would happen, when I was still in my own country? That’s why I tried to get away to Tarshish ahead of time! I knew you were a God who is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in grace, and that you relent from inflicting punishment.
As we walk with others do we have the heart of Jonah? Even as we bring a message of forgiveness only limited by the receivers choice to cry out, to heed the warning, to change their course....Do we realize this applies not only to the one hurting in front of us...but extends to every perpetrator, every abuser, every one who has participated in their hurt? Do we consider this as we teach the principles of forgiveness and walk it out in our day to day lives. Do we consider that as Adonai is willing to forgive you He extends this same grace and mercy to all men, at all time and if they choose to turn they too can know this grace and forgiveness.
I was with a young woman walking through the princples of forgiveness struggling at this point. She played out all the scenarios of what forgiving her abuser would mean...releasing the debt, releasing the offense, releasing the judgement, relasing the right to the anger and holding the other accountable...trusting a Good, Just and Loving God to see Justice done...How can that be if there is a remote possibility that this same offer can be extended and granted to the one who caused so much pain? There is a risk in shifting the blame and being released from holding the other accountable. If I do not hold them accountable, if I do not pass judgement, if....then who will and where is the justice in that? Forgiveness is not the same as restored relationship but it is a prerequisite for walking in freedom.
Helping another unwrap and unravel the heart of the matter is trying and pressing and not always an easy path. Just as this young woman has to wrestle and seek the Lord on this matter for herself I too need to do a heart check. If I am going to spread a message of grace, compassion and mercy does it truly extend to "all"? Am I willing to forgive with open hands and open heart
May the Lord grow in us a heart of compassion that extends beyond our limited grace and mercy! May we be able to pray for those who have wronged us and release them from their debt!
May we carry this message of mercy and compassion into these hard places!