Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Twas’ the Night Before Christmas in Bethlehem
Tara Rye/ Copyright 2003

Twas’ the night before Christmas
In the Town of Bethlehem
The villagers were bustling
Since the census began

Joseph and Mary were traveling
With a babe jostling inside
Hoping to reach the village
Before he decided to no longer hide

Joseph was urging the caravan on
As his senses were heightened
By the mission
He was on

As best as she could
Mary stayed with the pace
Concerned with the expression
On Joseph’s sun weathered face

The contractions came
With quite a surprise
Mary’s voice cried to the wind
Under Bethlehem’s sky

Quickly they knocked
On each villager’s door
No one had room
Not even a floor

One Villager
Who saw their plight
Said I have a stable
You can have for the night

The sheep, cows, and donkeys
Munched on the hay
As Mary laid down
To deliver this day

Emmanuel, God with us
Was born this night
Our Deliverer and Redeemer
She swaddled so tight

As shepherds nearby kept watch
Over their flocks at night
Angels appeared above them
And gave a terrible fright

The Glory of the LORD shone
And the angels declared
We have great news
No need to be scared

Today in the Town of David
A Savior is born
He is Christ the LORD
Go find Him in a manger this morn

Suddenly the sky was filled with singing
Glory to God in the Highest
Peace and good will to men He was bringing
With whom His favor rests.


Praise the LORD!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Grain of Sand becomes a Beautiful Pearl
Turning irritants into Beautiful Pearls

For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 2 Corinthians 4:17

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory… 2 Corinthians 4:17

Have you ever seen what a clam can do with a grain of sand? It really is quite amazing. As a clam sits quite content at the bottom of the ocean, it moves around. You might ask…

How does a clam move? It sticks out its tongue like a foot and uses this to pull itself along. It often leaves a trail behind that looks like a snails trail.

This movement allows sand to seep between the mantle and the shell.

When a grain of sand gets into the shell it will secrete a substance called nacre or mother of pearl. Nacre coats the sand over and over… layer after layer and over time it develops into a pearl. This is very similar to getting a splinter. The natural reaction is to cover it up to protect itself. The nacre is secreted to cover the irritant.

The Bible says that our troubles… irritants or grains of sand produces in us eternal glory.

What does that mean?

Do you ever get irritated? Is there any area in your life that you are frustrated and you are just bothered? Do you have a person in your life that irritates you?

I have a secret I want to tell you. Just like the clam, we can clam up.

When does a clam—clam up? When it is defensive! It will lock up tight and the muscles inside keep it tight. Nothing can get in and nothing can get out. This means even good things like food that bring life.

Sometimes the irritation is inside us like a grain of sand. It is rubbing us and making us hurt and sometimes it can make you raw.

The clam takes the irritant and covers it with nacre. We can take our irritants to God and ask Him to cover them. Each time we take it to Him. He will cover this irritant in us and use it to make the irritant turn into a beautiful pearl inside our heart.

Don’t answer this out loud, “Who in your life irritates you?” Maybe it’s your mom when she says go clean your room. Maybe it’s your teacher when she says, you have to do school work now and not play. Maybe it’s your spouse or your boss. Maybe it’s your friends…

When we are irritated, we can do one of two things: clam up and let nothing go in or out of us. This is not good. It builds anger, bitterness and does not allow for us to feel better. OR we can take it to God and say, “GOD, help! I am irritated. Show me how to be loving, gentle and kind even when I am irritated. Like, right now!” Okay… maybe we shouldn’t be bossy to God. We should ask Him politely. He is polite to us!

God will answer our prayer and begin the process of taking the grain of sand and turning it into beauty. He will give us an obedient heart even when we are irritated. We will find we can respond kindly instead of with irritation or meanness.

Amazingly, a grain of sand can become iridescent, shiny, and beautiful. The pearl has a beautiful luster and color--white, silvery, pink, salmon, red, copper, brown, lavender, purple, green, blue, cream, or yellow--and comes in all kinds of shapes. It is sold for jewelry, covering on instruments like guitars, ceramic tiles, kitchen sinks and even shirt buttons.

What are you going to do with your grain of sand? Will you allow GOD to cover it and turn it into something beautiful or will you let it stay inside you and keep irritating you? It is your choice. Which will you choose?

I'd love to hear from you! Tara

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I love it when a child enjoys something so much that they say, “AGAIN!” When I hear these words I know I have connected with their heart and mind. Yesterday, as I taught at the mission I heard this request—AGAIN!

I looked out at the women in my class pondering that their stories are similar, but different. I felt overwhelmed by the collective pain in the room. Our lesson point—God takes that which is ordinary and uses it for the extraordinary. Without a thought, I told HIStory while inserting one of the ladies names into the plot…

“Sheila, God so loved you that He took His Son and said, “I need You to go to earth for Sheila.” God sent Jesus as a baby lying in a manger—so ordinary and simple. Yet, Jesus grew in wisdom and stature in favor with God and man. He did everything the Father asked of Him. He preached, taught, healed, cast out demons, and loved. Yet, man spat on Him, rejected Him, cursed Him, and killed Him on a cross. Jesus willing accepted all of this for you. He went to the cross, He died, rose from the grave and is coming again for you. God took that which is ordinary—a baby and did something extraordinary, He gave us a Savior. He wants to do the same for you. He wants take that which is ordinary and do something extraordinary.”

Just as I finished the story Patricia looked at me and said, “Will you please say that again?” I asked, “What part?” She said, “All of it!” A grandmother of seven and mother of five asked me to tell the story AGAIN! There is sweetness in hearing the story of Jesus. It is truth that penetrates into the very marrow of our bones and heals. I retold the story with her name. Who in your life needs to hear the simplicity of the truth that God so loved you that He sent His one and only Son to earth just for you?

Father, give us opportunities to simply tell the story and hear the blessing of AGAIN!

I wish I could be with you now to connect with you-- face to face, heart to heart and simply tell each other the story.

Simply, Tara

September 22, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10).

As I walked out of our hallway into the living room around 5:40 in the morning Greg startled me, “Whoa! What was that, a bird?” For a brief moment I though Greg was losing it, but then I turned to look at my curtains and sitting on top of the curtain rod sat a bat!

I shouted, “Greg that is a bat!”

Both of us jumped into action shutting doors to other rooms so the bat could not fly where the children were sleeping. I grabbed my camera hoping to get a picture, but every time I tried to take a picture the bat flew at me. I discovered that my feet move faster than the click of a finger!

Instinctively we turned on every single light in our living room and dining room. We had opened our front door hoping to coax it out. Without realizing it our entryway remained the only dark space left so the bat naturally flew toward the darkness. I tried one more time to take a photo, but the flash or my presence made the bat fly at me again. I jumped up a flight of stairs and ran as fast I could down the hall. The bat swirled around and fled our home out into the safety of the darkness outside.

Greg shared with me that the bat had flown just a few inches above my head as I entered the living room. Both of us instantly realized that this is exactly how spiritual attack happens. It swooshes over us when we least expect it. We do not know how the bat entered our home, but it did. Maybe it entered through the cracked pane of glass on our fireplace. And last night I held the patio door open for a long time for a doggie that refused to enter and over the weekend we had a garage sale. While we were loading things in and out of our house the door was open for hours. We provided three entry points for the bat.

Isn’t this the same for spiritual attack? We can have cracked beliefs that allow false truths to enter that steal us of the truth in the WORD of God. We can also provide an open door for someone or something that allows other things to enter our world. Sometimes we simply open wide the doors to our lives without protecting ourselves against the enemy that seeks to enter. No wonder the LORD tell us to be alert and to always keep on praying for the saints once we have put on the armor of GOD (Ephesians 6:18). We forget to be alert. Sometimes we forget to put on our armor. Other times we forget to pray and we don’t make it a regular habit to pray for the saints and sadly we forget to abide in the Spirit of GOD. Each of these allows that which is not of GOD to enter our lives unawares.

Where do you have a crack, an open door or unguarded place that might allow the enemy of GOD to enter?

Father, make us alert in all occasions to the cracks in our belief systems, to the doors we have opened that allow things to enter that should not be in our lives, and to the places we have left unguarded. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Tara Rye, 8/19/09

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Do you ever feel out of balance spiritually?

Establishing a stable stance spiritually is crucial to our ability to stand firm in times of difficulty or trial. A stable stance can keep the most awkward from falling. Standing firm provides balance. A sense of stillness portrays confident rest in the LORD. Psalm 46:10 reminds us that in our stillness we will watch and see the LORD is and will be exalted. Stillness brings the LORD glory when the focus is upon Him. By way of example in ballet, instructors constantly remind their students to find their focal point and remind them often to not lose sight of it because when a ballerina pirouettes multiple times her sense of balance will be shaken; however, “IF” she keeps her focal point as the center of her focus then she can spin without loosing her stability. Her stability is what enables her to enthrall audiences with the simplicity of how she spins and moves bringing a sense of awe to all who observe. The entire armor of God, a believer dresses in, is made up of the qualities or characteristics that are their personal resources obtained through a saving knowledge of the LORD Jesus Christ. The choice to focus upon Christ during times of spiritual attack properly attires a believer with the needed stability to withstand the attack of the enemy. Consequently, despite the circumstances surrounding them, those watching are able to observe with awe the glory of the LORD revealed through them as they take their stance.

What does your stance look like spiritually? Are others able to say I want to stand with him/her? Pray now asking the Father to give you a set focus upon Him alone and observe how your sense of stability becomes secure!

This is an excerpt from a paper I wrote on Spiritual Warfare (p.21).

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I recently read this quote, “A test is not to show to the teacher what the student knows. The purpose of a test is to show to the student what the student knows.” Think on this for a moment, when we are tested, God already knows that which is within our hearts. He see, He hears, He knows all that is revealed and all that is hidden. Even in the darkest most secret of places. Even in the mind. The test reveals to us what needs to be shed, cleansed, purified, and humbled! The test assures us with affirmation, confirmation, sustenance, bounty, and completion. What kind of tests are you enduring? I can only imagine they are unbearable at times. Remember the Father will provide a way of escape. The question we have to ask ourselves is… Do I want to escape? That is of itself is a revelation of that which resides within us. Amazing, huh!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Love Covereth"
Proverbs 10:12

As the lightning streaked and the thunder roared, I pulled my cover up closer to my chin enjoying the warmth of covering. I rested knowing that I am covered by my blanket, my roof and my LORD. I felt peace despite the storm raging outside. I arose to read my devotional and the prayer verse for the day said, “Love Covereth!” What a great morning for the reminder love covers a multitude of sins and all wrongs. What makes covering so wonderful? The warmth it provides ensures the desire to snuggle in closer. The protection it conveys provides the peace needed to rest. The sense of security assures the weary all is okay. I am reminded of a quilt and the painstaking details given to each stitch to ensure a lifetime of memories. As one rests under such a covering stitched in love you are reminded of the act that provided the sweet covering. This warms the soul. The first time the love cover came from the Father’s own hand. He slowly sewed Adam and Eve’s clothes from the first sin sacrifice. Their covering provided a reminder that their sin brought about a sacrifice. Yes, love covers a multitude of sins. In John 13:35 we are told that others will know we are the LORD’s disciples by our love. Why? Love covers! Practically, I am reminded of an offense that grieved my heart. What does the LORD require of me? He asks me to pull up the heavenly quilt known as the “love cover.” His love cover in me brings the warmth needed to ensure rest for the soul, protection needed to bring peace in turmoil, sense of security for the weary, and forgiveness for sins. Love covers! Pull it up and rest!

Tara 5/13/09

Friday, March 27, 2009

…if the root is holy, so are the branches. Romans 11:16b

The greatest blessing that comes with deep roots is often found that the roots encounter other roots digging deep. As the two roots seek the same source of nourishment, they cannot help, but find their roots entwine. At first glance entwined roots look like a jumbled mess, but this is what makes them stronger against the storms. This reminds me of some low level bushes we had growing in front of our house in Houston. I did not like the bushes, so I decided to remove them. I found that I was able to pull up the bushes that stood alone and did not connect with the others through their root system. However, there were two that no matter how hard I tried or Greg tried neither of us were able to pull them out. We looped a chain around the bushes then we hooked them to his Bronco. The tires burned rubber and the bushes remained intact. Determination took root in us that these bushes will go. Greg shifted gears back and forth relentlessly. Finally, after extensive wear and tear upon our car, they finally released their grip from the earth and tumbled behind the car. Amazingly, their roots remained entwined, not to be separated by their untimely unearthing. Beloved, seeking out the knowledge of the LORD through His Word does the same thing for us. It does not matter what seeks to uproot us, we will remain intact to the deep roots that we have dug and entwined ourselves to!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Mark 1:22 (NIV)

I remembered his golden brown eyes because they contrasted his mocha brown skin so beautifully. He walked up to me after class and said, “Ms. Tara, do you remember me?”

“Yes, doesn’t your name begin with an ‘R”?

“My name is Roderick. I wanted you to know where I’ve been. I was in your class ‘bout a year ago. I was sent to prison for my past. I only had my Bible and me in my cell. I read it and spent a lot of time with God and people started noticing that I am a changed man. God and me we spent all day together in the GodMod at Douglas. I wanted you to know that God used you in giving me a hunger for His Word. I wanted to say, thank you. Me… now I am a sponge. I used to be a sponge filled with a lot of dirt and mud, but now I been wrung and cleaned up. I’m a clean sponge now.”

His words humbled me. I try hard to not go female on the guys, by letting my tears show. This time was real hard!

This testimony was shared with me two weeks ago at the Open Door Mission. I asked Roderick permission to share it with the prayer team. The LORD’s Word carries authority. It is what made the people realize that Jesus was different than the religious teachers of their day. He spoke from the scriptures personally not from someone else’s experience with the Word of God. I am amazed when the LORD allows me the privilege to see someone that allows His Word to become the authority over their life. Our lesson this week at the ODM focused on this verse and the fact that light has authority over darkness. Roderick gets it. He understands the beauty and wonder of allowing the Word of God to be a light in him to dispel the darkness--sin. There is nothing more powerful than to see a life that is truly changed by Christ.

Our vision at Cultivating Hearts is to make one disciple at a time. I wanted you to see and hear how your prayers make this possible. I know you do not know their faces, but when you pray for Cultivating Hearts ministry you prepare the way for the authority of the Light of the World to be made known through me and anyone else who comes along to participate. Thank you.