Saturday, December 31, 2011


It was one of those weeks; I knew that the house would suffer neglect. So, I cleaned it up and told everyone, "The dishwasher is receiving. Please make sure the dishes go into it." By Thursday, I looked into the kitchen with dread. When I asked everyone who did put his or her dishes in the sink and not in the dishwasher, I heard a unanimous, "Not Me!" Okay, so that meant that at least forty something times "Not Me" visited our home. This began the typical Mommy drama of, "What is a leader..." A leader sees something that needs to be done and simply does it. A leader does not wait to be told and a leader owns the situation even when he or she had nothing to do with it. What would have happened if David said, "Not Me!" when he saw the vision for building God's temple? Or if his son Solomon said, "Not Me!" when given the opportunity to fulfill that vision. Nehemiah did not say, "Not Me! I am the cupbearer to the king," when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem were falling down, he risked speaking to the king about the situation and in return was blessed with permission and provision. What would happen in our homes, churches and communities if each person made a conscious choice to NOT say, "Not Me!" What if the reason you see the need is because it is to be you? What if you washed the dish and put it away? What if you served on that ministry team, went on that mission trip, taught that Sunday School, became a deacon, planted a church, or took that meal? What if you shared Jesus with your neighbor, colleague or checkout clerk and didn't leave it up to someone else? Maybe, we might have fewer dirty dishes and more saved souls. Both make for cleaner environments! Let's make it our New Year's resolution to get rid of the "Not Me's" in our vocabulary and take the time to pause and pray, "Is it me?" Then just do it for the glory of the LORD! Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10 Simply, Tara

Friday, December 09, 2011

Let the Miracle of Mercy Overflow

On Saturday, as I sat in the hallway during a pageant performance waiting to enter for a cue, I heard the line, "Let the Miracle of Mercy Overflow" in the It Never Grows Old with Tell Me The Story Medley. I thought that is it! That is exactly what we want to happen with this pageant LORD! We want the "Miracle of Mercy to Overflow!" The Father could have created Jesus on a mountain and just allowed Him to wander into the village at thirty years of age, but He did not. He knew something would be missing if He did. We would miss out on unveiling of the "Miracle of Mercy that Overflows!" See... if Jesus wasn't born as a baby, we would never have seen how He interacted with His mom and earthly dad. Remember, He grew in wisdom and in stature in favor with God and man. We would never have seen how He interacted with the disciples with love and compassion as He faithfully discipled them. It is amazing how, "Come and follow Me!" still resounds today! We never would have seen the authority with which He spoke the Word of God to the religious leaders even at twelve years of age. The fact that He withdrew to a solitary place to pray and that the crowds always knew where He was would have escaped us. Remember, how He looked out upon the crowds and saw how they were harassed and hassled and had compassion upon them. We would never have seen that Jesus wept at the widow's misfortune and then chose to meet her greatest need. Give her, her son back. Consider the time the leper fell face down before Him saying, "LORD, if you will." And how Jesus reached out touched him and said, "I will!" When so many demanded that he cry, "Unclean! Unclean!" Or what about the woman brought to him because she was caught in sin. They wanted to stone her. He simply knelt and said, "He who has no sin, cast the first stone!" None did! All walked away! Jesus stood silent before His accusers! They attacked Him, mocked Him, rejected Him, spat on Him, and He let them. Why? So that the "Miracle of Mercy would Overflow!" See mercy is love and compassion in action. It is about a GIVER that gives when the other does not deserve it. This is why Hope was born as a baby lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. He was born to let the "Miracle of Mercy Overflow!" so that hope could be born again and again! We have among us the grieving, dying, sick, broken-hearted, sinner, accuser... the list could go on! We are here to let the "Miracle of Mercy to Overflow!" Remember, mercy is love and compassion in action. It reveals the miraculous because a miracle is something that can only be explained by the hand of God. When we love one another, this is mercy overflowing! None of us deserve it! This is how GOD orchestrates the miraculous and allows the "Miracle of Mercy to Overflow" upon those in attendance and this is when Hope is born again! Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy! Matthew 5:7
Simply, Tara

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Caught Not Taught

I walked into the "man cave" to say good-bye to Greg and DongMin . As was Greg's custom, he air kissed me "mmmt, mmt" as a reminder that he wanted me to kiss him good-bye. To my total surprise, DongMin "mmmt, mmt'd" me as well. Immediately, I thought, "Does he want me to kiss him good-bye? Can I kiss my foreign exchange son as I do my own son? How sweet!" Then I bent over and kissed him on his beautiful coal black hair. Later in the day, I had to leave to pick Mikayla up from ballet and the guys were still in the "man cave" watching football. Once again, my beloved gave me his faithful hint... "mmmt, mmt." As I bent over to kiss Greg good-bye, DongMin "mmmt, mmt'd" me and looked with raised eyebrows expressing, "Will you not kiss me as you do Daddy and Grant?" I caught the message and tenderly kissed his cheek. His bright smile made my day. As I drove to pick up Mikayla, I started to practice my lesson for the Open Door Mission on Monday morning. We were storying Jesus' baptism as a part of a series I am writing on that focuses on the seven moments that Luke refers to that Jesus prayed. It suddenly occurred to me; nowhere in scripture does it say that Jesus told the disciples that they must make it their custom to go off to a solitary place to pray. Scripture simply tells us repeatedly that as was His custom Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to pray. Jesus does command the disciples to pray in secret, but the concept of prayer observed in Jesus' model so impacted the disciples that they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and Paul later wrote to the Thessalonians' that they needed to pray without ceasing. The disciples caught the value of prayer. Jesus did not teach it as much as He lived it! Yes, I know He taught them upon their request how to pray, but what changed their lives was the way He modeled prayer. It is amazing how the disciples always knew where to find Him in His solitary place. Even the crowds knew where to go and look. The things that tend to stick in our lives are best caught more than taught. The lesson tends to happen without us ever knowing we just walked into a life transforming moment. I envision DongMin expecting his beautiful bride to give him a kiss each time she leaves the home just like my Greg does with me. A life habit caught not taught. Greg and I never intended to teach DongMin the value of a good greeting, but our habit taught him this life lesson. As we move into the Christmas season, I wonder how many life-transforming lessons he will catch from us. What will he learn about our love for the LORD? How we celebrate Him as our Savior in a materialistic world? What lessons will others catch from your life habits? What are some lessons or habits have you caught? Which ones are worthy of keeping and which ones should you let go of? Father, please help us to be mindful that others catch more from what they observe in our daily habits than we realize. I wonder does "mmmt, mmt" translate the same way in Korea as it does English. "Man cave" (a hole in our basement that is set apart for men to watch football and play guy games without women bothering them). I just realized that this is another life habit he is taking back to Korea from our home! Simply, Tara

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Worldview on Marriage

As my father-in-law shared with me about how my mother-in-law suffers at the hand of Alzheimer's, an unexpected thought popped into my head. He just needs a girlfriend. Then I immediately thought... O my! Where in the world did that come from! That is not of God! How was it possible that "I" would have such a worldview come into my thoughts? My dear father-in-law did not know that I was dealing with a worldview battle in my head. I was so shocked by this thought that I did not tell my husband for several months until one day he shared with me a news release about highly publicized comment on Alzheimer that someone married to an Alzheimer's patient is free to divorce. It was then that I told Greg about my thoughts that day. I explained that I dealt with it immediately by confessing it and covering it with the truth of God's Word. This caused us to dialogue about the difference of a Biblical worldview and a secular worldview. The idea of worldview versus Biblical worldview is used a lot right now in Christian circles, but what I am discovering is that Christians struggle with worldview more than we realize. In this particular situation, I asked God, "Why did I have this thought? I would never suggest or condone this type of behavior." It was then that I realized, I still held a worldview in the recesses of my heart that was not Biblical. I am unapologetically a romantic at heart. I love romance. Romance makes my heart sing. Suffering just isn't romantic. Without realizing it, I developed a worldview of romance... Romance heals all wounds. Romance lifts the spirit. Romance will make it all right. Just fall in love... Ugh! Evidently, my favorite relaxing pastime of watching romantic movies has gotten the best of me! In order to counter my worldview about romance, I began to examine what I know about scripture and what God has to say about these particular thoughts. For example, Isaiah 53:5 says, "By His wounds we are healed." Not exactly the most romantic verse, yet Jesus' love stood strong against the mental, verbal, social, physical, and spiritual attack in order that our wounds in all of those areas may know the fullness of His love, which heals. Romance cannot heal all wounds. Though, the world portrays in movies and books that it does. I confess when Greg and I first fell in love I felt like I was in the clouds, but this type of feeling stops the minute suffering comes because it is emotion based. Emotions change as circumstances change. This month we will celebrate 20 years of marriage. In our 20 years of marriage, we have endured numerous health issues personally and with extended family, death of loved ones, the loss of everything due to floods, and the collapse of ENRON only to lose all of our retirement. It was not romance that lifted us up, it was our faith and trust in the Father that enabled us to get through dark seasons. Our marriage has endure and sustained by waiting on the LORD when most would walk away. Psalm 37:34 states, "Be waiting for the LORD, and keep His way; and you will be lifted up..." Enduring suffering is not easy. It most definitely isn't easy in the case of Alzheimer's. My father-in-law sits with my mother-in-law at every meal to make sure she eats, knowing that most of what he will say will be a monologue without any dialogue in return. When he said his marriage vows to my mother-in-law, he said, "Until death do us part!" Marriage in a Biblical worldview does not end because of difficult circumstances, health issues that are unforeseen, or because the romance has ended. Marriage from a Biblical worldview must make the choice to wait on the LORD and seek Him to be the One to heal all wounds!

Friday, September 30, 2011

The "Inconvenience" of Parenting

Every now and again I get this burning within my spirit, and I know I need to write down what God is teaching me. Today is one of those days. Over the last several months people have sought to give Chris and me some “advice” regarding parenting. The advice normally sounds like this: “Enjoy this stage because it all goes downhill from here.” “This is when they are sweet, and then they grow up to be a three-year old, a pre-teen, and a teenager.” “I remember when mine were this little and now they are a pain.” Most of the time this “advice” is given right in front of their children and my heart breaks. What this precious child hears is that they were once valued, but now they are an inconvenience. We live in a world where we despise being inconvenienced. We eat fast food; we drive fast cars; we talk on fast cell phones; and we live in the fast lane. We even DVR our TV shows to watch when it is more convenient for us. If something does not go our way, we throw a grown up temper tantrum by holding a grudge against someone, gossiping or seeking revenge. Over the last few months I think what I’ve seen more than anything is the “inconvenience” children cause in their parent’s lives, and once again, my heart breaks. Motherhood is a new role for me. Makaylan is 5 months old, and I’ve learned a lot about being “inconvenienced” in the last 5 months. For example, I used to get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but now I count it a blessing when I get 4 hours of sleep. I’ve also learned that just because your food is ready to eat does not mean that you will be eating it anytime soon. I laughed with a friend of mine the other day when she said, “I think my little girl hears the “ding” of the microwave and decides it’s time for HER to eat.” Any way you look at it, motherhood (parenthood) is inconvenient…and that is exactly how God designed it!! Did we really think our precious children would come into our lives and not change things? From the moment you hear those amazing words “You’re pregnant!” God begins to mold and shape you into the parent who resembles His fatherly love towards us. But this shaping can only happen as we give over our rights to ourselves and allow God the freedom to shape us. The problem I’ve noticed, in myself and others, is that, often times, we push against His molding. He wants to produce within us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23), and the tool He frequently uses to teach us these virtues is our children. But, when we see and treat our children as individuals who have interrupted our nice, cozy life, then we disrupt what God desires to do in us and in them. I am saddened when I see parents (especially professing Christian parents) handle their children with contempt. God has given us children in order to serve them, mold them, disciple them, and show them Christ’s love. The Bible speaks over and over again about the blessing of children (Ps. 127:3-4, Ps 128, Ps 139:13-19). God calls us His children, and He delights over us (John 1:12). I am SO thankful that God does not see me, His child, as an inconvenience. Instead, while I was still a sinner He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me (Romans 5:8). When I have come to Him in need, I have never felt Him roll His eyes at me. He delights in my need of Him, and encourages me to come to Him…with anything and at ANY time. He does not demand that I wait until morning, or that I grow up first, or that I get a grip. He offers Himself, and delights as we come to Him. My prayer is that my little girl (and any future children we are blessed to raise) will always know and feel that her parents prayed for her and still find her valuable…even when she is three years old! Written by Amanda Walker, Cultivating Hearts Editor and Women's Ministry Advisor

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Silas' Reflections on the Midnight Hour

After a period, the blows stopped. I don’t know which was worse, the anticipation of the blow or how I felt after it stopped. Slowly, my mind began to focus back in this world and I realized we were being taken to the prison. Every nerve in my body pulsed with pain. I kept shaking my head hoping to refocus my vision. I heard them talking around me, but my thoughts were not lucid yet and I could not tell you where they were. I remember coming to as my face hit the ground. Overwhelmed by the stench of human waste my thoughts cleared quite quickly as that scent reached the inner recesses of my brain. My body racked with heaving so intensely I did not know where the pain was worse. Finally, squinting through throbbing eyes I saw Paul on the ground next to me just starting to come to as well. Blood crusted dirt caked his body. Discerning where his wounds began was impossible. He was one raw mess. I then heard the jailer shout at the guard, “Take extra precautions with these two!” I remember thinking. What kind of precautions? I heard him coming before I saw him. The ground rumbled under his weight. He grabbed both of us simultaneously, lifted us by our arms and dragged us down a long descending corridor that went deeper and deeper into the recesses of the earth. He was a large man and he smelled of sweat and dirt. Firelights hung on the wall on the path he carried us. The shadows the light created made the place appear eerie and gloomy. Men in stocks lined the path moaning and reaching with their fingers hoping to grasp a hold of the life above. He threw us before the stockade— a large piece of wood the length of a man. The width ran the length of a foot and as thick as a man’s fist with two holes for the feet to be inserted. It split lengthwise down the middle so he could lock our feet in. He enclosed it around our ankles and then took leather straps and secured the enclosure. I expected him to whip us with the straps, so I braced for more blows only to hear his feet retreat. As he left, I realized he had not put our hands and necks in the stockade and this gave me some relief. I don’t know if my back could take the bending over with all the wounds still so fresh from the flogging. I looked over at Paul and he looked at me and we both fell into prayer. It was all we knew to do. Our voices lifted up to Heaven the cries of our hearts. We confessed the mighty miracles of the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. As our voices carried, throughout the tavern within the earth every ear could hear our cry. Our cry was not of our agony or of our pain, but of the glory of the LORD and His strength. How His strong arm carries His children and avenges him against his enemy. How he brings salvation to those who need it. Slowly as we became one voice in the midnight hour our prayers turned into songs. We began to sing the hymns of our faith and our souls were soothed and our voices carried to the highest heights as we contemplated our GOD and King.” Not a body in the room moved. Excerpt from REDEEMED TO PRAISE p. 159-160.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Impregnated Pause

The email came so unexpectedly, "Tara, we will you to lead one of the morning devotions." "Yes, thank you." Excited, but also nervous at one more opportunity to share Jesus. I awoke the morning after the invite at 4:00 am with a start. "Story the seven moments Jesus prayed. Challenge ION attendees to pray like My Son." "Okay. it makes sense to me since that is what I am studying and writing about now." The LORD has caused me to meditate on these seven moments now for about a year. I stopped all aspects of my ministry and only focused on this one endeavor; painstakingly choosing the words, telling, re-telling and re-crafting the story. For two entire weeks all I did was listen to, read or tell the story. I timed and re-timed the presentation. It took 19-23 minutes with most of the times resting at 21. Coinciding with the preparation time at ION (International Orality Network), I began the fall session of women's Bible study at my church. One of the action plans in our study focused on an eight week fast of asking God for anything. I walked a fast of asking. I was not allowed to ask GOD all the things that I might ask, "O LORD, please do not let any words fall empty to the ground. Make my teaching like the dew that ministers to the tender shoot..." However, I was re-learning a process of only praising the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Obviously, He become my WORD Giver, Presenter, Speaker, Spokesmen. Two days before I presented, I remained secluded all morning in order to practice. As the stories unfolded from my lips, the power of GOD's message sent shivers through me. Finally, the story became mine. I left my room with a buoyed step knowing that God was up to something. But, then something happened! On the day before I presented, I could not tell one sentence without confusion. "What is this? Why can't I remember the story? Deliverer!" As the day progressed the confusion increased, passages that I knew well and could tell so easily, suddenly became foreign as if I sought to muddle through what felt like a Greek text. "Father, You make all things clear! You give to us the words we need in our time of need. You tell us to go and tell." I asked my friend if I might share the story with her in order to ease my mind. Yet, the confusion increased. I could not even speak the first sentence without messing up. I couldn't even muster up anxiety. "Sustainer, I do not want to fail you or the ones I seek to honor." My sweet friend even seemed frozen as I tried several times to tell without messing up. As I storied the thought came to me, "ASK and it will be given." "But, I am fasting asking. I know YOU will provide! I trust YOUR character and YOUR WORD! You know what is best and You know my heart. I simply want to tell the story so people will pray like Jesus prayed." At dinner, I shared with Jan and Nancy that I was struggling. I asked them to pray. On the night before the presentation the LORD awoke me at midnight, so I storied. Sweetly, it rolled off my heart and mind like a comforting friend. Sleep peacefully overtook me. "Thank YOU, Father." On the day of the presentation, I progressed through my morning routine knowing that the Holy Spirit would be faithful to complete what the Father began. I skipped breakfast in order to draw nearer to the Father. Yet, as I entered the sanctuary, a spirit of confusion confounded me. As worship progressed, several moments of shear panic overtook me. "What is the story? How do I tell it? What were the points I hoped to communicate?" I could not recall so many details. It was gone. My mind was blank. "Glory, YOU reign! All over the world YOUR glory resounds! Jesus is our victory." As Jerry, our emcee introduced me, he asked me to share about myself when I came up. With clarity I heard in my heart, "Do not introduce yourself! This is not about you. Just tell the story!" I stood to tell and felt the story begin its process of unfolding from the depths of my soul. AND then it happened. It was gone! NOTHING! GONE! I told myself, "Pause, don't say a word! Just pause!" I did. Still nothing. "What was I to say? Where was I?" It even occurred to me that I needed to pause in order to teach how to mess up. A thousand thoughts, but dead silence filled room. The familiarity of the story no longer lulling experienced Bible tellers to distraction. A PAUSE! The impregnated pause gave me time to look out at the people. Heads were bowed. Eyes squinted shut... praying. And I couldn't even pull out of myself a prayer. I couldn't find it. Only by the grace of God my mouth opened and the story began again. Not where it was supposed to, but the comfort of its familiarity sent obvious relief to the group, but I could tell some were still praying. As I storied, I let the pause go because there was not time to dwell on such things. My secondary thoughts kept shouting, "Tell! I must tell!" AND then it happened again, but this time with greater confusion. The Spirit warned, "No! That is a woe not a blessing." I messed up and as much as I tried I could not tell the difference between a blessing and woe. Was I living a blessing or a woe at the moment? I did not know! Once again, the pause gave me opportunity to see the bowed heads and squinted eyes of prayer. Love and comfort oozed into my soul, "Tell, Tara. Tell!" Humbled, I finished the story. The incredible sting of shame covered me as I thought, "They trusted me! But, LORD, even in this YOU can glorify YOUR SON!" The room was quiet and sober. No one, really knew how to respond. One of our own failed today. This could be me some day. Rick immediately rose and came to give me a hug. His hug felt like my earthly daddy's arms and I felt safe, secure and loved. As I left the sanctuary, the spirit of condemnation wanted to sweep me away. I knew in my heart I needed to go to the prayer room so I could have someone help me to lift my head and make sense of the situation. All things happen for a purpose with the children of God. Who am I say what God intended? The prayer room was filled with dialogue about spreading the gospel and how to tell the story as well as dialogue about personal griefs that I had not right to interrupt. I sat and listened. Again, that impregnated silence. I confess I felt so selfish that I felt so desperate for prayer. I left to go to the next conference and as I walked into the room Nancy, the speaker, washed me with public encouragement as only Nancy can. And that is when the dialogue began. "Why LORD!" I know I am not to ask GOD for anything. Somehow this felt right because I did not want something for me by way of a gift. I wanted clarity and understanding. His gentle reminder came, "Was it not your heart for people of ION to pray?" "Yes, LORD. We can't do this apart from YOU!" "What did the people look like when you could not tell?" "They were bowed in prayer!" Ha! Really?! "But, LORD, that is not what I meant!" But, I laughed inside! God showed me the humor of my situation and my burden lifted some for the people did pray. There were many good conversations about the impregnated pause, yet all I could think about was how I might grow and improve. While safely home enveloped in deep sleep beside my beloved, I awoke with another start. Instantly this thought came to me, "Did you notice the two moments you messed up on?" "Yes, Beth helped me remember. I forgot to say, 'Don't think you can say your are Abraham's children. For, I tell you that God can take one of these stones and make children for Abraham.' And, 'Blessed are those who go hungry now for they will be satisfied." "Think on these two!" "Well, it might be easy for one of us to become so religious that we think that by some form of tradition, practice or method that we have it made." As shivers coursed over my body, I sat stunned as I thought of how we at ION can allow these three to destroy the story! O GOD, forgive us... no, forgive me! Immediately, my mind remembered faces of those that are starved for Jesus. And I remembered, "Satisfaction will come!" Finally, peace came upon me. No story is complete for me until I pen it. My literacy breaking through to bring relief to what will be a spiritual marker in my life on the importance of prayer. I do not write it to shame anyone. I write it as a note of remembrance and ask that it be used often as we train. In this, God will redeem that which was not spoken. Father, could it be that the enemy did not want these two particular statements not spoken? Or is it that YOU just wanted us to reflect further on these two? O LORD, whatever the reason. I am ever so thankful because I will never forget! The impregnated pause is a spiritual reminder that I will not quickly forget. Please teach us to pray like Jesus prayed. Tara Rye 4:32 am 9/16/11

Friday, September 02, 2011

Love Never Fails
(1 Corinthians 13:8)

I arose early hungry for my personal quiet time. I love traveling and our vacation proved to be full of rest and renewal, but every moment was filled with people. Coming from me that is an odd statement because I love being with people. Greg left the trailer to go down to the public showers. A sweet friend offered her trailer at Elim Christian lodge in Canada to us for a trip. What a gift! The lush green surroundings and lake provided eye catching moments that gave my heart a lift. I am a country girl at heart and this setting fed my soul. The kids were asleep so I nestled into the couch with my Bible and a cup of chai tea.

A few months back, the LORD revealed to me that my Bible study time had become perfunctory. I now begin my time by simply praying, "LORD, help me to draw into Your presence and know You are real as I read Your Word." In my daily reading, I was to be in Mark, but somehow without noticing I began reading in 1 Corinthians. Chapter 11 and 12 so captured my attention that I began chapter 13 without even realizing I was not in the gospels. And then I read, "Love never fails." In an instant, I was stopped. What? Really? "Love never fails!" How did I not catch this before? Suddenly, streams flowed from my eyes as I realized the power of God's love. As a fresh look at His love penetrated this ole' heart of mine.

I began to visualize various moments that I faced in the last six months and prayed "Love never fails" on each situation. First, my thoughts carried me to my marriage. How many times have I allowed something other than love to try to fix, heal, or work on my relationship with my Greg. Father, You are love. Your love never fails! Write love on my marriage! Then I thought of my parenting to two teens and how quickly I am to preach or teach when they just need a listening ear. Father, You are love. Your love never fails! Write love on my parenting! Then the LORD reminded me of two beloved friends coming to tell me that their teenage children were pregnant. I felt so helpless in what I could give. Father, You are love. Your love never fails! Write love on my friends and their families! Then I remembered various circumstances that dealt with change at my church and how a simple change will cause brothers and sisters to fight. Father, You are love. Your love never fails! Write love on my church! My heart wrenched as I remembered the face of someone I spent six months discipling to only see that she chose to walk back into a lifestyle that did not honor the LORD. Father, You are love. Your love never fails! Write love on the disciples You give me and let love be evident on my face and in my actions! In brokenness, I thought of our country and the choices that are taking place on various levels that grieve God. Father, You are love. Your love never fails! Write love on my nation, especially in the dark hidden places!

Beloved, do we really understand that love never fails? I must confess to you that I do not grasp it fully and I have not lived it out as I should. But, I sure want it to be evident and real in me. Jesus' love covered every sin that has been and ever will be. Who am I to not love? The thing that hit me the most about this particular moment with the LORD was that the places I lack the most love tended to be with other believers or perceived believers. I had to confess that I lacked love with the ones the LORD calls my siblings.

Beloved, love never fails! Where does it need to be written in your life today? Beg God for love to be written on your face, life and ministry.

Simply, Tara

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tara Rye
Taken from Passport to Praise, p. 35

Present God
They pitched a tent
You sent a Son

In the tent You go
To sit and watch Your people grow
Present God
Holy One
Smelling offerings fragrant to You
Dining on conversations
Listening to heartbeats that cry
Knowing the difference
Between the insincere and the contrite

Where are the ones
Born to sing Your songs?
Remembering You
In the inner courts?

Once upon a time
You resided
In the Most Holy Place
Now You choose
To dwell in hearts
Among the human race

For Your sake
You blot out transgressions
And remember our sins
No more
A serious business
Father and Son
As the Holy Spirit

Rise up Holy Spirit
Reside in us we sing
The earth is firmly
Give praise and Glory
To the King

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Hard Questions

Jesus asked hard questions to help the person recognize what resided in his or her heart. He still does today. One Sunday after church, I curled up in my favorite recliner to enjoy an afternoon nap. During my sleep, it was as if I was watching a movie of me. Sadly, each scene depicted a moment where I spoke with either a critical spirit or in a snippy tone. As I awoke, I heard this question in my heart. "Can you say that your words of late are more critical than encouraging?" I knew the answer, but held on to it for a bit. I thought I might ask my family in the car on the way to our afternoon events.

A soon as the family settled in, I asked my question. "Do I encourage you or am I more critical?" I honestly was not concerned about this question. I am an encourager by nature and as far as I could remember I had never failed a hard question on my spiritual walk with my family. But on this day, there was a long pause. It was long enough for me to tear up and feel like I might get sick. It was long enough for me to realize that I robbed my family of one of the most important character traits I own-- the gift to lift up. I live to encourage. It is something I work hard to do, but I failed. Somehow, God gave me the ability to pull it together to walk into the retirement party, but that night I wept myself to sleep as I grieved over my sin.

On Monday morning, my grief remained fresh. I asked God to cleanse me and change me. As I prayed, it occurred to me that I had forgotten the privilege, responsibility, and power of the spoken word. The idea came to me to fast speaking for one day. Yes, you heard me! I fasted speaking in order to remember the privilege, responsibility and power of my words. I wrote out what I was doing on a piece of paper and as each family member woke up I shared what I was doing and why. I did not do this to self impose punishment on myself and I most definitely did not do it to punish my family. I did it to draw nearer to God and let Him do a work in me.

My son, Grant, worried that if I died, he would not hear my voice again. My daughter worried that the day would not be fun. We had a shopping trip planned. I text her after shopping, "Was it fun?" She text back, "YES!" My Greg humbled me. He joined me! While he was home, he chose to use sign language and join me in my silence. It is amazing how much you can communicate when you do not have words!

The thing that astounded me more than anything was that I heard God so clearly. It became for me a day of rejoicing and great celebration. God gave me three one thousand word devotionals for a seminary assignment in three hours Typically, I can write at most two in a day. My heart soared at the clarity of my mind. It did not have to fight the clutter of my words.

I have never thought of fasting my words. I know that monks do. I just didn't realize that part of the reason I allowed a critical spirit to come out of me came from the fact that I preferred to hear my own voice. Fasting helped me to listen and truly focus on the other. I no longer felt the need to speak.

What hard question might you need to ask yourself and then your family? Do not shy of the power of a hard question and what might be revealed. Embrace what is discovered and give it to God. He will use it to help you draw near to Him.


Friday, July 01, 2011

Extreme Challenges

My teens are into anything that requires an extreme challenge. One day before school let out I said, "We are going to take an extreme challenge! For the first two weeks of summer we are going to only eat what is in our cupboards no matter how weird the combination might be and we will not go shopping!" To my surprise, they loved it! They decided to do the cooking and to mine and Greg's delight they were coming up with palatable food. The first meal consisted of falafel tacos (fried hummus)and a dessert they called "ryckle" consisting of chopped apples, wild rice, honey, and melted chocolate chips. What began as an off-th- cuff remark became a great family adventure with candlelight dinners displaying bizarre food combinations.

After four days our house was clean, but the reality of no toilet paper, litter, and dog food sent us to the store. We didn't think it wise to make our dog fast and my nose could not take the litter box smell, so an exception was made.
As we drove up to Wal-Mart, I kept saying aloud, "No! No! No!"
After the third "no!" Mikayla asked, "Mom, why do you keep saying no?"
"I keep thinking of all the things I want to buy when we get to the store. I am saying "no" so I stick to our extreme challenge." Somehow a deal was made so that Grant would say, "No!" to me ten times if I tried to buy something that was not on our emergency list. Let's just say that by the time we reached the check out, I was ready to show him what "no" really meant.

After getting in a short line, I noticed that Bernadette, one of my favorite checkers was in the next aisle, so I moved. Even though the lady in front of me had way more items than the other aisle, I didn't mind. It was then that I noticed how every item that Bernadette scanned, the lady either had a coupon or a flyer showing the price at another store in order to get the best value. In my heart, I knew this was not an extreme coupon fanatic. This was a mom desperate for every penny. My lighthearted manner sobered as Bernadette reached for the switch to flick on the light and called for a manager. Somehow, I knew her credit card was denied. I leaned over and whispered in Grant's ear, "Please act like you are getting a drink and go find out how much her bill is and come back and whisper it to me without anyone knowing."

Grant did as I asked. I heard a quiet whisper in my heart, "Pay her bill. This is why you did the extreme challenge. I wanted you to have the extra money for her." The manager walked up and started his routine of denial.

"Sir, Um... was her card denied?"


"Um... I will pay her bill." The lady turned to me and said, "NO!" I looked her in the eyes and said to her, "Ma'am, Jesus wants you to know He sees you and He knows. I have to pay this bill because He wants me to!"

As my children and I crawled into our van meditating on what God just did, I said, "For us our extreme challenge this week has been fun and carefree. For this lady, her extreme challenges have not been. We really need to work more at cutting back so we can give more freely."

Writing this story makes me cry because the lady grabbed me and held tight as she wept. How often have I missed the LORD's extreme challenge to give simply because I was so bent on buying or getting what I wanted instead? What about you? Will you take the extreme challenge this summer? How might the LORD ask you to give?

Simply, Tara

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Caught by God

As I finished up Storying* on Jesus' baptism, I felt a strong sense in my heart that GOD loved this telling. Not so much because I did anything special or dramatic, but simply because the Father made known at Jesus' baptism that Jesus is His Son and He is well pleased with Him. The Father saw fit to authenticate Jesus' ministry in front of a whole host of people crowded on the river banks of the Jordan River to be baptized by John. In a sense, Jesus' baptism was a heavenly family reunion. The Son moving forward in obedience, the Holy Spirit resting upon Jesus in bodily form as a dove and the Father opening the heavens to speak forth His approval. As the words flowed out of my mouth, I felt the hush of heaven's pleasure settle on me. It was at this very moment that I looked out and saw her. Tears were gathering and spilling unashamedly. I made note in my heart that she was new to my class at the Open Door Mission.
As the lesson finished up, she quickly came forward to talk to me. Before words could come forth from her lips, tears gathered again. The words poured out rapidly, "I wanted to know about a certain religious group and in order to learn I had to be baptized. Do I need to be baptized again?"
Without knowing all the details behind this loaded question I asked, "Why do you ask?"
"Well, I realized that they had false teachings, so I left. Does my baptism count?"
Once again, the LORD amazed me with the power of Biblical story. I never know what is happening in the heart or mind of the people I voluntarily serve at the mission, but I do know that if I am faithful to tell well the Bible truths in a way they can understand that God will make sure that the truths will resonate where spiritual growth needs to occur. I did not know that on this day that someone in my group would be struggling with a history of false teaching and the reasons behind why we do baptism. But, I did know confidently that if I told His story hearts would be moved.
I answered my new friend, "Yes, you need to be baptized. But there is a proper order. Baptism demonstrates to those who observe it that this person identifies with Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Jesus died on the cross for your sins. If you were the only person to ever be born He would have died on that cross for you. Have you come to the place in your life that you believe that Jesus died for you? Once you have believed and received His gift of eternal salvation then you follow through with baptism to show all what you have believed."
Her voice cracked as she whispered the words, "I am ready!"
I realized I was not the only one caught by God that day. His story catches us! When was the last time you were caught by the Father ? Who are you telling the story of His Son to so that others may be caught by God?

*Storying: Telling in your own words a Biblical passage. It is not a memorization, but an internalization of a Biblical passage.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Have you ever gotten so tired that brain fuzz takes over your mind and the only thing you can do is rest? On the day that I finalized my teaching notes on this lesson on Acts 10, brain fuzz overtook my mind. I knew that if I did not take a nap my thoughts would be incoherent. My former Pastor John Bisagno used to tell us that sometimes the most holy thing we can do is take a nap. I have been ever so grateful for such a sweet truth. As I rested my head, I prayed, “God, please give me the amount of rest I need so I can get up and finish the lesson.”

In the stillness of my waking moments, I tend to hear the LORD more clearly. Suddenly, I jumped up out of my sleep with a completely different approach to chapter 10 then I had when I lay down. I originally intended to focus the lesson on the truth that God does not play favorites, but it seemed as if in an instant I caught and I saw a new outline as clearly as if I had spent hours writing and studying. I do so love it when this happens. I saw a picture of John, the writer of Revelation, standing outside the door of heaven. A voice called out, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). I realized this passage is about the value of an open door. God open our eyes to let us see the open door, but it is our choice to walk through the door.

When an open door happens…
We can walk through to seek salvation.
We can walk through to hear the truth.
We can walk through to give the truth.
We can walk through to receive the truth.

Ultimately, we must understand that the LORD opens spiritual doors; it is our choice to walk through. As we see the door open, a multitude of temptations will cause us to walk away without entering, but there will also be barriers that we must recognize and honor in order to walk through, too. As I travel on mission trips both locally and internationally, I have learned to ask what the cultural custom is for entering a home. I did not realize how each culture has developed a unique custom for open doors. I learned in Russia that it was considered rude if I walked through a door before an extended hand granted me entrance. While in Brazil, I discovered that in the area we visited, the homes were surrounded by concrete walls with an iron gate. It did not matter if we were in the wealthy area or the poorer section every home had a concrete wall. The poorer sections were built from the broken cinder blocks thrown away by the rich. When we approached a home there was no door to even knock on. The very first house we walked up to I was a little surprised when the interpreters clapped their hands. The clap echoed off the concrete walls to let the family know they had a guest at the gate. In Guatemala, the middle class families drive their car through their front door, so there are actually two doors in front of the house. A larger door opens up for the car with a smaller door for a person to walk through. If a person comes to visit, the owner will open a small door to see who is outside or look through a peep hole. In the villages, there were no doors, so we called out greetings before getting close to the home. Knowing and understanding the cultural customs for entrance made our walking through so much easier. Sometimes cultural customs can become a barrier. The key is to know the cultural customs in order to honor them, but to not allow them to become a barrier, but a bridge.

This week will discover that two doors open on about 33 miles apart. Regardless of the cultural customs of Peter and Cornelius, the LORD used open doors in their lives to meet their spiritual needs. For one Cornelius, it was unto salvation and for Peter to let go of a prejudice that would hinder his ministry. Both walked through when the door opened. Reflect upon how God uses one man’s need for salvation to slay another man’s prejudices. Please notice that both doors open through prayer and the one who answers is the Angel of the LORD.

Taken from Tell It Well, The Ripple Effect Continues, Week 10 Day 1, page 123-124.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hearing God
By Donna Blum/Cultivating Hearts Media and Marketing Advisor

The night before last, Emma and I were lying on her bed talking before she went to sleep. I said to her, "I like to pray at times like this when everything is still and quiet because that is when I can hear God the best." She said she didn't understand. She asked, "How do you hear God?" I explained that I can't hear His voice really loud like a shout or really soft like a whisper - - in fact, I can't hear Him with my ears at all. I told her I have to listen with my heart and mind. I explained to her how I do it. First, I pray silently "Okay God, I am listening. Is there anything you want to tell me?" and then I lay quietly and wait for His answer. I told her the first thing that pops into my mind is usually a message from Him.

She said, "Okay Mommy, be quiet, I want to try." So, I started praying, "Lord, please speak to Emma's heart now in a way that she will know without a doubt that it is You." Then she said to me a few minutes later, "Mommy, I heard Him." I said "That is great Emma! What did He say?" She said, "He told me to be nice to my brother and obey my parents." Then she said, "I didn't know I could talk to God that way. That was fun! I want to do it again."

So, last night, we were lying in Emma's bed again and I reminded her how much fun we had talking to God the night before and I asked her if she wanted to do it again. She said, "Yes!" and became silent and still for several minutes. Then she said, "Mommy, I heard Him again! He said He wants me to read my Bible more often." I said, "Wonderful! He tells me that too."

*Emma is six years old.

Monday, May 16, 2011

By: Tara Rye

Almost nightly Grant pleads, “Mom, Zeke and Gafar?” This question echoes on the walls of our home nearly every night because our boys love a good story. It became the habit of Grant and Junwoo (our nine-year-old foreign exchange student from Korea) for me to tell a story every night before they went to sleep. Our current tale has lasted well over six months. It is about an American named Zeke that travels to a far and distant land to climb a mountain with Gafar—a native mountain guide. I never know when I sit on the edge of Grant’s bed what might happen to our favorite mountain climbing men. But, one thing is for certain, I always use my tales to weave in truths about God, His character, His Word, His Son, and even how to share the gospel. In our story, it took nearly two and a half months for Gafar to believe in Jesus, but the other night, Zeke, Gafar, and Ed (a seventy-year-old hermit mountain man they found) came upon a village that had never heard of Jesus.

Zeke said, “Our greatest mission field is with the ones we are with. If we are with them, then it is our mission field.” Gafar nodded his head in acceptance of his friend’s simple wisdom.

This became the lesson for the night. I want my boys and daughter to know the importance of telling the stories of the Bible well, so Zeke and Gafar began to chronologically tell the Bible stories to the villagers.

One morning, as Zeke and Gafar arose, the villagers ran up to them and said, “Storyiors! Come! We want another!”

Grant interrupted me, “Mom, what is a “storyior”?”

I just made up the word for the story, so I said, “The villager’s language was very simple. They somehow combined the word for “story” and “warrior” to create “storyior” because it was obvious to them that Zeke and Gafar were God’s story warriors. The boys loved the idea and paused to enjoy the new word. My boys were learning through Zeke and Gafar that the greatest battles enjoy victory through the telling of truths found in God’s Word. At this point, our story took a pause as Grant and Junwoo practiced how to spell “storyior”. For each of us the word "storyior" connected to a deeper truth. This is the power of a word fitly spoken. We want to be "storyiors". God's story warriors!

As I reflect on today’s lesson, tears well up in my eyes because Stephen truly was a “storyior.” Let us join Stephen, as his face brims with Holy Spirit's light and the grace of God, as he tells well the greatest story ever told. He is one of our finest examples of a “Storyior” for Jesus.

Taken from Tell It Well, Week 7 Day 1, page 140

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Capturing the Big Picture
Adapted from a paper by Tara Rye
Submitted to Dr. Octavio Esqueda at SWBTS on Jan. 4, 2009

In high school, I had a driver’s education instructor that told us that the most dangerous drivers were the ones that did not take in the big picture. He said that if a driver focused only ahead and never looked back that he places those behind him at risk as well as himself. Likewise, if a driver is only looking behind then the driver might run into someone in the front. Recently, my teenage daughter has taken to the habit of hitting me in the car when she sees a VW Bug. I never see the VW Bugs because I scan the roads for the bigger picture, not the details of car types. As I pondered these two ‘situations, it occurred to me that when someone takes the time to tell the Bible passage in their own words it provides an opportunity to portray the big picture view for the study. A Bible teller is not as likely to focus in on the details, but will help the learner capture the big picture view. Where as a leader that uses an inductive study method will use questions to help a learner dig into the passage to better understand the details.

The number one choice for teachers and Christian leaders is the inductive method. Are we using these methods with excellence when we rule out other teaching methods? I heard a statistic that made me wonder if we might be missing out by not providing the bigger picture view more often. George Hunter, Beeson Distinguished Professor of Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary's School of World Mission and Evangelism, states that America is moving into the third or fourth generation of Biblical illiteracy. Could this be because we no longer teach the big picture?

In a phone interview, with author and Strategic Planning and People Groups Church Planting Coordinator of NAMB, Mark Snowden passionately explained that storying the Biblical narrative provides the Bible in the heart language of the person listening. He said, “Internationally, 70% of all people have an oral learning preference. This combined with the college/postmodern millennia’s and the following generation known as the Gaming Generation that choose not to read, we may not have a Bible in their given language. Are we really teaching in a way that people can understand?

There is a “new wave sweeping across America” steeped in tradition that promises to create the next spiritual awakening. The method is simple and the message is the Truth. Yet, most leading pastors, teachers, and leaders confess the practice of this method is most difficult. The literate trained leader struggles with its application, yet 70% of the hearers receiving the message of the gospel prefer this method. Simply stating the name, “Storying,” invites a passionate response that either leads to ridicule or indignation. In fact, there is almost a palpable arrogance against it until one sits under the power of Truth cloaked in story.

What is Storying? Why do some shoot it down while others sing its praise? International author and storying advocate, Avery Willis, calls it the “next wave.” Why is the art of Biblical storying resurging? For well over a thousand years, storying passed the Biblical Narrative from generation to generation, only to lose its prominent position in communicating Biblical text to the more literate style following Martin Luther’s Reformation. Is it possible that chronological storying is the method of choice for the postmodern and gaming generations? If so, how does one cultivate the Biblical art of storying in a literate group of people to reach the oral hearer of today without losing theological integrity in the telling? Asbury Seminary Professor George Hunter states, “When someone uses storying he or she is on solid and useful ground. The Bible, after all, is not a series of theological abstractions or even a treasure of texts to be memorized. It's framework is the Grand Narrative of God's redemptive involvement with the human race, and most of the episodes in that Narrative are micro-narratives—from the story of Abraham to the parables of Jesus. When we learn and tell the Story and the stories, we more vividly recall the texts, truth-claims, and teachings.” Because Storying allows the hearer to experience the Story for him or herself; the hearer will remember and reproduce the Story of the gospel from their own “heart language.” In order to reach the postmodern generation, Biblical teachers need to incorporate aspects of Storying into the presentation of God’s Word, which creates an atmosphere for spiritual transformation in the individual, as well as the community.

The passion with which our biblical ancestors communicated God’s Story connected souls from generation to generation. Historical tradition reveals that Storying provides the essential building blocks necessary to lay Biblical truth on the most basic level while establishing community through the hearing and telling of God’s truth. The echo of truth becomes a ripple effect reaching far beyond the voice of the initial telling. According to Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg, authors of Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, at the age of 10 Jewish boys began their study of the Oral Torah and by the age of thirteen, they began their formal study of the scriptures. Oral stories easily remembered spread. Before one establishes depth of insight on the whole counsel, of the Word of God, one must understand the purpose behind the message. This is the bigger picture! Oral Storying made this possible as communities changed by the telling of God’s presence among His people. Even today, the youngest of Biblical learners learn first through stories. It is no wonder that Jesus used oral tradition to communicate the Word of God to the people. Mark 4:33-34 reminds believers that Jesus did not speak without using a parable. What is a parable? A story! Why stop using this method with adults simply because they are older?

According to Jackson Day, a retired missionary of Brazil, it is no coincidence that a quick glance through the Bible unfolds the truth that 70+% of the Bible is in narrative form. Day states that out of the 39 Old Testament books, 34 contain stories for teaching and all of the New Testament books contain stories. The LORD leaves no detail undone. The very lay-out of His scriptures reveals that He created man to learn through story. Both the Old and New Testament reveal the power of Storying’s influence on community. After all, didn’t the whole nation of Israel stop eating the hip joint after the telling of how Jacobs’s hip was knocked out of socket, as he wrestled all night with the Angel of the LORD at the Jabbok River? Or what about the fear that fell upon the early church after hearing the thud of Ananias and Sapphira’s bodies upon telling a lie to the young impressionable church? Even modern storytellers grasp the value of the bond between stories and community. The Network of Biblical Storytellers International points out that “the sacred act of Biblical Storytelling binds the teller and listeners in community.” Stories not only change individuals and churches, they change nations, too!

Mark Snowden highly recommends that potential storyers follow the Ten Steps to Storying set up by Avery Willis in the Following Jesus Series. Willis’s ten basic steps for storying recommends: 1) Establish the Biblical truth the teller seeks to communicate. 2) Know the worldview issues. 3) Discern the bridges, barriers and gaps. 4) Select the Bible story. 5) Craft the story and session. 6) Story the story. 7) Facilitate the dialog. 8) Obey the Bible truth. 9) Establish accountability. 10) Reproduce and model. These methods have been tested and proven effective on the mission field for years in evangelism, discipleship, and in church planting. Moreover, small group settings are starting to use this method within North America.

Do we really want to miss out on the bigger picture? How can we reach the third and fourth generation of Biblically illiterate? How might we use Bible storying in our own community groups? It is simple as telling the Bible passage in your own words. “Our measure for success is when our people can pass God’s Word on to others, accurately.” Everyone can remember a story! Why not let it be a Bible story!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

By Kim Schiemann
Cultivating Hearts Intercessory Prayer Leader

“Listen! Is everyone listening?” shouted my eight year old, waiting to read the devotion at dinner table. Our home is full of voices that want to be heard. With four children, listening can be a challenge.

Listening is a discipline. It requires great strength and wisdom. Solomon the wisest of all men, said “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance-for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.” Prov. 1:5

As I reflect on my years since I began to follow the Lord, I can honestly say listening was not something I did or was taught. My prayer time was more about lists than listening. I didn’t know His voice, because I was the one doing all the talking. I had ears, but never hearing because I was always talking.

My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Jesus not only used these words, He lived it. Throughout the gospels, when Jesus would begin to teach, he would begin with “listen”. Jesus knew how important listening is to obey and to know him. If we don’t listen, we will not recognize His voice when we hear all the other voices of man and the lies of the enemy. In our culture today, our blessings are our biggest curse. We are over stimulated with noise and can retrieve information at the touch of a button, within seconds. We are entertained with counterfeits and fascinated with the secular world. The enemy has saturated our minds and hearts with distractions, so we are unable to discern His voice.

My relationship with the Lord has matured and I do more listening than talking in my quiet time. There is a reason I call it “quiet time”, it reminds me of the proper position I need to be in. The example the Lord showed us during His years of his ministry, reflect how important it is to withdraw to a quiet place and pray. I imagine He listened more than he talked. How about you?

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Jacob Story
Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." Genesis 32:28

When I story the Bible in summary, I follow a basic outline of the history of the Bible, but with each group I tell it to, I discovered the LORD will emphasize specific stories and make me tell more about a certain character. I don't plan it. I simply pray the LORD speaks.

In the last month, God has graciously allowed me to story the Bible summary at Lakeside Hospital, Parkview Baptist Church and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. I choose to story the summary of the Bible because I cannot make any assumptions that everyone knows the story. In fact, theologians say that we are to the third and fourth generation of Biblical illiteracy in America.

The amazing truth about telling a story is that a story has the ability to connect with the soul at a deeper level without pointing a finger or singling out an individual. As I storied at Tinker Air Force Base, an emphasizes on Jacob happened. As a group of us sat around enjoying the late night quiet at the retreat, one of the ladies asked me, "Tara, do you typically emphasize Jacob so much?" I said, "No, I usually just say that he is known as the one who overcame with God and man. Why do you ask?" She explained that she struggled with miscarriages and at first she did not name her babies, but as she matured in Christ she felt led to name her baby despite the fears. The LORD impressed upon her heart to name him Jacob and she felt that God revealed to her that Jacob would lead thousands to Him. Then another mom said, "As ya'll know, I have three kids, but I had four. One of my twins died at six weeks, his name was Jacob." Then another mom said, "I so want a child, but God has not yet given us children, yet He gave me the name Jacob for our son."

I sat stunned as tears freely flowed in our small group. Honestly, if I had known, I don't know that I would have storied as much about Jacob. The first mom shared with us that as I storied the Bible and she heard over and over how GOD has a plan and He will fulfill His plan and that when God makes a promise He keeps it. It occurred to her that even though her Jacob is in heaven God will use her telling his story to lead others to Him. Silenced by the power of God's story, I listened with awe as healing transpired in the group.

The next day I shared this story to the men and women I teach at the Open Door Mission to point out that God will fulfill His plan and promises. We must simply remain faithful to communicating God's true story. After class, one of the men came up to me and said, "You know how God gives a new name in the Bible after someone surrenders to Him? Well, I asked God about my new name. He gave me Jacob. I am one who has overcome with God and man. I really needed to hear this story!"

Beloved, God's story is powerful and effective. It brings healing and restoration. It helps us overcome. Trust His story to do the work and just watch and be amazed! He is faithful and will complete what He has begun!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I See You!

The first time I saw her I felt the need to draw near to her. In every aspect of her body language and words, I felt her pain. She symbolically represented the reason I set up the event for Bert VanderMark of Visual Parables to come to the Open Door Mission. Bert simply talks through a passage of scripture with the group and then gives them canvases along with various media to create what God spoke to them through the passage. The time of teaching brings healing and revelation. After the Saturday morning teaching, I kept finding myself walking up behind her to see her art. One time, she looked up at me, so I asked her to tell me about her painting. She said, "I think it explains itself!" I responded as gracefully as I could, "I agree it is very clear to me, but I would rather hear from you what it means to you." She replied, "Well, everyone keeps talking about the wild flowers. Last night everyone painted wild flowers. They kept saying God has His eyes on the wild flowers. I don't think they understand what God is really saying in that passage." She lifted the paint brush and pointed to the picture and said, "These here are the true wild flowers. No one sees us! No one cares!" I felt sick in the pit of my stomach as I stared at an amazing painting created by a woman who had never painted a picture before in her life. Her picture depicted homeless people on the street with an incredible angel over looking them. I remembered that on Friday night at one point, I purposely whispered in her ear, "You are worthy." She didn't move for a minute after I said it. I remembered another drawing she did after the Friday night event when no one else was around. She drew a picture of a hypodermic needle with a person free floating inside. I said to her, "WOW! That sure symbolically says a lot!" She was a little upset that I saw her art that wasn't intended for anyone's eyes. However, it shouted the truth and made me love her even more. I knew instantly what she needed from me to meet Jesus. I looked down at her and said, "I see you! I see you!"

Loves... Who in your world right now needs to know that you see them? When Jesus looked out upon the crowds, He saw that they were harassed and hassled and had compassion upon them. When He saw the one that needed the healing touch of His Words or His hands, He stopped and gave to them what they needed. We can walk through the day and pass by thousands without truly seeing them, yet we are called to be just like Jesus. Can the people we pass honestly say we see them? When they can, they will know that God sees them, too!

Father, help us to see, to really see with Your eyes so that when someone looks into our faces that they see the love of Christ pouring out and know that You see them!

So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16:13

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Creator of Color is Color Blind

The Creator of color is color blind,
He sees not the various tones of flesh,
But looks at the heart to see its condition.

The Sculptor of features is featureless,
He cares not about appearances,
But looks to see the beauty with in the heart.

The Giver of Knowledge is not educated,
He cares not about educational degrees,
But looks at the wisdom in life applied.

The Provider of wealth does not see dollar signs,
He sees not economic status of rich or poor,
But looks for the cheerful giver exemplified.

The Breath of Life had no social status,
He cares not about pleasing the masses,
But looks for His love personified.
The Creator of Color is Color Blind/Page 2/Rye
The Inspiration of thoughts has no prejudices,
He cares not of these kinds of opinions,
But looks for the washing of feet and the mending of wounds.

When all is said and all is done,
What He will ask is… Do you know my Son?

So instead of wasting your time with these things,
Surrender your vision to become colorblind.
Ask for God’s common sense—wisdom applied,
Give all you can and then give some more,
Focus on the one who needs you more,
And when your thoughts dwell where they should not,
Put perspiration to work kneeling before Him,
By serving a friend and a foe again and again and again!

May the LORD Jesus Christ make this true in you,
this is my prayer and heart cry tonight!

Written By: Tara Rye
April 12, 2002, 3:00 am
The Potter's Touch

Precious Potter,
Spinning the earth on her axis as Your hands move about
I praise Your Holy Name for this I do shout!
You are my Father, that handles the clay.
The movement of Your hands blesses me every day.
Lumpy, I may be as You kick the wheel to spin.
Moving me dizzily forward, to become something from within.
The wetness of Your hands soothes my dry form,
Melting away my brittleness, as I begin to take form.
The slight movement of Your thumb, begins to define my shape.
As I grow taller in Your guidance, for this is what You make.
Another kick at the wheel takes me to higher heights,
As the palm of Your hand envelopes me and holds me just right.
As shards of me stick out, You apply Your faithful touch,
Using the tools needed to scrape them off with precision as You clutch.
What do I feel like in Your hands, Dear Potter?
Is my clay soft to touch? Am I yielding to Your measure?
Pliable and such?

I am so glad You are the Potter and I am the clay.
Mold me and make me... This is what I pray!

Tara Rye/ Copyright 2006

Friday, January 28, 2011

Little Things

As I walked into my bedroom, a giggle erupted from me because my stuffed bears were wearing helmets and set up to play baseball on my bed. Suddenly, an ordinary moment became special because of a little thing. Have you ever noticed how it is the little things that make you feel loved and special. I can find my husband in a crowded room and know I am his alone by the simple raise of his brow. It is a little thing, but it is all mine. When our daughter was four years old, I said aloud, “Okay, it is time to wind down.” Mikayla froze and began to crank her arm as she squatted on the floor. It was a little bit of humor that makes me laugh still today. My twelve-year-old son greets me with hugs and kisses at school. Wait, I do believe that one is huge in the scheme of preteen hormones, but to us it is a little thing—it is how he greets mom. It is the cumulative effect of the little things that make a difference in our lives.

Proverbs 30:24 tells us that there are four little things on earth that are very wise: the ant, the rock badger, locusts, and lizards. What do these four little things have to do with love? Ants are strong and they are always preparing for tomorrow. In love and life, a wise person develops strength in doing the little things that will prepare for tomorrow. What is something little you can do to minister to your loved ones today? Do it! Though the rock badger is a weak creature, it seeks the safety of the rocks for protection. Hiding in the cleft of the Rock daily in prayer and reading His Word is a little thing that makes all who are weak strong. Have you read your Bible and prayed today? Do it! Locusts do not have a leader, yet they know that isolation is dangerous. They live in community with a sense of one anotherness that makes them formidable when they swarm. Choose to connect and be in community with one another in your home, your church, and your neighborhood. I remember at one point in my marriage thinking, “Greg didn’t roll over and hold me when he went to sleep!” For a moment I pondered letting such a little thing get in the way of our one anotherness, but then a little thought came to me, “Roll over and hug him!” I did and immediately felt comforted as he molded into my arms in his sleep. It is the little things that make a difference! Lizards are small and insignificant in the hands of a man, yet they are found in palaces. Beloved, you may feel like a little thing that is small and insignificant in the hands of those around you, but one thing is for certain, as a child of the King, you have a royal inheritance. Trust the significance you have in Christ our King—this is no little thing!

Father, help us to find ways to do the little things that make a difference!