Meet the Authors.

Sarah Burlingame is passionate about Biblical truth. Her diverse church background has taken her through Mainline Methodist, Evangelical, Assemblies of God and Roman Catholic circles. Her calling as an intercessor led her to receive a certification in Advanced Spiritual Warfare from LMCI (Liberating Ministries for Christ International) . Sarah has served as a small group leader, worship planner, liturgical dance leader and online ministry coordinator. She holds a M.S. degree in Education and lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and their youngest son. Her older sons reside in northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York. They attend North Rome Wesleyan Church.

Joanne Reinhart asked Jesus Christ into her heart at the age of nine in a Sunday school classroom in Maryland. Her journey with the Lord took her through various careers, colleges, and universities. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Art/Dance, Theology, and Education, and a M.S. degree in Educational Administration. Her passion for the Lord is evidenced through worship, dance, and teaching. She was liberated into her spiritual gifts and callings through the teaching resources of LMCI . Joanne has danced and taught at Christian conferences and various churches in PA and VA. She currently lives in Florida and attends church at Coastal Family Church in Flagler Beach, FL.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Which Kingdom Do You Choose?

Painting by Thomas Kinkade

The conflicting force of light and darkness is both universal and timeless. In many of the legends, tales and literature, this force is blatantly evident. For example, the beautiful Snow White was at dangerous odds with her evil, witch step-mother; while Prince Charming had to slay fiery dragons. In more modern times, there is a plethora of super hero vs. villain movies. Are these stories meant to only tantalize our psyche or is something deeper occurring, albeit sub-consciously, in the minds of the authors who created these stories? Could it be that the battle for good vs evil is very real and part of our experience as humans is to deal with this battle for ourselves and our families? Therefore, the stories told from the beginning of humanity exemplify the ever present struggle between light and darkness.     
There is a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness. It is as real as the coffee you may have had for breakfast and the air you are surely breathing to stay alive. While both kingdoms are ever present, you have a choice as to which one will be your dwelling place. Which one do you choose to live in?  There is a constant battle going on in the spirit realm for our souls.  Just as Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil, we are tempted in this world.  Power, fame, wealth (provision), security (protection) are flashed with repeated boldness in advertising, entertainment, music, on the internet, and over social media. This kingdom of self-centered exaltation is the same kingdom of darkness that wanted God’s Beloved Son, Jesus (see Matthew 3:17) to command provision, receive “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory,” and to bow down and worship the devil (Lucifer).  Jesus answered with these words, “it is written” and all the wiles of the devil could not prevail against him.

Sarah knows first-hand what the temptation from satan feels like. She gave herself to Jesus and asked Him into her heart around the age of 13. However, beyond that she had very little encouragement for Christ centered living from those in her sphere of influence. A few years later she had an experience she will never forget. It was late at night and she clearly heard a voice in her mind say to her, “If you worship me I will give you great riches and success.” Along with this voice was an overwhelming sensation of spiritual darkness. Sarah remembers that the promise for great riches and success was very tempting! She also knew that the voice was real. However, there was “something” inside of her that simply would not allow her to submit to that voice. She did not truly understand it at the time, but knows now that the “something” was the Holy Spirit who had been dwelling in her since the time she asked Jesus into her heart.  We are willing to guess that her experience, or one similar to it, has happened to some of you. 

Even if you have not had such a direct temptation experience (and be thankful if you have not), we still deal with worries and struggles on a daily basis. We often wish they would simply go away. Have you been battling negative thoughts of loss, lack, or loneliness? Do you feel like you are not getting anywhere in life? Too many bills to pay, too many things to accomplish? Pressure, pressure and more pressure everywhere?  Wouldn’t it be easier to just let the world help you instead of trying to believe that the promises of God are real and that they are your inheritance now?

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus uses the illustration of how His Heavenly Father knows that you need food, drink, clothing, and all the necessities of this life.  His Father feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field, in all His glory, and wants you to know that He will do all this and more if you will seek Him and His Kingdom.  The context of these verses is that we are not to worry, but to seek the kingdom of God and all the things we need will be “ADDED” to us.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
What is this “kingdom of God” and how can we seek it? 

Romans 14:17 (NKJV) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Righteousness is the state of being in proper relationship with God.  It is a Gift of God to us through the finished work of Christ on the cross.  We simply have to receive this gift, then we will come into agreement with God’s standards of what is right and just.  

2 Corinthians 5:21 (MEV) God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

People from every walk of life are seeking “peace and joy” through a variety of ways, spending a lot of their time and money trying to find and keep them!  True peace and joy can only be found in Jesus Christ.  Jesus has bequeathed us His peace (John 14:27), and when we are in His presence, we are filled with joy! 

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

When you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9-10), you are supernaturally infused with the Holy Spirit.  You are sealed with a guarantee of inheritance: the perfect redemption of your spirit, soul (present), and body (future) by Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:13-14) We were dead in our sins, and lived according to the desires of the flesh and of the mind. (Ephesians 2:1-3) But now, we are seated beside Christ in the heavenly realms!

Ephesians 2:4-6 (NIV)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus 

Is there something we need to be aware of in this present age?  How can we live in the world and still choose God’s kingdom of light in this ever darkening atmosphere?  The truth is, we need to choose to “put off” the “old man” which was our nature prior to making our decision for Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24 (NKJV)
that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

This “new man” is the person we become when we choose to follow Christ as described in the scriptures.  When we seek (choose) the kingdom of God, we will walk in righteousness, peace and joy with the Holy Spirit in us. This kingdom of light is what we have chosen.  We can attest to the fact that it truly is a beautiful dwelling place. 

Remember the simplicity of Christ’s words against the devil (“It is written”), if you are ever plagued by thoughts or even “hear” voices that try to torment you.  Even saying out loud, “JESUS” is enough to put these evil spirits in their place, which is under our feet!  They have all been defeated by Jesus Christ at the cross.  We want to encourage you to speak the scriptures out loud over yourselves, your loved ones, and all that pertains to you.  You have been given an armor that will absolutely cause you to be victorious over everything in the kingdom of darkness! 

Ephesians 6:11 (AMPC) Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

The kingdom of God is available to you today! 

~ Sarah and Joanne 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A One World Religion? One God?

We have become aware of a festival which is now taking place in Jerusalem, and will culminate on Sept 23 of this year. No, we have no plans to travel to the holy city but would like to share our thoughts and concerns about this event. We are NOT speculators. We bring you this information so you, in turn, can pray and ask God’s Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you. He’s a great God that way; because He loves you!

The event in question is being called the 2016 Mekudeshet Festival. There is no concrete Hebrew to English translation for the word Mekudeshet.  Internet searches have brought up more than one possible meaning, but the consensus is that it means holiness. The Mekudeshet Festival is said to be a gathering of art and artists to unite people through the creative process. So far so good, right? However, this year there is an additional element in what is being called a “House of Prayer” which also seems benevolent until you realize that the House of Prayer at Mekudeshet proposes to bring the religions of the holy land (Jews, Christians and Muslims) together to worship the God of all.  Is there really ONE God over all religions? There would be a long list of the world’s religions, from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Folk Religions (including New Age religions that worship Mother Earth), to name a few. To be bold, Buddha, Vishnu, Allah, the many Taoist deities, or Mother Earth are NOT the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!  YAHWEH, Elohim, Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts is His name.

 Zechariah 8:3 (NKJV)
“Thus says the Lord:
‘I will return to Zion,
And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth,
The Mountain of the Lord of hosts,
The Holy Mountain.’

When Sarah was a member of the American United Methodist Church, she was well aware of the favorable positioning the church had towards Ecumenicalism. According to the Oxford dictionary, the word ecumenical means: “promoting or relating to unity among the world's Christian churches.” Notice that it says unity among Christian churches. Since the time of the Roman Empire, Christians have been driven into different sects which have resulted in our multi-denominational existence today. There has been an attempt in recent years to re-unite the Christian churches of the world into harmonious existence. This truly isn’t a bad thing. However, since many denominations no longer recognize God’s holy word to be absolute (sola scriptura) it is an attempt that cannot be met on human terms.  Only the Holy Spirit can bring unity among people, by and through the truth of God’s inspired Word through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

1 Timothy 2:4 (KJV) (God our Savior,) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

This Truth is:  there is only ONE God, the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3) This ONE God, is the same Father God over Christianity and Judaism.  (As you know, there are many Messianic believers today who recognize Jesus Christ as their Savior.)

Unfortunately, many mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic churches no longer make clear distinctions about religious unity based on the Word of God. This brings us back to the Mekudeshet Festival in Jerusalem. It has been reported that the Pope will be speaking at this event on the 23rd. We have no definitive way to confirm those reports, but we will be watching………. And here is the key to this post! What will we (and hopefully, you) be watching for? Well, if the representative of the world’s largest Christian denomination is speaking at an event (or in the House of Prayer) touted as being about religious unity, then what will he say? Will he say, “Let’s all get along and live in peace?” That would be acceptable. However, any declarations that we all worship the same God would not be the truth.

1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV) For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

Coexisting means living within proximity of people of other faiths without attempting to cause any harm. From a scriptural standpoint living in peace is admirable (love one another) BUT, the great commission urges us to help non-believers come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said this to his disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 (AMP)  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”

As we said earlier we are not given to speculation. However, the Mekudeshet Festival raises a red flag in our minds and spirits. When our Almighty God is represented (especially by a church leader) it must always be with the declaration that HE is the triune Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that NO person can come to the Father unless it is through His Son, Jesus.

John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus said He will be with us, even to the end of the age. (end = close, completion; age = eternity, time period) This is good news!  Our hope is in Christ, alone, Who is our anchor in this world of drastic changes, stormy seas, and the howling winds of change (culturally, economically, politically, and spiritually).

Romans 15:13 (NASB)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sarah and Joanne

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Transformed by Glory or Gore?

Have you noticed the sensationalism and the dark intensity of the media?  It is difficult to NOT click on a link on your computer or smart phone and inadvertently view some tragedy or horror that has transpired somewhere in the world.  It is important to know that our “eye gate” or what we see and allow our minds to process, is something we need to monitor.  Do you have a habit of watching the nightly news before going to bed and then find it difficult to fall asleep?  Then your “eye gate” has been negatively affected.

In addition to a near constant bombardment of upsetting news, we also have to deal with an increase in gore and violence on TV, movies, commercials and in books and music. Why is this? Because the worldly fascination with these forms of entertainment is growing. Many people are drawn to what we consider occult imaginations because their hearts have grown cold.

The New Age movement, which truly is new since it manifested in the 1960’s, is another area where people are drawn and therefore allow ungodly influence into their “eye gate.” It has been said, “The mind is like tofu, it tastes like whatever you marinate it in.” There is certainly truth in this new age statement. What we constantly think about influences us greatly. However, there is a danger lurking behind this seemingly benign statement. Filling your mind with peaceful, Zen or Buddhist confirmations may ease you out of an anxiety attack, but will do NOTHING to release the glory of God in your life. That can only be done through Jesus!

John 14:6 (NIV)  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

We can be transformed in a negative way, or in a positive way.  We get to choose what we allow into our minds.  Will we become sorrowful or joyful? Fearful or peaceful?  Worried or hope filled?

 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Jesus said He would turn our sorrow into joy (John 16:20) and that our joy would be full. (John 16:24) Only when we know Jesus can we have true peace.  He has bequeathed us His peace (John 14:27) and it is our inheritance from Him now.

John 16:33 (AMPC) 

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Back to the glory of the Lord vs the gore of the world:  You simply cannot receive His glory if you choose to allow the gory aspects of this world to fill your mind. Please don’t think that keeping your eyes and mind on Jesus is a difficult task. It may be true that we can’t always get away from negative images when surfing channels with your family or riding in public transportation or when shopping in a mall, but we can choose to keep Jesus at the forefront of our thoughts. I (Sarah) may not be able to walk through Wal-Mart in the month of October without seeing green glowing skeletons or plastic masks of decapitated heads but when I do, I can refuse to revel in the gore. Instead I can quietly turn my mind to Jesus and say, “Thank you Lord for loving me. I love you too.” Do this with a sincere heart and His glory will be with you!

This glory of the Lord was hidden in the Old Testament but is revealed to us, the New Testament believers.

Colossians 1:26-27 (NASB)
26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

This glory is a divine gift to each of us who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. (Romans 10:9, 10)  This is the same glory that Jesus received from the Father and that He gives to us.  Jesus’ desire is that He wants us to be with Him where He is and that we may behold his glory.

John 17:22, 24 (AMP)

22 I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one, just as We are one; …24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given to Me [as Your gift to Me], may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Glory is the Greek word, doxa, which means: glory, splendor, brilliance; the awesome light that radiates from God’s presence and is associated with His acts of power; honor; praise.

We have this HOPE OF GLORY because Christ is in us!  But how can we really receive this “hope of glory” and be transformed by the Lord?  What should we focus our minds on?

Romans 12:2 (AMP) And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

The word, transformed, in this verse comes from the Greek word that means metamorphosis, or the process that leads to an outward, permanent change.  When we choose to think on the promises of God in His word, and meditate on those good things, we will be transformed out of the world’s snare into the glorious light of the truth of the gospel.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news, indeed!

Philippians 4:8 (AMP) Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

~ Joanne & Sarah

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bible Prophecy Comes to LIFE

We know some of you follow the Mid-East Prophecy updates by pastor J.D. Farag but if not, you may want to watch this one. Pastor Farag is a Mid-East born Christian and has a very insightful perspective on the Middle East and how bible prophecy is literally unfolding right before our eyes. If you choose to watch (and learn) from him and would like to discuss the topics further here, please feel free to do so in the comment section below OR by joining our Facebook page at Herald of Hope FB . We look forward to hearing from you.
God bless!

Click on the link below