From the desk of Steve Shultz:
As always, Bob Hartley's words are full of deep, prolific revelation and insight. His encounters of HOPE are truly NOW realities for the Body of Christ to lay hold of.
Do you have any fissures that need to be removed? Well, you'll read about those here, and I pray the hope in Bob Hartley's latest word brings healing and freedom to any needed and specific areas of your life!
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The Hope Reformation: How Hope Heals the Heart
Prophetic words and encounters by Bob Hartley – scribed by Michael Sullivant:
The Dream, The Angelic Confirmation, And The Lightning
In a powerful, divine dream, I saw 50 million people on a "Royal Journey of Hope" who were looking and yearning for a deeper knowledge of God as the God of Hope in every arena of life and throughout the earth. They are the hope reformers that God will activate to usher the genuine presence and wisdom of Jesus into all the spheres of life into which they are sent. (I've shared some of this encounter in a previous word.)
They will not be savvy and calculating people who attempt to conquer all the mountains (i.e. spheres of influence) of the earth by humanly engineered and/or forceful plans and strategies. They will be normal Believers from all walks of life who will simply love, pray, and do the good works they are led by the Holy Spirit to accomplish by the beautiful blend of boldness and humility that only the Spirit can impart to human souls. While they were on this journey, they entered into a large tent and banqueting hall where they found a group of others who could feed them on the true knowledge of God.
In the midst of the banquet, a massive lightning bolt, representing the indiscriminant and raw power of God, not only came down and pierced the great banqueting table, but it pierced through to the center of the earth itself and shook the entire planet. This move of God's hand, revealed the fissures of human hearts that then turned to fractures under the weight of this glory from Heaven. Every person there had heart fissures that were graciously exposed, but only some in this vast throng had previously received enough heart healing from the Holy Spirit to keep the fissures from becoming fractures.
When I awakened from this penetrating dream, and I went downstairs to my kitchen, there I encountered an angel sent from Heaven I can only describe as very intense, who began to explain the divine meaning and applications of the dream to me, which I outline in this account.
Suddenly, though it was not raining, a powerful bolt of lightning struck right outside one of our upstairs bedrooms. My angelic visit was abruptly ended as my whole family was rudely awakened and startled by the lightning. This was just one of many amazing confirmations of the divine nature and importance of this dream.
For instance, the Lord instructed me to share certain applicable details of this dream with over ten spiritual leaders I had previously met from across the world. I actually reached six of them that very night in the wee hours of the morning! They each confirmed to me the truth about the fissures in their lives that the Lord had revealed specifically to me about them. While I was speaking to one of them from another city altogether, lightning struck a tree in his backyard and split its trunk! To this day it is decorated with a memorial to this word and promise from God for his life.
In the dream, my own fissures turned into fractures and I realized that I too needed my heart to be healed in order to be able to stand in that day of God's power and continue to feed others on the true knowledge of Him. I had known before that hope advances the heart, but I now saw how hope must heal the heart in order for it to advance.
Though it may seem incredible, the Lord made it clear that all 50 million people needed healing for the three specific fissures of the heart that I refer to in this prophetic word. This revelation is an invitation for us all to become vulnerable before God and others in order to receive healing for the fissures of our hearts and become even more useful to the Lord Jesus as this hope reformation that He is inaugurating continues to ramp up (see our previous prophecy).
Over the course of the next few weeks, our area experienced this phenomena of lightning without rain on numerous occasions. And I was having dreams with this same theme repeatedly during those nights "in concert" with the lightning strikes! Following are the practical applications the Holy Spirit has revealed to me regarding our need and hope-filled, divine solutions that bring healing to our hearts.
The Three Fissures
The three fissures of heart (or "strongholds" as they are sometimes called) that God revealed came into my heart through my merely human reactions to very painful events and situations in my life. But of course, the ancient enemy of our souls does not stand by idly when such situations emerge in our lives. He has never "played fair"! Indeed, he is lurking in camouflage nearby seeking to take advantage of us in our vulnerable state...a moment of opportunity for him "to kill, steal, and destroy" (see John 10:10). The serpent maneuvers to entice us to cooperate with his deceptive strategy and pierce our own hearts with his arrows whose tips have been dipped in the poison of destructive lies.
The first fissure was identified as "self-strength," the second was "rejection," and the third was "negation." By God's mercy, I have made some wonderful breakthroughs in these areas, and the process is continuing to this day. These three fissures have operated to counter three specific hopes that God has purposed to take hold in our lives: 1) Hope in God, 2) hope in people, 3) hope in present blessings.
The first specific category of ministry listed in the "good news" mission of Jesus in Isaiah 61:1 is: "The Lord God...has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted." The healing of the brokenhearted is a primary hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All of us have had our hearts broken in one way and to one degree or another. It simply happens by living life in a fallen world. I have had ongoing spiritual dreams about the root causes of my fissures and the Holy Spirit has revealed to me how they were formed in my soul.
The Fissure of Self-Strength
My fissure of "self-strength" was partially tied back to a tragic event that took place when I was only 16. I was a lifeguard for a city pool and a little boy drowned while I was on duty. The controversy surrounding and blame for his death landed on me and dragged on for three years. This became a major citywide news story for a number of weeks and the regret I felt was incredible. The city officials who were also under fire brought in a coach from out of state to train me to become an expert swimmer, which I became, so they could take videos of me and prove in court how qualified I was to save a life. Even though the controversy was long past, I lived for many years afterward with an embedded satanic lie that I could "never rest," but that I had to "stay on the lifeguard stand or else someone else would die."
This unresolved pain and lie unconsciously drove me. Even after I began to minister prophetically, maybe especially, I felt obligated to always be "on duty." At one point I delivered over 10,800 lengthy personal prophecies in just a couple of years while denying myself much needed solitude, family time, sleep, and recreation. My hope and trust in God were hindered and quenched in so many ways through the years due to this hidden inner vow to never get off the lifeguard stand.
The Lord showed me that one of the outcomes of my fissure of self-strength was a breakdown in my physical health. Due to pushing so hard for so many years on so many fronts and the added chronic pain from a serious back injury five years ago, my adrenal system severely broke down and failed.
I had a dream where the Lord had showed me that I had forced my body into "slave labor" since I was young and it finally stopped cooperating with my agenda! The Lord has been speaking clearly to me about my need to shift to a "new operating system" where I can trust Him more than my own self-strength. This new operating system is grounded in the "rest of Christ" and allows Him to seal and heal this fissure in my heart (see Hebrews 4:9-10). A practical outworking of this is to now take a sabbatical from leading the operations for both my businesses and ministry by delegating these responsibilities to others. The Lord has showed me to only engage in the activities He ordains that refresh my soul and renew my strength.
The Fissure of Rejection
One big rejection happened when Terry and I were first married. I set aside almost a whole month for our honeymoon time. I was very eager to get to know her more deeply. I had been working ceaselessly on this since I was just a boy. In my zeal, I put together a notebook that contained many probing questions for her to answer, and on the first day of our honeymoon, I pulled out the notebook and began to ask her my questions. Well, that didn't go over well at all!
As I shut the notebook feeling very ashamed for my vulnerability, I also shut the book of my heart and resigned myself to the idea that she didn't want to be known by me. This is so sad because she really did long for me to get to know her heart and pursue her, but she understandably reacted to my overly analytical method.
My "rejection" fissure was also strengthened through a traumatic experience we had in Zimbabwe. Terry and I lived for a time on a communal farm with a group of courageous Believers who were seeking the Lord as a lifestyle, bringing innovative renewal to the land and sharing Christ with their neighbors. This community had received threats of violence and death from some political dissidents based in that area. We had to make a decision to stay or go due to the intensification of these threats. We left one day in great haste. We took refuge on a kibbutz in Israel for a time and finally made our way back home to Kansas City. Not long after we did, we received the news that our good friends on the farm, except for two children who escaped, were all murdered.
I have mostly enjoyed favor from people throughout my years and have been a well-liked person. However, there were some leaders and friends back home who became very critical of us for our association with these Believers who had been killed. They accused us of being foolish and spiritually deceived, and this pain of rejection pierced me deeply.
Through these experiences and a few others like them, I became very conscious of and sensitive to the pain of rejection, and when other situations came along in my life that involved some rejection and disappointment, I would overreact and shut down my hope and love for others.
The Fissure of Negation
My "negation" fissure was a family matter and a family pattern. If you would tell my grandmother what a beautiful day it was, she would retort, "Yes, but it will probably rain tomorrow"! (I now understand that this has been a concerted and focused attack from the enemy against my divine calling to be a bearer of hope to others. He has been threatened by this calling on my life since I was born.) I believe this negation most often gets set into our souls as we attempt to wrongly protect ourselves from possible disappointments.
If we are subconsciously expecting the worst to happen, maybe even especially when a positive thing comes our way to build up our hope, then we won't be so devastated if that good thing doesn't materialize or come to fruition. We even find ourselves resistant to letting God put hope in our hearts because the risk to hope seems too high. This can easily become a self-fulfilling cycle of defeat, and it is one of the enemy's favorite strategies to trap us in despair.
The Lord has shown me how demonic this force really is. I compare it to the roadway in the parable of the soils that Jesus told. When the good seed falls on the road, the "birds of the air" (i.e. demonic beings) come and snatch it up (see Luke 8:12). The roadway is where all the "traffic" happens in our hearts...so many voices, so many decisions, so many challenges, so many distractions, and so much hardness can result! I allowed the "traffic" of various disappointments in life to harden my heart, which caused me to feel hopeless about receiving temporal promises and blessings from God. I made work and ministry harder than it needed to be as I would double and re-double my efforts to make sure bad things would not occur. It was a lack of hope and trust in God's good intention to provide for and bless me with all that I need to thrive in life.
Four Steps to Healing the Fissures:
From Hopelessness to Hope
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ... 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Negative strongholds or "fissures" within the human heart are a complex set of distorted images, false beliefs, negative thoughts and emotions, wrong inner vows, and overused strengths we experience or employ, when left to our own devices, to try to cope with the pains of life and the shame we encounter as a result. Without the help and intervention of the Holy Spirit, these kinds of strongholds will inevitably become embedded in our souls. Sometimes they have been with us for so long, we think they are just a part of who we are. When the Spirit of God helps us locate them, we see how we have lost hope in God's promises to us in those particular areas of our lives.
But Jesus Christ our Lord is committed to overthrowing these negative forces and displacing them with hope and faith and love that go to the core of our being and transform us from the inside out. And the more we understand this battle to heal the heart, the more we will learn to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and expedite the process.
Through the series of lightning bolt dreams, the Lord showed me four hopeful steps, divine solutions, that we can take to welcome the healing of the brokenness in our hearts. These steps are four of the golden keys that hope reformers will utilize to help unlock others who are also called to be hope reformers from various kinds of prisons that have hindered their advancement in the purposes of God for their lives.
1) Open the book of our heart to His eyes.
This comes from a very special section from The Message translation of the Bible that the Holy Spirit has confirmed to me over and over again. It's a sure word of prophecy for you and me!
GOD made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before Him.
When I cleaned up my act,
He gave me a fresh start.
Indeed, I've kept alert to GOD's ways;
I haven't taken God for granted.
Every day I review the ways He works,
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I'm watching my step.
GOD rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.
2 Samuel 22:21-25 The Message
The fissures of our hearts have jerked us into rehearsing a hopeless and inferior narrative about who we really are and what our lives are all about in Christ. However, God is actually telling His story through each of our lives in a unique way.
This is a promise that when we have the courage to become completely vulnerable before God and "open the book" of our heart to Him (an especially meaningful image to me given the rejection I referred to), He will reframe, reinterpret and even rewrite the story of our lives through a hope-filled narrative that trumps the old hopeless and defeatist story line. He is promising to suddenly reverse the fortunes of His people and show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are inclined toward Him (see 2 Chronicles 16:9). This is different than a self-initiated introspection, which can be very counter-productive. It involves a guided-tour of our hearts by the Holy Spirit Himself. He won't allow us to get lost on the inward journey! (Photo courtesy: alegri / 4freephotos.com)
2) Adopt a new, hopeful view of the pains of life.
Our hope in God, in people, in the next generation, in prayer, and in the cities and nations of the world will certainly be challenged by all kinds of trials, but it will also be cultivated and strengthened as He sees us through to the other side of those trials.
Resistance builds muscles. Our trials will become the trails and the tales of our hope journey in Christ (see Hebrews 12). Our temporary, light afflictions are producing for us their exact opposite – an eternal weight of glory as we gain eyes to see what is unseen (see 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NASB). Pain is not always our enemy; it's sometimes a friend in disguise. Sometimes pain can "hurt so good" as when athletes are in training.
God can even use the challenge of demonic warfare for our good as we receive His grace to deal properly with it (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-9). However, because of these dynamics, God is too often accused (both subtly and overtly) by humanity of not being absolutely good. In a number of my divine visitations, He has confided in me about how this accusation grieves His great and tender heart of love. Yet still, He remains constant in His love for and kindness toward human beings. May we be counted in that number of people who overthrow this terrible lie about the nature and character of our heavenly Father!
3) Receive a healed and expanded view of God.
God is good, and "the good fight" of faith is essentially about holding on to our confidence in the goodness of God despite the sins, failures, imperfections, and injustices of life...no matter what. "God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all" (1 John 1:5). We must forcefully and consistently resist the temptation to doubt the goodness of God, especially in the face of the most evil things in this world. If we do not know down deep in our guts that God is good, we will always struggle to trust Him because we instinctively do not trust anyone we do not believe is good. God is great enough and good enough to cause all things to work together for our good.
The Holy Spirit has shown me that Jesus desires to reveal to us a specific facet of His hopeful persona that He was actually showing at those times when we were wracked by sin or injustice in the past. We overlooked or forgot His presence in those moments, but He was there nonetheless. Healing can come to our hearts, even many years later, when we ask Him to reveal to us the specific "face" He was showing at that time.
Renewed hopes then flood into our hearts to displace the guilt, despair, and shame that once ruled over us. God rewrites the very text of our lives. He will transform the worst events of our lives into the trophies of His grace and use them to conform us even more into the image of Jesus and make us powerful witnesses of His power and grace. This healing to the heart empowers us to help people who have been broken and torn by the pains of life.
Not only is God good, He is great, kind, merciful, powerful, gracious, brilliant, always near, and compassionate. He is better than the best friend we could ever imagine having. I have found Jesus to truly be the "Wonderful Counselor" to whom Isaiah referred (see Isaiah 9:6).
4) Receive a healed and expanded view of ourselves.
We Believers have generally been too focused on and conscious of the imperfections of our lives. Dealing with our sins head on is important and vital, but there is a whole other glorious side to our relationship with God that goes beyond the forgiveness of our sins, as marvelous and essential as this is.
The Lord recently showed me in another dream how too many of us are spiritually stuck by living in "regret." This is a tragic waste of our energies in light of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and what it means for us who have believed in Him! He is opposed to the "misery Christianity" that has too long dominated Christendom and contributed to the heaviness of human existence. He wants to revolutionize the lives of His people and help us walk in a hope-filled expression of our faith (see our previous prophecy).
When we catch a glimpse of this new identity we have in Jesus Christ, we see sin to be the boring, useless, and stupid thing it really is and we turn more easily away from it. This other side has to do with the rich inheritance that we share in with Jesus Christ as co-heirs (see Romans 8:17; Ephesian 1:7, 11). We need to spend much more time confessing, not our sins, but who we are in Christ according to the teachings of the apostles. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).
We must not allow our past but rather our new identity and our destiny to define us! We are sons and daughters of a great King and His Blood is flowing in our veins. Caterpillars have butterfly DNA within them. He invites us to His table of fellowship to adore Him and inquire of His great heart. We will learn to even laugh at the evil lies about ourselves that the accuser tries to lay upon us just as God laughs at the "power brokers" on earth who rise up to oppose Him and His Christ (see Psalm 2).
Our heavenly Father will respond and answer us as we seek to move from hopelessness to hope. We don't deny the problems of our past, but we simply come to see how good and great He is and how great is our salvation! New avenues of intimacy with the Trinity will open to us and God will empower us to see what He is doing, hear what He is saying, and effectively pray by the Holy Spirit: "As in Heaven, so on earth!"
Bob Hartley, scribed by Michael Sullivant
Deeper Waters Ministry
Bob Hartley is the founder of Hartley Institute/Deeper Waters Ministry in Kansas City, Missouri. Bob served as a pastor at Metro Christian Fellowship with Mike Bickle before entering the marketplace in 1983, with a vision to see the marketplace redeemed and cities established that value and love the person of Jesus. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Hartley Group, a "Hope Center" for the marketplace, consisting of Hartley's Executive Cleaning, Swift Chemicals & Supply, Prize Properties and H&H Management in Kansas City, Missouri. Bob is a frequent speaker to youth, churches, businesses, and national leaders throughout America and the world. His quest has been to bring the Kingdom of God into every arena of life and give spiritual tools and equipping to those seeking to know and love God in the midst of their everyday lives. Currently, Bob resides in Kansas City with his wife and four children.
with Michael Sullivant
Michael Sullivant resides in the Kansas City area, has been married to Terri since 1977, and is a father of five adult children. Their lives have been marked and shaped by a naturally-supernatural relationship with God as unashamed followers of Jesus Christ. Terri and Michael have been involved in active ministry since their days at Miami University in Ohio. They have given themselves to planting communities of faith in several U.S. states, pastoring, teaching, writing, coaching, building leaders, and traveling to offer ministry in many nations. Michael is the author of Prophetic Etiquette, Your Kingdom Come, and a devotional commentary called, The Romance of Romans: God's Big God-Story (2011). Michael and Terri are co-founders of Radius – an equipping ministry that reaches out to many people.