From the desk of Steve Shultz:
Truly "deep calls to deep" and that's what I felt and "heard" as I read through Bob Hartley's latest article. We should be asking and praying as His sons and daughters to receive "ears to hear" and "eyes to see" what He's trying to tell us. It's a matter of "the heart" as you'll read about below.
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From the Counsel Table of the Lord: Receive Your Hope Hearing Aids
Hope Craftsmen Equipped from the Book of Hope
I shared a series of prophetic encounters from the Lord regarding 2011 and beyond, where waves of challenge would come, but God had a "better than" solution for His people. The Lord is passionate about preparing and equipping "Hope Craftsmen" in this time, ones that are skilled in bringing hope and confidence in the goodness of God in all of life, equipped to meet the challenges coming in the years ahead with overcoming solutions from our hopeful God (Exodus 31:1-11).
The Lord has been laying out the building blocks of hope that will prepare us as "Hope Craftsmen" in these times. In a recent dream, the Lord was teaching "Hope Craftsmen" from the "Book of Hope" in the "Classroom of Useful Information." Our last article shared revelation regarding the first chapter of the "Book of Hope": the right "Hope Eyeglasses" that would restore vision to see God rightly in everyday life. To read more about the "Hope Eyeglasses" click here.
The Next Chapter in the Book of Hope: "Gaining New Hope Hearing Aids"
As I was with the Lord in the "Classroom of Useful Information," the Lord began to share from the second chapter of the "Book of Hope." This chapter taught about the right, hopeful "Hearing Aids" that would enable His Hope Craftsmen to hear His voice and become a company of hopeful Kingdom hearers. These hearing aids of hope were a golden key that would unlock the knowledge of the true nature of God and would enable Hope Craftsmen to become a force of hope for cities and nations.
The Encounter at the Counsel Table of the Lord
To be equipped with these new hearing aids, the Lord brought those in this classroom to His table of honor, which He called the "Counsel Table of the Lord." Everyone was invited! At His table they would begin to hear His heart in a right way. As I saw this glorious table laid out before me and the beauty and majesty of the King of Kings, feelings of unworthiness began to flood my emotions as I acknowledged how inwardly torn and flawed I was. I didn't feel worthy to sit at this table near to the King to listen to His heart and take part in this counsel of the nations.
It was like the story of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9, who was a relative of the recently-deceased King Saul. He was part of the old regime and should have been killed as all other relatives of Saul were. However, David set his heart to show kindness to one of Jonathan's relatives, and Mephibosheth became the recipient of King David's mercy. He had not done anything to deserve this seat of honor at the king's table. In fact, by Jewish law, he should not have been allowed in the king's court because he was lame in both legs. But the king invited Mephibosheth to dine with him every day. I felt like Mephibosheth in this moment and I echoed his cry in 2 Samuel 9:8, "Who is your servant, that you should show such kindness to a dead dog like me?"
The Lord looked at me with tenderness and compassion, and instead of answering my question, He began to ask me a series of questions that broke through the feelings of inadequacy and shame. He lifted my chin and looked into my eyes with such affection, then asked softly, "Bob, how do you feel about your wife?" I replied, as my heart swelled with affection toward my wife, "She's everything to me, she's perfect." The Lord continued with His questions, "Well, how do you feel about your children?" Quickly, I answered with joy, "They are all my heart, I couldn't imagine one single day without them."
The Lord continued, "How did your father feel about you?" I closed my eyes and remembered the way my father championed me even in the midst of my greatest struggles. I replied, "Even when I was at my lowest point and on drugs, I was his delight. He treated me as a friend and confided in me, looking past my brokenness, and he always believed in my future."
I rocked my head back as the warmth of my affection for my family began to wash over me. The Lord then came and grasped both my shoulders with great tenderness and looked deep into my eyes. The Lord spoke with such affection and strength that I felt the power of His words pierce through my doubt like a burning fire being kindled in every fiber of my being.
"If this is how you feel about your children and your wife, you being earthly and sinful, how much more do I feel about you? How much do I love all My children with an everlasting love? Though you are inwardly torn and flawed, you mean everything to Me. It's not a question of your worthiness; I gave it all so you could be with Me where I am. It is your inheritance to sit at My table and hear My voice. And it is MY inheritance to have a people that care for My heart."
Caring for His Heart
I was overwhelmed with emotion as I realized how much I had underestimated the mercy and the love of God over my life. My heart became gripped with a desire to love Him back as He deserves. Hearing my thoughts, the Lord responded, "My son, the greatest way to love someone is to listen to their heart. If you desire to love Me, then make it a priority to listen to Me and care about what I care about." I was stunned. This was totally opposite of what I had believed. I had always thought it was a great burden for the Lord to talk to me, but my heart melted as I began to understand the desire of the Lord for His children to hear His voice.
The Lord said, "How does it feel when your wife listens to your heart, and how does it feel to be understood by your children?" I answered the Lord, "I've never felt anything so wonderful, when my wife and my children don't just come to me for solutions or what they need from me, but when they come to listen to my heart and to understand me." The Lord smiled and said, "HOW MUCH MORE, ME? How do you think I feel when you understand and care for My heart? It means everything to Me! I am often ignored and the sound of My voice discarded, but how do you think I feel when My children look to Me?"
I was now determined to make hearing the Lord's heart a priority for the rest of my life. I was now ready to take my place at the table of honor, to care for the Lord's heart. As I took my place, I noticed that each seat at the Lord's table had a special golden plaque inscribed with the name of one of God's children.
The Lord said, "Each one of My children have their own seat at My Table that no one else can fill! How foolish that so many try to fill the seat of another. Each seat is uniquely equipped with new hope hearing aids that are specialized for each individual. I am fluent in every human language and I speak to you in your way of communicating. I speak in so many ways throughout Scripture; I am not even limited to human language! I speak through My Word, through other people, through your devotion with Me, through dreams and visions, through impressions, through songs and psalms, through My creation, through colors and numbers, and so many other ways, if you have ears to hear. 'My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me' (John 10:27)."
Hearing Aids of the Past
I now found myself back in the "Classroom of Useful Information." The Lord had taken each Hope Craftsmen to the "Counsel Table of the Lord" and had explained to them the importance of hearing His heart, as He had shown me. Now He was explaining the need to remove the old antiquated hearing aids that were distorting His voice in their minds.
The Lord said, "These old hearing aids have interpreted My voice as cold, distant and harsh. They represent an old way of hearing that is not based on seeing My true nature of hopefulness from a place of intimacy with Me."
The Lord was zealous to free them (and us) from this misrepresentation of His nature and heart, so He walked around and removed these old hearing aids from their ears, threw them down and they shattered to pieces on the floor.
The New Hope Hearing Aids
The Lord then gave each Hope Craftsmen new "Hope Hearing Aids" that were entirely different than the old antiquated hearing aids. The new hearing aids gave the Hope Craftsmen an ability to hear God rightly and for the right reasons. These new hearing aids helped them to perceive the joy and laughter in His voice versus the sadness and anger they had perceived from Him before.
The new hearing aids focused on life-giving solutions instead of the problems that drain life, peace and creativity. The new hearing aids showed Hope Craftsmen how to be content with the needs God had met in their life, rather than focusing on emptiness and unanswered questions. The Lord was giving them this supernatural tool of new hearing and He was opening their ears to listen.
The Sovereign LORD...wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears...I have not turned away. Isaiah 50:4-5
The Lord made clear that the Hope Craftsmen needed these new hopeful hearing aids in order to hear His voice and become a company of hopeful Kingdom hearers for the times and seasons that we are in. They needed these hearing aids to move forward with clarity in this hour, like the sons of Issachar in 1 Chronicles 12:32, who understood the times with knowledge of what Israel should do.
Five Distinctives of the New Hope Hearing Aids
The Lord gave me these new hearing aids, and as I began to hear through them, I immediately noticed five distinct differences from the old antiquated hearing aids:
The First Distinctive: His Heart versus Information
First, I noticed that the "Hope Hearing Aids" cause Hope Craftsmen to focus on His heart rather than information. As my hearing was opened up in new ways, I heard the longing in the Lord's voice to be pursued as a friend, rather than pursued for information. Seeking His voice was never meant to be about information alone, but always to be primarily about His heart. He was asking the Hope Craftsmen, "Don't you know I tell My friends what I am about to do?" (Genesis 18:17).
I recalled times in the past, where I had participated in or observed prophetic hearing that was disconnected from God's true heart. These types of prophetic encounters felt like looking at a "crystal ball" for information instead of looking to a Person to understand His heart. I realized that the Person and the nature of Jesus is to be the ultimate focus and reward in hearing Him, not information alone.
The Second Distinctive: Confidence and Victory versus Uncertainty
Next, I noticed that the "Hope Hearing Aids" cause Hope Craftsmen to hear His heart of confidence and victory versus their own uncertainty. I began to realize the Lord's confidence in me, and through these new hearing aids I was able to hear who I had become in the Lord, instead of what I had not yet accomplished. I began to hear the Lord's confident perspective of others as well, and the circumstances they faced, hearing in His voice a settled confidence that believes the best about people and the future. I saw that every battle has already been won in Him.
I heard His voice as the Victorious One, as in Isaiah 42:13: "The LORD will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will prevail against His enemies."
The Third Distinctive: Nurture versus Cold Hard Facts
Third, as I heard through these new hearing aids, I felt the Lord's heart of nurture and His hope for His creation instead of the "cold hard facts" which imply that God is apathetic toward our challenges. Listening to God with the "Hopeful Hearing Aids" did not mean one would no longer hear of the giants or the challenges, but that they would also hear His voice with instructions and strategies to overcome them. They would hear how He was fighting for them. They would judge like John 7:24, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
The Fourth Distinctive: The Patriarchal Father versus a Disappointed Tutor
Next, I was able to hear the Lord's heart as a patriarchal father versus a "disappointed tutor." Many had expected to hear harshness and disappointment in His voice, but through these new hope hearing aids, they were able to hear His heart as a patriarchal father full of unending hope for His children! He is always full of hope, and always advancing in love! Read the story of the Prodigal Son and discover the love of the patriarchal father in Luke 15:11-24. Even in our weakness and failings, when we turn to Him, He runs and embraces us, and restores us to sonship.
The Fifth Distinctive: Hope and Love versus Fear and Failure
Fifth, I heard hope and love even in the midst of trials versus fear and failure. The Lord wanted His voice to be heard as the ultimate Comforter and Redeemer. The Lord said, "It is not time to duck and hide from the pain and challenges but to look to Me and My voice in the midst of them." Hearing Him in this new way allowed the Hope Craftsmen to carry peace in the midst of challenges and gain authority over the storms of life, as Jesus demonstrated in Matthew 8:23-27. While all of His disciples frantically worried about a storm that threatened to overturn their boat, Jesus slept peacefully in the midst of the storm. Not only was He at peace, He then "got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm."
The hearing aids of the past had been focused on the immediate perceived problem without a favorable future and solutions in Him. Many with the old hearing aids would read headlines of war and famine and become filled with fear and doubt instead of looking to the true, hopeful intention of God's heart in the midst of challenges. Many had misinterpreted His intentions and thought He was pointing the finger of blame at them for current challenges and upcoming problems, when in reality, God had made available His hopeful solutions to those who had ears to hear.
The Lord shared with me that if the Hope Craftsmen change the "filter" of their hearing, they can change everything. As I discovered at the Counsel Table of the Lord, hearing His voice was never about a method or process, but the posture of the heart. I watched as the Hope Craftsmen drew near to listen to the Lord, and they experienced warmth and affection instead of accusation and punishment. They no longer perceived distant or harsh demands, ultimatums and fear from the Lord. They heard His voice of love and hope for them.
It is a Deuteronomy 8:3 time to live off of every word that comes from the mouth of God. As Jesus said in John 6:63, "...the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." No other word will do. God is longing to reveal His true heart to His people in 2011 and beyond.
Please join us as we look to the Lord to reveal more regarding the hope building blocks found in the "Book of Hope." The third chapter in the "Book of Hope" reveals God's desire for Hope Craftsmen to have the right "Hope Body Armor," which highlights the value and importance of marvelous comrades and community in this time.
We are committed to seeing you receiving the tools necessary to succeed as a Hope Craftsmen! Please contact us for more information.
Deeper Waters Ministry
About Bob Hartley: Bob Hartley is the founder of Hartley Institute/Deeper Waters Ministry in Kansas City, Missouri, inspired through a dream the Lord gave to Bob more than a decade ago, where the Lord spoke that the "The youth of this nation are diving into 'shallow waters' of the knowledge of God, and it is killing them!" Bob's heart is to take this generation deep into the knowledge of God through hopeful, heartfelt prayer and intimacy with the Lord, and opening up their ability to hear from His heart and partner with the God of All of Life in every arena and season of the soul.
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.