Author: Shores of Grace

Art at Bethany Villa

During the transitional months between first and second year of theBethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), I had the opportunity to spend time with our Bethany Vila’s princesses.

During that time, I taught a little about what I learned in my first year at BSSM dealing with art and art therapy.
The most shocking part for me was to see how much the girls love art, already have a skill for art, and most importantly their creativity. It was through these moments I got hear their stories and their dreams.

One of the girls who is very talented said her dream was to be able to draw and paint. She shared with me that every time she asked her mother to buy drawing materials, she never did. Her mother claimed there was no money, but she was able to buy things for her partners. Some of the other girls never had experience with art, much less with Jesus. Often during the class, I would put on worship music, and they would begin to sing and healing broke out. One of the girls painted a swan and a toucan intertwined with a tear in the middle of them. She explained that even with the disagreements between people, Jesus always restores relationships which is represented by the tear. This coming from a girl who came from an abusive home with no hope in relationships. The most beautiful part is when I asked her how she came up with that conclusion, she simply said she heard this from Jesus.

Bethany Vila is a place of transformation. One of the most beautiful things I heard was during a visit with my family. It had been more than a year and a half since I have seen my family. But it is when we return to the seeds, we sow that we see what has flourished as long as the seeds were planted in a correct way of love. It was when I returned from my visit that I heard something flourished. One of the staff told me that one day the house was so silent that the caretakers began to look for the girls and found them in the art room. The girls were painting, praising God and in perfect harmony with the Father. This happened for several days. This was two girls with the most complex cases of abuse.

Through the art, they could receive Jesus, a touch of the Father’s love, produce the fruits of the Spirit, and have fun. I want to thank the “Pursue Missions Team” for donating arts materials for the girls atBethany Vila for this period. God is creative. He created and formed the world through his creativity and then with the power of the Gospel. We carry the hope of glory, and he uses all areas to bring the Kingdom to earth, including the arts.

By Elaine Arruda

Giving Tuesday

There are two days dedicated to spending lots of money on ‘stuff’: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. At least, here in America, I know that’s true. I’m not sure about the rest of the world – well, I’m pretty sure third world countries don’t have the same insanity, I mean excitement, seen here in the USA.

There’s a third special day at this time of year in America. It’s called Giving Tuesday. Although, I think every day is a Giving Day, don’t you? It should be that way. Lately, the news seems to just be focusing on people taking, criticizing, disagreeing, or arguing. Giving is what will ‘make America great again’. Giving really demonstrates how much a person cares about the people and the world around them.

I KNOW there are people who give every day. In fact, I know their names. I’ve spoken to them. Shared meals with them. Helped them. Loved them. I know lots of givers. Most of the ones I know give because Someone gave to them. I’d like you to meet some of those givers I know. I don’t exactly KNOW all of them. In fact, I can’t even speak the language some of them speak but I’ve seen the results of their giving of themselves. I’ve seen how they love.

You can see their faces in the photo above. This year on #GivingTuesday I hope you’ll consider giving to Shores of Grace Ministries so these givers can continue giving to “the least, the lost and the last”.

Our Everyday Anxiety

Most of us have said the phrase, “I’m so anxious!” or something similar several times in our lives. There are many ways to describe how we feel when we are anxious. For example: having great expectation for something, nervousness, doubts, restlessness, lack of peace, etc.
Anxiety is an important component of our lives, but how healthy is it?

Nowadays, everything happens so fast. People are born. We get married. We have children. We buy and sell things. We win some and lose some. And, thousands of other natural and bizarre phenomena happen all the time in our network called human society. The times between these events seem to speed by without stopping. With no room to breathe, they pass by in a hurry. All the while, they are still trying to govern our emotions and feelings. They make the past present and creat the feeling to live the future now. The mark of our civilization is all messed up. And, here we are, right in the midst of this web of information. Each person having their own story. Their own circumstances and complaints. We live day after day trying to be more than just a number, and in fact, we are more than just a number!

There is so much demand and pressure to move forward, to conquer new things, to make decisions, to reach goals, to live a certain way, to keep up with the latest trends, and to follow a pattern of life that is almost unfathomable. These aspects are not necessarily bad for us; but it is because of these things, we often do not resist falling into the cycle of anxiety and therefore run a great risk of starting to live a superficial life. This is a delicate point in our lives where we must always be reflecting on ourselves, our values, and ultimately about our own existence.

There are two types of anxiety we will highlight: the functional and the dysfunctional.

Functional anxiety is a natural way that our body / mind has found to keep us safe from harm. When we see something dangerous or threatening, our brain releases substances in response to that stimulus. Characteristics of this type of anxiety are an increase in heart rate, shortness of breath, and tension in the muscles preparing to defend ourselves.
Now, imagine all the social phenomena that we are exposed to daily. These situations threaten our security, not to mention our personal well beings, and often make us tense and worried. Our brain is constantly aware that we need to protect ourselves, so what happens? We begin to experience symptoms of dysfunctional anxiety!

In dysfunctional anxiety, we usually feel the symptoms of functional anxiety more intensely which may cause other various symptoms to develop, and the anxiety is now a disorder. We will not delve into those symptoms or diagnostics of anxiety disorders but rather reflect on a healthier lifestyle.

There are many websites, magazines, and books that present these almost perfect lifestyles that we often cannot adapt to in our own realities. They are interesting, but it is necessary to understand the perfect lifestyle for us is the one that brings us peace. And, anxiety, as we said above, is a natural feeling at certain moments of our lives. It is a biopsychosocial process which means it is biological, psychological, and social all at the same time. But if we allow it to be part of our lifestyle, a rule for all events and phenomena that happen or could happen, we are probably not at peace and on the verge of it becoming an illness.

Many times we are already so used to living an anxious lifestyle that we don’t even know what it is like to live without it. Self-reflection is the most important way for changing habits than any other source of motivation. By self-reflecting, we are able to perceive when we are not doing well and when we need help to face the difficult phases of our journey.

By Laish Silva, Leader of Hadassah House

Nikita’s Testimony

I heard of Shores of Grace two days before I arrived at their base in Recife. The call to anti-human trafficking awoke in my heart years previously after I watched a movie called Human Trafficking. I cried for a long time as I let God break my heart with a great compassion for people held captive in this way, in my day. My involvement back then was to sow financially into people who were fighting against trafficking, hoping fervently that one day I too might stand alongside them on the frontlines and get to expose Father’s radical love and freedom. As Father delivered me from a spirit of slavery, passed down my generations, I believed I would see others delivered in the same way. Before setting foot in Brazil, Holy Spirit whispered to me, ‘anti-trafficking’, this whisper was the catalyst that led me to discover Shores of Grace. As I was talking to them about visiting, I received money to fund my flight to Recife, it was a confirmation that God destined me to be there at that time. I joined the teams going out to the favelas, often muddy and dirty places where relationships have been cultivated patiently by the team. Jesus said, I no longer call you servants, but friends. Friendships have sprung up with people who would otherwise be lost, utterly hopeless or sick. Salvation, hope and healing have come through their doors. It was a privilege to be able to water the seeds lovingly planted by others. Their pioneering, whether in the favelas, streets, or red light areas has made it easier for people like me to be able to step in and water the already planted seeds. On the red light outreach one night, I prayed for one girl who was soon getting off the streets and starting a day job, afterwards her friend who was drunk said, ‘Next time I’d like you to pray for me’. So I said, ‘Let’s pray now!’. As soon as I touched her hand, Holy Spirit gave me a word of knowledge and then said that she was destined to work in social justice. As God gave us more revelation of who He made her to be, hope began to arise in her and she wasn’t drunk anymore. At the end, she cried and said, ‘That’s exactly what I want for my life, I just talking to your teammate about it before you prayed for me’. She laughed as she said, ‘I knew that you had something for me, that’s why I asked you to pray’. The hunger for something of God was stirred in her heart when she witnessed the beauty of God’s love expressed to her friend. I know she also felt Father’s love as I held her and kissed her cheeks. That encounter was already prepared before the world began, it was just waiting for me to step into it. I believe the fight against human trafficking starts with one life. One life that recognises it can bring the hope of salvation to another life. Shores of Grace under the power of the Holy Spirit is changing lives, person by person, day by day. If God is stirring your heart as He did mine, be bold and ask Him to make a way for you to visit Shores of Grace to get face-to-face with Radical Love and join Him and the team as they go out to love the unloved.

Shalom,
Nikita

Soaking

Worship is a lifestyle. I’ve heard this statement many times and numerous. In the church, I heard this phrase all my life. I heard that worship is not just a song or a sense of a moment. It took a few years until I understood what this lifestyle really is. It wasn’t that I did not understand worship, but I did not know the ways that my life could be praise and surrender.

I grew up in a Christian home, and always went and also served the local church. I went to many services, retreats, camps, and conferences. I had several profound experiences in the presence of God. Some of which created a lot of interest and a thirst for something inexplicable. I remember these moments of complete solitude, peace and rest in the spirit that left me longing for more. I remember being in my room with the sound of Ludmila Ferber, one of the spontaneous music albums, and I soaked myself in the Spirit. It was a new and different style of worship for me. In the Throne of spontaneous, I felt this river flowing in me. Little did I know that this practice of worship existed between the Levites and all over the world now known as Soaking (in Portuguese drenched, like a sponge).

Nic Billman prefers the term Marinate, the origin of the Biblical term. In the Scriptures it is a practice of the Levites when they cleaned the temple was soaked of presence. It was common among them spend this time meditating on the Word and the Presence of God.

In search on the internet on the subject, I found this story that illustrates perfectly. The author of the text tells of his parents. She says they had married recently and that financial conditions were very limited. So they decided to further invest and spend a little more to have a barbecue just the two. Then they bought a piece of meat, which was not very cheap and put to marinate in a bowl with spices and salt. As they worked full time, just failing to prepare that evening barbecue. They ended up having other schedules and for a few days that meat was immersed in salt and spices. After this many days they could not have the barbecue, they finally managed to do it at a dinner. They decided they could not just throw that flesh out and buy another one because of the price and financial conditions. And after all the meat looked good and the spice had maintained, I was immersed during all these days. The husband prepared the barbecue and put to bake.

After several minutes he realized that the meat not baked. This intrigued him. It stressed and for a long period of time in the fire nothing seemed to happen. Meat became impenetrable, as if pickled. It happens to vegetables that are preserved, among them the pickle is the most common origin of the expression in English ‘pickled’. The meat during that time in the salts and spices closed pores, and the heat did not allow that she could be achieved in some way by the heat and flames.

So we are. We must immerse, as the Greek term in the Bible ‘baptism’, totally drenched the Presence, so saturated oil of the Spirit that the flames of hell, the evil system can no longer affect us. It is at this time with God, only you and God, you are strengthened in the Lord, and becomes winner and full of Him. Among so many thing to hear His voice, Soaking is being filled, wet and overflowing of God’s Spirit.

If you want to try this, the steps are simple.

1. Find a quiet and peaceful place to relax and rest in presence. Make yourself comfortable, lie can be a good way.
2. Place a calm music Soaking or spontaneous worship. You can purchase one of our Soaking CDs in iTunes, or in our online store. Write contato@shoresofgrace.com and ask for Immersed album. There are many others, this is just a recommendation.
3. Quiet your mind, keep your eyes on Jesus, no distractions, let Him minister to your heart and spirit. Zephaniah 3:17 says that He sings over us with joy, happiness and love.
4. Listen to His voice and allow the Word to become life in you.
5. Spend the time necessary filling Him. Avoid pray often we pray much, or rather, we talk so much that I could not hear the voice of the Father. Listen and write down, record it in your diary or notebook. Do this always!

If you have questions and want to know more about Soaking, please write me an email: jonathan@shoresofgrace.com me also send testimony of his time and experience in Soaking, how God gave you, I’m curious as to how God is pouring over your life!

God bless. In Jesus,

Jonathan Costa

Kingdom and Culture

What is culture? The etymology for the word culture, among other definitions, is an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning. Webster dictionary adds up the meaning of culture, ‘the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations; the set of values; characteristic features of everyday existence.’ According to Wikipedia in Portuguese, culture is a system of shared symbols which in reality is interpreted and gives meaning to the life of human beings. Culture is information, i.e., the joining of theoretical and practical knowledge that is learned and transmitted to the contemporary and forthcoming. Culture is something dynamic and not static. From generations, its’ changes are made through the action of adaptive and cumulative mechanisms.

How can the concepts of Jesus and His Kingdom be “cultured”, the culture of heaven on earth then? I want to make this insertion! We are representatives ambassadors of a Kingdom of very different culture of the ones known on earth, we carry concepts, knowledge, and practice of the supernatural. Thus, we make history, we influence generations and we establish the Kingdom as it is written in Revelation 11.15 “…and there were loud voices in heaven saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever’”.

Imagine culture being empowered by the Kingdom of God. I want to engage in this reality of infinite possibilities. I want to see the broken being made whole, children being restored to their fathers, and fathers restored to their children. Nations under the control of Jesus, and free of slavery, free of sexual exploitation. Sons and daughters walking with Papa God as kings and queens for the King of kings! That’s my culture, that’s where I am headed! All it takes is willingness to be like Jesus!

Enough of Religion, let the truth and the Kingdom of light come invade culture.

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