Friday, December 30, 2005

I Would If I Could

This year I began a new DVD collection of the TV drama "Little House on the Prairie". A couple of nights ago, as I watched for the first time, the following scene played out during one of the episodes. In this scene Mary and Laura have had an encounter with their nemesis Nellie Olson. (She's one of those characters in any drama that you can't stand the moment you lay eyes on her.) Nellie was just plain old mean-spirited and full of herself. She had no problem bragging on or flaunting the fruit of her father's labor in front on anyone unfortunate enough to be within hearing range of her whiny voice. And she seemed to take an extra degree of satisfaction from any distress she could bring upon Mary and Laura Ingalls.
It was after one of these encounters with Nellie that the two girls found themselves sitting on the front steps of the store owned by Nellie's father.
Mary sat in stunned disbelief over the meanness of this character and says to her sister, Laura, "I could never be that mean."
Without missing a beat, pipes right up and say, "Oh I could." After a brief pause she remarks, "If mom and dad would let me."
Right away, I thought to myself, "So could I!"

In fact on any given day, I could do any number of things according to the dictates of my flesh and in my own, stubborn willfulness be as anxious as Laura to slap Nellie silly. What stops me? (What stops you?) In part, yes, it's my mom and dad. They raised me much better than that and I am often conscious of the fact that I don't want to do anything to bring shame down on them.
More than that though, I am stopped cold by the spirit alive and constantly at work within my members. Apart from the saving Gospel, which is to say, -apart from Christ Jesus dying on the cross to save me from the penalty of my sin, there is no telling who or what I would be at this point in my life and just like Laura in this beginning episode, I would if I could.

Oh Lord, thank you for your mercy even when we sin. I ask that we would clearly see when we are wrong and be quick to seek your forgiveness. Show us the way to worship you with true passion and show us how to love the unlovely you have sovereignly placed in our lives.

Stephanie P

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Small Group Leaders Conference

At the end of October I went to a "Small Group Leaders Conference" with a group of people from my church. From beginning to end I was blessed by the hearing of truth; truth spoken by men who are passionate about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and profoundly grateful for their salvation. I was simultaneously awed and humbled by their obvious passion for Holy Scripture. I don't know many people like this. In fact, I am not like this!

What happened? When did I allow complacency to set up house in my life and mediocrity to tend the gardens of my soul? There is no answer that I am all that comfortable in sharing with you at the moment. But I am glad; very glad indeed that, I serve a good God - a God who is faithful and just to forgive me my sins and to cleanse me from all, all, all, all unrighteousness! Glory! If I didn't believe this, what would be the point to anything I say or do in my ministry?

During the entire conference we were continually encouraged to make the Gospel the main thing. Everything else is secondary to:

* passionate pursuit of relationship with the God of scripture
* passion for the application of truth
* passion for the practice of obedience

The last thing on the list stung me very deep because anyone who knows me up close and personal knows that I do not like being told what to do. Ouch! Ouch again! It's true. More often than not I need to go before the Lord before I can obey with the right heart attitude. I wish I could say it ain't so, but, alas I cannot.

But sisters, let me tell you, I thank God over and over again for those never ending moments of grace that He lavishes upon me in the form of remembrance. When I bow my head seeking Him for help, He ever so lovingly reminds me of who He is. He gives me very brief but clear snapshots of who I was and who I am apart from His grace and kindness in my life and apart from His own Sons obedience.

My prayer for you today and always is that you lay yourself out at the feet of Jesus and seek Him for a brand new desire to pursue Him with a passion you haven't know since you first fell in love. Repent of any sin in your life. Allow your heart and mind to be renewed by passionate, vigorous application of truth.

Stephanie P.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Helping Hand When You re Tired

Exodus 17:10-12 (CEV)
"The Israelites out-fought the Amalekites as long as Moses held up his arms. But they started to lose whenever he had to lower them. Finally, Moses was so tired that Aaron and Hur got a rock for him to sit on. Then the stood beside him and supported his arms in the same position until sunset."

There are a number of things in these two verses that immediately catch my attention.
* There is a serious battle raging
* Moses depends on the Lord
* With his hands lifted up Moses prays, prays, prays, prays
* Moses' hands get tired
* Moses had two faithful friends who supported his weary hands until the sun went down and the battle was won.

Wow! I have a lump in my throat even now as I think about that last point. The very idea; the thought, of someone standing in the gap with you until...

Sister. Friend. Are you at a place in life where you are weary and wondering how oh how, you are going to get through? Is there a battle raging in your home, heart or life that threatens to undo you? And lest we be too self-focused, I must also ask you to consider the people in your sphere of influence. Is there one among them whose hands are tired and need your support?

Dear sister there are two things I encourage you to do and see.
To do:
* Pray! Pray! Pray and ask for help! Don't allow pride or any other thing to rob your strength for another second!
* I urge you not to be slow in offering that place to sit and rest.
To see:
* See that not a single one of us can get through life without help.
* See that the main thing; the most important thing written in verse 15 is "Moses built and altar and named it, '"The Lord Gives Me Victory'".

Moses explains, "This is because I depended on the Lord...". Our bottom line, now and always - we don't get through on our own. We must press in and remember that God is our banner and shield and it is He alone who sustains us.

Stephanie P.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Who Are YOU?

One of my favorite TV shows is CSI and the big question is usually who are they? What happened? So, that's my question to you ~ Who are YOU? Do you know? Would others be able to tell us?

Maybe those are tough questions for you to think about. Think about this...

You are a child of God (John 1:12)
You are Christ's Friend (John 15:15)
You are a joint heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him (Rom 8:17)
You are a temple - a dwelling place - of God. His Spirit and His life dwells in me (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19)
You are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17)
You are a saint (Eph. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Phil. 1:1; Col 1:2)
You are a fellow citizen with the rest of God's family (Eph. 2:19)
You are righteous and holy (Eph. 4:24)
You are a citizen of heaven, seated in heaven right now (Phil 3:20)
You are chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (Col. 3:12; 1 Thess 1:4)
You are one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5)

Next time someone wants to know about you or who you are - why don't you answer with one of the above statements.


Monday, December 26, 2005

The Heartbeat of God

Last week we considered God's call for unity within His church. We are
called to live in a community with one heart, one mind, one goal, one
purpose, one Spirit. Oh, sister, can you hear the heartbeat of God? Can
you sense His passion for his Children? For His church?

Unity will require that you and I die to our own agendas, our own
preferences, our own desires. We need to choose to die to self and live for
God. After all, it's not about you and it's not about me. It's about Him.
It's His church. It's His glory that needs to shine forth in a dark,
sin-filled world drawing lost sinners to the Light.

Let me encourage you to make this your prayer, "Now may the God of patience
and comfort grant (us) to be like-minded toward one another, according to
Christ Jesus, that (we) may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:5. (parenthetical modifications

I'm going to leave you with this thought: "Behold, how good and how pleasant
it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Psalm 133:1

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Week of Unity

This week we have been thinking about unity among believers in Jesus Christ.
As I consider the things that hinder unity in our churches three things come to mind, gossip, pride and unforgiveness. Let�s consider each separately:
Gossip �I was visiting my sister�s church one Sunday when the pastor asked everyone that had ever been hurt by gossip to please stand up. Many, many people rose to their feet. As we all stood there for a few minutes feeling somewhat vindicated, Pastor Joe paused a few moments before proceeding. His next statement was, �Those of you standing that have never gossiped against another, please sit down.� WOW! Caught! I couldn�t sit down, neither could the others standing there. Gossip is destructive in many ways and it certainly prevents unity. �Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.� Proverbs 26:20; �A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends.� Proverbs 16:28
Your home, relationships and church can be change by your choices. Today, decide to stop gossiping. Don�t gossip personally and refuse to let gossip take place in your presence. As your commitment catches on, it will transform your church. Imagine�a church where gossip does not happen. Our churches should be zero-tolerance zones.
Pride � I have already discussed this in a Victory Call earlier in the week (12.21.05) but let me expand a little more today. Pride is a real hindrance to unity because it sports a �me first� attitude. Unity requires an �others first� attitude. Pride is unbending and self-serving. Unity requires flexibility, willingness to compromise and a body-serving spirit. Pride interferes with the outpouring of God�s grace. Unity requires humility upon which God pours his grace. Pride is about making my name famous. Unity is about making Christ�s name famous. �I� beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.� Ephesians 4:1-3; �Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for �God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.� 1 Peter 5:5.
Unforgiveness -- unforgiveness, not repented of, eventually becomes bitterness and resentment, spiritual cancers. �Bitterness shouldn�t be embraced, worked through, or understood�it needs to be repented of.� (Elyse Fitzpatrick � Women Helping Women). Hebrews 12:14-15, �Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled� Unforgiveness and bitterness are devastating to unity. Bitterness isolates, unity, well, unifies.
Your decision and commitment to unity can make a difference. Take God at His word and, �as much as depends on you, live at peace with all men.� Romans 12:18

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Be kindly affectionate to one

Romans 12:10-11, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence..."

This week we have been considering God's call to unity among believers and within the body of Christ. How different we would be from the world simply by being like-minded and pursuing unity. Unity should be one characteristic of the Church that draws people in. How can we expect people to be drawn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ if it doesn't appear to make in difference in lives?
Our theme verse this week is Romans 12:4-18. I could write a month's worth of Victory Call's on these verses alone. There are a lot of rich practical truths in this section of Scripture. I see twenty practical insights that, if implemented, facilitate unity. I am only pointing out a few so I want to suggest you take a few minutes and read them for your self.
We are encouraged to not lag in diligence. I'm sure there are other applications of this truth but one I think we need to be reminded of is that we need to be women of our word. When we say we are going to do something, let's do it even when the excitement of the moment has passed.
I have lied to people. It wasn't my intention to lie to them but I told them I was going to do something that I ended up not doing; so the bottom line is I lied to them.
Being women who do not lag in diligence marks us with the character of Jesus Christ and sets us apart from the world. People of integrity, honesty and reliability are building blocks of a church characterized by unity.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Unity in the Body

Unity in the Body
Romans 12: 5, 10, "so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one preference to one another."
Giving preference to one another is vital to unity in the body. When you really think about it, what is the opposite of giving preference to others? Giving preference to ourselves otherwise known as selfishness or pride. "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." Philippians 2:3.
Giving preference to one another is going to require that we deny self - "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." Matthew 16:24. It will also require humility - "Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'"1 Peter 5:5.
We need to be more passionate about God's agenda than our own. Are you willing to put off self preference and put on giving preference to one another so that God's name will be glorified in the unity of the body?
From the pastor/elder/deacon to the person that sits in the last pew, body life is not about us, it is about Jesus Christ the Head of the church.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Unity in the Body

Romans 12:5, 9, "so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another...Let love be without hypocrisy."

God commands us to love one another. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." John 13:34. "And above all things have fervent love for one another..." 1 Peter 4:8.
One of the aspects of body unity is being real. Our love for others is not put on, contrived, or hypocritical. Rather it is the love of Christ flowing FROM us as we overflow with His love FOR us. By faith, we can reach out and love one another. Love is an act of our will. Taking a quick look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." Every aspect of Biblical love is active, practical and real. Nowhere does it connect loving others with feelings of love. Love may require we act contrary to our emotions.
Unity requires loving others, in faith, by the power the Holy Spirit despite how we feel.

My challenge for you is, as far as it is up to you, put on unity and put off division for the Name and Glory of Christ.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Approaching Christmas

This week as we approach Christmas we are going to consider God's call to live in community within the Church. How do we realistically achieve unity in the Body of Christ? Some people are difficult to warm up to, and frankly sometimes we are difficult to warm up to. Yet we are called to pursue unity,"with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to kept the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Ephesians 4:2-6
I believe one reason God calls us to unity is because is it so contrary to the world. Left to our own devices we express independent, self-serving attitudes and agendas. How do I know that? Because that is what the world does without Christ. Christ is about unity. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28. Satan is about division. "For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?" 1 Corinthians 3:3.
God wants us to stand apart from the rest of the world making His name famous by doing so. God spoke to His people through Moses, "The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you,if you keep the commandments of the Lord Your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord..." Deuteronomy 28:9-10.
We love and serve the One True God, may it be known through our unity.


Friday, December 16, 2005


So often in life I hear the words... I can't or I'm not able. To me that is equivalent to being bound and tied. If you want to enjoy life to its fullest and be all that God wants you to be - you need to live with an I CAN Attitude.

If Christ is your Savior... then...

You can do all things. (Phil 4:13)
You have no FEAR (2 Tim. 1:7)
God leads you in Triumph (2 Cor. 2:14)
There is no bondage in the Lord. (2 Cor. 3:17; Gal 5:1)
You are not condemned (Rom. 8:1)
No one can be against you because God is with you (Rom 8:31)
You are more than a conqueror in all things (Rom 8:37)
Jesus give you strength to take action (Ps. 27:1; Dan 11:32)
God will supply all your needs (Phil 4:19)
Greater is He that is in you - than He that is in the world (1 John 4:4)
You never walk alone (Matt. 28:20; Heb 13:5)

Remember who HE is and what he gives to you and you can experience the abundant life. I hope you start right now today.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

He is Worthy

Recently in my preparation for Higher Ground, I was reading the lesson in Jerry Bridges book, The Joy of Fearing God. Chapter 14, titled "He is Worthy" is about fearing God through our worship. Bridges makes the distinction between our Sunday morning corporate worship in church and the worship of our daily lives.
We were encouraged to read and meditate on God through His word with such Scriptures as Isaiah 6:1-8, Isaiah 40, Daniel 4:34-35, Psalm 104 and 1 John 4: 8-10 (pg. 235). Let me encourage you to do the same.

Here is another Scripture of worship:

Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said:

10"Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
11Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all.
12 Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.
13 "Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
14 But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You.
What hinders you from full, free, unabashed, reverent worship of God? Confess it.
What needs to change so that you may worship with all of your life? Change it.
What do you have to be thankful for today? Give thanks.
Join me in a journey to fear God with a life characterized by true worship for HE IS WORTHY.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What is on your refrigerator?

What is on your refrigerator? I didn't ask what is inside. I mean what is on the outside? When I visit a home, I love to look at all the photos, art work of the children (or grandchildren), or anything and everyone that is "special" to the family. I looked at my own refrigerator and noticed how many items we have. A lot! We have our sons and their families, my only sister and her family, my husband's family, and many children of the friends we love. There are a few missionaries and Bible verses, also. Every photo is held by a magnet of some kind, also special to me. All these photos are of those we love, and we are reminded to pray for each of them by name!

As I was reading the book, "The Glory of Christmas", by Charles Swindoll, Max Lucado and Chuck Colson, I couldn't believe what was written for that day by Max Lucado. He said, "God saves you to bring glory to Himself. If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it!" John 3:16 tells us how special we are to Him! Max brought out that God's Christmas gift was sent to you in Bethlehem - Jesus, His Son - Matthew 2:1. Although He could live anywhere in the universe, He chooses to live in your heart - that's how special you are! Have you asked Him to come in?

Many Christmas cards come to our house each year, and I love each one. We will receive many new photos in them. I'll update some old and add the new to our refrigerator, and continue to pray. We need to upgrade our spiritual growth as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. God's word gives us the fruit of the Spirit to apply to our daily growing - Galatians 5:22-24. He prays for us - Romans 8:26. The Holy Spirit pours God's love into our hearts - Romans 5:5 and John 14:16-17. When others look as us, not just our refrigerator, but where ever we go and whatever we do, are they seeing us glorify God?
Remember you are special to God, you are His family, His friend, and He loves you and wants others to see that you are His child. Glorify Him today!

May I add - His love is the strong magnet that holds us to Him.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Decisions, Decisions..

I can't make up my mind; I don't know what to do. I will have to think about this. I need more time. There are too many choices. There aren't enough choices. What if I choose the wrong one? What if?... just reading this paragraph could make somebody nervous!
Every day life is full of decisions, we've got them ranging in importance from what do I make for breakfast to what kind of car should I buy to which course of medical treatment should I use, to is this person "the One".
Some of us are quick to make some decisions, some slow. Some of us like to stay on the fence and act like we've made a decision but in fact we're ready to go either way with the wind. (The bible calls that being a double-minded person, unstable in their ways, doubters. James 1:8)
I, at one moment or another, could fall into any of the above descriptions. I do have a bent toward being one to decide quickly, especially the small stuff. It's funny though, sometimes deciding how I want my hair cut can be well, a hair-raising experience for me (pardon the pun)!
When it comes to the big stuff, I will tend to take more time even though I already have some thoughts on which way I "want" to go. I will pray, ask a close friend, maybe seek advice from my pastor, maybe even professional counsel. But the first thing I always find myself doing is searching the scriptures for a word and praying for Him to speak to my heart. That is crucial to me, I feel totally lost if I have no direction which way He wants me to go. I feel empowered when I KNOW what He wants, because I KNOW it's right. He makes no mistakes and I can trust Him. Now I admit I don't always "want" to do it, and I struggle, but I am always doing the right thing when I yield and do it. It's amazing the power the Lord gives us to do His will, I sometimes look back at a situation and say "well Lord it was all you", because I know it's not something I alone could have accomplished.
Now it's the stuff in the middle that can be a little confusing, it's not a big decision, it's not a minor one either, it's sort of somewhere in the so called gray area. (I don't believe in gray areas by the way.) So how do we make these middle of the line decisions? I believe God's word is full of discernment and wisdom, when we study it the Lord hides it in our hearts so that, by faith, at just the moment we need it,He will bring His direction and wisdom to mind, and we will know what to do. He will teach us His ways, line upon line precept upon precept. (Isaiah 28:13)
In Exodus 28 there is a description of the garments worn by the high priest, one of the items was called the breastplate for making decisions and on it were symbols of light and integrity (called Urim and Thummim), it is believed to signify that the high priest, having on him this breast-plate, and asking counsel of God in any emergency relating to the public, should be directed to take those measures, and give that advice, which God would own. But now through Jesus Christ we have direct access to His light and integrity and advice which He will own.

Dina Seaton

Monday, December 12, 2005

Diffuse Your Fuse

James 1:19-20 "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring the righteous life that God desires."

I don't know about you, but I do get angry and sometimes I do the right thing and other times I let it get the best of me. Many of us only struggle occasionally with anger issues, but for others it is continuous problem. We know from Christ that anger itself is not bad; in fact, it can be very healthy as it can move us to action. As a counselor I know is that often the underlying issue for many is anger, either suppressed or expressed.

Here are a few steps that can help you Diffuse Your Fuse.

1. Resolve to manage it. (Proverbs 29:11)
A fool gives vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
2. Remember the Cost.
An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot tempered man commits many sins. (Proverbs 29:22)
The fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left. (Proverbs 11:29)
3. Reflect before you React (Quick to Listen)
4. Restrain your Remarks (Slow to Speak)
If you want to stay out of trouble, be careful what you say. Proverbs 21:23
A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up. Prov. 15:1
5. Release your anger appropriately (Slow to Anger)
Gal 5:22 ~ The fruit of the spirit is... patience
6. Rely on Christ help daily.

Jesus wants to heal your hurt with His love, He wants to replace your frustrations with His peace and He wants to calm your fear with His power.


Friday, December 09, 2005

God is faithful

1 Corinthians 1:9, "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

Plain and simple, sometimes it is difficult to make time to spend time with the Lord. Sometimes when we make the time, we read the Bible and pray but don't feel like we got anything out of it. I find when I am reading Scripture, a dozen things are vying for my attention, nothing that can't wait but none-the-less my mind wanders. This morning I decided that every time I found my mind wandering I would restart the section I was reading. I must have restarted 8-12 times!!!
I think we often approach our quiet times as a necessary discipline for our personal spiritual growth. Is it vital to our relationship with Jesus Christ? Absolutely! But there is another aspect we rarely consider. In the little booklet, "My Heart Christ's Home" Robert Boyd Munger writes as if Jesus is speaking,
"He (Jesus) said, 'The trouble with you is this: You have been thinking of the quiet time, of the Bible Study and prayer time, as a factor in your own spiritual progress, but you have forgotten that this hour mean something to me also. Remember, I love you. I have redeemed you at a great cost. I desire your fellowship. Now,' he said, 'do no neglect this hour if only for my sake. Whatever else may be your desire, remember I want your fellowship.'"
Stop and consider that a moment. God wants fellowship with you. The Creator of the universe, the All-sufficient, Almighty, and Sustainer of that universe desires fellowship with you. Savor that thought. I mean it, close your eyes and drink in the love of Jesus that causes Him to desire fellowship with you.

Are you going to leave Him waiting?


Thursday, December 08, 2005

One Sent

That's what a guest here once told me, she came up to the front desk and asked me for fifty pennies in exchange for two quarters for the children's ministry meeting. She said I need one cent for each child, because that's what a missionary is; it is "One Sent".
She also showed me a very worn Italian Bible, and on the cover it read; La Sacra Bibbia, The Holy Bible. She and her husband were here that week sharing about their work as you guessed it, missionaries in Italy. I thought it was interesting how the Lord just "happened" to send this lady here, and I just "happened" to be the one to help her and she just "happened" to live in Italy. When she said those words; "one sent" it made me want to hear her say more. I never did have the opportunity to do that while she was here.
For me it was a reminder of something the Lord told me to do that I put on the back burner for a while. (Can you imagine, He speaks to my heart and I put it on the back burner. Sometimes I make myself so mad!) He simply said this: "I want you to learn how to speak Italian". My first response was Why? And to who? I have always wanted to go to Italy, actually to Sicily, which is where my family is originally from.
My parents did speak Italian to each other once in a while and some other relatives as well. They played a lot of Italian opera in our house, and as I remember it was really a beautiful sound. I started researching the area and talking to my mom about what she might remember (which was a lot), and I began to have a burden for them and a passion to learn this language so I started to pray about it. Once while in prayer I asked the Lord; "Lord I know you want me to learn this, but if I do I would soon loose it because I have no one to speak it to." And to that He said, "I wouldn't have you learn it and then give you no one to speak it to." It was like a light went on, of course how silly of me, His patience with us never ceases to amaze me!
Since then I have found what I hope to be a really good language program and hope to be well on the way to learning Italian. My first goal would be to learn how to give my testimony in Italian. I still don't know why, where or when He intends to use that but I want to be ready when He does. How thankful we can be that
God's truth is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow in any language!

Giovanni 3:16
Poiche` Dio ha tanto amato il mondo, che ha dato il suo unigenito Figlio, affinche` chiunque crede in lui non perisca, ma abbia vita eterna.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Therefore encourage one another

1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another."

I have been going through boxes of memories! I am a saver, today I'm glad I was (still am). What I did save was what I needed today - words of encouragement.
1 Thessalonians was recorded in God's Word for a reason.

God knew we would need to be reminded to 'encourage one another". Whom have you encouraged lately? It is a gift to someone who needs to hear from you; and it's free! It might cost a stamp or a phone call, but its value can't be priced. What about a family member, your pastor, a friend, or perhaps a stranger who has influenced your life in some way?

Recently we had visitors in our home that we haven't seen for over 25 years. They were teen-agers in 1990, and now are moms and serving the Lord. They were part of our former ministry to youth. Their encouragement to my husband, and me was better than medicine for our lives. God is good! I just purchased another "Real Victory for Real Life" at our Keswick bookstore. It is a daily meditation for Victorious Living. I know I'm a little late in my purchases, since we only have the months of November and December left for the year. However, this is my tenth copy. It seems after each purchase, I find someone to whom I pass it on, who loves it. If I can keep this one, I can continue to use it in 2006 (must tell you - it's gone too!).

A devotional does not take the place of your Bible; it's added daily help. I opened to the words written by a friend, Rev. Gary Dickenson. It read, "Everybody in your life today: family, friends, co-workers, even total strangers, need encouragement!" Wow, just what God had revealed to me! God had that planned.

I have written to three people and have called two. I trust God has used you today as He had reminded me in His Word and the Keswick devotional, "Encourage one another". Guess what! It will encourage you too, I know it just did!


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Check the Source

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1

Today there are so many doctrines and beliefs out there that may appear to come from God, but they are distorted and actually draw us away from the true God. A family member is involved in a cult church that does not accept all of scripture and has bought into a false prophet and view of God and Christ. My husband and I know that it is very important to follow the command of 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." See, we know how much Satan would really like to draw us away from the truth, so we need to know the Word. Unless we are students of the Word and Truth we will in no way be able to communicate the true gospel to our family member. There are no verses in scripture that tells us that there will be additional revelations by Jesus himself. The best way to test any alleged teaching is to compare what it says about the person and work of Jesus against what Jesus reveals about himself in the Bible. Staying grounded in Scripture and looking only to scripture keeps Satan at bay and we become untouchable.

1 Timothy 4:1 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;"

Matt 24:24 "For these shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

2 Tim 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Al scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour"

Are you grounded or are you vulnerable to the deceptions of Satan?


Monday, December 05, 2005

The "S" word can make most of us stumble.

"Submission". Now girls, don't stop reading here! Diane and I were joking back and forth with emails one day and the above statement she made had me thinking. It really is so true, as a woman I want to be all that God wants me to be, but... I don't always want to submit to Him. In thinking about that it's not a very wise choice for me to make, I mean why wouldn't I want to submit myself to the Lord in all things? I've submitted my very soul to His eternal care, so what's the problem with my time, my money, my work, my relationships, my thoughts, my words, my dreams, my plans...wait a minute this is starting to sound like He wants my whole life! And He does.
The problem is that sometimes I stumble. It's interesting to read the definition of the word:
stum-ble: to miss one's step in walking or running; trip and almost fall, to proceed unsteadily, flounder, to act or speak falteringly or clumsily, to make a mistake, blunder, to fall into evil ways. Ok, none of that sounds appealing.

Now for the other definition:
Submission: the act of submitting to the power of another.

The biblical perspective of course is the act of submitting all things to the power of the Almighty God who loves me, who died for me, who rose for me, who sings over me, who delights in me, who chastens me, who goes before me, who prepares a place for me in His house, who listens for my cry, who hears me, who answers me, who knitted me together in my mother's womb, who knew my name before He laid the foundations of the earth, who numbers the hairs of my head, who knows I am but a breath, who separated my sins from me as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more, whose thoughts toward me number more than all the grains of sand, thoughts of good and not of evil with plans for a future and a hope, who I can trust.
Now does "Submission" sound good? I think so too. And I think I will remind myself of His love for me every time I have to choose between the "S" words.

James 4:6-7,
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.



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Friday, December 02, 2005

In the evening, before going to sleep

In the evening, before going to sleep, I periodically read, Streams in the Dessert by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. The devotional for November 15th concludes with the following paragraph:
Difficulties and obstacles are God's challenges to faith.
When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we
are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with
the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus; and as we go
forward, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be
tested, we may have to wait and let patience have her
perfect work; but we shall surely find at last the stone
rolled away, and the Lord waiting to render unto us
double for our time of testing" (A.B. Simpson, pg. 335).

When I read this that evening, my mind immediately went to the Victory Calls I wrote for November (7-11) "When God Shows Up". What Simpson is saying here, in a much more powerful way, is that when we press through the trials, press through the testings, when we wait patiently for God, He shows up. He rolls away the stone and renders us double blessings for the time of testing. Amen and Amen.
When we wait upon God, however long it takes, we are doubly blessed for having done so. Don't rush ahead of God and try to roll the stone away on your own, all it will get you is exhausted. The stone is there for a reason. Ask God to help you embrace it as His will for your life, today. By tomorrow it may be gone, with glorious rays of Son warming your face once again.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

always be ready to give a defense

"Sanctify the Lord God in you hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." 1 Peter 3:15

Let me begin with the premise that I support our president. If you do not, please read on anyway because my point is much more significant (I hope) that who is in the Whitehouse.

I have a confession to make..... In the past two weeks as I have been out and about doing errands, I have been appalled at the boldness of the anti-Bush proponents. Just yesterday, I was the post office. A man was entering at the same time as I was and he made a comment about the beautiful weather to which I responded in kind mentioning that it was supposed to be cold by tomorrow. Without skipping a beat, this man said, "When are they going to get us out of the mess in Iraq? The country is broke, 500 billion in debt. Bush sure has made a mess of things." I wish I could say I responded by saying, "Well, actually sir, I am thankful we have a man in the Whitehouse with integrity, honesty, humility and morality." Or even a simple, "You're talking to the wrong person. I support Bush." But instead, I said, ..................................nothing. Nothing! I clammed right up. I know there are a few Bush supporters out there that would speak up and perhaps you are one of them but most of us act like we are mute. At least I do.
My confession ... I'm a wimp.
As I am writing this Victory Call, I am reminded of a Sunday school class I was in about 8 or 10 years ago. We were discussing whether we would deny Christ if we were persecuted or if our family would come to harm if we did not. I was shocked that most of the men and women said they would deny Christ because He knew their hearts and would forgive them.
Sitting here at my keyboard, I realize I am no different than they. I didn't even stand up for our president and neither my family nor I was in any danger. If I clam up when someone disagrees with my politics what will I do when someone challenges my faith?

"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 10-32-33.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It's not who you know, it's whose you are.

It's not who you know, it's whose you are.
I immediately recognized the voice on the other end of the phone as "Fergie". I had called Weight Watchers and the recorded voice prompt said; "Hello, this is Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York" etc... I thought well, " la de da, this is Dina Seaton, a daughter of the King!" Now I in no way take that lightly.
In all seriousness, it later made me think just how wonderfully regal a position we hold as children of the King of the Jews. We were as with all royalty, born into it. That is, "born again". Now for some it may be different but for me, I don't live in a mansion, although one is under construction for me in my Father's Kingdom at this time. I don't have any great wealth accumulated, except of course the treasures I am storing up in my Father's house. I'm not famous, the paparazzi doesn't chase me down to get my name in the headlines. But I do have my name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. I don't dress in designer labels: Versace, Tyler, or Wang. But I am clothed in His righteousness. I don't have lots of perks of the royalty of this world. Or do I? It started me thinking about God's goodness in this world, even the so called "little things" we can be grateful for. Psalm 27:13 reads; "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living".
I recall the time we went to New York and needed to park before taking the ferry over and there was nary a parking spot to be found, so I prayed for one. Before I completed my prayer the very first spot in the row opened up! That has happened often. It seems I find myself praying for parking spots often!
Then there was the time when money was tight and a friend "found" money and just gave it to me without knowing I needed it.
There are also the "big things" like the time I felt the Lord calling me to work in a Christian ministry and the laundry list of things that needed to be accomplished for this to happen was a mile long. I sat back and watched as obstacle after obstacle got crossed off the list by the finger of the Almighty God, who makes a way when I think there is none.
What advantages we have as royality right here, right now! God loves us and He loves to do good things for us. It makes me smile to think of it! What things can you think of that He's done or that He could do that would cause you to smile? Think on those things...

Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.


Monday, November 28, 2005

You Are Loved

Since the beginning God has been calling us and wooing us with one desire. That we would fall so in love with Him that loving Him would be enough to satisfy every longing, every craving, everything.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' Mark 12:30

Dare we remember the price paid to ransom us? He took Himself, and came down to earth to dwell among man. He hung on a cross. Bled. Died. Rose again.
Before He left for good, He appeared to a few and made a promise to us all, that we would not be left alone, comfortless. He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us. Therefore we are never alone. Never! As alone as we may feel we can trust God. He is there and He is here; for us and not against us.
Most, if not all of us, have experienced some sort of bondage, oppression and torment. Someone right now is sick and lame in spirit because the father of all lies; the enemy of your soul, has deceived you into believing that you have no value or worth and that you can't possibly be loved by God.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
"We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered"
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39
My Question for You:
Do you know that you know that you know that you are loved by God?
Do you believe it?
Stephanie P.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Your lovingkindness is better than life

"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live" Psalm 63:3

Recently, I was speaking in Lancaster, PA to a women's group for a day-retreat. At our lunch break the ladies at my table started discussing diets, food addictions, etc. This woman shared what plan she tried, another shared a recent book she had read, and back and forth the conversation went.
One of the women pulled out a sheet of paper from her Bible on which she had jotted notes at a recent women's conference. She read to us what she had written. She ended her recitation with "'because Your lovingkindness is better than life...' Better than life, can you just imagine?" One of the women sitting across from me gazed off into the distance. We waited with anticipation for her response. She finally said, "Better than life... I'm just trying to imagine anything being better than a Reece's Peanut Butter cup." We all laughed but isn't that a sad a statement that reflects the thoughts of too many of our hearts?
We find it difficult to surrender in areas of food, wasting time, gossip, spending, criticism, anger, or submission (am I getting close?). We cling tenaciously to what we want because we have not yet "... taste(ed) and see (n) that the LORD is good" Psalm 34:8. I believe that when we believe in our heart that His love is better than life, I mean believe it and by faith live it out in our personal lives our "souls shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and (our) mouth(s) shall praise (Him) with joyful lips." Psalm 63:5.

I want to encourage you to read Psalm 63 in its entirety. It is 11 short verses and will only take a few minutes. Pause. Drink it in. Let His living water pour forth from your soul as you find His lovingkindness better than _______________. You fill in the blank.


Thursday, November 24, 2005


The thing I love so much about devotions is it's the time I get to set aside to dance, sing, shout, cuddle, talk, listen, cry, dump my every thought, all my dashed hopes, my hurts, and my sorrows. I also get to express my joy unconstrained by fearful thoughts of what others may think.
In the midst of time set apart devoted to Him, there is a joy experienced, - His joy! A joy which comes from knowing, beyond any doubt that I will not be rejected, despised, laughed at, scorned or condemned.
My Fathers arms are wide and His lap is deep. And in Him I am 100% safe.

"He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High,
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I shall say of the Lord
He is my refuge and my fortress:
My God in Him will I trust"
Psalms 91:1-2

Isn't that a beautiful thought to ponder? Pause and think on it. See yourself abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.
Webster defines abiding as, "continuing to be sure or firm; endure
Sisters, time spent with the Lord, abiding with Father, is time when we can take off our masks. You know what I mean - all those faces we were in the course of a day, week or month. If we can't; if we don't, we are saying that we don't trust Him or believe Him.
Trust Him dear ones to be faithful. Rejoice in the ineffable Name. His Name.

My challenge for you is to abide, abide, abide.

Stephanie P.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Who is watching you?

You watched me as I grew up,
But you didn't know
That I watched you, too

I learned to work hard,
And to play hard, too
I learned how to be spontaneous
I learned it all from you.

I watched you as you watched me
On our disco nights
And putting up our Christmas tree

I watched you as you watched me,
As we sang Frank Sinatra
In Virginia Beach

I watched you as you watched me
As I took to the ice
And busted up my knees

I watched you as you watched me
As I plowed into the cement pole
And on your hair I know it took its toll

I watched you as you watched me
As I got my first job
And started making money!

I watched you as you watched me
As I met my husband-to-be
And you knew he was for me
Even though I was only 14

I watched you as you took care of me
Throwing up in bed
After my surgery

I watched you as you helped me
Grow and understand
Who God is to me

I watched you and you watched me
As we danced the night away
At my wedding party

I'm still watching you to see what I can learn
About being a great wife because now it's my turn.

"Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." 1 Timothy 4:16

Who is watching you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Best Thing

"The central point of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others." -Oswald Chambers

I don't think any of us would have trouble remembering the Scripture telling of Mary and Martha. We remember Martha, busy as a bee, in service to those who occupied her home. She was doing a good thing; a right thing. In the midst of her labor she observed her sister, Mary, doing absolutely nothing, well, nothing that is except sitting at the feet of Jesus, hanging on every word that came out of His mouth.
Being anxious already about all she had to do, Martha was a bit irritated with her and decided to go a register a complaint with her friend Jesus. Jesus lovingly and gracious responds and tells Martha, "You are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41b-42

In my short life as a believer I've heard a great number of talks regarding these friends of Jesus. The particular bent of the one speaking usually determined whether Mary or Martha gets let off the hook. (I personally think the two should coexist as comfortably as two peas in a pod.)
In my life I tend to be a Martha. I love tending to and caring for my home and family. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the life of the church.

With the exception of a precious few, most of the women I know are Martha's too. We love serving the Lord and being "church ladies", doing what church ladies do best. Why is it, then, that most of us feel frazzled and worn, restless and torn?

I submit to you, the answer is the need our soul has to sow and cultivate Mary moments, which are really moments -long, lingering moments with The Savior.

My Question For You:
Are you replacing serving and doing with the one thing that is necessary and best?

Stephanie P.

Friday, November 18, 2005


There are a great many who have opinions one way or another about Disney, some like it, some hate it and think of it as evil. I've been there four times and I love it! There are some rides, attractions, movies and shows I don't like, I choose what's appropriate, somewhat in the same way I do when we visit any theme park or movie theatre or even when we watch television. This past visit was wonderful. I took my son there and we had an exciting time going on rides, playing checkers on Main Street (he always beats me!), watching the fireworks and just enjoying ourselves.
One of the theme parks we visited, Epcot, was especially interesting. It offers a peek at life in various countries around the world, Canada, Japan, Italy etc... Disney has a great way of making these places seem real, almost like going to that country. They go to great lengths to make it realistic through the food, the architecture, even the authentic staff at each exhibit from the various countries that speak the native language as well as English. Although it is very realistic; it is an imitation.
As we walked through Epcot we passed a woman in a white vest and printed on the front of the vest in large red glitter was this: "JESUS IS REAL". WOW, all I could think of saying to that was Amen! She never said a word; she just walked around, which is some walk! I kept thinking what a witness for the Lord! I am so blessed to know the truth that He is real, but many don't. What a great way to touch others with what's real while walking through a place that is not real, make-believe, made in the likeness of the real thing.
About eleven or so years ago, my son's grandfather gave me a VHS tape of the movie "Jesus of Nazareth". I took it home and watched it and for the first time in my life realized that Jesus was real! Until that time I thought of Him in some type of ghostly form, not really touchable and certainly not like human beings. I was thrilled at the thought of it and it was as if a light went on. WOW! He was real! A real God and a real man, both at the same time. How? Why?
It would be five years later that I came to know the answer. Why would God leave His throne to come here to earth, be born as a baby in a manger, live a short but power-filled life, suffer inexpressible pain and die on a cross, only then to rise from the grave three days later? Why? For me and for you!
I heard someone say she prayed to the saints instead of God because "she needed someone with skin on." Now certainly those believers were real human beings with skin on, but they are not God. I've even heard women say, "I'm lonely, I know God is with me but I need a man with skin on." The good news is He did have skin on, skin that was broken and bruised for us, Isaiah 53:5 says: "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." The company of another can be a wonderful thing, God also said: "It is not good that man should be alone, I will make for him a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18. Other people are never intended to take the place of God.
Now I don't know about you but I will take a trip to Hawaii over a trip to the Polynesian Hotel in Disney any day! I want the real deal!
Is God real in your life? Or do you have an imitation? If so, seek Him with all your heart and He will be found faithful. Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."
It sure would be wonderful to visit Hawaii someday, but it's even more wonderful to know the God who created it!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Serving With a Clear Conscious

In one of his letters to Timothy, Paul writes Timothy and tells him, "I have served with a clear conscious". As I read this in my devotions this morning, those words jumped out at me. I sat thinking and asking myself, "Am I serving with a clear conscious?" My instant response to myself was, "Of course you are girlfriend." But, as is common for me, I began to work the question again and again, going over the details of my life and I must confess to you, I came up wanting (badly). In a few short moments my minded darted to and fro, hither and yon, and ran across a few stones that would likely have remained unexamined and unturned were it not for the reading of the Word of Life.

I suspect part of Paul's ability to be secure in his heart and mind, lay in His honest assessment of Himself. Paul didn't judge himself according to himself. I believe he saw himself clear as day. He never lost sight of who he was apart from relationship with his Redeeming Lord. In fact, Paul's own words were, "chief of sinners". From that humble position Paul did not neglect time with the Lord who saved Him. Night and day he prayed. Night and day! Therein lays one of my own revealed stones.
Pray with me dear ones as Father and I do business concerning the stones in my heart and life.
Praise God with me for His Word and its ability to over, over, over, and over lay truth before us in the Person of Jesus
Praise Him that in this walk of faith, the call to victory is a grace saturated process and I can, you can, serve Him with a clear conscious.

My Challenge For you Today:
Go before the LORD. Prostrate yourself before Him. Seek Him for anything that may hinder your time with Him and then seek to destroy that thing, no matter what it cost!
May we all be able to say with Paul, "I am not ashamed! I am serving with a clear conscious."


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

fruit of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

A new day dawns and morning is a great time to plan our day and make a list of things we need to do. We usually begin our day anticipating all the "things" that need to be done, listing them in order of priority.
Have you ever come to the Lord with your "to do" list (the tasks we need to accomplish and the projects we need to finish). Sometimes we may not even realize what we're doing. We say "this is my list, Lord, and my schedule - please help me accomplish what I need to get done". Our attitude is one of a "to do" perspective, centered a round our own will, and it is generally works motivated.
Remember Mary and Martha? Martha had her own agenda of what she thought needed to be done; Mary sat at Jesus' feet. Martha's mode of operation was performance based; Mary's was character building . . . spending time with and being taught by the Master.
Scripture teaches us how "to be" not "to do". Our attitude needs to be one of a "to be" perspective . . . that we would be more like Jesus.
God transforms our hearts and lives as we sit at His feet; through the Holy Spirit, He illuminates Scripture and teaches us His ways. Only a life of daily communication with the Lord can reflect the distinguishing marks of both His character and His presence in our lives. As we grow in the image of Christ, we grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithful, gentleness and self-control.
Our time with the Lord shouldn't be a time of presenting him with our "to do" list and asking him to bless it. Instead, we should be asking the Lord "how do you want me to be . . . not, what do you want me to do." Spending time in His presence helps us to reflect His love, display His joy, manifest His peace, practice His patience, express His kindness, make known His goodness, reveal His faithfulness, show His gentleness, and to exhibit His self-control.
Regardless of where our day may take us or the situations we may encounter, after meeting with the Lord, we have a renewed mind to think His thoughts, to do His will, and to be more like Christ. We are prepared to face whatever the day may bring and end the day with less stress and frustration.
The Lord promises that if we seek His kingdom first, all other things will be added unto us (Matt. 6:33). Making your relationship with the Lord your top priority is assuring that you will be all that God intends you to be.

When we learn what God wants us to be, then we'll know what God wants us to do.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

He Knows It All

Is it possible that there is anything about you that God; Father; Creator; who is everywhere present, all the time doesn't know about you? Sisters embrace and believe the truest thing. There is nothing about you that God does not know. No matter how much yuck or muck there is in your life which may hold you captive, God sees, hears and knows!

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
In the words of Betsy Ten Boom as quoted by her sister Corrie, 'The Hiding Place', "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not greater still."
Dear sisters see Him, hear Him and know Him!


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Monday, November 14, 2005

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and Stones! Oh yeah, if you hit me with them that's going to hurt, but words could scar me for life!
Did you ever say something you wish you hadn't? Have you ever suffered from the old "Hoof in Mouth Disease"? It's not fatal to the carrier but could be to the recipient!
I wish I could say I never said the wrong thing or hurt someone with my words, but the fact is I have many times. Sadly enough some of the people I have loved and been the closest with in my life have been wounded by my words. Sometimes even the tone of my voice can affect those I speak to, giving the words a whole new hurtful meaning.
I once told my 9 year old son, who I love more than air!, that I would never, ever go away on a vacation without him. Then in a moment of anger I turned that promise into a threat and said: "If you don't stop behaving in this way, I am going away without you and you can stay home, etc...!"
Moms can sometimes break promises. But God never will. He promises in 1 John 1:9, that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Shortly after I realized what I did I humbly went to my son and asked his forgiveness, and thankfully received it, however I can never go back and not say it, or erase it from my son's memory. Rewind and pause just won't work with our words. The damage was done.
What about God? I asked for His forgiveness and very thankfully received it! Here's the part that will never cease to amaze me, not only has He forgiven, but He does not hold it against me, bring it up again and again or remind me from time to time. I am Forgiven. Not because I am sorry or have done something nice to make up for it, but because He has already done the "making up". He has been faithful to send Jesus to pay the penalty for me with His very own blood!

Nothing gets out the stain blood leaves behind, but HIS BLOOD takes away all the stains that sins leave behind.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Wait and Walk

"Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him." Isaiah 30:18

As we close this week of Victory Call's, I just want to reinforce the call of the Scripture to wait on the Lord. Why does God make us wait? Our Scripture today tells us that God desires to be gracious to us. There is a purpose, perhaps beyond our knowing that God has us wait.
God will be exalted. He will not share His glory with another. When we rush in to solve the problem or control the situation we step square in God's way. We need to pray for discernment to know when to wait and when to act.
If I had sat in the airport refusing to get on the plane until I felt at peace about it-they would have left without me. I needed to combine waiting on the Lord and walking by faith. I still need to get up out of the waiting areas seat and walk onto the plane, in spite of my anxiety. I was waiting while I was walking. "In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:19
God promises in His word that He will show up. It just may not be when you expect Him to or when you want Him to; but God's way and timing are perfect. He is never too early, nor a moment too late.
Will you choose to believe that He will show up so that He may be gracious to you and have mercy on you and He will be exalted and glorified in the process?
The next time you are tempted to flee your negative emotions press through them waiting upon the Lord, trusting that He will show up in His perfect timing to bless you with His graciousness. "Those who sow in tears will reap in joy." Psalm 126:3


Thursday, November 10, 2005

But God was always there...

John 14:21, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

As I shared my flying experience with others, I was very excited about what God clearly showed me that day. I was even willing to share my flesh response of disappointment that God didn't show up on my flight west. Various people responded by saying, "But God was always there." I knew, my flesh response was not theologically correct. I know that because in Hebrews 13:5 Jesus says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So was God there when I anxiously believed that I just simply could not get on that plane? Yes. Was God there when I was sitting in the airport anxiously awaiting my return flight? Yes. Was God more there when peace washed over me? NO.
However, there are definitely times in our lives when we are more aware of God's presence than others. Our verse today speaks of Jesus manifesting Himself to us. That implies there are times He does not manifest Himself. Psalm 27:14 says, "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord." According the Merriam-Webster On-Line Dictionary, "wait" means "to remain stationary in readiness or expectation, to look forward expectantly, to hold back expectantly, to remain temporarily neglected or unrealized." I am not suggesting that God temporarily neglects us but, to wait on the Lord implies that although God is already and always present He has not yet manifested Himself to us. When I say God showed up, I mean there was a time I did not sense His presence, and then there was a time I did.
If you note from John 14:21, there are some conditions to Jesus manifesting Himself to us. We must have and keep His commandments; and we must love Him. God's promise to us is if we do these things, Jesus will manifest Himself to us. He will show up.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When God Shows Up...

John 14:21, "He who has My commandments and keeps the, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

Yesterday, I shared about my anxiety sitting in the airport waiting to take the red-eye back to NJ. It was time to get on the plane. With a rapid heart-beat, sweaty palms and a quaking knees I walked onto the plane and sat down in my seat. I have no other explanation for what happened next other than that God showed up. Peace that surpasses all understanding completely overtook my heart, my mind and my body almost instantly. I was filled with thankfulness. At one point in the flight, I wept with gratitude, "You showed up. You rescued me."
I learned several valuable, potentially life-changing lessons that night about God, about addiction, about temptation, about the flesh, and about victory. This series of Victory Calls is all about sharing those lessons with you and my prayer is that I can adequately communicate to you what God communicated to me.
I learned my emotions cannot be what I base my decisions on. Did I already know that? Sure I did. Did I learn it in a deeper more practical way that night? Yes! See, it is the negative emotions that we experience that tend to tempt us to flee. To me, this is how what I experienced was like addiction. When faced with that anxiety, I wanted to flee. I wanted to make the anxiety go away. I didn't like feeling like that. So often, that is why a person drinks, drugs, uses pornography, gambles, eats, etc. They want to stop feeling the way they feel. Perhaps they are anxious, or lonely, or depressed. Perhaps they got laid-off, or given other bad news. For others it is feelings of rejection. Whatever it is, it is the accompanying emotions we try to flee from. We short-circuit the God-process by jumping in ahead of Him and taking a pill, a drink or relying on a friend.
Imagine breaking your leg. The doctor tells you that in order for the leg to heal properly it needs to be set but it will be painful. Pain is not your favorite thing, so you opt to just take painkillers instead. By so choosing you just (1) prolonged the process and (2) prevented proper healing from taking place. When we jump in with our solutions to get away from the negative emotions ASAP, we choose to (1) prolong the process and (2) prevent proper healing from taking place.
To choose the God-process means we choose not to flee but press through the negative emotions, trust God to show up, and wait upon Him for proper healing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am NOT, NOT, NOT suggesting there are not times for proper use of prescribed medications, for a season, under the care of a physician.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Where are You Lord?

I left you yesterday while I was waiting at the airport security checkpoint with anxiety beginning to grip my heart. Honestly, I have to admit that in my flesh, I was disappointed that God didn't show up since I was still anxious. (I acknowledge that my thinking was not theologically correct but I did say 'in my flesh'). It occurred to me that although I was disappointed that "God didn't show up" on my flight out that I didn't wait upon Him. Isn't that just like me? Is that like you, jumping in ahead of God trying to resolve the situation apart from God?
We arrived in Portland, Oregon late that evening. We had just a few brief days to visit with children, and grandchildren before I had to report to the rescue mission for the site visit.
Our flight back was a red-eye flight that left late in the evening. I sat in the airport that evening with a number of things going through my mind. I was struck by how similar my situation was to that of many people that struggle with addiction or really any other gripping temptation. My insides were quivering while I conversed with God. "Lord, how is my situation different than any other person faced with a decision to trust You or trust something else?" That 'something else' might be a drink, a pill, a friend, a sexual encounter, pornography, food, drugs or a good old shopping spree.
I sat there in the airport doing battle in my mind. It was my desire that God be glorified through my experience. I wanted a God-story for the women of Higher Ground and for Victory Call. I could take any number of ways out, all of which would strengthen my anxiety and stronghold. The only way to overcome the fear in this area of my life was to face it, smother it with faith and wait upon God.
I knew that every time I face life's difficulties, trust God and walk in obedience, I remove a brick from that wall that surrounds my heart and mind keeping me in bondage. Yes, it may only be one brick but it is one less brick and not one more. Every choice, every step, every decision, is either a step towards victory or a step away from victory. There are no neutral steps. I was ready to take a step towards victory.

Did God show up? Find out tomorrow.

Victory is one decision at a time.


Monday, November 07, 2005

An anxious heart ...

A few months ago, I was required to do some traveling for America's KESWICK. This traveling required that I fly to the west coast.
Since I was 19, when I had a panic attack on a flight to Atlanta with my sister, every flight I have taken has stirred up anxiety. I'm not talking about a little nervousness, I'm talking anxiety and sometimes anxiety attacks. From the moment we made the flight reservations out west, the anxiety started to creep in around the periphery of my mind.
During my daily Bible reading, God began to speak to my heart. I found it very interesting the number of "peace" verses I came upon during the ten days that led up to my flight. I wrote them down in a journal and purposed to take them to heart. I would review them at various times during my day. I tried to faithfully practice what they taught. Every time my mind would start to wander into dangerous territory, I would purpose to bring it back to truth, to scripture and to God's faithfulness. However, this story has much less to do with me than it does with God.
Philippians 4:6-8, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God' and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." This was among my favorites because it reminded me that the cure for anxiety included prayer and thanksgiving. I spent the better part of those ten day praying and thanking God. Practicing the truth of the Scripture, consistently brought peace to my heart. Scripture calls for action. "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only..." James 1:22
The day finally came for our flight out west. There was much confusion and stress at the airport simply because of the masses of people. I could feel the anxiety rising in the pit of my stomach. A part of me FELT like I was ready to do battle with this stronghold once and for all; but there was also a part of me that FELT like I was not up to the task. As we approached the security check point the feeling that "I just could not do it" was battling for control of my mind. I turned to my husband and said through my tears, "I just want to be free!"
Well, it looks like I'm out of time for today. Tune in tomorrow for the next segment of my faith in flying saga.

Until then, remember God's word speaks to specific issues of our heart and life.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Doing Nothing...Doing Everything

I heard a great story from a friend recently, she was telling me about some missionaries who were going to China and were advised to get some shots to prevent dysentery and some other awful illnesses they could get while there. These shots are not widely available, but someone had referred them to a local doctor who dealt with this regularly and could give the shots. The missionaries refused to get them because they felt God would protect them from any illnesses if He was sending them there in the first place to minister. Unfortunately, they missed the fact that God was protecting them right here by sending them to this doctor so they could get the shots needed and not be ill while over there.
`Now I know that the Lord could certainly protect someone from being ill, shot or no shot. But I think we can sometimes be extreme either way. It made me think of the story in John 9 where Jesus heals the man born blind. The verses read in John 9: 6-7: "When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing." God could have spoken a word or even without a word, healed this man, but He chose to use the clay and saliva and then had this man go and do something himself, wash his eyes. Why? It sure seems a whole lot easier to me if God would just have said; "You're well". But He didn't.
Many times I have seen the Lord take care of something in a moment while at other times it has been a process. There have been times when I haven't felt well and have prayed and the Lord has made me well on that alone. There have also been times when I haven't been well and prayed and the Lord gave rest and the blessing of good friends, medical attention, godly counseling or medication. Either way He gets the much due credit for the healing process.
I think in a fallen world of sickness and quick fixes, we need to pray for the discernment to make wise choices. I don't pretend to know His reasons. Truthfully, I really don't need to know. But I do need to trust Him.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

I love You too!

We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

While I was preparing a series of messages for a weekend women's retreat on "Our Heavenly Husband," I was becoming more and more aware of ways that God is intimately involved in our lives. On a daily basis God gives us little gifts to express His love for us. So often we are so caught up in the details of life, car pooling, deadlines, homework, preparing dinner, packing lunches, running to the post office, babysitting our grandchildren, etc. that we don't see the gifts our Heavenly Husband leaves throughout our day.
Imagine leaving gifts throughout your home for your husband or child in places they will be during the course of their day. A note in their backpack or briefcase, a chocolate on their pillow, a nice pen on their desk, etc. but they never seem to notice. I think you would be, as I would be, disappointed. Isn't that exactly what we do to God?
I want to stretch our thinking just a bit this morning. What is our normal response to someone who says "I love you"? Typically, we would respond, "I love you too." I think there are multiple times throughout our day that God is saying, "I love you" which we do not seem to notice. For instance, how do we acknowledge the precious gifts from God, our Heavenly Husband when we are struck by the beauty of the morning sky, the softness of a cuddly baby, colorful fall leaves, the mist of the ocean waves or beautiful music that moves our spirit? We could say, "Thank You, Lord" or we could say, "I love You, too Lord". By responding with the latter, we remind ourselves that those gifts from God are one of His ways of saying, "I love you."

Open your eyes to God's precious love-gifts to you each day and remember to respond, "I love You too Lord."


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

"The Lord is good and does what is good" Psalm 119:68

At first glance this may seem like a no-brainer. Of Course God is good, and if He is good, then what He does is good. But doesn't God do everything? Doesn't everything that happens happen by God's sovereign will? Well, if it does, than according to this verse, it is good.
What is sovereignty? John Piper's definition is: "God is in ultimate control of the world, from the largest international intrigue, to the smallest bird-fall in the forest." The Bible says, "I am God and there is no counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose." (Isaiah 46:9-10)
George Mueller was a godly man who is well remembered for his work with orphans in London over 150 years ago. George's wife became very ill and.George prayed "if it may be, raise up yet again my precious wife, and Thou are able to do it, though she is so ill, but howsoever Thou dealest with me, only help me to continue to be perfectly satisfied with Thy Holy will." Soon after, George's wife died, and George spoke at her funeral saying " ....I kiss continually the hand that has afflicted me...without an effort my inmost soul habitually joys in the joy of that loved departed one. Her happiness gives joy to me. My dear daughter and I would not have her back, were it possibly to produce it by the turn of a hand. God himself has done it, we are satisfied with him." What a faith this man had!
Oh that we may with him say in all circumstances, with a faith and a love for God, and His sovereignty, "The Lord is good, and does Good." And not only that we would believe God's goodness in all He does, in life and death, in pain, and suffering, in joy and in sorrow, but that we would have the joy God desires for us no matter what our lives have in store, and that we might live out the truth that "God is good, and does good"


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"BAMS" of Life

Have you had a "bam" (trial) occur in your life recently.....i.e. a devesting illness of a spouse, a child, a loved one or even yourself; a financial loss; a loss of employment and relocation of residence? When any of these happen it is like "bam".

God allows these "bams" to show us His faithfulness: "Faithful is He that
calleth you Who also will do it" I Thess. 5:24; His strength: Phil. 4:13 "I
can do all things through Christ that strengthens me;" His power and grace:
2 Cor. 12:9 "...He has said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my
power is perfected in weakness"; His help and comfort,: Ps. 86:15
...Because Thou O Lord has helped me and comforted me.

God desires that we draw very close to Him through the reading of His Word
and obedience to it during these difficult "bams".

Whatever the "bam" you are going through I Peter 5:7 "Casting
all your cares (anxieties) on Him for He cares for you." And He reassures us
in Heb. 13:5
".....I will never leave (desert) you nor will I ever forsake you.

All Things Work Together

"We know that all things work together,"
For them that love Him--trust Him--pray

"All things, --the smallest and the greatest--
The plainest threads--
The dullest patches--
Complete the pattern He has planned--
We know, not now--but
We shall perceive and

Author unknown


Monday, October 31, 2005

More than conquerors

Romans 8:37, "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

Is there an area of your life that you have struggled with far too long? Perhaps even since childhood? Do you find yourself falling in the same area over and over? Maybe you are even too embarrassed to approach the Throne AGAIN to ask forgiveness. I've heard it many times; in fact, I've even felt the same myself. Yet when I sought the face of God anyway, God met me there and didn't frown, or chastise me. He forgave me.
I want to talk about those stubborn areas of your life where perhaps you even feel hopeless that things will ever change. You have been this way sooooo long but see not change, as hard as you try. Well, let me share a word of encouragement from Beth Moore's book, Praying God's Prayer:
"The enemy taunts us with whispers like, 'You'll never be free. You've tried a hundred times. You go back every time. You're hopeless. You're weak. You're a failure. You don't have what it takes.' Every one of these statements about you is a lie if you are a believer in Christ. You do have what it takes. You have Jesus - the Way, the truth, and the Life. But you can't just believe in Him to be free from your stronghold. You must believe Him. Believe He can do what He says He can do. Believe you can do what He says you can do. Believe He is who He says He is. And believe you are who He says you are" (pg. 35).

Have you heard those whispers lately? It's time to see those lies for what they are and to choose to BELIEVE GOD. You can overcome and have glorious visible victory!


Friday, October 28, 2005

strength, for life!

Before leaving for vacation, I had all my prescriptions filled. I have quite a few and they each meet a need for my physical problems: for strength, for life! As I looked at the containers of my medicines, I noticed they recorded many things. There was the phone number for the pharmacy which I called to order the prescription. My name was recorded, then the name of the medication. The doctor's name was on the label with the special instructions for me to follow.
If I made my own choice of what and when to take the medicines, I could lose my strength or even my life. I need to trust in the doctor and the pharmacist. The cost was great! I read, too, that a certain medicine was a "substitute" brand for the "real" medicine. Also recorded on the bottle is the original date I received the prescription.
As I continued to pack, I was reminded of something else I needed to take along - my Bible! God has written this, and in it He gives me His directions for life. Like Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord...and He will direct my path."
We need to call on the Lord; His is always there for us. He hears and answers our prayers. As a child nine years old, I learned I needed Christ in my life. I prayed and called out to Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my heart. (John 3:16) He has given me instruction and direction in His Word.; and I need to follow them. If I choose to do things my own way, I fail. Joshua 24:15, "Choose this day whom you will serve."
Christ is more than a doctor; He is my Savior. There is no substitute! Christ died in my place. He recorded my name in Heaven back in 1942. Jesus wrote, "I am the way, the truth and the life." - John 14:6. I'm glad I didn't put off asking Him into my heart back then. I've had years of joy that have filled my life, years of reading His Word and praying. I've tried to heed His warnings and trust in Him. He has given me life - eternal life - and it's free!


Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Lord's Confidence

"The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them." Psalm 25:14

A few weeks ago at our Higher Ground meeting (our Monday night women's Bible study/support group) we were discussing the holiness of God. And one of the women raised here hand and said, "Some where in the Bible, I'm not sure where, it says God confides in those that fear Him." That sounded awfully familiar. Then it struck me. During our banquet season in September, Tom Paschke was the featured speaker. His theme was "My Life in a Box". I had an opportunity to hear Tom a couple of times and each time he referred to this verse. So when it was brought up at Higher Ground I went looking for Psalm 25:14. And there it was, "The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them."
Do you fear Him today? Can you imagine? The Lord of Hosts, Creator, King, Master, and sustainer of the universe, wants to confide in you. He wants to make His way known to you. Are you listening?
Psalm 25:4-5 makes a great prayer: "Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long."


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Wise as an OWL ? or a Christian?

Are you a Wise Christian? That might be a tough question to answer without knowing what I'm really asking. So, here are some statements about what makes up a Wise Christian.

1. A Wise Christian in one who is in the Pursuit of God: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Prov 9:10) What is more, I consider everything as a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...(Phil 3:8)

2. A Wise Christian is one who Applies God's Word in a living way: The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double -edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Heb. 4:12)

3. A Wise Christian knows the Importance of Prayer: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer...(1 Peter 3:12)

4. A Wise Christian Values Fellowship with Godly People: He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (Prov 13:20) Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up" (Ecc. 4:9-10)

5. A Wise Christian Shares the Word of God: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,... and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you... (Matt 28:19-20) That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes...(Romans 1:15-16).

So how are you doing on the wise scale? I know I fall short at times, however, I know we can all grow in wisdom and strength if you continue to pursue Godly wisdom.



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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Amongst the Stars

Isaiah 40:26, "Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing."

Have you ever taken a good look at the stars? I mean a really good look? Before we moved to the "city" we lived in a country-like setting where the stars were pretty visible at night. I remember stepping out on my back porch many evenings and gazing at the stars and saying either out loud or to myself, "Lord, if you can keep each of those stars in place, and call them all by name, you can surely handle my problems." A sense of comfort would wash over me.

Suffering often causes us to be very self-focused. What looms large in our thinking and vision is our problems which tend to captivate much of our attention and drain our mental and emotional energy. If our problems are looming large in our thinking, then God is not. If we are captivated by them, then we are not captivated by Jesus Christ. "Sinclair Ferguson stated, we should 'expend our energies, admiring, exploring, expositing, and extolling Jesus Christ."1 Jerry Bridges penned the following prayer in his book, The Joy of Fearing God: "Lord, fill my heart and mind with awe and adoration as I think upon your greatness." When we mediate on God's majesty and greatness, it tends to put our problems in perspective.

One way to meditate upon the greatness of God is to consider the heavens. Take time to pause and gaze upon the stars. You can only see a speck of what it out there. On a really clear night, the naked eye can see 1-3 thousand stars, more depending on what hemisphere you live in. Even in ideal conditions and location it is still less than ten thousand stars. Bridges asked an astrophysicist how many stars are in the universe and this was his response: "there are about one hundred billion galaxies, each one containing about one hundred billion stars." (pg. 56) That's a lot of stars - yet God created them, sustains them and calls them each by name. Do you think He can handle your problems?

1 Sinclair Ferguson quoted in The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney (pg.51)





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