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.


You have received this email either because you either subscribed via www.americaskeswick.org, or you filled out a subscription card at America's KESWICK to receive the daily Victory Call email.

You are subscribed to this list as ssutter.victorycall@blogger.com. If you do not want to continue your subscription, reply to victorycall-unsubscribe@lists.americaskeswick.org

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!


You have received this email either because you either subscribed via www.americaskeswick.org, or you filled out a subscription card at America's KESWICK to receive the daily Victory Call email.

You are subscribed to this list as ssutter.victorycall@blogger.com. If you do not want to continue your subscription, reply to victorycall-unsubscribe@lists.americaskeswick.org

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 other...my 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 today....as 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