Friday, December 29, 2006

To Little Letters

To Little Letters

To even the casual observer it's obvious to see that we live in a society that is running full speed ahead with the attitude and lifestyle of entitlement and excess. The fact that I know so few people who are not affected by it is indication of just how pervasive it is and how entrenched we -followers of the King of Kings- have become in it.
How did it happen? I know that none of us ever planned on it. So how did we become steeped in indulgence and excess? How did the practice of "No" slip away from us and when did it happen?
Two little letters: N.O! - So seemingly simple and yet so hard.

One area of my life where the lack of "No" is plain for anyone to see is in the area of food and the eating of it. Until recently I rarely if ever said no to myself. (Praise God for brand new days and brand new beginnings!)
Why has it been and why is it so difficult for me to say no when it comes to food? The simple basic truth is, "I love to eat." I love thinking about food; I love the planning and preparation of food; I love sitting down and eating food. There are times when I savor each and every morsel and there are other times that I am inhaling it for the simple yet momentary pleasure that it brings me.
Not to long ago my Mom and I were talking about how powerful the word "No" is on a personal and a spiritual level. She and my sister have slowly been exercising the power of those two little letters "N.O." The result for them is little by little they are experiencing a freedom from the tyranny of constant eating or over-eating (what the Bible calls gluttony). They are experiencing growth in their personal relationships with other people and they are experiencing closer walks with the Lord as there is less time spent on food and more time spent being in His presence.

There is a peaceful power that comes from saying "No". Just because I can does not mean that I should. I could easily list a hundred things that saying no to, would give me instant release and reason to praise God.
I believe there is a true freedom which comes from saying "No" to myself; my way' and what I want and saying "Yes" to God's way and what He wants.
It is true that God gave us our appetites and that He created everything good for us to joy in.

Dear ones, today is the day. Now is the time to enter fully into the joy of our salvation. Join me in saying no to whatever area of indulgence and excess we have allowed and saying yes to Our Heavenly Father and His perfect plan for us. Let's say "Yes, Lord Yes! We want You -time with You. In whatever way we can get it, as often as we can seek You and be satisfied.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sweet Spot

Sweet Spot

Proverbs 3:21-26 (NIV)
21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; 22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. 23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; 24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.

Sweet sleep, ah yes...who doesn't love a good night sleep. You know the kind I mean; you crawl under the soft familiar covers, lay your head down on your pillow, curl up and really appreciate your nice warm bed, just before you drift off to sleep and the next thing you know its morning. Most people have a place they have worn into their mattress where they find just the right spot to fall asleep. The Sweet Spot. My son and I like to watch TV together in his room and as I sit in the chair and he in his bed if a commercial comes on and he turns over into his "sweet spot" I know within a few minutes he's done for. There is just something about that spot! I'm so glad I could provide him with the comforts of home. But I am eternally grateful I was able to provide him with the truth about the One who gives us sweet sleep...
I came to really appreciate the comforts of having my own bed when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and we watched so much suffering and discomfort. How much I take for granted, a nice warm bed. The same thing most of those who were affected had. One night it was there and the next gone. Maybe they slept on the roof or a boat, or a Red Cross cot among hundreds of strangers. Or worse yet, amongst the death, the stench and the destruction. Not at all able to really sleep. Where was that blessed sweet spot? Would they ever have those comforts again? A new bed may be the easiest thing to regain in time. But the peace of sweet sleep only the Lord can restore. His word says; preserve sound judgment and discernment, they will be life and grace to us and we will go about in safety and not stumble, when we lie down we will not be afraid, the Lord will be our confidence. The Lord, not a bed, not warm comfy sheets, not even a house. The night I came to Christ was the best night's sleep I ever had! Ever! HE was here! And HE was here forever! To be in His that's a sweet spot that can never be swept away.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Look out "I" am on a mission....

Look out "I" am on a mission....
Luke 12:35 (NIV)
"Be dressed ready for service...."

The other day I was walking into an area where I work and "I" was on a mission. Yes "I" had someone to see and something to do. In the mist of my mission, someone said hello to me and I responded back to them with a half-hearted hello.

When my mission was over, I was left with the feeling like they did not need me at all and I felt a little left out. As I walked back to my desk the light went off, "how did it feel when you were not included in something or someone rushed past me?" It made me stop and take a look how I rushed past a very pleasant hello from someone who was being so kind to me when I had my mission at hand to take care of.

What is so important that we can not stop and greet another person. You know if the Lord walked in a room we would all stop what we were doing and greet Him. If a person we admired really liked and or a person we would consider to be important - walked by I am sure we would stop.

If I am to commit each day to the Lord, and each and every minute I need to realize that He has planned my day including the things I might choose to rush past. These very things might be the things He wants me to do today. I need to be ready to serve or minister to whomever he sends my way.

A prayer for today could be... "Oh Lord help me to slow down and say hello to the special person you send my way today. Lord help me to serve you and remember that each day is yours and not mine." Lynn W
Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)"In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps."
2 Corinthians 9:12 (NIV)"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Crippled Children

Crippled Children

This Victory Call is born out of much recent sorrow in my life. I have two children -one daughter and one son. I love them both deep and strong. If I give in to the bigness of this love, I could easily be overwhelmed by it. There is nothing I am not willing to consider doing to protect my children from hurt, harm or anything I perceive to be bad. I would bleed and die for them if it meant they would be spared any form of yuckiness. I know I am not alone in this. Virtually every parent I know would bleed and die for every child she has given birth to.

What I am learning -in such a harsh way- is, to love a person to the extent that they don't ever feel pain; to guard and protect them from life to that degree is in essence, a sure way to cripple them.
I know what I am saying because I have done it. Being a wife and a mom was the best thing apart from my conversion experience that ever happened to me. All I wanted for all of us was happy, happy and happier. When sad or angry or any of the 'yucky feelings' family showed up, I went into shield mode and did everything I could to disallow them entrance.
If I saw sadness trying to get in and ruin the "happiness" I'd shoo sadness away with distraction; any silliness I could think of to get a giggle or a laugh. If anger raised its ugly head I'd fight it with words of reason so that it never found a comfortable place to reside. The result is an adult child so unacquainted with dealing with her own feelings that as an adult, when the feelings come, she has no clue what to do with them. Rather than feel she runs to escape. Not realizing that the best thing to do (which I have learned) is to allow them; to face them, to take them to the healing place found at the foot of the Cross.
Dear one, am I speaking to you?
No matter what we do, life happens and it sometimes, often happens hard...very hard. And with no warning at all the flood gates of feeling come rushing in to literally overwhelm and crush.

What are we to do? How do we redeem the true, the right, the honorable and good, from what remains after the flood?
There is only one answer: Jesus. We must run first to the safety found only in the Father's arms and cry out for mercy and help. Admit that we have no control; we can't prevent another human being from feeling what they must feel. To do so is to hinder them from living fully and experiencing all of life -the good and the bad.

The next thing we must never, ever tire of doing is praying for and waiting for wisdom and discernment. It is literally a moment-by-moment process...process...process.

My heart aches today as I watch this one running full speed toward potential harm. Everything in me wants to tie an anchor around her and keep her out of harms way. And yet, I am convicted to see all my doing, doing, doing as a hindrance and not a help. What is mine to do is pray, pray and pray some more. How long? Until something happens.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Passion Fruit.....

Passion Fruit.....

Isaiah 61:10 (NLT)
"I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God!"
I have been in a sales position for many years now. It all started with me working for a tour company selling packages to Europe, and than working as a Travel Agent and now working in sales at Keswick.

Many times my parents tell me I can sell anything. What happens is, I feel strongly about something and then it turns into a passion of mine and it just pours out. I really do get excited about what I am doing and I guess it rubs off on people.

When I was teaching for a while, I would come into class sooo excited about the new lesson or project I had for my students and they would ask me if I stayed up all night planning this event. They thought I was crazy for being so excited about school work. But I loved what I was doing!

What are you passionate about? Now I know not everyone is a sales person and we all do not have the passionate drive about the same things. Ask me about my kids, my husband or my home and I could go on for hours. I would end up getting so excited that you would probably walk away and tell me that I am a little nuts!

If someone were to ask me about the Lord would I be so excited? When people see me walking, talking and interacting with others can they see the passion for my Lord? I need to ask all of us this question. What are we passionate about? Can people see the passion fruit growing on our lives?

The Bible tells us to be overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God, excited, passionate are part of this too.

If someone met you today, would they see passion, deep rooted love, excitement in your life and would your life show the passion fruit that we are to bear? No time for gloomy faces and gloomy lives....we need to be exited about our Lord for the days are numbered.

Lynn W

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Creaking and Groaning

Creaking and Groaning

"In order for God to take you to another place, He must first move you from where you are. The move often seems like a disaster, but it is only the creaking and groaning of a reluctant door." (Author Unknown)

Yesterday I was talking to my beautiful mother (the queen) and she referenced the above quote. She and I were talking about my apparent emotional struggle over my son leaving and going to Marine Corp Boot Camp. This is a huge thing for me and I aint doing well at all. Am I resting in the goodness and kindness of God? Absolutely! Does my heart still ache? You betcha!!

So as I ponder the above quote I can't help but wonder about the place God is going to take me. What will it be like in my son's absence for this mamma? Will I go from where I am willingly or will I go kicking and screaming? For me, I think it's like the creaking and groaning of a reluctant door as it is ever so slowly opened. It makes a lot of noise in the process but it nevertheless reveals what lies beyond and...perhaps there is an invitation to come in and set a spell.

Isn't that what the Father would want; that in the midst of all the creaking and groaning within our hearts and souls, we would dare to come in and rest in His Presence, allowing Him to be the salve that we apply to our wounds.

Oh dear one, agree with me that we will be ceaseless in our pursuit of Father. May we not be content with any earthly thing and endure the nights weeping...hoping and believe that joy -His Joy- does indeed come in the morning.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Letting Go

Letting Go
Sometimes we think that letting go means that we have to cease to love or care about the ones we have been holding on to or trying to "help." Back in the mid 1990's I had to let go and let God take care of my drug addicted sons. Letting go was a long process and one of the hardest things I had ever done. But I never stopped caring or loving them. I had discovered through the Word that my sons had only been on loan to me and I needed to let them go back into the arms of their heavenly Father. Ps. 24:1 says "The earth is the Lords and everything in it, the world and all who live in it." Mommy's always think they can kiss the boo-boo and make it go away...fix anything. I came to understand only God can do that. I may not be able to "fix" those I love, but I still have something important to do.
In Genesis is the story of Abraham and Sarah. I'm sure that you are familiar with their story. Abraham and Sarah were an elderly childless couple...he was 86 and she 77. God spoke to Abram, as he was known then, in chapter 15:4 and promised him more descendants than there were stars. That's some promise to an old man and woman well past childbearing years! Abram believed and let go. Sarah, who was known as Sarai at the time, couldn't let go. She had a little trouble believing God and thought she could help God along in this impossible task.
Sarai had Abram sleep with her maidservant so he could have the family that God promised. Well of course that didn't turn out very well. The Egyptian maidservant Hagar became pregnant and started to despise Sarai. Sarai began to mistreat Hagar, and so she ran away.
Hagar didn't get very far when the Lord intervened. (Gen. 16:7-16) Hagar was pregnant, scared and running away and the voice of the Lord spoke to her. He told her to go back.....He promised her that her descendants would be too numerous to count. God had heard her cry. She was to have a son and name him Ishmael. This would sooth her heart a bit, but then God gave her some bad news. Ishmael was going to be a wild guy, a bully with a chip on his shoulder, ready to fight everyone. He wasn't even going to live in harmony with his family. I think Hagar stopped listening after "the Lord has heard your misery". So Hagar went back.
Abram heard God's promise for Ishmael. He let go, but continued to pray for his son. (Gen: 17:15-21) Then 13 years later, God said to Abraham "And as for Ishmael, I HAVE HEARD YOU. I will surely bless him." Thirteen years after his birth and Abram had been praying all this time! God heard and He answered!
We're not to "let go and forget" but, let go and let God. We still have something to do and that is pray without ceasing and surrender our will and loved ones to the Lord. God alone has the power to change. There is such freedom in that! We lay our loved ones at the cross, love them and never stop praying for them.
There is a song by Carrie Underwood titled "Jesus Take the Wheel" that I just love. It's a good reminder for me that I must give the wheel to Jesus because it's the only hope for change.
Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go...
Jesus take the wheel.
Never stop doing your part, keep praying but make sure Jesus is the one at the wheel!

Mary Ann

Monday, December 18, 2006

They heard...they saw and I was remembered for __________?

They heard...they saw and I was remembered for __________?

I am learning more and more that people are watching everything I do. Why
should I be surprised, I do the same thing to them? My husband and I love
to sit in the mall with a cup of coffee and enjoy the sights or I mean the

A year or so ago I was at a garage sale miles from my home town and church.
I was calling to my husband to come and look at some goodies when all of a
sudden a voice came from the other side of the table, and said "I know you".
Of course that day I was dressed in my cleaning cloths and my hair and make
up was not the best. When I looked up I really had no idea who she really
was so I needed to ask. Her response to me was "I never would have
recognized you but your voice is what I remember." Interesting I thought.
She had come several times to a "Ladies Nite Out" at my church and heard me
speak there. She remembered my voice.

Oh, if I had been talking fresh to my husband or yelling at my kids in a way
that would not have been a good testimony, would my voice have touched her
ears again? She is not a believer so I invited her to come out again to our
ministry. May my voice always bring pleasant sounds to someone's ears.

Another time I was in the dining room where I work, and as usual lunch was
done and my coffee cup was crying out to be filled. Without thinking I
filled my husbands first and then mine, sat down, took creamers from the
bowl and sugar and past them to him first and then me. He is my first love
next to the Lord and I just look out for him and try to love him in even the
silly ways like this. One of our staff members came to me later and said
that she loves watching us in the dining room and elsewhere and she loves
the silly "Love Things" we do for each other.

Our life should be filled with Joy, Love, Friendship, and most of all the
Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 2:3 (New International Version)

"...He will teach us his ways,

so that we may walk in his paths."

Psalm 32:8 (New International Version)

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go..."

These are very two simple examples of how someone was watching me and
remembered me. My voice was remembered for the words I spoke and my actions
remembered for the love I shared.

What is someone seeing or hearing in you today?

Lynn W

Friday, December 15, 2006

Just Thinking...Life Changes

Just Thinking...Life Changes

In the past few weeks and months life has changed drastically and dramatically for quite a number of people around me. Just yesterday, in the late evening, someone who was near to me...but not necessarily close, has gone home to be with the Lord.

For the 'bride of His youth', life has changed. There are things that -for her- will simply be no more. Things like the sound of her groom calling out her name; his footsteps, his greeting at the end of a day; the warm kisses of his mouth; the sound of his voice seeking the Lord of behalf of others, etc., etc. I could go on and an. The point is, in a moment it's all changed; all different and it will never ever be the same.

This will be the second home going in recent months that has greatly impacted my heart. As a wife, I am more and more, mindful of so many little things that my husband and I take for granted in relation to each other. Good things that we share without much attention and notice of the details. I want to savor those moments so much more than I do. I want to be intentional about making time for those moments. It's a needful thing and I pray for the strength to make it happen.

When those dear to you pass from life to death, it has a way of forcing you to pause in the midst of your doing and think...about so many things. For one thing I am thinking of the importance of speaking much more kindness to all whom I say I care for and love. I'm thinking I will intentionally fuss less and bless more. I'm thinking about following my heart more honestly, being less focused on pleasing people and more focused on pleasing God. I'm thinking of the cost paid for my freedom on earth and in heaven. As a result, there is more singing, praising and the offering of the very middle of much sadness.

I've also been thinking about going deeper; drawing nearer to those who are dear to me...while I can. Time passes and life changes so quickly. In a brief moment those mentioned above, were here in the present and then poof...gone into eternity.

So dear ones, my prayer for each of you today, is that God would speak to each individual heart and show you the people you need to go to. The loved ones you've been meaning to talk to and see, but have just been too busy. Get to it! Go and tell them or better yet show them by being there that they really do matter. Wrap your arms about them and speak a good word in their ear. And if you need to say I'm sorry, do it.

Sisters, all too quickly time passes, life changes and without any notice we are staring at empty chairs and aware of empty spaces around us that someone we loved much, had once filled with their presence.

Let us today, choose to treasure the gifts we have been given by living The Gift today.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Heart Matters

The Heart Matters
I am writing this as my father-in-law (Pep) recovers from heart by-pass surgery. There is no greater time than when our heart is failing that we come to understand the "heart matters". Today we can live without many parts of our bodies, but we still cannot live for any length of time without a heart.
Pep was told that without surgery he would not live through the year ~ with surgery the doctor promised that if he did die this year it would not be of a heart attack - you need to understand that my father-in-law is ninety. None of us really have any promise about tomorrow.
No matter how old we are the "heart matters". God calls us to care of our "hearts". I want to name three types of hearts we have according to the Bible.
1. Physical: Jeremiah 33:6, 30:17, 3 John 1:2
2. Emotional: Psalms 42:5, John 14:1
3. Spiritual: Eph. 3:17
We also have choices about how we are to treat each of our hearts.
1. We need to eat healthy and exercise to keep our physical hearts healthy.
2. We need to turn our worries, concerns, hurts, pains, etc... over to God to heal our hearts emotionally.
3. We need to turn our hearts over to God for salvation and the hope for a future in heaven.
Bill and I were assured that Pep's heart belonged to God spiritually before he went in to have it mended physically. Because of that we could wait through the surgery knowing we would see him in heaven if the surgery was unsuccessful. PTL with much prayer Pep Jahns will be here on earth with us for awhile more. His focus for some time to come will be on strengthening his physical and spiritual heart.
What areas of your heart do you need to deal with? Do you have a loved one that you don't know the condition of their spiritual heart?
The heart matters... I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Let's take a walk...and not run.

Let's take a walk...and not run.

Is your daily life full these days, days filled with run, run, run? Let us not forget all the advantages we now have to help us have more time (or so they say). A cell phone, house phone, car phone, laptop, desktop, hand held computers, Blackberry, a day timer and the list on and on. Stop...they said this would help me organize my life. They said it would help me have more time. Do you feel like you are always running these days (and not in terms of exercise)? Do you need to stop and slow down and walk? The Bible shares many verses with us about walking.

The bible tells us to walk!!
Deuteronomy 5:33 (NIV)
"Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you..."
Psalm 119:3 (NIV)
"...they walk in his ways".
Psalm 128:1 (NIV)
"Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways."

In different devotions lately I keep reading about slowing down, life is sooo busy. My director just wrote a Freedom Fighter devotion. It was about his life being soooo crazy, that he was snapping at his loved ones and he needed to slow down.
Recently, I watched 2 programs that paired up to this. The first story was about a father named John going to his class reunion. He was feeling distressed about this since he felt that his life did not measure up to his classmates. He lived a simple life, he loved his wife and 7 kids, brought them up to go to church. They lived on a farm and did not have much money but were known as a family who was always there for anyone that needed help. At the end at the class reunion they lifted him up in a speech. His one classmate said that he was always running to catch up to him (referring to running to keep up with his achievements) and always still seemed to be behind him. Yet when he looked at John somehow he was always walking and not running to reach his goal. The comment was made "I guess he knew that walking was the secret". He somehow knew early on that to achieve something he needed to keep walking and not running.

Another movie I recently watched was about a woman who was a "career women". In the beginning of the movie she was walking as fast as everyone else in NYC, almost running down the streets. During the movie she learned to walk slower, her life changed because a child was placed in her life. In the end of the day she was walking her daughter in the carriage on the streets of NYC she decided to catch up to everyone else - who seemed to be running. In the process of this she realized that when she walked she was much happier than when she was running with everyone else.

Our life was given to us by our Lord to be enjoyed. If we are always running around we miss out on a lot. Show down and take a walk today and enjoy all the wonderful things that God has placed in our lives.

Lynn W

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Just Thinking...Life Changes

Just Thinking...Life Changes

In the past few weeks and months life has changed drastically and dramatically for quite a number of people around me. Just yesterday, in the late evening, someone who was near to me...but not necessarily close, has gone home to be with the Lord.

For the bride of His youth life has changed. There are things that -for her- will simply be no more. Things like the sound of her groom calling out her name; his footsteps, his greeting at the end of a day; the warm kisses of his mouth; the sound of his voice seeking the Lord of behalf of others, etc., etc. I could go on and an. The point is, in a moment it's all changed; all different and it will never ever be the same.

This will be the second home going in recent months that has greatly impacted my heart. As a wife, I am more and more, mindful of so many little things that my husband and I take for granted in relation to each other. Good things that we share without much attention and notice of the details. I want to savor those moments so much more than I do. I want to be intentional about making time for those moments. It's a needful thing and I pray for the strength to make it happen.

When those dear to you pass from life to death, it has a way of forcing you to pause in the midst of your doing and think...about so many things. For one thing I am thinking of the importance of speaking much more kindness to all whom I say I care for and love. I'm thinking I will intentionally fuss less and bless more. I'm thinking about following my heart more honestly, being less focused on pleasing people and more focused on pleasing God. I'm thinking of the cost paid for my freedom on earth and in heaven. As a result, there is more singing, praising and the offering of the very middle of much sadness.

I've also been thinking about going deeper; drawing nearer to those who are dear to me...while I can. Time passes and life changes so quickly. In a brief moment those mentioned above, were here in the present and then poof...gone into eternity.

So dear ones, my prayer for each of you today, is that God would speak to each individual heart and show you the people you need to go to. The loved ones you've been meaning to talk to and see, but have just been too busy. Get to it! Go and tell them or better yet show them by being there that they really do matter. Wrap your arms about them and speak a good word in their ear. And if you need to say I'm sorry, do it.

Sisters, all too quickly time passes, life changes and without any notice we are staring at empty chairs and aware of empty spaces around us that someone we loved much, had once filled with their presence.

Let us today, choose to treasure the gifts we have been given by living The Gift today.


Friday, December 08, 2006

The Faces of Fear

The Faces of Fear
Judges 7

In Judges 7 we see God preparing to lead His people against the Midianites. Here Gideon is the man chosen to lead the people and God does some amazing things prior to sending them into battle. What I see in this passage is the faces of fear and how fear moves us in various ways.

First, Fear Freezes: In verse 3, Gideon goes and tells the people what they are up against and proclaims "Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from the mount". Fear Freezes us from moving forward, from taking action and it keeps us from believing that God can do the impossible.

Next, Fear Faces: We see this in verses 10-11; "But it thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host..." God is saying OK, you are fearful, but if you go with others you will be able to face the battle. See, with God and others supporting us, we can face anything.

Fear also Flees: When it came time to fight the Midianites were strong and fearless, because of that God gave them the victory. Here no matter how strong the enemy they will turn and run in fear when we face our battles with God. "And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran, and cried, and fled." (vs. 21)

Best of all Fear Frees: How did God bring about the victory? They took their fear and placed it on the Word of God. We see them in verses 18 and 20 claim the sword of the Lord as their battle weapon. When we stand with God and know His Word, claim His promises we will be freed from our enemy. "Freedom (Victory) depends not on strength or numbers, but on obedience and commitment to Him" (Life Application Bible).

We all have fear at some point in our lives... how do you do fear? Do you face it with God to find Freedom? Or, does your fear freeze you from moving forward and in the end you flee? God always brings victory into our lives when we stand with Him and let Him lead our battles. Remember the Battle belongs to the Lord!


Thursday, December 07, 2006 we have enough Meatballs? we have enough Meatballs?

Funny thing happened tonight. Well I came to work thinking that it would be a normal night ... HA HA!! And as you can tell it soon became a little interesting. Oh the lessons we learn daily from the Lord.

Well a group came in tonight and as they headed in the Dining Room the Dining Room staff was not prepared for them to eat. Somehow we did not have them listed for dinner. We as a team hurried around to make sure tables were set, checked to see if we had enough food and all the rest of the necessary details.

After all was said and done the men were fed and happy and we had more food then we needed. Myself and our dining room hostess stood there and laughed. When she went back to confirm about the food (even though we did not have them listed for dinner) - somehow we ended up with more trays of food than planned.

Now how did that happen? As I stood there the thoughts in my head were..."We are in His service and these are His people and why would we think that He did not go before us and prepare what was needed". The Bible tells us in Psalms that He goes before us, behind us and all around us.

Oh what little faith we have. To think that we were worried about - "did we have enough meatballs"!!

This is just a funny reminder to all of us that the Lord tells us again and again that He will provide our needs in spite of our mistakes. Lynn W

Matthew 6:26 (NIV)
"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Lord Holds Me Together...

The Lord Holds Me Together...

I was at breakfast with a dear friend this morning and prior to our meal she prayed on my behalf and for the blessing of the food we were about to eat. In her prayer she sought the Lord's favor and sustaining grace by asking Him to continue to hold me together.
Those words, 'hold me together' affected my heart in a special way due to recent events in my life that have greatly impacted my heart and mind.

You see, I have been blessed with two children and two children are all I have. No more. No less. One of those two -my first born- and only daughter, was almost lost to me in the late spring of this year and yet the Lord sovereignly chose to spare her life for His own purpose and good pleasure.

M second born -and only son- has decided to join the military. Not the Army, Air Force or Navy, but the Marine Corp. I can't begin to tell you in words how difficult it is to wrap my mind around that fact. I feel like my heart is being ripped out and scattered into the wind.

That is why my friends' spoken prayer was so sweet to me. God knows how fragmented and scattered I am feeling in most hours of every day that passes. With all my might I fight it and I am mostly losing. Were it not for Him, my LORD, my God, holding me together I would literally come undone.

With a new perspective now, I am capable of understanding why we go fetal in times of sadness and distress. It's as if the very act of curling up and going inward somehow enables us to feel safe, telling ourselves, "If I can just hold on, if I can roll up inside and push all the yuck out, I can make it through the next minute, hour, day until the better that is on the other side."

Dear ones, what can I say to encourage your hearts today? I only have one message and one hope. There is only One True Thing that sustains us and keeps us. It is Him, the One, the Only, Son of God and Son of Man JESUS. His breath, His sustenance -the blood- allows us to hope above and beyond any thinkable, doable hoping of our own and grab the hand of Hope Himself.

So, if you are in the middle of your own curling up and inward, I beg you to change positions. You can roll over on your back and stretch your arms out and upward to Abba Father, asking Him to hold you. Remember when you were a child and you had a booboo? All you wanted was to get to the place of comfort - Mommy or Daddy- and be safe in their strong comforting arms.

May it be so for you today; and if you can't manage to fully turn over, then release an arm and reach toward heaven, toward Father; who is well acquainted with your grief and your sorrow. Give Him your aching, breaking heart. Trust Him to mend and restore all the broken pieces, piece by delicate piece, one moment at a time.

Remember, He, the Lord, is your Shepherd; He makes a place for you to lie down, He leads you beside the still waters; though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with you. (Psalms 23)

Look back in time and see the Hand of the Lord upholding you and praise Him because of Who He Is.
Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of your wings, I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You. Your right hand upholds me.
-- Psalms 63:7-9

Dear ones gather yourselves and stand firm. Be assured that He -the Mighty One of Israel- is holding you together.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm Afraid

I'm Afraid

Most little children have fears of one kind or another. Fear of the dark, of loud noise, or being left alone... just to name a few. When I was a child I was terrified of the dark. I thought for sure there was someone peering in my windows, someone under my bed or in my closet. I did NOT like bed time. I would beg my exhausted Momma, "I'm afraid, please sleep with me." She had worked all day and she desperately needed her sleep and if she was in bed with me, she wouldn't get the rest she needed. As a sleeping little girl I would toss and turn and thrash about in the bed. Yet, night after night she would climb in bed with me.
But, some how... when she was lying beside me, I was safe. There wasn't anyone under my bed, out the windows or in my closet. Just her presence next to me dispelled all my fears. I guess I thought no one would dare even think about coming near my room when Momma was on guard!
As adults we have fears too. They may not be childhood fears but they are still...just as real...just as scary and probably even more so. How will my mortgage get paid this month? Will the cancer go in remission? Will my spouse or my children ever get sober? Will my children come to the saving knowledge of Jesus as their Savior? Any of these sound familiar to you? This is just a grain of sand compared to the many different fears I'm sure you could add to this list. So what do we do? Where do we turn? Is there a place to go, someone we can turn get that same peace and comfort that I found as a child in the arms of my Momma?
Yes! Yes! Yes! Our God knows that His children have too many fears to count. His word is filled with references on that very subject. In Ps. 56:3-4, David is afraid and cries out to the Lord, "When I am afraid, I will trust in You; in God whose name I praise. In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?" Jesus comforts His disciples in John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
What great words of comfort these are to you and me. Although my Momma's presence dispelled my fears for a time, in reality if there was someone there under my bed, she might have fought like a wild bear but she couldn't have protected me against everything. She couldn't be with me all the time and she would eventually leave me alone in bed with my fears at 11 years old.
Jesus gives us more than the world or our Mommas' could ever possibly give us. He has given us His Holy Spirit that is always with us. Jesus gives us His peace and His presence. Dt. 31:8 "The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you, He will not leave you alone or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Are you afraid today? Will you turn to the world and its temporary comforts? Or will you reach for the One who is always with you. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, not only is He with you through all fears and trials, He will be there to take you to glory when God calls you home. Ps. 73:23-24, "I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory."
He is the Great Comforter, our Prince of Peace.

Mary Ann

Monday, December 04, 2006

God is still on the throne

There are times in life, in the ministry I am in, when it is easy to become overwhelmed with the evil in the world. I was speaking at a women's retreat in September, and several of the ladies and I were sitting around the breakfast table chatting. They were interested in the Colony of Mercy (the men's residential addiction program) and the proposed women's residential program. As conversation's have a way of doing we meandered through various topics until we got into a discussion about the prevalence and destruction of addiction. It seemed everyone at the table knew someone or knew of someone that was trapped in this ugly, devastating bondage. My own spirit grew heavy as we shared our thoughts about pornography, alcohol and drugs. The more we talked the more depleted I felt. More than once it caused me to call to mind and remind my breakfast companions that it is a good thing that God is still on the throne, high and lifted up, sovereign in the affairs of men and women. That morning, I probably needed that reminder more than anyone else at the table.
I am so glad I know Jesus Christ!!! I can't imagine going through the trials and difficulties of life without the hope that only God can give. People disappoint, children rebel, husbands leave, things cease, money comes and goes, and bills come. Sometimes life hurts.
Yet God never ceases to be involved in the affairs of men. He never abandons us (And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8). He is an ever present help in time of trouble (God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1). Our God reigns, forever. (Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11) I want to stand up and shout-Halleluiah. One day, everyone, every one, will bend their knee to Jesus Christ and acknowledge Him as Lord! One day, that smirk will be wiped off Satan's face!! One day we (God's children) will be free from the practice, power and presence of sin. One day, faith will become sight. Oh, how my heart sings.

I oft encourage my heart with these words:
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:13-14
Be reminded. Be encouraged.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Being a Woman of Influence Part V -

Being a Woman of Influence Part V -

Romans 12:11 (New International Version)
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord".
This week we have looked at a queen, a women leader, two sweet women and some no named where does that leave us?
Maybe after this week have you found yourself in one of these women. Maybe you really can not relate to any of them. Let me challenge you to study women of the Bible. I have enjoyed so much learning all about them. Many times in church we study the lives of biblical men but "woman to woman", we can learn a lot.
The whole point of this series is for us to stop and learn from some important times in history and from some important women. If the Lord has chosen to share the lives of these women in the Bible - there must be something for us to learn.
I shared with you earlier in the week that it only took one woman to take prayer out of school. Where were you when she was doing this? Why did you allow this? What could you have done to make a difference? Are you the one who will bring it back?
Our nation is loosing its freedom! Our nation is addicted to drugs, sex, money, things, food, lifestyle, "being #1" and so much more. If our focus is always on these things where does that leave us as a nation when the enemy moves in? Are you the one woman who can make a difference in one life so in turn they can change one life? It only needs to start with one woman. Can you save a Nation like Ester or Deborah?
I have a poem in my kitchen that says... "In a thousands years from now it will not matter how much money I have, what kind of car I drove and how many dishes I washed, but it will matter the time I spent in someone's life." WOW I need to read this every time I am washing the dishes and my four year old needs me to play with him or my seventeen year old need to talk. I need to make a difference in these two precious lives.
Ephesians 6:7 (New International Version)
"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men..."
I do not know what God has called you to do or what gifts he has given you. I know that many times I feel like what I have to offer is not enough. I feel that someone can do it better and probably has. Well this is all true, but God has called me to do certain tasks whether someone is better at it or not, it was ME He called!!
I trust our time together this week was an encouragement and that I have been able to be a woman of influence even in a small way to you. Remember that God loves you and will always be there with words of wisdom, encouragement, and instruction for when we need to refreshed. Maybe this poem will encourage your heart to serve him always. Lynn W
One Talent

I have no voice for singing;
I cannot make a speech;
I have no gift for music;
I know I cannot teach.
I am no good at leading;
I cannot "organize";
And anything I write
Would never win a prize.
But at roll call in the meetings
I always answer "Here".
When others are performing
I lend a Listening ear.
After the program's over
I praise its every part
My words are not to flatter
I mean them from the heart.
It seems my only talent
Is neither big nor rare:
Just to listen and encourage,
And to fill a vacant chair,
But all the gifted people
Could not so brightly shine
Were it not for those who use
A talent such a mine!

Christian Missions Press Inc.
Waynesboro, Georgia

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Being a Woman of Influence Part IV -

Being a Woman of Influence Part IV -
No Named Women of the Bible
They made a mark in History!
They touched a life!!

Redeeming the time .....because the days are evil.

"Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposely and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time (buying up each and every opportunity), because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16 Amplified Bible)

Nameless Bible Women - are you a nameless Woman?

There are so many important women in the Bible without a name - there does not seem to be a clear reason as to why.

Many women in the Bible left their impact upon history and played an important role in events; they were in influence and touched a life if not a nation.

Noah's Wife -
What a position she was in. To encourage her husband, keep her sons and daughters in-law motivated to build an ark during a time when they had never seen rain.

Wow no rain ever....what would we think if God asked us to build an ark or to support someone who is to build it because of the rain coming. Rain that wasn't even here yet or ever seen by any of us. Would we?

Noah's wife must have been a strong woman when you think how many years her husband was called to build this ark, never seeing rain and being surrounded by people that thought he was crazy and having to keep her man going to get the job done.

Job's Wife:
Unlike Noah's wife...Jobs wife, who in their traumatic times -told her husband to curse God, turn away and from him to kill himself. She allowed Satan to take over her will to continue. She stopped relying God.

Peters Wife:
From Paul we learn that Peter's wife accompanied her husband on some missionary journeys; caring for his many needs.

Peter is said to be an impulsive man, and had a tendency to quit when things went against him. Possibility coming home in a mood she would need to encourage him, caution him to go slowly, and to strive to rise above trials and disappointments.

In the end she was killed before her husband for what they stood for. and her husbands last words to her were.....Remember the Lord.

Is rain coming in your life, our homes our churches our nation, that we don't understand or have never seem before? Is God calling you to build an ark?

When times are going you want to turn your back on God and curse him? Or thank him for what is doing in your life.

If the Lord called us to accompany our husband on a journey would we willingly go? If and when the time came for us to go face to face with our enemy and our faith...would we cry out "Remember the Lord"?

Is God calling to you to be a no-named woman of influence? Could you be the no-named woman who could lead a new way and be an influence for God?

"So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants." (Ephesians 5:15-16 from the Message)

Lynn W

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Being a Woman of Influence Part III -

Being a Woman of Influence Part III -

Deuteronomy 10:12 (New International Version)
"... to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul..."

We have looked at 2 women so far that have been leaders both in very different ways. Both were chosen to do a particular task for the Lord and both had very different gifts to use. In the end they were both a very big influence to many lives.

We all have different roles and gifts given to us. Let us look at two wonderful ladies whose family was very special to the Lord.

Mary and Martha -

There home was a place where the Lord would come when he needed rest and friendship. Oh what a place to be in, to have my home a place that the Lord would want to come when he needed something. They were known in their community to be in good standing, their family was said to be a pillar.

I remember reading a track when I was younger; I think it was called "If Jesus came to your House". It was referring to what he would find there etc... If the door bell rang and the Lord was there, could you invite him in immediately or would you need to ask Him to wait until you move a few things around? Or could you welcome Jesus into your home as these two ladies did.

Are you a Mary or a Martha? Looking at both of these ladies, they both had certain gifts told to us in scripture. Mary preferred to sit before Jesus for spiritual instruction and Martha was usually busy supervising the hospitality of the home.

Martha was hospitable - the bible says "she received Jesus into her house"
Mary - the bible says "she was found at the feet of Jesus"

Romans 12:13 (New International Version - UK)
"Share with God's people who are in need."
Now these are both very important things that need to be done. We need a time of spiritual refreshment ( time with just me and the Lord), and we also need a practical time of getting our homes organized and set for the hospitality ministry that the Lord will bring to us.

Both sat before the Lord, but while Mary thought that listening was better Martha felt that feeding Jesus was as necessary as waiting upon His word.

So where am I going with all this...Some say Martha was too busy (yet she was serving in a more practical way) and some say Mary was sitting and learning for too long.

We can do both and need to do both....but remember not to be too busy and forget to sit at His feet and then again once you have sat at his feet and have been refreshed get up and start serving.
Psalm 37:5 (King James Version)
"Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."
Ok ladies today sit before the Lord and ask him to help you be a "Women of Influence" and then get up and serve for Him today.
Lynn W

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Being a Woman of Influence Part II -

Being a Woman of Influence Part II -

Judges 4 & 5... Deborah

Here are some questions for you to start with...

1. What are you excited about?
2. What is your purpose?
3. Do you make a difference in a life?
4. What is one thing that you have done in your life that will be remembered in eternity?
5. Are you leaving a legacy and if so about what?

Deborah was a true heroine for the Lord who can show many of us just how to answer the Lord's call on our lives. Careful attention to her story may challenge our assumptions about what and who we can be as women.

The Bible introduces Deborah as prophetess. None of the other judges bore such a title. The word proclaims that not only did Deborah hear the Lord as Judge but as Prophet too. We see in scripture that she was in the beginning a homemaker, then became a judge, a prophet and then a leader and finally song writer.

At first we see that Israel was in real trouble, and had been for twenty years. A leader was needed to inspire them to fight the enemy. There are interpretations in some commentaries that say God only used a woman because no one else was available. I find it difficult to believe that God could not rise up a single man capable of doing the job in twenty years time. He chose Deborah a woman!

Deborah saw the oppression of the Canaanites and the idolatry of Israel. Deborah became a leader once she was stirred up enough and lead the way for men to fight. She became a military dictator, directing the battle against King Jabin and winning it.

She acted when the Lord called; her authority came from the Lord. It does not mention that she sought her husband's permission first which can show us that we as an individual have a mission or a job to do based on our gifts that God has given us. Some insist that women must leave their ministries that they are in upon marriage but we can see that is not what the Lord instructed Deborah to do.

When they went to fight the enemy it was on the land near the river. The enemy went forward to fight the battle but did not look around at their surrounding first. The ground had been flooded prior and the enemy's wheels got stuck in the mud and the battle was WON! In the end Israel rejoiced at the victory.

(What an example for us.....have we looked at all that is around us before we make our move so our wheels don't get stuck in the mud and we loose the victory)

Above all of Deborah's remarkable gifts was her trust in God, which is ever the source of any woman's highest adornment.
Psalm 37:5 (King James Version)
"Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Ladies I bring to you this story of a strong Godly woman who made her mark in history for us to realize that as women we have a very important role. Is God calling you to take the lead? Are you a leader who needs to step up to the plate and start using your gifts and abilities for the Lord?
The Communists intend to promote chaos, confusion and conflict. They play upon the conflict of classes, races and of creeds. They seek to produce degeneracy and corruption until the people are ready for a change, regardless of what that change is. Any activity of the Communists which promotes the revolution is called a peaceful activity. Any activity of the free nations in resisting Communism is called a warlike activity. It is the Communist belief that if they can promote their program, a nation like America can fall like a ripe plum to Communism without warfare.
(Women who made Bible History - Harold J Ockenga pub 1964)

4 entries found for degeneracy.
de�gen�er�a�cy ( P ) Pronunciation Key (d-jnr--s)
n. pl. de�gen�er�a�cies
1. The process of degenerating.
2. The state of being degenerate.
3. Corrupt, vulgar, vicious behavior, especially sexual perversion.
4. Genetics. The presence in the genetic code of multiple condones for the same amino acid.
Times are changing and our Nation which is "free" is now under attack. We are being attacked by the enemy in more ways than one. As we read the quote above some attack by corrupt, vulgar, vicious behavior and sexual perversion. Our Nation is addicted to some of this - we don't even need their help in destroying us. We are doing this job all on our own.
We need "Women of God", we need to stand strong and firm and realize that we can attack our enemy. We can be women leaders in today's world and we can save our Nation.
Deborah was a great example to us all. Get moving and remember that our enemy is on the land and their wheels can easily get stuck in the mud. Ask God for the flood that is needed to make the difference. Get EXCITED, GET MOVING, TAKE LEADERSHIP, GET INTO SOMEONE'S LIFE, STAND FOR WHAT IS RIGHT and ask God to use you to change a life, a family and NATION.

Lynn W

Monday, November 27, 2006

Being a Woman of Influence Part I -

Being a Woman of Influence Part I -

I have been teaching at retreats and women's groups over the past 2 years on "Being a Woman of Influence". Recently I did a retreat on this subject and we reviewed some women of the Bible and the influence they had on history. For this week let us look together at women that God used in different ways and see what we can learn from them...I hope you enjoy!

Esther - a woman who saved a Nation!

Esther to me is truly a fascinating woman and was a chosen woman by the Lord.

A few quick notes about her life.

1. She was adopted by a foster father (her cousin).

2. She had a gift of beauty.

3. She was recognized by the King and he chose her as his new wife.

4. She took her place as Queen even though it was not her choice.

5. She was not ashamed of her own race - in the end she needed to stand up and admit who she was and where she came from. This helped her save her Nation.

6. She was a great leader and when decisions were needed to be made she was ready to do it.

Esther was placed at a very key time in history when her nation needed to be helped. Now we know that the Lord does not need our help to do anything but He chooses to use us and it is up to us to respond to his calling.
Esther 4:14 (New International Version)
"... And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
Many times we talk about the phrase 'for such a time as this". God called Esther and this was her time. I am intrigued by this phrase. To think that God has called each one of us to make a mark in History. God created each of us for His purpose and to help complete his work. How exciting to think that God wants to use me in a special way. WOW!
Ladies it only took this one woman to save a nation. It only took one woman to take prayer out of school. It takes only one woman to save or change a life.
We are in uncertain times as we all know. The Lord's return can come at any moment. Has and is God calling you to this point in time to save a life, a family, a NATION? Can you be the one to put pray back in school?
Remember it only took one woman!!! For such a time as this....Is this your time?
Lynn W.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Top of the Table Dealings...

Top of the Table Dealings...

Not a phrase I had ever heard before. Have you? Basically it's the reverse of a phrase we have all probably heard; "under the table." Let me be totally transparent, in the past, B.C., I have accepted payment for work without having paid taxes on it, let alone tithe, what was that? In my mind and in many minds the government got enough money in taxes. Everyone does it, if they don't they are the fools. That was my attitude. It was a wrong and sinful attitude to have and I was the fool. I have often been foolish with money and have literally paid the consequences.
As I said since I have come to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, I am learning to look at things in the light of His perspective. And now I have become well, let's say a little gun shy. I have a certain amount of money I am responsible to invest for my son's future. I have been tight fisted with it and fearful of investing and loosing it all. So what am I going to do with it? For a time I figuratively speaking, buried it in a hole for safe keeping and it made no interest. (Matthew 25:25, And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.) Then being the wildly wise investment guru that I am I put it in a savings account earning about a 1/2 percent interest. A short time after I had heard of something called I - Bonds and I invested it in that which offers a higher interest rate and short term lock down of the money. Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about? I don't. This is my child's money, it's not a lot and even if it gained a high amount of interest it's still by no means a fortune. But it is what his father and I are able to set aside for him and it should be invested wisely. I'd like all that I invest plus a good amount of interest to be there when I want to cash out. I don't want to invest one cent in anything like tobacco companies etc..., or to have a big tax burden on the end.
In my sluggish search for a good investment opportunity I was reading about one firm's principals and vision. The title of this devotional comes out of their literature and it is that kind of commitment to integrity that makes me feel a little more comfortable with investing.
Top of the table dealings for money I am entrusted with, that sounds like something God will bless. In fact, His word says that if we can be trusted with little we will be entrusted with much. I haven't always been able to be trusted with little and in turn had been given little. As it says in God's word, so it is; (Matthew 25:29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.) The Lord is teaching me His financial ways, I don't always get it right, but I want to get it right more often than not. How about you? How do you handle money?
Do you know what God's financial ways are? Do you want to know? Here is a place to start, Read: Matthew 25:14-29, Matthew 6:1-4 and 25-34, Proverbs 31:10-31.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pride. Humph.

Pride. Humph.
Ever get the feeling God's trying to tell you something?
In September, Dr. Dan Skogan spoke at our monthly Families For Christ ministry for married colony Couples. His topic was Pride and Humility. I wasn't in the room 15 minutes before I knew God was speaking to me.
Dr. Dan quickly got to a list of 12 manifestations of pride. I had 14 of them!!
Let me share these with you for your personal pondering:

Manifestations of Pride:
1. Complaining against or passing judgment on God (Rom 9:20)
2. A lack of gratitude (Matt 20:1-16)
3. Anger (Mark 14:4-5)
4. Seeing yourself as better than others (Luke 7:36-50)
5. Having an inflated view of your importance, gifts, and abilities (1 Cor 4:7)
6. Being focused on the lace of your gifts and abilities (1 Cor 12:14-25)
7. Perfectionism
8. Talking too much (Prov 10:19)
9. Talking too much about yourself (Prov 27:2)
10. Seeking independence or control (1 Cor 1:10-13)
11. Being consumed with what other people think (Gal 1:10)
12. Being devastated or angered by criticism (Prov 13:1)

Proud? Who me? Yes, me!

Dr. Skogan gave much food for thought and I will be using more of his materials, with permission, next month.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

No Big Deal

No Big Deal

I recently watched the film "Time Changer" and I haven't been able to stop thinking about its message. God's Word is Truth and we can't cut corners, or make compromises with the Word, or think that what is in the Word is old fashioned and out of date.
Why.... if God were to write a few more chapters today, He would have more knowledge of what "science" has discovered since the Bible was written or just been more update in His thinking. Divorce is okay not just in the case of adultery but...for mistakes, a change of mind or if times get too hard. Homosexuality isn't a sin; it's something you're born with, just another lifestyle. Addiction...what does God know about that? It's a disease, a genetic disorder. We evolved from apes. It's ignorant to think we began in the garden with Adam and Eve.
As a society we have bought into those lies and so many others. We have become friendly with the world. We have come to think that it's no big deal to compromise here or there. We never meant to stray this far from the Truth of the Bible, but we did. James 4:4 says "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Any one who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." Adulterous people. When we compromise His Holy Word or think we can be satisfied by something other than God, we are cheating on other words adulterers.
That is very serious. We are no different from the people of Israel before the exile, who began to slowly compromise their faith. Look how far they strayed. I'm sure they never thought they would have gone that far in sin and disobedience when they made their first compromise. James was warning the first century church that they were becoming a bit too friendly with the world. He called them adulterers too.
2 Peter 1:20-21 says, "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had is origin in the will of man but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." Do we believe His Holy Word? If we do then we know that everything we find in Scripture is God's Truth and nothing has caught Him by surprise. Not addiction, nor homosexuality nor any other lies of the world.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a friend of the world and in so doing become an enemy of God. It is a big deal when we compromise. We have the Truth, we needn't look to the world. We have all we need for living a victorious life and all we need to do is go to the source ...His Holy Scripture.

Mary Ann

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


It all started in Exodus when Moses asked the One in the burning bush, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.'" Exodus 3:13-14

Fast forward to the New Testament, when the I AM walked among us....

These are statements of who Jesus says He is...
I am the bread of life. John 6:48; I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." John 6:51

Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." John 8:58

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." John 9:5

Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. John 10:7; I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. John 10:14

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. John 11:25

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

TODAY: Worship the Great I AM.


Friday, November 17, 2006


In recent devotionals I have shared what I have learned about recognizing God's voice. I believe most people hear various "voices" or "thoughts in their heads. Sometimes we hear good, helpful voices. Other times the voices or thoughts are very discouraging and demeaning. I have found we are so strongly influenced by the negative voices that we begin to believe the worst thoughts about ourselves.
Before I wrote the book, I'm Listening, Lord, I asked God to give me thoughts that would help me teach others how to know the difference between God's voice and Satan's voice. Almost immediately I began to write down the thoughts I have been sharing with you. I have already elaborated on Christ Convicts/Satan Condemns; Christ Clarifies/Satan Confuses. Today I want to share the concept Christ Confirms/Satan Contradicts.

Christ confirms our ideas generally through Scripture. When my husband and I were considering joining Campus Crusade for Christ, Glen needed to know that God would take care of those who received Christ through the Four Spiritual Laws, Campus Crusade's evangelistic tract. As Glen was searching the Scripture for confirmation, God showed him John 15:16, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and your fruit should remain.

Glen could have made the decision to join staff just because I was nagging him, but instead he waited until he had received scriptural confirmation from God.

We have become so influenced by our societal standards that we forget to check and confirm our actions with Scripture. The Bible is very clear on its stance regarding marriage, divorce, fidelity, homosexuality, modesty, and most issues we are faced with today. Satan is the one who rearranges and tries to rewrite Scripture. He has been contradicting scripture since Eve. Read Genesis 3 to see how Satan managed to contradict God's word. To be able to check God's word before taking any action, it is, of course, best if we have become students of God's Word. However, a lack of knowledge of Scripture should never be an acceptable excuse. We can always check a good concordance or topical Bible to get God's perspective on the decisions we make.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed by his word by the signs that accompanied it (Mark 16:20).


Marilyn Heavilinsubscription, reply to

Thursday, November 16, 2006

We confessed our unbelief;

I have to smile. I have been hoping that God would give me ideas and experiences that would be appropriate to share in Victory Calls. And He did. God doesn't waste anything and doesn't seem to be interested in fluff. I have on occasion prayed and asked God to change me and use me that I may share life truths with other women on this journey. That's a nice way of saying I have been willing to be a guinea pig, a living example of God's hand at work. Of course, by God taking me up on that, I have experienced things that remind me that I am weak and that I am a sinner, and I have not arrived.
God had been working in my life for a few weeks, challenging me to pray in faith not in fear. I wasn't sure exactly what that looked like. I really wanted to pray in faith but I had nagging fears that captured my attentions and hindered me, sometimes. Perhaps it would make more sense if I explained it this way... There were times I would be praying about a situation but what I was picturing in my mind was not victory but defeat. I would finish my prayers having done what a 'good Christian' should do but none-the-less felt defeated. I could just sense God trying to reveal the unbelief in such prayers.
I was reading a book From Fear to Freedom by Rose Marie Miller when I was stopped in my tracks. Miller wrote: "We confessed our unbelief; that is, that we had been praying for Barbara with a negative image of her future, without praising God for Christ's power to change her. We confessed that our minds had been clouded with doubts." That's what I had been doing! Praying with unbelief! What could be more discouraging that to pray, not believing for victorious results? I was praying fearing the wiles of the enemy, rather than praying believing the surpassing power of God to transform and to grant victory.
Father, forgive me for my unbelief. Teach me to pray, believing.

How are your prayers?


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Delight in the Lord (Part Two)

Delight in the Lord (Part Two)

Earlier the same night that my husband was reading to me, I'd been to a meeting. The meeting opened with a song I'd only heard, in part, on the radio. (It's this song I'd listened to over and over again on the way to work that caused my heart to dance).

That night, as the song began to play my heart began to well up within me. Unlike David my worship took the form of tears, free flowing tears! The song wasn't even a little bit sad. However, something in the words struck a deep part of me, so much so that my soul responded. Just being in the room at that time was the culmination of something that only God Himself knew. He alone knows and knew how my heart longed to express and how I hadn't for such a very long time. The words were simple and yet powerful to me.

All Things Are Possible
(Australia Hillsongs)

"Almighty God
I lift You up
My hiding place
My safe refuge
No other name like Jesus
No power can stand against you.

My feet are planted on this rock
And I will not be shaken
My hope it comes from you alone
My Lord
And my salvation!

Your praise is always on my lips!
Your Word is living in my heart
And I will praise you with a new song
My soul will bless you, Lord

You fill my life with greater joy
Yes I delight myself in You
And I will praise You with a new song
My soul will bless You, Lord.

When I am weak You make me strong
When I am poor, You make me rich
For in the power of Your name
All things are possible!
All things are possible!
All things are possible!"

CCLI #1301252

I wish that I could share that song with all of you in person and we could have our own dance of worship, celebrating the God of our salvation, who has led us from victory to victory.

The songs tempo was happy, upbeat and so encouraging to my spirit that I asked to borrow it and that's how I wound up with it in my car, playing it over, over, over, over and over again. I couldn't help myself!! I wanted to experience the joy expressed in the song and each time I heard it was a delight!

My friends, today, whether it's in a recorded song or some other thing, find something to praise God for and then rejoice; worship with all that is presently in you.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Delight in the Lord (Part One)

Delight in the Lord (Part One)

A couple of nights ago my husband was reading to me from a daily devotional book by D.A. Carson, titled For the Love of God. The reading was for September 11th. In the devotion the author described David as "an intense man, exuberant in his pleasure, crushed in his discouragement, powerful in his leadership, unrestrained in his worship."

It was that last part which most captured my attention - "unrestrained in his worship". What does; what could that possibly look like? II Samuel 6:14 gives us a clear, unmistakable example of David's intense worship before the Lord. Verse 14a says, "and David danced before the Lord with all of his might. The verse finishes by saying, "David was wearing a linen ephod. An ephod? Now, I have to be honest and tell you, my first thought was one of David in his underwear. The image came from watching "David", the Hollywood produced movie wherein he is portrayed dancing through the streets in what looks look a loin other words, underwear.

Anyway, being ignorant of the word, I though it best that I at least look it up. Guess what, it isn't what I thought. The short definition - it's an apron, but not just your mama's old apron. This apron, according to Webster is "a richly embroidered apron-like vestment having two shoulder straps and ornamental attachments for securing the breastplate." When I looked it up on the internet I was impressed by how ornate it actually was. So, needless to say, David was dressed for the occasion and after closer investigation in scripture I believe he was more than appropriately dressed. He was after all celebrating God. (Sort of puts how we choose to dress for Sunday morning worship in a different light.)

So we know from this that not only did David dance with all his might, he did so in priestly garments. What is the chance that David was concerned about how he looked? To dance with all your might has to look a little bit crazy, but David didn't care one iota what any single, solitary, individual person thought of him. His love for God was huge, so huge that not even funny looks or potential murmurings of men deterred him from worshipping His God. At that moment worship was the only thing on his mind.
In David's mind and heart God was big and people were small. D.A. Carson pens it like this, "...he is so God-centered he cares very little about his persona."

I think it's safe to say that I am not like David. I tried to be the other day and I couldn't do it. I was too conscious of where I was and the fact that I might be seen.
All the way to work that day I was singing and praising God in my car. (Since I was driving I obviously was not able to dance.) But oh how I wanted to. I so much wanted to get out of my car and dance before the Lord. I thought to myself, "why don'tcha?" So, I decided I would do exactly that just as soon as I arrived at work. I drove on the grounds, clocked in, parked and got out intending to do just as I'd planned. The song was still playing and both my mind, heart and body were ready to go...but I didn't do it. I was after all here at work, and dancing isn't allowed, and someone might see me, blah, blah, blah. I chickened out! Nonetheless, my joy was still intact and I praised God in a different way.

What is the point of all this? My point, my hope is to encourage us to long for, and seek after God in such a way that we, like David can just as passionately abandon ourselves and worship God with all our might. No excuses.
Our worship may not look like David's and dear ones, that's 100% okay. Whatever it looks like will be and is as individual as we all are. Whatever it is; whatever the measure or intensity of your worship, do it!

Indwelling each of us is the Spirit of the same God that David's heart was after. Dare we be bold enough to take God at His Word and enter into worshipping Him, without a care of who sees or hears; without any concern over how we'll be judged or criticized?


Monday, November 13, 2006

What are you thinking?

What are you thinking?

Penny for your thoughts....Just think....I have been thinking...did you ever think about...what are you thinking about...what were you thinking?

We have a lot of ways of expressing the word thinking. Today I found myself in the middle of a few situations. Home had some things I needed to attend to. At the present I am at work with many things needing attention and I also had a few things that needed to be addressed with family and church. Not that anything was wrong, there was just a lot going on and somehow it all needed to be worked out. I needed to think.

In one of my favorite videos, a young British boy says... "I need to have me a bit of a think". This phrase described my day.

The web dictionary ( says the following about the word "think", along with much more.

to have a conscious mind, to some extent of reasoning, remembering experiences, making rational decisions, etc.
to employ one's mind rationally and objectively in evaluating or dealing with a given situation: Think carefully before you begin.

As I was having a bit of a think, I looked up and over my desk, and the following verses are in a picture frame and they helped me rethink how I needed to think.
Philippians 4:8-9 (New International Version)
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you".
Philippians 4:8-9 (Amplified Bible)
"For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
The dictionary can give us a definition but the Word of God gives us instruction. So the next time you stop to have a bit of a over these verses.
These verses tell us to think on these things, fix our minds on them. What are we to think on or fix our minds on? Things that are truth, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. What is this describing? The Lord is true, right, pure and praiseworthy. If our mind is fixed on Him first the rest of our thoughts can be filled by Him.
When you need to just think about things, remember to think of Him first and then ask Him to direct your thoughts.
Lynn W

Friday, November 10, 2006

Asphalt to Gold...

Asphalt to Gold...

Proverbs 16:9 (New International Version)
"In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps."
Proverbs 20:24 (New International Version)
"A man's steps are directed by the LORD..."

We just had one of our staff members pass on to his new home in HEAVEN. He was walking from one building at Keswick to another on the pavement of asphalt and before he hit the ground the next step he took was on the streets of gold. I wish I could have seen his face when he took that next step if for only a moment....just think in Glory in just one step.

Our staff is heavy-hearted at the loss but rejoicing for him. It is a hard day today coming to work feeling unable to focus, no one wants to really work and we feel displaced.

I decided to get up and walk over to the conference meeting that we were having today and get a little encouragement from there. It was perfect timing....they were singing "It is my Father's world". I sang as loud as I could and held on to the words and the voices around me.

As I left the building and walked down the pathway, I pictured that this was the same pathway that Dave probably took for his last step before stepping into glory. When I returned to my office his belongings that were left here at work were left in my office before they were to be returned home to his wife. I felt the need to touch them just for a moment and thank the Lord that Dave is home now.

I write this Victory Call in memory and Honor of a GREAT man. Dave was a true gentleman, kind, loving, caring and always willing to serve his God!

We write these Victory Calls to encourage each of you daily. Let me take this moment and ask you to follow me down the pathway from the Activity Center to Dave's office on the asphalt. If we were to walk together today and just like Dave step at a time and with the next step we took it was our time, would your next step be on gold or on hot coals of fire? Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Have you trusted Him and asked Him to be part of your life? Do you know that you will spend eternity in Heaven with the King of Kings? A saying I have heard lately is "Hell is a long time to be wrong".

I trust these verses will encourage you to be thankful for your salvation or tug at your heart to accept Jesus as your Savoir. Please let us know if you did ask Jesus in your heart today. I do not want to write these Victory Calls and assume that you all know Jesus as your Savior. He is real and He is alive and wants to be part of your life.

John 14:1-3 (King James Version)
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
Lynn W

Thursday, November 09, 2006

How do you have time for devotions and Bible study?

A frequently asked question by busy parents is "How do you have time for devotions and Bible study?" They continue by saying, "We are so busy raising our children, we seldom have time for Bible study." My response, "What you are doing is so important, you can't afford NOT to take time for Bible study. Raising your children is so important; the results will matter in eternity."
Parents today are being attacked by the world in such an overwhelming way that not being filled with God's Word will result in spiritual suicide and the demise of the American Christian family.
I was preparing for the birth of my third child before I was willing to commit to the Lord that I would spend time in God's Word every day. I saw that my time with God made a difference in how I related to my family. My kids benefited from the fact their mom had spent time with Jesus.
Spending time with God may mean you have to set your alarm for one-half hour earlier than your family gets up. Or you may need to spend time with God while the kids are taking a nap or on your break at work.
Purchase a good, practical devotional. I found Streams In the Desert to be my favorite. Go to a Christian bookstore and see what is available today. I also started using different versions of the One Year Bible. With this Bible, the portion of Scripture I read each day is already decided for me. I also like to write out a prayer each day. I call my daily writing A Letter to Jesus. I sign off my letter by saying, "I love You, Jesus." Then I listen as I hear Jesus say, "I love you, too, Marilyn." What a way to start the day!
Find a special spot to use each day for your time with God. Turn off the TV and let the answering machine take phone messages. Place a note pad next to you to write extraneous thoughts but things you need to remember later, such as Call Mary, pick up the cleaning, take cookies to school.
As a couple, you can determine to protect each other's time with God. You can agree to work with the children while your spouse has his or her devotions. Glen and I now live in a 35' motor home and private space is limited. I am generally the first one up. I get dressed, fix my coffee, and do my Bible reading. Glen has agreed not to get up until I am finished with my daily routine. Talk to your mate. Help each other find time with God.

"Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation" (Psalm 5:1-3, NIV).

Marilyn Heavilin

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Well and With Great Love

Well and With Great Love

Today I received an email forward. You know, one of those with a message at the end telling you to send it to 9, 10, and 11 etc., more people...or else. This particular one was about the patron saint of something that I almost didn't bother to read. But, since it was from my sister, I decided to give a quick read and embedded within, was the following nugget about saint whoever:

"She believed in doing the little things in life well and with great love."

What came to mind instantly were the number of times I've thought, said or heard statements that are focused on the big things of life. In fact, sometimes there is a sense or feeling of discouragement because you can't do or be something as well as another person can or does. Praise God that there are people born with or gifted with a boldness and a bigness in doing things. In fact, some of them couldn't do small if they tried. The job that they are given to do is all a part of the Masters plan and so are all the small parts!
God doesn't waste anything! Remember the parable of the talents? (You can read it in Matthew 25:14-28)

Anyway, if you ever find yourself minimizing some aspect of your life and ministry I want to encourage you to STOP IT! Take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. Period. Whatever your area of influence or ministry is, do it well and with great love. And lest we forget, let me remind you. We have a very real enemy who delights in hearing us waste God's time on such trivial thinking. Such thinking is self-serving and full of pride and it's also an opportunity for praising God for His Presence in our lives. For without Him we couldn't do even the little things.

So, what this sister of yours gleaned from the forwarded email was this. With great love, energy, enthusiasm and joy, I purpose, I vow to do everything; all those little things that make up my day, in a way that is well pleasing to the Lord.

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
Colossians 3:17

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ."
Colossians 3:23-24

Bottom line: Let's refuse to repeat the enemy's negative report and chose to be all we can be and are in Christ. We are after all made in His image and He didn't make a mistake when He gave us His work to accomplish for His glory...the big things and the small things.

This prayer was attached to the email I received. I share it with you for your own heart's sake.
"May today, there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the endless possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let His presence settle in your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love."

Monday, November 06, 2006

That was easy.....

That was easy.....
Most of the commercials on TV today are just as bad as the content of the programs they sponsor. But there are some I really enjoy and they make me laugh each time I see them. I really like the Staples commercials with the Easy Button. I'm sure most of you have seen them. All you have to do is press that Easy button and poof your needs are met! Well, now wouldn't it be nice to be able to have one of those?
As a counselor, bible teacher and mother there are many times when someone says that it's just too hard to hang in there, persevere, change, study and well, anything else that you can think of because the list is long. I know I've said it too, "Isn't there an easier way?"
There isn't one of us who hasn't gone through trials; it's just part of life. In John 16, Jesus is speaking with His disciples and they are finally beginning to understand His teachings. Jesus wants them to understand, as disciples, their lives will not be a rose garden. John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!" Did you see the "will" have trouble? I'm sure you wish that that 3 letter word could be replaced with a 2 letter word "if". But the good news is, Jesus didn't leave His disciples hanging out there all on their own or for that matter, you and me either.
In that same verse He says that we need not sink into depression because trouble will come. Jesus tells us to take heart, rejoice, He already has the answer to our hardships and He promises that if we are in Him we will have peace even in the midst of trouble. I know that gives me great peace. I've had trials in the past and I know (because Jesus said so) there will be more in my future, but my Jesus is with me and He gives me His peace.
Well, I just had to buy one of those Easy Buttons. I've tried it. I press it and it says "that was easy". Well, it was "easy" to press the button, but none of my problems disappeared. And as I think about it.... it was easy for me to push the button, but for how many other countless people even pushing the Easy Button isn't easy because of arthritis, some other pain or even missing limbs?
Rev. 2:3 - You have persevered and endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
Heb. 10:36 - You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will received what He has promised.
The Word calls us to endurance and perseverance in trials but also has a wonderful promise if we do.
James 1:12 - Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.
What a promise!
I'm sticking with the way of the Lord. But if you think you might like to try that Easy button, feel free to stop by and press that Easy Button!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Locked In A Box

Often as Christians we have a picture of God as the rigid and mean disciplinarian, the unrelenting judge, or the parent who is always punishing, but seldom loving. Let me help you change that picture today. As we quickly glance through Scripture, we read words such as Advocate, Anointed One, Author of Life, Counselor, Defender, Faithful and True, Father of Compassion, Lord Who Heals, or Shepherd. Christ loves us. He wants us to return His love just as a parent wants the love of their children. It is Satan who wants us to have negative and foreboding images of God.

Not so long ago, I had a very difficult week. I had spoken many times over the weekend. I came home to see a pile of work on my desk. I didn't feel like praying; I felt like giving up. I wanted to quit traveling and speaking. I managed to convince myself that my speaking wasn't doing any good anyway. I was sure no one loved me and no one would notice if I quit. I felt locked in a box of performance with little compensation or encouragement. I tried to pray, but all I could do was cry. I did manage however to let God know that I needed some love, attention, and encouragement.

I returned to my house after a brief shopping trip to find someone had left a beautiful little miniature rosebush at my door. The card simply said, "We love you." Later several people called saying they were just "checking in," and wanted me to know they loved me. When I finally got to my scripture reading for the day, the verse said, "Will ye also go away?" John 6:67. I felt as though Christ was saying to me personally, "Marilyn, are you going to leave Me, too?" I wept as I realized Christ loved me enough to prompt someone to leave a little rose bush at my door. He loved me enough to have friends call just to say they loved me. Then Christ arranged my devotions so that on the very day I needed to be reminded that I mattered to Christ, He would so sweetly ask me, "Are you going to leave Me, too?"

Satan had constricted me and put me in a box of self pity and self-condemnation. But Christ's love had constrained me, unlocked the box and set me free to bask in His love.

Marilyn Heavilin