Friday, April 28, 2006


Proverbs 16:9, "A man's heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps."

Sometime that task that lay in front of us seems insurmountable. We wonder how we can possibly do this. It seems so overwhelming we never start. We stay frozen in indecision. "People who want to move mountains must start by carrying away very small stones."1

Perhaps you remember the movie from a number of years ago, "What About Bob" with Bill Murphy and Richard Dryfuss. You recall that Leo Marvin (played by Dryfuss) is a Psychiatrist that wrote a book called, "Baby Steps". After his first session with Dr. Marvin, Bob begins immediately applying the principle to get on the elevator. You can hear him talking to himself: "baby steps onto the elevator, baby steps onto the elevator, baby steps onto the elevator." Taking small steps he actually gets onto the elevator. As the doors close behind him, he screams all the way down. It's a funny, feel good movie but that truth is very practical.

Do you have an overwhelming task before you? Are you uncertain where to start? Begin by breaking the task into smaller more manageable tasks and then start with the first one and work at it until you complete it, then move on to the next one. It may even be helpful to give yourself some reasonable deadlines to complete each task by. Even if you don't hit the deadline perfectly, you will be surprised at what you can accomplish when to take thing in bite size chunks.
My Aunt Lorraine, who has long since gone to glory, used to say to me, "Inch by inch everything's a cinch.

What are you putting off because it looms too large in your thinking? Start by carrying away very small stones and look to the Lord to direct you steps


1 Vern McLellan, "Wise Words and Quotes" Tyndale House Publishers, 1998.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

What is your passion?

What is your passion?
Synonyms for passion are fervor, ardor, enthusiasm and zeal. In my experience personally and professionally our propensity is to be zealous for the wrong things. We develop passions for people or things, but how often are we passionate about the things of God? "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal." What an illustration. Phinehas had a passion, a zeal for the things God has a passion for. Can you say that? Are you passionate about the things God is passionate about?
Let me share 3 foundations to appropriate passion:
1) Are you passionate to know and believe God?
a. "Isaiah 43:10, "You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And my servants whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me."
2) Do you seek to love God passionately?
a. Matthew 22:37, "Jesus said to him, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."
3) Are to passionate in your obedience to God?
a. John 14:15, 21, 23, 24, "If you love Me, keep My commandments...He who has My commandments and keep the, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." ...Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him...He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me."

What are you passionate about? Are you taking steps to pursue that passion to the glory of God?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Deuteronomy 31:8 "And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with
thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee; fear not, neither be dismayed."

"And the Lord..." - the same Lord who works in our lives today. This verse is one given by Moses to Joshua. He instructs him in front of all Israel to lead the people into the Promised Land. His words are from the Lord to Joshua and the people, but they are also promises to us today in our lives.
Psalms 23:1 - my shepherd
Psalms 25:4-5 - God of my salvation
Luke 2:11 - a Savior
Philippians 2:11 - Jesus Christ, my Lord
"...he it is that doth go before thee..."
He is not just in the past or in the present, but goes before you!
He knows everything in your path, and you need to trust Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - He will direct your path
Psalms 119:105 - His Word is a lamp unto your feet
Matthew 28:20 - I am with you always

"...he will be with thee..."
We all need to know we are not alone. He promises He is with us at all times.
Hebrews 13:5 - I will never leave you
1 Peter 5:7 - He care for you
Isaiah 55:6 - He is always near for us to call on Him

"...he will not fail you..."
So many people feel everyone has failed them, or they have failed everyone else.
1 Corinthians 13:8 - love never fails;
Jesus never fails
Psalms 119:76 - God is love and His love is unfailing

"...neither forsake thee..."
Jesus knew what it was to be forsaken as He hung on the cross. He cried out,
"...why hast thou forsaken me...". God could not look on the sins He bore for us
When we accept Jesus as Savior, He says, "I'll never leave you, my child."
1 Corinthians 15:13 - I will not forsake you
Psalms 9:10 - the Lord has never forsaken seekers of Him

"...fear not, neither be dismayed..."
Christ's words are, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Instead, He offers peace. He calls us His little flock and says, "Do not fear."
He gives us perfect love, and perfect love casts out all fear.
John 14:27 - Christ's words
1 John 4:18 - don't be dismayed, put your trust in Him
Psalms 56:3 - instead of dismay, allow joy to take its place


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Last words

A few years ago I picked up a little book at Barnes and Nobles called, "Famous Last Words: Fond Farewells, Deathbed Diatribes, and Exclamations upon Expiration" complied by Ray Robinson.
I found some interesting and others humorous. Permit me to share a few:
"Death is nothing, nor life either, for that matter. To die, to sleep, to pass into
nothingness, what does it matter? Everything is an illusion." Mata Hari
"What have I lived for?" Lorenz Hart
"My dear, before you kiss me good-bye, fix your hair. It's a mess." George
"Am I dying or is it my birthday?" Lady Astor
"My mother did it." Arnold Rothstein
"Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." Pancho Villa
You may wonder why I mention these. As I read this book it made me consider what my last words would be and further, what would I want to be remembered for?
What legacy are you leaving? What do you want to be remembered for? Will you have any regrets? You are leaving a legacy either intentionally or unintentionally. Which do you prefer?
Let me encourage you to give consideration to what statement to you want to make with your life to the generations that will follow you. Once you determine that, live every day in light of that goal with purpose and intention.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Jehovah Shammah "When you Feel Alone"

Jehovah Shammah "When you Feel Alone"

This name for God is translated "The LORD is there". God revealed himself as Jehovah Shammah during the time of Ezekiel when the children of Israel were in the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. During this time the Jewish exiles were convinced that God had deserted them and there was no hope. Psalms 137 clearly expresses their feelings regarding their present state of troubles.

It was during this time of discouragement that God gave Ezekiel the vision of the re-building of Jerusalem. After describing it in detail, Ezekiel ends his prophecy by revealing the new name for the city: "The Lord is There." (Ezekiel 48:35)

We do not have to wait until the fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophesy to enjoy and be encouraged by the Lord's presence. That's what makes our God different from all the other religions ~ Jehovah dwells with His people.

"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there..." (Psalms 139:7-8)

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's spirit lives in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16)

Every Believer can truly say, "Jehovah Shammah", the Lord is with me. If he doesn't seem to be in you - come back to him and let him in. Often we start crowding God out and leave little space for God in our lives. He wants to be present ~ allow God full access! "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." (Psalms 145:18). Call on him today and he will be there ~ he is Jehovah Shammah.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Jehovah Tsidkenu "When you are Guilty"

Jehovah Tsidkenu "When you are Guilty

We are all guilty at some time or another. In fact, 1 John 1:8 reminds us that we deceive ourselves if we think we are without sin. When we are guilty it is Jehovah Tsidkenu "The Lord our Righteousness" that we can run to. In the book of Jeremiah we learn about Judah's sins: immorality, political corruption and apostasy. We learn that the spiritual leaders of the time were not seeking after God. In Jeremiah 22 we are told about the judgment to come if the nation does not turn to God and repent. However, just a few verses later God declares that what He is going to do ~ He will provide the Lord, the author of righteousness and justification.
Now, I don't know about you but not unlike Israel and Judah I too need the Lord of righteousness and justification. Without Jehovah Tsidkenu in my life I must remain stuck in my guilt. Praise the Lord I can be free of my guilt (any and all guilt) because I know Jehovah Tsidkenu. How do I receive it? How can you receive it? We need to look no further than 1 John 1:9 where it states that He will cleanse me from my sin. All I have to do is admit I can't do it myself.

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor. 5:21)
This righteousness can be yours through faith in Jesus (Rom 3:23). If you already have this faith be released from the guilt of your sins ~ Know Jehovah Tsidkenu. Are you free? Or Are you burdened with guilt? Turn to Him.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Do you make these statements? I do!

For any negative thing you say about yourself - God has a positive answer for it!
Read His answers to you.

You say, "It's impossible."
God says, "All things are possible." - Luke 18:27

You say, "I'm too tired."
God says, "I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28-30

You say, "Nobody really loves me."
God says, "I love you." - John 3:16; 13:34

You say, "I can't go on."
God says, "My grace is sufficient." - 2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalms 91:15

You say, "I can't do it."
God says, "You can do all things." - Philippians 4:13

You say, "It isn't worth it."
God says, "It will be worth it." - Romans 8:28

You say, "I just can't manage."
God says, "I will supply all your needs." - Philippians 4:19

You say, "I can't forgive myself."
God says, "I forgive you." - 1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1

You say, "I am afraid."
God says, "I have not given you a spirit of fear." - 2 Timothy 1:7

You say, "I'm always worried and frustrated."
God says, "Cast all your care on me." - 1 Peter 5:7

You say, "I feel all alone."
God says, "I will never leave you or forsake you." - Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5

You say, "I can't figure things out."
God says, "I will direct your steps." - Proverbs 3:5 & 6

I find these verses helpful over and over. Some I got from Inter Scan, but you can add to them, as I have, as you read the promises He gives in His Word
Write and add ones He gives to you.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Exodus 14:13-14, "And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand
still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you
today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more
forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

Lynne's devotional yesterday on Jehovah Nissi -the Lord of our battles
reminded me of this verse in Exodus. Can you just imagine the scene? Moses
leading a mass of people who, in great fear, realize they are trapped
between the Red sea and their approaching enemy. "And when Pharaoh drew
near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians
marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel
cried out to the LORD." Exodus 14:10

The Israelites had limited options. There is no way they could defeat the
Egyptians in their own strength. Their only hope was if Someone came to
their rescue. That someone was their God. "So the LORD saved Israel that
day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on
the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in
Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant
Moses." Exodus 14:30-31

Do you have a battle that you simply cannot fight, let alone win? Cry
out to Jehovah Nissi and "Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD,
which He will accomplish for you today."


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Jehovah Nissi "The Lord of our battles"

The Lord is my Banner is the literal translation for Jehovah Nissi. This is the name we turn to when we are having serious problems. Moses declares that when we lift up our hands to him in trouble the Lord will go to battle for us. We read about this in Exodus 17:8-16, when Moses lifted up the "rod of God" asking God to help them defeat their enemies.

We are not unlike the Israelites; we are attacked on all sides. Many want to defeat us in our Christian Walk, our own flesh wars against us when we are tired and warn out. The Christian life can be a constant battle between our sinful nature and the Spirit of God. There are struggles we cannot win alone ~ no matter how hard we try. When I try to fight my battles I get tired just like Moses, it is only with God's help I am victorious.

Do you want Victory? God only asks that we live as he has called us. If we are walking in Him He is fighting for us! David knew this personally, in Psalms 118:6, he declares "The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?"

Are you raising God's banner? Is He fighting your battles or are you trying to do it alone? God waits for you to invite Him into your battles ~ why don't you turn your battle over to Him today? "...We are more than Conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37


Monday, April 17, 2006

Christ is greater than Moses...

Christ is greater than Moses...

Hebrews 3:3-4
"For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God."

The heading in my bible above chapter 3 in Hebrews reads; "Christ is greater than Moses." And as I read the above verses they made me think of how often we hear honor being given to the things of this world rather than the creator of the things of this world. There are a number of TV shows narrated by people who truly are in awe of an object or animal etc... but whose eyes are blinded to the fact that it is an arrow. Huh?? Yes, I said an arrow; pointing at none other than the Creator. Whether it is a crocodile, a whale, a tree, a flower, an ocean, a painting, a house or a human, it's all His handiwork. Even a painting needs an artist to envision it; a house needs substances to be made from. I love the term "man-made", we take such pride in ourselves sometimes, nothing would be "man-made" without first creating the man! Now don't get me wrong I think there are many educational programs about the world God created. But it would make me feel better to admit that some of them make me...well...nuts! When I see a man "fawning" over a snake or a tarantula that he's trying to tell me evolved over a gazillion years...well, like I said I get nuts! I have had a family member say; "we are so glad we decided to make our little girl." I remember when I didn't know Christ and I wanted to have a baby. His dad and I planned on it, we hoped that we would get pregnant; it wasn't a surprise when five months later I was pregnant. But I knew that it was God who let me be pregnant...I wasn't yet saved but I knew without a doubt that this was beyond anything I or my husband had created in and of ourselves. From time to time I will admire this child of mine, look at his face, his hair, even his finger nails and say wow he looks just like his dad and I mean just like his dad! But his Designer, his Creator is the Father God, Creator of all things; who is worthy of all honor. As we admire beautiful, awesome things He so delights to let us see, touch, feel, smell and taste; let us venerate HIM and only HIM.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Praying together...

Praying together...
So ladies what do think about that idea? No... not with the women, I mean with your spouse, fiancee, or boyfriend. Maybe you already do that, maybe you never have, maybe you'd like to... There are many couples who for whatever reason do not pray together. They may be in prayer fellowship with the Lord individually but not as a couple. They are missing a real blessing.
How often do you hear about married couples who are not enjoying physical and emotional intimacy in their marriage? I did not pray with my husband, we were not saved when I was married so that was not our practice. The marriage suffered as a whole.
I feel burdened to stir up your thoughts on this subject. Marriages in the church are suffering, and it hurts me deeply to watch couples who love the Lord end up divorcing. Or maybe staying together but emotionally and functionally divorced in a relationship with no signs of life.
The Lord came to give us life in abundance! John 10:10; "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
Please don't misunderstand; I know there are serious problems out there even in marriages that have a healthy prayer life and intimacy. But...I also believe praying together can change things. It would be hard to stay angry at someone you are praying with. It would be great to share your dreams, fears and concerns together before the One who holds the power to make things happen.
Why not be real with each other and with God (He already knows your deepest thoughts and emotions anyway). If I marry again, I hope prayer will be a central part of our life.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Jehovah Rapha "When you need Healing"

Jehovah Rapha "When you need Healing"

So often in life we speak of the strength and power of God to get us through the tough times in life. The Egyptians faced all kinds of hardships in the Wilderness and it is there we are introduced to Jehovah Rapha ~ "I am the LORD who heals you" (Exodus 15:26). This is the God who can heal physically and emotionally.

The fact that God needs to be the "Lord who heals" tells me several things about myself. First, there will be times I will need physical healing. Second, and probably more importantly, I will need emotional and spiritual healing. Even the best of us have "down days" and times of discouragement. In 1 Kings 19 we see Elijah needing the touch of Jehovah Rapha. Elijah prays the most powerful of prayers in 1 Kings 18 ~ then he learns Queen Jezebel plans to kill him. So what does he do... he runs away and flees into the desert and asks God to take his life. Have you ever been that discouraged? Take heart the "Lord of Healing" is available to you just like he was to Elijah. God sent an angel to give rest and nourishment to Elijah then Elijah travels to Mt. Horeb where he talks with the Lord. (1 Kings 19:9-12). After Elijah pours out his heart to God ~ the Lord healed him through a whisper. Are you looking for grand fireworks from God? Listen, He is there in a still small voice.

When you are weary and burdened, Jesus invites you to come to Him and he will give you "rest". Do you like Elijah need to seek his emotional rest? Jehovah Rapha is ready to HEAL.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Miracles of care.

Miracles of care.

Matthew 14 tells of the great miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000. In fact, it was 5,000 men besides women and children. Jesus had gone to a desert place to be by himself. He had just heard of the terrible death of John the Baptist, His cousin. However, He was not alone for long.

Great multitudes came to find Him. He had compassion on them and not only healed their physical bodies, but fed them as well. From one boy's small lunch of two fishes and five loaves of bread, He fed thousands. The disciples had said, "Send them away." Jesus said, "Give them to eat." Can you just picture that miracle of Jesus continuing to break the fish and bread without them disappearing?

Then when the multitudes left, He went again to be alone, this time to a mountain to pray. The disciples had gone into a ship out on the sea when a big storm came. The winds and waves brought great fear to the men. Then another miracle happened. Jesus heard the cry of the disciples and walked on the water to them. They feared it was a ghost. Jesus calls to them, "It is I. Don't be afraid." Peter's cry to Jesus is, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water." And Jesus said, "Come!"

Peter began to walk on the water to Jesus. However, the storm with its great waves caused Peter to fear, and he took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink. Then peter cried out, "Lord save me!" And Jesus immediately did! He reached out His hand and caught him, but said, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the storm stopped, and all of them in the boat worshipped Jesus. They cried out, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Lessons to learn are about the compassion of Jesus:
He cares about your needs, your fears, your life.
Also know that Jesus wanted to be alone - to pray. If He needed this, what about us?
And we can't take our eyes off of Jesus. This is when we fall.

I thank Him for His love and for His care. Truly He is the Son of God and Savior.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sabbath Rest

Sabbath Rest
What is Sabbath rest? The precedent was set in the Book of Books; God's Holy inspired Word, in Genesis 2:2-3; "And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation."
"he (Moses) said to them, "This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD;'... -- Exodus 16:23

"See! The Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day He gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day." -- Exodus 16:29

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." -- Exodus 20:8

What comes to your mind when you consider the Sabbath? Is it one of those things that's been relegated to the historical record and thus deemed, not for us, and not something we can realistically do today?

More and more I am thinking about it. I guess it's because I keep hearing the Lord's call to develop some quiet and stillness in my week. Times when I cease from my laboring; from all clamoring, all busyness...everything!

Many books have been written on this topic and I admit I've only partially read one of them. Despite that, I am drawn to figure out how to cultivate this discipline in my life.

This Victory call is a simple attempt to scratch the surface and encourage us all to think about doing as the Lord God of heaven did -He rested!

One baby step that I've made in this direction has been to prepare my Sunday meal on Saturday afternoon or evening. I know it's not much, but it goes a long way toward helping me to get more rest in my Sunday. We come home from worship service, we eat our dinner and I go into chill mode.
Another step is to get all my clothes washed and ready for my upcoming work week, on Saturday evening instead of Sunday night. Baby steps, baby steps. Nothing profound or new, but it makes a marked difference in my Sunday if I don't have to cook and do laundry.

Understandably, I'm no theologian, so I can't say with any degree of authority that we "should" all cease and rest on the Sabbath. I don't even know that it has to be on Sunday or if it's Saturday. But I can and will say that rest is a beautiful thing. Setting a day apart each week that is different from all the rest, has to be a good thing. Don't you agree?

Taste and see that the Lord, He is good. Stephanie

Monday, April 10, 2006

Should, Should, Should!

Should, Should, Should!

I have a confession to make. I am appalled at my own personal use of the word 'should'. For months now, my awareness at my casual use of 'should' has grown tremendously.
I think the spark for all this awareness came first and foremost from the Holy Spirit resident in my believing heart. Secondly, from a number of conversations I've had with my daughter and son.
More and more, I've become vividly aware, of the use or dare I say overuse and misuse of the word in the body of Christ. We say it in reference to ourselves and just as much, if not more often, in reference to other people. It's no wonder, that so many of us feel no sense of victory. Living my life with a list of all the things I should be doing better, or that I should have done better is to live life in virtual defeat.

How you may ask. The shoulds give us an out when we willfully sin. For example, the TV is on and your ear gates and eye gates are being assaulted by images which affect your Christian sensibilities. But rather than turning it off or turning to something more life-giving, we sit and watch, knowing and even feeling that we should not. When it's all over we either think or say something like, I really shouldn't have watched that." "I should've spent that time doing something more constructive and God-honoring."

Now you may not be the "TV Watcher", you may be the "Cookie Monster" who stands with her hand in the bag, devouring the cookies until, all of a sudden, your brain engages after the 12th cookie and you say to yourself, "What am I doing? I shouldn't have done that. I should've stopped at 1 or 2."

Okay so that may not be you either. Maybe you're lying in bed trying to doze off to slumberland, but your brain won't shut off because of your 'should have' list. You know the list that some of us have of all the things we were going to accomplish that day, beginning with purposeful time in the Word; just being with Jesus. We might drift off into sleep night after night feeling and thinking, "I should have done more. I should have done it better. I should have spent time with the Lord. I should have hugged my kids. I should have kissed my husband. I should have called my Mom, my dad, etc. I should have screamed less, played more, whined less, eaten less, exercised....etc., etc., etc. I don't need to go on.

This "Victory Call" is a challenge and an encouragement to all of us. Let us choose to move beyond the "should have and should be", and choose to will and to do and to be all that God has called us to be. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.


Friday, April 07, 2006


I was involved in teaching a weekend seminar here at America's KESWICK on a particularly difficult topic. Well the topic itself isn't difficult but to most wives it is very difficult. Add to that mix that the women I was speaking to were women whose husband's are either currently in the Colony of Mercy or have been in the past which means their husband's have been involved in addiction as a lifestyle.
Our topic on this particular weekend was the unconditional call of God for women to respect their husband's. The teaching was based on a book by Emerson Eggerich: Love and Respect which expounds on Ephesians 5:33, "Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
Some of the women okay more that some, really struggled with this biblical command. I finally said to them, "Your argument is not with me nor the author of the book, your argument is with God, it's His word."
I was out walking the following Monday on a beautiful, sunny, warm day rehearsing my Scripture memory verses when I came across Romans 11:33-12:1, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?' 'Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?' For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."
That alone would be sufficient to give us cause to delight in our obedience to the Lord, simply because He is worthy. But the verse continues, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship." It's when I read the last verse that it hit me. Our obedience to whatever the command of God may be is a spiritual act of worship, an act of worship. That puts things into a fresh perspective. Obedience is not about what others are doing or not doing, it's about our relationship with Jesus Christ and our desire to worship Him through our obedience.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

You made me...

My very first counseling class was taught by David Powlison, the best earthly teacher I ever had. One of his first lecture illustrations had to do with a commonly used expression or phrase. The words ending the phrase are as varied as are the situations it is used in. However the beginning words, "You made me..." remain pretty much the same. And more often than not the phrase implies that someone other than the speaker is responsible for something that the speaker has said or done.
Let's say, for example, that in a heated conversation with someone I become angry. Let's say that in my anger, I then use my words to insult, abuse, or tear down. Fast forward to the end of the scene, where by now, I am calm and attempting to explain my actions. It's in that situation and many others I have observed over the years that we are likely to say things like, "You made me so angry." "You made me very upset." "You made me lose my temper."
Standing in front of the class that night, Powlison held up an empty Styrofoam cup. Satisfied that we saw it was empty, he proceeded to pour water into it. He then proceeded to lightly punch the cup with his fist, which then caused water to come out of the cup. He looked at the cup that had lost some of its contents and then looked out over the silent lecture hall and asked this simple question. "What made water come out of the cup?"
You probably have the same expression on your face that most of us did. Some of us thought, surely this was a trick question. A number a hands shot up seeking permission to answer his question. Every single person he called on gave the same answer, "Sir, water came from the cup because you hit the cup." It was the first response that had come to my mind.
In his ever humble way he let us all know that our answer was incorrect. The correct answer was as follows: "Water came out of the cup because water was in the cup."

Huh? You're kidding right? We all know that if he hadn't hit the cup, the water would have stayed inside. We sat thinking through this concept, and as we began to ponder his words, the truth sunk in. What spills out of us when heat, pressure, stress, etc., is applied to our lives, came from within and not from without. Yes, everything that happens to us has an impact on us. One way or another we are affected by "stuff". How we respond; what we do and say is entirely up to us.

"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." --Luke 6:45
In other words, what the mouth commonly speaks, generally agrees with what is most in the heart.

Ponder this, my sisters. Consider the fruit of your lips in the details of your everyday life and praise God that He hasn't left you without hope for true help and change.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Getting to KESWICK (Part II)

Getting to KESWICK (Part II)

"Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday." Psalm 37:3-6

So how did He do it? I don't know why it should be any surprise, our God parts the sea and He walks on the sea! First thing that had to happen was for me to actually apply for the job! I was folding laundry one day and the Lord spoke so clearly to my heart, He said; "Stop folding laundry and go give Mr. Welte your resume."
It took a little time to hear back from Keswick, and in the mean time I had every prayer warrior in my church on this assignment. And they did pray me right in here. The continued commute to work was actually a blessing, as I listened to some great bible teachers and Christian music for three hours every day. The Lord was using that time well in my life.
The call finally came from Keswick for an interview and formal application and then it was time to wait again. Oh, how I love to wait!!! One day while I was leaving work I was very discouraged, I didn't think I would get the job, it had been too long. And as I walked out the doors I prayed; "please Lord let it be today." As Bill Welte loves to say, "Our God is the God of the previous." The message for me to come to Keswick was already on my voice mail. I got the job, but still all these obstacles. One by one they were crossed off the list in my bible!
1. Sold house in three days for CASH and more than I thought it would.
2. Apartment opens up at Keswick.
3. I am able to have storage on the grounds.
4. There is a school bus that comes right to Keswick.
5. Finances are worked out.
6. My son did struggle with moving, but since then, the Lord has given him a second home with his dad a few blocks from where we used to live! God is good.
I've been working at Keswick since the summer of 2002 and I love it here. It's been a growing experience for sure. Keswick is truly a special place because it's filled with so many very special and gifted Staff and guests. In addition to my regular job responsibilities I also have the privilege of sharing with you through Victory Call. It still amazes me that the Lord lets me have a part in His awesome plan and do it with such a great team of people here at America's KESWICK, where God is still speaking to hearts and transforming lives every day!


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Getting to KESWICK, (Part I)

Getting to KESWICK, (Part I)
Psalm 37:3,
Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Before I came to work at America's KESWICK I was working quite a distance from this area and commuting each day. I knew when I had come to Christ two years prior in 2000 that I wanted to look for another job. I'd been at this one a long time and the atmosphere was to say the least uncomfortable. But...the Lord had other plans. I'd begun to pray about and look around for other work. But the Lord had me stay there for another year and a half, just long enough to tell everyone that I had known for years about Jesus and what He had done to make a difference, all the difference in my life. Ok, I thought; Well Lord that's everybody, now can I leave? And He said; "NO, I am bringing a few back". And not until I had witnessed to the very last one did He move me. The truth is I wanted out of there because I was uncomfortable with my past. But I was in love with the Lord and on fire to tell anybody and everybody that would listen what He had done. As much as it was difficult to do, I truly was blessed and privileged to be the one of all people to be sent to tell my peers the Truth.
In the mean time my son had been invited to an Open Home School Swim at America's KESWICK. I had heard of it at my church when I went to my first Christian Concert. Men from the Colony of Mercy had come to sing and present the ministry at the concert. A few months later Bill Welte, the Executive Director of America's KESWICK, came to our church again, this time to lead a Hymnsing. And then a few months later there was the Colony of Mercy again! This time another man gave his testimony, Tom Paschke, (Keswick's Director of Housekeeping). I remembered him. He was the guy sitting in front of me at the concert. One of the things that stands out in my mind was what was written on the back of his shirt. It read "Strong in the Strength of Someone Else.
It seemed the Lord wanted to keep Keswick in the forefront of my mind. After procrastinating for a while I decided to compose a resume'. But I hesitated sending it to Keswick. I didn't see how God could do away with all the obstacles that in my mind stood in the way of taking a position here. I had to sell my house, pay off some debts, find a place to live, find a way to get my son to and from school and not to mention a house full of stuff I had no place to store. I actually made a written list, put it in my bible and said ok Lord if you want me there, you'll have to do it. Well you guessed it HE DID IT! I'll tell you how tomorrow...


Monday, April 03, 2006

Sacrifice to Test Your Obedience

"Then He said, 'Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.'" Genesis 22:2

Recently I was working on a Bible study which directed me to look up this verse on the call of God for Abraham to sacrifice his only son, who he loved. Here was Abraham, who probably couldn't love Isaac any more than he did, yet when God called him to sacrifice him he "rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him." Genesis 22:3
It struck me that God calls all of us to sacrifice that thing which we love. I'm not talking about literal sacrifice like with Isaac but rather are we willing to offer to Him anything that may detract our affections from Him, first and foremost. It could be anything: our marriage, our children, our home, our status, our own way, our reputation, our financial security, friendship, stability, comfort, food, convenience, etc. It is not that any of these things are bad, but if we love them more than God, God will ask us to sacrifice that idol.
It's somewhat humbling to consider the passion and commitment of Abraham to obey God and the extreme he was willing to go to in that obedience, an evidence of his faith.
So when I look at the passion of Abraham to do such a difficult thing to obey God, I realize that thing in my life God wants me to sacrifice pales in comparison, yet, I have difficulty laying it on the altar of sacrifice.

Let me offer a very rough paraphrase to bring this closer to home. You fill in the blank. Then God said, "Take __________________________, which you love, and offer it as a sacrifice unto the Lord."

What is it in your life that God is calling you to sacrifice to test your obedience? Are you being faithful? Are you being obedient? Are you loving Jesus above all else?