Friday, June 30, 2006

doing what is good

"In everything set them an example by doing what is good..." Titus 2:7

When I first started working as a waitress, at 17, I remember meeting a new manager that started shortly after I did. I still remember where I was standing, when he shook my hand and said, (and I quote) "Diane, you have the face of a model, too bad your body doesn't match." It was one of the few times I was speechless in my life.
I have never aspired to be a model, that is, until recently. I find myself praying and asking the Lord to do a work in my life so that I may model Christ, model change, model victory to women. I want Christ to be so manifested in my life that others will see that God is real and that He keeps His Word so that they will be encouraged to believe and trust Him.
A few years ago, I was praying on the way home from Higher Ground asking God to make Hebrews 4:12 real in my life so that it could be an example of that truth to the women. "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) The next morning God revealed the thoughts and intents of a prideful heart with Psalm 12:3; "May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things, who have said, 'With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?'". oooohhhhhh, that stung. Then, just last fall when I was flying out to the west coast, I asked God for victory over my fears so that I could be an example of the truth and power of taking God at His word. I had more peace on the trip that any other in the last 27 years! I was able to come back and share the reality of Christ with the women at Higher Ground and we got a week of Victory Call devotionals out of that experience (see VC November 7-11, 2005 on our website It is not because of me but because of Him that there is a story to tell.
Are we living life in such a way that others will catch the vision of life lived with Jesus Christ? When people watch us are they compelled to say, "He's real!"?
May we model Christ in everyday life not just at church. May we proclaim,"He's real!" in every way, with every breath.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Why did Jesus go to the Cross?

Why did Jesus go to the Cross?
1 John 2:2, "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." (NKJV)
1 John 2:2, "When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good-not only ours, but the whole world's." (The Message)
What did Jesus suffer through His crucifixion?
Deep distress: Matthew 26:38, "Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death..."
Surrender: Matthew 26:42, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done."
False accusation: Matthew 26:65, "He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!"
Abuse: Matthew 26:67, "Then they spat in His face and beat Him, and others struck Him with the palms of their hands." Matthew 27:26, "then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified."
Betrayal and condemnation: Matthew 27:22b, "They all said to him, 'Let Him be
Humiliation and mockery: Matthew 27:28-31, "And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified." Matthew 27:39-44, "And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"
Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing."
Forsaken : Matthew 27:46, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

What benefits do Believers have because of His obedience unto death? I don't have room to list them all. There are many, many benefits. Here are only a few.
Forgiveness: Ephesians 1:7, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace"
Freedom from the power of sin: Romans 6:14, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace."
Freedom from condemnation: Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
Freedom: John 8:36, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
His presence: Colossians 1:27, "To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is not longer I who live, but Christ lives in me"

All that to say, "He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied." Isaiah 53:11

This question keeps gnawing at me: Is Jesus enjoying the fruits of His labor in my life? How about you? Is Jesus enjoying the fruits of His labor in your life?



Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Jesus died for you! Are you living for Him?

I recently saw a plaque that read, "Jesus died for you! Are you living for Him?"

Christ died because he loves you and me. John 13:34 - 35: "A new command I give you. Love one another as I have loved you. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
I just turned 73. I've been thinking how I need to feel needed. I need to feel loved, but God reminds me I need to also love. Love as He loved. What a command!
I spent a lot of time going over my birthday cards. The verses were so special, but the added thoughts from the sender were the words I enjoyed most. They were personal, just to me. I put a homemade card on my refrigerator. "I love you Mommles!!" (with happy face stickers). This is from my grandchild. A child's love is special and true!
I picked up my Bible and realized how many times God wrote to me, "I love you; I loved you and always will." He loved me enough to die for me!
We use the word "love" so freely. We say, "I love pizza", or maybe, "I love your new dress." 1 John 3:18 reads, "Let us not love in word neither in tongue but in deed and truth." Love because you have Christ in your heart, and you can love because God is love.
While visiting a nursing home, I was left alone with a lady who had no visitors, no one to talk to. She pointed outside and said, "Are you going up?" I thought she meant to heaven. "No", she said, "up to the second floor where I live." (She could see her room from the window where we were) "But I'd like to go to heaven", she said. Then I had the opportunity to tell her she could go to heaven one day if she loved Jesus and had Him in her heart. She took my hands and said, "I love you, will you stay with me?" Of course I couldn't, but God used her in my life and me in hers.
We needed each other! God loves us both and I pray I see her again soon.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

As God's children we are His ambassadors

2 Samuel 12:14, "...because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme..."

As God's children we are His ambassadors. "Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God." 2 Corinthians 5:20. Our attitudes and actions effect the reputation of Jesus Christ. People are watching even if you are not aware of it. We are simply a vessel God uses to reveal His truth to others. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." 2 Corinthians 4:7.
May it never be that our actions in the privacy of our home (with our family) or in public ever give fodder for the enemies of God. May we never bring mockery upon God because we have given lip-service but not life-service.
I had been thinking about writing this VC before but when I saw Dottie's yesterday, I had to smile because the verse I wanted to end with was Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." This is the verse Dottie started with yesterday.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Let your light so shine

Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
I read this today and remembered it was my mom's life verse. May 31 is also her birthday. This was not just a life verse, but she lived her life doing good to glorify God, not herself.
As a child, if I were asked, "Dottie, what do you want to be when you grow up?" I'd always reply, "A mother." What I meant was like my mother!"
If Mom were living she would be 107. God took her home to heaven at age 59. She never got to see her five grandchildren. My sister and I wish she could have been there for them. She would have been the greatest grandmother. We know, as she was the greatest mother and wife. God must have welcomed her home!
Mom was a Sunday school teacher, even for me, when I was about six or seven. We found a Sunday School attendance book from the '40's, and as we read all the children she taught, we realized some are serving the Lord with missions or in their church. Many have gone on to heaven.
It was difficult for Mom to memorize verses, perhaps it is for you, but this verse, Matthew 5:16 hung on our kitchen wall over the sink. She went over it often. One day in our church at testimony time, she repeated it out loud! All who heard, especially her family, knew that this verse fit her life. Do others see God's example in you?
Why do I write this? Besides missing her and loving her, she still sets the example and testimony I'd like to follow. She followed Christ! That's my desire, too.
I still have her small red Bible from which she read and taught. Her life verse is underlined; I've underlined mine!
Now at 73 I realize I'll see her soon. I pray I can be an example to my children, grandchildren, family and friends. However, my life has been different. God has given me Romans 8:38 - 39. I have learned through years of illness that God's love is always there. I, too, have memorized my life verse, and God brings it to mind often.
Learn and memorize God's Word - and then live it for Him!


Friday, June 23, 2006

A man of integrity

A man of integrity fouled the plans of a King.
"And Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing." 2 Samuel 11:11

Hidden in the story of David's sin with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11, is a illustration of a man of conviction - Uriah. Imagine a man, with such conviction that he would rather sleep on the king's stoop than to sleep with his wife, even after the King commanded him to. David was trying to finagle things so that it would appear as if the child Bathsheba was carrying was her husband Uriah's. But God was not about to let it be that easy. If Uriah was a man of less conviction and obeyed King David this story would have turned out quite differently. But Uriah did not want special privileges. Even in the midst of what would have been a natural desire to sleep with his wife, he stood by his convictions and slept on the stoop-even a second night - "Now David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk." (11:13)Uriah "went out to lie on his bed with the servants..."(11:13)

How does your conviction measure up? Have you ever considered that your unwavering obedience and conviction can thwart the plans of the wicked?

Stand firm sister,and don't be tempted to waiver in your convictions.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Battle is the Lord's

The Battle is the Lord's but We Still Need to Suit-up.

"Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD's." 1 Samuel 17:47

"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." Exodus 14:13-14

It is rather a difficult thing to understand the balance between our effort and God's power. I have often heard the statement, "Let go and let God." It sounds great but if taken to the extreme it seems to absolve us from any responsibility. I remember a comment a woman made to me once when I asked her about forgiving the person she was angry at. Her response was, "Well, God isn't doing it, so I'm not either." Her theology was in grave error.
Although the battle is the LORD's and He fights for us, we need to show up in full armor ready for battle. We need to take a proactive approach to warding off sin. Why else would we be told; " strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

I know I have used this illustration before but it fits here again. Recall the story in Joshua 10:7-11, "So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. And the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you." Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. So the LORD routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword."
God told Joshua that He had delivered Gibeon into Joshua's hands, but Joshua still had to show up and do battle.
The victory God has already won is experienced by us, one victorious choice at a time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Reclaiming Surrendered Ground

Reclaiming Surrendered Ground

I have surrendered a lot of ground in my life as a result of poor choices that I have made. As soon as we make choices based on our current state mind or emotions and not on God's truth we are surrendering ground to the enemy. The next time we are tempted in that area we will be more prone to fall to the temptation because there has already been a precedent set previously. Each time, we become weaker and weaker against the temptation but never without help or hope.
At some point in our lives that ground that we have surrendered needs to be reclaimed. Believe me, it is much easier to keep what is rightfully ours in Jesus Christ than to try to reclaim that which we have surrendered.
Let me illustrate this with an example from my own life. When I was 19 or 20 my younger sister and I flew to Atlanta to visit Aunt Jerry and Uncle Prunes (don't ask). We were having a great flight when a sense of anxiety and fear started to creep in around the perimeter of my mind. It didn't take long before it wasn't creeping in it was stomping all over my space. To calm myself down, I convinced myself that if necessary, the pilot would land the plane and let me off (hey, it worked). That experience practically ruined my vacation. Multiple times during that week, the return flight came to mind and anxiety with it. Right then and there I surrendered ground to the enemy. From that point forward, for many years, I made choices when possible to work around having to fly. I allowed my anxiety to dictate my choices. About 10 years ago, preparing for a family vacation to the west coast, my fear of flying (I am not afraid of flying - I just don't like having to be in an airplane to do it)-started to consume my life for two weeks before having to go and several after. Over the years I had surrendered bits and pieces of ground to the point that it added up to something akin to the size of Texas.
In the past few years I decided to reclaim the ground I surrendered. It has not been easy, but I am making progress by choosing faith over fear. God brings the victory already won at the cross. I wish I had known then what I know now!
Perhaps your struggle is not with flying, maybe it is some other area that you are tempted to make choices based on your emotional state rather than faith in the Word of God. Just remember, whatever ground you surrender now will be exponentially more difficult to reclaim later. I know that from personal experience.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Diligently seek Him

Diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
What if God replayed for you (for me) all the prayers we have brought to Him? Would there be many, or would there be few? Would they be "I want" or "I want Your will"?
Would some be as prayed by Jonah - "In my distress I called to the Lord"? Read the second chapter of Jonah, even better, read all four. Find out how God answered his plea.
Maybe your prayers would be like those of Silas and Paul. In the inner cell of prison with feet in stocks they were praying and singing hymns! Acts 16 tells of a jailer and his family who came to believe in God because of their (Paul and Silas) Christian witness. How do you face troubles? Sometimes we take our trials to everyone else but God!
I must add a thought here that I love. When you look up at the stars, the darker the sky, the brighter the stars. Look to God.
Ephesians was written by Paul, and in 6:18 he tells us to always keep on praying for all the saints. In verse 19 he continues, "Pray for me that I can speak the gospel fearlessly". Other Christians need your prayers - I know I do.
If God played back all my prayers, I'd be amazed at the answers. I'd be thankful He did not give me what I asked for many times! He knew when to say, "No"; what was best for me; and knew His plan for my life.
Did I thank Him as I should and praise His name? Psalms 100:4 I'm sure I failed many times.
Matthew 5:44 tells us to pray for those who persecute you! Luke 6:28 even reads, "Pray for those who mistreat you". That's hard! God knows the heart and mind of the one praying. Don't pray to get glory; that belongs to God! Pray to experience closeness to Him. Jesus prayed; we need to pray, too!
The references on prayers in God's Word are many. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 sums it up: "Be joyful always, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Monday, June 19, 2006

America's Keswick IDOL

America's Keswick IDOL

Fear not, no one is worshiping idols here at America's Keswick. We have the real deal! However I was briefly entertaining the idea of appearing on American Idol and then I woke up!
I was at a wedding recently and had just sat down and opened the itinerary they had printed out for the ceremony. Immediately I gasped and quickly closed it again. The first song to be performed was one I had a dream about the night before! The song that was performed was called "You're the Best Thing"; by Gladys Knight and the Pips. It's an oldie but a goodie, maybe you remember it? It's a song about a woman praising the man she loved for all that he was to her. A very nice choice for a wedding ceremony I thought. The two people being married certainly seem to love each other and the Lord as well. In my dream it was a little different, I was the one singing it but I was singing it to the Lord! Now of course in my dream it was a fabulous performance far surpassing any American Idol contenders! In real life...let's just say I think I will stick to writing. In all seriousness if you know the song at all, think about the lyrics for a minute with me. It goes something like:
"There have been times when times were hard but always somehow I made it, I made it through, cause for every moment that I spent hurting there was a moment that I spent just loving you, If anyone should ever write my life story, You'd be there between each line of pain and glory, cause you're the best thing that ever happened to me."
Truly the Lord Jesus Christ is the best thing that ever happened to me! He's the best thing that ever happened to you too! Maybe you're fully aware of that blessed truth. Maybe you don't think He's ever done a thing for you and wonder if there is a God where He's been all your life? Let me share some "Good News", He's been there between each line of pain and glory and He's the best thing that's ever happened to you and wants you to know it! Jesus made a public profession of His love for the world as He "the bridegroom" hung in place of "the bride" on a cross. He calls you dear child, sister and friend.

John 15:13, Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

Let me encourage you to read the entire book of John. (Often referred to as the book of love) God does love you and He doesn't want it to be a secret!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God,

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

I am currently taking a course in Hermeneutics - which is the interpretation of Scripture. One of my homework assignments last week was to read an article by Roy B. Zuck, "Application in Biblical Hermeneutics and Exposition." I was so encouraged and challenged at the same time.
What does the average believer do regularly regarding the Word of God? What do you do regularly regarding the Word of God? Are you daily or nearly daily reading Scripture? Are you meditating on what you have read? Are you studying the Word? Are you applying the truth you are learning?
What got me thinking about this were some of the statements by Zuck; "Neglecting to apply the Scriptures to their lives makes their study of God's Word incomplete and deficient."1 The study of the Scriptures and knowledge "does not in itself automatically guarantee spiritual development."2 "As Sterrett has well stated, "The Bible has spiritual dimensions that can be grasped only when the will responds to what God says, not simply when the mind analyzes the language."3 "They know more than they live and that borders on hypocrisy."4 "When believers posses the truth without letting the truth possess them, non-Christians question the authenticity and value of Christianity."5 "Without such a personal appropriation of the truth, the Christian life remains sterile and fruitless."6
It isn't simply the reading of the Word that changes us it is the application of the truth that fuels growth and maturation of the believer.
I have noticed that the times when I don't seem to be growing spiritually, I am also lacking in the application of truth in that area of my life.

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." James 1:22-25

It is not just getting into the Word, but also letting the Word get into you.

1 Zuck, Roy B. "Application in Biblical Hermeneutics and Exposition"
2 Zuck
3 Sterrett, T. N. How to Understand Your Bible,cited in Zuck
4 Zuck
5 Zuck
6 Zuck

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Fear of God

"Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God" 2 Corinthians 5:11

The above verse, caused me; led me, to think about something I wrote yesterday regarding not taking God seriously regarding sin. What does it mean to know the fear of the Lord?

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether." - Pslams19:9

I like the way that The Message paraphrases it because you see the heart of God even clearer and in seeing His heart we know that fearing Him is a freeing thing and by no means suppressive.

"The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate to the nth degree." - Psalms 19:7-9

So what do we gather from fearing God? We see clearly that fearing God is clean, and we all know that being clean is a good thing. The precepts of God, allow us to be ever mindful of dirt in our lives and hopefully lead us again and again and again to the only place we can get clean. And that place is at His feet.

So dear friend, in sharing as I did yesterday, I hope you see that my intent was to encourage you to be washed clean of anything that you carry within that God intended you to be free of.

Let's follow His signposts and directions. Let's use the life-maps that He has so graciously given us in His Word to lead us safely Home.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Everyday Sin

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. --James 4:17

I have been reading and hearing this verse of Scripture for most of my Christian life. And yet...somewhere along the way I stopped applying it to my own personal life. Or in other words, I could say, I stopped taking it seriously. If I go deeper than that (and I will) I'd have to honestly say, that at a core level, I have ceased to fear God. Therefore, it is "I" and not God whom I serve.

What does this mean? The message in the verse is clear. And yet...there exist areas in my life that I'd rather keep to myself than surrender to the Lord; the God of my salvation; the One who gives breath and meaning to my very existence.

Dear one, are you with me? Can you hear the voice of your God and Maker calling you to repentance?

Precious sisters, come with me. Let's together, take the mirror of God's Word, illumined by the Person of the Holy Spirit, and look deep into our own hearts. What is the thing that you hold tightly in your hand, thinking you deserve; have a right to; have earned, etc., etc? Is it the right to gossip or slander anyone who doesn't think like you or agree with you? Is it the P word, PRIDE? Is it the big G...GLUTTONY? What about this one, CONTROL - control of all the details in your husband's life and the lives of your children? Is it a sour attitude? Or perhaps wasted time and resources? Is it SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS -you know the sense of rightness that's all about you, you, and you again?
I could go on and on and on. But I'm not trying to beat upon you or myself. I'm not trying to dig a hole, fill it with the stagnant water of self-condemnation, then jump in and drown myself. No! No! No!

What I am doing is inviting you to respond to the invitation that your heart receives everyday. Say yes to the Father's wooing, seeking voice and do as 1 John 1:9 commands.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Whatever "it" is, let us today decide to take it to the Lord in confessing prayer and receive the promise of cleansing, which equals freedom.
Let's take from the enemy of our soul the power of shame, false guilt, etc. Let's chose instead to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, who resides in us, enabling us to remember, Romans 8:1-4.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."

No condemnation! No condemnation! No condemnation for those who are in Christ.
Praise God from whom all mercy flows!!


Monday, June 12, 2006

"Because they do not change; therefore they do not fear God." Psalm 55:19

"Because they do not change; therefore they do not fear God." Psalm 55:19

In August 2002, riding in our motor home on our way to Acadia National Park in Maine, I underlined this verse. I can tell because the underlines are squiggly not straight from trying to write in a moving vehicle. Something about it impacted me almost 4 years ago, but sadly it was soon forgotten.
Recently, we have been reevaluating our ministry, as we often do to discern how to maximize the effectiveness of the resources that God has entrusted to our care. This has been an ongoing conversation amongst leadership. As I was reading through Psalms once again I was stopped short by this verse. We are concerned for the men and women who claim they want to change but exhibit little evidence that they mean it. It raises the question regarding their understanding and exercise of the fear of God. But honestly that is not what impacted me the most about the verse.
As I was giving consideration to my own life, my own lack of growth, my own lack of change in certain areas and it struck me that perhaps the lack of change in my life is also evidence that I do not have a passionate fear of God.
During a recent study of Jerry Bridges book The Joy of Fearing God, I learned that fearing God is like a multi-faceted diamond. It looks slightly different from different angles but all of the same diamond. I realized that in some manner, I do fear God, but in others I do not.
Could it be that we are so afraid of communicating fear as "being afraid of" or "fright" that we have negated this vital command of God? "And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day." Deuteronomy 6:24 Often, when we do hear the fear of God addressed it is a watered down version that gives us warm fuzzies. It does not reflect this truth: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. " Hebrews 10:31.
Just because the wrath of God for my sin has been satisfied by the blood of Jesus Christ, should I take advantage and ignore the severity of the penalty paid? Oh, Lord forgive me. Change me. May I think Your thoughts after You.



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Friday, June 09, 2006

1 Timothy 6:6 "Now godliness with contentment is great gain."

1 Timothy 6:6 "Now godliness with contentment is great gain."

Sitting around Atlanta Bread Company one evening a small group of ladies chit chatted. We had a great time getting to know each other just a little better. We talked about things that women talk, clothes, shopping, the weather, work, children, food, diets, etc. and we were only there an hour! In the course of our conversation one of the women made the comment that "Discontented people make the best consumers. Advertisements are designed to keep people discontent." WOW! That caused me to stop and think.
One thing I enjoy doing on the weekend when the newspaper comes is to sit down and peruse the ads. I've done this for years. I never stopped to consider that it brewed discontentment in my heart, but that is exactly what it did. I would see something I wanted to buy and set about thinking on how to get it. Yikes. I was actually breeding discontentment through my actions.
Ever since that conversation, I have not been looking at the ads cover to cover.
What is it in your life that may be creating discontentment in your heart? Soap operas? Romance novels? Shopping? Comparing your husband to someone else's? comparing your house to another's? QVC channel? Is there anything? Ask God to reveal your heart to you.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Because He is our Father

"But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.' And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them." Mark 10:14-16
Children are precious unto the Lord.
My younger sister adopted 4 precious children from Russia, two at a time. The first two were not birth siblings but had been in the same orphanage. They are currently 6 and 7. The second two are a set of twins, a boy and a girl, 6 years of age. That's right! My sister has 4 children: 6, 6, 6, and 7, spanning 16 months from oldest to youngest. She and her husband take very seriously the commandment to "bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4 She recently sent me a prayer her youngest daughter prayed one evening and I thought it was too precious not to pass on.
"Tonight, little Paige said, with eyes closed, head bowed and such sincerity, 'Dear God, let all the babies and children in orphanages all over the world sleep well tonight. Please Lord, let them not wake up scared, or sick or hungry. In Jesus name, Amen.'"
Take a moment and thank the Lord for a pillow to lay your head on tonight. We were all orphans before being adopted into the family of God. Galatians 4:4-8, "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."
Because He is our Father, we never need to wake up scared, or sick or hungry.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

delight in His life in you

"We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed- always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

I was recently reading through a Bible Study I had done a number of years ago when I came across this handwritten note in the margin: "The life of Jesus cannot be revealed in my body as long as the life of Diane is..."
Oh, how difficult it can be sometimes to die to self. One of my favorite prayer verses is Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." I no longer live but Christ lives in me. Wow! How do I live, yet not live? How do I live, while dying? Sometimes it is like nailing Jell-O to the wall, one moment I've got it, the next it slips away. How do I get out of God's way so He can be manifest in me? How do I cease living in my own strength and in my own flesh? From all outward appearances, it is often difficult to tell the difference between living and dying. The real difference is in the depth of the heart.
I believe the answer to all these questions appears right in the verse, "and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith..."
By faith....
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
"The just shall live by faith." Romans 1:17
I believe that is our answer. I can live the crucified life in which the life of Jesus may be manifest in my body, by faith. Stepping out in obedience even when I can't see where I'm going is characteristic of a walk of faith. I can choose, yes choose, to die to myself and let Jesus Christ live through me. And the amazing thing about it is that He is the one that empowers me to do so by His Holy Spirit.
Be blessed today -throw your head back and delight in His life in you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006



I am convinced that the Lord knew we would all tend to have a tough time rejoicing. That is why he had Paul repeat this exhortation in Philippians 4:4. "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice."
From Webster's online dictionary we know that, "to rejoice" is to "express great joy". Notice the word expressed in the definition is an action word. We must do rejoicing.
Let's take it a step further and define joy. From the same source we know that joy is "intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness; the expression or manifestation of such feeling." So once again we see active expression. Wow! Imagine yourself rejoicing in the Lord with such exultation!
On Easter Sunday, my pastor taught from the Word of God on the topic of "Experiencing the Resurrection." In a nutshell, there is no greater thing to rejoice in, than in the fact that, Christ Jesus died for your sins and mine. He suffered a horrible death, He rose again on the third day, so that you and I might be free from the penalty of our sin and experience new life.

So then...let us rejoice and then... let's rejoice again! He is alive! He is who He says He is!

We are born again and we have a living hope. It is in this hope that we rejoice and actively express our intense feeling of happiness!
"Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith, for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this rejoice...Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." I Peter 1:3-6a, 8-9

So dear ones - express yourself!! Like the lame man whom Peter healed, rise up and walk! Take the reality of the resurrection power of Christ that dwells in your bones and shout out, "Halleluiah!!" to the Lord our God!!


Monday, June 05, 2006

"Couture al la Hefty"

"Couture al la Hefty"

Any Outfits He'd like me to get rid of?
Humm? Well, I'm happy to say not at this time. But there was a time that I had a few Lawn n' Leaf bags full of trash, I mean inappropriate clothing, trash...same thing.
A few days after I came to know Christ I opened my closet door and said OH NO!
The clothes I had, especially the work cloths or dress cloths were not something I wanted to be seen in ever again. Some of the "work cloths" looked like I was doing Rahab's work! At the time when I chose them I thought they made me look good. They were right out of the Victoria's Secret clothing catalog or some trendy stores I had found. Some very expensive (charged of course and way out of my budget). The sad thing was that I didn't look good at all, but I really believed I did. I was maybe 110 to 115 pounds (keep in mind I'm 5'7''). I had no curves what so ever, but was rail thin. Not to mention sin sick. I was a size 4 maybe a 6 and in the world's eyes that was good. For some reason, even that thin, many men still find it attractive, as I soon found out. And I liked the attention. That's really what is was all about. The attention it drew to me. Negative attention, but attention none-the-less. So why the sudden house cleaning after salvation? The Holy Spirit was now my personal stylist! I will never forget it; I opened that door and knew instantly I needed to go through every item, underwear and shoes too! What ever looked like trash went there! I wouldn't even donate any of it because I didn't want any other women to choose to wear it. I mean who would I donate it to The Salvation Army? I was in the "salvation army" now! The beauty of this story is that no one told me to do it, but God prompted my spirit. I was a baby Christian, but I knew enough within just a few days that this image marred the image of my God. Well it's almost six years later and I can say I have gained a few pounds since then, I also now have curves, well ok, more like wide turns! Truly I would like to loose about 15 pounds and get into better physical shape, but I never want to be a size 4 again! I definitely choose my clothing a lot differently than I used to but the choices are still out there and women are still buying them! Recently I was at a store with Diane and I was joking about some of the lingerie we saw. First let me!
say tha
t it is right out front. You used to have to walk to the back of the store to find stuff like that. Now my son can shop for school clothes right next to the sexy lingerie.
Sexy lingerie has its place - the privacy of a married couples home, surely not store front windows. The beauty of the body is to be enjoyed within God's parameter of marriage. But remember it is only beautiful within the commitment of marriage and outside of that it's just ugliness that mares the image of our God.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Law of Love II

The Law of Love II

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to
indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Galatians

We started off yesterday with a call to modesty. The standards of
dress have changed so drastically over time that things that we don't think
twice about today would have not have only raised eyebrows a hundred years
ago but probably earned us a name we would not like.
Yesterday, I suggested some very pointed guidelines regarding modest
attire. You may be thinking I'm being legalistic or prudish. Oh sister,
hear my heart. Our theme verse this week and several others in Scripture
clearly assure us we are free. "For sin shall not have dominion over you,
for you are not under law but under grace." Romans 6:14. "Therefore if the
Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." John 8:36. "I run in the path
of your commands, for you have set my heart free." Psalm 119:32. BUT, we
are never to use our freedom as a license to do whatever we want if it
causes a brother to stumble. Our theme verse says, " not use your
freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."
The law of love constrains the law of freedom, or law of liberty. In other
words, we give up our freedom out of love for a brother or sister, if the
exercise of our freedom is a stumbling block for them.
You may be thinking, "This isn't fair." I'm not the one that has the
problem. Why is modesty such a big deal? I'm not wearing anything too
revealing. If a man gawks, that's his problem. As a Christian woman, it is
your "problem" because Christ has called you to serve your brother in love.
How loving is it to wear clothing that attracts his eye, distracts him, or
causes him to stumble? I'm not talking here about within your marriage I'm
talking about the men that are not your husband. If your husband likes you
to dress less than modestly, I would encourage you to respectfully and
gently share with him that you want to honor him by being "for his eyes
It takes a woman of strength, conviction and dignity to make such unselfish
decisions. Are you willing to be that kind of woman?

No challenge today, I think we have been challenged enough.


Friday, June 02, 2006

The Law of Love V

The Law of Love V

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13

I know this week of Victory Call have been straight forward talk on a sensitive subject. I need to warn you today's will be the toughest yet.
For many of you reading this, the topic may be foreign to your thinking but I assure you it is a very real issue. I want to talk today about the power a woman has via her body.
Some women dress sensually to attract attention. For a few, it may be perfectly innocent but I am going to suggest (and you may choose to disagree) that for the majority of these women they are dressing with intention. I don't mean that every day they get up and say, "Today, I'm going to turn heads", but rather the selection of clothes in their closet betrays their heart.
I gave very little thought to this whole area before I came to AK. Through the ministry to hundreds of wives, I have made some observations and offer this conclusion: Women enjoy the sense of power they get from turning men's heads. It feels good to be noticed. Now, I'm not talking about all women, I'm talking about women in general. You may be quite offended by my conclusion but in the world of counseling I live in, it is very real.
Is there really power? Whatever you want to call it, men react to women. God made men visual. They are wired to be sexually aroused through what they take in through their eyes. But Satan has taken that which is good and twisted it so that men (in general) are confronted with the temptation to lust.
Let me share a quote from "Every Man's Battle" by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker (this is written by men to men):
"Males Receive Sexual Gratification Through the Eyes: ... We have our eyes and can draw sexual gratification through them at any time. We're turned on by female nudity in any way, shape, or form. ... We have a visual ignition switch when it comes to viewing the female anatomy. ... Visual sexual gratification is no laughing matter in your fight for sexual purity. Given what the sight of nudity does to the pleasure centers of our brain, and these days it's pretty easy to see many naked or near-naked women, it's no wonder our eyes and minds resist control."

As I am writing this the thought occurred to me that lust may look different in women than in men. I'm going to throw this thought out for your consideration. Is it possible that lust in women is manifested through their dress and the sense of power to entice? That sense of excitement that can come from showing a little skin. My sister shared an illustration with me from a trip to Wendy's one afternoon. Standing in line waiting to order the young, well-endowed teen-aged girl in front of her discretely, but distinctly reached into her shirt and readjusted her breasts to expose more skin above her shirt line. This is what men and women alike are faced with daily.

Ladies, knowing that men are prone to lustful temptation, the law of love warrants that we as women, seek to love them by being mindful of our attire so as to be a blessing rather than a temptation.

Phew!! I'm glad this week is over.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Law of Love IV

The Law of Love IV
"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13

As we have been focusing on modesty this week and seeking to love our brothers by not being a stumbling block to them, I can't help but think we need to understand balance. Lest you think I am advocating a return to floor length dresses or face veils I want to communicate the heart of love not law. How do we balance proper dress out of love for our brother without becoming legalistic about it? The difference is in the heart. There is a world of difference between being modest because 'I gotta', and being modest as an act of relational obedience and love for Christ and our bothers. One is a result of outward compliance the other the result of a heart of love.
I believe we are called by God to bring every area of our life under the authority of God. It's not man's rules or regulations that should be our highest concern but rather the expression of God's heart in our lives.
Are you willing to take your wardrobe to the Lord with an open hand and let Him sort through it and discard those things you believe are not pleasing to Him? If you are holding on to your freedom to wear what you want with a closed's time for a heart check.

We're almost done, one more day on this very sensitive and difficult topic. Tomorrow is the hardest yet.

Your challenge today is to ask yourself if you are willing to change if God expresses His desire for you to do so. Are you willing or are you dismissing those nagging thoughts? Are you willing?