Friday, September 29, 2006

Scripture Chemo

John 8:32, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Scripture Chemo -

I was out walking a few weeks ago, reviewing the Scripture verses in my binder when it occurred to me that memorizing, meditating and praying scripture is a lot like Chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is intended to seek out and destroy the sick cancer cells so that healthy cells can replace them.
Scripture is intended to seek out and destroy the sin-sick cells and replace them with healthy cells of God's truth.
I had misplaced my Scripture binder which is full of verses that speak specifically to my heart in my areas of weakness. It had been a few days and I was missing it when I found it in my desk drawer at work. That evening I was able to read, pray and meditate on 'my' verses again, and such a peace came over me. I was savoring God's truth, like one would savor a rich dessert. Every muscle relaxed like slipping into a warm bath, that ahhhh experience.
I encourage you to consider developing your own Scripture chemo. Find verses that speak truths to your heart in your areas of weakness then daily, or a few times a day, read, meditate and pray 'your' verses. Savor them.
Start today allowing God's word to eradicate the sin-sick cells in your thinking and replace them with healthy cells of God's truth.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Are you a sail boat or a submarine?

Are you a sail boat or a submarine?

As you are reading the word of God, are you reading it at a surface level or are you allowing it to seep deep into your heart and mind? Are you reading it just to complete a task, so you can say, "I read my Bible today" or are you soaking in the essence of truth?
I have to admit sometimes I am like a sail boat. I sail along, skimming the surface as I go from point A to point B. Sure I arrived at my destination but there was no depth to my journey. How shallow life is when we don't take the time to 'dive, dive, dive' as they used to say in the old movies. Having no time is not a good excuse, because we do what is most important to us at any given moment. If we really have a passion to penetrate the surface and fully immerse ourselves in the Truth, we will do it. We will find the time. It will be of utmost importance to us.
I have met many people who have been believers for years but still have a superficial understanding of the Scriptures and even less application. There are many excuses; but the reality is, it is what it is.
You may remember a few years ago hearing on the news of a young man (19 years old) in a foster home who was extremely underweight (less than 45 pounds) when he was found digging through a neighbors trash can. It was determined that he and 3 brothers were severely malnourished. I believe a similar picture can be drawn of a Christian that fails to routinely nourish her spirit in the Word of God.
How can we expect to be spiritual giants when we act like spiritual dwarfs?
The only way I know of to grow spiritually in our knowledge and love of Jesus Christ is to dive deeply into the Word and soak in the truths through prayerful meditation.

So I ask again. Are you a sail boat or a submarine?


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Remember Me...

Remember Me...

This past week I lost two people in my life. One was a mother of two young children and the other a friend and encourager. As a reviewed their lives simultaneously there were definite characteristics that they both shared in common.

1. Both were called home suddenly and without warning.
2. They were faithful servants content to be "hidden heroes"
3. They served willingly in quietness and without needing all the frills and fanfare.
4. Both were dedicated to ministry and family above wealth and belongings.
5. Each exhibited in their own way a genuine love for God.

I could keep going on and on, but I will stop here and ask myself and you... How will we be remembered? More than ever I want to be remembered for serving my Lord, being there for others and pointing people to Christ. At times in my life, I have stated those goals, but to be honest I did not necessarily mean it. Today, I want to mean it and work towards showing it. Oh, to be remembered for what I have done for Christ and not just a list of jobs and accomplishments.

How about you? What can and will be said about you? How do you want to be remembered?


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I believe, but......

I believe, but......
I wish I could tell you the number of times I have heard these words. Yeah, but....
In the course of counseling, as I endeavor to draw a person's attention to the One True God, to the Sovereign One, to the heart and character of Jesus Christ, usually I will get acknowledgement and agreement only to be followed with, 'but....'
Let me give you just a few examples:
I know God is faithful, but I'm afraid I'll get cancer.
I know God is sovereign, but my husband won't change.
I know God is good, but I don't understand why this person had to die.
I know God is love, but I can't love her.
I know God is forgiving, but I have been too hurt.
I know God can do all things, but what if he doesn't choose to.
I know God can heal, but what if my mother dies.
You get the picture. Every one of those statements of faith is nullified as soon as we say "but...."The moment we say 'but' we have taken our eyes off of Jesus and put them on our situation.
I want to challenge you; every time you hear yourself adding BUT to the end of a statement of truth...stop!! Do not negate the truth by adding "but". Just stop. Leave the truth stand alone.

I believe.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Nibbled Into Being Lost

Nibbled Into Being Lost

Recently, I had a much longed for time of fellowship with someone. At one time she and I had been much closer in our friendship. Yet somehow time had passed and friendship erosion had taken place.

We spoke about it when we met and both identified some of the little things that -over time- have led us to make those almost indiscernible baby steps backwards and away from each other. We saw the gradual path that we had wandered down as our friendship was nibbled away.

We acknowledged that first and foremost the drifting away was, for us, sin. Why? all those microscopic incidents that we stored up as offenses, we were thinking more of ourselves and much to willing to think the worst of each other. In other words, the law of love was not working in our own hearts and lives. Ah, but that is another subject for another Victory Call for another day.

Today my focus for us to glean from is the nibbling process that we employ and thus, find ourselves lost and drifting. Not only do we drift from our earthly relationships with friends and family but from the one relationship that sustains us, gives us life, keeps us safe, secure, and most of all, found righteous before a Holy God.

The title expression came from a devotional I often read. The author was referring to cows and how they regularly manage to wander off and get lost. Let me explain it to you.
This is what he wrote:

"Ask a rancher how a cow gets lost, and chances are he will reply, 'Well, the cow starts nibbling on a tuft of green grass, and when it finishes, it looks ahead to the next tuft of green grass and starts nibbling on that one, and then it nibbles on a tuft of green grass right next to the hole in the fence. It then sees another tuft of green grass on the other side of the fence, so it nibbles on that one and then goes on to the next tuft. The next thing you know the cow has nibbled itself into being lost."1

Pretty interesting, isn't it? I thought so and as I read it my time with my friend came to mind, so I shared it with you in the hope that you would take a look at 2 things.

1. Your relationship with God through Christ
2. The relationships that you have with other people

Are you close to home? Rather are you close to God? Are your relationships with the people in your life up to par? Is there anyone whom you have wandered away from, or backed away from? Is there a bad feeling you have harbored that has led to one bad thought, and then another, and another until suddenly, you look up from "yourself" and realize, you can no longer see or feel the depth of relationship you once had -with God or with people.?

Dear one, these are questions that I sincerely hope you take the time to share with God. You may be able to trust yourself with the truth, but I know me and I know my flesh will always look for a way out of anything that may cause me pain.

But our Father, He is faithful to tell us the truth about ourselves every single time. He wants what's best for us for one reason -that we live life in such a way as to bring glory and honor to His name. He has a plan for you. He has one for me. And I don't want to leave this earth one foot shy of victory because I allowed bad feelings and stinky feelings to nibble at my heart and cause me to wander far from Him and Home. I don't want to be guilty of forgetting, that love (1 Corinthians 13) is the more excellent thing.

Stephanie :)

1. Mark H. Creech, "The Right Frame of Mind. How did Mainline Churches Get This Way?" August 25, 2003. Agape Press

Friday, September 22, 2006


All of us have a tendency, some more than others, to be critical. We often excuse it by saying...."I am perceptive" or "I have insight" or "I can size a person, situation or circumstance very quickly"....thus I can express what I think and feel.

The Word of God has some things to say about the tongue (that member of the body that does the criticism). In James 1:26, "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridle not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." KJV

It is good to take inventory of your tongue.....if it is a problem confess it to Him. Then ask for His control over that tiny member that can cause so much trouble....Satan loves to use it, but God wants and can control it....this is up to you....a decision of your will. Will you allow Him to do that?

C --- What would Christ say regarding.....the
person, situation or circumstance?

R --- What was my the person, situation
or circumstance?
reaction or response?

I --- Am I critical so that I may look better in the
eyes of others?

T --- Is My tongue one of a critical nature?

I --- Am I afraid that my self image will be hurt, thus
putting others down and elevating
C ---How can I be critical of others when there are stones in my life?
I --- Am I insecure and become critical of individuals, situations, and circumstances, thus looking for areas where I can be praised?

Z --- Do I zero in on the non-essentials of situations,
circumstances and others ?

E ---Do I evaluate/judge situations, circumstances and
others unjustly/unfairly?

If this area is a problem in your life....remember God wants to take control of every aspect of your life....that includes our tongue. James 3rd chapter.

b. shoppy

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Stubborn as a mule.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle..." Psalm 32:8-9

Stubborn as a mule.
God has promised guidance to His children. Too often we don't like where He's taking us and we dig in our heels. Often in counseling, a person will explain their situation and talk all around a problem until it is apparent to me that they already know the answer to the problem. They come to me hoping there is a different answer because they don't like the one they have.
Perhaps you are more prone to rebellion, a spirit of refusal to do what God has guided you to do. I've been there. At the time I knew it was rebellion, in that moment I wanted what I wanted more than I wanted what God wanted.
God does not force us, He guides us, implores us, woos us and empowers us to follow His guidance. He delights when we follow willingly.

Is there any area of your life that you are being stubborn as a mule?


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What's next?

What's next?

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8

There are times in life when with all sincerity, we don't know what the right thing to do is. We end up in a quandary, not wanting to do the wrong thing but not entirely certain which avenue is right and which is wrong. Ever feel like that?
It is times like this that we need to remind ourselves that God sees all and knows all. He has promised to lead and guide us. The scriptures are full of verses promising God's guidance. Here is just a sampling:

Exodus 13:21, "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night."

Psalm 48:14, "For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death.

Psalm 73:24, "You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory."

Psalm 139:10, "Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me."

Isaiah 58:11, "The LORD will guide you continually"

Isn't there peace in knowing that God guides you today? Are you listening?


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Given Time to Repent

Given Time to Repent
And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. Revelation 2:21-22

HE gave her time to repent and she did not...
Repent (meaning to STOP and turn from your wrong behavior and go the right way, yes, to be sorrowful but to STOP! even if you aren't sorry... STOP).
Adultery hurts the entire family; the person committing the adultery; their spouse, their children, their friends and family members.
As a believer it grieves the Holy Spirit when we give ourselves over to the lust of the flesh. It starts when we believe the lies of the enemy: that it will make things better... that it offers an escape from the pain... that it is our destiny... our real "soul mate"... or simply because it feels good... beautiful... understood... wanted and loved.
God's word reveals it for what it really is; sin. "You shall not commit adultery." Exodus 20:14

I was recently in the mall and overheard a man on his cell phone telling, I assumed his wife, that is was ok with him if she left as long as their son wasn't affected by it. Talk about being deceived! Who was he kidding?
Another incident occurred the other night when I heard of a man who was in the mist of a crisis and needed a friend to talk to. His wife was suspected of having an affair and he was devastated. I was upset to hear it. I know what it is to be hurt by someone I love and I know what it is to be the source of pain for someone I am supposed to love. Please hear me and don't be deceived, God will not be mocked.
None of us is above being caught up in this sin and its disastrous fall out.

May I be blunt? ...are you having an affair? Are you "just" thinking about it? Are you viewing pornography? Let's be honest. An affair can be sexual contact, intercourse, or deep emotional intimacy without physical contact outside of your own marriage.


Whatever the circumstances are, it's wrong. If you need help please contact us at Victory Call. There are those here on staff that you can confidentially reach out to. These devotionals are meant to help you walk in Victory through the power of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 4:13 says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Do you believe that? I believe God may be giving someone this time to repent. Could it be you?


Monday, September 18, 2006

Heart Surgery

Heart Surgery

Why is it that many of us are so afraid of change? Change is a part of life: times change, people change, situations change. It is certain that throughout our lives change will be a part of our daily living. Some changes we make, others we have no control over. We must either seek God's help through it, readjust our lives, or our lives will become totally unmanageable and out of line of God's will. I find the most difficult change of all is the change that must occur within each of our hearts. There is real pain when God says it's time again for heart surgery.
Just like the highways in New Jersey, our hearts are always under construction. God is forever showing us another area that needs to change. It's so much easier to look at our family, friends or even our enemies and see how they need to change. But Psalm 139:23-24 says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting." It seems pretty evident that I need to stop looking at how others need to change and look at my own heart. But OUCH it hurts!
Sometimes in the midst of the pain of change we want to run back to the way we were. At least we know how to do "whatever" that behavior is. We want to go back to whatever is familiar, even if it's wrong or painful and displeasing to God. At least we know how to do it, or how it works. We've practiced it over and over; we're experts at doing it our way. We don't focus our eyes on our promised land.
We're no different than the Israelites when God brought them out of slavery. The Pharaoh's mighty army was right behind them. The Red Sea was directly in front of them. The people cried out to Moses, Ex. 14:11-12, "...Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?...It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" Can you imagine? They wanted to go back to slavery! They couldn't see past the current pain and fear to remember the promises of God and the Promised Land that was there waiting for them. That's's too hard we say. It's too painful. It's too scary. So we want to just quit.
We forget that God will not leave us or forsake us. He is right there all along the way, ready to see us through, waiting for us to cry out. God is the one who changes us. Phil. 1:6 says that we can be confident "that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." We don't have the power to change ourselves. It's God who began the new work in our hearts and it's His power that will bring change to completion.
We can take the steps forward, even if it is slowly, knowing God is there. It's so much better than running back to the way we were, where this is no victory, certain pain and the displeasure of God.
So are you ready for the Great Physician to do a little heart surgery? It may hurt, but the reward is immeasurable.

Mary Ann

Friday, September 15, 2006

What is God thinking?

Recently, life has taken some twists and turns that have placed several of my friends and acquaintances in extreme circumstances and deep trials. As I have walked alongside of them during these times I have tried to encourage them that their suffering has not gone unnoticed and indeed that God grieves along with them. He weeps even as they weep. If we, being human, are touched by the suffering of others, how much more our Heavenly Father is touched by their suffering.
After all, Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus and the grief of his sisters. "Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, 'See how He loved him.'" (John 11:33-36) Since Jesus is God with skin on - "who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person" (Heb 1:3)-and since we were created in the image of God "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Gen 1:27) -it seems reasonable that God feels.
I recently came across the following quote:
"Jesus lived for one purpose alone: to do the will of His Father. Yet He still felt.
Jesus is the precise image of His Father, who also feels. God is holy and righteous. Our salvation necessitates a cross; our poor decisions necessitate chastisement. The refusal of the lost to believe necessitates judgment. But God still feels. Beloved, God still feels."1

The next time you are wondering what God is thinking about your trials, your abuse, your suffering - remember His heart feels deeply.
What a great God we have that He sees all the evil and suffering in the world at once, and yet is not consumed.
Thank you Jesus for stretching our finite minds a little more.

1 Beth Moore, Beloved Disciple: The Life and Ministry of John, LifeWay Press, Nashville, TN, 2002

Thursday, September 14, 2006

dHave you ever misplaced your...?

Have you ever misplaced your?

-car keys
-important document

In searching for such items we have misplaced, whether it be in drawers, on counters or other areas, when we locate them there is immediate relief!

The Psalmist speaks of allowing God to SEARCH our hearts. Psalm 139:23-24:

"SEARCH me, oh God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me." KJV The NASV says: "know my anxious thoughts and see if there be any hurtful way in me." (these may be subtle)

Confess and name those areas He finds. I John 1:9 "If we confess (name them) He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"

Allow God, the Holy Spirit, to shine His light and SEARCH your heart today...looking in all the "nooks and crannies." Then it's up to you to take action as I John 1:9 tells us.

betsy shoppy

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

To God be the Glory, great things He hath done

"To God be the Glory, great things He hath done!" Remember that, when you share about Christ with others.
You get the joy, He gets the glory! It is not what you did, it is what He did on the cross. However, you can't forget or describe the face of a child or an adult who prays to receive Christ. John 1:12; Romans 6:23

As I mentioned in my last Victory Call, I have received great joy as God has given me the opportunity to help others to understand how they can receive Christ as Savior. Some have been children in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, or other youth programs. My husband and I worked with the youth ministry at our church and we saw many young people give their heart and life to the Lord. One blessed memory was here at Keswick's Youth Conference: a sixteen year old girl prayed with me on her knees. I was her counselor. I know she continues to serve the Lord in her church and in her family. She married our son, and we love her very much.

I still write to many and have seen some Christians who went on to missions. Today they are leading others to Christ themselves. Our youngest son and his wife and family will go to Macedonia in August to tell others of Christ. Pray for them. All our children love and serve the Lord. Could we ask for a greater gift?

I'm getting excited as I think back. Please don't think I am bragging - just praising!! God is good, and to think He could use someone like me to serve Him in any way is awesome! He can use you, too. I have to tell you I received a collect call from a young man in prison. He wanted me to know that he remembered accepting Christ in Sunday School. He had gotten away from the Lord. Now at thirty-four he met a Christian while in prison that was able to talk and pray with him. Then, there was an older lady, my roommate in the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, who had witnessed the love of my family and friends as they visited. She listened as they prayed for me, and she wanted to learn more about Jesus. Four days after she accepted Christ, God took her home. I'll never forget her name - it was Gertrude - my Mom's name, too! They are together with Jesus in Heaven.

The last one I'll share is my own granddaughter. She recently gave me her testimony she shared before her baptism. While with her mother at an early age, she asked Jesus into her heart. Later at age ten she wanted to be sure, so she prayed with her grandmom. I remember that day, right here in the bedroom of my home at Keswick. God has blessed our family. We have had many trials, but how He has loved us and directed our paths. Proverbs 3:5-6. I trust you are letting Him direct yours.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

the greatest joys

One of the greatest joys a Christian can experience is for God to use you to help someone else learn of Christ and have them accept Him as their Savior. John 1:12

The other night I had difficulty going to sleep. Earlier in the evening I had talked to two of my grandsons, ages 13 and 15. They had just returned from a six-day missions trip to Philadelphia with some of their youth group and leaders. It was an area where drugs were bought and sold. Grant and Tyler were excited to tell me of the tracts and Bibles they gave. They were especially happy about some children who prayed to receive Jesus in their hearts. God used the youth group for His glory. He kept them safe and brought them home with the names of the children to keep in their prayers. They had given out not just Bibles, but verses to read and learn, such as: John 3:16; Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:12.
They told the children, "Take a Bible home and tell others about Jesus!"

I, too, took the names of the children, and that night was the night I had difficulty sleeping. So I started to pray! First, I thanked God for His goodness and for His love for our family. I especially thanked Him for safety for the boys in an unsafe neighborhood. I prayed, and I prayed for many, and I cried some, too. I forgot about my sleepless night!

Then God brought to my mind the precious experiences of leading some to Christ over the seventy-three years He has given me. I know how my grandsons feel! They will never forget those children, and I pray they continue to want to serve the Lord.

I'd like to finish this in a third Victory Call and tell you a few more joys in leading others to Jesus - joys that you, too, can have. As I was writing this, God brought names and faces to my mind, and I plan to have some great times of prayer! I might forget all the names, but God never does! The great thing is that some of these same people now continue to pray for me. One is my own daughter-in-law, and another is my own granddaughter. Thank You, Lord!


Monday, September 11, 2006

These are the twelve He appointed

While looking at the book of Mark, chapter 3, verse 16, I read the words, "These are the twelve He appointed." It lists all the apostles Jesus picked. The twelve were chosen that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach and teach. The last man listed is Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. How this must have saddened Jesus!

Think about Judas. He had seen Jesus, but didn't know Him as Master; He heard Jesus, heard Him preach and teach, but didn't understand Him. He also had "religion", but didn't have a real relationship.

Max Lucado, my favorite writer, writes in one of his books, "Judas never knew the heart of Christ." I add, "He pretended to be a follower, but instead became a betrayer. He chose to be used by Satan!" Read the many verses in the Bible of Judas' life: Matthew 10:14, 26:14-56 and also other verses in John, Luke, and Acts. Judas ended his life by suicide. What a waste! He was chosen by Christ to be His disciple to serve Him, but instead allowed Satan to rule!

Have you given your heart - your life - to Christ? John 3:16 tells just how much He loves you. Has He chosen you to tell others about your salvation, about His death on the cross for you? Please be sure you have a true relationship with Jesus - John 1:12 - not just a religion.

Our prayer should be, "Lord help me to have a deeper, truer relationship with You. Help me to be a witness to others as You use me to serve You by teaching others the gospel."

My next Victory Call will be thoughts on prayer and winning others to Christ. What a joyous privilege I've had in this!


Friday, September 08, 2006


BUSY, BUSY, BUSY......"I am TOO BUSY!" A dangerous arena to find yourself!

"Beware of the barrenness of a busy life"
Dr. William Culbertson, past president of Moody Bible Inst. would quote this to us as students.

He would warn us lovingly of this danger....and a danger it is, especially in today's 21st century. He knew that most of the students he was speaking to were going into full time ministry.....and he cautioned us over and over.

Today it appears that busyness is essential in our service for Christ and His Church.

Revelation 2:2-4 God commends the church at Ephesus .....then He admonishes them...

- They were performing good deeds
- They embraced pure doctrine
- They persevered in serving



In the midst of our ministry/service/career we need to ask ourselves has busyness become a substitute for our "first love"?

Can you recall the sweet intimacy you had with Christ when you first came to know Him.....? Take inventory today....are you too busy for sweet time with Him. Make time, Spend Time WITH your FIRST LOVE.


betsy shoppy

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Enjoying this free, exciting gift

A few months ago my husband surprised me with a wonderful gift. I have thanked him repeatedly, almost every time we take it for a drive. He said that it was all worth it when he saw the surprise on my face and my reaction to such a gift.
One night as we were driving to the boardwalk for a walk, I thanked him once again. The following conversation ensued:
D: "I am really enjoying this"
J: "I'm enjoying it just as much."
D: "I doubt it, how can that be?"
J: "I'm just really enjoying watching you enjoy yourself."


You may recall a Victory Call I wrote a few months ago about Jesus enjoying the benefits of His labor-- 6.29.06. My husband's comment caused me to picture Jesus enjoying watching us enjoy our salvation. Enjoying this free, exciting gift which He has given us - eternal life with Him. As a believer we are saved, redeemed, cleansed, justified, adopted, chosen, empowered, freed, and forgiven among many other things. Are you enjoying your salvation? Are you thanking Jesus regularly for such a wonderful gift? Is Jesus enjoying watching you enjoy His gift to you?

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


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

From Victim to Victory

From Victim to Victory

I've recently been thinking about how easy it is for us to remain stuck in a "victim mentality" rather than live in victory through Christ. Each one of us has sinned against someone else, but I also know that each one of us has been sinned against also. Some hurts are so deep that we walk around with our wounds, ready to rip open the bandage and show anyone who will look so that they can know of our pain and perhaps comfort or sympathize with us. We forever walk around with a placard that says, "I've been betrayed, abandoned, cheated against, abused (physically or emotionally)" or what ever, you can fill in the blank. We have a tendency to take our hurts first to our family or friends and then at some point to God.
I can just see our heavenly Father waiting for us to bring all our wounds to Him. His arms are opened wide ready to comfort and give us His strength. Matt. 11:28- 30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and by burden is light." He is the only one who will listen anytime night or day. He is the only one who can truly comfort us. He's the one that stands ready to take us from victim to victory. It's not that we are to forget what has happened, but God takes our pain, hurts, and suffering and transforms it to treasure, for His glory. And we can claim victory through Christ. Our pain no longer defines who we are; it is just included in the fabric of our life to make us who we are.
I remember, ever so clearly, before I was a Christian walking around, downcast all the time, saying to just about everyone, "Why me? Poor me." My teen sons were spiraling out of control in the drug world I was in pain, miserable, and hurt. I beat myself up for being a bad Mom and wife. But after I gave my heart to Jesus, I began to continually cry out to Him and surrender my life, my sons and my marriage to Him daily. I took it back many times but I was determined to keep giving it to Him. I had come to know He was the only one who could give me or my family victory.
Romans 8:28 became my reality. "We know in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." God is in the business of transforming lives as they are surrendered to Him. Not only has my victim status has been transformed to victory, but He has transformed my pain for His purposes. Who but God!

Mary Ann

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

God's Provision

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.1 Peter 3:15-16

You may recall a few weeks ago I shared about the gift from my Heavenly Father of a new-to-me car. God's provision for me has been perfect. And the story goes on: Upon receiving a new car I sold my old car. It wasn't for much but it was definitely a help financially. In addition it was an opportunity for witness. The young couple that purchased it didn't seem to know the Lord but they knew where I lived and worked. When it came time to sign over the title the husband asked me if I could put a different price down than what they paid so he could avoid paying the taxes. I said I couldn't lie and put down the wrong amount. He didn't look very pleased with me but his wife appreciated my honesty since I had explained to them what I was aware the car would need before they purchased it. I saw the disappointed look on her husband's face and felt I had to say something. I said; "You know, I told you the truth, to the best of my knowledge, about the condition of the car I just sold you. Tonight I can lay my head down to sleep knowing I did what was right. I have always found that blessing follows truth." By the time we were done his wife was blessing me! It's amazing to me how the enemy can come in and with one "small" compromise mar the name of a believer, the Lord Himself and a ministry. What if I had lied? What does that say about me, about Keswick, about Jesus? How could I ever tell them about Him? By not compromising my testimony I believe I did tell them about Him.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Praying for a Post Card.....

Praying for a Post Card.....
Psalm 17:6 (New International Version) "I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer."
Have you ever wondered how someone is doing and a day or two later you got a postcard in the mail saying..."Hello", Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know we are in Florida having a wonderful time". Or maybe you just get a postcard out of the blue saying "Just wanted to drop you a line to say hey and see how you were doing."

Isn't it a real treat to get a post card. Some people love them so much that they collect them. What is it about postcards? A little piece of cardstock with a picture or saying on it and a very short note about something - oh how this makes us so happy!

Many times in my life I have prayed for something and wondered what was happening regarding that particular something. One day while I was praying I was getting frustrated in waiting for my answer (now we are not to get frustrated with the Lord and yes there are times He will make us wait) but I asked Him to send me a postcard at that time in my life I needed a little hope, light, encouragement or direction - I needed a postcard.

Ever since that day when I am in need of a little encouragement, some direction or some light at the end of the tunnel, I ask the Lord to send me a postcard.

I have shared this with many women and they have been encouraged by this. I think we all know the feeling of needing just a few words to help us keep going.

How is your prayer life? Do you talk to the Lord often? Does He know the desires of your heart (of course He already knows) but have you verbally shared them with Him.

When I pray and then ask for a postcard I just can't wait to get one from the heavenly mail system is really awesome to see the little notes that He sends my way.

Ask for a post card today.
2 Samuel 7:27 (New International Version)
"O LORD Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, 'I will build a house for you.' So your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer."
Psalm 17:6 (New International Version)
"I call on you, O God, for you will answer me;
give ear to me and hear my prayer."
Ezra 8:23 (New International Version)
"So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer."

Friday, September 01, 2006



This is an excerpt from an email a relative sent me:
Sunday Dinner for Italians:

Sunday Dinner is at 1 o'clock.
It is and unwritten law that no one is ever to attempt to eat Chef Boy-are-dee, Franco American, Ragu, Prego or anything else in a jar or can (tomato puree & paste is the exception).
Meatballs are made with pork, veal and beef. We are Italians; we don't care about cholesterol.
Turkey is served on Thanksgiving, AFTER the manicotti, gnocchi, lasagna and soup. (not all, but at least one).
If anyone EVER says ES-CAROLE, they're wrong - it's "SHCAROLE."
When you came home from church, you stuck half a loaf of bread in the gravy pot and sneaked out a fried meatball.
The meal went like this...
Table is set with everyday dishes...doesn't matter if they don't match...they're clean, what more do you want?
First course, antipasto...change plates.
Next, macaroni (all forms of pasta are called macaroni)...change plates.
After that, roasted meats, roasted potatoes...change plates.
THEN and only then (NEVER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEAL) would you eat the salad. (extra virgin olive oil & vinegar dressing ONLY) not change is better all together.
Next, fruit and nuts in the shell.
Coffee or espresso, with hard cookies (biscotti) to dip in the coffee, or Italian pastries.
The kids go play... the men go lie down (they sleep so soundly you could perform brain surgery on them without anesthesia)...the women clean the kitchen.
If you share an Italian heritage you know exactly why I had to laugh when I read this. It is so true!
Tradition is a funny thing isn't it? You do what your mom did, she does what her mom did and so on it goes...
But it's good to remember and feel a part of something way bigger than just you.

God's word is full of memorials and heritage. The Lord wanted us to remember the things he was doing and teach the heritage of His ways to the children He gives us. When we are adopted into the family of God we inherit the heritage of a lifetime and of eternity. Amen?
Ladies let's make sure we're passing down more than the lasagna recipe!

For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name. (Psalm 61:5)