Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Little Children

Little Children
Mark 10:13-16
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
My sister Mina recently called me on the phone and exclaimed "You won't believe this! We have experienced a miracle and you are going to hear it!" I was excited and happy but confused. If anyone needed a miracle in their life, it was my sister, she has gone through many hardships, too many to count. But how was I going to "hear" it over the phone?
Mina's oldest daughter Connie is a very special woman. When she was just a tiny baby she became very ill and as a result suffered brain damage. So although Connie is 48 years old chronologically, mentally she is about 9 or 10 years old.
God has given Connie a beautiful loving spirit. She loves everybody and everyone loves Connie. We all look forward to one of her special hugs. But as much as she loves everyone, she loves Jesus even more. I remember when Mina, Connie and I went to a women's conference at Sandy Cove about 10 years ago. After one of the conference meetings we were outside talking about how we were impacted by the message. Connie couldn't contain herself, she said, "Mommy, Mommy I put my hand up in the air and I felt Jesus come into my hand, down my arm, and into my heart!" We were so excited, WOW, we wished we could have had "felt" Jesus that way too. "Let the little children come to me...."
Well back to the miracle....
Connie has always loved music and especially " 'ligious" (contemporary Christian) music. Connie's sister bought her a keyboard about a month ago, the kind that has keys light up, you press the keys and you "play" a song. Connie was having fun with it. One day after a few short weeks, Connie told her Mom that God spoke to her. "You don't need the lights anymore. I will guide your hands." So she turned the lights off and she began to play "Amazing Grace"!!! That is the miracle I heard over the phone that day, Connie beautifully playing "Amazing Grace". I cried, I laughed! She could play any of the songs she had heard - just like she had been playing them for years! I can't wait to see Connie face to face and hear her miracle in person. "Let the little children come to me".....
Oh to have the heart of a child! To be so innocent and free from the worlds trappings to hear our Fathers voice so clearly! Jesus said we need to come to Him as with a heart of child. Why do we get ourselves so bound up with "stuff" that we block out the voice of God?
My prayer for you and me is that we strip away all the "stuff" (the worries, problems, doubts, stress, whatever) that stands in the way of us hearing God's voice so that we too could hear His words, "Let go, I will guide you." Glory to God!
"Let the little children come to me......"
Mary Ann

Monday, October 30, 2006

Because they are different...

Because they are different...

Are you an odd-ball? Do you consider yourself different from others? Do you see yourself not fitting into the norm? Would you say "no", that you feel they are pretty normal and can fit in anywhere?

I remember a speaker we had where I had worked; she spoke at a ladies event about 10 years ago. She illustrated women today such as a bag lady, a prostitute, and other types of women that we probably would not be so willing to reach out to. She then compared them to women and situations in the Bible and showed how the Lord and other believers reached out to them.
John 13:34 (New International Version)
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another".
Romans 12:10 (New International Version)
"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves".
Ephesians 4:2 (New International Version)
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love".

I have worked in the Travel & Tourism industry for over 20 years now and some of this time was also in ministry serving as well. This industry seems to lend to some strange characters coming through your door. If you watch some of your co-workers or other people in a service position, when someone who looks different, smells different, talks different or walks different is around, people seem to scatter. Why is this, why do we look the other way? If the Lord reached out a hand and a kind word to the odd-ball people, are we not to do the same. If our example comes from the scriptures and from the Lord...why are we not following this? I think we forget that God created every living person and who are we to not see them as God's creation, and to see them as only someone different.

Something happened to me at work yesterday and I could not seem to get anyone to help me with a "strange person". In the end the Lord took over and the situation and it was taken care of. My heart went out to this person. Who are they, why are they so different and why would no one helping me?

Sisters in Christ...if you have never felt the pains of feeling different or not in the norm, today I ask you to pray that God would place you in one situation today to remind you of how this feels. Once you have felt this discomfort, pain and loneliness that some others feel all the time, and then reach out to someone that you normally would not.

Is it not our mission to reach everyone the Lord has created with his Love?

John 3:16 (New International Version)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life".
Lynn W

Friday, October 27, 2006

Garage Sale God

Garage Sale God

Ahh, summer time. So many things are specific to summertime. Yes, that includes a slew of garage sales, yard sales, flea markets, etc... Some of us at Keswick held a sale early in the summer, and I live next to Keswick's perpetual sale ~ the thrift shop.

I see things come and go and often wonder why did they bring us that. Or who's going to want that? It is amazing to watch people find treasures at the thrift shop. I see junk while others see potential and possibilities. Yes, I admit I regularly find my own treasures at the thrift shop.

So, God taught me another lesson this summer... our God is a God of Garage Sales. See while we see things as being trash, or without value... He sees the potential and the treasure in it all. And I'm not talking about material items now, I'm talking about people. I don't know about you but I am so moved when I realize that in us he only sees our potential and our value. He has a plan and purpose for us even when we think of our selves as a potential garage sale item. God has no plan of selling you at a garage sale, but he will purchase you and give you value, hope, and purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Like a Flint

Like a Flint

Isaiah 50:7 "For the Lord GOD will help Me;
Therefore I will not be disgraced;
Therefore I have set My face like a flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.

Have you ever had to set your face like a flint and be unyielding? Doesn't sound right does it, being unyielding? But in fact, at times, it is right.
Last summer my ten-year-old son had an emergency appendectomy. It wasn't a long surgery but the recovery was very uncomfortable. As they rolled my son out of recovery I went to his side immediately and spoke to him so that he knew I was there and that is was over. I asked him, "Was it really bad?" and he replied; "Mom, it was a living hell!" I almost passed out! All I could do was shush him as I thought to myself, these nurses are going to think we're both nuts. Finally, he got settled into a semi-private room and as soon as we arrived I knew this was going to be a bad night. When he got settled and fell asleep a nurse took me next door to answer numerous questions of no relevance what-so-ever. Did I nurse him? Was it a normal delivery? Did he sleep the night as a baby? I was more concerned with was he going to sleep tonight? And what can he have for the pain?
Back in his room he was throwing up from the anesthesia and the meds etc... I soon realized his roomie was loud and obnoxious with no consideration for anyone else. Around midnight he was on the phone with his girlfriend with the TV blasting. I very nicely asked him to please be quiet but he ignored me. I asked him a second time and he gave me a smart mouth answer. So I went to the nurse's desk where they also attempted to ignore me. I kindly told them that they had two options, 1. Give my son another room or 2. Move his roomie out. I was prepared to wheel his bed out into a lounge myself if they didn't do something. Of course they had nothing available... until five minutes and a prayer later, he had a private room! I was truly thankful and extended my appreciation to them.
The doctors were wonderful, the nurses gave good care but poor John had two rough nights. Thankfully, he is fully recovered, Praise God.
Could I have been kinder, gentler, and more adaptable? I don't think so. If you are a mom, you know what I mean. We need to be prepared to set our faces like a flint to do what's right and necessary.
Yield to authority, absolutely. Pray for discernment on when to assert yours, absolutely.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Christ in You

Christ in You

I recently read of a poster on an office wall at Wheaton College that says:

"The living truth is what I long to see,
I cannot live on what used to be,
So close your Bible and show me how
The Christ you talk about is living now."

That short poem got me to thinking. How are our hands being used? How is Christ seen by our husband's, children, co-workers, friends and family? What does the love of God look like in our skin?

Over the past year or two I've had a number of conversations with young people. As I listen, they express a growing frustration (anger) towards the church and all of its "so-called" Christians. These young people clearly articulate what they view as a serious hypocrisy within the walls of our sanctuaries. In other words, through their young eyes, there is a lot of unholy goings on in our holy places.

While it may be difficult, we need to resist taking a defensive posture -an easy position to take- and seek the higher road by asking the harder question "is it true"? Are there ways that we inadvertently say one thing and live another. Or better said do we practice the Gospel that we preach?

For example, love. Most of them know they are to love their neighbor. It's been drilled in and taught from children's Church to the Sunday Worship. It's in all their songs and lessons -be nice, kind, patient, considerate, good, unselfish, etc. Theology and doctrine is the food they eat, and yet...they are disillusioned. Why?

Truth is I really don't know the specific whys. But I have some guesses, most of which could go without saying. One guess would be the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life that exists within their own sinful hearts. Another guess, they are "sick and tired" of hearing how wretchedly sinful they really are. They feel beat down, judged, and criticized on every front because they don't measure up to someone else's expectations of them. "If and since we are so bad, then why bother?" they ask. In no way am I saying they are right. I'm attempting to convey what they are expressing.

Someway, somehow they are missing the Gospel. They are missing the Christ who is the essence of, the core meaning of that Gospel. One of the ways they miss it, is in their homes and churches. It simply isn't visible or tangible to them. They have rules. They have their lists of do's, don'ts, shoulds and should not's. They know all the ways to behave and look like good Christian kids but what they're missing is the being. How do we convey love so that it is visible to our children? What do they see when they look at us? Do they see Christ living and active in us?

In light of recent history within my family, these conversations with all their questions, thoughts, feelings have surfaced and are demanding an answer. I know for me the answer is yes and it is also no. Very often I get it right. Just as often I get it all wrong and blow it big time.

Thank God for His living, active Word that restores hope to me over and over and over again. Without it, the weight of despair and condemnation would suck the hope of life right out of me. Praise God for His Word and the life it is to us; the life preserver we'd all drown without.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ."
-Romans 8:1

"...and Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."
-John 8:11b

When I blow it, I am learning to more consistently and faithfully, ask, seek and knock, resisting my natural desire to put on pride and come up with a way to deny, blame and justify.

Dear ones, I guess this Victory Call is an opportunity to encourage us to go to God for all those young ones in our own homes, churches and community. First, let's go before the Lord and confess any sin, hypocrisy, any error, etc. Second, may we seek Him for new and different ways to put on Christ and show Him real in us, to all the teens and young adults in our lives. Then in the next hours and days let's look for all the opportunities we can to more remarkably bear His image so that hearts may be transformed and lives changed for the glory of God.

May it be so in Jesus' name.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Have you used your Teacup today?

Have you used your Teacup today?
Matthew 23:25-26 (English Standard Version)
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean."
From time to time I have given a short devotion to ladies groups and had some fun with tea cups. One thing I tell everyone to remember is to make sure your cup is clean for the fresh brewed tea that will be coming. In my life I don't always feel like a tea-cup but just a plain mug. Tea-cup or Mug....our life needs to be filled with the bread of heaven.

Let us look at four beautiful teacups. You can imagine them to be a pretty and decorate them any way you would like. These teacups would represent 4 different women and their lives.

* Woman #1 has a beautiful teacup with roses all on the outside but when she asked the Lord to fill her cup He finds it is filled with WORRY.
Philippians 4:19 (English Standard Version)
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
* Woman #2 has a beautiful teacup with ivy all on the outside but when she asked the Lord to fill her cup He finds it is filled with FEAR.

Deuteronomy 31:6
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
* Woman # 3 has a beautiful teacup with pink flowers all on the outside but when she asked the Lord to fill her cup He finds it is filled with DOUBT.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (English Standard Version)
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."
* Woman # 4 has a beautiful teacup with blue flowers all on the outside but when she asked the Lord to fill her cup He finds it is filled with DISCOURAGEMENT.
Psalm 126:2 (English Standard Version)
"Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
What is stuck in your tea cup, mug and life that you need to wash out?
Tea cups when used get dirty and need to be cleaned on a regular basis - so do our lives need to be cleaned out. Don't compare your teacup to a mug or your mug to a teacup. We are all created to be different and serve a different purpose. We all struggle with different things, so don't look into someone else's cup - clean out your own and start using it.
Did you know that the more you use bone china the stronger it gets? The less you use it the weaker it gets. How is your bone china? Is your life strong from use or weak from not being used on a regular basis?
Lynn W

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pray without ceasing

Pray without ceasing
I have a grandson, Elijah, who is 21 months old. Oh what a joy he has been to my husband John and me! We could never have imagined the joy that one little boy could bring to our hearts. I could go on and on about what a smart and wonderful child he is...but I will try to keep my focus on prayer!
It has also been a joy to watch my son Dan and his wife Liza grow into their Christian parenting roles. From the time Elijah has been able to sit in his high chair and eat "people food" they have begun each meal with a simple prayer. They would clasp his tiny hands together and pray. Elijah would just look on in wonder. He would also watch Mommy and Daddy pray as they began their meal or on other occasions. They have begun to "bring [Elijah] up in the training and instruction of the Lord" Eph. 6:4. Being so young, some might say that he doesn't truly understand what he is doing and there is some truth to that. However, it is never too early to share the love of Jesus and our thankfulness for what He has so graciously given us.
I would never have thought that at 21 months, I would learn a spiritual lesson from Elijah! This past Saturday we were together at our home for supper. We set the table, sat Elijah in his high chair, and then we all sat down at the table. Without prompting and for the first time, on his own, Elijah clasped his tiny hands together and said "thank you Jesus"! Well, throughout our meal, I don't know how many times, Elijah clasped his hands and prayed "thank you Jesus." How precious are His children in His sight! Liza commented that this gave us all a fresh perspective on what it meant to pray without ceasing.
In 1 Thess.5:16-18, Paul instructs the young believers to "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Elijah has begun to live this verse out without ever reading it but observing his Mommy and Daddy live it. Oh, that I we would all pray without ceasing, at all times and in all circumstances. Not just lifting red flags of distress prayers, but prays of intersession and thanksgiving. I pray that as Elijah and any other grandchildren God may bless us with, watch my spiritual walk, they may see their grandmother pray without ceasing, from the time my eyes open in the morning until they close at night.
I can't wait to see what else God may show or teach me through the life of our Grandson, Elijah.
Prov. 17:6 Grandchildren are a crown to the aged. AMEN!
Mary Ann

Friday, October 20, 2006

God of the Impossible

We are uncertain of the source of this poem other than the author's initials but wanted to share it to bless your heart today.

God of the Impossible

O God of the impossible!
Since all things are to Thee
But soil in which Omnipotence
Can work almightily,

Each trial may to us become
The means that will display
How o'er what seems impossible
Our God hath perfect sway!

The very storms that beat upon
Our little bark so frail,
But manifest Thy power to quell
All forces that assail.

The things that are to us too hard,
The foes that are too strong,
Are just the very ones that may
Awake a triumph song.

O God of the impossible,
When we no hope can see,
Grant us the faith that still believes
All possible to Thee!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Do You Need a Revival?!

Do You Need a Revival?!

Diane and I were talking yesterday and sharing our hearts with one another. In our conversation I told her, "I feel like I am sucked dry." Can any of you relate to what I am talking about?

The picture I used to describe that dryness is a sponge. When my father was in the military years ago, he brought home these flat rectangular shaped objects that had a texture sort of similar to construction paper, only much rougher.

At the time, I had 2 sisters and two brothers, and none of us knew what they were. So my father, completely loving the fact that we were all stumped, took great delight in getting a cup of water and slowing pouring some water on this object. All of our eyes widened with surprise as this thing expanded before our eyes and became a sponge. Who knew, that a sponge could be so flat. Not only was it dry, it was completely dehydrated and compressed.

Now you have a clear picture of what I was describing to Diane. The season of life that I have recently passed through required me to pour out. Not only from any excess I had, but from my inmost pasts. From my deepest part, there was a wrenching that took place. A wrenching, that I am only now becoming aware of.

Therefore, my soul needs a revival!! I'm in desperate need of manna from heaven! Can I get a witness here?
Praise God! Praise God! Praise God for the daily sufficiency of His abiding, enduring, sustaining grace!

Today I pray that God would bring the wonderful mystery that is Him, the fearful majesty that is Him and present Himself to my human spirit/your human spirit for purifying, cleansing and reviving. Sisters may we wait on Him until His presence is with us, until we are consciously aware that He is in our midst. May we want to know Him and be satisfied by Him -TODAY!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

By faith, today I will.....

"Jesus said to him, 'Go your way; your son lives.' So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and went his way." John 4:50

We as Christians are challenged to walk by faith not by sight; (For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7) but what exactly is faith?
A common verse used when we attempt to define faith is Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
The dictionary defines faith: "(1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion (3) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (4) : complete trust" Merriam-Webster Online 9/13/06
I have to chuckle at definition 3-firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Oh, please!! No proof? I think that would be rather foolish, don't you? We do not believe in something of which there is no proof.... Let's consider...
1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Gen 1:1
2. The plagues in Egypt. Exodus 7-11
3. The parting of the Red sea. Exodus 14
4. The healing of the sick. Matthew 8:1-4
5. The raising of the dead. Matthew 9:23-26
6. The resurrection. Matthew 28
7. 70, 000 million million million stars held in place by something, Someone
8. Healing of Joyia Paul from the brink of death.
9. Changed lives of thousands of men and hundreds of women in the Colony of Mercy at America's KESWICK.
10. Peace that passes all understanding.

Oh, my...the list can not be contained in this Victory Call, or this website, or the internet, or the world. "And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen." John 21:25 Proof? Absolutely!!

So what is faith? I have often defined faith as "taking God at His word". This definition is evidenced in our day's verse. "So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and went his way." How do we know that the man believed the word that Jesus spoke? The obvious answer is that the Bible says so, but look at the next phrase, "and went his way." Faith is not some ethereal feeling, or sixth sense. Faith is based in truth and results in action.
By faith Able offered to God... Hebrews 11:4
By faith...Noah...prepared an ark... Hebrews 11:7
By faith Abraham obeyed... Hebrews 11:8
By faith Abraham...offered up Isaac... Hebrews 11:17
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob... Hebrews 11:20
By faith Moses...kept the Passover... Hebrews 11:28
By faith Diane...
Faith is active.
By faith, today I will.....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bread Alone....

Bread Alone....

Matthew 4:4 "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God"

Here's what I'm thinking... I've begun to look at the word "bread" not just as earthly food, but on those spiritual things I do. See, in our Christian life we "do Church" we "do Christian Literature" we "do devotions" and we "do Christian Conferences and Seminars" just to name a few. Yet, here's the big question... How much do we "do the Word of God"? Let's look at the verse... it says EVERY word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

Now to me that is where I struggle - EVERY word. I have read the Bible through once in my life and that was a requirement for College so I bet I didn't read EVERY word. I am convicted - I know scripture yes, and I can teach scripture, but I believe I am failing myself and my God by not knowing and using ALL of scripture.

All of scripture teaches...
(Hebrews 4:12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

All of scripture has the power to transform and lead me in victory...
(1 Thess. 2:13) For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
(1 John 2:14) I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

All scripture can help me through life and lasts forever...
(Hebrews 6:5) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.
(1 Peter 1:23) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

All those things we "do" are great, but I challenge you to "do" the whole Word of God. I now have scripture on tape and listen to it on my way to work. I usually listen to each book 2 times before I move on to the next book. I am also trying to read though different books of the Bible. I have learned something that works for me... I listen to the Word in Order, but I read the books in any order. It really isn't the HOW that matters, it's "EVERY WORD' that matters.


Monday, October 16, 2006


Have you known someone who stood as the epitome of Christianity for you? They seemed so solid. They appeared to know God's Word and they influenced many for Christ. Then something happened. First they became very involved in something that seemed to be on the cutting edge of Christianity. Then they seemed to almost be obsessed with their new concepts. You hesitated to even think such a thing about them because they were known for their spiritual leadership. But then you saw more disturbing trends: They became secretive and obsessive and even manipulative concerning their "new" thoughts or "new" understanding. They demanded that others do things their way. They were unbending in their procedures. Soon you saw them pull away from the organized church completely. Sometimes they may start a church, or even cult, of their own, or they may lose their enthusiasm for Christians and Christian activity completely and become very disillusioned and non-participative.
What happened?
They have become captured by peripheral issues. Those issues became paramount in their minds. They became procedure and rules oriented. They were captured by what in the beginning was a good thing. They were chosen by God, but they were not captured. When we are captured, we are no longer free to let God work in our lives.
Oswald Chambers states: "Satan is as subtle as God is good, and he tries to counterfeit everything God does, and if he cannot counterfeit it, he will limit it. Do not be ignorant of his devices!"

Our prayer should be "That we will come to our senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken us captive to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:26 NIV).

Watch out because:


Marilyn Heavilin

Friday, October 13, 2006

God Knows Your Name

"He counts the number of stars; He calls them all by name. " Psalm 147:4

"Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things,Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing." Isaiah 40:26

Do you remember growing up when your mom or dad called you by your sibling's name? Some people I know have even been called by the dog's name.
I come from a family of 5 girls and 1 boy and we each have 2-4 children of our own. I live a distance from my parents, my siblings and their families so I see them infrequently. It never fails, as I spend time with them and for a week or so after I get names mixed up. I call my daughter by my sister's name. I call my sister by my daughter's name. When my sister was visiting this summer we got a chuckle because I took it to a whole new level. I paired my sister's name with my son-in-law's. That's pretty bad.
I was reminded of our day's verse: "He counts the number of stars; He calls them all by name." (Psalm 147:4)
Scientists estimate that there are --- brace yourself--- 70 sextillion stars in the universe. That is 70,000 million million million!!!!(CNN.com/09-09-06) Our creator, the creator of 70,000 million million million stars, Our God CALLS THEM ALL BY NAME!
Does that do to your brain what it does to mine? Doesn't it take us to the very edges of the capacity of our understanding and still realize we have not even begun to wrap our minds around such magnitude, such greatness? I want to worship beyond what my simple words can express. Don't you just feel like falling on your face before such magnificance in humble adoration?
Not once has God called one star by another's name. Not once.
God sustains the universe; a universe that contains 70,000 million million million stars.
God knows your name. This same God sustains you.

Let that sink in today and worship.


Thursday, October 12, 2006



Recently, I have been applying for schools to further my education and each school requires a detailed account of my credentials and accomplishments. I find it difficult to sum up what I have done in a way that really expresses who I am. I have created a rather extensive Resume' to send with each application. All of that got me to thinking about Christ and His Impressive Credentials. I heard a sermon quite some time ago that struck me and I have held on to the outline as a reminder of Who Jesus Was...

Luke 4:31-5:11

1. (vs. 32) Christ believed in what he taught and taught it to others with strength of character and confidence.
2. (vs. 35-37) Christ stood up to the enemy, he was not afraid to face the enemy head on. He did not shy away from conflict or challenges.
3. (vs. 40-41) Christ stooped down to the hurting. He took the time needed to meet the needs of those around him.
4. (vs. 42-44) Christ showed humility of person. He did not promote himself - He only claimed to do what he was sent to do.
5. (vs. 5:1-4) Christ always recognized the potential in others and gave them a new mission and goal in life. (Eph. 1:11-12) Christ sees our Potential and gives us meaning and purpose.

Can you remove the name of Christ and insert your name? Are you an imitator of Christ? Does your resume' resemble Christ's? Wouldn't it be awesome if the next time we need a resume' we could use Christ's credentials in place of ours? Paul lived his life that way... 1 Cor. 11:1 "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ"


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Be ready in season and out

Be ready in season and out

We were in the middle of a conference check-in. (for all of you not familiar with Keswick - we were busy!), when suddenly my co-worker came to me and said; "Dina, would you like to give this woman marriage counseling?" I said you're kidding me right? She was not kidding! So of course I met her briefly and took her aside for some privacy. First and foremost I explained I was not a counselor. I can minister to her and share with her but I leave the long term, one-on-one to the professionals. Having said that, I had an opportunity to listen to her words and hear her heart. Sometimes that's all we need, just to be heard, it says my thoughts and feelings are worth your time. I was able to confirm that she knew Jesus Christ as her savior and share with her some of the blessings He has worked out in my life. It gave her hope and encouragement.
What a privilege! What a responsibility! People not only want to be heard, but also godly counsel, advice and direction. If I only heard her and then let her go, how have I really helped? It would be like having someone say to me, "I'm hungry, too and then I pray with them but don't give them any food.
I did indeed pray with her and was even allowed to embrace her. She did take a referral name for a counselor and information on a bible study. I didn't have all the answers she needed but I do know The One who does.
I did see her once again and was able to have some verses ready for her to "feed on", so to speak. As I'm writing this, I realize that tonight, these verses are for me. Join me in meditating on His words of love, and allow your thoughts to soar upward.
Are you available to come along side a stranger? Do you have time for those "divine appointments"?
Someone did for me more than once, and I praise God they did.
Jeremiah 29:11 -"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Job 13:15a"Though "He slay me, yet will I trust Him."
Deuteronomy 31:8"And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed."
Psalm 121:4"Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. "

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

should have...could have...would have

Have you ever thought about how much time you have spent in your lifetime ruminating over the mistakes that you have made?? poor judgment calls....decisions that turned out to not be such good decisions....not paying attention to your "logic" or your "gut" about something, and then regretting it big time later....just flat out screwing up......
I bet if we were all honest, we would be appalled at how many hours we have walked down the lane of "should have...could have...would have", as we churned over and over "if only I had NOT done____"....."if only I had not made that huge mistake"..."if only I would have done that a DIFFERENT way"....blah, blah, blah!!! " I am such a loser because I made that mistake...I was stupid....I should have known better"...blah, blah, blah!!
I have been really chewing on this whole concept of "mistakes" lately, because wouldn't you know it.....God has put three things in front of me in the last week, as only HE can so cleverly manipulate those life lessons that he wants ME to learn...and to write about each week to you! The first was a plaque that I saw in a store: "A mistake is evidence that someone has tried to do something". VERY interesting!!! I like that idea!! In other words...nothing ventured, nothing gained. OK...I get it....step out of my comfort zone more and TRY things!!! Even if they don't go the way one had hoped...well, you tried to do something different!! Then, I flipped my calendar and the saying of the month is:
" A mistake is simply another way of doing things" (Katharine Graham) WOW!!! I like that too. You know me...the queen of "re-framing"....what a great way to re-frame what one could conceivably turn into a self-loathing, beat up session. And the third, and of course the most powerful message was this past Saturday at a wedding...the pastor was talking about leaving the past in the past...letting go of our past mistakes and our past hurts and wounds, and looking forward to a hopeful future. And then, he went in for the spiritual jugular as he boldly shared with us that to our awesome God, there IS NO SUCH THING AS A MISTAKE!!!! Everything we do is all part of God's master plan for our lives.....and our gift back to God is to honor HIM by turning ALL of our past experiences (even our biggest screw-ups) into a praise and glory to God. Why?? Because only God can turn even the most shambles of a past into a life of beauty. Our God is an awesome God!!
So, my challenge to you right now is to STOP the negative thoughts about the past and praise God for His endless mercies, grace, bounty, and blessings...and YES, thank Him for the "mistakes" that He allowed you to make, so that you can now be closer to Him, as you look to Him for the true hope of the future.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Spend Time...While You Have Time

Spend Time...While You Have Time

A friend and partner of our Keswick ministry, a friend of God, a husband, mentor, spiritual leader, and man after God's own heart...David E. Shoppy...recently left his earth suit for eternity. At his memorial service a few days later, many who dearly loved him gathered to share in the sorrow and the joy of his home-going. Through tears and laughter much was shared about -the man. I personally learned things about him that I never knew and felt I was blessed to have known him for the brief time that I did.

Today's Victory Call is birthed from the words of his beloved Betsy. We embraced at the end of the service and there was so much love there. She whispered a few things in my ear and I want to share one of them with you today. They were simply words. Words we all need to hear whether we are married or not.

The words Betsy whispered were "spend time with your husband". Nothing profound and yet my heart was moved for two reasons. One: because I remembered that Dave and Betsy had been blessed with a week by the ocean just a brief time ago. Taking the time to rest and be together was so good to them and for them, to create new cache memories that Betsy now has of her groom. Memories that apart from, spending time with him, she simply would not have. The second reason was more conviction than anything as I remembered some recent thoughts about my own husband. My heart was moved though, because I knew it was God speaking directly into my ear, using Betsy's voice to say, "Stephanie, stop sweating the small stuff."

Dear ones, today is all we have. The moment you are in is all you have. Life hangs in a delicate balance for all of us and today, not tomorrow...but today, our souls might be required of us. Today could be the day that we breathe our last breath. In whatever way possible, let us spend time with those we say we love. Let them see our love in action
- one act, one deed, one word, one moment, at a time.

I know for some, the thought of reaching out or moving toward someone to spend time with them, can be frightening. Frightening, because being with them will mean being vulnerable; exposing yourself to possible rejection. Believe me; if this is true of you, you are NOT alone. Your history with that person may be tenuous at best. Maybe the hurt is so huge and so deep, the very thought of "going there" terrifies you. Or perhaps it's been so long since a kind word has been spoken; you don't even know where you would begin.

Dear sister, go to God with it. Only He is able to move and work in your heart to do this. Seek Him for the when, where, how, and if. Ask him who it is that He wants you to spend time with.

If you are married and your relationship with your husband is one of mere existing, ask God to soften your heart; to move and work in you, in such a way that you even want to take the risk.

Begin with brutally honest confession before God. Go to Him with every ounce and speck of anger and yuck. Allow Him to heal you where your heart hurts. Allow His Spirit to empower you to seek forgiveness if, when and where you know you need to. Then ask God to show you and tell you, "What is the next thing?" Ask Him to show you how you, personally, can spend the time you have, with the one you love.

Dear one, He is faithful, faithful, faithful!!! Seek to spend the time. God knows it all and you can trust Him to show you all the creative ways you can do this thing.

Seek. Ask. Listen. Obey. Do the thing!


Friday, October 06, 2006

They Saw Christ in Dave

"But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it." Numbers 14:24

On Wednesday, August 9th, one of my co-workers stepped from this world into glory. Dave Shoppy died very suddenly. It seems as if one moment his feet were firmly planted on earth and the next moment his feet were dancing in glory. It was a shock to us all.
The following Monday, at his memorial service, I was so encouraged yet challenged by the many well-wishers and their affirming words about Dave. See, Dave was a gentle-man in the truest sense of the word. Person after person recalled Dave's encouragement, his kindness, his humor, his love for His savior, his family and his ministry. Dave loved people. As I sat there, I realized every kind word about Dave was true. Sometimes, at funerals we hear the good stuff and sweep the bad under the carpet. At Dave's service, I realized, at least from my experience with Dave, there wasn't bad stuff to sweep under the rug. I do not remember Dave every being angry, frustrated, irritated, short-tempered, impatient, rushed, harsh, unkind, or divisive. Not one. Numbers 14:24 could have been said of Dave, 'But My servant, Dave, had a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully...'
I am not making Dave out to be perfect because he surely was a sinner; however, he allowed Jesus ready access to his life and practiced dying to himself.
I left Dave's service challenged because much of what was said about him could not be said at my memorial service. At my funeral, there will be plenty of people who could stand up and say (although I hope they don't): Diane got angry, frustrated, and irritated. She could be short-tempered, impatient, rushed, harsh and unkind. That is surely not the legacy I want to leave. I want people to have seen Christ in me, much the same as they saw Christ in Dave.
I cannot go back and change the past, but I can choose today to be different in the future so that my memorial service will exemplify Christ not me.

We will miss you Dave and the evidence of Jesus Christ in your life.



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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Today She heard the TRUTH

Today She heard the TRUTH

What an awesome privilege it is to tell someone the truth about Jesus, His Power, His Love, His Forgiveness and the Victory! A woman in her late twenties came in to Keswick today hoping that we were an addiction recovery center for women. She had a beautiful face but fear in her eyes and not much skin on her bones. As soon as I laid eyes on her I wanted to help her. Now that doesn't always happen with such a burden and with good reason. I am not a counselor and can only go so far as to give advice on such matters. That is not my role here. So I had first tried to contact one of the ladies on staff who are in that role, but no one was available. The Lord spoke to my heart and said, no, but you are available. I may not be a professional counselor but I am a minister of Christ and that is my role everywhere. It was interesting to say the least, she was very open and told me she was addicted to pain meds from and auto accident and that she was also involved in using other drugs. I began by telling her that I was really glad she came and I explained what Keswick is and what it is not. The Lord opened the door for me to share with her a brief part of my testimony and the door that He used for me to enter was the lies she had bought into about Him. She believed in all gods and had respect for all beliefs in all gods. She also believed that god could not be and I quote; "experienced through the five senses", taste, sight, touch, smell or hearing. I explained that with all due respect to her as a person that none of what she just told me had any shred of truth to it at all. And that in fact she was looking at living proof of God's existence in me and that was the opening to share about His saving grace in my life. I also told her of the truth that He can be experienced in every sense! But most of all the fact that he was the word made flesh and as I tugged at the skin on my arm I told her that he was as real as I was standing before her when He took on flesh and became man. She had a wide mouth and was quiet. I g!
ave her
the practical help she needed for her addiction by referrals etc... and then I asked if she would like me to pray with her, and she said yes and also shared that she often watched two very popular pastors on TV and had prayed "the prayer" many times but nothing ever happened! I told her I believed something was happening and that God was at work in her life. I prayed with her and for her in Jesus name the one and only God that ever was and ever will be. I left her with this truth; I knew without any doubt that God could heal her of her addictions and give her victory over sin in her life.
John 1:14; The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Isaiah 45: 21-22; And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Savior, there is no other.
John 10:30; I and My Father are One.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Good news!

Good news!

"Mom...Dad, I just can't believe it. Everyone else believes me and takes my advice about cars. I know what I'm talking about...I just can't believe that my own parents won't listen to me!" My son John just can't believe that we wouldn't buy the car that he knows is the best car made and the most reliable.
Good news....when we know that we know that we know! We just don't want to keep it to ourselves. We want to share it! We can't fathom that anyone wouldn't see and believe too! That's how I feel about the Good News, the Gospel. I know that I know that Jesus died for me, transformed my life, and I have eternal life with my Savior now. And I just want to share it with everyone!
Who else but God could have transformed my heart and my life? How can I keep something like that to myself? So I share my faith, my Jesus. Most often I get polite listeners, or "oh yeah I know". It breaks my heart when the Good News is met with coolness, when I'm on fire. Can't they feel the heat? Can't they see how God has changed my life? How could they not want Jesus in their lives too?
There is no way I can hide or would even want to hide my faith. Luke 11:30 says, "No one lights a lamp in a place where it will be hidden or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand so that those who come in may see the light." I pray that even when I don't say a word, my faith will shine through to all I meet. May God always give me courage and determination, to always, and in all ways, share Him with all who come across my path.
Jesus said "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation", Mark 16:15.God calls us to share the Good News to friends, family, strangers, everyone we meet. But even if He didn't command us to .....how could we keep it to yourselves? Are you surprised when you share the Word and how Jesus has transformed your life, and others just don't see what you see and believe what you are sharing with them? I know how sad and even frustrated that makes me, especially with those I love most.
My son John has been telling me for years to stop buying the "junk" cars I buy and buy a Honda. I haven't yet, but I'm thinking my next car will be the one he recommends. Maybe, just maybe, the next time I talk to John about Jesus, his eyes will be open and he will see the Truth of the Good News and believe. Oh how this Mom's heart will rejoice!
Keep sharing your faith, keep sharing the Truth. If you love Him there is no way you can keep it too yourself! Let your light SHINE!

Mary Ann

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Purpose of Life...

The Purpose of Life...

Ok, so there have been many books on this topic. Maybe I'm just a little more reflective after dealing with recent death's to those I cared about, but whatever the reason ~ here's some brief thoughts on the subject.

I have now started to read a new book by Randy Alcorn called "Heaven" it is the last book read by Dave Shoppy. I am sure some devotional thoughts will come as I read the book, so be prepared. However, as I think about life and the book I realize that truly what life is all about is preparation for heaven.

Life can seem USELESS (Ecc. 1:2-4)
Life seems TIRESOME (Ecc. 1:4-8)
Life can be UNFULFILLING (Ecc. 1:8-10)
Life seems INSIGNIFICANT (Ecc. 1:11)
Life appears to be UNCONTROLLABLE (Ecc. 1:15)

HOWEVER, that's not what life truly is when we know Christ. See Christ adopted us into His family (Eph. 1:4-5) and His purpose is for us to all live together with Him forever (Eph. 1:10)

Life is PREPARATION for Eternity. (Ecc. 3:11)
So, how do I spend my time on earth preparing? First, I must get to know Christ and Grow in Him (John 1:12). Only once I know Him can I do the following:
1. Use my Time in view of Eternity (Col 4:5)
2. Use my Talent in view of Eternity (1 Cor. 6:20)
3. Use my Treasure in view of Eternity (1 Tim 6:18-19)
2 Corinthians 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Weeping May Endure For a Night

Weeping May Endure For a Night...Psalms 30:5

It's probably safe to say that most of you reading this Victory Call have experienced a season of life where weeping was the norm. Your days of sorrow seemed multiplied one on top of the other, and you didn't think you could possible bear another one.

And then...the morning came and you realized you could, in fact, face another day. Not only could you face it, but you did face it. Joy came, and with it, a remembering that the grace of God was again sufficient to keep you through the long dark of night.

Such is true of my life these days. Moment by moment, day by day, I am hyper aware of God's sustaining grace in my heart and life. I can't fathom where my life would be without God to turn to now or at any other time.
I wish I could say that falling on my face and crying out to Him, is the first thing I do, but all to often I find myself thinking and fretting first, and then, I have an aha moment. A fresh moment when I remember whose child I am and who my Daddy is. I remember that greater is the Who and What in me than the who or what that is impacting my life, in the world. And guess what happens? Peace! Perfect peace each and every time, floods my mind and heart.

Philippians 4:4-7
"Rejoice in the Lord always and again I will say Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus."
If this fact, this promise from the Word, had not been true in my life over and over again, I wouldn't believe it and thus, I couldn't share this truth with any measure of confidence.
There is a power in rejoicing that you only know when it comes. There's an incomprehensible peace that is not realized...until...it is simply there.
Who but God can calm the heart's raging, and quiet the minds ranting? No one and no thing can or will do.
So dear one, through the travailing tears rejoice. Again and again rejoice. Let your mind and heart hear the Psalmist as he penned Psalms 30:4-5:
"Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes with the morning. (English Standard Version)
All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God! Thank Him to His face! He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter." (The Message)
Selah, Selah