Friday, December 28, 2007



Proverbs 31: 10-11
"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good not evil all the days of her life."

Trust in another person has several meanings (1)
1. Trust means that you feel that the person is honest and will not lie, cheat or steal from you.
2. It also means that you can count on the person to do as he or she promised and that the person is reliable.
3. Finally, trust in a person means that you feel he or she can be counted on to do something important, will not shirk from duties, and will take personal pride in what he or she does.

The word confidence could also be substituted for trust, meaning that one believes that another person has the capabilities to do that which is required or requested.

We learn from the Proverbs 31 Woman that as women of God we need to be trustworthy, that our lives need to demonstrate that confidence in all we do. People need to be able to count on us to be dependable day in and day out. Proverbs 11:13 reminds us that our integrity will guide us, but we can be destroyed by our unfaithfulness. As a wife I want my husband to have full confidence in my abilities to handle the household, keep our confidences, represent him and our Savior, and above all to meet my obligations and commitments I have made to others. If I am trustworthy, his name will be praised and if I maintain the household it is only to his gain and glory. Not just at home, but in all relationships we need to be trusted. As a mother, as an employee, as a friend, as a daughter when we are trustworthy, we thrive and give honor to ourselves and God.

So, ask yourself the following questions:
Are you honest with yourself, your spouse, and others?
Do you follow-up on your commitments? Are you a dependable person?
Do you care diligently for those things in which you are entrusted? Money, possessions, work and children...

Being Trustworthy is the first step in being a Godly woman outside of having a personal relationship with Christ. Ultimately, with a relationship with Christ - he can make us each of us trustworthy individuals. Ask Him today to show you the areas of your life that need work, and ask Him to help you become a Proverbs 31:11 Woman.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

You Are on God's Mind

You are on God's Mind

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, "The Lord be magnified!" But I am poor and needy: yet the Lord thinks upon me. Psalm 40:15-16a

You are on God's mind today!!

I grew up in church knowing about God. My impression and thoughts of God were removed, remote focused on his transcendence.

God is certainly transcendent. There are many Scripture that confirm that.
Thus says the LORD: " Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool." Isaiah 66:1

But God is not only transcendent. He is also immanent. He is near.
The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 145:18

God is not only transcendent, and immanent. He is personal and He relates to each of us personally.

He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. Psalm 33:15

And you are on His mind today.

How awesome is that!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Virtuos Women -- Who Can Find?

A Virtuous Woman who can Find?
Proverbs 31

So, are you like me... when you read about this woman you think - IMPOSSIBLE! I would like to take a few victory calls to really look at this woman and how we can become like her in character. Let me start right off by saying that this is a LIFELONG PURSUIT!

First, take some time with me now to look at the background to this Proverb. King Lemuel received this Proverb from his mother, in the form of mothers' Godly wisdom. I would like to believe that this is her counsel to her son in what he is to look for in a wife. All mother's want their sons to find the "right" woman. What we specifically know is that this is an Oracle from God. God is using a mother to teach a son - a very important role of mothers. What we don't know is if this is a direct quote or a summary of what she taught him, but that does not really matter - what matters is what he is told.

You may read it and say... how can I apply that to me today? Well, of course it is written and packed within the culture of the time, we need to look at the virtues described and put them into today's context. We must read it to unwrap the characteristics and conduct of the woman, rather than looking at what she is "doing". Yes, we are describing a married woman however; unmarried women can learn what characteristics to develop now as she is preparing for marriage.

Let's think about the word Virtuous for a moment. Today, you might describe her as a strong woman, a worthy woman or a noble woman. This woman is compared to Rubies which are the most precious of gemstones and can be more expensive than diamonds. A Ruby is harder than any stone, except for diamonds. A Virtuous Woman is a jewel - beautiful, valuable and durable. Just like diamonds, we learn here that "she is hard to find". Ladies, that means that being Virtuous doesn't come naturally - just like the making of precious stones it takes time, energy and work.

Ruth was one woman described as having noble character in scripture - read her story it may give you some insight into some of the characteristics we will be studying. Proverbs 12:4 tells us "a woman of noble character is her husbands crown", wow ladies we can be a "crown". Take some time and read about her, each verse is divided into two parts (vs. 15 has three). We will break down each verse to look at the characteristics and conduct described - as you read try to look at it from that angle and perspective.


Christmas Meditation (December 25th)

Christmas meditation
Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"

Amen! And Amen!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Daddy -- What Did You Bring Me?


How many times have we heard - or spoken - those words? I know as a young child (and later on as a not-so-young child), I often asked that question. My dad was a salesman and especially in my early years, he was often away for two or three weeks at a time. And whenever he came home, I'd come running up to him, throw my arms around his knees (remember I was a little girl), and utter the question, "Daddy, what did you bring me?" And without fail, there was always something in his pocket, briefcase, or suitcase that he had chosen just for me. Many of those things have been lost over the years (although I still have a few of them on the desk he left me when he died), but for the most part they are long gone - broken, discarded, lost.

At this Christmas time of year, our thoughts often to gift-giving and what we will buy for a particular family member or friend. We spend time carefully thinking about the needs or likes of the recipient, trying to choose that "perfect" gift. Sometimes we are successful - sometimes we get stuck with the person who "has everything" or is "so hard to buy for."

Not so with our Heavenly Father. He chose the "Perfect Gift" over two thousand years ago in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Because He knew our need - being saved from our damning sin and needing Jesus' blood to bring us into fellowship with Him. He sent the Son in whom He was well-pleased to die in order to give us the gifts of peace and joy, a loving and victorious relationship with Him, and life everlasting in Heaven. There never was and never will be a greater, more perfect gift than Jesus Christ. And His gift will never become broken, discarded, lost.

And so at this blessed time of year, we can run to our Father and throw our arms out to Him, and hear Him respond to our question, "What did you bring me?" What did He bring us? His only begotten Son.

Lynn Randall

Daddy -- What Did You Bring Me?


How many times have we heard - or spoken - those words? I know as a young child (and later on as a not-so-young child), I often asked that question. My dad was a salesman and especially in my early years, he was often away for two or three weeks at a time. And whenever he came home, I'd come running up to him, throw my arms around his knees (remember I was a little girl), and utter the question, "Daddy, what did you bring me?" And without fail, there was always something in his pocket, briefcase, or suitcase that he had chosen just for me. Many of those things have been lost over the years (although I still have a few of them on the desk he left me when he died), but for the most part they are long gone - broken, discarded, lost.

At this Christmas time of year, our thoughts often to gift-giving and what we will buy for a particular family member or friend. We spend time carefully thinking about the needs or likes of the recipient, trying to choose that "perfect" gift. Sometimes we are successful - sometimes we get stuck with the person who "has everything" or is "so hard to buy for."

Not so with our Heavenly Father. He chose the "Perfect Gift" over two thousand years ago in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Because He knew our need - being saved from our damning sin and needing Jesus' blood to bring us into fellowship with Him. He sent the Son in whom He was well-pleased to die in order to give us the gifts of peace and joy, a loving and victorious relationship with Him, and life everlasting in Heaven. There never was and never will be a greater, more perfect gift than Jesus Christ. And His gift will never become broken, discarded, lost.

And so at this blessed time of year, we can run to our Father and throw our arms out to Him, and hear Him respond to our question, "What did you bring me?" What did He bring us? His only begotten Son.

Lynn Randall

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Virtuous Woman -- Fears God

A Virtuous Woman - Fears God
Proverbs 31:30
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised."

This is the foundational verse and characteristic of the woman described as "virtuous". All of the other verses and characteristics are centered on this principle. Ladies without the "Fear of God" in our lives nothing else will fall into place. Do you want to have confidence? That is a product of having the fear of God in our lives (Prov. 14:26). When we understand what this means in our lives... we will have both the praise of "men" and the praise of God which is far greater.

So, what does it mean to Fear God? It is having a complete reverence for who He is and what HE does in our lives. When we understand who God is and then live in response to that understanding that we can become virtuous women. Scripture tells us that when we fear God, he will instruct us in the way we should live (Psalms 25:12).

Take some time to read about the many benefits of Fearing God. When we understand who he is in our lives we really obtain such wonderful blessings and benefits in our daily lives.

• Intimacy with God: "The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant" Psalms 25:14 • Preservation in Trial: "Behold , the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His loving-kindness, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine" Psalms 33:18,19 • Provisions for Life: "O, fear the Lord, you his saints; for to those who fear Him, there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing" Psalms 34:9,10 • God's Love: "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him" (Psalms 103:11) • God's compassion: "Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him" (Psalms 103:13) • Physical Health: "do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. it will be healing to your body, and refreshment to your bones" (Pro. 3:7, 8) • Wisdom and Knowledge: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Pro. 9:10) • Life and Peace: "The Fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil." (Proverbs 19:23) • Prosperity: "The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life" (Proverbs 22:4)

When we live in the abundance of the work of God in our lives - we truly will be giving praise to Him in all we do. Do you really rest in his benefits? When we stop trying to be "virtuous" on our own, God makes us something wonderful. When He makes us "virtuous" we give praise and honor to Him.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What Do You Say Love Is?

What Do You Say Love Is?

One of my all time favorite songs is by Bette Midler titled "The Rose".
A few years ago I took my mom out to lunch and sitting in the parking lot of the restaurant I played the song for her. I'd recently checked the CD out from the local library and as I'd listened to the song with new ears, I'd thought of my Mom and the fact that she is in the winter of her life. Spring has passed and she has done so much living in her span of years as well as some dying -dying to hopes and dreams. My desire was to encourage her to dream new dreams and hope new hopes, plant new flowers and dance new dances, take a chance and plant new seeds in her garden for love -new love- to grow and flourish.
She's had a few more birthdays since then and it's been a blessing to watch her embrace her life and live it. It may be winter but she still has a graceful steady spring in her step...and more importantly the Son shines brightly in her soul and spirit.

My love for this beautiful woman is something my heart and life are not adequately able to express and what I say love is (in an earthly way) is Mom. A beautiful flower, like the crocus, that peeks its head above ground at the slightest hint of spring. Every year I am amazed to see this happen. The crocus shows up, having pushed through the hard, sometimes snow covered, winter ground...drawn upward by the sun. Nothing keeps it in the ground. It pops through and shows of its simple beauty, just by being itself.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wait ... Wait ... Wait


God speaks to me in many ways as I'm sure He does to you. When I read His Word, He always has something to say to me. I can read some passage 10 different times and there might be 10 different messages in there for me. His Word is alive as it says in Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
I have found that God uses people to "speak" to me at different times too. Sometimes it may be encouragement, at other times direction, and yet other times to help convict me of some sin or disobedience. I have to say I'm not always listening.
God even "speaks" to me through His beautiful creation...but I have never heard God "speak" to me like He did a few weeks ago. One morning while I was reading scripture, praying and spending a little quiet time with the Lord, I heard 3 words. It was awesome! The words seemed to come from nowhere. It seemed as though I "heard" it in my head. God was trying to tell me something but I'm still seeking God on what it means for me.
What I heard was "wait...wait...wait." I thought...hold on! What does that mean? Lord can't you give me a little more information? I've never heard you before...can you elaborate just a bit...please?
There was a time when I was an extremely impatient person...trials taught me patience in so many areas of my life. I must admit that it doesn't flow over to all areas of my life. There are times I grow impatient; some are "godly" things I've been praying for like the salvation of my son John. Some are not so "godly" like a remodeled kitchen. I decided to see what the Bible had to say on waiting and here are a few verses that spoke the loudest to me.

Psalm 27:4 "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

Isaiah 40:31 "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Psalm 25:4-5 "Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."

You know it really doesn't matter what God is asking me to "wait" on because I think He is telling me to just wait on His timing and sovereignty in...whatever. It's in the waiting that I will find peace and strength.

I think I've been holding out on you Lord and need to lay a few more things at the foot of the cross. Teach me Lord and guide me in all my thoughts, ways and deeds because all my hope is in you.

Mary Ann

Monday, December 17, 2007

Humble Yourself or Be Humbled

Humble yourself, or be humbled.

"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

I remember this statement made in Beth Moore's book, Praying God's Word: "If we don't presently have an issue that is actively humbling us, we veer with disturbing velocity toward arrogance and self-righteousness" (pg. 58).

As I have grown in my walk with Jesus Christ, 24+ years, He has graciously revealed pockets of my heart where humility has not had its way.
Several weeks ago, I was praying with some urgency that God would give me a humble heart. I don't want to just put on humility; I want to be genuinely humble. I desire humility to overflow from my walk with Jesus Christ, as I live and breathe.

Within the first 7 days of beginning to pray that prayer, I had 3 different individuals 'correct' me. Oh, my prideful heart wanted to defend myself but soon I realized that God was answering my prayer. After all, how could He make me a humble person if He didn't provide opportunities to practice humility?

I needed to follow-up with one of the individuals and that morning in my devotional reading, I read: "Peace cannot be found except with a lowly heart. And a lowly heart is not something that you can conjure up. Meekness of heart is a gift from God every time you experience it. The perfect time to experience a humble heart is when someone disapproves of you, or when you experience inward temptations and weakness. Learn to get used to both of these trials: They are a part of life." (The Seeking Heart-Fenelon; pg.165).

God gives grace to the humble....


Friday, December 14, 2007

You Have Today

You Have Today
"If at anytime in your life you're looking past where you are, if anytime in your life you're kind of waiting through a season to get to the next season, I feel like we're missing something extreme." ~~Bebo Norman ¹ I went on a retreat this weekend with the sisters from my church and without a doubt it was the best "retreat" I've ever been privileged to attend.
One tiny nugget from the retreat was the handful on conversations I had with young mothers who are in a stage of life I've already lived through. We had some emotional moments where a small group of us "40 something" moms -whose children have left the nest- were sharing with these new moms, about how quickly time flies. We lovingly encouraged them to savor the moments of peanut butter kisses and sticky fingered hands grabbing your face to give you an eyeball-to-eyeball grin like only a two year old can. We encouraged them to endure the days of seeming drudgery, remembering that "the joy of the Lord is their strength."
We remembered the "I can't wait until..." days of wanting to hurry up and get through one phase to get to the next. What were we thinking? It all passed so quickly.
One of the things a mom older than me missed most was being able to cradle her children on her lap. There's something about rocking your babies that compares to nothing else. It's pure sweetness and delight.
Sisters, we all have today. Whatever stage or phase of life you are in right now don't waste any time looking past where you are to get to where you think you're going. Sure look past in terms of being excited about where you're headed but be careful not to miss where you are.
Is there someone in your life who needs you to see them right now? Do they need somebody to affirm and encourage them today?
Maybe it's the Lord Himself who is waiting for you to simply be still, to wait on Him, to talk to Him and then listen to all the wonderful things He wants to say to you.
We have today. Let's taste it and savor for the glory of God. Selah Stephanie ¹ the Dreaming and the Coming True, Part 1 Broadcast Date: 09/01/06

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I've been thinking a lot about fear lately, asking myself what I am afraid of and why on earth I am afraid of it. For example, I have been afraid of the dark for as long as I can remember. At various times over the years I have made intentional steps toward victory. The first one came because I was simply tired of being afraid of the dark; tired of running up the stairs at night so the dark (or whatever I was afraid was in it) wouldn't get me. I remember standing and speaking to the darkness and to the enemy in it, saying, "No more! Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world." After that I turned and walked slowly and deliberately up the stairs, choosing to fight the "feeling" of fear.
There are many other things I could list, but frankly speaking, I don't wish to spend one more second pondering on or talking about the things that fill me with fear. I'd rather tell myself the truth, "God did not give me a spirit of fear. Rather, He gave me a spirit of power, and of love and of a sound mind. So that means, empowered by the Holy Spirit of God in me, I can take captive stinky thinking and with a sound mind tell myself the truth "greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world- and because the love of Christ is in me, I will not be afraid!
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." ~~ 1John 4:18 (NKJV) ¹ "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." ~~1 John 4:4 (NKJV) ¹ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." ~~2Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) ¹ Dear sister, there is no fear in Christ. Our life in Christ removes all fear.

"Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have." ~~ Louis E. Boone ²

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." ~~Dale Carnegie ²

"It is the nature of slavery to render its victims so abject that at last, fearing to be free, they multiply their own chains. You can liberate a free man, but you cannot liberate a slave."
~~Louis J. Hall ²

All forms of fear produce fatigue. ~~Bertrand Russell Fear is the prison of the heart. ~~ Anonymous ¹ ²

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Precious Legacy

My Precious Legacy
After getting to know my husband's family I became envious of the legacy that he had. His family is full of fun traditions that I had not grown up with. More important than the traditions were the people behind them. Dave was blessed to still have living grandparents when I had already lost my parents. Dave had "Little Mom" and "Pop" both until they were 90 years old. And we are blessed to still have his Mom and Dad. Dad is looking forward to 80/60 next year! Eighty years old and 60 years married he told us when we saw him last. What a blessed legacy!
I never knew my Dad's mother and I never knew my Mom's father. Both died before I was born. My Mom's mother died when I was 12 so I have few memories of her and my Dad's father died when I was 19 but I was into my life and so I really didn't spend a lot of time with him. After both my parents had died I went to the cemetery where they are buried. I went to "talk". There were issues I needed to resolve and unfortunately I only had headstones to talk to. I was reminded that day that my grandparents were also buried at the same cemetery. I began to walk around and after awhile I came to the family plot where my grandparents, great- aunts and uncles are buried. There was a large family stone and then a number of smaller stones in a row. I came to my Grandmother's resting place and found that on the headstone was John 14:19b "Because I live, you also will live." I looked in amazement at my legacy! I never knew my grandmother. Did my Grandmother request that verse? Did my Grandfather choose that verse? Did I have a legacy that I didn't even know about? I thanked God for this knowledge that somewhere in my past was a godly heritage and that I would continue to be part of it! As I turned to go back to my car I heard that still small voice of God tell me to turn around. I took a few more steps and again felt the need to turn around. As I turned I saw the other side of the family headstone. In large capital letters it read "SAVED BY GRACE"! I hardly could believe it! There was my heritage! I had a legacy too!
I don't want those who come behind me to have to look so hard for their legacy. I want them to know that they have a godly heritage. It will be each one's choice to take that heritage for themselves but they will know that I chose Jesus Christ and as we pray and pour our lives into our kids and grandkids who knows how our legacy will touch their lives!
1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
It is never too late to leave a legacy, one that will last for eternity!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Turn ... Turn ... Turn


"To everything turn, turn, turn, there is a season. Turn, turn, turn, and a time for every purpose under heaven." Maybe some of you remember that song from a few years back. The Byrds made this song famous in the 1960's. Back then I thought it was a neat song but had no idea that it was based on Ecclesiastes chapter 3.
Our world turns and everything changes. Nothing is as certain as change. Some changes are pleasant...some difficult. Some changes we make....some changes are made for us. Some changes bring happiness and laughter....some changes sadness and tears. Many of us don't like change because it requires something of or from do something differently, to change ourselves in some way. We get comfortable in the way things are in the present. There are some who will fight change tooth and nail EVEN IF it means a change for the better. As miserable as things may be at least you "know" it well....but change? What will that be like? How will I handle it? All the uncertainly can cause so much anxiety!
But it doesn't have to be this way. The Bible tells us to expect change and then put our trust and hope in our sovereign Lord because God has a purpose and plan for it all. We witness change all around us every day. All we have to do is look at the seasons. We have just witnessed all our green trees turn into beautiful hues of yellow, gold, red and brown...and watched them fall to the ground. Then "turn, turn, turn" and in spring the trees will once again be green.
Sometimes, I'm the one resisting change. All my resisting only makes change all that much more difficult. Where is my trust? Where is my hope?
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight."
Psalm 42:5 "Why are you downcast oh my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
If I'm clinging to Him, resting in Him, trusting in Him I will not have any fear of the changes that will come.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
TO EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted, A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away, A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak, A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 1

Change is certain, but God in His sovereignty has a purpose in it...and in that I will find peace.
Mary Ann

Monday, December 10, 2007

Of Infinite Worth

Of Infinite Worth...

Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him-for the redemption of their souls is costly...Psalm 49:7-8

I love it when God hands me a new piece to the theological puzzle. Oh, I don't mean He gives me some new revelation no one else has, I mean, He reveals a little more of Himself to me.
Recently, the topic in our small group was about the necessity of the atonement to have occurred as it did. The question posed to us was, "Could the atonement have happened differently? Did Jesus' blood have to be shed?"
Having been asked this question in advance, I had a week to mull it over and was convinced that it had to happen that way only because God said it had to happen that way, but that He could have chosen a different way had He been so inclined. Once He choose His Son's blood as the atoning sacrifice, that is the way it had to be.

In the course of our discussion that night, our small group leader made this statement:
A single one of our sins is an infinite offense against Almighty God and therefore it takes a sacrifice of infinite worth to atone for it.

I can still remember the dawning of light as God reached down and handed me a new puzzle piece. A simple truth that penetrated my heart deeply: The only sacrifice that could possibly have infinite worth is the blood of God Himself, God the Son.
That, my sisters, is pure grace!


Thursday, December 06, 2007


"In 1722 Count Nicholaus von Zinzendorf of Saxony founded a colony of pietist ("holy person who devoutly fulfills religious obligations¹") believers called "herrnhut," later known as Moravians. He also traveled to America and set up communities that began to send out missionaries, first to Greenland, then to the West Indies, then beyond. By the time Zinzendorf died in 1760 some 300 missionaries, all laypersons, had gone out from the various colonies. In 1738 when some of the challenges of missionary life had become clear, Zinzendorf wrote his famous instructions, many of which sound strangely modern, despite their 18th century language. It is better to send people into the wide world than to send no one. But you should be warned about the following temptations." (I share 1-10 of 20) 1. To have even the slightest dealings with clergymen.
2. To think about your purpose in the land only when you get there.
* What is your purpose in the land?
3. To test your vocation on the heathen once you are among them.
4. To give up because something doesn't work immediately.
* Are you ready to give up? Don't!
5. To begin to make your home too comfortable, forgetting that you are really a traveler, a pilgrim among the nations.
* Ouch! Have we become too comfortable in this land of blessing?
6. To be prejudiced against the heathen because they are neither efficient nor pious, and to be irritated by how badly they run things.
* This is a big one for all us Christians, especially those of us who are in ministry. What are the areas we prejudge with little to no information?
7. To seek even the slightest advantage at the expense of your brothers.
* Another big one. One of the ways it shows up in our lives is gossip. Y'all know what I'm talking about!
8. To fill up whole diaries with descriptions of difficulties but write little or nothing about the ways in which our Savior has helped you.
* Let us never ever forget or grow weary of praising God in all our circumstances.
9. To forget that one can do far more with a believing heart than with many words.
10. To judge your colleagues, and particularly your superiors, according to their personalities and then allow your relationship to be influenced by whether or not you approve of them.
* Come on now! We all know about this one. Repent and be set free from a critical spirit!
Tune in tomorrow for 11-20.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gift Giving for a Lifetime

Gift Giving for a Lifetime
This December I will once again pass the anniversaries of my parent's deaths. My father will be gone 18 years this December 10th and my Mom will be gone 14 years on Christmas Eve. I never would have thought that I would no longer have my parents by time I barely got into my 30s. They were too young to die and I was too young to be left without parents. My son, Michael, remembers little about his grandparents. One day I wore a perfume I had once given my mother and as I walked by he said, "I smell Grandma". Such a precious thing that he could recall her perfume! My daughter, Kerri, has only a slight recollection of her Grandmother. One day when she was about 10 she noticed the picture of my parents on the shelf in the living room. She stopped to ponder then asked me, "Who is that guy dancing with Grandma in that picture?" It broke my heart that she had no memory of her Grandfather.
Memories and legacies are so precious to pass down. As this anniversary comes near once again I am reminded of how much I want to touch the lives of my children and hopefully in the future, my grandchildren. I am also reminded of a project that I heard about years ago and still have not done. Maybe if I share it with you I will have the accountability needed to complete it and maybe also inspire you to do the same. What I would like to do for each of my children is to get a new Bible and for one year use only that Bible. As I read through I would write short prayers for them in the margins or give a brief insight into that verse, or tell them why that verse spoke to me. Then at the end of the year I have a precious gift for my child. After doing this for your children move on to your children- in- law and grandchildren and leave them your thoughts and prayers for them in a tangible way.
I received my Grandfather's Bible along the way but there are no notes. I have my mom's Bible but there is nothing to let me know how precious the Word was to her. God has shown me my legacy in a unique way-I will share that with you next time but for now I hope you are inspired to leave a legacy, a gift that lasts forever!
"Give ear O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from our children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done." Psalm 78:1-4 Kathy

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Singing and Dancing

Singing and dancing

I know some of you grew up in churches that didn't allow dancing. I grew up in an atmosphere where singing and dancing were very much a part of my Ukrainian culture. Whenever family and friends gathered you could bet there would be folk songs sung and couples twirling to polkas. I loved dancing the polka with my Poppa, my brother Adolf and my Uncle Albert. When you polka you can't help but smile and laugh. I recall those times with a bitter sweetness. My brother Adolf died in 1976 and with his death, the polka died too. My parents no longer danced.
In this past week I've discovered a scripture through my "Grace Walk" study by Steve McVey that has opened my eyes in a whole new way.

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.1

Steve McVey pointed out that the word "exalt" means "to twirl, to dance with enthusiasm. He rejoices over you with shouts of joy." 2Can you imagine our Father God loving us so much, we who are His children through spiritual rebirth, that He sings and dances...not just dances but twirls (I like to think it's a polka) over us!!! Wow...that's my Abba Father, dancing over me! Me? Can I believe that He would dance over me even though I still mess up? Yes! Yes! Yes! And He dances and sings over you too! Doesn't that just put a smile on your face?
The polka hasn't died. It's alive and well and God, my Savior is dancing over you and me! May this truth sink deep in your heart and soul. When someone asks why your can tell them, you can't help but smile and rejoice because God is dancing the polka over you today!


Friday, November 30, 2007

To Be Sin

To Be Sin...

I was walking one brisk, beautiful fall morning memorizing 2 Corinthians 5:21. A verse that is very familiar to me and yet... as I meditated on each phrase my heart was awash in the depth of meaning contained in these words:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (ESV)

He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus, God the Son) to be sin...
Read that again.

He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus, God the Son) to be sin...

Jesus did not just take on our sin, He actually became our sin. He did not become a sinner. While His divine nature remained undefiled, in His human nature he became "the embodiment of sin" having sin imputed to Him by the Father. "God dealt with Christ not as though He were a sinner but as though He were sin-absolutely identified with our sin." (Pastor Bill helped me with the clarification).
I used to envision the cross as the place where Jesus Christ put on my sin, as if it were a cloak. On that cloak were words like gluttony, lies, anger, hatred, murder". I don't believe that is theologically correct.
When Jesus was crucified there was sign affixed at the top of the cross. "And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS." (Matthew 27:37) If God the Father had put the sign at the top of the cross, it would have read: "This is Jesus, gluttony, lie, murder, gossip". The sign would not be large enough to list all sin which Jesus embodied.
Please don't miss the subtle difference. In the first case He put on types of sins, in the latter, He became sin. This is huge. Don't rush past this. "For our sake he made him to be sin..."

Just as amazing is the truth that in him we become the righteousness of God. We do not put on His righteousness like a cloak; no rather, we become the righteousness of God, in Jesus Christ. At the moment of regeneration, we became the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. If it were like a cloak we would be able to take the righteousness of God on and off, and lose it. It is not so. We become the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. WE CANNOT LOSE IT!!! It is who we are. If God the Father were to put a sign around our neck it would read: This is ___________; my righteous one. Please stop a moment. Fill in the blank with your name. Say it out loud. Keep saying it until your heart leaps with delight over what God did for and to us at the cross.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Like A Bolt From Heaven -- It Hit Me!

Like a bolt from heaven it hit me.

I've been doing a lot of thinking. Over a year ago now, my family experienced an event that shook us to the core. Deeper than anything else had ever done, we were shocked and wounded and we will forever bear the mark(s) of that event.

Since that time, one question has risen to the top as "the question" most people want to ask in their effort to understand. Their minds wrestle to figure stuff out; to attach reason, meaning and explanation to such a soul rending event.
I'm well aware that lots of conversations have taken place behind closed doors in a sincere effort to wrap conscious intelligible language around the question -the question of questions..."Why?!!!"

Why did it happen? Why did God allow it? Why...? Why...? Why...?

From the very beginning I have been adamantly opposed, and almost defiantly resistant, to offering anyone "an answer." I know, that I know, there is no answer that will satisfy everyone. Any answer I would or could give to the "why" question for our situation would serve only to prompt another question...and then another...and another.

I believed then, and I believe now, that much energy is wasted in trying to figure things out, and even more is wasted speculating and judging. I believe the "why" does not matter much. For me the truest thing, the thing that gives me breath to breathe, is knowing -beyond any ability I have to ever explain or understand - that God is enough. God is enough. GOD IS ENOUGH!! And HE IS SUFFICIENT!

I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is Who He says He is and He can, and will, do all that He says, and He will do it according to His good pleasure.
He sees and He hears all of our cries, our pleading to do something (heal, restore, deliver etc.) And, He may very well answer my prayers and petitions just the way I want and ask Him to...and He may not. All that He does will be as He thinks and knows best.

I don't know why, at a particular moment in time, a person decides to attempt to end their life. But I do know that God is God, and I am not, and He is able for the "everything" and the "whatever."

Through the thick and the thin, the better and the worse, He wants His name to be lifted up so that the earth and all who dwell in it will know that there is a God and His name is Jehovah, not John, Paul, Mark or whatever your name is.

The question is, "Will I trust Him though the anguish I feel seeks to pulverize my soul and extinguish my spirit? Will I trust, believe, and glory in the Cross; in the One who came to die for my sins. Will I do this even when life does not make a lick of sense...and even when I feel so bad?"

Most of us have children, spouses, siblings and parents. We have loved ones who are, one way or another, being beat up by the world or are dealing with big stuff in their lives.

We can talk about the "why" all day long. We could make dozens of judging statements in an effort to understand or discern what God may be trying to teach them.
What hits me over and over again is this -God really does want to be glorified in and through our matter what. He is zealous for us and our worship and He will not be satisfied with crumbs from our table. He wants us to move beyond our words and put feet to our faith and live out our faith for His glory even when we feel like doing everything but that. Even if we're curling up in a ball from pain or totally numb because we feel nothing and we don't have the reason why, will we choose to praise Him anyway...even when we don't know why?


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mom, let me try!

Mom, let me try...
My friend lost his dad recently, and for the first few days of grieving, his mom would sit down and he would get on his knees and lean into her and pray. After a few days of watching this, one of his brothers, a brand new believer, said; "Mom, let me try", and he prayed with her. When I first heard this story it melted my heart, as a mom and as a woman. What a blessing to have someone pray for you with such passion.
I had a dear girlfriend of mine pray with me on many occasions. But one night about 2:00AM we were in a spiritual foxhole together. As we sat and prayed I told her I thought God wanted me to be on my knees, so we both got on our knees. We stayed on them and prayed until they were numb. That melted my heart too.
I was blessed with yet another friend who prayed for me recently and again my heart melted. I was in my car taking care of the last minute details of a seminar I was going to do that same day. I was nervous, upset, tired and had lost my "edge" so to speak. That little bit of confidence that gets you up there if you know what I mean. I called my friend to ask for prayer and after a brief but powerful pep talk, my ears heard "Let me pray for you right now, but don't close your eyes while you're driving!" Not only did my heart melt, my eyes leaked! Not just because what was prayed, but how it was prayed and when it was prayed. Right then and there-on the spot! Sometimes life's an ER and you're doing triage. I really want to be the kind of woman who knows when the time to pray is right now. Amen?

Are you involved with addiction ministry? Consider joining us for our Family and Friends Seminar: Binding Up the Brokenhearted, December 8, 2007, 8:00 am -4:30 pm, $17.50 per person, call to reserve your place today 1-800-453-7942.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007



Is Your family being ripped to shreds by your attitude? Or are they being encouraged, affirmed, lifted up and challenged to go farther and farther?

Recently, in the midst of a foul mood, I became painfully aware of how my mood was affecting me. I felt heavy and downright yucky. Within micro-moments all sorts of thoughts flooded my mind and I felt even worse. I could instantly see how my attitude was affecting me and therefore it had to be affecting my family. I knew I needed to make a change. After all, the Lord wasn't speaking to my spirit for nothing. He'd lifted the veil so I'd be free to see the truth.

Believe it or not, I wanted to resist the Spirit's promptings and stay in my mood. The only thing was I couldn't think of any good reason to let my stinky attitude persist --at least none that my conscience would let me get away with.

So, I stopped in the middle of what I was doing, sought out my husband, and did some snuggling. Why was I in a "mood"? I don't know! Sometimes the heart aches from old, old wounds which are stuck in time. Sometimes there's been an offense that remains unforgiven. We could all name a different reason and on some level we could or would feel justified.

But, no matter what my mood or yours, no matter what situation or circumstance we could list, we are always Christians; always called to walk justly. I am always free to choose my way of thinking and being, remembering it is grace, and God's grace alone, that does the work and pushes me towards experiencing victory and toward choosing a good attitude.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you. But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? ~~ Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously- take God seriously. (The Message)


Do you have a loved one caught in addiction? Consider joining us for our Family and Friends Seminar: Binding Up the Brokenhearted, December 8, 2007, 8:00 am -4:30 pm, $17.50 per person, call to reserve your place today 1-800-453-7942.

Monday, November 26, 2007

He Never Changes -- Rewind

He NEVER changes! ...Rewind
I thought it might be helpful to return to this Victory Call from last month. A few have misunderstood what I meant and written to me. I hope this will clarify some things for those who were a bit confused but didn't write...
Psalm 102:27 "But you remain the same and your years never end."
Is there someone who you think you know like "the back of your hand?" Maybe a spouse, friend or family member? Have you ever thought that you knew them so well that you knew what they would say or do in any given situation? "Oh...she would never...he will always..." You might even comment that you would stake your life on it because you think you know them so well! Then... this person says or does something totally out of character and it throws you for a loop!
Funny, but people are like that. We might change our minds, learn something new or find out we were wrong about one thing or another. Maybe the person you know always thought or felt this certain way but they never shared it with you. Then we become confused, angry and our trust in them is broken.
If God is not the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; if God isn't always holy, righteous and just, then maybe, lying, cheating, stealing, addiction, adultery, homosexuality, etc., are okay with Him?
Praise the Lord that none of these are true and our God never changes!
Can you imagine if our God was this way - unpredictable? Changeable?...What would it mean for our lives???
I don't know about you, but that is a very scary thought! I find great comfort and peace knowing that the God of the universe is the One and only God. He tells us in His Word that He never changes. I can know God, who He is and His character. There is great comfort in knowing God is the same yesterday, today and surprises. If I fix my gaze on Him, spend time with Him, I can trust the promises and truths in the Bible. I will be able to rest in Him.
If I fix my gaze on Him, it means I'm spending time getting to know Him better through His truth found only in the Bible. The more I do this the more my relationship with Him grows. As a result, my trust in Him grows along with my faith. The better I know God it becomes a source of great joy, peace and trust. I will know without a doubt that God is exactly what and who He says He is. He never changes!
Psalm 62:5 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him."


Friday, November 23, 2007

What Would Jesus Say to You?

What would Jesus say to you?

Okay, Thanksgiving is past. The food has barely digested in our stomachs and surely we still have a few of those extra calories to burn off, but already our minds turn to Christmas. Now don't groan. The Christmas displays have been up since before Halloween. Some of you have already started your Christmas shopping; some of you are already done. Every year it happens. Every year, from Thanksgiving to New Years we get busier, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. We run to the mall, coordinate our gift lists, balance our check books, shop on-line with packages arriving almost daily, we eat out more, sleep less, eat more, exercise less, spend more, get less. We bake cookies, eat cookies, join friends at parties and browse along the food table. We write Christmas cards, run to the post office to mail them. We wrap packages and run to UPS to ship them. We visit family we may have not seen since last Christmas. We decorate the house, trim the tree. We bake the turkey, ham or hotdogs whatever your family tradition is. We sit with family and friends and talk, laugh and watch football. (I'm exhausted already!)



Be still, and know that I am God... Psalm 46:10

Have we forgotten?

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

What would Jesus say to you this Holiday season if He dropped in for a visit?
"And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41-42

Will you be a Martha or a Mary this Christmas season?


Thursday, November 22, 2007



The giving of thanks. All over the United States today, people are gathering with family and friends, or perhaps spending it alone, in honor of the holiday we call Thanksgiving. Sadly enough, few of them know to whom they are giving thanks or even care for that matter.
Doesn't the very concept of giving thanks require that there is a recipient of that thanks. We are thankful for...but we are also thankful to... Doesn't receiving blessing imply the blessings have been given?
Let us be bold today, willing to say, "I thank God and my Lord Jesus Christ for the blessings He has bestowed upon me this year, this month, this day, this moment."

Be encouraged and let your heart smile with these words:

Psalm 100
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

Happy Thanks - giving,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007



Do you live by the law or by grace? I don't want the spiritual answer, or the one you think I want to hear, I want you to be honest with yourself and with God.

For the first 15 years of my Christian walk, I would never have considered myself legalistic. In my mind, legalists were people that wore long skirts, no makeup, and no jewelry, didn't drink, smoke, dance or play cards. I could spot them a mile away, or so I thought.

What I didn't realize was that legalism can be so much more subtle than that. Legalism is attempting to gain justification (salvation), approval, or acceptance from God by what we do. When in truth none of these things can be gained by anything we do. "...knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified." Galatians 2:16
Now is contrast to that, it is grace that saves us. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

"...for you are not under law but under grace." Romans 6:14

As we endeavor to pursue the experience of grace in our daily lives, it seems that we are like Octopi with 8 tentacles (arms really, not technically known as tentacles). Some of our arms have a firm grasp on grace and in those areas we are walking in freedom but at the same time, some of our other arms have just as firm a grip on the law and in those areas we are walking in bondage.

Our spirit is already perfectly righteous, because it is the Spirit of Christ in us but our flesh is in the process of being sanctified by God unto Himself. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" Galatians 2:20; "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23

God is in the process of conforming us into the image of Jesus Christ. "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18 In this process, God empowers us to grip progressively more and more grace and less and less law.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Our ministry here is to the women of the men who come through the doors of the Addiction Recovery program. Over and over again we hear the cries of women who have been greatly sinned against. The men in their lives have lied to, dumped, walked, cheated on; hit, punched, kicked, abused and misused them any way they chose to...often, but not always, under the influence of some mind and mood altering substance.

Sometimes they repent and ask for forgiveness, sometimes not.
Even as a woman pursues relationship with God, she may have some natural and hearty resistance. And there she is in our offices seeking help, answers, and some assurance that if she forgives him, "everything will be all right".
Of course, this is an impossible task. The only possible assurance we can begin to suggest is found through abandoned life in Christ. With our whole hearts, we seek to convey this truth: God alone is sufficient to bring the extreme healing that her heart requires. Sometimes on bended knee we draw near as the bitter tears pour and their chests heave from months and years of suppressed pain and anguish. We extend the promise of peace and hope - hope we know is found in Christ alone.

While some are able to forgive, and their relationships are reconciled, for a varity of reasons restoration does not take place. Others forgive, and because they believe God has not released them from the marriage, out of obedience, they make the choice to stay. In spite of the deeply entrenched pain that stains their broken hearts, they offer themselves as God desires and move forward toward healing and complete restoration....and they all live happily ever after.

Well, not exactly...
I have no idea who this Victory Call is for today or of the challenge you may be facing as you seek to live in "visible victory", before the face of God with an aching heart that seems unable to move past profound injury to your soul.

Let me encourage you with this promise: The Lord your God has begun a good work in you and He is faithful, oh so faithful, to complete it. Hold fast to your faith, having confidence in the fact that what was true in the beginning is true today and will be true at the end of days; the Day of Christ. This promise has nothing to do with you or the one that has hurt you but everything to do with God. He is the Faithful One!! In you He is creating something that the enemy of your soul can never steal, kill or destroy.
Hold fast to your faith, child of God, and know that the Lord your God is ever present, all the time....and HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL!!


Monday, November 19, 2007



What thoughts come to your mind when you think of the word granted? For me it conjures up pleasant thoughts. Something good or pleasant will be "given" to me. Part of the definition of grant[ed] is: "to permit as a right, privilege or favor."1 I like that...a privilege or a that sounds pretty good. It makes me think "wow, I can't wait to see what I have coming!"
I was reading Philippians 1 when I saw something, really saw something for the first time and it stopped me dead in my tracks...

Philippians 1:29, "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him." (Emphasis mine) And then later on in Philippians 3:10, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death."
Paul indicates that it is a "privilege" or a "favor" that we should suffer for Christ. That seems to go against what I would think would be favor. But yet it is. Up until this time, we in America, don't really suffer for Christ. There are countries that suffer greatly because they are Christians - in China, Sudan, Iraq, Iran (just to name a few). It is amazing to me to hear testimonies of believers who have suffered greatly because they bear the name of our Lord and Savior. Yet it is in those persecuted countries that we see more and more coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
The world thinks America is a privileged country. My parents thought so and in 1952 they emigrated here. Yet, what is privilege? Who is truly privileged? According to Paul, to suffer for Christ is the greatest privilege.
There may come a day when Christians in America will be "privileged" like Christians all over the globe are. May we, like Paul, rejoice in all things, even suffering.


Friday, November 16, 2007

By Grace Alone

By Grace Alone
For the past year or so much has occurred in my life which has led to a deeper more secure understanding of grace. This understanding is ever so slowly and steadily freeing me to experience, in the present tense, abundant life. In addition, there's new sensitivity to hear the voice of God.
Most, if not all, of life these past many months has taught me that I have no control. I have no ability to save any other person on the planet. Zero, Zip, nada! It simply ain't up to me.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." ~~ Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) "Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."~~Ephesians 2:7-10

Okay, since grace is a gift from God, and saving is His idea and all His work, what on God's green earth makes me think that I have the power to change another person; to make them be something they are determined not to be? What makes me think it is my job to make another person accept grace?

After rebuking the 11 disciples for unbelief and hardheartedness, Jesus told them to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (NKJV

I don't think I've ever read anything in the Bible where I was commanded to save anyone. By grace alone, through Christ alone, a soul is convicted and trusts God.

Do you remember your conversion story? Wasn't it grace alone that drew you to trust and believe God for salvation?

I share all of this to encourage any one who may be feeling discouraged or troubled because someone they love deeply continues to resist God. Maybe you believe there is something you need to do to make it happen. Perhaps you've gone so far as to think, "If I can just make them do the right things, then they'll change and want to be saved."

Dear one, be encouraged by the Word of God. The work is not yours to do, it is God's and God's alone.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

What's In Your Back Pack (Part 2)

What's in your back pack? Part 2
Matthew 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 my burden is light."
What comforting words Jesus gives us. Here we are walking around with all our "stuff" weighing us down and Jesus is such a gentleman, He offers to take our heavy burden in exchange for His...and He calls His burden "light." Here's the catch...we have to let go of the death grip that we have on our baggage! He will NOT rip it out of our hand, nor will He take it from us...we must give it to Him w-i-l-l-i-n-g-l-y!
Jesus offers to carry our stuff...His arms are open wide...still we cry "mine, mine, mine!" He says His "yoke is easy and [His] burden light. To Jesus this is a fair exchange. Our backs were never meant to carry all the "stuff" that we shove into those invisible back packs. It's a wonder that some of us can even get out of bed in the morning! But Jesus transfers the load of His burden to us while He takes ours onto Him. This doesn't mean our burdens magically disappear however; they no longer weigh us down. We are free to stand up straight and breathe. This is truly trusting God for everything that has been weighing us down and even crippling us in some cases. Now without the heavy burden we have His strength and we can see our burdens through the eyes of our Savior. And from that vantage point all our burdens look entirely different. We see the truth and see our true priorities.
Jesus also promises to give us rest. But we can't rest until we give it all to Him and hold nothing back. Rest...isn't that what we all want? Read these comforting words from Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
You can't soar like an eagle if you're holding onto that back pack. Are you ready to give it to Jesus? His arms are waiting...then you have a flight to catch.
Mary Ann

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What's In Your Backpack?

What's in your backpack?
Have you every gone on a women's weekend retreat and noticed the luggage women bring? It's very interesting and even funny to watch. The bags range from many pieces to just one small case....and of course a purse. Some women bring four pieces of luggage and clothing on hangers...all for one weekend! But one thing is for certain...every one arrives with baggage.
The new thing today is backpacks. Department stores have some back packs that are made to be "purses." Kids use back packs for their school books. Some people carry their lap top computers in them. There are even people who use them for what they were originally designed for...hiking! Well... I would like to write about a different kind of backpack, the one that each of us carries on our backs. Ones we don't see with our eyes...and are called our "burdens."
What do you have in your backpack? The proverbial to do list? Books to read, Bible studies, ministry work, expectations, worries, past mistakes, present hurts, present trials? How much "stuff" - good or bad - do you shove in your pack back? Funny...when it's full we don't "un-burden" ourselves; we get a bigger bag or just add another.
Why are we so unwilling to part with our bags and our "stuff?" We think "well it may be overwhelming...but it's mine...If I don't do this stuff no one else will." Others may see us hunched over or dragging but still we say, "Oh I'm fine...I can handle it."
There are serious consequences to our physical, mental, and spiritual well being if we hang on to all this "stuff." It can't help but affect our relationships with our families, our jobs, our ministries. It isn't supposed to be this way. There is an answer and we find it in Matthew 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 my burden is light."
There it is from the words of our Savior Jesus...He does a bag exchange! Jesus offers us a solution to our back and neck pain, to our tired bodies and it isn't a tube of Ben Gay! He offers himself. But is it just as easy as that?
Stay tuned for Part 2
Mary Ann

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So Who Are You?

So who are you?

Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Are you born-again? Have you been saved?

This is who you are (I have written them in first person for emphasis):

I am a child of God.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

I am accepted.
Ephesians 1:6 He made us accepted in the Beloved.

I am loved.
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

I am forgiven.
Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

I am free.
John 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Romans 6:22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

I am righteous.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

I have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

I am an heir.
Galatians 4:7
Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ

I am the bride Christ.
Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.

That, my sister is who you are. Believe it and live it.


Monday, November 12, 2007

A Case of Mistaken Identity

A Case of Mistaken Identity

As I was preparing for the Higher Ground ministry, I was reading the workbook we are using this fall when I came across this statement, "Someone has said that man is a spirit who has a soul and lives in a body. The spirit is the core of your identity. Whatever you are in the spirit is who you are." (1)

It occurred to me how we tend to get confused.

Please understand there are two schools of thought regarding the make-up of man. And I don't want to be dogmatic about one or the other, but I will tell you that I've known people that are very passionate about both views.

The Dichotomous view is that man is comprised of two parts - the material (body) and the immaterial, soul/spirit (being one and the same).

The second is the Trichotomous view that man is comprised of three parts-body, soul and spirit. The body is material, soul and spirit are two separate immaterial components. The soul is mind, will and emotions, and spirit is the part that is regenerated, it is the eternal part of who we are.

Regardless of which view we take, our propensity is to define who we are and who others are based on what we see and experience through the mind, will and emotions. That is where we tend to get our identity from. If that is true, we will loose our identity when we die. I'm not saying we will be mindless, will-less and emotion-less robots!! Not at all! But our mind, will and emotions will be perfected (body too!!). Amen, Hallelujah!!

Now stop and think about this a moment. If our body and soul (mind, will and emotions) is who we are, we will live out life in a way that matches that identity (which by the way are all effected by the fall - study the doctrine of Total Depravity). If however, we are who we are in the spirit, that is, our identity is in our spirit, then we are who God says we are. We will live out life in a way that matches that identity. Not perfectly, but beautifully.

At the moment of salvation, conversion, regeneration, the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ took up residence in us. "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16; "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;" Ephesians 3:17 We have the indwelling spirit in us, as much as we will ever get, have or need. The spirit in us is already perfect because it is not our spirit cleaned-up, straightened out, rebuilt but rather it is the very spirit of God. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" Galatians 2:20 It is His Spirit in us that defines who we are. It is our spirit that gives us our identity. Whether you are a dichotomist or a trichotomist you agree we are spirit. Our spirit is who we are. At the very core of our being we are spirit.

Oh, my fingers want to fly as I type. My heart wants to pour out into this Victory Call His truth, a truth that will set your heart soaring as well.

Who are you, really?


Friday, November 09, 2007


RenovationsAbout seven years ago we renovated our kitchen. That project rolled into the renovation of the dining room which rolled into the renovation of our living room. We decided we would never go through that again!

Recently, we thought it would be a good idea to renovate the bathroom. Renovating your house is sort of like giving birth. While you are going through it you swear you will never do it again!

But in time the memory of the pain fades away. Until we ripped out everything in the bathroom we had forgotten the pain of renovating. Every room is being affected by the contents of one room. My dining room has a new vanity sitting in it along with various strips of molding, wallboard and fixtures. My office is consumed with containers holding the contents of what was our bathroom closet. The door to that closet is in my bedroom. My kitchen is my new half bath where teeth are brushed and faces washed. Every room suffers from a thin coat of dust. It makes me wonder why we thought this was a good idea!

As I work on my Bible Study I am looking at what God thinks about pride. I look at my life through His Word and see that He desires to renovate my heart- again. He comes with the Words that will begin to strip away my poor thinking, my bad attitudes, my stubborn ways and yes, my pride. He sees in me a "room" that has broken down, a place where the beauty He built has started to fade. Note that it didn't wear out from overuse but it faded from lack of use.

I don't relish the fact that once again I am in need of a renovation but I find comfort in the fact that my Father loves me enough to continue to work on me. Pride is that thin layer of dust that finds its way into all other rooms. My pride is everywhere and in everything and it has to go.

Just as I will benefit when my bathroom is finished there are benefits to getting rid of my pride.Proverbs 3:34 says "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Benefit #1- Grace! Isaiah 57:15 says "I live in a high and holy place but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit." Benefit #2- God lives with us! Isaiah 66:2 says "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Benefit # 3- God esteems or respects us! * I look forward to my bathroom being finished but I know that I will not be finished here. Perfection comes in the next life but in the meantime God must do His work. Even though it is painful and disruptive for God to renovate us; will you and I choose to allow Him to be hard at work? What "room" does God need to renovate in you?Kathy*Living Free, page 53 by Beth Moore

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Never Give Up Hope

Never give up hope

Sometimes it is difficult to imagine that things will ever be different than they are right now. Perhaps circumstance or a person has caused a heavy burden upon your heart and it seems as if it has become a part of who you are. Life looks endlessly the same. It is times like these that we tend to slip into praying not believing that change will happen. O, sure, we know it is possible but we don't actually believe it. How can we? Our prayers have made little difference thus far, or so it seems. The hope we once had has dwindled to merely a thimbleful or has long since disappeared completely.

Hope. "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

If we do not have hope, then how are we different than our unsaved neighbor or friend? What difference is Jesus making in our life?

Be encouraged by Manasseh. You may read his entire story in 2 Chronicles 33, here are some excerpts:

2 Chronicles 33 (1-2) Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel...(6) he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. (9) So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. (10-13) And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon. Now when he was in affliction, he implored the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.

Manasseh did evil - he rebuilt the high places, raised up altars to false gods, worshiped the host of heaven, sacrificed his sons, practiced soothsaying, witchcraft and sorcery; he did much evil in the sight of God. Imagine his mother or wife's perspective watching him do much evil. It appeared hopeless and yet the Lord spoke to him and change happened.

God stepped in.

Never loose hope, because at any moment God can step in. God can change circumstances and hearts, even it it's your own.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Precious Moments

Precious Moments
Those sweet little statues (dust collectors) that for some have significant meaning. Maybe because they trigger a "precious moment". I have a collection of small statues called "woodland creatures", most of which are rabbits. When I was married, my husband bought this collection and started giving me one each year for Christmas. After we were no longer married, he had my son continue to give them to me. According to my son, this Christmas is the last one in the collection. The other day, he said; "I will keep buying you a rabbit every year anyway". What a precious moment he gave me! One that will never collect dust. I keep the collection displayed in my home as a reminder for my son that his dad and I once shared some very precious moments and out of that love, he was born. It's been a good reminder for me over the years when I could have let a bitter or angry moment take root. We've been divorced for seven years. Exactly one day less than I have been saved. Only just two months ago I extended my hand in peace to his wife and she received it. It too was a precious moment. Maybe today would be a good day to dust off some of your "precious moments". Can't remember any? What are you waiting for? Go make some.
Please pray for the salvation of John's dad, George, his wife Kristy and her daughter Shannon.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Don't Give Up

Don't Give Up!

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." ~~ Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

"So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up." (HCSB)

Do you ever get tired of doing good? Depending on how honest we're willing to be with ourselves, some of us would answer with a resounding "yes!" Most of us have moments when our feelings have been hurt, once again, by someone who says they love us and sometimes, yes sometimes, we want to hurt back. We want to go against the spirit of Christ in us and lash out, repaying evil for evil. We want to pretend we never heard or read the Scripture about turning the other cheek.

Ah, but then we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror of grace and what we see humbles us. We see not the angelic face of grace-filled holiness, but we see ourselves as we really are apart from redemptive healing, saving, transforming grace...and the reflection is not a pretty one. As we continue to look we see the empty cross, and we remember but for His grace we would not be saved.
And so, rather than lash out in bitter anger, we speak the truth gracefully in love.

Hey, I know how difficult life situations can be, most especially the ones involving people. We're all a bunch of mixed nuts, aren't we? And sometimes we rub each other the wrong way.
My encouragement today is for us -all of us- to keep the bigger picture in view. As sisters, let's step up to the plate and determinedly encourage one another today to do good; to stay the course; to not give up or grow weary.

In due season, we will reap a harvest that is sweeter than anything we can possible think or imagine.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~~ Hebrews 12:1-3 Stephanie

Monday, November 05, 2007


Who are you listening to?

When King Solomon died his son Rehoboam became king. Second Chronicles records how the people went to the king and asked that the heavy yoke his father had put on them be removed. Rehoboam consulted the elders. "But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him." 2 Chronicles 10:8 Peer counsel.

Seeking counsel from our peers can be a good thing if they are believers and if their counsel coincides with God's counsel.

I can't tell you how many women end up in my office sharing the counsel they have received from unsaved coworkers, family, neighbors or a best friend. Unless we are being directed back to Jesus Christ and the Word of God, I dare say we need to be wary. It is not that unsaved people can't be wise, or give good counsel but it is our responsibility to confirm that what they are telling us is Biblical. If we are uncertain, we should consult the leadership of our local church.

People often come to me and ask if they can divorce their husband or some other significant life decision. I can't remember one time I responded affirmatively. However, I do always encourage them to seek the counsel of the pastor or elder at their church and if they do not have a church I encourage them to find one.

Who are you listening to?
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly; nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:1-2


Friday, November 02, 2007

Let's Hear It For the Older Ladies

Let's Hear It For The "Older" Ladies!
I had the pleasure of being stolen away on an adventure! A dear friend offered to take me to Virginia to attend a Women's Conference. I was up for the road trip and in need of a little get away. The timing was perfect!
Let me be honest by saying I was not going for the conference- just the time away. I have attended popular women's conferences over the years and lately I have found them to be "fluffy". They center more on the current speakers of our time and the celebrity of the year who happens to claim they are a Christian. At this particular event I attended in Virginia I expected the same. There were still the authors/speakers who shared their times of trouble and how God had worked in their situation. BUT, then a wonderful "older" woman, Kay Arthur, took the stage. So many things impressed me about her! Aside from her broken ankle and the wheelchair she spoke from, I sensed her determination to do what she came to do! I could tell right away what her purpose was from her first charge to the audience- "Get out your Bibles. If you have ever heard me speak you must know by now that you have to have your Bible!"
At that moment I was embarrassed and mad at myself- I didn't bring mine! I am used to bringing my Bible only to lug it around at women's conferences and then never cracking it open anyway! Kay Arthur doesn't allow us to neglect the Word of God. She doesn't just quote it to fit her story but the woman teaches it! It is her story- the only story she desires to tell and I believe this is lacking in much of what we hear today- yes each of us has a story but what about THE STORY? After Kay spoke I watched her on the floor of this stadium and I watched her pray with those who came to her. There was no rush to get to the "green room", no entourage came to whisk her away from the crowd, there was no autograph given but a listening ear, love and prayers. There was real ministry going on there. Now that I can sit through!
So let's hear it for the "older" ladies lifting up the Word! Thank you Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, Amy Carmichael, Elizabeth Elliot, and Susan Hunt- you inspire me to desire more of the Word of God! You make me hungry to feast on the Word! If you don't know these ladies may I invite you to a meal? Dig in!
"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, "That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the Word of the Lord, but shall not find it." Amos 8: 11-12 Kathy

Thursday, November 01, 2007



Recently I was reading an e-mail message from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Mr. Graham was talking about why we were created by God. He mentioned Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and talked about how God loved them and wanted them to return His love and fellowship with Him. But Satan entered the picture and changed all of that in an instant. Sin entered into paradise and forever changed how God was able to look at his creation. Mr. Graham used the term "rebellious" and said that just because Adam and Eve didn't raise their fists to God, their act of rebelliousness was sin nonetheless.

And that got me to thinking about how subtly sin creeps in and causes a rift between God and me. I don't raise my fist in outright rebellion toward God, but when I do what I want and fail to follow His Word, or do what He has commanded me to do, it is rebellion - pure and simple. Oh, I can rationalize it and make it sound less than what it is, but the truth of the matter is that I have raised my fist to God and said, in effect, I will do what I want; I will do it my way.

And still, just as God provided for a blood sacrifice to cover Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden, so did he provide the blood sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, to cover my sin and yours. And praise God, that while sacrifices needed to be made over and over again in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross was once and for all. No longer is there a need for any additional sacrifice. The need I have now is to confess my rebellious sin attitude, and seek my Father's forgiveness and be restored to the loving relationship a father has with his child.

So remember that while you may not be outwardly raising your fist to God, every act you commit, every thought you think, every word you speak that does not honor God and does not follow His Word is rebellious sin. And even more importantly, remember that the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7). Praise be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lynn Randall

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Life Through Death

Life Through Death

We tend to think that death follows life, yet the Scriptures repeatedly reverse that order.
Proverbs 13:14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.
John 5:24 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:21 that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
2 Corinthians 4:11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life...
Revelation 2:10 Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
John 12:24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me ...

Unless and until we yield or surrender our life, dying to ourselves we will not know the fullness of Christ's life in us.

Life through death...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007



"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  ~~Psalms 139:14

About three years ago I went to a seminar and one of the women there shared the poem below. Her life had been greatly impacted by the gospel and as she allowed grace to change and transform her, the Lord gave her the words to share her heart and to offer hope to someone who might be in a similar place.  I share them with you for edification, hoping you will be encouraged to see yourself through new eyes and remove whatever mask(s) you may be wearing.    



I wear my masks
Which one today?
The one for work or the one for play?
The one for family
The one for friends 
The one for strangers
When will it end?

I place my pain upon a shelf
It hurts too much to be myself
So I must hide who I am inside
Only Christ alone can turn this tide.

He came to set the captives free
To break the chains, help us believe
His love will heal my wounded soul
As I learn to give Him control.

Please help me Lord, help me receive
Your love for me that I can't achieve
It is a gift, from You to man
To Your creation, part of Your plan.

Help me dear Lord
Give me strength to stand
While I'm molded by my Father's hand
Help me see myself with Your eyes
As accepted and loved and not despised

I'm yearning Lord, to be set free
To be who I am, not who I wish I could be
Being myself is a daunting task
Lord Jesus, please remove my masks

Let me face the world with a restored soul
As a person who has been made whole
Thank You for Your faithfulness to me
As we walk through the process of setting me free.

~~By Lisa Falkner (July 2, 2003)

Monday, October 29, 2007



This devotion was prompted by one that appeared here a few weeks ago.  Diane was writing about passionate prayer and prayer being fervent and ongoing.  Something she said really caught my attention.  She wrote that while it is wonderful to have that period of time "set aside" to pray (whether it be morning or later on in the day), it is not enough to think that this time of prayer is sufficient - or even completely pleasing - to God.

Since that Victory Call appeared my Sunday School class has begun a study on the subject of prayer, and I am convicted once again that my weak and puny prayer life does not honor God as it should and my life, as a result, is not as victorious as it could be.

It seems as if my prayer life so often sinks to the level of a list of "I want, I need, please do this or that."  Not that there is anything inherently wrong in bringing our requests to God.  On the contrary, He WANTS us to do that.  Philippians 4:6 tells us to let our requests be made known unto God.  But prayer is so much more than that.

When my Sunday School class began our study on prayer, someone in the class, when asked to give her definition of prayer, used the little acronym "ACTS"  -  Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.  Unfortunately, Type A personality that I am, I go directly to the Supplication part and the other parts often get the status of fill-ins.

I have made a very conscious effort in the past couple of weeks to focus on Adoration.  Not that it is hard to tell God how much I love Him, how wonderful He is, how great He is, how awesome His power and majesty are.  In fact, I have tried to spend some prayer time each day ONLY worshipping and adoring Him.  No "please do this" or "I want that."  Just concentrating on the words from Psalm 48:1, "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised..." or from Psalm 29, "Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."

So I find myself going back to the Psalms once again as I appreciate anew the relationship David had with God.  Even in the depths of terrible, crushing sin, David found that praise, worship and adoration were necessary to prepare his heart to come before a holy God to seek forgiveness, cleansing and restoration before he could attempt to request God act on his behalf.

It is no coincidence that so much of what I am reading and studying is devoted to some aspect of prayer.  I know the Holy Spirit is convicting me about my often ineffectual prayer life.  I am praying that as I delve more deeply into the topic of prayer that my "passion for prayer" will grow.  That it will cease to be a subject to be studied and become my very heart's desire.  That I will experience a renewed passion to spend time with God worshipping and adoring Him first and praising Him for who He is long before I get to my "wish list."  

Lynn Randall

Friday, October 26, 2007



"Brokenness is a condition which exists when a person has given up all confidence in his own ability to manage life." (Steve McVey -The Grace Walk Experience)

We thought about this definition of brokenness yesterday and today I would like to think about our natural response to pull away from brokenness.  When life gets difficult and we are weak, vulnerable, not in control, suffering, and hurting our natural instinct is to DO whatever we can to stop the hurt, to stop the feeling of vulnerability.  In so doing we hinder the effect of our suffering preventing it from bringing us to the end of ourselves, to a point of full surrender and in our weakness to receive God's power, strength and life.

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

Let me share an illustration if I may:   When I was a young systems engineer I was the self-appointed social committee for our department.  I planned a white water rafting weekend trip.  About 30 engineers and family members went.  As we prepared for our day on the water, the guides gave us numerous instructions for a safe trip.  I'll never forget the warning we were given about a spot on the river where the water would drive us into the face of a huge rock cliff.  We were told that as we approached that rock our natural inclination would be to lean away from it but in so doing the water current would flip our boat.  We were instructed that instead we must lean into the rock to prevent our boat from dumping us into the white water.  My words cannot express the feeling of racing toward a wall of sheer rock wanting to get as far away from it as possible but forcing ourselves to lean into it. 

Are you ready to embrace brokenness in your life?  Are you ready to give up all confidence in your own ability to manage your life? Are you willing to ask God to make you weak rather than strong?  


Thursday, October 25, 2007



The word sends a chill up our spine.  Brokenness. We shutter at the thought.  In fact, most of us will do whatever it takes to avoid the vulnerability, the lack of control, and the humbling that accompanies brokenness. 
We tend to think of brokenness as something that requires healing but let's consider brokenness in a different light.  Steve McVey's definition of brokenness is "A condition which exists when a person has given up all confidence in his own ability to manage life."  Using this definition, brokenness is not something we attain and move on from or get healed from. Rather it is a condition we want Christ to maintain in us.  The moment we move beyond brokenness we have moved back into self-sufficiency, self-effort, living in our own strength, and the flesh.  "To walk after the flesh really just means living out of our own abilities.  Another way to describe it is self-sufficiency.  Flesh refers to those techniques that I depend on when I try to get my needs met or manage my own life apart from Jesus Christ." (1)If brokenness is giving up all confidence in our own abilities to make life work, then it is a condition we want to settle into, seeking moment by moment to rejoice in our brokenness.  

"And it's beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful, beautiful
Come as you are
Surrender your heart
Broken and beautiful

Cause there's nothing more beautiful at all
Than when His sons and daughters call, broken" (2)

Why would we want to be broken and to live broken lives?  Because it is in our brokenness that full surrender comes allowing the life of Jesus Christ to flow in and through us. 

"For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, and the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." 2 Corinthians 4:11

Are you broken and beautiful or just beautiful?


(1) Steve McVey -"The Grace Walk Experience" pg14
(2) Mark Shultz - lyrics to "Broken & Beautiful"