Friday, August 31, 2007

Tropies of God's Grace

Trophies of God's Grace

Day 5
For the past week we've been privileged to share with you one very real, very personal account of how through the power of Jesus Christ at work in someone's life they can have VICTORY rather than defeat.
On September 18, 1910, at the age of only 52, the life of William Raws (the founder) literally burned out for God and for lost men. The Keswick Colony of Mercy is truly a faith work which had its humble beginning in 1897 with $1.87 in capital. The ministry has been God's instrument in reaching multitudes of men from all walks of life and all parts of the country, showing them that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only perfect answer to the need of the addicted individual. Although the Colony has been expanded and improved through the years, there has been no change from the original vision and the faith principle upon which it operates. Men are charged a nominal fee of $150 for their four month stay and the Colony ministry is supported by voluntary contributions.

To join us as we celebrate
The Colony of Mercy...
For 110 years, America's KESWICK has been sharing with men, women, and children the path to Victory through Jesus Christ!
America's KESWICK isn't just about offering hope and victory to those trapped by drugs and alcohol, gambling, or sexual sins; it is for everyone. Freedom and Victorious Christian Living are for all of us.

Special Speaker: Chaplain Jim Freed, Counselor and Operations Manager at the Colony of Mercy.
Special Music: Robert & Joyce Hayes, and men from the Colony of Mercy President's Update: from Bill Welte, President & CEO of America's KESWICK.

*South Jersey Area
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Masso's Crystal Manor
210 South Delsea Drive,
Glassboro, NJ
Banquet at 6:30PM-Doors open at 6PM

*Philadelphia Area
Tuesday, September 13, 2007
Dock Woods Community
275 Dock Drive
Lansdale, PA
Banquet at 6:30PM-Doors open at 6PM

*Lancaster Area
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Lancaster Bible College
901 Eden Road
Lancaster, PA
Luncheon at 12noon-Doors open at 11:30AM Banquet at 6PM- Doors open at 5:30PM

*Whiting Area
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
America's KESWICK, Activity Center
601 Route 530
Whiting, NJ
Banquet at 6:30PM-Doors open at 6PM
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Luncheon at 12noon-Doors open at 11:30AM

*Philadelphia Area
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Ann's Choice
20000 Ann's Choice Way
Warminster, PA
Afternoon Tea & Dessert at 2PM-Doors open at 1:30PM

Although there is no charge for the meal, reservations are necessary.
Please Call: 1.800.453.7942 to reserve

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wanted Dead or Alive (Part 4)

WANTED Dead or Alive Part 4

After all of the Lord's gentle leading Bill knew in his heart God's word was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! "I knew what HE wanted but I couldn't say it, I didn't want to be gay but I knew I couldn't stop on my own. I was looking out the window at the big wooden cross in front of the Colony building and the Lord spoke to my heart saying; "You need to give it to Me and say it out loud." "Ok Lord, I can't do this so You will need to do it." "HE said; I know Bill just give it all to Me."

Finally...a surrender! There had to be one. One way or another. Our God is an awesome God and He loves and wants us. But there is also another whom we are wanted by. He doesn't love us nor, despite his attempts to deceive us, is he god. He is Satan and would have taken Bill dead or alive, emphasis on dead. Interestingly enough, God wanted Bill dead as well. Dead to himself that is, and raised to walk in the newness of a life in Christ for all eternity. This cowboy can claim a true Victory in Jesus! While Bill is a new creation, he says it is a daily walk with and commitment to the Lord for him. There are still struggles he faces only this time with the Lord. Having continued Victory over his past demands a daily, whole hearted desire and obedience to be transformed and not conformed. He reflects on Ephesians 2: 1-10, (being made alive in Christ.)

Bill graduated the Colony of Mercy, stayed for its discipleship program and was encouraged by Chaplain Jim to work with Harvest Ministries. At the Lord's direction he accepted an internship at our conference center. I've watched him serve our guests with such kindness and sincerity. His southern drawl doesn't hurt either! He enjoys working at Keswick and desires to stay as long as the Lord would have him. His dreams for the future include the hope of studying biblical counseling. He looks forward to what godly relationships will grow out of his new life. Bill is thriving under the Lord's hand and says he never in his life had a peace like he has now. As Jesus said in John 14:27; "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

It is our prayer that the following resources would be a tool for someone who may be seeking help: Know this: there is hope and help waiting for you!

America's KESWICK Colony of Mercy
Addiction Recovery for Men
1.800.453.7942 x46

Harvest USA

Exodus International

Pure Life Ministries

Setting Captives Free

This week's series has been written by Dina based on an interview with Bill Pruitt. Bill has reviewed each day's Victory Call and has graciously approved their inclusion in our Week's devotionals.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wanted Dead or Alive (Part 3)


In February of 2005, he made an impulsive decision to leave his career, sell his home, cash in his retirement and move to Cozumel, Mexico to start a business. He said; "I knew if things didn't get better there I wasn't coming back, I'd just die there." He went to Mexico alone, or so he thought. God protected him through hallucinations and hurricanes. He was in a drug induced state of paranoia and schizophrenia. After the destruction of his home and nearly his life, two men named Gabriel and Michael brought Bill through the jungles of Mexico and back to the U.S. border. He made it back and began again trying to control his addictions on his own. He also began attending another church oriented to the gay lifestyle.
Matthew 7, 21-28; "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' Therefore whoever hears these saying of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
After yet another suicide attempt his mother's church helped him find his way to the Colony of Mercy. Once here, he did not want to discuss his homosexuality, only to be freed from drugs. But God was about to begin a "special education" in Bill's life. He was assigned to Chaplain Jim. And the first order of business that Bill had in mind was to make sure Jim understood that he was here to get clean...of drugs. As far as his homosexuality, that topic was off limits, he told Chaplain Jim that there was NO WAY! that God hadn't created him a gay man. And he wasn't going to listen to anyone who said differently. While he was laying down the law or should I say the lawlessness, Chaplain Jim was silently praying for God to help him minister the truth to Bill. He gave Bill a bible and simply asked him to begin studying it. God directed Chaplain Jim to let the Spirit do His work in Bill, as 2nd Timothy 2:24-26 so instructs; "And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to a ll, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will." Bill said that had his counselor fought with him or been in his face so to speak, he would have left. Instead he says: "Keswick created an environment where I could study the scriptures myself and my heart could hear the truth of God. It wasn't quarrelsome but gentle and kind instruction that allowed God to lead me to repentance. It was safe, calm, quiet and away from the distractions of the world. I've learned how to have godly friendships with other men of God. There have been some intense conversations and I admire the leadership of the men here. I want people who are hurting like I was, to know there is hope.
to be continued...

This week's series has been written by Dina based on an interview with Bill Pruitt. Bill has reviewed each day's Victory Call and has graciously approved their inclusion in our Week's devotionals.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wanted Dead or Alive (Part 2)


The need for some type of spiritual direction led Bill to a large church in Dallas that as he put it; "explained away the bible. They aided me in believing that my lifestyle was okay in the eyes of God and I found comfort in this." Bill shared that they presented strong arguments conforming God's word to justify their sins. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was explained something like this: "the men trying to force themselves on the others were rapes; it was an act of lust, that's not what we are doing. We're people in committed monogamous relationships, families; it's not the same at all." He wound up meeting and entering into a long term relationship with another man at the church in whom he began to idolize. Someone in Bill's situation wanted to hear their version of the truth. If they were wrong then his whole life would be wrong and to Bill that just wasn't an option. Bill knows he was deceived and that so are they. He shared this portion of scripture from 2nd Thessalonians
2 vs. 9-12 "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
While living in Texas he began to build a successful career as well. He and the man he was involved with had many things the world would consider to be "everything." This relationship was to them "beautiful", they traveled together, had cars and a home with all the bells and whistles. He showed me a picture of a room with a piano in it, and when I said; "oh, I didn't know you could play the piano". He replied; "I can't, the piano played itself." Sounds like they had what they thought was a wonderful life. So why did Bill still want to die? He was trying to fill his loneliness with possessions, drugs, sex and people. He felt he had to move fast to stay in front of his thoughts of depression and death. He took medications to help him with the depression and anxiety but to no avail. One night after a party at his home he overdosed on drugs and stopped breathing. After CPR he woke up in great pain and confusion, this was what normal looked like in his life. He spent that Thanksgiving unable to move or talk and being fed by a stranger God put in his path. Everyone else ran in fear of his dying. Yet four days later Bill continued to abuse himself.
to be continued

This week's series has been written by Dina based on an interview with Bill Pruitt. Bill has reviewed each day's Victory Call and has graciously approved their inclusion in our Week's devotionals.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Wanted Dead or Alive (Part 1)


This week we are sharing the testimony of one of our Colony grads who has recently joined our Keswick staff.

Forty-two years ago in Memphis, Tennessee a baby was born. "Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Pruitt you have a beautiful, gay, baby boy!" Well... that wasn't quite the way it happened. They did have a beautiful baby boy but he wasn't born gay. That was a desire he chose to follow some years later. Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Bill Pruitt, currently a full-time intern here at America's KESWICK.

Bill came to the Colony of Mercy at the urging of his mom and her church. Bill was raised in a Christian home and his mom saw to it that he and his three brothers attended church regularly. His dad was a good provider but worked long hours and wasn't as much a part of Bill's daily life.

At the age of twelve Bill says he was saved by Christ but didn't walk with Him for long. He was longing for intimacy, belonging and love from men. He found himself falling into a homosexual lifestyle early in his teens. Bill made it very clear that he didn't want to be gay; "the only time I felt comfortable in this sin was when I was high or drunk, this allowed me to tune God out of my life." He quickly became addicted to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. While talking with Bill he named more than one substance he abused that I had never even heard of. They were lethal substances and could have killed him, or so he hoped.

Bill was suicidal most of his life. On one hand he had his church and family telling him that his life was all wrong yet the desires inside caused great conflict because he felt that surely a loving God wouldn't have created him this way and given him such strong desires only to deny him the fulfillment of them. Bill couldn't handle living a double life any longer. He fled Memphis in an effort to live his life the way he wanted without opposition. He moved to Dallas and continued living exactly as he had in Tennessee. You would think he'd found it peaceful with no one to tell him how wrong it was or how much better God had intended for him. Only, there is no real peace for anyone unless they first have peace with God. The constant inner turmoil and conflict inside of him continued relentlessly.

At the age of 23 he found himself praying to God that he would allow him to go to sleep and never wake up. I asked Bill what he felt at the time that would have accomplished. Would he then be out of this horrific turmoil and mental torture and find peace? Or was it that final choice he would make to kill himself would be the last thing he'd ever have to decide? Or did he even care? He'd be dead. No one there to say; "this is wrong". I was surprised by his answer, he said; "All I wanted was for the pain to end, I thought it would be a release."

I have to admit that statement alone, more than anything else he said, gave me the shivers.
What a horrible lie he had been living under. There wouldn't have been any release from his bondage...not ever. He said he had never thought of where he would be after he died. The destination of his eternal soul wasn't a real concern to him. He grew up hearing as he put it; "hell, fire and brimstone preaching." But without the love, compassion and mercy that is also God's truth. He said; "people need to hear the truth, but they also desperately need to hear about the hope. Jesus said speak the truth in love."

God answered no to Bill's prayer that night and would not allow him to die. He found himself attending AA meetings and tried to get his addictions under control himself. He was failing. To be continued... (Written by Keswick staff writer, Dina Seaton)

Great quote: If we do anything to further the kingdom of God, we may expect to find what Christ found on that road - abuse, indifference, injustice, misunderstanding, trouble of some kind. Take it. Why not? To that you were called. In Latin America someone who feels sorry for himself is said to look like a donkey in a downpour. If we think of the glorious fact that we are on the same path with Jesus, we might see a rainbow. Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Daddy's Voice

Daddy's Voice
I have this memory in my soul. It's me as a little girl riding in the backseat of our family station wagon. In this memory I hear the sound of my father's deep voice, singing to the radio. It's one of the few times I can remember being soothed or calmed by the sound of his voice. It's absolute beauty to my ears.
I've been thinking a lot about my parents lately as each one has just had another birthday. Each birthday that comes and goes is like a slap in the face as it reminds me anew that they are getting older, gulp, and so am I. They are no longer young parents and I am no longer a little girl riding in the back of the car listening with eyes shut to my father's voice. It's been at least 2 decades since I heard daddy sing and I miss it. I miss the happiness that was in the midst of his melody.
This is just a glimpse of my thoughts today and I can't help but to think of my Heavenly Father. I know that any longing I have, He, the Lord had first. I feel it because He did and He wants me, you -all of us- to bring our empty, longing hearts to Him for filling. Father longs to fill us to overflowing so that a new song forms within our breast and with new passion and vigor we sing the song of Moses.
"They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:
"Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested."~~ Revelation 15:2-4 New King James Version Stephanie

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Faith & Rest

Faith and Rest

The deadline was rapidly approaching and I had more to do than time to do it. I was working frantically to complete my course requirements and the stress was building. I was down to the final week. Sunday morning I got up and was preparing to go roller blading before church when my husband asked what I planned to do that day. I replied, "After church I'm going to work on my paper the rest of the day"
As I was roller blading, the Lord began to prompt my heart, "What about a day of rest? What happened to all the things I have taught you?" "But Lord, I have way too much to do to take a whole day off. How would I get everything done?" I countered. "Remember the day of rest is for your benefit, not Mine. I'll give you what you need to get done in one less day" "But Lord, what if I'm wrong and it's not really you prompting me? What if I take the day off and I'm wrong and don't finish?" (When we start statements with "But Lord" we should know something's up).

I didn't make any decision at that moment other than wait until my devotional Bible reading to see if God confirmed it really was coming from Him.

After church I sat down and picked up my reading right where I left off the previous day. Before I completed the first chapter I read: "Remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, 'The Lord your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.'" Now I was really beginning to believe that God wanted me to have faith, trust Him and rest. I continued reading a few more chapters and just to be sure, I pulled a Gideon, "Lord, would you confirm this again, because I sure don't want to be mistaken." Before I finished chapter 4, I was asleep.

Later, I did some reading in a devotional book, in the few short pages the author referred to Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please God..." Then I remembered during church that morning, three different pastors referred to Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please God..."

I took the day off - off from work, shopping, computer, internet, email, groceries, etc. What did I do instead? What would any grandmother do? I played with my granddaughter, of course. I read, and wrestled with our boxer puppies, I went for a walk. I rested.

It was a refreshing day and it recharged my batteries. I had a fresh new perspective the next day. By the way, I completed my school work also and submitted it on time.

With the pace at which most of us live, we need a day of rest. We NEED a day of rest. It may not be Sunday, but pick one day a week that you can be refreshed in the Lord. It will give you better perspective on the other 6 days.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Living Water

Living Water

Human beings need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Many of us (including me) don't drink enough water. In the summertime on hot humid days, nothing will satisfy you as a tall glass of cold water.
Many of us are parched and dying of thirst but it isn't a bottle of Poland Spring water that we thirst for. It is our hearts and our souls that are parched and it is only the True and Living Water that will satisfy. Psalm 42:1 "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God."
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13-14. Only Jesus will be able to satisfy our spiritual thirst. Yet so many of us are dying of thirst....why when the answer to our thirst is so close?
A human being can't survive without water, it is essential to life. We can't survive without the Living Water that only comes from God. Are you thirsty? Are you parched? Open the Word of God and drink in His Truth, get to know God, pursue God, spend time with God. Not only will your thirst be satisfied but we will be filled to overflowing.
The answer to our thirst is what is still holding us back? Go and drink "Taste and see the Lord is good..." Psalm 34:8.

Mary Ann

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

God Himself

God Himself

I was preparing a Higher Ground lesson from AW Tozer's book A 31-Day Experience The Pursuit of God when this quote stopped me in my tracks:
"My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace, Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God. 'Tis His to lead me there, not mine, but His-'At any cost, dear Lord, by any road!'" F. Brook (pg. 141).
It caused me to pause and ask myself the question: Is my goal God Himself? If my goal is peace, joy and blessing I am setting my sights on the wrong thing. Are any of those blessings God graciously grants us wrong? Absolutely not but they are benefits of our relationship with Jesus Christ not the purpose for our relationship. If we pursue Christ, we will have peace, we will have joy, we will find blessing. Therefore we love God for Who He is not what He can do for us.
As we broke into small groups that night at Higher Ground we meditated on and discussed this quote. It is challenging to ask where our own heart is. Let me encourage you to consider Brook's thoughts for yourself. Is your goal God Himself?


Monday, August 20, 2007

Saved for What?

Saved for What?
More times that I can count I hear statements which can be summed up as follows:
I know God saved me for a reason.
I know God has some purpose, some high calling for all the pain and suffering God's going to use her experience in some major way.
Every time I hear statements like that I feel myself cringing inside. I cringe in part because such statements assume and presume much upon the person and character of God.
I remember well the first time I made a similar statement. My son was still a toddler and in his short life had already experienced so much, some of which had been life threatening. In the midst of it, I remember questioning myself (okay, I admit, I talk to myself...a lot) about why he was going through so much. And then after he would pull through, I'd rejoice inside and think or say, "God must have some great plan for my baby's life. The enemy tried to take him and God said no."
I finally have an answer which satisfies me, soul and spirit.
We, you, me, all of us are here for one reason, and that is conformity to the image of the Son.
Dear sisters, we're all on a journey. Those of us who are born again into the life of Christ are on a journey with Heaven as the final destination. Everything we go through is leading us and guiding us toward being more like Him...if we allow ourselves to be renewed and transformed by His Living Word.
I have received more faith with this revelation, more confidence, and more hope, to believe the truth, THE TRUTH! I am a new creation!!
Dear ones, we haven't been saved to wander in the wilderness wondering why. We don't have to wander or wonder what is His will for us. We can cross the hard and rocky places of our lives, the dry, parched deserts and step into His Word, allowing ourselves to be changed by His Spirit and set free!
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ~~Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV) Selah Stephanie

Friday, August 17, 2007



Hebrews 10: 24-25 "...Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another..."
Romans 12:6, 8 "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a [woman's] gift is...encouraging, let [her] encourage."
1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

What does it mean to encourage someone?
1 a : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope b : to attempt to persuade
2 : to spur on
3 : to give help or patronage to
ENCOURAGE means to fill with courage or strength of purpose...suggests the raising of one's confidence. 1
Encouragement is a gift we all need to be giving one another on a regular basis. It doesn't cost us a thing and most times is worth a million bucks. How many times have you lacked the courage to do the very thing you know you must do and someone came along side you, encouraged you and prayed for you? Perhaps you had a season of trials in your life, a time of grief, or a time of discouragement. Then just when you needed it most a sister in Christ called, sent a note or perhaps even showed up on your door step. Or have you ever felt the prompting from the Holy Spirit to do one of those things for someone else? You have an irresistible urge to call or visit or perhaps you woke up at 3 a.m. and God placed someone on your heart. Too many times we brush that off or even say I'll get to that later...but later never comes. Then you find out it was at that very time this friend needed the strength, courage or endurance that comes from God alone.
I don't think any of us wants to miss these opportunities to encourage and bless another because there will be a time when we will need the very same thing and we certainly don't want someone else ignoring the Holy Spirit's promptings! there someone you can't get off your mind? Start now by praying and then maybe give a call or even stop by. You will be glad you did because you will know that was just what the Holy Spirit was prompting you to do.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Too Wonderful For Me ...

Too Wonderful for me...

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Psalm 139:6

I have been involved in many conversations with people about the Biblical doctrine of Election, Predestination, God's Sovereignty, damnation of the lost, why God created Satan, etc. You know the questions none of us have the definitive answers to. Then there are the questions innocent minds of children ask like, "Who made God?" "When was God born?" and "How big is God?" There are definitely questions we do not have the answers for, nor were we meant to.
There was a time when not being able to grasp a truth about God, such as His eternality, I would get overwhelmed and anxious. Now, I find comfort in knowing that God is beyond my ability to comprehend. If I could comprehend God, He would be no greater than me. Scary thought.
God is knowable. God is not comprehendible.
"The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, "O Lord, Thou knowest." These things belong to the deep and mysterious Profound of God's omniscience."1

Sometimes the answer is : I don't know. Although it doesn't make sense to us, it makes sense to God.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Under the Doggie Pile

Under The "Doggie Pile"
When my children were small and we found my husband lying on the floor I would yell out- Doggie pile on Daddy! One by one we would fall down on top of him and have a good laugh as he would pretend to be unable to breathe and gasp as we leaned on him even harder! This past week I had come to my mind a picture of myself under the doggie pile. I found myself saying I can't breathe as the trials had jumped on me one by one. It seems to happen to me this way- life goes well for a period of time and then some voice I didn't hear yelled "Doggie pile on Kathy!" But this isn't a game. This is life and this is the hurts of life ganging up on me.
The last time I found myself under the doggie pile I crawled out and headed straight for the pit of depression. For a brief period of time I came from my pit to attend the Higher Ground Bible Study on Monday nights. At that time the study was Believing God by Beth Moore. Although I was unable to finish the series with the group I was able to finish on my own. I began to have enough tools to get the rest of the way out of the pit. Now as I peer from under the doggie pile again I am straining to breathe. For about 24 hours I was unable to cry and unable to pray. But now I am reaching for my tools not crawling to the pit. From under the doggie pile I reach for:
1. God. Even if for 24 hours or less I was unable to pray I knew that Jesus was at the right hand of God interceding on my behalf. (Romans 8:34) I reached for truth even if I could say nothing at the moment.
2. Sisters in Christ. Knowing that Satan loves to isolate us I refused to allow myself to be alone for too long. I called on my sisters in Christ to listen and to pray. I asked for help and allowed myself to be transparent. I showed up on the doorstep of a friend uninvited and unannounced. At that point my numbness and shock fell from me and I was able to finally cry. The following day God even brought my sisters to me- they were on my list to contact for prayer- but with godly wisdom on their lips they came to me! God is good!
3. The Word. I didn't run to open my Bible but rather the Holy Spirit brought scripture from my toolbox to me. I awoke this morning hearing "you are struck down but not destroyed". The full verse from 2 Corinthians.4:8-9 reads : "We are afflicted in everyway, but not crushed; perplexed but not despairing; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed.

From under my doggie pile I remember the Five Statement Pledge from Believing God:
God is who He says He is.
God can do what He says He can do.
I am who God says I am.
I can do all things through Christ.
God's Word is alive and active in me.
I hope that if you reached from under your doggie pile to read this today that you will continue to reach for God, for His truth in your situation and for a trusted Sister in Christ.
It has helped me to start to breathe again!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Love Without Stopping

Love Without Stopping
"Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping." ~~1 Corinthians 16:12-14 The Message

It's the last part of that verse which caused me to pause, really pause and ponder. I had to stop and ask myself the question "has my love stopped?" Most of us would probably say we never ever stop loving those we say we least we wouldn't say it out loud.
Come on, get real honest with me, all of us have times when we don't feel loving, lovely or loved for that matter. We get tired of the same old, same old, and in our fatigue we don't give it all we've got; we don't resolve to set our faces like flint and love whether we feel like it or not.
Life has or will have difficult relational moments for all of us. It's in those times, the times when we close our eyes and loosen our hold on our convictions ~the things that God wants to matter most to us~ that our love can stop. Why... because, by our lonesome selves love is not possible. We forget to keep the main thing, the main thing.
Let's all of us, pause today and confess our lack of resolve and our sin if necessary and let Love Himself fill us with His Perfect Love. And then whether we feel it or not, let's reopen our eyes, and giving it our all, love without stopping.

Monday, August 13, 2007

You Can't Take It With You

You can't take it with you

I have heard the saying many times "You never see a U-Haul behind a hearse." When we leave this world we can't take any of our possessions with us. It all gets left behind. I'm sure that most of you have heard that too. However this week at our staff chapel Christian author and conference speaker Marilyn Heavilin put a new twist to it that just about took my breath away. She said there is only one thing we can take with us and that is the hearts that we bring to the knowledge of saving grace through Jesus. Isn't that the best treasure we can possibly think of to take along to heaven?

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.

Some times I get too wrapped up in my treasures on earth. When the Lord calls me home I'll have left a big pile of "stuff" that someone will have to get rid of. Shouldn't I be more concerned about my Buddhist neighbor or the kids playing down the street? As I pursue God, the more and more my heart will be aligning itself with what is important to God. And I don't think God cares or even gives a thought to my teapot collection....accept if it begins to take my eyes off of Him.
Treasures....many different things to many different people. We spend so much time searching for that "perfect teapot or teacup" (or what ever treasures you look for) and I may spend a good sum of money on it. But of what eternal value is it? What if I put that much effort into the lives of others? What a treasure it will be when the Lord calls me home and because of the love of Christ I have shown to another, or the Truth of the Gospel I shared with someone, we will be in heaven praising God for eternity that truly is treasure!


Friday, August 10, 2007

Entering the Holy of Holies -- Part 5

"Entering the "Holy of Holies" - the "Most Holy Place"' - Part 5 "Why is my life such a battle?" I used to ask myself. Things seemed to always be a struggle and not going "right" by my standards, and people just were not doing things my way. Then I realized that this life is a battle -a spiritual battle. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, describes this and how to be prepared for the battle. I am in a daily warfare because if the idols of my heart - the things that Satan wants to keep me bound with, that center around me (self-sins). The things I have done, the accomplishments I have achieved, that I am able to do this and that, are what is important to me for significance and recognition. But then my focus is not on God, and the battle will continue. Amy Carmichael says in "Edges of His Ways", "It is not the place where we are, or the work that we do or cannot do that matters, it is something else. It is the fire within that burns and shines, whatever be our circumstances." That fire is the Spirit of God as was present in the Holy of Holies and now indwells us as believers.
When the "old self" dies, we experience the resurrection to a new life of the glory and power of Christ in us. The pain of the cross is forgotten for the veil is removed and we can live in the spiritual presence of God. When the veil of self is removed from our hearts, the pretense is gone, that also removes the veil from our face and our countenance is changed. See 2 Corinthians 3:18. We won't have to pretend; we will have the real reflection of the glory of God through His Spirit dwelling in us.
Our part is to stay focused on Christ and not allow self-focus to veil our hearts and cause separation from the intimacy with God that He desires to have with us. Have you trusted Christ as Savior? Have you entered the Holy or Holies? Renounced those self-hyphenated sins that keep you just outside?
May our Prayer be: "Lord, how excellent are Thy ways, and how devious and dark are the ways of man. Show us how to die, that we may rise again to newness of life. Rend the veil of our self-life from the top down as Thou didst rend the veil of the temple. We would draw near in full assurance of faith. We would dwell with Thee in daily experience here on this earth so that we may be accustomed to the glory when we enter Thy heaven to dwell with Thee there. In Jesus' name." Amen. ---Quoted from The Pursuit of God, Tozer/Draper, 1995, p. 64)


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Entering the Holy of Holies -- Part 4

"Entering the "Holy of Holies" - the "Most Holy Place"' - Part 4 I believe that this lesson is crucial for us to move ahead in our "Pursuit of God".
Perhaps you are thinking, 'Why would God want us to experience the pain of the cross and death to self?' Why did He allow the pain of the cross and the death of His Son? Both have the same answer - to provide for our intimate relationship with Himself.
What is there about "death" that is concerning for us? The unknown, the uncertainty of what the experience will be like? When we know Christ we can believe that the experience of death will bring a different and much better life, whether it be the "death" to self or physical death. God is trustworthy - His promises are sure, true, and faithful. He has our best interest in His plans for us and only allows what will best produce the result He desires for each of us -- to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. (Romans 8: 28, 29) Now we come to what I've called "Our Part".
Our part is to yield and trust God and insist that the work be done. We must confess and forsake the self-life and reckon it crucified, not just accept the doctrine of self-crucifixion. The cross is rough and deadly, but it is effective.
Do we have the courage to let go of those hidden "self-hyphenated" sins? And be truly freed from the inner struggles and battles in our daily lives? Jean Nicholas Grou writes, "When in His mercy God leads a soul in the higher paths of sanctification, He begins by stripping it of all self-confidence, and to this end He allows our own schemes to fail, our judgment to mislead us. We grope and totter and make countless mistakes until we learn to mistrust ourselves and to put all our confidence in Him."(The Pursuit of God, Tozer/Draper, 1995,p. 60)


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Entering the Holy of Holies -- Part 3

"Entering the "Holy of Holies" - the "Most Holy Place"' - Part 3 Tozer states, "It is the veil of our fleshly, fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated...the close-woven veil of the self-life which we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed and which for these reasons we have never brought to the judgment of the cross." This veil is woven of the threads of the self-life - the self-hyphenated sins that are just so much a part of who we are - subtle and powerful - the human sinful spirit in each of us. Not necessarily what we do, but who we are - woven into our personality, our very nature.
The "self-sins" of self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love, self- gratification, etc. They've been with us so long that we don't even notice them; they dwell so deep within that we aren't even aware of them until God focuses His light upon them and reveals them to us. Tozer says in Man: the Dwelling Place of God, "Self is one of the toughest plants that grows in the garden of life. It is in fact, indestructible by any human means. Just when we are sure it is dead, it turns up somewhere as robust as ever to trouble our peace and poison the fruit of our lives."
The second thing I found in this reading, I am calling 'God's Part'.
Self is like an opaque veil that hides God's face from us. We want instruction to know what to do, but the veil must be removed by the work of God - it is a spiritual experience. We must bring our "self-sins" to the cross for judgment. God will do the work, if we want it done. He must do everything for us before we are free. Isaiah 26: 12 says, "LORD, You will establish peace for us, for You have done all our works in us." I remember one time many years ago praying that God would remove the sham from my life - everything false - little did I know that for the sham to be removed I needed to be prepared to be purged. We need to know that it will be worth it. It can be and will be painful. There is nothing pretty about the cross. The cross is an instrument of death, and is rough, but effective. "Hinds Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard is a book that I read many years ago about the experience of surrendering those self-sins. I would recommend it to you for reading.
More recently I experienced looking in the mirror one day and just saying to the Lord, through my tears, "You just want to squeeze all of me out of me, don't You? But to fill me with Yourself." May it be so.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Entering the Holy of Holies - Part 2

"Entering the "Holy of Holies" - the "Most Holy Place"' - Part 2 When Christ declared from the cross, "It is finished" (Matthew 27:51) the veil (or curtain) of the temple that divided the "Holy Place" and the "Holy of Holies" was torn or "rend" from top to bottom opening the way for all to come into God's "Holy of Holies", His presence through Jesus Christ. God desires a personal relationship and intimate fellowship with each one of us.
Read Hebrews 10: 19 - 22 - The shedding of Christ's blood brought "the Way" for that relationship - the tearing of His flesh provided the tearing of the veil (curtain) which kept us from the opportunity to actually come into God's presence with boldness (v. 19) and have the intimacy with God that He desires. What is this saying to us? To you personally today?
So with nothing preventing our entering into to this personal relationship - - -Why do we stay in the outer courts and not enter into the "Holy of Holies", "the Most Holy Place" of God's Presence in our relationship with Him? What makes us unwilling to enter into His presence to live in victory, but instead just remain right where we are, just in the Holy Place, but not entering into the holiness of seeking His face - never experiencing the awesomeness of His presence daily - moment by moment - in our lives? We have trusted in Christ as Savior, but still are missing the peace of His Presence and Sovereignty.
In reading ThePursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, I see there are three things needed to begin and pursue this journey of entering and experiencing the awesomeness of God's Presence...
First, I need to have the desire to enter into His Presence. Tozer writes, "Ransomed men (women) need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy of Holies. God wills that we should push on into His presence and live our whole life there." This is a conscious experience, a spiritual experience to enter the Presence of God. The greatest fact about the tabernacle or temple was that Jehovah was there. "Jehovah-shammah" means the God who is here.
To go beyond the veil "can never come from mere doctrinal knowledge of God" Tozer says, but "to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to the child of God." So why do we hold back and not enter into this intimacy with God? What hinders us?
Tozer calls it, "the veil in our hearts". This has not been taken away as the veil of the temple was, but remains "hiding the face of God from us".


Monday, August 06, 2007

Entering the Holy of Holies

"Entering the "Holy of Holies" - the "Most Holy Place"' - Part 1

How do we get there from where we are? How do I get there from where I am spiritually at present?

By way of introduction, let's look at a little background information in order to better understand where we are seeking to get to and why? What is the "Holy of Holies" or the "Most Holy Place"? Reading through Hebrews 9:1 - 14, we are given a description of the way that the Tabernacle and the Temple were set up and looked on the inside. In verses 1, 2, we are told that the first room was called the Holy Place were there was "the lampstand, the table, and the table with showbread". This is where the people came to worship the LORD. Read v. 3 - 5 - At the front of the Holy Place was a curtain or veil which divided these two parts of the Tabernacle/Temple. This was a heavy woven fabric of "blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and finely spun linen with a design of cherubim worked into it." (Exodus 26:31) Behind this veil was the "Holy of Holies" or "the Most Holy Place" where God's Presence dwelt. His Presence was a fire (flame) between the cherubim that where atop the Ark of the Covenant. God's Presence was waiting within or behind the veil. Jehovah-shammah - "The God who is here".

But we see in v. 6 & 7, that only the High Priest could enter into the "Holy of Holies" and only once a year with blood to make atonement for himself and the sins of the people committed in ignorance which had not been confessed and atoned for previously. First he purified himself by a sacrifice for his sins, then went into the Holies of Holies and sprinkled the blood on the Ark of the Covenant. The people tied a rope around him so that he could be pulled back out in case he had not confessed all and was struck dead. Today the Jewish people celebrate a Day of Atonement, "Yom Kippur", once a year for the forgiveness of sins. Verse 8 - 12, tell us that this Old Testament practice was "a symbol for the present time", but that "the Messiah" - Christ, our High Priest, has come that He "once for His own blood...obtained eternal redemption". On the cross, Christ said, "It is finished."
In verse 22, we read, "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."
Continuing reading the rest of the chapter, v. 23 - 28, on your own.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Okay Lord, He's Yours

Okay Lord he's yours

Higher Ground is a Monday night support group/Bible study here at America's Keswick. We recently began a new study of the book "The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer. WOW...this book has really made me stop, think and examine my heart...Am I truly pursuing God with all my heart, soul and mind? Sadly and shamefully, I have to admit the answer is no....but oh how I want too!
In so many ways, and from so many different directions I have been hearing God asking me "How much do you love Me? Will you still love Me, will I still be sufficient, will you still be obedient, if I take_________ from your life? Or if ____never happens? If My answer to your prayer is no?"
One of the things that stands in my way is...things...and not just material things but people. Although it's natural to cling to those we love, to cling to our earthly treasures...Tozer calls this evil! Most of us would say that our families, especially our children are our treasures. So is this a bad thing? Is it evil? Doesn't God want us to love our husbands, children, parents? And of course the answer is yes we are to love our families, care for them, provide for them but in our very sin nature we have a propensity to take the very thing that is good an elevate it to an idol level. Any time our lives depend on anything other than God...we are in trouble. Everything I am, everything I "possess" is from God.
Psalm 24:1 "The earth is the Lords and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it."
Psalm 50:12b "The world is mine and everything in it."
Ecclesiastes 5:19 "When God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God."

I've taken some of my gifts and put them in first place position instead of having God first place in my life in all things. And so God has been placing these questions on my heart. One thing that keeps coming up in my heart is my oldest son John. God and I wrestled recently, it wasn't pretty. I wept, I tried to hold on, I tried to plead but God won. Oh it was and is so painful. John isn't saved and it breaks my heart...I had to put his name in those blanks and cry out to God YES YOU ARE SUFICIENT. YOU ARE MY ALL AND ALL.
"Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed." A. W. Tozer. John has never been safer because he is in God's hands. I know God loves him more and desires more for him then his Mom.

Dear Lord, continue to root out of my heart anything that's stands between putting you first place. I'm afraid Lord, give me your courage. Amen.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

All My Ducks In A Row

All My Ducks In A Row

Isn't it great when you have a rare day when all your ducks are in a row? They are few and far between but it's wonderful when it happens! Sometimes when we pray we want all our ducks to line up in a row so we "know" God is working and He is showing the way. But I would like to warn you because sometimes when it all seems to be coming together we need to be careful. As you and I pray and watch we must be in the Word constantly! It is easy for our circumstances to seemingly point us in a certain direction.

King David found himself in a situation where it all lined up. 1 Samuel 24:1-5 tells us how David's ducks all lined up in a row. First, David happened to be hiding from Saul in a cave. Secondly, the cave that Saul found to "attend to his needs" in happens to be the one where David and his men are. Thirdly, David was advised by his men to take Saul's life. He was so close that David even cut a piece from Saul's robe! Doesn't it all line up so well? It would seem that this would be the hand of God moving so David could finally be rid of Saul. But David didn't see it that way! Verse 6 gives David's response to his circumstances -"The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord's anointed." To David it must have looked like everything was lining up for him to kill Saul. All the ducks were in a row. But he knew it was against what God would have him do. David knew the principles of God's word and that is what he counted on rather then his circumstances lining up.

God may very well be lining up all your ducks in a row but if your final decision in a matter is only determined by your circumstances be very careful that you do not sin against God. You and I need to go beyond our circumstances and clearly look into the Bible and see if there is a godly principle that we do not want to violate. God is patient as we seek Him. Take the time to see if your circumstances line up with the Word of God!

"Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11 (NKJV) Kathy