Friday, September 28, 2007

I Don't Do Planes

I don't do planes...
I am the youngest of seven. My oldest sister, hmmm, lets say has a few do's and don'ts. To start off she does not "do" planes. There will be no plane travel of any kind. If she can't get there by driving, she doesn't need to go. She doesn't "do" swimming either. She doesn't "do" hills, particularly going up. Why? Well...if she has to stop that would bother her hills. She is asthmatic and doesn't tolerate the heat well, so she does do air conditioning, full blast and right on her if possible. So...riding in the back seat of a car is a "don't". Her four children are all adults. Now that they are grown, she doesn't "do" children. Grandchildren? Yes; Children? No. Lastly, (not exhaustively) she doesn't "do" cooking. That's something her husband takes care of.
I share these things only with her permission. It prompted me to think about what I don't do...and why? I remember a few years ago when I was griped by panic attacks and I told my counselor that I didn't like to go over bridges. I will not let it stop me, but I don't like it. I was afraid my car might get out of control (catch the control issue) and I'd be over the bridge. I would go but it was stressful and I hated it. He gave me a little nugget that I keep in my heart for the bridge crossings. He said; "Dina, you're not building the bridge, just driving over it." Right after that I was asked to go to Philadelphia to pick up someone that was giving a writers seminar at Keswick. Wow, that would be cool. I could pick her brain all the way home. But...that Ben Franklin bridge! Couldn't I just ferry over? Does the bridge have to be so stinkin' high? Would I let my fear stop me? No. When I was returning home I was so caught up in conversation I actually saw the beauty in the bridge! I w as glad I went. I always remind myself of that truth. Does the fear still rear its ugly head? Not always, but sometimes it still does. And I remember the truth and drive right over that bridge!
What don't you do? Is it holding you back? Is it something you should fear? There are things worthy of our fearful caution. And then there are irrational fears that hold us in bondage, cause us great stress, worry and sometimes panic. This may be a good time to take a little self inventory and ask ourselves what evidence there is to have such a fear, and then ask the Lord to take the lies that hold us back and leave only the truth that sets us free. HE is able. Here are some nuggets of truth from God's word we can all hide in our hearts:
2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Psalm 34:4, I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
John 16:33, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hummingbird or Eagle?

Hummingbird or Eagle?

Last month, I had opportunity to sit under one of many excellent Bible teachers that come to America's Keswick during our summer conference season. Dr. Steve McVey of Gracewalk Ministries spoke during the evening meetings. What a special week. His message was not new, in fact, it is the very same Victorious Life message that America's KESWICK was founded upon 110 years ago. What I found so interesting was the reaction witnessed across our campus to his message of Grace. During one of the evening sessions, Dr. McVey shared the following illustration. I can't remember His exact words but I believe I have maintained his meaning.

Are you a hummingbird or an eagle?
Are you going through your Christian walk exhausted, working for Jesus?

Some types of Hummingbirds flap their wings up to 80 beats per minute. Their wings are moving so fast that they look like a blur.
If you are like the hummingbird, you are working feverishly FOR God in your own strength. You may look real good and religious but the source of your strength is self.

On the other hand, have you ever seen an eagle soar? Instead of feverish flapping, it opens its wings to catch the wind and is carried along on the currents. The eagle is not doing the work, the wind current is, yet the eagle still soars. In a manner of speaking, the eagle is resting on the wind.

"He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:29-31

Like an eagle, we rest in Christ's work. It is not that we do nothing but what we do is done through the power of Christ. The source of our strength is the life of Jesus Christ in us.

Are you a hummingbird, working for God in the power of your own strength or are you an eagle resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ and allowing Christ to live His life through you?

"There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His." Hebrews 8:9-10

An eagle or a hummingbird. Which will you be today?


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Spilled Milk 2

Spilled Milk Two
Mama stood almost transfixed by the scene in front of her. In a flash she saw it all. Not only did she see the laundry she'd have to do completely over, she saw the kitchen scene over her daughter's head. From the kitchen table where the jug of tea lay on its side, to the trail of tea (sweet tea) that led all the way to her formerly clean laundry. She closed her eyes for a brief moment, opened them and sought those of her child.
The child stood, simply waiting, now with her eyes squeezed tightly shut. She couldn't bear the reproach she just knew was coming. After all, she deserved it. What a klutz! Why didn't I take off these stupid shoes? How many times has Mama told me to be careful? I did think I was careful, but maybe I wasn't careful enough?
What would Mama do? Would she see that all I wanted to do was share a cool drink with her? Will she see my love in the awful mess that I've made? Will she kiss my cheek or spank my bottom? Or will she give me a harsh rebuke and send me away because I blew it; I failed; I let her down...yet again.
So, in spite of the fear coursing through her, she bravely opened her eyes and what she saw sent her flying into Mama's arms. Mama sat there with her arms outstretched, just waiting for her precious child to see that there was nothing but love there.
Yeah, Mama saw every single bit of the mess. And at the same time she saw the intent of her daughter's heart. That was good enough for her.
Dear ones, we all have a choice. We can choose to see the mess or we can see that intent of the heart. We can set about being all that we are [and al that we are called to be] and stop tripping ourselves up because we aren't perfect, or because we might fail.
Likewise, we can see, know and believe that our Father is not some cruel taskmaster, demanding perfection. He simply wants our hearts. He wants you, as you are, to come -just as you are.
Jesus said, "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. ~~ Luke 10:14b-16 Likewise dear ones stop! Don't hinder yourself any longer from walking in, and fully embracing who you are in Christ. And if you spill the milk, clean it up and move on.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Spilled Milk

Spilled Milk
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." ~~Hebrews 4:12 Aren't you glad that Father has the ability to discern our deepest inmost parts? Isn't it freeing to know that you can bring your life -just as it is- to the altar receiving the peace, joy, and love of God, even if you made a huge mess along the way?
Let me tell you something. I am so, so glad that it is not up to me to judge the thoughts and intents of a persons heart. I am redeemed, set free and set apart for the glory of God, and on my best day I am not equipped to judge a person's heart. To some extent I can judge deeds; meaning I am capable of judging outward expressions but I'd never really rightly know the intent of ones heart. Unless I was willing to see and hear through the eyes and ears of grace, I wouldn't even come close. I might, somehow, be able to get closer to the truth of a matter if I allow myself to be governed by the Spirit of Christ in me.
Do you ever wonder how God sees what you do for Him? Do you ever find yourself striving and not quite making it because you believe it isn't right enough or good enough for the Father to lay eyes on? Does shame, doubt, confusion or fear keep you huddled in a corner afraid to approach our gracious Heavenly Lord?
Dear one, God knows your heart. He knows it! Don't allow anyone to rob you of what God has done for you and in you. Jesus and Jesus alone intercedes on your behalf. It doesn't get any better than that!
Let me share a picture with you that the Lord dropped into my spirit recently.
A small child seeking to bless his Mama with a nice cool glass of sweet tea enters the room where her mother -the object of her affection- is busy folding the mounds of laundry she just finished washing. Mother notices that the glass is filled almost to the brim and that her little one is wearing her dress up clothes (high heels, mamas old dress and the hat to boot). "It'll be a miracle if that child of mine doesn't spill that tea," she thinks to herself.
No sooner was the thought completed and down she went. Tripping over her own feet she lost hold of the glass, which landed all over the clean laundry just about time that she hit the floor with a thud.
Unhurt, she grabbed hold of the table to steady her, and stood up on her shaky, high heeled feet. Slowly and carefully she lifted her eyes to look in her Mama's face, oh so afraid of what she would see. Tears were already forming in her eyes yet she fought hard against her desire to cry because "big girls don't cry." It was almost too difficult to do but she forced her eyes to seek her mother's eyes and she'd never ever forget what she saw there. Stephanie

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Four-Letter Word


I don't know about you, but there are two four-letter words which I try to avoid using at all costs - iron and dust!

But, now to be more serious, we have all heard the expression "four-letter words" and know that not only are they rude and crude, they are not honoring to God and not the kind of language that should be coming out of the mouth of a child of God. Look at Matthew 12:34, "...for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." Our words should exhibit love, patience, praise, and joy. If we are truly His children and walking with Him, our hearts should be overflowing with thee things.

So, we can all agree that those particular four-letter words have no place in our thoughts or on our lips. But there is another four-letter word that, of late, I am most concerned about in my life and in many others I know and that word is SELF.

We live in the "me first" generation, and are absolutely drowning in songs, advertising, television and movies, etc. that glorify self and fulfillment of selfish desires. Our entire culture seems based on self-gratification. We hear of men and women arrested for various crimes, some of them violent, who, when asked why they did it, say things like "I wanted the sneakers or jacket the person was wearing," or "I was disrespected," or "they cut ME off while I was driving." You get my point. It's not really about the other person; it's about ME. Our children hear all about self-realization in school and college classrooms. We hear all about asserting OUR rights, demanding what is owed to US, and generally saying to anyone who will listen that WE are entitled to some particular benefit or privilege.

But it is not about ME. It is about God. What He wants to do in my life; how He can use me to serve and glorify Him. The glory belongs to God; I have nothing to do with it, except to act as I know I should as a child of the Heavenly Father.

Remember with me those verses in Isaiah 14:12-14 where Satan commits the ultimate act of prideful self and asserts that he is equal with God, "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH GOD."

How easy it is for us to fall into the SELF trap. I find myself thinking or saying things like "that really doesn't work for me today" or "I want to do this because I need to do something nice for myself." And because it is so pervasive around us, we don't think twice about saying it. But I find that the more I focus on SELF, the less I focus on God and my service to others.

I remember a little saying I learned as a child in Sunday school. It says if you want joy
J - Jesus first
O - Others second
Y - You last

So use the three-letter word JOY to help you conquer the four-letter word, SELF.

Lynn Randall

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Priority of Prayer

The Priority of Prayer

Why is it difficult to have time to pray? Or is it more that we do not make time to pray? Satan seems to find all kinds of things to keep us occupied so that prayer is more an afterthought than a priority. Is it possible that prayer is important but not most important?

It is true that we do what is most important to us at any given moment. We make choices, moment by moment, that reflect our priorities. If I choose to read the new novel I bought last week rather than read my Bible, at that moment, reading the novel is most important to me. So the excuse, 'I don't have time to pray' doesn't hold water. If you don't have time to pray it is because the other things you chose to do instead of pray were more important to you at that moment.

"Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What! Could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26: 40-41

"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers." 1 Peter 4:7

As you yield to Christ-life in you, you will pray. As Jesus lives His life through you, you will live out the priority of prayer. How do I know? Because prayer is a priority to Jesus.

Is prayer a priority to you?


Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Passion for Prayer

The Passion for Prayer

Passion: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept1

To have a passion for prayer is an active pursuit of God, not a cookie cutter or paint-by-numbers approach. It is an attitude of the heart not simply an activity. A passion for prayer cannot be satisfied from 7:10-7:30 in the morning rather it overflows from a dynamic, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

It is wonderful to have time each morning to sit and tarry with Jesus. It is also wonderful to have spontaneous times of communion with the Savior, enjoying a sunset together or delighting in the flight of an eagle.

Prayer is not just a grocery list of wants and needs. Prayer is a pursuit of God. "Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, "Seek My face, "My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek." Psalm 27:7-8 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"He who prays without fervency does not pray at all." Charles Spurgeon

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16

Do you have a growing passion for prayer?


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Privilege of Prayer

The Privilege of Prayer

Prayer. Conversation with the One True God, Creator of the Universe.

Stop and consider that for a moment.

Prayer is a privilege. We have access to Almighty God, the Great I AM. Our privilege of prayer came at a very high cost, the Blood of Jesus Christ.

As we read the Old Testament account of the tabernacle, God ordained the meeting place. "And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height...You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel."

The ark was positioned within the Holy of Holies or the Most Holy Place within the Tabernacle hidden from view by a heavy veil or curtain. "You shall put in it the ark of the Testimony, and partition off the ark with the veil." Exodus 40:3

That veil prevented general access to the meeting place. Only the High Priest was allowed access. Until "...the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split." Matthew 27:51 Until the Blood of Jesus was shed on the cross.

The tearing of the veil gave you and I access to the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place, the presence of God. We now have access to the Throne.

"Let us therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace, to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

"What a privilege we have! We possess the authority and permission and right - as God's adopted sons and daughters-to boldly speak before our Father in heaven, in unbroken access to His throne."1

Are you appropriating the privilege of prayer?


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Beginning of a Prayer Journey

The beginning of a prayer journey

I have shared this before with our Victory Call readers, but I want to share again as we begin this series on prayer.

It was a little over a year ago that God began to tap me on the shoulder to encourage me in the area of my prayer life. I have always admired prayer warriors, wondering how they do that.

Perhaps you remember my Victory Call from May 06 about the lesson God taught me when my son flew to Hungary alone. He made my choices clear, very clear. I could either prayerfully trust God or I could panic. I literally had no other options. I chose to prayerfully trust God. Little did I know that was the beginning of a journey for me deepening my personal prayer walk with Jesus Christ.

Then in June, when word came that Stephanie's daughter was in a life or death situation we cried out to God that very moment. Since Steph's daughter was in San Francisco for specialized care that is where the family flew to, to be by her side. We were left here to pray. We couldn't run to visit at the hospital or take meals; all we could do was pray. I learned a lot about fervent prayer during those days, weeks and months.

Around the same time, a number of prayer warriors I knew were graduating to glory, leaving us wondering who will take up the mantle. I believe God was using these events to begin to raise up a new generation of prayer warriors.

Chaplain Bill was one of our beloved chaplains in the Colony of Mercy. He was well into his eighties when God called him home. I remember his bewilderment that people seemed to have lost the passion for persistent, fervent prayer. He asked on more than one occasion, "What happened to all night prayer vigils?" I could hardly imagine. What could a person pray that would take all night? Luke 6:12, "Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."

I have been given the privilege of participating in Keswick's regional prayer meetings. As I sit around with this small group of people who take prayer very seriously it causes me to wonder, "What will happen to our churches, our ministries, or families, our nation, our world as these senior saint prayer warriors move home to glory if we do not have junior saints ready to stand in the gap?


Monday, September 17, 2007

A Precaution

A Precaution

Over the summer, Bill asked several of the staff to join him in speaking for the Campground conference week on the Spiritual Disciplines. The topic I selected was prayer.

Whenever I think about the spiritual disciplines, I get a little nervous because of the huge opportunity for misunderstanding and mis-practice. The practice of the spiritual disciplines such as, but not limited to, prayer, fasting, rest, Bible reading, worship, quiet time, journaling, etc. is good for the health of our soul, but misunderstood can lead to legalistic bondage. That’s exactly what Satan wants. Have you ever noticed that Satan’s MO is to take a little truth and a little lie and mix them together so that an undiscerning person will be deceived and believe the lie? The best way to avoid believing a lie is to immerse ourselves in the Truth.

“Satan is as subtle as God is good, and he tries to counterfeit everything God does, and if he cannot counterfeit it, he will limit it. Do not be ignorant of his devices.” Oswald Chambers

As we look at the spiritual discipline of prayer, know that I am not encouraging you to add just one more thing to your to-do list, but rather that we adopt a heart attitude of prayer which is the outflow of a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.


Friday, September 14, 2007

A Quick Look

A quick look

Have you ever stopped to think about how you look at other people? I mean really, think about it. No matter where you go or what you are doing, we are thinking and interacting with the environment we are in.
Let me give you an example: Let's say, I decide to stop by the grocery store on the way home from work today. Whether I want to or not I am going to be surrounded by people...some sinners and some saints. As I've said before, I tend to have a critical eye.
~~ Let me pause for a second to tell you something I am learning anew. God gave me the critical eye that I have. What I mean is this: God gave me the ability to carefully evaluate my world and everything in it. If you were going to hire a crew of carpenters to build you a home, you'd want one of them to have a critical eye. He's the one that's going to see all the details that bring lasting beauty and value to your home. He'll see the doorknobs that are missing a screw, the crown molding with improperly mitered corners, the tile that's cracked, the doors that don't shut all the way, etc. It's this ability when gracefully appropriated (as God intended) that is a gift to the world. ~~ So, from the time I pull into the parking lot (especially if I'm with my husband) my critical, legalistic, Stephanie eye notices every single half-dressed female around, and my mind starts working. Within seconds my face is all screwed up and I'm slicing and dicing people; making comments about this one and that one. In other words, I could say I'm slandering people that I don't even know. Ewww!! In times like these when I catch me being oh so ugly, I praise God for the opportunity that each incident is to confess, stop what I'm thinking or saying and bless whoever it may be with a prayer. And in the times that I don't catch myself, I thank God that I am still loved and still forgiven!!
So, I ask you again, how do you look at other people? Are you always finding fault? Do you always see the sin they do before you see the person they are? Are you quick or slow to speak truth or are you quicker to demonstrate grace?
Sisters, all of us have only to cast our gaze toward the Cross and remember that we were bought with a price. We all deserve hell. Instead we live longing for the day Christ will return. Praise God that we know His will, His character and His way demonstrated to us over and over again in His Word. Let's go and do likewise.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ~~1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV 1 Stephanie

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How Much More?

How much more…?

A few nights ago, my husband was watching a show called “Human Weapons”. Two men were receiving higher level Karate skills training from experts in Okinawa, Japan. Initially they were observing the instructors with a group of young male students, I’m guessing around 13-18 years old.
What they witnessed was a group of about 50 students going through repetitive, synchronized movements. The narrator explained the purpose of these exercises, known as “Kata”, was to literally reprogram the brain so that the movements become automatic. He shared that by doing these exercises hundreds and hundreds of times they are reprogramming how the nerve synapses fire in the brain. The movements become subconscious, natural, requiring no thought.


You know where my mind went. If repetitive motions can reprogram the physiology of the brain HOW MUCH MORE can the word of the God reprogram our thinking!!! Let’s take a lesson from our Karate friends. How important that we, as vessels of God’s grace, become spiritual weapons for the Kingdom. We are in a spiritual battle. If we practice repetitive thinking on the Word of God, hundreds and hundreds of times until our thinking upon the things of God becomes automatic, we will be much more effective warriors.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Psalm 119:11


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

Excuses, Excuses!

Yesterday I wrote you concerning the benefits of physical and spiritual exercise. I know you may have come up with your own excuses but here are the top ten excuses for not being physically or spiritually fit for that matter!

10. I really hate to exercise. Physically- do what you enjoy. Spiritually- if journaling is hard don't try to write a book. Just write a letter to God. I bet you will write more then you think! Add singing to your quiet time even if you can't sing! Be creative!

9. I've tried to exercise but I keep quitting. Physically- do what you can; start somewhere but don't bite off more then you can chew! We quit when we try to do too much too soon. Spiritually- Don't think you have to begin with an hour in prayer! Try a few minutes a day building consistency, add time as you progress.

8. I can't afford a gym membership. Physically- God gave us two legs! Go for a walk! Spiritually- We can get caught up in the words of men thinking we need a lot of extras but God's Word and a teachable heart asking for wisdom is all you need.

7. I'm not seeing any changes in my body. Physically- you didn't gain weight overnight; it won't come off overnight either. Spiritually- Trust God is at work in you even if you don't see the changes right away. He began a good work in you; He will be faithful to complete it!

6. I don't know how to exercise. Physically- Try an exercise video, book or website or a personal trainer. Spiritually- try THE Book, a recommended video; website or a sister in Christ.

5. I want to exercise but I'm too busy. Physically- Schedule the time, have your family join you so you are still spending time with them, use your lunch break to walk.
Spiritually- Schedule a quiet time into your day. Write it on the calendar if needed.

4. I can't stay motivated. Physically- Remind yourself of your goals and what you need to do to reach them. Reward yourself when you reach a goal! Spiritually- What is your goal? How will you be different in 3 months? Who will you become because you spent time with Jesus? Time in the Word will reap rewards you can't even think of right now!

3. Exercise hurts! Physically- You should not be in pain but feel a slight burn. Spiritually- You may not always be in pain but you may feel the burn of conviction!

2. I can't make the commitment. Physically- Don't think long term. Do what you can today. Start small work your way up. Spiritually- You are in a process. Start small and work your way up. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

1. I don't have time. Physically- Inactive people have the same number of hours in a day as those who are active. Spiritually- The godliest person you know has the same amount of hours in a day as you do!

Funny, we don't run out of excuses we just use the same ones over and over again! So get rid of your excuses!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Benefits of Physical and Spiritual Exercise

The Benefits of Physical and Spiritual Exercise

1 Timothy 4:8 - "For physical exercise is of some value but godliness has value for all things."
I have always read that verse and imagined the meaning to be - Don't bother with physical exercise. It is not worth much. But after taking better care of my physical body, I now understand the many benefits of physical exercise.
Here are but a few:
Reduce the risk of premature death.
Reduce the risk of developing and/or dying from heart disease.
Reduce the risk of developing or lower high blood pressure.
Reduce high cholesterol.
Reduce risks of colon cancer, breast cancer, or developing diabetes.
Reduce or maintain body weight or body fat.
Build and maintain healthy muscles, bones and joints.
Reduce depression, anxiety and improve overall psychological well-being.
I now see physical exercise as a very huge value in ones life BUT scripture tells us that even more so we need to train ourselves in the spiritual as that has even greater benefits!
What are the benefits of spiritual exercise? 1 Timothy 4 speaks of these:
Vs 7-8: Become a woman of Godliness. Becoming more like Christ
benefits not only this present life but the life to come.
Vs 12: Become a woman who is an example. Oh how we need godly women
to follow! Those who are godly in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in
Vs 14: Become a woman used of God. God has gifted you for a specific
purpose! We don't want to neglect what God has given us.
Vs 15: Become a woman of diligence; one who is wholly given to these
matters. Keep going! Keep on keeping on! Why? So others will see our
progress. We benefit the harder we exercise our spirit so that we can be a
witness of God in us and glorify Him in the process of living our lives.
Vs 16: Become a woman who perseveres. As we continue to watch our lives and
follow closely the doctrine God has given us we are saving ourselves
and those who hear us. We need not say a word; others watch us too and
"hear" our actions. Would they be saved by watching how we exercise
our spirits?
We want to care for our bodies that we have been given but for many striving to be physically fit has become an obsession. We want to grow spiritually and I think it is right for us to strive after godliness and holiness until it becomes our sacred obsession!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Through the Eyes of Grace or Law

Through the Eyes of Grace or the Eyes of the Law A little while ago, after completing an errand, I exited the main building on the Keswick property and my eyes were confronted by a dark image. Walking in, as I was walking out was a very young couple who were walking so close together, they were moving in complete unison with one another. On top of that they were dressed head to toe in black; they were pierced in too many places for me to count without staring and appearing rude. It was obvious the sun was no their friend as they were both very pale in complexion.

Now hear me on this okay? I saw them! Everything I just described was observed in a matter of seconds and in that moment I had a decision to make. I know me very, very, very well and that means I know before anyone ever needs to tell me that I can be a critical judgmental person. I praise my God and Father for His patient, teaching, counseling, affirming grace. I thank Him for the freedom that I have (we have) in Christ every moment of every day to see others through His eyes.

As I walked past that young couple the Spirit of Christ in me rose up and something happened -or should I say, didn't happen- that was simply sweet. I found myself NOT judging them.
They were two people made in the image of God, JUST LIKE ME, whom He loves, JUST LIKE ME, and cares for JUST LIKE ME, and loves, JUST LIKE ME and forgives, JUST LIKE ME and YOU!

In that moment I chose to see them through the eyes of grace rather than the eyes of whatever law I think they are breaking. As I write this Victory Call I am praying for me, for all of us to see everyone we come in contact with through new eyes; eyes that have been set free from the yoke of slavery to old stinky thinking that has nothing to do with grace; nothing to do with love and therefore, nothing to do with Christ in us and through us, the hope of glory.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." ~~ Galatians 5:1 (NIV) "But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 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." ~~ 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 Selah Stephanie

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Woman's Place

A Woman's Place
William Raws, the founder of America's KESWICK, considered it essential in determining God's leading regarding the founding of such a ministry that he have the wholehearted agreement of his wife, Dora. At the time the property became available, Dora was in California attending a Christian Endeavor Convention and visiting relatives. William desperately needed to know her mind on the matter before proceeding. He sent a wire to her asking whether she was willing to leave the city (Philadelphia), and the relative security of an established mission (The Whosoever Mission), to pioneer a ministry in New Jersey. Her reply was prompt and brief, citing the Bible reference Ruth 1:16 which reads, "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for wither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."
(the above excerpt was taken from Monitoring the Movement of God/A History of America's KESWICK, by William Addison Raws.)
After marrying William Raws, Dora and he established a home and began a family in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. They were increasingly involved in missions work in Center City. They began to take one or two of these men into their home until they could get on their feet. Having seen the same needs in so many on the streets of Germantown they had an increasing desire to see a work started there. They began to pray about the need and heard that an old building was for sale. It was a familiar building since it housed the saloon where he had done most of his drinking before he was delivered b y God's grace. They founded the Whosoever Gospel Mission. They had three children, Eva, Dora Mae (Dottie), and Addison. They also sent to England for the two boys, now teens, in the care of the grandparents. Dora would often play the piano during the services at mission.
When the property Raws considered for the Colony of Mercy came up, Dora was willing to leave a measure of security she had in their already established home in Philadelphia without hesitation. What a joy is must have been to be part of a team as husband and wife that shared such a passion and commitment not only to each other but to the Lord. So with five children and herself they all moved onto the grounds of America's Keswick. Which was at that time primitive, to say the least. She even had to endure the death of her precious daughter Dottie who at the young age of 12 died in her very arms. Dottie seemed to have been a close likeness in spirit to her mother Dora. At young age she ministered to the hearts of many a colony man, in fact bringing them to tears. Here grave site Is located just outside of our Women's Ministry Building and to this day is well tended to by the men of the colony.
I have a unique privilege in that William Addison Raws, Dora's grandson is here to give us a peak into this amazing woman's life. He shares some of his recollections of her: she was a minister's daughter and from "good stock" so to speak, she came from a family of good, moral people that lived quite comfortably. Pastor Raws remembers Dora as a strong woman, and by her very presence could seem intimidating at times and was a very take charge person. She worked very closely with her husband, in the Colony of Mercy. She was a member of the Christian Endeavor Society and the Anti-Saloon League. She was a crusader for Christ. Often after her husband would assign the men their work for the day he'd head out to Philadelphia to preach or meet with other Christian leaders and Dora would see to the day to day needs of the ministry. For two years after her husband's death while her son Addison attended Rutgers, she actually ran the Colony of Mercy. Eventually her daughter Eva became secretary to Addison. Pastor recalls many a colony man giving loving testimony of Dora or as she became known to them, "mother Raws". In later years as she grew older and Addison became fully in charge, she still sat in on the leadership meetings and gave her input and advice.
A woman's place...just where is that? Wherever God places her, is her place.
Where is your place?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Developing "Spiritual Receptivity"

Developing "Spiritual Receptivity"

Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident...Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming."...Yet I am confident I will see the LORD's goodness while I am here in the land of the living...Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
Psalm 27:3, 7, 8, 13, 14 (selected verses, please take the time to read the entire Psalm)

To develop spiritual receptivity we must begin with putting our trust wholly in God. Trusting that God is Who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do in our lives (Beth Moore). To trust Him, we need to be in His Holy Word to know just who our God is and what His promises are. It's in the Word that we are called to seek God with all of our hearts. When we are pursuing God we are saying we aren't satisfied with a second rate relationship with Him. In pursuing Him we are willing to seek Him with all our hearts, with all our minds, and will all our souls.
1 Chronicles 28:9 ...If you seek Him, He will be found by you..."
There isn't a magic formula to developing spiritual receptivity...all we need is a hungry heart that will not settle for second rate faith. Here are some ways we can pursue God's voice. We begin with a change of heart as we go to church on Sunday morning. We enter the sanctuary with a heart attitude of worship. Remember we are going to be in the presence of God! That alone should excite us!
Approach God with a desire to know Him in a deeper and more personal way. If you haven't done so in the past, repent of your poor attitude and get ready to excited about meeting with God! Go with a heart and mind that expects to meet with God.
If you expect to meet with Him...YOU WILL!


A.W. Tozer, A 31 Day Experience, The Pursuit of God

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Spiritual Receptivity Part 2

What if I don't exercise my "Spiritual Receptivity?"

There are always consequences to all our behaviors and our choices whether they are good or bad. There are consequences to not cultivating our gift of "spiritual receptivity" and it will show itself in a variety of ways. Here are just a few, according to A.W. Tozer;
a.) Our lives tend to become shallow. We never go below the surface to see what God wants to reveal to us. Our lives are only brain deep and not heart deep.
b.) We live with hollow beliefs. Our words say we believe and we say we trust but when the trials come (and they will come) we are lost.
c.) We attend church to have our eyes and our ears "tickled". We want to leave church and have warm and fuzzy feelings instead of being challenged by the Word of God.
d.) We may elevate some Bible teachers to "god" status and begin to rely solely on what they are preaching. We take the pastors' words and turn it into the "Word."
e.) If our faith isn't heart deep we will never look past the faith fa├žade of others. So we are satisfied with surface relationships with others in the church.
f.) We become satisfied with a diet of Sunday morning service Scripture reading and think it is sufficient to carry us through the coming week.

We become satisfied with second rate and second best. We put our hopes in and we base our wisdom and knowledge about God on what someone else says and does, rather than looking into Gods Word and listening for God's voice. God wants so much He passionately desires so much more for us...yet we settle for less.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message)

"God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!"

Amen and Amen! Don't you want all that God has for you?


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Instant ... Spiritual Receptivity

Instant...Spiritual Receptivity

Psalm 27:7-8 (The Message) "Listen, God, I'm calling at the top of my lungs: 'Be good to me! Answer me!' When my heart whispered, 'Seek God,' my whole being replied, 'I'm seeking Him!' Don't hide from me now!"
We live in a fast paced, instant world. We have instant breakfast, instant messaging, fast food, we can learn a new language in 30 day, get rich in 5 easy lessons and the list goes on and on. We want and expect our spiritual growth to be on the fast tract too, but that isn't the way it works.
If we were to study the great saints of the faith we would not only see that they were spiritually responsive we would see they didn't start out as spiritual giants. Each one continued to cultivate their spiritual receptivity until it was the "biggest thing in their lives." (A.W. Tozer) When they felt that longing to know God more and more...when they felt God pulling on their heart strings, they didn't put those feelings to rest, they responded and made it their lifelong habit to seek God.
Spiritual receptivity is a gift from God. God has given it to each and every one of us and there is nothing that we can do as individuals to manufacture it. However, even though it is a gift, that doesn't give us the leisure of resting on it, thinking we will instantly become "spiritual giants of the faith." First, each of us must recognize Gods gift of "spiritual receptivity," and then cultivate it, otherwise the gift will be destroyed. When we neglect exercising our bodies, our muscles will grow weaker and eventually atrophy. This is no different in the case of spiritual receptivity.
Have you been waiting for instant deep faith only to be disappointed and think that, just don't have what it takes; you don't have the kind of faith that can move mountains and so you give up or become "satisfied" with where you are. Maybe you wonder why your faith seems shallow or hard to hold onto when trials come into your life.
My dear sisters in faith, don't be satisfied with a ho-hum faith, God has created you for so much more!
A.W. Tozer "Let any [woman] turn to God in earnest, let [her] begin to exercise [herself] unto godliness, let [her] seek to develop [her] powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything [she] may have hoped in [her] leaner years."1

Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." What a wonderful promise from our God! Are you ready to get up off your spiritual couch and exercise your "spiritual receptivity?"


Monday, September 03, 2007

Mom Always Liked You Best ...

Mom always liked you best....

I loved the comedy routine of Tom & Dick Smothers who were very popular when I was a kid. Poor Tom would always lament that "Mom always liked you [brother Dick] best." Tom would always expound the many ways their Mom would show her favoritism to Dick and it was always good for some great belly laughs!
Well, does our Heavenly Father play favorites do you think? I'm thinking if He does Billy Graham, Amy Carmichael or Joseph from the Old Testament must be among His favorites. Did God give them an extra measure of faith? Did God give them something He hasn't given to you or me? Did He love them more than He loves us?
These and other great men and women of faith accomplished so much and brought so many to the cross of Jesus. Many have given their all in service to the King. Why is it that some Christians experience God in a way that others like you and me don't? Why do so many of us struggle in our faith? Where does the difference come from? Is it that God likes them best?
A.W. Tozer says the number one quality of all the giants of the faith is "spiritual receptivity." Each one of those men and women were spiritually receptive to God's voice. This isn't some "extra faith quality" that God gives to a select few because He likes them best.
According to Tozer, spiritual receptivity blends several elements with the soul of the individual. Those elements are:
1. The knowledge of doctrine - principles and position of the Christian faith 2. Theology - the study of God, faith and His relationship with the world, including practice and experience 3. God's precepts - His commands and principals learned through His Word 4. All of the above mixed with our personal experience of God in our lives.

All of these elements are available to you and to me. I must stress that this doesn't mean we know all the answers or for that matter can know all the answers to the questions of the universe! To be spiritually receptive means we are open to what God is showing, teaching and leading us to...and then RESPOND to it. There is a second step that is respond. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."
Could you be the next Beth Moore? James says God gives generously to all who ask...but once God gives to must respond. God has given you and I all we need....
Will you respond?


A 31 Day Experience, The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer