Friday, November 30, 2007

To Be Sin

To Be Sin...

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Like A Bolt From Heaven -- It Hit Me!

Like a bolt from heaven it hit me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mom, let me try!

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Monday, November 26, 2007

He Never Changes -- Rewind

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


Friday, November 23, 2007

What Would Jesus Say to You?

What would Jesus say to you?

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



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

Have we forgotten?

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

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

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


Thursday, November 22, 2007



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

Be encouraged and let your heart smile with these words:

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

Happy Thanks - giving,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


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

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

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

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

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


Monday, November 19, 2007



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

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


Friday, November 16, 2007

By Grace Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, November 15, 2007

What's In Your Back Pack (Part 2)

What's in your back pack? Part 2
Matthew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
What comforting words Jesus gives us. Here we are walking around with all our "stuff" weighing us down and Jesus is such a gentleman, He offers to take our heavy burden in exchange for His...and He calls His burden "light." Here's the catch...we have to let go of the death grip that we have on our baggage! He will NOT rip it out of our hand, nor will He take it from us...we must give it to Him w-i-l-l-i-n-g-l-y!
Jesus offers to carry our stuff...His arms are open wide...still we cry "mine, mine, mine!" He says His "yoke is easy and [His] burden light. To Jesus this is a fair exchange. Our backs were never meant to carry all the "stuff" that we shove into those invisible back packs. It's a wonder that some of us can even get out of bed in the morning! But Jesus transfers the load of His burden to us while He takes ours onto Him. This doesn't mean our burdens magically disappear however; they no longer weigh us down. We are free to stand up straight and breathe. This is truly trusting God for everything that has been weighing us down and even crippling us in some cases. Now without the heavy burden we have His strength and we can see our burdens through the eyes of our Savior. And from that vantage point all our burdens look entirely different. We see the truth and see our true priorities.
Jesus also promises to give us rest. But we can't rest until we give it all to Him and hold nothing back. Rest...isn't that what we all want? Read these comforting words from Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
You can't soar like an eagle if you're holding onto that back pack. Are you ready to give it to Jesus? His arms are waiting...then you have a flight to catch.
Mary Ann

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What's In Your Backpack?

What's in your backpack?
Have you every gone on a women's weekend retreat and noticed the luggage women bring? It's very interesting and even funny to watch. The bags range from many pieces to just one small case....and of course a purse. Some women bring four pieces of luggage and clothing on hangers...all for one weekend! But one thing is for certain...every one arrives with baggage.
The new thing today is backpacks. Department stores have some back packs that are made to be "purses." Kids use back packs for their school books. Some people carry their lap top computers in them. There are even people who use them for what they were originally designed for...hiking! Well... I would like to write about a different kind of backpack, the one that each of us carries on our backs. Ones we don't see with our eyes...and are called our "burdens."
What do you have in your backpack? The proverbial to do list? Books to read, Bible studies, ministry work, expectations, worries, past mistakes, present hurts, present trials? How much "stuff" - good or bad - do you shove in your pack back? Funny...when it's full we don't "un-burden" ourselves; we get a bigger bag or just add another.
Why are we so unwilling to part with our bags and our "stuff?" We think "well it may be overwhelming...but it's mine...If I don't do this stuff no one else will." Others may see us hunched over or dragging but still we say, "Oh I'm fine...I can handle it."
There are serious consequences to our physical, mental, and spiritual well being if we hang on to all this "stuff." It can't help but affect our relationships with our families, our jobs, our ministries. It isn't supposed to be this way. There is an answer and we find it in Matthew 11:28-30.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
There it is from the words of our Savior Jesus...He does a bag exchange! Jesus offers us a solution to our back and neck pain, to our tired bodies and it isn't a tube of Ben Gay! He offers himself. But is it just as easy as that?
Stay tuned for Part 2
Mary Ann

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So Who Are You?

So who are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, November 12, 2007

A Case of Mistaken Identity

A Case of Mistaken Identity

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

It occurred to me how we tend to get confused.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who are you, really?


Friday, November 09, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Never Give Up Hope

Never give up hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

God stepped in.

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


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Precious Moments

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

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Don't Give Up

Don't Give Up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 05, 2007


Who are you listening to?

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, November 02, 2007

Let's Hear It For the Older Ladies

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

Thursday, November 01, 2007



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

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

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

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

Lynn Randall