Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sovereignty and Free Will

Sovereignty and Free Will

The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1

Sitting in the counseling office, seeking to offer comfort and hope to another hurting person distressed over the wayward choices of a loved one, I offer the truth of our day's scripture. God holds the heart of kings in His hand and He turns it as He chooses. If He holds the kings heart, surely he holds the hearts of our loved ones. Not only does He hold the heart of our loved one but He can change the heart of our loved one.
Invariably, the reply I get is "Yeah but, God also gave us free will right?" Right, but does free will negate the sovereignty of God? It cannot be or sovereignty is not sovereignty.
Today's verse: "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes" is recorded in the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. Free will is not a recent concept that God threw in as an afterthought. Free will was just as present when Proverbs 21:1 was penned as it is today.
How do these two truths coincide? How do God's sovereignty and man's free will co-exist, both being true? It is a mystery. Why would we expect to be able to understand all the things of God? He is God after all, and God says they both are true, therefore we know both are true.
Let us not negate the sovereignty of God in the lives of our loved ones by believing the lie that their free will gives them greater power in their lives that God.
We need to ask ourselves the question: Do I believe that God is sovereign in the life of my loved one despite the free will God has given them?
If we choose to take God at His word, believing that His sovereignty and our free will somehow work together, we can pray in great hope and faith for loved ones.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Does This Offend You?

Does this offend you?
Some time ago, my then mother-in-law had prepared Christmas dinner. The main dish was a roast. Let's just say this roast was...well...extremely well done. (The men in the family prefer their beef very rare.) We sat down at the table and one of my nieces (about 7 years old) said; "Have you ever seen such an overdone piece of meat in your entire life?!" It was exactly what we were all thinking. Thankfully, the cook didn't hear her! I know she would have been highly offended.
Offenses can so easily come, most of which are unintentional. If we put more thought into our words we could potentially avoid offending someone. I feel awful when I realize I've said something that has caused an offense, most of the time; but there have been times when I have spoken the name of Jesus and instantly caused an offense, just by mentioning His Holy name! There have also been times when I have shared a scripture with someone and they have been highly offended. For example; John 14:6, "Jesus said to him; I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." It's not my desire to offend but to bless.
Sometimes I've sinfully held back words of Life, precious words of Life, because I didn't want to offend. Did I want to please man or please God? This would be my nightmare on Judgment Day: I'm standing across from someone I had the opportunity to speak to and with wailing and gnashing of teeth they ask me why didn't I tell them about Jesus. I feel sick at the thought.

Jesus was concerned with people hearing the words of life that they might hear and believe.

"As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven-not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever." These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"
When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them; "Does this offend you?" What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (John 6:57-69)

Colossians 4:5-6
"Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."

Lord, let us throw off all that binds us or causes us to hesitate in redeeming the time.

Dina Seaton serves in our Marketing department at America's KESWICK and is available to speak at your women's event. For information, contact Ruth Schmidt at

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Father's Grip

My Fathers Grip....
This week has been a great week for prayer. Funny thing is that I am speaking at a retreat this weekend and the topic chosen for me was prayer.
I would not consider myself a prayer warrior but just someone who is always praying about something. There is always the occasional health issues, children, working full time and still maintaining a strong home life and the dailies of life....I find myself in, "sentence", prayers all the time.
This week my youngest son, who has some learning disabilities, had some trouble at school, that we needed to work out. We had to follow up with two of his Doctors. I was trying to prepare for a retreat and keep a very busy work schedule and home schedules in check too. In the midst of this a family member called me and needed money wired to them for an emergency situation. Then another close friend who we really consider family had several situations creep up on him that he needed to come to grips with and sort out.
My heart was heavy and prayers just seemed empty at this time. I had gone to a prayer meeting that morning with our staff and right across from us, was another small group of women praying. In the next room was another prayer meeting taking place as well. I had to stop in my prayer time that morning, and thank the Lord for prayer and what an encouragement to see all of this taking place, at one time.
The next morning, again, feeling empty to pray...I was asking the Lord for wisdom or something to hold on to for the day...something to get me started. As I was leaving to head to work my husband was asleep in bed and our youngest son was lying on the floor next to him. He reached up and grabbed his daddy's hand and looked upward toward him with such trust in his eyes. That was I say, "A Post card from Heaven".....yes that was it.....a child reaching upward to his fathers hand and just trusting in him.
Ok I got it that time....Lord you want us to reach upward in times of trouble and happy times as well, always to You our heavenly father. What a simple example of a childlike faith and; what an example that God allowed me to see.
Today reach up and grab hold of the hand of our Heavenly Father and just hold on and trust HIM.

Lynn Wilson serves as a Guest Services Representative at America's KESWICK. If you are considering a place for your next retreat, give Lynn a call at 800-453-7942. She'd love to share with you why America's KESWICK is the place you need to be!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Humility and the Fear of the Lord

Humility and the fear of the Lord

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22: 4

Humility~~ painfully difficult to obtain (requires death) and maintained only by the sovereign hand of God. To be genuine, humility must be a reflection of God in us. We can act humble without being humble. When that is the case, it is more manipulation than sanctification.
Genuine humility does more to thwart and resolve conflict than making one's point.
What keeps humility from being manipulation and making it genuine? The fear of the Lord. When humility ceases to be self-centered and becomes God-centered it moves from being an action to being a motive of the heart. It moves from something we do to something we are.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Contentious Woman

A contentious woman -- It has always bothered me to read the Scriptures about contentious women. In some ways, I believe it has described me in the past. Oh, I would never actually consider myself contentious but I considered it my responsibility to "point things out" to my dear husband. Oh, what he put up with! I am certain that he got the worse end of the deal when we married 23 years ago. Please do not write me and tell me I'm being too hard on myself, or that you are sure it wasn't that bad, etc. I'm just stating my perspective, after all I was there. I wasn't always contentious, but I did go through periods of being discontent, critical and contentious. So perhaps now you understand why those verses irritated me so. Plus, on top of that, the only verses I saw in the Scriptures seemed to connect contentiousness with women! That bugged me even more.Alas, I came across a verse today in my Bible reading time (with pen poised) -- Charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. Proverbs 26:21 This made me curious about other verses about contentiousness. I found 5 others, 4 which apply to my current illustration.Proverbs 21:9 Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.Proverbs 21:19 Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman.Proverbs 25:24 It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.Proverbs 27:15 A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike; Of the 6 verses regarding contentious people, 4 of them refer to women, 1 to men and 1 to people in general. The definition of contentious is: "tending to argument or strife, quarrelsome; causing, involving or characterized by argument or controversy" (Webster's American Dictionary). There is something about the two words together, contentious woman, that causes a reaction similar to nails on a chalkboard, or teeth scraping on a fork. It in no way leaves the impression of a Christ-like woman. I am assuming since "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" that the fact that there are 4 verses describing contentious women that there is a propensity for women to be contentious. This is not a cut and dried statement. Not every woman is contentious, but I believe the Scripture indicates the propensity or temptation is there for women to be argumentative leaving a sour impression on those impacted by such contention. That is not who I want to be! How about you?
Diane Hunt is the Director of Addiction Recovery Ministries of America's KESWICK, and under her leadership, birthed the ministry of Women of Character. She is available to speak for your women's ministry events. Contact Ruth Schmidt -- for details.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Practical Nuggets


I was looking at the passage of Scripture in I Thessalonians 5, beginning with verse 16 and was struck for the first time, I think, about how practical these Bible verse "nuggets" are. Look at them with me for a moment:
v. 16 "Rejoice evermore"
v. 17 "Pray without ceasing"
v. 18 "In every thing give thanks..."
v. 19 "Quench not the Spirit"
v. 20 "Despise not prophesyings"
v. 21 "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good"
v. 22 "Abstain from all appearance of evil"

Whew! Paul left no stone unturned, as it were. Let's take a look at the first of these nuggets and be encouraged by what a wonderful truth it reminds us of.

Yes, I know there are days when it seems as if the roof just caved in on us and nothing is going right (or more precisely, nothing is going right according to the way WE HAVE PLANNED FOR IT TO GO)! Yet Paul counsels us that even in the midst of all of this, we are to "rejoice evermore." I don't know about you, but I can say for myself that some days I do a lot more complaining and a lot less rejoicing. And I also know that when I focus on the rejoicing, the complaining seems to be less pronounced in my day. The Psalmist reminds us. "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psa. 118:24). And once more, "Rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say Rejoice (Phil. 4:4).

Take some time to read through some of the Psalms - so many of them focus on joy and rejoicing not only because of what the Lord has done, but because of who He is. We rejoice in our salvation, rejoice in victory over obstacles in our lives, rejoice that He is all-loving, all-powerful, sovereign and has stooped down to take us unto Himself and love us.

You get the point. The God who created the universe, sent His Son to die for us and give us salvation, and loves us with an everlasting love wants us to be rejoicing over every aspect of our lives - even the yucky stuff. And because He has done all of these things for us, we can do just that.

So, Sisters in Christ, I say to you today, "When the going gets tough, keep rejoicing."

Lynn Randall is the Director of Human Resources at America's KESWICK and a retired librarian.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Staying Clean in a Dirty Place ...

Staying Clean in a Dirty Place....

I am sure that most of you have heard of the Staph Infections that has been going around our school systems. I received a letter last week stating that my youngest son's school had one case and that they were taking precautions.
My sister just called me and told me that her daughter is in first grade and they might have to pull her out for the language she is hearing, the fights and destruction of school property. Again we are only talking about first graders. She is now trying to take precautions.
I took my son apple picking and looking around there were all kinds of people there touching the buckets we were holding....the dirt from the pumpkin patch etc.... He went to eat an apple that he found on the ground, but I had to tell him stop, not to eat that one. We needed to take precautions to eat a clean one and wash our hands first.
I find myself wiping down the bar on the cart in the food store now because of the germs and the sticky stuff on the handle.
When I was a kid we never thought to wash our hands every half an hour, Mom did not carry around bottles of germicide or germicide wipes. We did not worry about germs and dirty things too much...the most was just... "don't sit on the toilet seat in the rest rooms".
Precautions for these things were not something we thought about like we do now.
Not only do we have the physical germs to be concerned with these days...but the dirty items that are worse than germs in magazines, books, movies and shows - many right in our kids classrooms. Dirt, germs and "bad stuff" is everywhere.
When I was a kid we were taught to put on the whole armor of God. I could recite to you what each piece was but never really understood what it all meant. Now being a mother of two and a bit older and wiser....that armor is the best thing we can give our selves each day.
It protects us from evil and gives us what we need for battle against the world and the dirt, germs or bad stuff in it.
Today don't forget to pray, read the Bible and put on the armor before you walk out your front door to serve Him in the battles that lie ahead of you. --Lynn Wilson
Lynn serves on the team at America's KESWICK in Guest Services. She is available to speak at women's events. Contact Ruth Schmidt for information (

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Hug From Heaven

A hug from heaven

Earlier this year I wrote a devotional called "The Ministry of a Hug." There was a great response to it because I really do believe that hugs can be a ministry in a sense by being the comforting arms of the Lord...and we all need a hug from time to time. When someone is hurting, either emotionally or physically, a hug, a prayer and a kind word are priceless gifts.

I recently received my priceless gift when I needed it most and it come from a very small package. For the past two months my son Daniel, his wife Liza and our grandson Elijah (3 years old) have been living with us while their house grows along with their family (their second baby boy is due January 7th). I can't tell you what a joy it has been to have them with us...I haven't played so much in years!

I had been feeling sad and whatever...on this one particular day recently. Liza and Elijah were leaving for the day and so of course Baba had to have her hugs and kisses. After receiving them Elijah ran out the door waving bye-bye. He stopped...turned around and ran back to me, "I need to kiss you Baba" and I got a great big kiss! Off he went, only to run back once more, "I need to hug you Baba! I love you." If ever a hug came straight from the arms of the Lord, I believe this one did! Did the Lord prompt Elijah's little heart? I like to think so.

Would you or I be so quick and willing to respond to God's little nudge to give someone a hug? There wasn't a great "crisis" going on in my life, just a disquiet spirit. I wasn't crying or moping around...yet somehow this little one's spirit sensed his Baba "needed" a hug and a kiss.

Be the arms of Christ today...someone may just "need" a priceless gift that only you can give...a hug from heaven.

Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children. (NLT)

Mary Ann

Mary Ann serves in our Women's Addiction Recovery Ministry program and is a biblical counselor. Part of her ministry now includes overseeing the intakes for the Colony of Mercy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cultivate the Heart

Cultivate the heart

As I sat a listened to Steve McVey last summer during our summer conference season, it was as if I was waking from a long winters nap. About 10 years ago, during a particularly difficult time in my life, I was counseled to grow in grace and my understanding of my identity in Jesus Christ. It hugely impacted my life and ministry. Over time, without active pursuit, these truths started to gradually leak out of my heart and mind until the point that they were nearly gone completely in any real practical sense.
As I listened to Dr. McVey, I sensed a growing excitement as I realized I knew this but had lost it and I wanted it back!! As I spoke to Steve after one of the sessions, tearfully sharing how hindered I felt to really soar in these truths, he very kindly looked at me and said, "Nurture your heart in grace".
Nurture: to supply with nourishment, to further the development of (Merriam-Webster Online 12 21 07).
As I have been considering that thought to "nurture your heart" it occurred to me that there is an intentional sense about our Christian walk. Another word that comes to mind is to cultivate. Just as we cultivate a garden we can cultivate God's truth in our hearts. We can plant seeds of truth (by reading the Scriptures); water the seeds (through Church attendance and participation); and fertilize the truth (with Christian fellowship and outreach). We can encourage growth and Biblical change in our lives by cultivating and nurturing God's truth in our lives. As He supplies the power through the infusion of His Holy Spirit, we grow and flourish in spite of the circumstances or barriers that may otherwise impede progress.
How are your actively nurturing your heart with Truth today?


Thursday, January 17, 2008


There are certain times of the year that bring beautiful - and often painful - memories to my mind. There are birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and sometimes just plain old "ordinary" days that for some reason have special significance to me because of a special event that may have occurred on that day.

I was in my office this morning, talking with a fellow staff member, and we got to talking about Thanksgiving. Now, for me, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because I so closely associate it with family and friends and just wonderful times of fellowship with my mom and dad and best friend (actually more like a sister), Susan. Turkey and all the stuff (pardon the pun) that goes with it is not necessarily part of the picture. In fact the most joyous Thanksgiving I spent in recent years was in the St. Louis airport sharing a ham sandwich with my mom as we waited to board a plane to come home to New Jersey. You see my mom had nearly died a week earlier and had just been released from the hospital that morning so we could return home.

It didn't matter that we weren't seated at the dining room table set with her best dishes or that we weren't eating turkey, mashed potatoes, and her famous oyster dressing. What mattered was that we were together, and that God had chosen to deliver her from the pneumonia and congestive heart failure, and was giving her the strength to come home.

Even now as I write this, I am crying because the memories are so bittersweet. But there will come a day when I will no longer need to remember, because the memories will not be, in effect memories, but eternal reality. The tears I am now shedding will disappear as I join with my mom and dad, and so many other dear Christian friends in rejoicing in the very presence of God and praising Him eternally for His awesome majesty and sovereignty. No more tears shed as we dwell in the eternal present filled with His presence. He has prepared a place for me (John 14:2-3), where I will dwell with Him forever.

Even Christ's words from I Corinthians 11 regarding the remembrance of His death and resurrection won't be necessary any longer since we will be living in His presence and remembrance will not be necessary.

So the tears I shed now are tears of sadness and of joy - and yes, tears of hope, too - as I KNOW that some day my memories will no longer be necessary. Dwelling in the very presence of God and knowing that I am there for eternity - can I comprehend it? No, not really. Do I believe it - absolutely positively! Praise the Lord.

Lynn Randall

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Siesta Time with Jesus

Siesta Time with Jesus

Are we honoring Him, who is our peace and our rest, with our all our heart soul mind and strength?

Some of us (most of us) do that very well with our busy beaver, busy as bees "doing." And praise the Lord the "doing" is a good thing. There is no condemnation in it -not even a little bit.
My sincere heart question is; "Are we honoring Him with our 'being' as well as we are with our 'doing'?"

My co-worker and I were just talking about the tradition and practice some countries have called siesta. This isn't the first time we've had this conversation and it won't likely be the last. We can't help it. Partly because we are both busy most of the time and think it would simply be neat to pause in the middle of our day for some R&R. The other part of it is -- we really do need to pause and since we don't, our souls do the longing for us and we, well, we talk about it.

Just for fun I did an internet search and here is what I learned: Siesta is a Spanish word and is defined as "a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal. Such a period of sleep is a common tradition in hot countries. The word is from a Latin word meaning "the sixth hour" (counting from dawn, therefore noon, hence "midday rest"). The original concept of a siesta was merely that of a midday break. This break was intended to allow people time to be spent with their friends and family."¹

I don't know about you, but I'm jealous for this "siesta time" in my own life. More and more I am longing to be with Jesus, just resting at His feet and being still.

Dear sisters, just in case you didn't know, being still is not a dirty word and I can't put it any better that Jesus did when He mildly rebuked Martha in Luke 10:41-42. ²

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

The Lord Jesus said as plain as day, "Mary has chosen what is better."

My encouragement and my challenge for all of us today is, at the very least, begin to think about the pattern of our lives. Are we so busy doing that being, simply being alone with Him is a foreign concept? For a long time now I have wanted "more." Well, now I want "better". And not "my better", but what Jesus calls "better."


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

God Never Gives More Than You Can Bear

God never gives you more than you can bear...

If someone would have asked me several months ago if this came from scripture, I would have said yes...or at least that it was a biblical truth. I have even said it many times, and tried to find comfort in that statement for myself. And yet it seemed as if what I observed all around me was the exact opposite. So what is the truth?
My eyes were opened during a recent Bible study called "The Grace Walk Experience" by Dr. Steve McVey. We were asked to examine 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." (Emphasis mine)
It's all in there...the truth about the trials and suffering that comes into our lives. I would never compare the hardships or trials in my life to that which the Apostle Paul endured but I've had some hard times that have taken me into the pit. In these verses, Paul tells us the hardships that he and his companions went through were just too much for them to went far beyond what they could physically, mentally and emotionally endure. They couldn't bear the strain and the pain. It was so bad that they really just wanted to die so that they would escape the unbearable circumstances. But why would God allow them to get to this unbearable state?
Paul and his companions came to a place where they realized it was all in the hands of God, their very lives had to be surrendered into the hands of God. There wasn't anything they could do to save themselves or ease their suffering. And that was where God wanted them to be...the place where they would give up their self sufficiency and rest in His sufficiency.
God tries to get our attention. As I look back on the trials that I went through, I see that God was trying to get my attention but I kept on trying to control and handle everything on my own. It was only when I came to the end of my self sufficiency that I was able to see that is was all about God's sufficiency and not about mine.
No, I don't believe the statement anymore "God never gives you more than you can bear." It's a bit scary I have to admit. But I have seen in my own life that...I can't...but He can. Instead of relying on my self sufficiency (really non existent) I need to rely totally on His sufficiency.
I'll just trust about you?


Friday, January 11, 2008



Recently my husband and I were trying to make plans for our 23rd wedding anniversary. Money is tight so our usual weekend trip to a Bed and Breakfast was unlikely. We decided to go to New York overnight - that is until we found out how much that cost. So we decided to go to Philadelphia overnight with John's discount it appeared doable.

We arrived around 5 pm and wandered around the block a few times to try to figure out how to actually get to our hotel and park. It appeared as if they expected us to fold up our car and put it in our suitcase. We finally pulled up front where the valet parking appeared to solve the problem but to our surprise the men in the car in front of us, got out one at a time making angry, wild gestures at us until all three were scowling at us. We were befuddled as we hadn't even done anything - yet. Welcome to the city.
As we made our way to a parking lot and into the hotel we quickly settled in our room so we could get out and walk around the city.
John went to college in Philadelphia and knew his way around and had much he wanted to show me. I just stayed by his side, walking hand-in-hand allowing him to lead me wherever he chose. I was not fearful even though there were some unusual people and sightings. As I have gotten older and life has become more hectic, I have lost my intuitive ability to retrace me steps. Take me around a few corners and I forget how to get back. So left to my own devices I get lost easily.
We walked for several hours and honestly I had no idea where we were in relation to our hotel, but I was unconcerned because I had my husband with me, who knew exactly where we were, where we were going and how to get back.
I couldn't help but see the spiritual implications.
Why is it I was completely at rest knowing my husband had things well in hand, yet though I say I know my Heavenly husband has things well in Hand, I tug and pull and fret and worry about where He is taking me, how I will get there and how I will ever find my way back? Why do I find it difficult to rest knowing that He knows exactly where we are going and how to get there? It gave me pause.

We can rest in Jesus Christ. He will walk with us hand-in-hand leading and guiding us along the way.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.


Thursday, January 10, 2008



It's an exciting time at the Kiernan household as we wait with great anticipation for the birth of our second grandson in a few short weeks. It will be a little extra special as Daniel and his family are living with us for a few months while his home grows along with his family. So we will have a new born 24/7 for a few weeks!
There are many things in our lives that we wait on with great anticipation. Weddings, babies, birthdays (mostly for the younger ones!), a new home and that's just to name a few. There are always things to do and plans to thing is for sure we are excited and it's never far from our thoughts.

Matthew 24:42-44 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him."

Well what about the return of Jesus? Are we waiting in great anticipation that at any time, any minute Jesus may return? Are we living our lives in readiness for His immanent return? I think that most of us think we have to know the day, the hour of Christ's return so we can be ready. Many have predicted it...and been wrong. Every so often there will be a headline on of those gossip papers with the exact day of His return. But knowing the exact time of His return isn't the important thing. What is important is how you and I live our lives until that day comes. It's not for us to know the time...only God knows that. What is important is that we "be ready" at all times. Jesus will return when we least expect it.
Are you ready? Are you excited? Are you preparing for His return? If Jesus were to come back tomorrow what would you be doing today?
Let's start living our lives in anticipation, just as if Jesus were coming back tomorrow.

Mary Ann

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


"Forgiveness is not an emotion...forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart." ~~ Corrie Ten Boom

I came across the following story, once again, and decided it was worth sharing. Of everything we are called to do as followers of Christ forgiveness proves to be one of the most difficult. If we don't feel it, we reason, we don't have to. Though I can't think of any place in Scripture where our feelings or lack of them, let us off the hook and excuse us from obedience, it seems to be the "out" we given ourselves.
Read the following story and hear the encouragement and if necessary the earnest reminder to forgive.

I'm Still Learning to Forgive
"It was in a church in Munich that I saw him, a balding heavy-set man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives. ...
And that's when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister's frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!
Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent. ...
"You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk," he was saying. "I was a guard in there." No, he did not remember me.
"I had to do it - I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us."
"But since that time," he went on, "I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein, ..." his hand came out, ... "will you forgive me?"
And I stood there - I whose sins had every day to be forgiven - and could not. Betsie had died in that place - could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?
It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. For I had to do it - I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. "If you do not forgive men their trespasses," Jesus says, "neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." ...
And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion - I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. "Jesus, help me!" I prayed silently. "I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling."
And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
"I forgive you, brother!" I cried. "With all my heart!"
For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then." ¹

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Power of the Tongue

The power of the tongue...

I have been working my way through Proverbs with pen poised in hand, recording what my Divine Teacher is saying to me. I have again been impressed with the myriad of references to the power of the tongue.

Dear sisters, with our tongue we have the power to separate, to cause pain, strife and division, to harm, hurt, and gossip, to destroy, hinder, offend, belittle, withhold, and wound others we love OR Praise the Lord, we have the power to do just the opposite. With our tongue we can unify, encourage, bring peace, healing, hope, truth, calm, arrest fear, foster joy, forgive, build up, and cheer our loved one on to fulfill their potential and be all that God empowers them to be.

Here are just a handful of selections from Proverbs:

Proverbs 12:18 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword. But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

Proverbs 14:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

How will you use your tongue today? For good or ill, for your will or God's will?


Friday, January 04, 2008

What is the REAL REASON?

What is the real reason?

We wear pins that say, "Jesus is the reason for the Season", have bumper stickers, and so much more regarding this statement. Now that the holidays are over and our pockets are empty and our bill boxes are full....can we truly look back and confirm that He was our reason for the season? I know it is hard not to get caught up in the festivities of the season. There are so many wonderful things to get involved in but when all is said and done, Christ should be what motivates everything we do. Even our gift giving.....the Lord placed those special people in your life and it is ok to give a gift to them. Just remember Him in all that you do.

My husband wrote devotion for another event that I wanted to share with you. As I read this one it really gave me food for thought.

(Written by Graeme Wilson) Over the Christmas season we had the opportunity to hear a lot of different "Christmas Messages". One that really stuck with me and made an impression was at my home church. The speaker mentioned that as you know every year society goes through it ups and downs and highs and lows in terms of Christianity.

Sometimes the attacks on Christianity are very blatant like when they passed the ban on praying in schools. He said that this year he heard on the radio that the big thing was not the removing of the nativity scene from public places, but rather, the Christ child out of the scene. He went on to say that he made a point of looking the next time when he was driving through his home town, and sure enough, there was Mary and Joseph staring down at a pile of Hay!

Disturbing, we say, and yet for 2000 years Satan has been trying to get Christ out of the manger. But thankfully we have the verse (Galatians 4:4) "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law."

As we go into this New Year, can each of say that Christ has His rightful place in our life? He no longer is the babe in a manger, He came for your sins and mine and He is in heaven preparing a home for those that accepted that gift of salvation. If you're not sure if you're a child of God now is the time to make sure. Ask Him into you heart, ask him to forgive your sins and to cleanse you and He will. Then go and tell someone today.

Yes, He is ALIVE and living in my heart today. How about your heart and life? The gift of salvation is a gift that never stops giving since it is for eternity.

Graeme & Lynn W

Thursday, January 03, 2008



I have found that Satan loves to use guilt in a believer's life to keep them trapped in a prison of condemnation. In Revelation 12:10 the Bible tells us that Satan is our "accuser." He loves it when a believer takes the bait and feels guilty and condemned. His work is done. It's very hard to live in the freedom Christ gives a believer if you go into another prison of condemnation. Jesus paid the price for that in full! Jesus has set us free so why do we want to go right back into prison?

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

What beautiful words! If we feel guilty because of sin there's an answer for it. First ask God for forgiveness then accept his cleansing love. Christ's perfect sacrifice on the cross set us free! If the great "I Am" sovereign and holy God of the universe is not condemning us, why are we? Are we saying that Jesus' sacrifice wasn't sufficient?
In all we do there are consequences, some consequences are life changing while others may not even be noticeable. Instead of listening to the voice of Satan condemning us, we need to listen to the Holy Spirit of God living in us. Listening to Him will result in conviction of sin (if there is un-repented sin), forgiveness, restoration and freedom. If we listen to the Holy Spirit instead of Satan, we will deal with godly sorrow...but that's a good thing. God can and will take all our junk and use it for His glory if we allow Him to.
If those consequences include the hurt of others, we can ask their forgiveness and then give it to God and be free. We can't go back and change things in the past, but we do have today...the day that God has given us. We need to allow Christ to live through us, and use it all for His glory.
Hebrews 10:22 "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance if faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
Don't continue to fall for the lies of the accuser! In faith believe God, you have been washed with pure longer condemned...the prison door isn't locked...all you have to do is believe and walk through the door and live in the freedom.
Guilt has no place in a believer's life because Christ has already paid the penalty for your sin and there is no reason for Him to pay it again! If your feeling regret or godly sorrow it's a perfect opportunity to take the time and remember that Jesus has already forgiven you...then thank Him and praise Him for His glorious gift to you!

Mary Ann

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

If I Don't Like It There, Can I Go Home?

"If I don't like it there, can I go home?"

It's Thursday night, I'm tired and John has a 7:30 appointment for a hair cut which he must have or else someone may accuse me of raising a shaggy sheep dog! So what's a mom to do for a quick dinner on the run? McDonalds of course. "Two three piece Chicken strips, a large fry, small drink and a flurry please." Wal lah! Dinner is served.
It wasn't but a few minutes into the meal that I noticed a boy about nine or ten years old who was very red faced and crying, sitting with him was another boy with his back to me. At the table next to them where two young ladies who seemed to have care over these boys. I commented to my son, "Oh, the little boy is crying, I wonder what's wrong." It wasn't long before I found out that something was terribly wrong through the conversation between the ladies and the boys. It seemed they were in route to a foster home. This one young boy that I could see, protested; "I want to go home. I want my mom. Can I call her? What if I don't like it there? What if she's mean? I just want to go home. Can I go home tomorrow?" The women replied; "No you can't go home or we will get in trouble from the judge. You don't want us to get in trouble do you? He said you need to stay at this place and the lady may be very nice. What if she has some really cool stuff? You just might like it there. No, you can't call your mom; she may call you in a few days. If you're finished with your food we need to go now.
Here was my son's response when hearing this; "They should just let him go home, didn't they hear him say he wants to go home? Why wouldn't he be allowed to go home?"
I explained to John that sometimes there are circumstances at home that make it unsafe for children to be in the care of the parents or adults they live with. But I must say this, it took everything I had not to go up to these boys and just hold them. We prayed for them on the spot and are continuing to do so. I will never know what happens to them but they have been lifted up to the "One" who knows it all. I gave my own son a big hug and kiss and told him much I love him and how blessed I am to be his mom. I know his father feels the same. John is very appreciative of both his dad and I, but that night his eyes saw something that I don't think either of us will ever forget. Would these kids go home one day or would they go from foster home to foster home where they may be no safer than they were at their own homes? Would they be adopted? Or passed over for the coveted infant child? He said to me; "You know Mom this is why as much as I'd like a puppy, I'd really want to get an older dog because they're waiting to be adopted and nobody wants them."
Take a minute today, right now even, to tell your children how much you want them. Then tell them how much the Lord does! Don't wait...go do it.
"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me." Psalm 27:10 Dina

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January 1, 2008

January 1st, 2008

2007 is history.

Some of us experienced joy, some pain. Some got married or had children. Some of us lost or changed jobs, or started new ones. Some of us started caring for elderly parents, some lost parents. Some saw loved ones saved; some continue to grieve the hardness of heart. Some of us experienced financial reversal or bills too large to pay some gained an inheritance. Some are breathing freer again because they are finally cancer-free for others they are not.
As we stand on the precipice peering into 2008, with a full year ahead not yet recorded in history, we wonder, "What will the year hold for us?"

I am not particularly fond of New Years resolutions because simply by setting them we increase the likelihood that we will not keep them.
If we set our hearts on one thing, one thing only, and that is God's glory I believe we can experience great joy and peace as we glorify God in the midst of every circumstance simply by having faith and looking to Jesus Christ in hope.
To glorify God doesn't mean that we are skipping though life blissfully happy. We can glorify God moment-by-moment by keeping Him preeminent in all things even the difficult.
As of 12:00:01 am, last night we have 527, 040 minutes until 2009 dawns. Should the Lord give you all of them on this earth, how will you spend them? How many of those minutes will you claim for God's glory?
Let's finish each day over the next 366, making a valiant effort to claim every single minute to His honor, praise and glory, for He alone is worthy.

Happy New Year,