Friday, May 30, 2008

Modesty Check Part 2

Modesty Check Part 2

Yesterday I shared the first portion of a brochure called Modesty Check written by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore and Janelle Bradshaw. Today I share the remaining portion for your encouragement and challenge:Before you leave the house, do a modesty check. (What are some things you should look for as you stand in front of your mirror?)

Starting at the top...* When I am wearing a loose-fitting blouse or scoop-neck, can I see anything when I lean over? If so, I need to remember to place my hand against my neckline when I bend down.* If I am wearing a button-down top, I need to turn sideways and move around to see if there are any gaping holes that expose my chest. If there are, I've got to grab the sewing box and pin between the buttons.* The same check is needed if I am wearing sleeveless. When I move around, can I see my bra? If I do, I need the pins again.* Am I wearing spaghetti-strap, halter-top or see-through blouse? Not even pins will fix this problem! Most guys find these a hindrance in their struggle with lust. It's time to go back to the closet.* Can I see the lace or seam of my bra through my shirt? In this case, seamless bras are a better option.* More key questions: Does it reveal any part of my cleavage? Does my midriff show when I raise my hands above my head? Is my shirt just plain too tight? If the answer is "yes" to any one of these questions, then I need to change my outfit.Moving on down...* Does my midriff (or underwear) show when I bend over or lift my hands? If so, is it because my skirt or my pants are too low? Either my shirt needs to be longer or I need to find a skirt or pants that sit higher.* I also have to turn around to see if what I'm wearing is too tight around my derriere, or if the outline of my underwear shows. If so, I know what I have to do! * And for my shorts - I can't just check them standing up. I need to see how much they reveal when I sit down. If I see too much leg, I need a longer pair.* The "sit-down" check applies to my skirt or dress as well. And I must remember to keep my skirt pulled down and my knees together when I'm seated.* And speaking of skirts, watch out for those slits! Does it reveal too much when I walk? Pins are helpful here.* Before I leave, I need to give my skirt a "sunlight check." Is it see-through? If so, I need a slip.* Finally, I must remember to do this modesty check with my shoes on. High-heels make my dress or skirt appear shorter.* And don't forget - this all applies to formal wear as well.* A note on swimwear: It's not easy but you can still strive to be modest at the pool or beach. Look for one-piece bathing suits that aren't cut high on the leg or and don't have a low neckline.This is part two of a two part series from the Modesty Check (c) Sovereign Grace MinistriesRepublished in Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood by Carolyn Mahaney, and Nicole Whitacre (Crossway Books)~~ used with permission.If you are interested the Modesty Heart Check brochure, it can be found in PDF form as a free download at:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Modesty Check Part 1

Modesty Check Part 1

I found this Modesty Heart Check brochure very insightful and helpful. I pass it along in two parts for your consideration and edification:Modesty Heart Check By Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, Janelle Bradshaw"...

Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness-with good works." 1 Timothy 2:9-10Start with a heart check..."

How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood? Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshipping God? or is it to call attention to herself and flaunt her beauty? Or worse, to attempt to lure men sexually?

A woman who focuses on worshipping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance." John MacArthur [Emphasis added]* What statement do my clothes make about my heart?*

In choosing what clothes to wear today, whose attention do I desire and whose approval do I crave? Am I seeking to please God or impress others?* Is what I wear consistent with biblical values of modesty, self-control and respectable apparel, or does my dress reveal an inordinate identification and fascination with sinful cultural values?* Who am I trying to identify with through my dress? Is the Word of God my standard or is it the latest fashion? * Have I asked other godly individuals to evaluate my wardrobe?* Does my clothing reveal an allegiance to the gospel or is there any contradiction between my profession of faith and my practice of godliness?

This is part one of a two part series from the Modesty Check (c) Sovereign Grace Ministries; Republished in Girl Talk: Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood by Carolyn Mahaney, and Nicole Whitacre (Crossway Books)~~ used with permission.If you are interested the Modesty Heart Check brochure, it can be found in PDF form as a free download at:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Get Dressed Intentionally

Get dressed intentionally

Steph, DeEtta and I were talking last week about this annual series and in the course of the conversation, Steph made the statement that "people get dressed intentionally." I thought that would make a good Victory Call topic.

If you do not think you dress intentionally, perhaps it is time to start dressing intentionally to the glory of God. Many girls/women dress intending to turn a head, to draw the eye of a particular man, or men in general. A woman can feel a sense of excitement from getting a positive reaction from a member of the opposite sex. My theory is that this sense of excitement is the female form of lust. Lust is defined as personal inclination or intense desire (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). For men, lust is an issue of the heart but is typically enticed through the eyes. For women, I would say the same is true with a significant variation. For women, lust is an issue of the heart but is typically enticed through the eyes looking at her. For men, lust is passive in the sense that it is fanned into flame through what he takes in from outside of himself, what he sees or looks at and then mulls over in his mind. For women, lust is active in the sense that it is fanned into flame through what she sends out from inside herself, how she dresses, sits, or moves her body which results in a reaction from a man. The power to entice and the intense longing for attention can cause women to dress in a sensual way.

The styles today can create a problem simply because of the fabric they are made with. I know a lot of women who do not wear slips. Sometimes that can create a less than desirable result. I saw a woman recently in a cute modest dress but she wasn't wearing a slip and that dress clung in all the wrong places, and I doubt she was even aware of it.

Romans 6:13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

I only see two options: either we will present ourselves to God as an instrument of righteousness and dress to glorify Him, or we will present ourselves as an instrument of unrighteousness and dress to glorify self. Not choosing to dress intentionally to glorify God will, by default, result in dressing to glorify self. Which do you choose today?

Diane Hunt is the Director of Addiction Recovery Ministries at America's KESWICK.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Some Cold Hard Facts

Some cold hard facts

Yesterday I shared about the attitude of our hearts regarding the battle the enemy has mounted in the area of lust and sexual immorality. I believe he is gaining ground. Lest you think I'm wrong consider these pornography statistics taken from (accessed 5 22 08):

The United States ranks 4th in the world in revenue made on pornography.
The United States is ranked #1 in pornographic video production.
Each day there are 68,000,000 pornographic search engine requests.
Each day there are 2.5 billion pornographic emails.
42.7% of all internet users view pornography.
35% of all internet downloads are pornographic.
The average age of internet pornography exposure is 11 years old.
26 Children's character names are linked to thousands of pornography sites.
72% of visitors to pornographic websites are male; 28 % female.
17% of women reported having a pornography addiction.
53% Promise Keeper men reported having viewed pornography in the past week.

Here are two Hunt statistics: We are 100% responsible for where our eyes go and hearts linger. We are 100% responsible for our choice to be women of modesty, purity and dignity.

Women, will you step up and join the battle against evil by dressing intentionally to the Glory of God?

Diane Hunt is the Director of Addiction Recovery Ministries at America's KESWICK. You can contact her at

Monday, May 26, 2008

An Attitude of the Heart

An Attitude of the Heart

How is it that Memorial Day has rolled around again? This is the week I have traditionally written a series on modesty and purity. Memorial Day kicks off the summer with high temperatures and high humidity. People wear lighter and less clothing. It is not that modesty is only an issue in the summer, it is a year round, 365 (366 this year) day problem. However, I doubt anyone would argue that it becomes more evident with the warmer weather. The beaches and pools are packed to overflowing, and the amusement parks and ice cream stands have long lines. People are out and about.

It is disheartening when I see young women (and some not-so-young) wearing attire that would have only appeared in pornographic magazines 30 or 40 years ago. If it is catching my attention, you can be sure it is turning almost every male's head. Sure, there are men out there intentionally looking, ogling anything female, but I would venture to guess that they are not the majority. I think the majority are men with wives and families and daughters who are accosted with sensually and scantily dressed girls and women everywhere they go. I wish I could say they could just flee to the church but sadly, it is not safe even in the churches.

Women of God, it is time to stand up and battle the enemy as he is gaining ground in the hearts and lives of the men of our churches, our husbands, our sons, our brothers, our pastors. We need a new attitude of compassion and support rather than condemnation and irritation.

Please hear my heart. I am not blaming scantily dressed women for any man's sinful attitudes or actions! Each man is 100% responsible for where he allows his eyes and heart to linger. I would also say each woman is 100% responsible for her own attire and her attitude towards this whole area of struggle for her male counterpart. It is a cop-out to chalk it up to being "his problem." More than that, it is short-sighted, superficial and flat out sinful.

Which one of us would sit in the foxhole painting our nails when our fellow soldier was waging war against our enemy who appeared to be gaining the upper hand? NOT A ONE! I believe every one of us would jump to the aid of another in our company, doing battle alongside them rather than against them. Let's carry this word picture into the modesty, lust and purity battle. Can you see how God calls us alongside rather than against our brothers in Christ?

How do your wardrobe choices reflect love for Jesus Christ? How does your attire reflect love for your brothers in Christ? How does the way you dress reflect your heart?

Romans 13:10 Love does no harm to a neighbor...

Luke 10:27 " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'"

Diane Hunt is the Director of Addiction Recovery Ministries at America's KESWICK, Biblical Counselor, Conference and retreat speaker, Victory Call writer/editor, wife, mother, grandmother, and nut and not necessarily in that order.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Don't Forget What the Lord Has Done

Have you ever forgotten what the Lord has done for you? I think we all tend to forget, especially when things are going great. We tend to think things are going well because we deserve it, or we forget that our blessings come from God. The Israelites were like that. They would get in trouble, cry out to God, and He would rescue them. Then they would start living in their old sinful ways once again, until they got into trouble. Then they would start their old routine of crying out to God, and He would rescue them. Then they soon forgot His goodness and left His ways until they were in trouble again, then they repeated their old routine.

Psalm 106: 7-8 states: "When our fathers were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name's sake to make his mighty power known." Then in verse 13, "But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel." Verse 21 "They forgot the God who saved them." Verse 43 "Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin."

When trouble comes to us, what is our first response? Is it, "I can fix this by myself?" Is it, "Why did God do this to me?" Our response should be like the Israelites finally responded, vs 47-48 "Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, 'Amen!' Praise the Lord."

Marilyn Heavilin is a summer counselor-in-residence along with her husband, Glen. She is a speaker and author of numerous books.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I had someone share with me recently that they were fighting depression and they wondered if this indicated they were lacking something spiritually. How could a solid Christian ever be depressed? Well, listen to these words from Psalm 42.

"My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'" The Psalmist is depressed and discouraged, he is all cried out, he wonders where God is; yet his words were considered spiritual enough to be preserved in the Holy Scriptures. What can we do when we feel depressed and discouraged and wonder if God has forsaken us? The Psalmist continues:

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
"I say to God my Rock, 'Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?'
"My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, 'Where is your God?'

Have you ever felt you have cried so much you should be suffering from dehydration? Have you felt completely defeated and held down by Satan?

Here are the conclusions the Psalmist came to.

"Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
"My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you.
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Yes, it is quite common for Christians to become discouraged. We live in this world. We are vulnerable to the problems of this world. We have human emotions, and many times we can feel overwhelmed. But the Psalmist tells us to Put your hope in God, Praise God, Remember God.

No matter how depressed you feel, God has not left you. He is standing there waiting for you to turn to Him and just curl up in His lap. You will be safe there.

"By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me" (Psalm 42:8 NIV).

Marilyn Heavilin is our summer counselor-in-residence

It Is Finished

It is finished! There is a saying that goes "A Mother's work is never done!" And I say "Amen" to that! No sooner do you finish doing dishes...there's a glass in the sink. When you wash all the clothes, fold them...perhaps even iron (you remember that thing you plug in, gets hot and you press down on those wrinkled clothes??), it seems the hamper is full again. But it doesn't stop with housework! It extends to every area of our lives. There is always the next task that needs to get done.

This is even true in ministry. Since becoming the Intake Manager in February, I have truly come to see the demands of being a part of an addictions ministry. While serving in the Women's Ministry was also demanding, the intake office demands so much more. First, I have to say that I love being a part of the Colony of Mercy. I have never felt so much in the center of God's will for my life. But whew! It sure is a busy office! I like being very conscientious, keeping on top of things, making sure all the tasks that need to be completed are.

As I began my new position in the intake office....I was falling short of getting "everything" finished. I was getting very frustrated and ducks just weren't all in a row and I wasn't happy about it! One morning a very wise chaplain...Jim Freed...shared some words of Jesus from Scripture that I have tried to hold in my heart and keep in the front of my mind at all times. In the Gospel of John the 17th chapter, Jesus is preparing Himself through prayer for the suffering that lay just ahead. In verses 1-5 Jesus is praying for Himself and in verse 4 says "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do."

But wait a minute! There were still so many hungry people, so many sick and dying, so many poor, so many suffering many souls to save. He had only been in ministry for three years and there was still so much work to do. Yet, Jesus said He finished the work God had given Him to do AND had brought glory to His Father through it all. Did you ever wonder, why just three years?...why not ten or twenty?...He could have done so much more.

Our Father God doesn't expect me or you to do it all or finish it all. Jesus rested in the fact that while He was on earth, ministering for three years, everything He did brought glory to His Father. How can I think I can do more, finish every task? But with each phone call, each intake, each unexpected task, if I am bringing glory to God through it, then and only then have I finished all the tasks before me. My prayer for me and for you is that we do ALL for the glory of God and not worry about completing it ALL.

Mary Ann Kiernan and John have been married for 35 years, have 2 grown/married sons and are the proud grandparents of two grandsons. She serves at America's Keswick as a Biblical Counselor and also as Intake Coordinator for the Colony of Mercy. Her life verse is Romans 8:28.

Happy Mother's Day

Sorry for the delay in posting these, but we were experiencing some techincal difficulties.


I wish I could give a hug to all of the mothers reading this. Since this is impossible, I'll just send my love and wish you a Happy Mother's Day! (even though it's belated)

At the May Keswick Hymnsing they asked for all who celebrate a birthday in May to stand. My friend and I will both be 75, so we stood. Across from our table was a lady whom Mr. Bill Welte, our director, recognized. She was 105! They even had a cake for her covered with candles all lit.

My friend and I both thought of the same thing - "That's 30 more years added to our 75". I can't imagine that! What a blessing this lady was to us.It did bring to my mind that my mom, if still living, would be 108 this May 30th. However, God took her at just 59. She loved life; she loved everyone. I miss her!! Enjoy your mom, please.

My one regret for her was that she never got to enjoy her 5 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. They would have loved her as I did. Her favorite song was "Moment by Moment." My favorite is "Day by Day." I remember her singing so often, and I realized she lived moment by moment for the Lord, not just day by day. Her favorite verse was Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven," I, too, pray this for my life.When I was questioned as a child, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I always replied, "A mother." I wanted to be like my mother! I still do.

Hug your mom and give her an extra hug from me in remembrance of Mother's day. I will see Mom again one day as I know she is in heaven. She accepted Christ as her Savior and is waiting in heaven with Him.

Dottie is the bride of Chaplain Jack Noel (50 years), mother of 3 married sons, and grandmother to 8. She is a genuine prayer warrior and her love for Jesus Christ is evident to all who know her.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Does My Faith Affect My Conduct?

"For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (James 2:26)."

I recently heard someone pray, "Lord if I were to be arrested for being a Christian, let there be enough evidence to convict me."

I read this statement: Our faith in the word of God can be measured by the influence we allow it to have upon our conduct. We should ask ourselves: "Does my faith affect my everyday conduct by what is taught in the Bible or is it just traditional 'religion'?"

Does your behavior show you are a Christian? How do you behave on the freeway, in a long line at the market, or when someone speaks unkindly to you? Do you join the speed demons, those who become impatient when they have to wait, or those who have an unkind remark in response to those who behave that way toward us? Or do you observe the speed limit even when there are no police in sight; offer to let others enter a long line in front of us, or respond kindly to unkind remarks?

Glen and I were at a buffet style restaurant recently. The couple in the booth next to us had two young well-behaved children with them. As the mom returned to the buffet, she placed her used salad plate on the booth divider to keep it out of reach of her little ones. The older lady sitting in the next booth took offense to having to see the dirty plate. She started yelling at the mother, even questioning her ability to train her children properly. Needless to say, the older lady was out of line, but the mom had a choice as to how she would respond. She chose to verbally respond back in a like manner and even purposely set used dinner items on the divider. She willfully provoked the older lady. As I watched this scenario unfold in front of me, I just kept thinking, "Dear Lord, I must admit I hope neither one of them knows you. If they do know you, please don't let them say so." How embarrassing!

If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Our prayer should be: "Dear Lord, let my responses reflect that I have spent much time with you."

Marilyn is a wife and mother, author, and international conference and retreat speaker. She and her husband Glen serve as Counselors-in-Residence at America's KESWICK during the summer months.

Don't Be A Quitter

Don't Be a Quitter
Recently I came across the Bible that my grandmother gave me when I was a child. I opened it and found a number of passages underlined that contained the very wisdom I should have practiced in my late teens and early twenties. Instead I walked away from God and His Word. What I thought was important enough to underline soon got shelved because my plan for my life sounded so much more "fun". Seeing that Bible was a sad reminder that at one time I was a quitter.
Perhaps you are tempted right now to quit. It may seem your prayers go unanswered. Things just don't seem to change. You don't understand your circumstances. Maybe you want to slam your Bible shut and put it on the shelf. Hebrews tells us to "lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Heb. 12:1 NKJV) The weights we need to lay aside may be good things but we are unwilling to wait for God's best. Each of us knows all too well the sins that ensnare us. But I want to focus on the race itself.
What will keep you and me in the race? It is knowing that the race ahead will be hard so we can prepare to run it. Not long ago I learned that the word race is the word agon in the original Greek. This is where we get our English word agony. In reality what we read is "let us run with endurance the agony that is set before us. " Do you only want your way? A life of ease and pleasure? When was the last time you heard the honest truth that the Christian life is one of agony as well as victory? We have chosen the most difficult, agonizing way, the narrow way! Ladies, there is so much teaching telling us that we are to have lives of prosperity, health and wealth. Let's be balanced according to the Word of God! If we know we will have a rough road ahead and prepare our hearts through prayer, study of and obedience to the Word we will receive from Him the joy we are looking for and the strength to endure and overcome! Jesus tells us we will have trials and tribulations not a rose garden. Will trials and tribulations surprise us? Disillusion us? Cause us to quit?
"We, too, often forget that God lays our afflictions upon us, if we remembered this fact, we should more patiently submit to the pressure which now pains us. The time will come when for every ounce of present burden, we shall receive a far more exceedingly and eternal weight of glory." Charles H. Spurgeon Please read James 1:2-4, 1 Peter4:12-13 and Romans 8:18 Keep running the race! I know it is agony but don't be a quitter!
Kathy Withers serves in the America's KESWICK Book and Gift Shop and is a gifted Bible teacher and speaker.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Flying Fish

Flying Fish
If you travel the Garden State Parkway, you've noticed the speed limit has been reduced from 65 MPH to 55 MPH in a section that runs through Monmouth and Ocean Counties. It was reported that due to the high number of accidents in this area it would be advisable to reduce the speed limit. In my opinion, I agree. I agree because I've been driving long enough to realize that the faster I'm going the harder it is to stop or slow down. Having had very few accidents, praise the Lord, I also realize how much the impact is felt even at a low speed.
Sadly though, I also realized something else. I speed! If the speed limit is 55 MPH chances are I'll do 60 MPH, 65 MPH I may push it to 70 MPH, but that's as fast as I want to be going and faster than I legally should be. Yes, I realize I am 100% in the wrong and I need to comply with the law. No argument there.
A friend was driving over the past weekend and I was one of the passengers. She is a good driver and was very conscience of the fact that she tends to speed and she was really paying attention not to do so. She shared a funny story of conviction. She had attached to her car a stick-on emblem of a fish, symbolizing Christianity. One day, while speeding, the fish flew right off the car! Her husband remarked; "Uh, honey, flying fish are not a good testimony..." Well, as you can imagine we got a good laugh out of that one! But he did make a valid point.
I pray that this might not only give you a laugh today, but also and most importantly give you pause the next time to get in and buckle-up (we are doing that right ladies?), before you hit the peddle to the metal remember we don't just "walk with the Lord" we "drive with Him too."
I may show my age by quoting this from a TV show no longer on the air, but I bet some of you will remember Hill Street Blues, just before the police were sent out for the day the Captain would say...
Let's be careful out there-

Dina Seaton serves on staff in marketing and also as a staff writer and speaker. She is the mother of one son, John, who is 13 years old and a geographical genius! (Or so she says...) She is currently working on completing her first book, "Do It Again LORD...Do It Again!" A collection of interviews that will excite your faith...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Swear to Tell the Truth

"I swear to tell the truth.."
As I look into the book that witnesses are sworn in on I read Philippians 4:8 "Finally brethren, whatever things are TRUE, whatever things are noble. Whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things." For today let's think about what is true.

If you are like me you tend to do a lot of thinking. My specialty is "stinkin' thinkin'". My friend, Mary Ann, has had to bring this to my attention. It's almost embarrassing how often she has to point out to me that I am "projecting into the future things that haven't even happened yet."

One of my favorite authors, Alicia Britt Chole tells of her "not yet truths" in this way: Her husband was late getting home at 12:00. She thought that was interesting. At 12:05, she thought "Hhhhmmm", at 12:10, she thought " I wonder if something happened?', at 12:15 "What IF something happened?, at 12:20,"Something DID happen and it was BAD!", by 12:25 her husband had been hit by a bus, by 12:30 he was lying in the road in a pool of blood, by 12:45 the police were at the door telling her that her husband had died, at 1:00 she was weeping and planning a funeral. At 1:05 she greeted her husband at the door exclaiming "You're alive! You're alive!" He had been delayed in traffic but she spent much time and energy on what wasn't even true.

This is not just a vivid imagination gone amuck.. This is thinking on things that are not even true. Don't you and I have enough reality without making it up too? "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34 In your situation separate what is true from what is false. Try not to speculate, project or write the story in your mind but think on what is true.

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Kathy Withers is on staff full-time at the Keswick Book and Gift Shop. She is married to her husband Dave and has two adult children. Kathy is active in her local church. Her passion is the Word of God and encouraging women to dig deeper into the truths of the Bible.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

God's Positive Answers

I just found my list of God's Positive Answers given to me back on May 22, 2005. His Word is still the same! It is now May 2008 and all of these thoughts still come to my mind - God has His same answers. When will I learn! Maybe you feel the same.
Keep this list of verses where you too can be assured of His daily concern and love for us.
You & I say: God says:
It's impossible All things are possible Luke 18:27
I'm too tired I will give you rest Matthew 11:28-30
Nobody really loves me I love you John 3:16 & 34
I can't go on My grace is sufficient 2 Corinthians 12:9
Psalms 91:15
I can't figure things out I will direct your steps Proverbs 3:5-6
I can't do it You can do all things Philippians 4:13
I'm not able I am able 2 Corinthians 9:8
It's not worth it It will be worth it Romans 8:28
I can't forgive myself I forgive you 1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1
I can't manage I will supply all your needs Philippians 4:19
I'm afraid I have not given you a spirit of fear 2 Timothy 1:7
I'm always worried & frustrated Cast all your care on me 1 Peter 5:7
I'm not smart enough I give you wisdom 1 Corinthians 1:30
I feel alone I will never leave you or forsake you Hebrews 13:5
How special it would be to memorize these verses to pass on to others and especially to have God's Word right there in your heart and mind. What a way to defeat Satan.

Dottie is the bride of Chaplain Jack Noel (50 years), mother of 3 married sons, and grandmother to 8. She is a genuine prayer warrior and her love for Jesus Christ is evident to all who know her.

Monday, May 12, 2008


You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. ~ Psalm 139:13 ~NLT Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. ~Pslams 127:3 ~ESV

I have one son and one daughter. From the moment my daughter was born I was in love with her. Aside from marrying my husband-friend, she was the first most amazingly true thing that happened to me. And she was so beautiful! I could talk for hours about all the ways she has impacted my life, but I'll spare you.

The second amazingly true thing to occur was the birth of my son. Twice blessed! And to think, according to the ultrasounds I'd had, he was supposed to be a girl! How God must laugh at us sometimes. Needless to say, he wore more pink baby sleepers than a lot of people would be comfortable with. But thank God I had enough sense to know that he couldn't be defined by the color of his pajamas.

We are an interesting group aren't we? Mom, Mommy, Ma, Mama...whatever the title that you are known by, we have a glorious mantle placed on us and it is an awesome privilege to care for and nurture the soul of another human being.

How are you doing Mom?

Here are the lyrics of a famous poem beautifully written by Helen Steiner Rice.

A Mother's Love

"A Mother's love is something
that no on can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendoured miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God's tender guiding hand."1

Stephanie Paul, child of the Most High God, is a wife and mother of two grown children. She currently serves as part of the Addiction Recovery Ministry at America's Keswick as Women's Ministry Assistant. Her passion is to be an instrument of change in the lives of wounded, hurting people.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What's In a Name?

What's in a name?

One of the things that impresses me about my boss, Bill Welte, is his knack for remembering names. It is not something I have a knack for. I try, really I do. I meet a lot of people through the ministry and through the speaking opportunities I have. I want to remember names because I know how important it is and it is somewhat embarrassing when people call me by name, but I have no idea who they are. It would be a minor point except it happens to me a lot! As a function of my position at America's KESWICK, I have been on stage on multiple occasions, so people have gotten to know me without me having the benefit of me getting to know them.

I was walking into the cleaners one day in Whiting, when I overheard two women sitting on a bench whispering to each other, "There's Diane Hunt, that lady from Keswick." I had no idea who they were.

Over the years, I have learned to say, as I smile and shake hands, "remind me of your name again." Little do they know, I will probably say that each time I see them. I was struck recently, as I pondered why I struggle so with this, that unless I have some type of relationship with the person, I don't retain their name. It is not because I don't want to; it's just that I don't have anything tangible to attach that name to. A name is personal. The combination of the name and the person identifies them uniquely. If I know two Susans I don't get them confused because they have the same name, because the name is attached to people with whom I have relationships.

All that to say, God knows us by name. He knows each of us uniquely and doesn't confuse us, ever. That is how personally and intimately He knows each one of us. He knows us. He has relationship with us. He knows our name.

Isaiah 43:1 "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine."

Diane Hunt is the Director of Addiction Recovery Ministries at America's KESWICK, Biblical Counselor, Conference and retreat speaker, Victory Call writer/editor, wife, mother, grandmother, and nut and not necessarily in that order.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I recently read Isaiah 43:18 which says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." That verse seems very straightforward and easy to understand. However; it has to be balanced with the verse that says, "Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God....It was not your children who saw what he did for you in the desert until you arrived at this place.....Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:2, 5, 18-19

We are to remember what God has done for us, even His discipline toward us when we sin. So what are we to forget?

I know the hardest thing for me to forget is when I have failed God and just plain done something really stupid. Psalm 38:18 states, "I am troubled by my sin." Once we have confessed our sin to God, we are forgiven and Jeremiah 31:34 states, "I will remember their sins no more." So when we have trouble forgetting the past, scripture teaches it is not God who is causing us to be troubled by our sin. We are the ones who have not let ourselves off the hook because of our sin.

Recently I was feeling the weight of my own sin. I knew I had confessed it and God had forgiven me, but I was still carrying the burdens and shame. This is what I did. I wrote down all of the things from my past I needed to get rid of. Then I talked to me in the presence of God. I told God I knew He had forgiven me and then I said, "Marilyn, what you did was really dumb, but I forgive you and release you. You're off the hook!" Then I took the list and burned it. I truly can't even remember everything that was on the list. Now that's "forgetting the former things!"

Today rejoice that when you stand before the Father, all He will see is Jesus standing in front of you saying, "This is My forgiven child!" Do you need to make a list and get rid of it? If so, do it now so that Satan can hold nothing over your head. You can be free.

Marilyn is a wife and mother, author, and international conference and retreat speaker. She and her husband, Glen, serve as Counselors-in-Residence at America's KESWICK during the summer months.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Liberated Through Submission Part 2

Liberated Through Submission Part Two

Functional subordination. This is a term my pastor has used in regards to how the church, marriage and our lives in general are ordered. Submission is not some horrible way to live. Rather we live according to the order God has laid out. In God's order the husband has been given headship over the wife (Eph. 5:23). The wife is under the headship of the husband not because God thinks less of women but because He is a God of order. But who is head over the man? Jesus Christ. The Word also tells us that we are to submit one to another in the fear of God (Eph. 5:21) Submission is an issue for men, women, married, single, child to parent. No one is exempt because ultimately, everyone must submit to God!

Being submissive is hard because we want to have a say. (Gen 3:16) I have told God my plans, my opinions and my desired results under the disguise of prayer. His will is not my desire. I am really telling God I want my independence and my own way.

When you and I truly submit we are liberated because we know we are in the care of our Heavenly Father. By submitting we are leaving the end result up to God. Do I really trust Him with knowing and providing for my best? (Matt 7:11) Wanting control + lacking submission = no trust in God.

You may be thinking that if you submit your circumstance to the Lord it would turn out poorly. It just may look that way if you are not really submitting in the first place. It may appear that submitting didn't "work" if you are only looking at someone else. Submission is not about gaining a desired ending. Submission is about trusting God as we die to ourselves. For me knowing God was at work freed me to be more excited about what God was doing than what I wanted.

I know that we are very good at justifying our sins of rebellion. After all, control sounds so much better than witchcraft. I can imagine you are thinking that I just don't know who you have to submit to. You are right. I don't know your husband, your boss, your parents, or your pastor. But I know Jesus Christ. He loves you. He wants to take the burden of being in charge away from you. He wants to liberate you to live in peace and freedom as you live in obedience to His order.

Kathy is on staff full-time at the Keswick Book and Gift Shop. She is married to her husband, Dave and has two adult children. Kathy is active in her local church. Her passion is the Word of God and encouraging women to dig deeper into the truths of the Bible.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Liberated Through Submission Part One

Liberated Through Submission Part One

P.B. Wilson, author of Liberated Through Submission, was on the radio. As she spoke she read 1 Samuel 15:23-"For rebellion is the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry..." I sat in my car and wept as she explained a lack of submission was the same as rebellion and witchcraft. When we don't submit we are really unwilling to give up control. And, what is witchcraft? It is casting a spell to gain control over another person so they do exactly what you want!

After the fall in the Garden of Eden, Eve was told by God that from that point on her desire would be for her husband (Genesis 3:16). John MacArthur comments: "Sin has turned the harmonious system of God-ordained roles into distasteful struggles of self-will. The woman's desire will be to lord it over her husband, but the husband will rule by divine design" (Note: JMA Study Bible NKJV).

I recently had to learn this lesson yet again! We had the opportunity to purchase a dining room set from my Aunt. When I asked Dave what he thought he told me it was an expense we didn't need right now and that the answer was "no". I know in my heart that part of his leadership role is for him to be able to say "no" to me. Now, I really, really wanted that set! Couldn't he lead next week? So for the next 36 hours or so I struggled to let it go. I came up with a plan that would only manipulate and undermine his authority. I couldn't do it. I prayed that I would just submit. The next morning a pastor on the radio gave a definition of submission. He said "It means to duck so God can hit him." Well, I don't know that I agree with that but it convicted me because I did not want God to "hit" him. Dave wasn't wrong. I needed to duck alright; but there was no reason for God to "hit" him. I got a picture of Jesus patting Dave on the back saying "Way to go! That is what I need you to do." I felt at peace about letting go of my wants and submitting because God is working in my husband.

Having to have control puts us in chains. Submission liberates us as we trust the One who truly is in control!

Kathy is on staff full-time at the Keswick Book and Gift Shop. She is married to her husband, Dave and has two adult children. Kathy is active in her local church. Her passion is the Word of God and encouraging women to dig deeper into the truths of the Bible.

Friday, May 02, 2008

The TO-DO List

The To-Do List

I love my lists and I have many of them! If you are anything like me, you may have a few of these lists too: housework list, yard work list, work list, grocery list, books to read list, and the very popular...things I would love to do list (to name just a few)! I love to see it all there in black and white so I might be able to plan my day, week or month. There are even some cute little "To Do" pads of paper when I really want to get fancy. The best part of a list is when an item on it actually gets checked off. I feel as though I've accomplished something. There is something very strange though about those lists...every time I check one off...two more take its place!

There are times I start my day with my agenda, my head filled to overflowing with what "needs" to be accomplished...or at least what I THINK needs to be accomplished. I've found...through experience...that never goes well. Instead of lifting my day to the Lord and giving it all to Him, I have a lapse of memory and think I know better than God what I just HAVE to get done. How sad is that? Why do I have to continually learn the same lesson over and over again?

Jeremiah 10:23 "I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps."
Proverbs 16:9 "In his heart a man plans his course, the Lord determines his steps."

As a child of the king, my day and my life belong to Him....yes,even my "To Do" lists. When I take it all to Him, give it to Him and ask Him to guide me and show me just what is on HIS "To Do" list for my day...I accomplish the really important stuff and have peace about the rest. The Lord always provides exactly what I need...His grace is always sufficient for what's on His list.

Mary Ann Kiernan and John have been married for 35 years, have 2 grown/married sons and are the proud grandparents of two grandsons. She serves at America's Keswick as a Biblical Counselor and also as Intake Coordinator for the Colony of Mercy. Her life verse is Romans 8:28.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Tearing Down or Building Up

Tearing Down or Building Up

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight,O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. ~~Psalm 19:14

If we were to secretly be recorded for the words that proceed from our mouths and if there were a way to humanly record the meditations of our hearts ("the seat of our inmost emotions and feelings"), what would those recordings reveal about our hearts? Would those renderings display a perspective worthy of a daughter of God? It's likely true of most of us that the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no.

My encouragement for each and every one of us is to pause and pray. Ask God to search your heart and show you where you stand. And if, after you have paused and prayed you see a pattern (however small) of tearing down rather than building up, repent, then go and sin no more. Praise God for His love and care of your soul, and thank Him that, in all things, change is possible.

Then, purpose today to build up, encourage, edify, inspire, embolden, impart strength to, to be for rather than against, the people that God has put in to our every day lives. And when necessary exhort, appeal to those same loved ones, spurring them onward and upward. This is one of the ways God has provided to help us grow. May we accept and embrace it for all it's worth.

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." ~~Hebrews 3:13

Stephanie Paul