Friday, November 28, 2008

Your Story

Your Story

What is your conversion story? You know, your "before" and "after?" If you know Jesus as Savior and acknowledge Him as Lord of your life, you have a story -- a testimony. You are a witness to something amazing and profound which you can go and tell someone sharing with them the saving, redeeming truth of the Gospel.

Regardless of the details of "your story" or "my story," we can all say without question, "Once I was blind and lost in the depth and darkness of sin. Now I am found and I can see IN CHRIST ALONE, I have victory." All the rest are details that God works out in our lives as we walk in/by His grace and truth.We have all been bought with the precious blood of Christ. It is His power in us and not OUR power in us that sees us through the drama(s) of life.

No powers, no schemes will ever change that ONE TRUE THING!! We are loved. NO MATTER WHAT our story was, or is, we are loved! All the way to the Cross He loved us, and you can take that to the bank!"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."1 ~~Romans 8:38-39"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." ~~John 3:16"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." ~~2 Peter 3:9

Whoever you are, wherever you are, you have a story. Is God, in Christ, a part of that story? If He is, praise Him! If He is not, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." ~~Matthew 7:7 Stephanie Paul is Director of Women's Addiction Recovery Ministries at America's KESWICK

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Giving of Thanks

The giving of thanks...

When I am with my grandkids, it is always easy to be thankful. Our first grandchild, Kate, had a traumatic birth. Because of a prolapsed cord, she went six minutes without a heartbeat, muscle tone, or respiration. Doctors prepared us for the worst; possible brain damage, problems with speech and coordination, and even death. Kate is now 21; a multi-talented college senior. God is faithful and we are thankful.

Our grandson Caleb suffered with a blood disorder throughout the pregnancy. Many doctors suggested it might be best to "terminate" the pregnancy. When Caleb was born, he had two complete blood exchanges within the first twenty-four hours of life. Caleb is now 14 and in the ninth grade. He is a handsome, talented young man. God is faithful and we are thankful.Matt's middle child, Nathan, has been a joy and delight. As I heard him talking in another room recently, my memories transported me back to thirty some years ago when his Uncle Nathan chattered in our home. Matt's Nathan is musical, and especially loves to play the guitar which brings back more memories of a time gone by. God is faithful and we are thankful.

This year we have celebrated our fiftieth year of marriage. Certainly there have been some major bumps in the road, but the best part is we still like each other! God is faithful and we are thankful.Most of you know our story that we have buried three sons. There is no doubt those events changed our lives forever. Things or money don't matter nearly as much as they used to. Each day matters more. Relationships mean more. God means more. Heaven is so much dearer and nearer. Our kids and grands all love the Lord and are serving Him. God is faithful and we are thankful.

I urge you today to look back and recall God's faithfulness to you. Yes, we have gone through difficult patches, but God has promised He will never leave us alone or forsake us. Take time to thank Him today."I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations" (Psalm 89:1). Marilyn Heavilin is our summer counselor-in-residence at America's KESWICK, serving alongside her husband of 50 years, Glen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Whole Hearted


In my reading this week, I read "He (Amaziah) did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly. Emphasis mine. (2 Chronicles 25:2, NIV).

Have you ever done what God asked you to do, but not wholeheartedly? Have you gone to church because you knew you should, but not wholeheartedly? Have you read through your devotions each day, but not wholeheartedly? Have you taught your children to walk in the ways of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly?

In contrast, a few chapters later, we read, "In everything that he (Hezekiah) undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. Emphasis mine. And so he prospered" (2 Chronicles 31:21 NIV).

So what made the difference between these two men? The Bible says Hezekiah obeyed God's laws and commands. He sought God and worked wholeheartedly. He sought God. That means he learned about God. He got to know Him. Then he could put his whole heart into obeying God.As we spend time seeking God, learning His ways, we can put our whole heart into serving Him. We will no longer need to obey only in our actions, but we can obey with joy because we know Him."

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free" (Ephesians 6:7-8, NIV). Marilyn Heavlin is a speaker, author and counselor.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Whose Gospel Are You Living?

"Paul, an apostle- not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead..." ~~Galatians 1:1

"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." ~~ Galatians 1:6-9 (ESV)1

Whose Gospel are you living? I ask this question because of the many conversations I've had where strict adherence is given to traditional rule even though it is clear in Scripture that, as believers, we are no longer under law.Sisters, I know who I was, and the sin that abounded in my life, before I was born-again. I know the ways that I tried to live up, measure up, to all the spoken and unspoken rules, etc., whereby I might be acceptable in this crazy world in which we live.

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus freely submitted to the justice God required to make atonement for us. Hearing and responding to the heart of God, to come to Him, was the event that set me on the path I continue to walk in grace and truth toward experiencing full freedom from SIN and from the tradition and legalism which regularly stirves to diminish the Gospel. Who are you living for and trying to please? Are you trading the gospel of the grace of Christ for any other thing, any other man-authored substitute for His completed work?

May our hearts quake within us, at any thought of living for the praise or glory of any other than Christ Jesus Himself."Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." ~~Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)"Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you." ~~ Galatians 5:1 (The Message) Selah. Stephanie Paul is Director of Women's Addiction Recovery Ministries at America's KESWICK


Monday, November 24, 2008

The Word Prevails

The Word Prevails

But the word of God grew and multiplied. Acts 12:24

In the face of much opposition over the 2000+ years since the time of Christ, neither thing nor person has been successful in stopping the word of God. Many have tried. In Acts, Herod was seeking praise and God struck him down for receiving the worship of a god and did not give glory to God. And the next line says: But the word of God grew and multiplied (vs. 24).

We have all heard stories from missionaries, of Christians being persecuted for their faith and their love and passion for the word of God. We have heard of elderly women who treasure one section of scripture that has been given to them because the Bible has been separated into pieces so many could get just a little bit. Those few pages are treasured as gold bouillon or rare diamonds, often carried within their clothing to keep their treasure safe. Do you know why the word of God prevails? Why it continues to grow and multiply in the face of persecution and adversity? The answer is simple: Because God has said it would. He preserves it. Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.Psalm 119:89

Is there any better thing to build your foundation on than that which will prevail and continue to prevail for ever? -- Diane Hunt is Director of Addiction Recovery Ministries

Saturday, November 22, 2008

He is Worthy (Part 3)

He Is Worthy! (Part 3; Exodus 34:6)

I am very thankful for Pastor John's willingness to write Freedom Fighter's this week while I am in Branson. I trust you have enjoyed his insights from the Word.

For the last two weekends, I've asked you to think with me about the theme "He Is Worthy!" For several months, I've been asking the Lord to teach me how to praise Him. I do praise Him when I pray and when I talk about His works, but I often think that my praise isn't as strong or full as it should be since He is worthy of the best I can offer.

During November our church has considered how worthy God is of all we have. The month culminates with a special offering we pray will declare that "He Is Worthy!" I've experienced a side benefit to that emphasis.

My praying-especially the praise part-has experienced freshness. He's answered my prayer! Now my praise reflects what I've learned (again) about all the ways that He is God. He is worthy of my praise because He is God. He's also worthy of my praise because He's good.

Think with me this morning about another way He is worthy. He is worthy because He is gracious. God said it best in Exodus 34:6. "And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth . . . .'"

Graciousness is best defined as God inclining His ear toward us and addressing our needs. You'll often see God's graciousness and mercy linked, especially in the Old Testament. His graciousness allows Him to give us what we DON'T deserve. His mercy allows Him to refrain from giving us what we DO deserve.

Take a walk through the Psalms and count how many times we're told that God is gracious. Consider His work in the lives of the children of Israel. Think about how often His graciousness brought blessing. Don't forget God's graciousness to us and the world in sending His Son, Jesus, to become our sin-bearer. As I reflected on God's graciousness in my life, I discovered even more reasons to praise Him. From childhood to my sixties, I see a life loaded with evidence of God's gracious care and attention.

Several men from the Colony of Mercy attend the church I have the privilege of serving. They each see that cord of graciousness in their lives. They know what could have been. Mercy prevented that from happening. They know how God is at work in their lives. God's graciousness is evident!

How should God's graciousness impact our lives? Let me give you three words and three scriptures to go with them. Take time to look up the scriptures as you consider the three words. The first word is RELATIONSHIP, and the scripture is Psalm 116:1&2. The second word is REST, and the scripture is Psalm 116:5-7. The third word is WORSHIP, and the scripture is Psalm 116:12-19. Revel in God's graciousness toward you this week!

God's WORD for YOU: Proverbs 22; Ezekiel 18-19; James 4

Think About This: When my body is pained, it is not wrong to wish for relief. When overtaken by sickness, it is not wrong to send for the physician. You may call this selfishness, which He who made us what we are, and who gave us these instincts, expects us to act upon; and in acting on which, we may count upon his blessing, not his rebuke. It is not wrong to dread hell, to desire heaven, to flee from torments, to long for blessedness, to shun condemnation, and to desire pardon. -- Horatius Bonar



I work in addiction recovery ministry and could easily say that the biggest sin encountered on a daily basis is "addiction." In my opinion, if we were to guess that we would be oh so wrong. The biggest sin I encounter daily, in myself, and all around me in other people, is the sin of pride.

"These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud lookA lying tongueHands that shed innocent bloodA heart that devises wicked plans Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren." 1 ~~Proverbs 6:16-19

If we instantly heeded the Lord's conviction every time pride showed up, I think it would be difficult for us to walk upright because we'd be on our knees expressing sorrow to a holy God. God desires our hearts to always be remembering the grace by which we have been saved.

So, the simple, yet strong encouragement for today is this: We need to practice intentional humility Coram Deo - before the face of God."But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."2 ~~James 4:6

"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom." ~~James 4:7-103 Selah

Stephanie Paul is Director of Women's Addiction Recovery Ministry of America's KESWICK
1 www.biblegateway.com2 ibid3 ibid

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Just Can't Wait


How many times have you said this? "I just can't wait" for my birthday, or Christmas, or even the weekend. But how many times do you say, "I just can't wait to have my devotions." I, for one, plead guilty to not only NOT eagerly anticipating having my devotions, but to be honest, there are some days (and all too often more than one) when I don't miss having devotions at all.

Earlier this week, Bill Welte spoke to a group of business people at an event we call TBN (The Breakfast Network). His topic - stewardship of our time. One of the points he made was that all of us have the same amount of time given to us each day, and it is up to us to use it wisely, in God's service and for His glory. Following closely on that point he said, "Do you personally spend time with the Lord each day?" And then he said - this is NON-NEGOTIABLE. Now I know he wasn't directly his remarks to me alone, but he might as well have been.

The Holy Spirit used his words to speak truth to me and convict me of my sloppiness when it comes to my devotions. At that moment, I prayed silently that each day God would help me make better decisions on the use of my time so that my devotions don't "fall off the table" because I run out of time. Notice that I DID NOT SAY I prayed for more time. I already have all the time I need - I just need to refocus what I do with that time.So my prayer today is that as I get back to where I must be in my daily walk with my Lord that it will become less an issue of "finding the time" and more an issue of not being able to wait until the time when I can draw close to God in prayer, reading His Word and worshipping Him for Who He is and what He does in my life.'Walk in wisdom...redeeming the time." (Col. 4:5) Lynn Randall is Director of Human Resources at America's KESWICK

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

At the Place of the Sea

At the Place Of the Sea

Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life, Where, in spite of all you can do, There is no way out, there is no back, There is no other way but through? Then wait on the Lord with a trust serene till the night of your fear is gone; He will send the wind, He will heap the floods, When He says to your soul, "Go on."And His hand will lead you through- clear through- Ere the watery walls roll down, No foe can reach you, no wave can touch, No mightiest sea can drown; The tossing billows may rear their crests, their foam at your feet may break, But over their bed you shall walk dry shod In the path that your Lord shall make.In the morning watch, 'neath the lifted cloud, You shall see but the Lord alone, When He leads you forth from the place of the sea, To a land that you have not known; And all your fears shall pass as your foes have passed, You shall be no more afraid; You shall sing His praise in a better place, A place that His hand has made. - Annie Johnson FlintWhen I can't put things into words I am so glad that others have already done it! When I think I am the only one feeling a certain way I am glad to read that someone else has had the same feelings. When I have to cross the Red Sea I am glad to be reminded of God's faithfulness to bring me to a new place that He has made. Today may you know that you are not alone; others have crossed the sea to the other side. Kathy Withers is a frequent Victory Call contributor and a lover of God's WORD

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Have Been Crucified With Christ

I have been crucified with Christ.

In preparing a Higher Ground lesson recently, I was reminded again of the truth that I am dead. It occurred to me that most people I know, most Christians I know live as if they don't believe they are dead and I include myself in that group. J. Penn-Lewis said, "If the difference between 'Christ dying for us, ' and 'our dying with Him, ' has not been recognized, acknowledged , and applied, it may safely be affirmed that the self is still the dominating factor in the life" (Memoir, p. 26).i

Notice Penn-Lewis did not simply say recognized and acknowledged but also applied. The application of truth to our lives makes the difference between mediocrity and Victory. I think most Christians live as if Christ is on the cross and they are on the throne. Christ on the cross, where He is dead and powerless. They are on the throne alive, in power and ruling their own life. Rather, we should live as if we are on the cross powerless, dead to self and flesh and Christ is on the throne all-powerful, the resurrected King of our life. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

May I invite you to join our Higher Ground group with their assignment? For one week, frequently remind yourself "not I, but Christ". In the ordinary things of your day, remind yourself, "not I, but Christ". When a difficulty comes and your flesh response is unChristlike, remind yourself, "not I, but Christ". Each night, write down what happened. How did you respond differently because you remembered you were dead? Feel free to email me your stories. I'd love to hear from you.

If you live in our neighborhood, why not join us at America's Keswick for Higher Ground, Monday nights, 7-8:30 pm. We are currently working through The Complete Green Letters by Miles Stanford. i Quoted in The Green Letters, Miles Stanford, pg. 33-34

Monday, November 17, 2008

These Good Old Days

Those good old days

Do you ever sit around talking about the good old days? How much better things were way back when... In Exodus 16 we see that under the leadership of Moses, the Israelite's had just left Egypt and their bondage of slavery. They had been witnesses to the power and glory of God.

They had just witnessed God's power as He parted the Red Sea, opening a path for them to walk on dry land to the other side. What an awesome sight that must have been... to walk on dry land as a wall of water stood on either side of them only to fall back down on the Egyptian army drowning them all! Interestingly just a short time after they experienced the awesome power of God, His miraculous protection and provision...these very same people began to grumble and complain because their bellies were hungry.

Exodus 16 2-3"In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the Lords hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."Oh, those good old days!What about those good old days? How good were they?

Pharaoh had the Israelites under the tight screw of slavery. They were beaten, mistreated and their baby boys were murdered. Yet they were thinking only about having enough food and not about their suffering under Pharaoh. They did not remember Gods faithfulness and His provision.

What about us? Are we talking about the good old days and grumbling about today? Are we focusing on the times of pleasure and comfort and forgetting that there were hardships too? Today we are living in difficult times. Our economy is in trouble, people are losing homes and jobs. Our future looks troubling. Yes it is true you and I are facing some difficult days ahead. Should we sit around grumbling and crying? Each one of us has seen the Hand of God and His provision in our lives.

And truthfully, He has not only provided, He has blessed us above and beyond. Perhaps instead of grumbling we could give God praise and thanks for His abundant provision in the past, and His provision for today and His faithfulness for tomorrow. Just maybe these difficult times will bring us to our knees seeking His face, seeking His strength...trusting Him. We have seen His faithfulness in the past, now we need to trust Him for our today.Psalm 13:5-6"But I will trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me."AMEN!

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.

Friday, November 14, 2008

When Difficult Times Come (V)

When difficult times come V

We desire faith: growing, strong and vibrant. A tool in our arsenal during difficult times. Faith is vital to our daily walk. "The just shall live by faith." Romans 1:17

Our faith-walk is a testimony to a watching world of the faithfulness and sufficiency of our God. We desire patience: Daily we face multiple opportunities to exhibit patience and often become frustrated when we repeatedly fail. We pray for patience, NOW!

We desire to be fulfilled, "perfect and complete", stable, content, and at rest in our spirit. Interestingly, we want faith, patience and completeness dropped in our laps, but God's perfect plan is to develop those things in our lives through trials and difficulty.

So this begs the question: What is your greatest passion? To avoid suffering or to submit to God's work in our life through trials as He transforms us to the image of His Son? James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. So how can we count it all joy when trials come? Because God is up to something BIG! REALLY BIG! IN THE MIDST OF OUR SUFFERING. -- Diane Hunt is Director of Addiction Recovery Ministries at America's KESWICK

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When Difficult Times Come (Part IV)

When difficult times come IV

Yesterday we considered 4 foundational truths about God that matter as we walk the path of suffering. Today, let's think about truths about who WE are that matter in our wanderings. As we get a clearer view of God, the God of the Bible, The ONE TRUE GOD, we will gain a clearer view of who we are. Far too often in the midst we loose sight of who we are IN CHRIST.

1. You are His child/daughter - don't let this truth slip by you because it is so familiar. Pause a moment and meditate upon the truth that you are a daughter of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. John 1:12-13 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

2. You are His bride - you thought being his daughter was amazing, consider for a moment that you are the bride of Christ. He is the Husband of your dreams, your Perfect Groom. He delights in you.Isaiah 54:5 "For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth."Hosea 2:16 "And it shall be, in that day," Says the LORD, " That you will call Me 'My Husband,' And no longer call Me 'My Master,'"

3. You are precious in His sight - precious! Let that sink in. You are PRECIOUS in His sight.Isaiah 62:5 "For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you."Isaiah 43:3-4 "For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life."God absolutely loves you, nothing held back. He is with you in the midst of your difficulty. He is passionate about His glory and your greatest good, to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. (see 2 Corinthians 3:18)

Diane Hunt is the Director of Addiction Recovery Ministries

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When Difficult Times Come (Part 2)

When difficult times come II

Suffering entered the world when sin entered the world.

Genesis 3:16-19 "To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you." Then to Adam He said, Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': " Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."

Romans 5:12 "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-"Sometimes our suffering is due to our own choices. Sometimes our suffering is due to others choices. Sometimes our suffering is due to the fact that we live in a fallen world. We know Christ suffered yet He did not sin. Hebrews 2:10

We can expect seasons of suffering in our life. Yet, even in the midst or our suffering God is working redemptively. To Redeem: to buy back , to get or win back , to free from what distresses or harms: to free from captivity by payment of ransom , to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental , to free from the consequences of sin , to change for the better , to offset the bad effect of , to make worthwhileiSuffering has a redemptive purpose.

God is up to something good in the midst of our suffering.

1. God is conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:292. God is sanctifying us - 1 Thessalonians 5:23-243. God is making us dependent upon Him alone -

2 Corinthians 1:9 God works redemptively in the midst of suffering. There is comfort in the knowledge of this truth. Your suffering is not for naught. Can you trust His loving hand? Can you trust that God is redeeming your suffering?

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

When Difficult Times Come (Part 1)

When difficult times come Part I

The world is wrought with people, problems and pain. This week I want to consider some truths that can change our perspective in the midst of our suffering that can make a huge difference.

Job 5: 6-27 "For affliction does not come from the dust, Nor does trouble spring from the ground; Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward. "But as for me, I would seek God, And to God I would commit my cause-"

This week we are going to consider how having a God-perspective will be of great value in our difficulty. "Who does great things, and unsearchable, Marvelous things without number. He gives rain on the earth, And sends waters on the fields. He sets on high those who are lowly, And those who mourn are lifted to safety. He frustrates the devices of the crafty, So that their hands cannot carry out their plans. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, And the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them. They meet with darkness in the daytime, And grope at noontime as in the night. But He saves the needy from the sword, From the mouth of the mighty, And from their hand.

So the poor have hope, And injustice shuts her mouth. " Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole. He shall deliver you in six troubles, Yes, in seven no evil shall touch you. In famine He shall redeem you from death, And in war from the power of the sword."
We are going to consider the very active role God takes in the details of our lives, especially in our suffering.

"You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, And you shall not be afraid of destruction when it comes. You shall laugh at destruction and famine, And you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth. For you shall have a covenant with the stones of the field, And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you. You shall know that your tent is in peace; You shall visit your dwelling and find nothing amiss. You shall also know that your descendants shall be many, And your offspring like the grass of the earth. You shall come to the grave at a full age, As a sheaf of grain ripens in its season."

We will consider how your difficulties, adversity and suffering will create something beautiful in you as you submit to God's loving hand in your life.
"Behold, this we have search out; It is true. Hear it, and know for yourself."

Isaiah 61:1-3 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

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

Saturday, November 08, 2008



"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." 1 ~~John 1:1-3

God gave us THE WORD and in Him...THE WORD: there is salvation.
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."2 ~~Acts 4:12

He also gave US words. No matter what language we speak or don't speak, we all have words and with those words we can chose to bless or curse. Within all of us lies the capacity to bless or curse with our words. In fact, each and every day brings opportunites for all of us to choose whether we will build up or tear down.

"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing."3
~~1 Thessalonians 5:11

This morning a song popped in my head which reminded me of the words God has given me and the ministry He has grafted me into wherein I am able to express the WORD and words. The only part of the song I remember tells -in part- the story of what I do here at America's KESWICK.

"I want to spend my life mending broken people.
I want to spend my life removing pain.
Lord let my words heal a heart that hurts.
I want to spend my life mending broken people."
~~Source Unknown~~

That may and/or may not be at America's KESWICK...only the LORD knows. Whether it is or isn't, it is a fact that my heart, my soul and my mind will be kept by THE WORD.
And that's all folks. Speaking the truth about Him Who is THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE! Period! That is, and will always be, THE MAIN THING that we do here in our ministry to broken people.

Today, I am thanking God for all the words spoken rightly. I am asking Him to multiply His Word in the hearts, minds and mouths of all who are His, that we may be faithful to share it in a world full of broken and hurting people.

Stephanie Paul is the Director of Women's Addiction Recovery Ministries at America's KESWICK

2 ibid
3 ibid

Thursday, November 06, 2008

One of Those Days

Today is one of those days. The kind where I just want to stay in bed. It's a day where I am trying to just keep it together until I can go home and go back to bed. I am fighting to remember the facts and not trust my feelings. I am fighting away the lies that are swirling around my mind looking for a place to take root.

As I drove to work today the CD teaching I was listening to reminded me that one day I would see Jesus face to face. The Pastor continued to say that all my trials and circumstances could not outweigh what was waiting for me in Eternity.

One of these days I will see Jesus face to face. Maybe today is one of "those" days but a day will come that will be the day I will see Jesus. When you and I are having one of those days let's remember that a day is coming when we will be home and home is not here. A day is coming when all the things of this earth will pass away. Even if today is one of "those" days I began to focus on the day that I am home and I find I am comforted and reminded that all of this is temporary. To know that this is temporary and that so much more awaits me gives me hope and strength and a longing for that day when all will be set right again.

I believe as trials come one of their purposes is to give us a longing to be home; home with Jesus. The older I get and the more I go through I am learning to desire less and less of this world and more of Jesus and my heavenly home. How is your day looking? You and I have a wonderful future regardless of what kind of day we face. Even if you burst into tears, are full of hurts and heartaches I hope you will look to Jesus and remember that this is not your home. Because of Jesus we have a hope and a glorious future. What a day that will be!

""So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen, For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 Cor. 4:16-18 (ESV)
"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."Phil. 3:20 (ESV)

Kathy Withers is a Bible teacher and passionate follower of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Phew! The Election is Over

Phew!! The Election is over.

Well, it's November 5, 2008 and the election is finally over. I don't know if your candidate won or lost, but I know God's candidate won. Through this whole drawn out election process there was not a single day that God slipped off His throne. Today, the morning after the presidential election, He still reigns. He still rules over the universe. He is still on the Throne. No one slipped into the office of the President of the United States without God's permission. The people of the United States voted yesterday but God put a man in office. You may be cheering today or you may be disappointed but do not loose heart. Regardless of where you are personally today we can stand firm on these Biblical truths:

1. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The day before the election, the day of the election and the day after the election
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

2. God is sovereign over the nations.
Arise, O LORD, Do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged in Your sight.
Put them in fear, O LORD, That the nations may know themselves to be but men. Psalm 9:19-20.

3. God appoints our leaders.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Romans 13:1
I want to encourage us all to get on our knees and fight for our nation.
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Diane Hunt is Director of Addiction Recovey Ministries at America's KESWICK

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Put Them Down ...

Put them down...

Today I am weary. Is there a solution for weariness? The Lord says, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."(Matthew 11:28) How do we come onto Him? I see myself dragging my burdens with me to the cross. Here I come. I take one step and then I drag my bag of burdens. I take another step and drag my bag of burdens. It takes a long time to get to the cross, but I finally make it. There I stand, looking up at the cross, clutching my burdens tightly.
The Lord said to me, "Put your burdens down so that you can rest."
"But Lord, I have really important things in my bag."
"Show me what they are."
"Well, here is my worry box. You know how I worry, Lord. I'm a really good worrier. What would I do without my worries?"
"Put them down."
"But, Lord."
"Put them down."
"Yes, Lord"
"What else do you have in your bag?"
"Well, I have a list of the people who have hurt me. It's quite a long list, Lord."
"Put it down."

When we stand at the cross, in front of the Lord Jesus, it's pretty hard to hang on to our bag of burdens and be justified in doing so.

I don't know how God will resolve my worries or bind up my hurts, but I do know I can trust Him. Some days it is easier to trust than it is today, but His word is always trustworthy.

"Trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass" (Psalm 37:5) As my mother often said, "It didn't come to stay; it came to pass."

Marilyn Heavilin is a speaker, author, and friend of America's KESWICK. And today is her birthday. Drop her an email at and let her know that you are a regular subscriber to Victory Call.

Monday, November 03, 2008



This time of year always brings out the grumbling in us even in good economic times. As Election Day draws closer the grumbling gets louder and louder. It really doesn't matter what side of the political fence you hang out on or who you are supporting for president. Each side claims disaster if the other is elected. Should we as believers fall prey to all the noise out there? Should we just cover our ears? Should we cover our eyes and ignore it all? Perhaps we just want to give up?
For a time this past election season I began to listen to the grumbling and even join in. I was allowing fear of the future take over my thoughts. Some of you may be in that place right now. I said I was in that state of mind. But then I remembered that God is in control. He is sovereign even over our next president whoever he might be. I don't think God is in heaven wringing His hands wondering what will happen next.
I decided to trust God. No matter which candidate will bear the title "President of the United States" I know that my God still reigns....even over our president! One thing is for certain, each of us who are blessed to be a citizen of the United States, have the great honor and privledge to go out and vote. Please don't take this privilege lightly. My parents were born in tsarist Russia in the early 1900's and then lived under communism until 1943, they took there American citizenship very seriously.
Don't just go out and vote on November 4th, first we all need to be on our knees seeking Gods direction, praying for our next president (whoever he might be), praying for our government and praying for revival in the hearts of men and women all across our nation. We all need to put our hope in Him not in our next president.

2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Psalm 33:18-22
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

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.

Check out this Election 2008 Prayer from Dr. John Nieder: