Friday, October 30, 2009

All Things are Possible

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." ~ Matthew 19:26

Whenever I hear or read that statement of Scripture my spirit and my soul are encouraged. My spirit is quickened by the simple and pure communion of Spirit speaking to spirit, and as my soul is nourished or replenished I am once again reminded that my help, hope and strength do not come from myself and my paltry human resources. My help comes from the Lord, and therefore, all things are possible! It's not a matter of whether or not it is possible or whether or not He can. I know He can, thus it is possible.

"...'If you can'?" Said Jesus. "Everything is possible for Him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief. ~ Mark 9:23-24

The question, dear ones, is this: do you believe? Do you believe that God is sovereign in all and overall? Do you believe He wills to do and is able to do according to His good pleasure and whatever is for our good?

I don't for a second doubt that most of us know what the truth is about God. Yet we find it difficult in the midst of it, to really and truly believe the words of Christ when He says, "everything is possible."

So, dear sisters, if you find yourself in a hard and difficult place, my encouragement for you today is simple - believe! Yet, if the truth for you today is, "believing is too hard," go to Father God and ask Him to help you overcome. He is always faithful to those whom He loves and who love Him. He will help you!!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shine as Lights

As I was doing my exercises, I began to see sparkling lights on the wall and ceiling. Trying to discern what was causing them, I realized that as I moved my arms and hands my rings were catching the sunlight coming through the window. As I watched the colorful display, I thought about the fact that without the sun hitting them they did not transmit the beauty that I was seeing.

This made my think of my life ~ does it transmit the beauty of the Son within, shining forth to attract others to want to know what the cause is? The reflection of the sun on my rings got my attention ~ I pondered, does His reflection in my day to day activities draw attention to Him?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:14,16, "You are the light of the world...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." And also Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:14-16, "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life..." We do not have to do this in our own strength though, "... for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (vs. 13). Another place Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). As He lives within us and His "light of life" is reflected by us in and through our lives, we will bring glory to God the Father and the Son.

Consider the following Scriptures and be challenged and encouraged to keep on "shining" and "reflecting" Him ~ for Him, by Him, through Him:

2 Corinthians 4:5-7 "For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

2 Corinthians 3:18 "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

Lord, Let it be so ~ Amen.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So... You know Christ

"If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:32-36

What difference does Christ make? As a believer/follower of Jesus Christ, what difference does it make that you are indwelt by the Living Spirit of God?

"If you love these who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them." (6:33) Do you love the unlovely? Do you love that person that gives you a hard time at work or the one that has hurt you with gossip? Do you love any differently than the unregenerate sinner?

"And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same." (6:33) Are you serving and helping those that don't appreciate it or have a sense of entitlement? Are you doing good to those that are not easy to do good for? Do you do good any differently than those that don't know Jesus Christ?"And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount." (6:34)

Do you lend or give away things only to those whom you trust will repay or return it or the favor? Are you as generous with the stingy-hearted and ungrateful person? Do you lend or give any differently than the unsaved sinner?

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." (6:35-36)


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When God says "NO"

I recently had hernia surgery. I waited so long that it had become very large. I thought it would be a great opportunity for a little nip/tuck in the tummy area. Let's face it, three C-sections and a few other procedures had left, well, let's say a bit more of a pooch than I'd like. As I was considering my hernia surgery I began to research plastic surgeons. Before I made an appointment for a consultation with a surgeon, I thought I'd better consult with "The Great Physician." I prayed, asking God to show me His will where my plans were concerned. As soon as I prayed, I heard God speak to my spirit; "Others may, but you may not, Kim." I began to question what I KNEW I had just heard God say. "Was that really the Lord speaking to me? Maybe I hadn't heard right?" So...with a heart full of doubts and a mind set on a flat tummy, I went to see a plastic surgeon anyway! I really had it all figured out. I could have both procedures done at the same time and might even get a portion of the plastic surgery covered under our insurance. If only God would give me His blessing! Can you believe it? It turned out that none of it was covered under my insurance and it would cost much more that I could afford to pay.

Why God? Why do I have to have a scar on my stomach? Everyone else does this sort of thing. Then I thought about my vanity - Mirror, mirror on the wall...

It says in 1 Peter 3:3, "your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner-self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God's eyes." I began to realize that in this area of my life -- my appearance -- God wanted to use a scalpel on my heart and not my tummy!! God showed me where I truly had to trust Him enough to obey Him. When God says "No," I need to say, "Yes, Lord."

Kim Peterson
Women of Character Graduate

Monday, October 26, 2009

Stay Awake

Mark 13: 32- 37 "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning- lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake."

In the hecticness of life, it is natural and easy to lose sight of our destination. We forget most days, weeks, months that Jesus is coming back.


The aroma of life, of busy mornings, quick lunches, soccer games, laundry, shopping, class projects, Sunday sermons, vacations, bills, lawns, shoveling snow, tragedy, weddings, stubbed toes, etc., lull us all into a trance - a cocoon of sorts - that this is our home - We are snuggled up inside our cocoon we call life. We are warm and comfortable and rarely look beyond our shell AS IF THIS WERE OUR HOME.


Jesus is coming back.

Don't allow the aroma of life to lull you to sleep. Stay awake. Flee the tentacles of life that can drag you into complacency or apathy. Heed Christ's warning. STAY AWAKE.


Friday, October 23, 2009

One Thing is for Certain...

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." Mark 13:31

In a world when so much seems unstable, uncertain, chaotic, and ever-changing - the reminder that there are stable factors that do not change cannot be thwarted, and that give perspective - and stability to life and circumstance. They remain forever.

God never changes.

"But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does." Job 23:13

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8

God's Word never changes.

" ...since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever." 1 Peter 1:23-25

"Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens." Psalm 119:89

When life seems to be getting out of control and chaos seems the norm rather than the exception, stop and rest in the truth that God and His word NEVER change.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's In It For Me? Part 2

Recently, I heard my nephew speak publicly about his gratitude and love for his mom. It was a touching moment well deserved. My sister has been a single mom for many years. She has worked hard and loved, cared for and provided for her children. This speech was a toast at her recent wedding.

My mind, unfortunately, went from this touching toast to stinking thinking. My sister does not yet walk with Jesus and I am sure her children do not either. I began to lick my wounds. After all, I do follow Christ so why not my children? One I don't think ever accepted Christ as his Savior and the other has walked away from her faith. I began to feel exactly like the people in Malachi 3:14-15. "You have said, 'It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners before the Lord of hosts? So now we call the proud blessed for those who do wickedness are raised up; they even tempt God and go free.'"

Have you ever been there? Why do the unsaved seem to have it all and here I am waiting and wanting? I love the Lord, walk with Him and serve Him so don't I deserve to see my children walking with the Lord? It is easy to think that there is no point. Why remain faithful? At times it seems easier to just give up.

The grass may seem greener but I am reminded that without Christ, what is their future? My sister heard those words of love and gratitude that all mothers long to hear. But what will Jesus say to her one day? Her children? My children?

I can only remember that this world is not all there is. So, what's in it for me while I wait to hear good news? In Christ I have a hope and a future. One day there will be no more sorrow or tears. I look forward to an eternity with Jesus. What's in it for me is not just what I get in this world. This is not my home.

For right now I have a trust that a mother's prayers will one day be answered and that God loves my children more than I do. You and I do not have the short end of the stick. God is at work. Malachi 3:16-18 says that in the end He knows those who fear Him and those who don't. He calls those who fear Him "His own" and "jewels." He discerns between the righteous and the wicked. He knows who serves Him and who does not. As ones who fear God and seek to obey Him we will be tempted to give up because we do not see the results we want.

Do not envy those who face a Christ-less eternity and seem to have it all here and now. Next time, as we wrap up our walk through Malachi, we will see that there is a day coming and there is much ahead for those of us who fear the Lord.

Kathy withers

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's In It For Me? Part 1

About 8 years ago I found myself believing that God owed me some blessings. I went to church, taught Sunday School, did my devotions. Then my world crashed and I had a very hard reality check. I believe that God allowed a number of personal heartaches into my life so that, out of His love and mercy, He could build a new foundation built on Christ and His truth. A lot of what I was "doing" was for my own edification and because I wanted to have a "blessed" life. When God took a sledge hammer to that foundation I was confused and challenged. I was confused about things I had been taught and beliefs I believed. This was a time that I needed to understand who God really was and what the Christian life was really about.

Don't ask me what Bible I had been reading but I thought verses like, "I promise you a rose garden," "Thou shall not suffer trials," and "No tribulation shall come near you or those you love" were really in there! Somewhere along the way I picked up faulty thinking and lies. In Malachi 3:13 the people in that day had picked up similar faulty thinking. They, too, wanted to know what profit there was in serving God. They thought their service was useless and that they did not benefit enough from their hard work. In other words, they asked "What's in this for me?" They became focused on themselves rather than dying to themselves. They watched how those who were prideful and wicked seemed to gain more than they did. They lost sight of God, they lost their fear of God and they began to complain. Where had all the blessings gone?

As you consider your circumstances, what is your attitude? Are you thinking you don't deserve to be in the position you are? Do you think that you deserve more or better? Do you stand in the middle of your living room, shaking a fist at God and ask why He allowed ______? I did. Then God asked me to choose to trust Him and know Him for who He really is. I had to give up on my faulty thinking and dig for truth and begin to trust in the Jesus of the Bible, not the one I had made up or distorted in my head.

There is a huge difference between knowing Jesus Christ and making Him up as you go along. Is He Lord and Savior or in the same realm as Santa Claus and the tooth fairy? Are the words "give me" and "I want" staples in your vocabulary? Do you serve Him, love Him, and follow Him only for the blessings or regardless of the blessings?

Kathy Withers

Kathy Serves in Guest Services and is married to her husband, Dave. They have two adult children, Michael and Kerri.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Take Hold by Letting Go...

I would like to carry over from yesterday's Victory Call regarding the heart of generosity.

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich."
2 Corinthians 8:9

Reflect upon the gospel in this verse: that Jesus left heaven and all the glories of eternity past and was born in a stall and His newborn body laid in a manger full of straw. Through His sinless, perfect life and sacrifice we are offered the free gift of eternal life. We become rich through His poverty. What a picture of generosity!

"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19

God is the provider of everything you and I enjoy. It seems rather foolish to be stingy with that which isn't ours to begin with.

You know when I find it easy to be generous? Silly as it sounds it's when I somehow profit from that generosity. It is easy to be generous, for example, with my children and grandchildren because I get to enjoy their surprise and delight. I find it more difficult to send a check to a foreign missions project because I don't see the direct impact of my giving. So, bottom line, I'm self-serving in my generosity (or seeming generosity).

Timothy speaks not primarily of financial generosity, but "rich in good works" and "to be generous and ready to share." In one sense, it can be easier to be generous with our finances than generous with ourselves. Are we generous only when it serves us somehow? Are we generous in our service? Are we generous in sharing?

I can't close today's Victory Call without commenting on vs. 19 of 1 Timothy 6, "that they may take hold of that which is truly life." We are far too easily duped into thinking (aloud or silently) that "she who has the most toys ($$ or things) in the end wins." We might not be so foolish as to actually admit that, but are we living as if we believe that? Holding fast to what is "ours"?

I think Timothy's point is that it is not in holding onto our money, time, and gifts that gives us true life but rather in the generous giving of all those things that we will take hold of that which is truly life.


Monday, October 19, 2009


"We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints- and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you- see that you excel in this act of grace also." 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

Look at the words of generosity or abundance in these verses:

Vs. 1 ABUNDANCE of joy
Vs. 3 BEYOND their means
Vs. 7 EXCEL in everything
Vs. 8 EXCEL in this act of grace

The principle of generosity is not having a stingy heart that only wants to, or perhaps is willing to, do just enough to get by.

Paul's words, inspired by God, chosen to communicate the heart of the Macedonian church, express not just a willingness to give but an eagerness to give, so much so, that they begged earnestly for the FAVOR to give, to take part in the relief of the saints.

Generosity goes beyond just finances- at the root it is an attitude of the heart that is evidenced in every area of life.

Do I have a generous heart? Am I eager to give? Do I look for ways to give and do beyond my means?


Friday, October 16, 2009

A Whale of a Tail...

"How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number - living things both large and small."
Psalm 104:24-35

Recently I was in Cape Cod on vacation and was able to go out on a Whale Watch. It wasn't my first trip out, and probably won't be my last time to go whale watching. I was again not disappointed as the whales played and waved their tails at us like they were showing off. This time as we were coming up on different whales the guide would begin to name it or them. I looked at the lady next to me and almost in unison we said... "How do they know their names?" As if the guide heard us he then preceded to tell us that whales are most commonly identified by their tails (the coloration of the ventral surface of their flukes). You see, whales have different tail patterns ranging from all white to all black. A whale's tail patterns are like human fingerprints - no whale has the exact same pattern, just like no human has the exact same fingerprint as another human. Each one is unique to the individual. All I could think of as I listened and observed each whale I was taking pictures of was - that's just like our God that created them! How can you not believe in a God when we learn that even non-humans were each created different and unique? In Genesis we learn the animals were named... I figure that meant - that's a whale, that's a raccoon, that's a deer, etc... but now, I'm thinking they were actually named. Creation screams there is a GOD!

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20

If God took so much effort to make whales different and know them by name... How exciting it is to know that that same God tells me that He knows me by name. There is nothing that escapes God's knowledge and ability to pick me out from the rest. God doesn't miss what is going on in my life... I am clearly identified by Him, my Creator. That is the kind of God I have looking out for me. My Creator has given me an identity from all others. Not just whales, but Humans... we are each fearfully and wonderfully made. That is the same God who is looking out and watching over you.

Scientists can follow whales as they migrate and swim the vast seas. God watches over us no matter where we are or what is going on in our lives. Because He made us, designed us, and marked us... there is no place where we are hidden from Him. I don't know about you, but to me that is fantastic news and news that allows me to rest in Him. I am never alone...

"If I take the wings of the dawn, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall guide me."
Psalm 139:9-10.

Lynne Jahns

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Can't Even Do That...

Here I am, sitting in the hospital - waiting to be called to the OR for a heart catheterization. Nervous? Sure, some.

This morning when I awoke around 4 am I was praying and recalling Scripture. One of my favorites in times like this is Isaiah 26:3, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."

It occurred to me as I prayed, before drifting back to sleep, that perfect peace sounded pretty good (and even more so as I sit here waiting) - but as Scripture says, my mind needs to be stayed on the Lord - but I realized, in my own strength, I can't even do that.

So the Lord showed me again, apart from Christ I can do NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

So in my prayer I began thanking God for His peace and asking Christ to live His life through me today to keep my mind stayed on God - by faith I believe Jesus is doing that.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just a Little Bit More...

I recently received some unexpected news that I had what appeared to be a partial blockage in one of my main arteries - a week later I was being scheduled for a heart catheterization, which I think any one of us would rather pass on.

I received a phone call from a friend who had recently undergone hernia surgery. She anticipated anxiety which she had struggled with historically, but had none. She made a statement that I was already agreeing with even as she said it - "It's like God takes us through these things and each time says, 'Just give Me a little more...'."

That was exactly what I was feeling and thinking. Each time we go through a trial we have a little more faith, a little more trust.

Life experience with Jesus grows us, sanctifies us. Each time we give Him (or rather He gives us) just a little bit more.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Suffer Rather Than Sin

In a culture of instant gratification, we are not apt to willingly accept suffering. In fact, in many ways we would do "just about anything" (legal and moral) to avoid or get out of suffering.

But can suffering be good?

Yes -

Recently, reading through "The Complete Green Letters" by Miles Stanford, I read this statement:"Christ suffered in the flesh - for us, was crucified for our sin. Therefore arm yourselves with the same purpose (suffer rather than to sin)..."

Every time we are faced with temptation we have a choice - choose sin (get what I want - with the appearance that I avoid suffering) OR choose obedience (yield what I want and suffer the loss of my own way).

In a sense, obedience, denying self, refusing the flesh - requires suffering - more or less depending on what I am surrendering.

Are we THAT committed to obedience? Are we willing to suffer the loss of our own desires rather than to sin to get what we want?

Are we willing to suffer rather than sin?


Monday, October 12, 2009

Moment by Moment

"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

Are you a worrier? Do you find your mind meandering (or racing) ahead to the "what if's" that may or may not lie ahead?

Various organizations purport to have coined the phrase, "one day at a time" but it really comes from the Bible. We would avoid a great deal of anxiety and worry if we refused to anticipate what the future might hold (most often we are wrong).

God told Paul that His grace was sufficient. "...My grace is sufficient for you, for My strenght is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Why does it so often seem that it is not sufficient? Let me encourage you to memorize this statement: God's grace is sufficient for my reality not my imagination!!!

If we are worrying about tomorrow, we're on our own. Tomorrow is in our imagination until it becomes today. God's grace is not in our imagination. As we walk through tomorrow when it becomes today, God's grace floods our soul moment-by-moment, so it is vital in order to experience God's grace that we stay in those moments one by one.

Practice staying present and be amazed at God's abundant grace IN THE MOMENT.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Get Your Mind Out of the...World

"But he turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.'" Matthew 16:23

Whew! How would you like to have been Peter at this point, rebuked by "the Christ, the Son of the living God" whom you just confessed moments earlier (Mt. 16:16), the one Christ just finished encouraging because God revealed Christ's identity to him (Mt. 16:17)?

Can you see it? One minute Peter was feeling pretty good because he got it right and Jesus Himself pointed it out to everyone. Peter's chest probably got just a little puffed up. The next minute - Peter probably deflated like a runaway balloon propelled by expelled air. This time he got it wrong because he was focused on the things of man, not of God.

Oh, how easy and natural it is for us to be focused on the things of (wo)man, losing sight of the things of God. Invariably, when we focus on God and seek His perspective in every situation we have more faith and peace. When we focus on the world, on things of (wo)man we will get bogged down with worry, anxiety, fear, confusion and, let's face it...self.

Take a deep breath and ask God to give you the grace to see His perspective and rest there.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (NIV) Hebrews 12:2.
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:1-2


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Forgotten and Neglected

Today I received an email from a friend who is a sister in the faith of our Savior King, Jesus. Her email letter was a response to one I'd sent to her asking how she was doing and wondering whether or not I'd offended her in some way. Her honest answer was, "Yes." At some point in the past she had reached out to me and I had neglected to reach back.

I wish I could say this was the first time I'd ever done that; and I wish I could promise to make it my last. I really do! I wish I could keep things so perfectly straight in my head and life that no one I care for and love ever had to feel, think or believe I'd let them down by not being there. But, alas, I know I cannot.

I am guilty...of forgetting and neglecting my family and friends. I don't know when it happened, or how and why I allowed myself to arrive in this place. When did my life get so full of busyness that the people who matter slipped from a place of importance and priority?

For sure, there are a number of things I could point to that would let me off the hook. But the truth is I don't want to be. I own the fact that I allowed later to become much later or never. For that I am truly sorry.

Why do I bother you with this today? Well, it's really simple. It's to encourage you, not to let that be said of you. For most of you this may not even apply, but if it does, I implore you to make a change! Don't allow your job or ministry to cause you to neglect family and friends. They matter too much.

The words to a popular song from 1971 written by Carol King titled, "You've Got a Friend" just came to mind. One of the lines says, "When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand...ain't it good to know that you've got a friend?"1

My answer is, "yep, it sure is." Nothing beats having a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 says, "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

Are you that friend?



Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Living Intentionally

As we go through life it is easy to fall into a comfortable pattern or routine: devotions, work/school, dinner, TV/reading, bed, start over - Wednesday evening prayer service, Sunday church, week after week. We could feel pretty good about the regularity of our devotional/prayer life. But how intentional are we about all the time that happens in-between? Moment-by-moment we are afforded choices about what to do, what we think about, etc. We could go through our "Christian routine" all the while our heart and mind is grumbling about the woman at church who gets all the attention and accolades or we could be musing about our husband's lack of attention. How intentional are we to live EVERY MOMENT IN CHRIST?

1 Corinthians 9:25-26 "Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air."

Are you running towards the goal? Every single step? Are you "hitting" your target? Every "punch" you throw?Let's chose to live in Christ with determined intentionality.


This year's BINDING UP THE BROKEN-HEARTED: FAMILY AND FRIENDS ADDICTION SEMINAR is shaping up to be our best yet. You won't want to miss it. October 8, 2009 8:30 AM -3:30 PM at America's KESWICK. The $25.00 registration fee covers the sessions, materials, continental breakfast, lunch and snacks. Pastors attend free with 5 paid reservations. Every pastor, youth ministry worker, parent of a teen and loved ones of addicted family and friends should attend this seminar. Call today for your reservation 800.453.7942 or 732.350.1187.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

First Comes Repentance Then Comes Obedience

Why do I repent of the same thing over and over again? It is easy to repent if I am only saying I am sorry that I got caught doing something, saying something or acting in some manner that offends God. But true repentance includes obedience.

Kathy Howard writes in BEFORE HIS THRONE of a time that she had found herself in an area she had never driven before. She realized she was heading in the wrong direction and had to exit the highway, go under it, turn around and start driving the right way. Something had to be done in order to go in the right direction again. In Malachi 3:6-10 God calls for repentance with complete obedience. Kathy Howard also says this: "When we are in sin, God calls us to stop heading in the wrong direction. But stopping is not enough. He also calls us to turn around and head in the right direction. He wants us to follow Him in obedience."

Our obedience, or lack thereof, reveals a number of things. Do I love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind? Do I have any other gods before God? Have I lost the fear of the Lord? What do I really believe about who God is and what He says? What is my attitude toward sin and following Jesus completely? God reveals our sin so that we can repent but we must add to repentance obedience or we will go 'round and 'round and never get headed in the right direction.

In Malachi 3:12 God tells the people that their obedience will bring about blessings. But the blessing isn't for them alone. Others (nations) will notice their obedience and will testify of the goodness of God. What an opportunity we have to share the goodness of God with others through obedience. Our obedience to God from a proper heart attitude speaks volumes to those around us. Take a glance in the rearview mirror. Is anyone following Jesus because you have been faithful to obey Him? By the way, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing numerous times but hoping for different results.

Are you and I ready to turn around and head in the right direction?

Kathy Withers

This year's BINDING UP THE BROKEN-HEARTED: FAMILY AND FRIENDS ADDICTION SEMINAR is shaping up to be our best yet. You won't want to miss it. October 8, 2009 8:30 AM -3:30 PM at America's KESWICK. The $25.00 registration fee covers the sessions, materials, continental breakfast, lunch and snacks. Pastors attend free with 5 paid reservations. Every pastor, youth ministry worker, parent of a teen and loved ones of addicted family and friends should attend this seminar. Call today for your reservation 800.453.7942 or 732.350.1187.

Monday, October 05, 2009

General Absolution

When we have sinned against another - we are inclined to apologize rather than ask forgiveness (if we say anything at all). If we ask forgiveness we often ask for blanket forgiveness rather than state the specific offense - for one reason - because it's humbling to do so.

We tell the men in the Colony of Mercy (America's KESWICK Men's Residential Program) that asking for general absolution from their loved ones doesn't really aide in the healing of the hurt they caused that loved one. We found the men would say, "I'm turning over a new leaf, will you forgive me for everything I've ever done, and let's move on."

I can't point my finger though because recently I was beginning my morning devotional time with "Lord, forgive me for my sins" rather than confessing my sins naming them specifically to my Lord.

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Specificity is important not because God doesn't know but because it causes us to consider how we have offended Almighty God. Confessing our sins, naming them, is not for His benefit but for ours. So next time you are tempted to ask for blanket forgiveness, stop and call your sins by name and thank God for the forgiveness He granted through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. All of our sins sent Jesus to the Cross AND EACH of our sins sent Jesus to the Cross.


Friday, October 02, 2009

What's Your Angle?

There are some people who have been so incredibly hurt by the very ones who were supposed to love, care for and provide for them. So now, they trust no one...not even God.

I recently had someone ask me in my office what my angle was, what was the "game" I was playing? And what I wanted from him. I had shown compassion, kindness and the love of Christ to him and this just did not compute in his world. He told me he trusted no one. One parent abandoned him at birth, the other parent when he was six years old. He had lived on his own since age fourteen. Trust, love, kindness were foreign concepts to him. He did not know what love or trust was...neither had been modeled in his life. Trust can't develop in children if the ones who are supposed to care and love for them have not been trustworthy. No one trusts someone just because they are the authority in their lives but only as they exhibit trustworthiness over time. So in a sense trust is earned.

And so it would "seem" that because he had been deprived of the love and care every child should have, that God was not trustworthy as well. He had people tell him that Jesus loved him and God could be trusted but he didn't believe it. He also shared that God could never forgive his sin because it was too great. My heart was broken for this deeply, deeply hurt man.

You and I are ambassadors for Christ, His representatives on earth (2 Corinthians 5:20 "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us"). That doesn't mean that we will never hurt someone, or let them down because, let's face it, we still have this thing called "flesh" this side of heaven. However, we never know when someone crosses our path or we talk to a stranger that this may be the only chance this person might have to see "Jesus" and His trustworthiness and His love modeled through Christ who lives in us.

What's my angle? To be the light of Christ to shine for those who don't know Him, so that they will be drawn to Him and experience His love for themselves and so that they, too, could shine the love of Christ to someone else.

God will never let my friend down and in time God will be shown trustworthy to him through God's Word and His promises. In turn, God can use his life in a powerful way, showing His love and trustworthiness through him to the next hurt and broken person.

Psalm 9:10 "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."

1 Corinthians 13:6-7 "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

In Christ,

This year's BINDING UP THE BROKEN-HEARTED: FAMILY AND FRIENDS ADDICTION SEMINAR is shaping up to be our best yet. You won't want to miss it. October 8, 2009 8:30 AM -3:30 PM at America's KESWICK. The $25.00 registration fee covers the sessions, materials, continental breakfast, lunch and snacks. Pastors attend free with 5 paid reservations. Every pastor, youth ministry worker, parent of a teen and loved ones of addicted family and friends should attend this seminar. Call today for your reservation 800.453.7942 or 732.350.1187.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I Had No Idea

Until recently I had no idea how instrumental, how fully vested my husband was/is in the day to day minutia of my life. You see, within the past two and a half months my husband has had two different knee surgeries. The first was pretty standard and minor, while the second involved him getting a knee transplant. What this translates to is him being off his feet for about 8 weeks while the knee parts and bits grow together.

My husband being off his feet means everything, every little thing involving his care and the running of our home, rests fully on my shoulders. Now this may not sound like that big a deal but trust me when I say, my husband does a lot of little and big things around our home that I simply do not do and haven't for years. We have an ebb and flow to our relationship which has grown over time and which is good for us.

So for me to take up that slack to help him heal, added to doing everything involved in his daily grooming, along with helping with therapy and pain management, was more draining and exhausting than I anticipated. I simply had no idea! The realization of all the unseen things he, my prince, does for me fills me with more love and appreciation for him. Where, oh, where would I be today without this man in my life?

Much like us in our daily walk of faith, we simply have no idea how much the Spirit intercedes on our behalf. We go about our day doing what we do oblivious to what goes on in the heavenly on our behalf. We know that God is there and we know that He is caring for us; He is intimately involved in our care and feeding and, dare I say, grooming, all for Kingdom work and for His glory.

So what is my encouragement for you today?

Two things:
1. With a grateful heart give thanks to the Lord for every, every, everything.
2. Thank the people in your life who daily come, go and make it possible for you to do you.

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" 1 Chronicles 16:34 ESV

"You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!"Psalm 118:28-29 ESV