Friday, January 29, 2010

Ya Ya, a Soul Survivor...

Ya Ya, what a nickname! My nephew coined my sister that when he was little. He couldn't say her name, Rosel; it sort of came out Ya Ya. Ya Ya, it is! All the kids and most of the family started calling her that, too. She loved kids and they loved her! Maybe it was the child in her, maybe it was because she didn't have children of her own, maybe it was just her gift. I've asked for this Victory Call to be posted on this date in hopes it might be a WAKE UP CALL.

My sister had a lot of love in her heart, but she also had a lot of fear. So much so, it held her captive for a year, one year too long. She'd felt a lump in her breast and was afraid that it might be cancer. For one year she lived with this fear, and this lump. It didn't seem to go away, as I'm sure she'd hoped it would. Finally, she did go for an exam and x-ray and was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. The doctors offered a plan of treatment, which she did, that included a lumpectomy as well as chemotherapy and radiation. However, the doctors also explained that while there was treatment, the possibility of reoccurrence was very high. The cancer was treated and for a short time went into remission only to return fairly quickly and with a vengeance.

Perfect love casts out fear... that's the verse that came to my mind one day while visiting her in the hospital. She was pretty well medicated, but that seemed to grab her attention. "All fear"?, she asked. "Yes...all fear."

"Where'd you get that from?" "The Bible." "Where in the Bible? What version is that?" Oh, my goodness this woman was enough to drive anybody crazy! And she did sometimes! "I'm not sure what book the scripture is from but I'll find out and tell you. It's definitely in your Bible, too, it doesn't matter what version, NIV, NKJV, whatever, it's in there." "Let me write that down." She couldn't really write at that point so I wrote it on the back of a bank receipt I had in my purse. (There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment., 1 John 4:18a) Come to think of it, that was really a very appropriate place for something she/we could bank our souls on, God's Word! Amen?

I'm thrilled to say she did do just that. While Rosel was a very religious woman, she had yet to fully place all her trust in Jesus Christ ALONE. But praise God, just a short time afterward, the Lord used my sister Lisa to lead Rosel to Himself.

Ladies, sisters, I don't enjoy my yearly visits to the doctor. But I go. I don't want to hear any bad news. But I go. I don't want cancer. But I go. I'm asking you today to please remember to go! God holds my life and my soul in His hands...and someday I will die, unless He returns first. But while I'm here, He's given me the gift of life and I believe He wants me to take care of me.


Ya Ya went home to be with the Lord one year ago today, January 29th 2009. She was 48 years old.

I wish I could say she was a breast cancer survivor; I can't. But I can say she is a Soul Survivor!

Dina Seaton

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More of God

I think most of us could say and do say, "Lord I want more of you." This has been part of my prayer life for some time. I want to know God more intimately. I love God but I don't think I love Him near enough. I want to always be in His will and I would love to hear clearly from Him when I'm confused about which way to go. I don't think I'm alone in having these desires.

I believe we do hear from God in various ways and through various means. The problem is even if we did hear the very voice of God we would still question. Reading in the book of Exodus I would say we are in pretty good company.

Exodus 33:12-14, 17-18 Moses said to the LORD, "You have been telling me, 'Lead these people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, 'I know you by name and you have found favor with me.' If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people." The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name." Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."

Moses actually spoke with God!!! God gave him the awesome task of leading the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. Moses knew he had this task to do, God had told Him but he still wondered who God was going to send to be his right hand man...just hearing God's instruction was not enough to give him confidence. Moses believed he found favor with God but he still wanted to know God more intimately. He was not satisfied and hungered for an even deeper relationship with God. This is hard to understand! Moses actually was able to speak to God and hear His voice. YET, it wasn't enough... he wanted more. It is true that the closer you get to God, you just hunger to be even closer.

In response God promises that His Presence will be right there beside Moses every step of the journey so he will never be alone. God also promises to give rest to Moses. What a deal!

Moses wasn't satisfied. He wanted still more of God! And in verse 17 Moses boldly asks, "Show me your glory!"

If Moses can boldly ask for more of God there isn't any reason why you and I can't boldly ask for a deeper relationship with Him, or to hear from Him. But no matter how much deeper and richer our relationship will grow, I don't think we can ever truly be satisfied this side of heaven. I can only imagine that when we see Him face to face in glory, it will only be then that our longing for a deeper relationship will be satisfied.

1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

I look forward to the day when hunger for Him will be filled to the max!


MaryAnn and John Kiernan have been married for 36 years, have 2 grown/married sons and are the proud grandparents of 3 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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


3 John 9-10 "I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church."

Diotrephes likes to put himself first...isn't that the root of a lot of our conflict - we want our own way. "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel." James 4:1-2

Diotrephes stirred up trouble by thinking more highly of himself than he ought. He failed to heed these warnings: "But many who are first will be last, and the last first" Matthew 19:30 and "For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment," Romans 12:3 and "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4

Diotrephes stirred up trouble because he was putting himself first. In so doing:
1. He failed to acknowledge the God-ordained authority in his life
2. He was talking against John and the others that were with him
3. He was spreading discontent
4. He refused to welcome brothers in Christ
5. He interfered with others welcoming the brothers in Christ

Bottom line - he was a trouble-maker and caused division among the brethren.

How can we apply this Scripture to ourselves? Would you pray and ask God in what ways you may stir up trouble? Do you speak behind people's backs? Do you pass along information "so others will pray"? Do you criticize the pastor or leaders of your church? Do you pressure others to yield to your preferences? Do you show up late week after week to service? Do you intentionally wait until worship is over before arriving for service? I don't know what it might be in your life, but will you ask God? He knows.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Be Prepared

2 Timothy 4:1-5 "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."

"Preach the Word!" We live in such a time of history that this charge could not be more important to each and every believer. This command is not just for pastors but I believe is the responsibility of every believer in Jesus Christ. Each of us needs to be prepared to "preach" the Word of boldly share the Gospel whenever an opportunity arrives whether it is good timing or not or perhaps not even the "right" setting.

Recently, Brit Hume of Fox news boldly shared on "Fox News Sunday" that Tiger Woods needed the forgiveness and redemption that only Christianity offers. A firestorm has erupted. Yet, he has not backed down from his comments and has even expanded on his comments on "The O'Reilly Factor." Brit Hume is standing on the Truth of what the Bible teaches. Forgiveness...redemption...salvation through Jesus Christ. Mr. Hume was most definitely "prepared" to speak the Truth in and out of season and at a great personal cost.

These are the days that the world wants nothing to do with hearing the Truth about Jesus, but wants only a "pretty" lie. I'm afraid each one of us will sooner or later be in a situation where we will need to be "prepared" to preach the Word. I pray we will all take an example from Mr. Hume and speak the Truth at all times and in all places.

Be prepared.


MaryAnn and John Kiernan have been married for 36 years, have 2 grown/married sons and are the proud grandparents of 3 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.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The High Calling of Love!

Now that you have had the weekend to consider 1 Corinthians 13, let's consider what John has to say in 1 John. He writes some pretty strong words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

"The second great commandment is: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 1 God's will is that we love others. "For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."2 "And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us."3 "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us."4

Now it's easy to love the lovable. It's easy to love those who love us. It's easy to love those that make us feel good. If that is all God meant He would not have commanded it because we are already inclined to love those easy

people in our lives. No, I don't believe it stops there. God wants us to love those we are NOT inclined to love.

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,'" 5 Ouch, that kind of love just isn't natural.

Most of us have people in our lives that are not our favorite people. They may be people in our church, our neighborhood, our school, our job, even in our families. What about loving those "hard to love" people. Surely God didn't mean them!!

"Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes."6 "By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother."7

"We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death."8

"If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." 9

These are very strong words and there is no doubt that love is important to God. Why do we struggle with it so?

How do we love others we are not inclined to love? It's not natural, it's supernatural. We need to lay down OUR life, and yield to HIS.

"By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers."10

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."11

Love is indeed a very high calling.


1 Mark 12:31
2 1 John 3:11
3 1 John 3:23
4 1 John 4:11-12
5 Matthew 5:43-44
6 1 John 2:10-11
7 1 John 3:10
8 1 John 3:14
9 1 John 4:20-21
10 1 John 3:16
11 Galatians 2:20

Friday, January 22, 2010


Do you want to see how you are doing in the area of loving? Well, you could go to the "love" chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. Within this chapter you would see some very practical truths:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Are you patient?
Are you kind?
Do you envy or boast?
Are you arrogant or rude?
Do you insist on your own way?
Are you irritable or resentful?
Do you rejoice in wrongdoing?
Do you rejoice in truth?
Do you bear all things?
Do you believe all things?
Do you hope all things?
Do you endure all things?

When I hold the mirror of God's Word up, I don't care for my reflection. In many of these ways, and far too often, I do not love. How about you? How well do you love?

Monday, we'll take a look at some hard hitting verses in 1 John. This is a cakewalk compared to that.


Thursday, January 21, 2010


es·tab·lish, to establish, an established heart....

My friends have a sign at their front door with their family name stating, "Established in 1985". This was the year that they joined as one and established their family name.

What have you established in life? Have you established a family, a home, a business, a type of life for yourself, a life for someone else?

Say the word has a unique sound to it. I have used this word many times in my life... I am sure but never really gave it much thought until.....I was doing my devotions today and Read the following:

James 5:8 ......Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

I had to read this verse a few times for it to sink in. Then it made me read the verses before and after and I found myself reading the entire book of James. Of course I enjoyed this book again that I have read before, but this time finding hidden treasures that I never realized before.

Now getting back to my new word I like to recite....Established. I had to reflect on this word and the meaning of it for a while. I looked it up in the dictionary and it says:

( es·tab·lish found, institute, build, or bring into being on a firm or stable basis: to establish a university; to establish a medical practice. install or settle in a position, place, business, etc.: to establish one's child in business. show to be valid or true; prove: to establish the facts of the matter. cause to be accepted or recognized: to establish a custom; She established herself as a leading surgeon. bring about permanently: to establish order.

In Reviewing the definition I see words found, to institute, to settle in a position, to show to be true, and to bring about permanency. Now bringing this back to the book of James, it says to establish our hearts.

This made me think...have I established my heart in a "position"? Have I established my heart to be true? Have I established my heart in a permanent way?

Continuing in the verse.......for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

When we refer to something being at usually means it is close, coming soon, nearby.

Again think on the verse with me.....Establish my heart for the coming of my Lord is at hand.

In the world we live in, it is easy to give our heart away to things of this world. It is easy to have the desires of our heart turn away from things of the Lord. It is easy to work on establishing the things we "think" are important like ...establishing careers, a bank account, a status in the community and even in our church. But our heart is what needs to be established. If our heart is established in the position of loving and serving our Lord, our heart is established on the truth of His Word, and our heart is established on the permanency of trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for eternity....well, then, the rest of our establishments will fall into place.

Enjoy today and take some time to read the entire book of James. It is short but so powerful. Make sure that your heart is established correctly today and that you are ready and waiting for the coming of our Lord and Savior today.

Lynn W.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

When God takes our hand....

As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, 'Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.' But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters BY THE HAND(1), the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. Genesis 19:15-16

I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you BY THE HAND and keep you. Isaiah 42:6

...the day when I took them BY THE HAND to bring them out of the land of Egypt... Jeremiah 31:32 and Hebrews 8:9

I love the picture painted in the above Scriptures of God taking people BY THE HAND. He's not behind them putting His shoulder into their back to push them. He's not in front of them tugging on their arms to pull them. Rather, He has taken them BY THE HAND to lead them out of danger (as in Lot's case) or out of the bondage of Egypt.

I have found comfort in this picture of the gentle, compassionate heart of God.

Do you ever feel like you are wandering without direction or purpose? Perhaps you are uncertain as to what your next step should be; or you know what your next step should be but you really don't want to take it.

Let me encourage you to pray that God would take you BY THE HAND and lead you where He desires for you to go.

Do you have a loved one trapped in a life-vice either through their own choices or through circumstances beyond their own control?

Let me encourage you to pray that God would take them BY THE HAND and lead them safely to freedom.


1 CAPS mine

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Judge Not!!

Judge not, that you be not judged. ~ Matthew 7:1

"Once a couple was being visited by some old high school classmates. As often happens, the couple pulled out some of their old annuals and began reminiscing about their high school days. They'd point out all the jocks, all the nerds, and all the preppies. After awhile, the couple's little boy brought out his kindergarten class picture and immediately began describing each classmate. 'This is Robert; he hits everyone. This is Stephen. He never listens to the teacher. This is Mark. He's always loud.' He proceeded to say something negative about every one of them until he got to his own picture. He pointed at it and said, 'And this is me. I'm just sitting here being a good boy.'"1

Ouch! How often is this true of us? It's so easy to sit or stand in judgment of others and call it something else while at the same time being more than generous in our opinions of ourselves, and not see it as prideful and arrogant.

On a daily basis we are confronted with people, places and situations just begging for our critique...or not. The way we behave sometimes, one would think we are the police of everything. The language police, the clothes police, the devotion and prayer police, the mercy and grace police...I could go on but I think you get the point. We're always judging something or someone. If I was allowed to stick with one topic for Victory Calls this entire year it would be judging others. Why? Because we need the constant reminder to keep the main thing the main thing and it ain't us!!

Sisters, let's purpose today, tomorrow and everyday this year...okay, let's purpose one day at a time, to put away a critical and judgmental spirit. Let's purpose to require more of ourselves than we do of others. Let's choose to stomp the spirit in us that wants to find fault, that seeks to elevate ourselves above others by comparing our walk of faith with theirs - our prayer life, our devotional life. Let's be marked by a spirit of humility and compassion and defiantly refuse to give way to the flesh.


"Let it be said of us: We were marked by forgiveness,
We were known by our love and delighted in meekness,
We were ruled by His peace, heeding unity's call,
Joined as one body that Christ would be seen by all."2
~~ Words and music by Steve Fry


Monday, January 18, 2010

Keeping Your Guard Up

On a daily basis I receive a newsletter from a popular TV fitness trainer. This morning I needed to hear what she said. Referring to diet and exercise she wrote, "Just because you are rehabilitated doesn't mean you don't have to be vigilant to guard against a relapse." A few weeks ago I reached my goal weight (AGAIN!). Since then it has been a battle - laziness, poor eating blamed on holidays and lack of time to prepare healthy meals and vacation. All of these excuses have quickly and easily gotten me off track. But the truth is that I made it to my goal weight and I began to relax. That is a dangerous place to be. Feelings of compromise, cheating, I can skip a day; all came flooding in. Pride can easily make one believe that since I have arrived nothing can touch me. What a lie!

The same is true in our walk with Jesus. We can get pretty prideful in thinking we have arrived. We have had a wonderful transformation take place in our hearts and lives because of Christ. Then we get to thinking we have arrived safely or "made it." Before we know it our guard is down. We are not diligent in our study and prayers. We skip prayer meeting and church...just this once... then twice. Read the quote again.

"Just because you are rehabilitated doesn't mean you don't have to be vigilant to guard against a relapse."

No matter what your struggle may have been - alcohol, drugs, food, exercise, devotions - remember that you have been rehabilitated through Jesus Christ. BUT we must always be on guard so that we do not relapse into old ways of thinking and living. Keep your guard up! If you, like me, have let your guard down for a bit, get back to where you need to be! Repent of your prideful thinking that you can go it alone or that you no longer need good disciplines because you have come so far. Remember, the battle never ends. Our guard must always be up!

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NASB

Watch over (guard) your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 NASB

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally ,brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:7-8 NASB

Kathy Withers

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hear a Word from God...

As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him form heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who are you, LORD?" the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." So he, trembling and astonished, said, "LORD, what do you want me to do?" Then the LORD said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." Acts 9 3-6

Wouldn't it be great if we heard from God like Saul did, in audible words leaving no doubt as to whether we heard from God? Have you ever had God speak to you either audibly or in your spirit? I know there are people who do not believe that God still speaks to His children this way, but from my experience, personally and professionally, my own belief is that He still does speak to His own.

There have been times when I knew, that I knew, that I knew God had spoken to me and no one would have been able to convince me otherwise. But God doesn't always speak to me this way; in fact for me it is the exception rather than the rule. That is not to say that God doesn't communicate to me in other ways.

Most of the time, God speaks to me directly through His Word as the text that I've read dozens of times suddenly seems to jump off the page at me or I see something in the text I never saw the other 35 times I read it.

Sometimes we miss "hearing" God's voice because we are looking for the dramatic Damascus Road experience when God has chosen to subtly whisper to our heart. Are your heart and spirit poised to hear from God today in whatever way He sees fit to "speak"? Listen intentionally. Listen intently.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kind. True. Necessary

Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? These are the three questions the Holy Spirit is teaching me to ask lately relative to my tongue and emails or any other form of communication I may be inclined to speak by.

It is so easy to speak without thinking, isn't it? To speak without regard for how one's words may impact the hearer is a problem that is common to all and one that is not easily remedied apart from a constant awareness of grace.

Moment-by-moment, day-by-day we have to choose to care how our words will affect others. We have to want to consider others more highly than ourselves and then choose to speak only what is edifying to the one who hears.
I wish I could say I succeed at this all the time but if I did I'd certainly be lying. So instead I'll be honest and give glory to God for His Word - His faithful Word which is always right, true, good, and ready to teach me how to "go and sin no more" against those whom He loves and whom I want to love.

Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another. "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:25-32

Enough said.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Built Up In Christ Through Prayer

Colossians chapter 2 has much to say about how to be built up in Christ. As I go through this chapter we will look at what will and what will not build us up. The first thing that Paul makes reference to in verses 1-3 is prayer. I am thankful for his honesty in saying that he prays for those he knows and does not know and he admits it is a great struggle for him. Although I can relate to the struggles of keeping a strong prayer life in place, this is not a pass for us. Paul is not saying prayer is hard so just let it slide. No, he is saying prayer is a struggle I have on your behalf. He knows there is a benefit to praying and to keep on praying. This is a call to continue to struggle in prayer.

Paul also shares what it is he is praying for. He is not mindlessly going through a list but praying that which is most important for those he prays for. Although it would be nice to pray that those at Laodicea have a blessed day and that God would bless them, he goes deeper then that. He prays for their encouragement, that they would be knit together in love. And here is a mouthful,"that they will attain to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"(vs. 2-3).

WHEW! Now, we do not want to be wordy for words sake while praying. But look at those verses and see the depth of what Paul wanted to pray for others.

Have you and I ever struggled in such a positive way in prayer as Paul did? This should encourage us to be in the Word and to use Scripture to help us pray according to God's will for others. Here we have a wonderful example of how to be specific for those we pray for. "God bless the missionaries" was ok, I guess, when you were a babe but I hope you are praying differently today! If not, this is a great guideline. This will not only build up others but you yourself will be built up in Christ through your labor of prayer.

Kathy Withers

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Sweet Smell

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

Did you know that God could smell? Genesis 8:21 tells us that He has the sense of smell. God specifically designed us to be able to smell for a reason... "If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?" 1 Corinthians 12:17.

Most of us can immediately sit back and think of both smells we have experienced that have been pleasant and those that we'd prefer to never smell again. Let me just name a few...

Comforting/Pleasant Smells
* Dinner in the oven
* Chocolate Chip Cookies in the oven
* Freshly cut grass (unless you have allergies)
* Spring flowers in bloom
* The fresh scent of the ocean
* Your loved one's perfume
* A clean baby out of the tub
* The morning dew or air after a peaceful rain

Could do without Smells

* Trash on a hot summer's day
* Body odor
* Dead animal
* Rotten food
* Refinery/factory burn off/Pollution

I have always found it interesting that God calls us a sweet fragrance. Just like the different smells we can experience, our lives can be both sweet fragrances to God, as well as foul odors. Ecclesiastes 10:1 compares bad smells to folly. Our sins are compared with foul smells in Job 15, "He sees the flaws in the very heavens themselves, so how much less we humans, smelly and foul, who lap up evil like water?"

God wants us to be pleasing smells, which represent Him before the World. In 2 Corinthians we are told that our fragrance as victorious Christians points others directly to Him. Our fragrance when we are walking in Christ is pleasing to God, it reminds Him of Christ. When He smells us - He smells His son. You know what that is like. Perfumes often remind us of others and bring either pleasant experiences or not so pleasant depending on who we are reminded of. That's the same way we are to God... our lives can be both pleasing to God or can be as foul odors. I don't know about you... but I would like to be a pleasing fragrance.

When God gets a whiff at your perfume... what does He smell? Are you wearing Christ? Can others smell Christ through you? Paul himself knew what it was like to receive the sweet smell from others. "I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God." Philippians 4:18

Let us each daily give to God and others that sweet smell of Christ.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Called to Freedom

Galatians 5:13, "For you were called to freedom, brothers..."

If we are called to freedom, why do so many live in bondage?

John 8:32, "and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
If truth sets us free, yet we are living in bondage, then we must not believe truth because the Scripture says, if they know truth they will be free.

The missing factor is not knowledge but belief. It's often not that we don't know the truth but that we don't genuinely believe it.

I know God is trustworthy, but if I don't believe it, I will live in fear.
I know God is good, but if I don't believe it, I will live in doubt.
I know God is sovereign, but if I don't believe it, I will live seeking control.
I know God is mighty, but if I don't believe it, I will live pridefully.

The greatest determiner of what we genuinely believe is not what we say we believe but what we do. Vikki Arudda, "We act upon what we believe not upon what we know."1

If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you were called to freedom. Are you living and enjoying that freedom?


1 Vicki Arudda, quoted in "Praying God's Word" by Beth Moore

Friday, January 08, 2010

Women of a Broken Bridge ~ Part Two

(continued from yesterday...)

As I continued to walk the rest of the way to my office I was all set to mentally judge them. True to His nature and character the Holy Spirit saw this as a teachable moment for me and for the next few moments He reminded me of similar such instances in my own life wherein I deliberately chose contrary to some stated rule or regulation. The obvious question was and is, "how am I/we so different than these two young adults? Better yet, how am I/we the same?"

In addition to this gracious rebuke, the Holy Spirit also reminded me of what the Lord says to us in Matthew. Plain and clear we are instructed not to judge.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye"; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. ~ Matthew 7:1-5

Apart from the saving grace of God, apart from His transforming grace we are all in the same boat, lost and sinking deep, deep, deeper into sin.

Dear sisters, here we are at the beginning of another year full of resolutions and promises to do better, to change the old to the new. Together let's choose change. Let's choose to allow the Holy Spirit to focus our attention on any and all areas of our life where we are cutting corners, taking short cuts, giving less, wasting more, etc.

Let's choose to dive into the water of the Word of God and be all that we can be for the glory of God.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. ~ Colossians 3:12-17


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Women of a Broken Bridge ~ Part One

I arrived at work today just in time to see a young adult woman walking across our broken and boarded up bridge. She was half-way across when she saw me seeing her, at which time she paused as if she was deciding what to do. You want to know what she did? She kept on going. Even after I got out of my car and looked directly at her she continued, determined to finish what she started.

On the other side of the bridge was another young woman, most likely a friend who also saw me and was a bit more reluctant to ignore the signs forbidding her to cross the bridge. I even heard her say she was going to walk back around the way she had come. However, with a bit of prodding from the one who'd already accomplished the forbidden feat, she too, made her way tentatively across, arriving with obvious relief and perhaps a bit of embarrassment because by now she is aware that I am staff and she has been seen doing something wrong.

I waited patiently by my car for them to come closer so I could tell them to avoid the area on any potential future jaunts around the lower lake. But before I got the chance I heard the one who had crossed first, say something like this, "You have to know the rules so that you can know which rules are to be broken and if you don't know the rules you won't ever really know the ones that are okay to break..." all this was said without taking a breath along with some other such nonsense and all without once looking in my direction.

By now, I'm basically walking along beside them as I make my way to my office and I ask her this question, "Do you really believe all that you are saying?"

To which she replied, "Absolutely", and then proceeded to restate the previous gibberish.

Her friend was in total disagreement and I asked another question, "How is that working for you so far in life?"

Her answer was, "Fine."

All the while her partner in crime is making comments to the contrary and it's obvious she isn't okay with what just happened.

Anyway, my mind is searching for something profound to say to her and all that came out was, "I'd love to know how that works when you have kids."

Her final response, "I do have kids."

By now we have reached the sidewalk to my office. (The whole conversation took place while we were sort of strolling along together in that direction.) We parted, and they went on to the auditorium with their Bibles tucked safely and securely under their arms. be continued

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Rejoice In Suffering

Wow! I have just read and studied about who I am in Christ and who Christ is! Colossians has started off really well! But then there's Colossians 1:24-29. Paul begins to speak of his sufferings. Each of us could write volumes on our own personal sufferings. Yet, I would not be honest if I were to write that I rejoiced in my sufferings like Paul did. I could tell you that my heart was hard at times. I could say that my fists were tightly clenched and even shaking towards heaven at other times. I even recall times when the darkness of my sorrow seemed to swallow me up and I didn't care one way or the other. It has only been recently that I can say I am learning to rejoice in my suffering.

If you and I are to rejoice in our sufferings then we must choose to look for things other than our personal comfort and well-being and the answer to the question "Why?" Sam Storms in his book "Hope of Glory" gives this challenge: "If we do not look beyond suffering to the greater spiritual goal that it achieves, it will breed bitterness and resentment rather then joy. If we regard suffering as an end in itself, that is to say, if we fail to take "the long view"- to see it in the light of its eternal consequences (2 Cor. 4:14-16), God will appear cruel and life meaningless." So what should our focus be in our sufferings?

Suffering draws us closer to God. (Phil 3:10)*
Suffering assures us that we belong to Christ. (John 15:18-19)*
Suffering brings a future reward. (Romans 8:18-25)*
Suffering is inevitable, but it is temporary. (1 Peter 1:6)*
Suffering for the sake of the gospel should be counted a privilege. (2 Thess. 1:4-8) *

How are you handling suffering today? What might God be teaching you?

*A Women's Guide to Spiritual Wellness by Rhonda H. Kelley

Kathy Withers

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Have you ever heard someone say, "Oh no, I don't pray out loud. I don't pray well enough to let others hear?"

Years ago, I heard a young mom say, "Sometimes I am so hungry to have an adult conversation, that I call my husband, and when he answers I say, 'Da da goo goo!'"

That set me to thinking that when my children were little, I delighted in hearing them say, "Da da, goo goo."

I would imagine the Lord is the same way. Even if we just say, "Da da, goo goo," I believe the Lord would be thrilled to hear our simple utterings. We are talking to Him! It doesn't matter what we say or how we say it. We are talking to Him and He is listening. I'm sure He is saying, "That's my child! Just listen. She's talking to Me!"

Jeremiah 33:3 states, "Call to me, and I will answer thee." Note that the verse does not say, "Call to me in a proper and correct way, and I will answer thee." Any of us can call, but it may well be a different way, yet God has promised to acknowledge our request.

So I encourage you to take a chance; talk out loud to Him.

"The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer" (Psalm 6:9 NIV).


Friday, January 01, 2010


"O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Psalms 34:8

I don't know about you, but I love to taste food. Food can look really good, but the litmus test is how does it taste? After you taste it then you will really know if it is truly good. In the very same way God wants us to "taste" Him.

What does that mean? Well, I think of it this way... many people say they know God and are Christians, but they have not 'tasted' Him. What I mean is... they have not taken what He has to offer and applied it in their lives. We can hear all about Him, read all about Him, but we need to take Him in - put what he has to offer us into use - then we will know how good He really is - not how good we hear He is.

We are told in Proverbs that honey is sweet to the taste (24:13), in Psalm 119:103 we are told that His word is sweeter than honey to the mouth. God gave us our sense of taste so that we can fully appreciate food and enjoy the bounty food has to offer us. When we are struggling and down or even rejoicing - we often use food to comfort and celebrate. God wants us to taste him, to use Him when we struggling or when we are celebrating the blessings of life - just like we taste food for satisfaction.

As I write this my staff has just made some Kettle corn. I can tell you it smells good - but until I get up and go get some and taste it... I will not know for myself what it is like. We cannot experience God's fullness just by hearing it or smelling it or listening to others opinions - we need to try Him for ourselves and it is when we do that - that we will know that He is good.

Maybe right now instead of making some sweet treat or some comfort food you need to get alone with God and 'taste' what He has to offer you at this time. What He has is far greater than the temporary experience of food. In Song of Solomon 2:4b we read "I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." Have you sat down under His tree and savored His flavor?

Once you have tasted Him and put your trust in Him it will become evident in your life that His fruit is sweeter than anything you have tasted from a human perspective. I don't know about you, but I have tasted some pretty fine foods, and they don't compare to the pleasure we can find in Him.

Next time you are enjoying a fine meal or treat and you are thinking... my how good this tastes... remember that God tells us that He is even better. Savor HIM!! Join me at His banquet table.