Friday, July 13, 2012

Psalm 138

In March I had major surgery. After I recovered from surgery I had a never-ending upper respiratory infection. It seemed that it would leave me only to return again. I won't give you the long details of seeking my healing from God, natural recommended solutions and medical intervention. Along the way I was comforted by Psalm 138.

I trust that you may be facing a challenge today that you cannot "fix". Therefore today I want to encourage you to share in the blessing. If you are not in a quiet place, I would encourage you to leave your computer, pick up your Bible and go to Psalm 138. Then find a quiet place where you can be still and alone for a just a little while. Read, consider, pray and then listen. Allow the love of God to touch you today.

A Psalm of David. (NKJV)

I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.
All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
For great is the glory of the LORD.
Though the LORD is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Patricia Wenzel
WOC Graduate

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Divine Worship

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

Psalm 73 was written by Asaph and it speaks of where our hearts are when it comes to thoughts about the suffering we face as Christians. In this psalm Asaph is really ticked off at God. Like many of us, when we see good people hurting and evil succeeding, we begin to question God and ask the following questions why?

Why do the wicked prosper (73:1-5, 12)? We do not understand this because they don't seem to have any consequences for the evil or hurt that they do. Maybe if we saw the consequences, God, we would not be so upset and confused.

Why do the righteous have so much adversity (vs. 12-13)? Why do we suffer when we do everything right? Which unfortunately brings us to our next question - why do right if You (God) aren't going to do right?

These questions come because we believe the following: That God can rescue us and keep us from all evil... therefore, God can redeem us from trouble (Psalm 34:19).

As Christians we are taught the sovereignty of God and His ultimate control and reign over everything - including evil. So, therefore we conclude that if God can keep evil from me some of the time - why doesn't He keep me from evil all of the time?

Let me begin by saying that GOD's principles are the same for all of us, but His PLANS and PURPOSES are DIFFERENT. Christians all have the SAME DESTINATION (His image) - but we may all take a DIFFERENT ROUTE. Remember that our ways are not God's.

My husband has a saying when I can't figure out what he's doing and why he is doing it a certain way... he'll respond by saying, "there is a method to my madness". Now God isn't "mad", but He has his methods. I'm not my husband, so I don't always understand him. I'm also not God... so I certainly won't always understand Him. Therefore, just because something doesn't make sense to us, doesn't mean it doesn't make sense to God. In fact, everything fits into a perfect puzzle; there are no missing pieces and God uses evil to complete His puzzle. The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea even the wicked for the day of evil (Proverbs 16:4).

THE CROSS is the KEY to the puzzle. Compared to God - there are no good people; Jesus was truly good and yet bad happened. Why? It was for our benefit. God allowed the evil of this world to put to death the only good in this world so that we might live. Do you get that? God used evil for His ultimate purpose in our lives... to unite us with Him and make us into the image of His son.

So, instead of asking why did You let this happen to me or do this to me? We transform that "Why" question into - "Why did you do that for me? And why should I not suffer?" Remember that Scripture tells us that we will share in Christ's suffering (Rom 8:17, 2 Cor. 1:5). So, if God can take the greatest evil and turn it to amazing good, He can do that with any evil.

We must trust then that God will reward us in trouble. "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he had stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12). There is no temptation or evil that we may face here on earth, which compares with what we will experience in Heaven. (Romans 8:18, 2 Cor. 4:17)

"The supreme reward is for us to manifest God's glory throughout eternity. We will experience ultimate joy in His presence forever, but we don't have to wait; we can invest today by serving Him obediently and humbly." Charles Stanley

Basically that is where Asaph ends up in this psalm.
* vs. 16 and 17: He went to God
* vs. 18-26: He saw everything for what is was, who God was and who we are...
* vs. 28: "But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may I may tell of your works"

"When the worship service ended and Asaph had gotten his feet firmly grounded on the faith, he left the sanctuary and told everyone what he had learned. He had drawn near to God, he had trusted God, and now he was ready to declare God's works. "  (Warren Wiersbe in "Be Worshipful" p. 238).

Are you ready to worship? Really worship, even though you have or are facing trials?

Yet in these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Lynne Jahns
Christian Counselor

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Work of Heart...

While waiting with my mom in her heart doctor's office, I noticed a poster on the wall that had a detailed diagram of the human heart with the title above it, "A Work of Heart." I thought it was pretty funny, since we often tell her that she is a "piece of work." No disrespect intended. My mom is 88 years old and recently had a pacemaker put in. Our visit to the doctor was just a follow-up and things seem to be going well in that area. She has many other health-related issues, most of which are being managed as best as possible, all things including her age taken into consideration.

Spiritually, our hearts are heavy in that she does not know the Lord. We pray He will do "a work of heart" in her before it is too late. She has heard the Good News many times, including the personal testimonies of both my sister and I. We pray, talk with her about the Lord at every opportunity He gives to us, and cast our care for her on Him.

I was reminded recently as I sat through a memorial service for a 31-year-young man, that life is precious and our times and the number of our days are ordained by the Lord. He knows them all before yet there is even one of them. Since we do not, we'd be wise to make them count for His purposes.

Maybe there's something you've been putting off until tomorrow that you know you should have already attended to? Or someone you meant to call, hug or write a note to but just haven't gotten around to it. So what are you waiting for? We're mid-way thorough this year already, it's wise from time to time to check our priorities? Time...the clock marks time for a reason.

So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (AMP)

Dina Seaton
Marketing Assistant, Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk" (Acts 3:6).

It is easy to skim over words and phrases until I turn to a devotional and have it brought out in more depth. Recently I heard a teacher on the radio explain that when Jesus is saying something three times in Scripture it is to make a point and we need to pay close attention. So when I read Scripture or devotional and hear a verse over and over again, I have to believe that there is a point Jesus wants me to understand! After reading this verse I read from a devotioanl called God Calling. This is what I read:

Dear Name

"Jesus." Say my name often. It was in my name Peter bade the lame man walk. "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth arise and walk."

"Jesus." The very sounding of My Name in Love and tenderness drives away all evil. It is the word before which all the hosts of evil flee.

"Jesus." My Name is the call for a life-line to rescue you from temptation.

"Jesus." The Name that banishes loneliness-dispels gloom.

"Jesus." Summons help to conquer your faults.

I will set you on high because you have known My Name.

Yes! My Name "Jesus." Use it more. Use it tenderly, Use it prayerfully. Use it powerfully.

How about you? Is there something from your reading that has become a recurring theme? What is Jesus speaking to you lately? Are you and I paying attention?

Kathy Withers

Kathy's on staff at America's KESWICK in the Development Department. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 26 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local Church and has previously served as a Teaching Director for Community Bible Study. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God's Word.

Monday, July 09, 2012


As most of you know I am quite familiar with the grieving process having buried three sons, two parents, my parents-in-law, several relatives and many dear friends.

I have learned that especially those who have not experienced grief are often the first to tell you how you should grieve. I have had the privilege of reading through the Bible, many versions, many times. The verses that talk about grief seem to jump out at me. For example:

"So Absalom fled and went to Geshur and was there three years. And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon," (2 Samuel 13:38-39).

When our son Nathan was killed in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, I realized one year of grieving simply was not enough. I needed more time and I felt guilty because I thought a person was supposed to be limited to one year. But then I read the above verse and realized that it took David THREE years to resolve his grief over Amnon. I don't believe that most people are ever OVER their grief, but it took David three years to RESOLVE his grief. I take the word RESOLVE to mean that King David was not wrestling or questioning the loss any more.

As I read that verse, I decided if it's good enough for King David it's good enough for me.

There are many verses that deal with a Christian's response to grief. I challenge you to look them up and see what the Bible says about grieving.

Marilyn Willett Heavilin

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

Friday, July 06, 2012

Ode to Joy

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation.  Psalm 35:9

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays.
Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flowery meadow, flashing sea
Chanting bird and flowing fountain Call us to rejoice in Thee

Thou art giving and forgiving, Ever blessing ever blest,
Well spring of the joy of living Ocean depths of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother All who live in love are Thine.
Teach us how to love each other; Lift us to the joy divine

Mortals, join the mighty chorus Which the morning stars began
Love divine is reigning o'er us, Leading us with mercy's hand.
Ever singing march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife
Joyful music leads us sunward in the triumph song of life!

This poem was written by Henry van Dyke, the music by Beethoven, melody from Ninth Symphony.

My youngest daughter played the piano during her elementary years in school. I have two favorite songs that I would make her play on the piano every time she practiced and this is one of them. As she played, I thanked God for the gift He blessed her with and enjoyed the music immensely. You can only imagine the numerous times the same songs were played over and over by my request. Having to hear the songs now it brings memories of her sitting on the piano, working very diligently. (Thanks, Jen!) It makes me think of our relationship that we have now and the joy that it gives me, especially the times on the phone and the short times we get to spend together. I praise God for the relationship that I have with my children.

Last Sunday they played this beautiful song during worship service. As I sang to the Lord and meditated on the words it made me reflect on the goodness of God. The almighty God bestows joy to His children with an abundance of richness in His fellowship.

I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. Psalm119:14

Glory to God!

Sandra Valdes
Staff Member - WOC Graduate

Thursday, July 05, 2012


My niece graduated from High School this year. As I was preparing to send her a card and, of course money, that is what I was sure she was looking forward to, I wanted to add something to the card. I searched for perhaps a small gift, or words to write that might touch her heart. I found a card about reaching your dreams and a rock with the word "discover" on it. It seemed altogether perfect.

Remember back to the time you graduated from High School? I sure do. I was anxious to move forward, excited about all the potential things they lie ahead of me. I was very ready to grow up and get my college career started. I imagine she feels the same way.

I search my concordance for the word "Discover".

We can discover history (Ezra 4:15.... so that a search may be made in the record books of your fathers. And you will discover in the record books and learn that that city is a rebellious city and damaging to kings and provinces, and that they have incited revolt within it in past days; therefore that city was laid waste. NAS) I wish students today would learn the history of our nation and the biblical foundation on which it was founded. I wish that they would study failed cultures and the behaviors that led to their crumbling. I am sure my niece will discover many new things at college in the field of her choosing.

We can discover if we are on the wrong path and make a change of direction. (Jer. 8:4 Jeremiah, say to the people, 'This is what the LORD says: "'When people fall down, don't they get up again? When they discover they're on the wrong road, don't they turn back? NLT) I pray if she is on the wrong path, Holy Spirit will lead her to a path of righteousness and the destiny God has prepared for her.

We can discover that God is TRUE. (John 3:33 Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. NLT) Yes and AMEN; May she find that God and His Word is True!!

As you and I study the Word may we, too, discover new things we have not known before. May the Word reveal if we are on a wrong path and may Holy Spirit shift us to a path of righteousness, a path leading to the destiny that the Lord has prepared for us. May we daily find that the God we serve is TRUE. He is true to His promises; He is true to His Word

Be blessed as you DISCOVER today.

Patricia L. Wenzel
WOC Graduate

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

What's the Difference?

Lately, as the result of different things transpiring in my heart and life, I have been confronting this question. What difference does it all make? In other words, has being born again, made brand new in the image and likeness of Christ, made a difference in the way I do life? If so, what does that difference look like in my daily life?

One discernable difference should be in the way I love.

Scripture every believer is undoubtedly familiar with is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a:

Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud or rude.
Love isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep a record or wrongs that others do.
Love rejoices in the truth but not in evil.
Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. (CEV)

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 in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never gives up. (ESV)

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut.
Love doesn't have a swelled head. Love doesn't force itself on others.
Love isn't always "me first". Love doesn't fly off the handle.
Love doesn't keep score of the sins of others. Love doesn't revel when others grovel.
Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. Love puts up with anything.
Love trust God always. Love always looks for the best. Love never looks back.
Love keeps going on to the end. Love never dies.

I know I was a bit redundant here and yet I do not apologize for belaboring the point. Love is one thing our lives as believers, is to be deeply marked by. Love looks like something and the Lord made it as plain as the nose on our faces.

Let us begin today to be love to the people we live with, work with and coexist with.

Loving, gracious Father, help us to love others as You have so loved us. Even when it's hard Father, may we chose to remember we have been bought with so great a price. Even when the one you bring before us to love isn't all that nice or pleasant to be around, may we resist what comes natural to us and love them, whether we feel like it or not. Your own humility and weakness provided for us a way to live love and to be lovely.


Stephanie Paul, wife and mother of two grown children. An "instrument of change" in the Redeemer's Hand, in the lives of wounded and hurting women. Currently serving as a part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America's Keswick as Woman of Character Program Director.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Great Exchange...

Romans 15:4 "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

The Holy Scriptures are not an easy read. It is a serious pursuit to know the One that wrote the book through the pen of mere men. The Word of God - the written word is God's primary means of communication to people. Imagine, no really stop for a moment and consider that reality. The God who created the universe which FAR exceeds our ability to see, FAR exceeds what our brain can comprehend, the God who has ALWAYS existed, the God who sustains ALL things. THAT GOD reaches down from heaven and speaks to you and to me through the written Word.

Do we take seriously what a precious gift that is? Do we treasure it as the greatest treasure? Do we delight to have it in our hands -- the very words of God?

As I write this devotional, I am being carried away in my own imagination - I hope you are too.

I am picturing a woman in a simple white cotton dress with wispy curls framing her face - a face that is bursting with joy, excitement and delight with a smile so big you know it goes down to her very soul. She is dancing. She is dancing with delight. What is that she's holding in her arms? Yes, I see it - she is clinging to her Bible, pressed to her breast with both arms yet I can see it. It is a well-worn, well-used Bible.

Oh, the image - it is obvious that every hour she has spent enduring, abiding and feeding on the Word has resulted in the tattered pages of that Book and that a divine exchange has taken place.

She was once broken and tattered, weary and worn. Her Bible filled with grace and truth, and beauty and power, and joy and treasures. Over time her Bible has become worn and tattered from much use, and she has become a radiant reflection of the Son.

Sisters - that does not happen through duty but delight. That does not happen by "doing devotions" but by being devoted. That does not happen by simply reading the Scriptures but by abiding in the Word.

Press on, beloved. Seek hard after Him. Endure, seek, and pursue Him through His Word. It is never too late to start or to start again.

Do you hear Christ calling your name? He's inviting you to join Him, to sit at His feet, to abide with Him in the Word. Come join the dance of delight....


Diane Hunt is part of the ministry team at America's Keswick. She is a regular writer for Victory Call and one of the authors of Crossing the Jordan Bible Study. Diane has been married to her husband John over 27 years. She has 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren and 3 adult step-children with 7 grandchildren making 10 in all. She delights reading and teaching, but mostly laughing at the funny things her grandchildren say and do.

Monday, July 02, 2012


It's been a tough week. We lost a very dear Keswick brother - a man who loved the Lord and was serving Him with his whole heart. Another friend is struggling in his walk with the Lord and has stumbled back into sin. And just yesterday, a family member was given a very scary health diagnosis, along with lingering uncertainty until more tests are done.

There is a reason that the Lord has divided our lives into 24-hour increments called days. He knew that we would only be able to handle life in 24-hour segments.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 33:35 that "your strength will equal your days." That is a wonderful promise. The Lord knows exactly how much strength we will need for each and every day and He promises to provide it. Notice He doesn't say, "your strength will equal your weeks," or "your strength will equal your months." No, He says, "your days." It's like when God provided the daily manna for the Israelites in the wilderness. Each day they had to go out and gather what they needed; they couldn't save any of it until the next day (except for the day before the Sabbath). So we can't look to have tomorrow's strength, or next week's, or next month's......we can only look for today's strength. He will give us tomorrow's strength when we get to tomorrow.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matt. 6:33-34)

"Give us today our daily bread" (Matt. 6:11). When Jesus prayed this, He showed us that we need to be asking the Lord daily to provide for our needs. Every morning, we can "approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).  And the grace that He will give us is sufficient for us, it is enough, it is not lacking (2 Cor. 12:9).

We may not know all that our day holds, but our Lord does. So let's ask Him to provide the strength and the grace that we need; we can trust Him to give us just the right amount.

And as we begin our day, don't forget......."And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee. He will be with thee. He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee. Fear not, neither be dismayed" (Deut. 31:8).

Stacey Poplawski
WOC Graduate