Monday, June 22, 2020

Watch the Lamb…

When I was early in my walk with the LORD, He used my spiritual mom and dad to build upon the sure foundation of Jesus Christ at work in my life. I would read books and listen to cassette tapes (smile), of solid bible teachers of God's word.

Two statements of many that have been essential in my continuing walk with the LORD have been; (1) You become like that which you focus on and (2) You move in the direction of your most dominant thoughts. I was trained up early to understand that Satan wants to distract us from all things that help us walk out the truths of who we are in Christ!

As I watch the situation of this world, I am reminded that we do not war against flesh and blood. Eph. 6:12. Remember, the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. John 10:10.

I am also reminded of the words of an old song that was popular in the early years of my walk. It is a song by Ray Boltz titled, “Watch the Lamb”.

Below are the words to the song and here is the link  https://youtu.be/UNT1AThOgME

As we continue in our daily journey with Him, never forget “Watch the Lamb”

His,
Vickie

Watch the Lamb…
Walking on the road to Jerusalem,
The time had come to sacrifice again,
My two small sons,
They walked beside me on the road,
The reason that they came was to watch the lamb.
"Daddy, daddy, What will see there,
There's so much that we don't understand",
So I told them of Moses and Father Abraham,
Then I said "dear children watch the lamb".
"There will be so many in Jerusalem today,
We must be sure the lamb doesn't run away",
And I told them of Moses and Father Abraham,
Then I said "dear children watch the lamb".
When we reached the city,
I knew something must be wrong,
There were no joyful worshipers,
No joyful worship songs,
I stood there with my children
in the midst of angry men,
Then I heard the crowd cry out
"Crucify Him".
We tried to leave the city but
we could not get away,
Forced to play in this drama
a part I did not wish to play,
"Why upon this day were men condemned to die?,
Why were we standing here, Where soon they would pass by?".
I looked and said, "even now they come",
The first one cried for mercy,
The people gave him none,
The second one was violent, He was arrogant and loud,
I still can hear his angry voice
screaming at the crowd,
Then someone said "there's Jesus",
I could scarce believe my eyes,
A man so badly beaten,
He barely looked alive,
Blood poured from His body,
From the thorns upon His brow,
Running down the cross, Falling to the ground.
I watched Him as He struggled,
I watched Him as He fell,
The cross came down upon His back,
The crowd began to yell,
In that moment I felt such agony,
In that moment I felt such loss,
Till a Roman soldier grabbed my arm
and screamed, "you, carry His cross".
At first I tried to resist him,
Then his hand reached for his sword,
So I knelt and took the cross from the Lord,
I placed it on my shoulder,
And started down the street,
The blood that he'd been shedding
was running down my cheek.
They led us to Golgotha,
They drove nails deep in His feet and hands,
Yet upon the cross I heard Him pray
"Father, forgive them".
Oh, never have I seen such love in any other eyes,
"Into thy hands I commit my spirit"
He prayed and then He died,
I stood for what seemed like years,
I'd lost all sense of time until
I felt two tiny hands holding tight to mine,
My children stood there weeping,
I heard the oldest say,
"Father please forgive us, the lamb ran away".
"Daddy, daddy, What have we seen here?,
There's so much that we don't understand",
So I took them in my arms,
And we turned and faced the cross,
Then I said "dear children watch the lamb"

Friday, June 5, 2020

Quicksand…

When we hear the word “quicksand” it stirs some thoughts that have been logged away in our minds from movies and or tv shows. Scenes like, people running through a forest and suddenly disappearing into the ground around them and/or a good western where the ground swallows up an animal. You get the picture.

Those thoughts most likely trigger the emotion of fear. In fact, most of us have probably developed a belief system about quicksand based on that fear, which is, most people that get caught in quicksand do not make it out. But truth is, no-one has ever died from stepping into “quicksand”. I could not find one death due to quicksand drowning anywhere. That truth totally dispelled my fear of quicksand along with the following facts.



Here are a few facts about quicksand.
  • It is impossible to become fully submerged in quicksand. (Meaning you as an individual.)
  • Most quicksand is less than several feet deep.
  • Humans are only half as dense as quicksand so; you could not sink much lower than your waist unless you struggle.  
  • Struggling causes you to sink more making it more difficult to get out. Depending on where you are circumstances could lead to dehydration, starvations, hyperthermia, sunstroke, and/or attacked by predators because you become more stuck.

How to get out of quicksand.
  • Stay calm.
  • Get rid of all items that you are carrying because they will only cause you to sink deeper. Items, such as backpacks, hiking tools, etc.
  • Lean back in quicksand and water will come in and fill the space allowing you to slowly begin to move your body towards the surface. If you can, grab a stick and wedge it behind your back and it will give you leverage till help gets there. 
  • If there is not help coming, then you can get out, but it will be a slow process and take a long time and all your strength.



You might be thinking right now, “Gee, Vickie thanks for the lesson on quicksand, that I will probably never be exposed to in my life!” Ha,ha,ha But...

Life can show up like quicksand sometimes. We have all been there, when you are going through your day and suddenly out of nowhere a situation occurs and you feel overwhelmed, stuck, or trapped. Then fear steps in and captures your thought and emotions. Everything in you wants to struggle free of those thoughts and feelings but, the more you struggle the worst they get, the deeper you sink into them. If we are being totally honest here, I suspect several of you are dealing with those thoughts and feelings even as you read this post. I do not know what your quicksand is right now, but I do know this, we can take some of those suggestions about how to get out of quicksand and apply spiritual truths.

How to get out of quicksand, spiritually speaking.

  • Stay calm.
    • Isaiah 41:10 …fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
    • Psalm 34:4 …I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 
  • Get rid of things weighing you down.
    • 1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
  • Lean back and trust Him.
    • Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. 
    • Psalm 40:2 (ESV) He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 

The last bullet of getting out of quicksand in real life says you can get out by yourself, but it will take a long time and drain you of all your strength. May I say to you that God “never” intended for us to do life alone and without Him. So, if you have stepped into a quicksand pit recently, please Trust Him and let others know, so, they can pray, lend an ear, give you a hand or just sit with you. 

His,
Vickie

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Is your Plate Clean?

Oh, how many of us remember those famous words told to us by our moms when we were old enough to feed ourselves, “make a happy plate”, “make sure you clean your plate off or no desert”, “you are not getting up from this table until you eat everything on your plate”, “there are children starving all over the world that would love to have this food”, etc., etc.. etc.

I think it is safe to say that most of the parents that have made such statements were not trying to bring harm to their children. In fact, they were trying to make sure their children were properly fed and nourished, knowing the importance of fueling the body for growth, health, and activity.

Can I ask you something? Is your plate clean? I am not talking about food now. I am stepping into spiritual matters. So many times, in the counseling ministry, I see people bogged down with unconfessed sin on their plate. We all sin. Truthfully, unless we are fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit throughout the day, we have no clue how much sin we engage in. It could be as simple as an unkind word towards someone, refusing to extend a hand where we can, having a critical spirit, gossip, etc., and/or sin as blatant as gluttony (which I suspect we all have engaged in since Covid-19), fits of anger, jealously, strife, etc., etc. You get the point…we all sin! While we are no longer a Sinner, Big “S” as a believer, we are a Saint that sins Little “s”, until our eternal exit and/or His return. God did not intend for us to carry around guilt, shame, and/or the need to hide, fear, or blame others for our sin as believers. His word tells us in …

1 John 1:8-9 (ESV) “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

When is the last time you, as a believer, bowed the head, the knee, laid out flat before Him, and confessed your sin? I make it a daily practice to ask God to forgive me for my sin, hopefully the minute I recognize it. I also do my best to ask others for forgiveness when it involves others. But, for good measure it is one of the first things I do when I lay my head on my pillow at night. I ask His forgiveness for sins unknown that I may have committed during the day. I also ask Him to reveal sins to me that I am unaware of. That forgiveness from Him makes for a “Clean Plate” and starts my next day off anew!

The enemy loves plates that are full, that have not been emptied. He loves the guilt, shame, fear, and behaviors of hiding and fear to pile up on your plate! Disarm HIM!!!!! Clean your plate! 1 John 1:8-9! It is a plate cleaner! (smile)

His,
Vickie

Monday, April 20, 2020

YOU ARE MY REFUGE…

The Webster dictionary defines “refuge” as a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. In 1 Samuel 22:1 we find David hunkered down in a cave in Adullam. Why? So, he could take “refuge” from Saul and his army that were in pursuit of him. Psalm 142, written at this time by David, is an incredible prayer. As you read this Psalm consider, David is experiencing emotions similar to what you or I would be. He probably has made his way as far back against the back-cave wall as possible, his heart is probably racing and before he gives room to total fear, he runs to his ultimate “refuge”, the LORD. Picture this intimate conversation (prayer) in your mind as he is hiding, fearful, and feeling somewhat hopeless.

Psalms 142:1-7 (NKJV)
 I cry out to the LORD with my voice; With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk, they have secretly set a snare for me.

Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul.

I cried out to You, O LORD: I said, "You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.
Attend to my cry, For I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I.

Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name; The righteous shall surround me, For You shall deal bountifully with me."

Instead of marinating in fear David runs to the LORD. He says… I cry out to you with my voice. It’s me LORD! My voice! Here is what is going on, I’m in some big trouble here!

It is an understatement to say there is a lot going on in our world today. But, can I encourage you, if you are at the back of the cave, you have lost your job, finances are tight, you have loved ones that contacted Covid-19, or lost loved ones to Covid-19, or have lost loved ones and not been able to attend their funeral, have a house of kids and you are not a home school parent,  and you are going stir crazy being isolated from family and friends, etc., etc.
Please remember this, the cave isn’t your ultimate refuge, God is. Cry out to him, tell him your troubles, believe He cares and hears you.

Finding my refuge in Him,
Vickie

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Things I KNOW…

As we watch, listen, and each acclimate to our particular part of the world being attacked by the corona virus, I challenge us to not be consumed with fear of the unknown but to stand strong on the things we do KNOW as believers.

There are 3 major truths I know in my life that all else is anchored to.



The first is, God is Sovereign over all.

Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV) 
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Psalm 33:9 (ESV)
For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.

I don’t understand about the corona virus, I am saddened by the lives lost from around the world near and far, by those that have lost jobs, for weddings put on hold or cut back, for school graduations being cancelled, etc. But it doesn’t move me away from the truth that God is in control. He has either allowed this or brought it into our lives. In any case, HE alone is God. And that is where my peace and confidence are anchored.

The second is, I am a Child of God.

John 1:12 (ESV) 
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

What a joy to be able to rest in our identity in Christ! You can’t add to it or subtract from it with your performance and it can’t be taken away from you, it’s called Grace! It’s not about what you do but it is about what HE has done. Talk about your greatest form of identity theft protection. (ha,ha,ha)

Thirdly, all my days are ordained.

Psalm 139:16 (ESV) 
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 

Job 12:10 (ESV) 
In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. 

It is clear to me through God's Word that my check in and check out dates were set before the beginning of time. I cannot change that. However, I do get to decide how I live within the time frame. I pray, I am living it with these verses in mind…

Mark 12:29-31 (ESV) 
The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.   And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

May I challenge each of you to look at the truths of God’s Word, that anchor you to Him in the storms!

His,
Vickie

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Portugal Trip Cancelled…

It will come as no surprise that our trip to Portugal has been cancelled. We prayerfully have been waiting, watching and praying until this past weekend. Our Pure Joy Board made the best decision concerning the number of people that were being impacted and that was to close the conference. Sunday night, I visited with our staff at Pure Joy to let them know the trip was cancelled and then Monday made our Portugal team aware of the cancellation. Then began the process Monday night of letting the missionary women that would have been attending know as well. By the time Tuesday rolled around we were informed our flight to Lisbon had been cancelled. For all of you that have been praying, giving, gifting and, yes, even were apart of the team that was going, HE KNOWS. All moneys donated for sponsorship of missionaries for this trip will be moved forward to sponsor missionary women for the next trip. If you have questions regarding this, then please contact me at vickie@purejoyinternational.org

It goes without saying that we all need to be in prayer for one-another, our communities, the nation and the world. I would remind us during this time to not be carriers of the chaos! Where chaos abounds, the enemy is at work. So, be wise, follow the instructions of those that are doing their best to direct us to ways of protecting one-another.

And seriously, if anyone can explain to me the toilet paper hoarding, I’m open to it. I must admit I have seen some creative funnies posted on it.

Stay, safe!
 
His,
Vickie

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Portugal Retreat is full and has gone to a waiting list!

We have no more open spots for the Portugal Retreat, and we have gone to a waiting list. Final Registration for waiting list will close March 18th. It is not uncommon for several people to have the chance to move up from the waiting list. So, if God prompts your heart, sign up still.

We still have 43 missionary women sponsored as of this writing. If God moves on your heart to give, please do so. We have 7 left to sponsor. Go to www.purejoyinternational.org and scroll down to Donate.

As we continue to prepare for the trip on this side of the world, I am reminded of how important it is to get your brain to take a breather. If I can possibly get my brain to take a breather. Ha,ha,ha,ha  
Just to show you how on task it can be: Many years ago, when I first got out of graduate school, I was a therapist in a group home setting for kids that were In Need of Treatment (INT). Most of these kids dealt with different levels of mental illness, such as, bi-polar, schizophrenia, major depression, etc. One particular day a young man that was a resident there decided he did not want to go to school that day. I explained that was fine, but he would be confined to his room for the day since he was so sick (his reason for wanting to stay home).

He was not happy about being confined to his room. In the meantime, I got up to go to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. When I walked out the door of the office, he kicked me from the side across my jaw and knocked me out. The next thing I remember I was lying under a big light in the emergency room at the local hospital with a cracked skull and a concussion.

The house staff told me the following when I returned to work a week later. They said I got up from the floor that day when I came to and went back to the young man’s room and said, “(his name) that type of behavior will not help you get what you want” and  then returned to my office. One of the house parents stuck her head in and said, “Vickie, do you still want a cup of coffee?” To which I responded, “who’s  Vickie?” She said, “you are”. To which I responded,  “I am?”

It was at this point I suspect she thought, “Houston, we have a problem.” Ha,ha,ha,ha

So, maybe my brain will take a breather and maybe it won’t. I can only hope! Ha,ha,ha

In the meantime, please continue to pray for all things Portugal. Pray for the missionaries coming, the team going, the prayer warriors at home, the prayers warriors overseas, those making gifts, those writing encouragement notes, those giving towards the last 7 missionaries to be sponsored, for the messages being prepared, testimonies, the worship being prepared, etc., etc.

Love you all and so appreciate your love for the ministry of Pure Joy International.

His,
Vickie