Friday, October 13, 2017

He Loves Me…..

For many of us middle aged (or slightly older, ha, ha) we remember the days of our youth picking Black-eyed Susan’s (daisy) and playing He (or She) loves me or loves me not. Usually, the flower looked like the one in the picture having only 13 petals. There are daisies that have more or less petals and come in all kinds of colors, but this is the one we usually found growing in the fields around us. I may have been a slow learner at this, but eventually, I figured out that whichever statement I started with, he loves me or he loves me not is also what I ended with as I plucked the petals away. So naturally I started with he loves me. (smile) You know, even as youth, we knew that was just a silly game.

But today I see people all around me doing that with real life and it’s not a game. He bought me something… he loves me. He didn’t get me something… he doesn’t love me. He called me 3 times throughout the day even though he is working… he loves me. He didn’t call me 3 times today while working… he doesn’t love me. She washed the dishes… she loves me. She didn’t wash the dishes…
she doesn’t love me. She cleaned the house and did laundry… she loves me. She didn’t clean the house and do the laundry… she doesn’t love me. She cooked, she didn’t cook, he put gas in the car, he didn’t put gas in the car, etc., etc., etc.

 “Spurgeon Daily Quotes” 
Christ Jesus has no quarrel with his spouse. She often wanders from him, and grieves his Holy Spirit, but he does not allow her faults to affect his love. He sometimes chides, but it is always in the tenderest manner, with the kindest intentions: it is ‘my love’ even then.


Have you allowed your spouse, children, family-member, friend and or co-worker’s faults to affect your love for them? Go back to the start, remember the Black-eyed Susan. Forgive them and start with ‘love’ (His Love) which ends with ‘love’ (His Love).

Costa Rica last lap before departure…
Ok, I am confident we are in the last lap before leaving the country a week from this Saturday. How do I know this? Because my brain is on overload of thoughts. The other morning, I put my mom’s oatmeal in the cabinet to heat it up, instead of the microwave, and I plugged the hairdryer in instead of the iron for my shirt. Yep, I’d say I have a few distractions in my brain. Ha,ha,ha.

All that to say…this is the very last week of preparation. Trunks are and have been packed. So it is now to the finite details for each team member to address to be ready to step on that plane. So, Pray for us!!! And my brain! Ha,ha,ha

He Loves Me…

His,
Vickie

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Restoration...


Recently my brother and his wife moved from Houston, Texas back home to Arkansas.  Well, I should say they are mostly moved, he still has another month or more at his job before official retirement.  Therefore, my sister-in-law is here while he goes back and forth.
Last week my mom went to spend the week with my sister-in-law to help her unpack and help where needed.   Now let me just stop a minute and say we are unpacking things and organizing.  Why would this require any type of trip to flea markets?  Why? Ha,ha,ha,ha!  However, it did I suppose.  Because, when I checked in on them one day they were restoring a dresser they picked up at one of the flea markets.  Well… the very same day my mom was telling me about them restoring that dresser, I read something very interesting in one of my daily devotionals.  It was encouraging to my soul and a good reminder of a truth.  The quote was from A.W. Tozer, and reads, “The supreme work of Christ in redemption is not just to save us from hell, but to restore us to Godliness again.” 

Romans 8:29 (ESV)
 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

So, I got to thinking about how God has redeemed those of us that have placed our faith in Jesus Christ (literally, paid the price for us). Just like my sister-in-law bought that dresser.  It now belongs to her and my brother (just like we belong to God).  She bought that dresser with a picture in mind of what it could be. (He redeemed us knowing the plans He had for us.)  They went to work on the restoration process.  (Just like He began a good work in us.)  They didn’t finish the restoration process in one day.  (Just like we are not restored to godliness in one day.)  I’m sure she has had to do some cleaning, stripping, sanding/buffing, filling, etc., etc. (Just like God has to utilize different circumstances and situations in our lives to restore us to godliness.)  All this to say to you dear ones, be patient with yourself and others.  It is a process. (smile)

1 Timothy 4:8 (ESV)
....for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Prayer for Costa Rica (Hit by tropical storm)
Costa Rica is Red Alert today (Thursday) meaning the potential for mudslides, flooding, electrical outages, etc., is high.  There have already been some deaths related to mudslides and flooding.  Please pray for our missionaries that might be in some of those areas, as well as the locals.

Restoration in process,
His,

Vickie

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“Take God Off The Stopwatch”

Yesterday, as a friend was praying over me,  she made a statement during her prayer that went something like this, “Lord, help Vickie to take you off the stopwatch.” It was one of those things you have heard me call a “heart hanger”. You know what I’m talking about. When God through His word, others, the Holy Spirit, and/or circumstances won’t let you get away from something until He has revealed Himself to us in it. Well, that idea of “take God off the stop watch” was a heart hanger. I’m still allowing God to work it out in me.
 
But, can’t you just see this picture, us standing with a stopwatch in our hands saying, “God, You gave me this promise, this word, this assignment, this calling, this ministry, this husband, these kids, and this job. You say You equip the called, will finish the good work in us that You began, will never leave us nor forsake us, work all things for good, etc., etc., Ok, Go!” Then we click the stopwatch and expect Him to complete those things according to our time frame and we don’t even realize we are doing it. We measure Him according to our stopwatch and when He doesn’t show up in our set time we question Him, His word, our ability to hear His word, His voice and slowly lose footing regarding His truths and promises. All because we have tried to bring an infinite God into our finite system. “Click”

Costa Rica is only 3 weeks out! Please pray for us as we begin to look at distribution of weight regarding our trunks. The team is spread out between 4 different states so it makes it kind of crazy getting the right weight distribution to get everything we need in trunks without going over our weight limit. Yesterday I mailed 11 lbs. to South Carolina. That doesn’t seem like much until you add more to it. But a few lbs. here and a few there add up. Yeah, like we don’t know that as women! Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha

Have a great week!  Love you all!

His,
Vickie

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Costa Rica

First, I want to start out by giving a big Praise to the LORD for each of you that has contributed to the sponsorship of the 50 missionary women that will be attending this conference. We don’t take lightly any donations made to this trip and the ministry of Pure Joy International.

As we continue to prepare for our departure in less than 5 weeks I am reminded of the verse God gave me for the ministry of Pure Joy International.  

Hebrews 3:13 (ESV)
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.


The whole purpose of this ministry is to bring encouragement to our missionary women/families on their field of service… that they may continue to serve the LORD in the areas He has called them to serve. Our time spent with them there is precious. The one prayer I consistently have prayed over the years is that we would show up as encouragers and leave the fragrance of His knowledge (the Word) and the aroma of Christ when we depart.

Nothing gives me more joy than to hear from a missionary that has attended one of the Pure Joy Conferences over the years who says, “The things shared during that conference have continued to help me in my journey with Christ and on the field.” That tells me that we left the fragrance of His knowledge (the Word) and the aroma of Christ with them when we departed.

So, I would be remiss if I didn’t leave you with something to ponder this week. What kind of fragrance/aroma are you leaving behind when you leave your family in the mornings, leave a ministry situation, or job situation, etc.? I am ashamed to say as I have been writing this blog that I suspect the fragrance/aroma I have been leaving behind this past month is more of a fleshly smell than the fragrance/aroma of Christ. I have not been a good patient on these crutches. So, at the conviction of my own blog writing (ha,ha,ha) I am seeking His forgiveness and choosing the fragrance of Christ, not my flesh! I know my mom will be happy about this! ha,ha,ha,ha 

Keep praying for all the details for Costa Rica. Lots still to be done in preparation in the weeks ahead. Lots of churches still working on things that will be going with us when we leave the country. (smile)

Choosing the Fragrance/Aroma of Christ,

His,
Vickie

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Crutches and Life ......

This past Wednesday I began a six week stint of no weight bearing on my left leg (knee). I actually started having problems with it a year and a half ago. Over time it has gotten steadily worse to walk without pain and/or to not have pain all the time even when I’m not on it. I finally was giving in to the idea of a torn menicus but an MRI revealed that I have something that can best be described as Bone Marrow Edema meaning fluid in the bone marrow. Not a quick fix. Ortho Dr. suggested staying off of it for 6 weeks to see if that would allow it to heal. He told me it came from a trauma to the knee. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what it was and/or when I did it. Hard to believe it took a year and a half for it to get to a place that I couldn’t handle it any more.
 
Isn’t that like us in real life, we handle things until we just can’t handle them any more. I really don’t know what would have happened if I had gone in sooner to address the issue but the truth is like most of us my line was “I don’t have time for this.” And honestly it ends up costing us more time than if addressed sooner.

I think that is true in our walk with God. I think there are seasons when we know something isn’t right. But we keep it to ourselves and don’t say it out loud to anyone because we don’t want anyone to see us as weak or unspiritual. We keep trying to handle it ourselves, independent of help. But, before you know it, we are in over our heads in a situation regarding marriage, families, finances, ministries, careers, etc. To be honest with you, most people never make it to a counselor, financial advisor, their boss, pastor, etc., until they are in so far over their head they have to ask for help.
 
God’s word is clear as it tells us where to place our concerns when overwhelmed:

1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.


Psalm 55:22 (ESV)
Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.


Psalm 34:17-18 (ESV)
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.


Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
...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.


Isaiah 46:4 (ESV)
.....even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.


Psalm 9:10 (ESV)
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.


Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Costa Rica Update.....

Just a quick note to let you know that we have 4 more missionary women sponsored as of the last blog! Praise Him! We only have 6 more to go. Keep praying and giving as you are led. Thank you to all of you that are on this journey with us to Costa Rica!!
 
Have a great weekend and week ahead..

His,
Vickie

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Let Go of the Rope.......and Costa Rica Update!

There was a mountain climber who desperately wanted to conquer the Aconcagua and began climbing it after years of preparation. But he wanted the glory to himself, so he went up alone. He started climbing and it became later and later. He didn’t prepare for camping, so he decided to keep going. Soon it grew very dark . . .

Night fell with heaviness at a very high altitude. Visibility was zero. Everything was black. There was no moon, and the stars were covered by clouds. As he was climbing a ridge at about 100 meters from the top, he slipped and fell. Falling rapidly, he could only see blotches of darkness that passed. He felt a terrible sensation of being sucked in by gravity.

He kept falling . . . and in those anguishing moments, good and bad memories passed through his mind. He thought certainly he would die. But then he felt a jolt that almost tore him in half. YES!! Like any good mountain climber, he had staked himself with a long rope tied to his waist.
In those moments of stillness, suspended in the air, he had no other choice but to shout, “HELP ME, GOD! HELP ME!”

God replied, “Do you REALLY think that I can save you?”
  
"OF COURSE, MY GOD!”

“Then let go of the rope that is holding you up,” God said.

There was another moment of silence and stillness. The man gripped the rope even tighter. 
The rescue team says that the next day they found a frozen mountain climber . . .
hanging strongly to a rope . . .TWO FEET OFF THE GROUND!
    
                                                                                                               (author unknown)

I like this story. It reminds me of ourselves. We want to let go and trust God with that marriage, kids, finances, ministry, job, family, friend, etc., etc. The list could go on and on. We cry out to God in our circumstances. We want to cut the rope and trust God, but we are too much like the climber. We keep trusting our own strength, intellect, understanding, wisdom, abilities, and once again, the list goes on.
 
God knew the ground was only two feet away when He asked the climber to cut the rope. God sees the fullness of our circumstances, literally! He sees, He Knows, He Acts. But we have a part… obedience! So even in our darkest hour may we learn to obey Him, even when what He requires of us makes no sense! Cut the rope!

Costa Rica Update.....

I am excited to share with you that we have 40 missionary women sponsored as of today! Only 10 more to sponsor! Thank you so much! Keep praying and giving!!

We are just about 9 weeks out from leaving the country. That seems like a long time but not really!! Continue to pray for us as we prepare worship, messages, testimonies, activities, gifts, etc. Mostly I would ask that you pray that we as a team would be bold about spending time in His Word and prayer in preparation before leaving the country. It is our genuine desire to bring to the missionary women nothing of ourselves, but all of HIM!

Please know also that as your eyes are reading this blog you have been prayed for. Yes, I may not know you all personally, but I do know many of you. You are all being lifted up in prayer by the God who KNOWS!

Hope you have a wonderful week as you seek first His kingdom and righteousness!

Let Go of the Rope!

His,
Vickie

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

God’s Workmanship

Weekly I pray for our board, advisors, and staff of Pure Joy International. I have assigned a specific day to each one of them. I send them a text that morning asking for prayer request. Last Monday one of our staff sent a prayer request and this is partially the request.

"Please pray for God's wisdom and His perfect peace for both of us (her husband) as we deal with a workmanship issue on the house that just came to light late yesterday."

She and her husband have been in the process of building a new home. Last week they were down to the final home stretch before moving in and obviously there were some things that weren’t happening the way they had designed them or wanted the outcome to look.

When I read her request that morning the word “workmanship” really jumped out at me. And immediately the verse from Ephesians 2:10 rose-up in my spirit. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The builder in their case had an opportunity to hear their concerns and change things to their desired results. But can I ask you something? How many times have we complained to our Builder, God? I ask that question because to be honest with you this is what pierced my heart when I saw the word “workmanship”. My Builder is PERFECT! I have no grounds for a workmanship issue. (WOW! That is a profound thought if you can wrap your mind around it!)

So, perhaps it is time to meet with your Builder. Not because there is a workmanship issue but because there is a lack of knowledge concerning the Builder. I pray you think on this truth. Amen.

Costa Rica continues so be at the forefront of the hearts of the team members! We have 32 of our missionary women sponsored with only 18 to go. Word has it that by next week we could see another 8 of them sponsored. That would be totally awesome! Please join us in praying that all remaining 18 get sponsored.

Just a reminder as you pray for the team and missionary women, our theme is “Crossing the Jordan”. The verse is Joshua 3:5.

We already have groups of women signing up to make gifts. If you are interested please let me know at vickie@purejoyinternational.org

Love you all and praying for you as well!

His,
Vickie