Thursday, February 8, 2018

Just so you know and Eastern Europe Registration Opens Next Week….

Just wanted to make those of you that journey over to our website occasionally aware, we are working on some things there. So, you will only have a Home Page for awhile. Registration for Eastern Europe Retreat, Blog, and Donation icons will work. Everything else not so much. (smile)

However, if you have questions contact me at vickie@purejoyinternational.org and I will answer any questions you have.

Eastern Europe Team is starting to meet weekly throughout our different locations and is preparing for the Retreat in April. Now is the time for those of you that travel with the team through prayer, going, gifting, and giving to step on board. I am excited to say that we see His Hand at work in a mighty way. We still need to settle on a hotel. So, please put that at the top of your list to ask Him about. The overall cost of this trip to put our guests in a relatively nice hotel is higher than our normal cost. So, if He lays it on your heart to give a little extra this time, please honor the prompting.

Registration for Eastern Europe will open on Monday the 12th at some point. Please make sure to let your “M” friends in that part of the world know we are coming. The dates of the Retreat are April 25 -28, 2018. Our theme is, “He Holds It All.” We will accept the first 50 who register before going to a waiting list. So, please tell your “M” friends to sign up as soon as possible. First come, first served.

For more information contact me at vickie@purejoyinternational.org 

His,
Vickie

"O, let the place of secret prayer become to me the most beloved spot on earth."
                                                                                                                  - Andrew Murray
                                                                                     

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Pure Joy International Annual Board, Staff, and Advisors Retreat…..

What a sweet time of fellowship and prayerful discussion we had last weekend as we continue to look at the plans God has for the ministry of Pure Joy International.

We all need encouragement… and that is at the top of the list of what Pure Joy International is called to do, encourage. But, you can’t give away what you don’t have. So every year we take time away to regroup, breathe, evaluate, and encourage one another.
 
It doesn’t take a genius to know that healthy leadership makes for a healthy home, family, marriage, ministry, work environment, church, etc. So, we intentionally pull away for several days, so we can slow down, listen, share our hearts, and power back up in Him for the New Year.

Can I encourage those of you that are running on empty whether it is in your marriage, family, church, ministry, work environment, etc? Stop! Step Away! At least long enough to get some oxygen so you can breathe and think more clearly.
 
I think it is funny in the computer age we have figured out that most times when something is wrong with our computer/technical equipment the first thing people ask us is, “Have you tried unplugging it and then plug it back in?” It has been said that most things work again after being unplugged and plugged back in. I suspect that applies to you and me as well. (smile)

Eastern Europe Team is preparing for our trip. We have a few places open if you are interested in joining the team. Must contact me asap. vickie@purejoyinternational.org

Find some time to unplug (solitude), even for a few hours… weekly!

His,
Vickie

Monday, January 15, 2018

Preparations Underway....

Eastern Europe…..


Pure Joy International is headed to Eastern Europe this spring. The team is in the process of being formed. We have a few places left for team members. If you sense He is tugging at your heart to consider this trip, then contact me immediately at vickie@purejoyinternational.org for more information regarding the conference. Registration for non-team members will open in February sometime.


Jesus Is In The Boat……


Matthew 8:23-27 (ESV)
 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.  And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.  And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”


This week I just want to take time to encourage all of us to remember, “Jesus Is In
The Boat.” Sometimes when the storms and waves of life come and seem as if they are overcoming us… we, like the disciples, begin to fear.

I highly suspect they tried to handle things themselves as the storm began to grow in intensity, not wanting to bother Jesus and/or believing they could handle the situation themselves. In either case, you can bet their focus was on the storm and waves at first and not on Jesus. When it became more than they could handle they shifted their focus to the Savior.

Isn’t that just like us? We try to handle it ourselves. We don’t want to bother Him with it. We think we should be able to handle it. Like the disciples we know He is there. But we don’t want to bother Him if we think we can handle it. 

Can I encourage you (and myself included) to keep our focus on Him no matter the circumstances in your life? His word clearly tells us in Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Remember Jesus is in the boat. Keep your focus on Him. Not the storms and waves. Have a great week!

His,
Vickie

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Isaiah 43:18-19

Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV)
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.


There are several verses throughout scripture that address leaving the past behind. But why is moving on from the past so hard? I would say most of the time it has to do with unforgiveness. Unforgiveness towards self, someone else…or both. Other times it has to do with an unwillingness to let go of persons, places or things of the past.
 
This I know. You cannot move forward if you are anchored to the past. Even if those things were good things.

I have heard and/or am aware of many of the reasons we give for unforgiveness and not letting go. Here are some things I’ve learned and been taught along the way:

Hanging on to “unforgiveness”
  • The hurt was too deep and they don't deserve forgiveness.
  • We are unwilling to forgive because the person keeps doing it.
  • The memory of it keeps us from forgiving.
  • We withhold forgiveness because we want the person to suffer/pay.
  • We want the person to say they're sorry, and ask for forgiveness.
  • We are too angry to ever forgive.
Forgiveness is always a gift.  Give people a gift they don’t deserve.
Jesus gave you and me the gift.

Inability to “let go”.  We are all hanging on to something or someone.
  • Is it a person, place or thing?
  • Does hanging on to it make you a better person or worse?
  • Are you hanging on to mistakes you made? Someone else made?
  • Are you hanging on to the memories of what could have been...but isn't?
Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that I don’t understand all the reasons for unforgiveness and not letting go. But, after 35 years of counseling people, of this I am sure … you can’t change the past. And the past can mean years ago, one day ago, and/or a minute ago. Either way, holding on to the past prevents you from living today. It hinders and destroys marriages, families, parent-child relationships, churches, ministries, work environments, etc. It is like poison to the soul (mind, will, and emotions).
 
So, I challenge us as we step into 2018. Ask God to give you an attitude of “forgiveness.” Give a gift to someone that doesn’t deserve it. And “let go” of anything you are hanging onto from the past that is preventing you from living in the present. Grab hold of God this year and don’t let go!

His,
Vickie

Thursday, December 21, 2017

What Child is this….

What child is this, who laid to rest,
on Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
while shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
whom shepherds guard and angels sing.
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud (praise),
the Babe, the Son of Mary.   

               William Chatterton Dix
                          (1837-1898)

I love this picture. I love how everyone one including the animals are in AWE as they look upon the Christ Child. When was the last time you stopped and were still long enough to be in AWE of HIM?

Tis the Season…..


From the Board, Advisors and Staff of Pure Joy International
                                                      

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Take Time.....

This time of year can get pretty crazy and tough for many of us. Last week I reminded us to “put down the glass”. This week I want to encourage us to “slow down our pace”. Let’s be honest, I mean really honest. We are not quite 2 weeks away from Christmas day. Would it be fair to say that even being this close, most of your thoughts are towards deadlines before the Christmas break, what to do with kids while they are off from school, the Christmas gifts that still need to be bought, the Christmas programs you are getting ready for and/or attending, etc., etc., etc. Some of you haven’t even gotten your tree up yet. Come on! (ha, ha, ha, ha)  

This afternoon as I was researching some questions I had about Christmas, I came across a link regarding “The First Christmas Day” (Eve-Morning). When I clicked on the link I was taken aback by the absolute simplicity of the story of Jesus’ birth. There were no bells and whistles. It was simply, in simplest illustration, the story of the birth of the Christ child. It might as well have been told on a “felt board”. And it was nice, and easy, and moving. There was nothing hurried about it. And my heart was reminded again of how crazy the world has made the season. How we can get caught up in the pace of it and forget the simple story of Christ and the gift of Salvation that Christmas represents.
Slow your pace for just a minute and be reminded….  https://youtu.be/5gQw3LTAOoc

Have a great week, slow your pace, and remember why we celebrate.

Love you all,

His,
Vickie

p.s.  Some of you might enjoy this link just for the fun of it. 
https://www.whychristmas.com/story/

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

“Put the Glass down” ……..

I suspect I posted this glass illustration several years ago when I found it on the internet, but it seemed appropriate in this season and time to post it again as a reminder.
 
"A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. “Put the glass down!"
   
Jesus said it to us this way…. 

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.   Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


I love those verses.  I hear Him saying to me in my heart when I read them, “Vickie, come to me. Why are you carrying these thoughts, feelings and emotions by yourself? It’s too much. You were not meant to carry them alone. Let me have them, trust me, it will give you a break. It will allow you to get a God perspective on all of them. I am not going to berate you for not coming to me sooner or make you to feel inadequate or worthless. Let me have them, trust me, it will give you your joy back when you get a God perspective on things. It will lighten your step.”

This Christmas as finances, family, illnesses, loss of a loved one, ministry, work, etc., start to close in on you “put the glass down". After all, we have a Savior that came into this world so that we could “Come to Him”.

Love you all,

His,
Vickie