Thursday, December 29, 2011

What a Year!!!

Tuesday as I was on the road, I began to Praise God for the many things in my life I have to be thankful for! In the next few days in magazines, newspapers, television, and Sunday services, you will hear people talking about 2011 and looking back. You will also have people (myself included) talk about looking ahead (as is something I discussed in our ‘End of the Year Letter’ which most of you received in the mail and or email. If you did not get it and want a copy please contact Before I share anything further with you, I would ask you to consider a story from the Old Testament regarding looking back and going forward.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah stirs up lots of topics of discussion for the issue of the sin of homosexuality. Most people are so busy looking at it from that standpoint that they lose sight of the fact that the story has a lot to teach all of us about sin, God’s mercy, and time.

Without going through all the passages right here, I would ask you to pull out your Bible and read for yourself Genesis 19:1-30. We will focus on verses12-30 for the purpose of our blog today and the principles I would encourage you to take away from this reading.

Things to be mindful of…

  • God realizes we are in over our heads before we do (v. 12). - Remember He has a bird’s eye view of all things.
  • People are praying (crying out to the LORD) for you and your situation when you don’t even realize they are carrying it to God (v. 13a)! - Praise God for intercessors.
  • He sends help to us even when we don’t realize we need it (v.13b). - Sometimes we are just too close to the situation.
  • The help sent caused Lot to see the seriousness of his circumstances (v.14a). - Lot was willing to listen.
  • But just like some of our very own family members, his son-in-laws did not listen to or believe Lot (v.14b). - Some individuals we love and even we ourselves at times, refuse to yield to people God puts in our paths to bring us out of danger!
  • Maybe Lot himself wasn’t setting too good of an example of taking the angels seriously either, since they had to urge Lot to leave (v.15a). - Isn’t Lot like us…we listen, but when the ‘feeling’ of crisis is over we start to settle back into hesitation regarding change.
  • The angels also made it clear that punishment was eminent for the city (v.15b). - God has NEVER withheld the truth from us that Judgment is eminent regarding this world!
  • Knowing what has been told to him…LOT still lingers (v.16a)! - Really! Hmmmmm we are sooooo like Lot! 
  • But, because of God’s mercy the two angels took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand and the two daughters and set them outside the city (v.16b). - Note: The word hold in that passage doesn’t mean they gently guided them out. It means in the original Hebrew language to seize hold of them. To put in terms we can relate to, they jerked their behinds up and got ’em out of there!  Just like we would jerk a child out of the path of an oncoming car.
  • Once they got them out of there the angels tell them, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plains. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed!” (v.17). - In other words RUN!!!! FLEE!!!

In verses 18-20, there is a simple dialogue of Lot whining because he is continuing to trust in his own lack of abilities instead of God’s to get him to safety. 

In verses 21-23, we once again see God’s favor, patients, and love extended to Lot in spite of Lot’s lack of trust.

In verses 24-25, we see God keep His word to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, all the plains, and all the inhabitants of the cities and what grew on the ground. (God does what He says He will do!)

And verse 26, “But his wife looked back behind him, and became a pillar of salt.”

I hope I can bring this full circle for you as I close out.  Many of us will look back over 2011. For me personally the past year has been like the wildest ride since forever. There are some really great things that have happened and some really hard things that have happened. But, presently they help me be all that God is continuing to work out in me regarding my salvation. Where it all takes me in the future remains in His hands. 

Many of you will be tempted to live in the past of 2011. Because of people that have left you behind through death, divorce, circumstances, etc. Some will be tempted to live in the glory of things magnificent that took place in 2011. In either case spending your time looking back or riding the laurels of past accomplishments will harden your heart and keep you from the present. Believe me when I tell you that His blood has covered the past whether it was good, bad, or indifferent. And know that He holds your future. If you read on, you will see that Lot still ended up where the angels instructed him to go: the mountains. Wonder what he missed out on by not doing it in God’s timing. 

Precious ones, He has the past covered, He dwells in the present, He holds the future.  Living in the past will harden your heart; living in the future will cause you to forfeit His presence revealed in your life today.

Let us make a commitment to heed his warnings regarding our sin, accept His Grace and Mercy to set us free, and Trust His Timing is Perfect!!

He has the Past covered, He dwells in the Present, He holds the Future!

Rest and Blessings to you in this New Year 2012!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From: Vickie


• All our missionary women and their families ( my "people group", smile)
• Every woman that has traveled as a team member
• Every woman that has written a prayer card and or filled a goody bag and or both
• Every woman, man and child that has donated gifts
• Every individual, couple, child, church organization, and business that has given financial and other resources
• Every prayer warrior
• All the Friends of Pure Joy
• The Board, Advisors, and incredible Ministry staff!


I flat out love you guys!!


Monday, December 12, 2011

My Savior's Not a Baby...

Last week I received the following writing from a dear friend who is also one of our Costa Rica team members from this past summer.  As I read it I thought, “This is so true, this is good.”   I asked her permission to share it with you this week.  It has not been edited in detail. Enjoy and ponder…                 

                              My Savior's Not a Baby

If Christmas is Jesus' birthday, the birthday of a King,
My mind keeps tossing and turning over what present I should bring.
Maybe a blankie, some teething gel, or perhaps a rattle… maybe,
Because it seems to me that every Christmas we pretend that He’s a baby.
I’ve heard I could give Him my talents, my time, or even a song,
But, aren’t those the very things I should be giving Him all along?
If I passionately love Him then the gift that I should bring,
Shouldn’t be an easy gift that doesn’t cost me anything.

Because my Savior’s not a baby, He’s the risen King of Kings,
And I think on this Christmas He might want some other things.
Perhaps He wants my anger and that seed of bitterness,
Or the hurt I’m holding deep inside where no one else would guess.
Maybe He wants my loneliness or the addictions I hold tight.
Perhaps He wants the tears I’ve cried and the wrongs I’ve not made right.
My worry, my shame, and my heart so prideful and so wild,
They’re not exactly gifts you bring to lay before a child.
But my Savior's not a baby, He is Jesus, Immanuel,
Who battled Satan on his turf and conquered death and Hell.
He didn’t save my life just to leave me in my sin,
He freed me from my shackles and gave me joy again.
He died to take my anger and He suffered in my place,
To heal my broken, tattered heart and offer me His grace.
The part that takes my breath away, the amazing part you see,
If I were the only one, He would have done it just for me.

You see, my Savior's not a baby, He’s Creator of Heaven and Earth,
Who set aside His Godhood to experience human birth.
It’s not about me or the gifts that I could bring,
It’s about a Marvelous Savior who gave me everything.
He understands my heart and the problems that I face,
And He loves me far too much to settle for second place.
An Infinite, Incredible God who hears me when I pray,
How could I not fall to my knees and praise Him every day.

Praise God He’s not a Baby; He’s sitting at God’s right hand,
He’s both God and Man. He’s the Risen Lord.  I hope you understand,
I’m not saying we can’t remember, that we shouldn’t celebrate His birth,
And spread the story angels proclaimed all throughout the Earth.
The prophecies of old fulfilled, set the stage for God’s great plan,
So let's remember baby Jesus' birth, but worship the Savior of man.
So this Christmas I think I‘ll give Him every hidden, dirty part,
And accept His peace, His healing, and a clean and softened heart.

                                                                        Kathleen Jones - 2011


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Take the Challenge...

As the Christmas Season is upon us, many times over we hear the following verse read and preached out of the pulpits. In fact, I spoke from this verse to a wonderful group of women in Altus, OK earlier in the week. 

Luke 2:10-14
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

We talked about the difference a person makes.  I shared my testimony and how Jesus Christ took a lonely, looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places, caught-in-the-performance-trapping-of-the-world young woman and changed my life for eternity!  He also changes my life daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly on the road to eternity! 

2 Cor. 5:15 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old has passed the new had come.” 

This list could go on but the challenge is: has the Child born in the City of David made a difference in your life?  JEUS makes the difference.  No change -- No Jesus.

Please continue to pray for us as we pray through His plans for the Dominican Republic.  We are currently praying for the hotel / resort area that God would have for the group of women that attend.  So pray He will give us an incredible spot for these ladies to come to and be able to recharge and be filled back up for the battles ahead!

I also want to ask each of you reading this to prayerfully consider becoming a monthly supporter of the ministry of Pure Joy International.  The very least amount you give can make the absolute difference in the lives of missionary women, their spouses, their children, their ministries, the nationals, and the world!

Love you all so much!

Jesus Makes the Difference,