Saturday, December 29, 2012

Accountability in the Body of Christ...

I have to say I love accountability. I made a statement in the Blog this week that I am reading the book "The Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn. I also suggested the book as a 'must read'. I stated, “It is totally thought provoking in regard to America's future.”

As soon as the blog was posted, I received a note from one of our readers. She let me know that she liked the snow picture but disagreed with me about the book. She suggested I look at the following link

I took time to do just as she suggested, and I’m thankful that I did so. I so agreed with what T.A. McMahon had to say as a critical critique of the book. I do suggest if you have read the book to look at this link and if you are going to read the book to look at this link.

Reading the link reminded me to communicate more clearly my thoughts on a book. While I understand that this book is fictional, and I agree with T.A. McMahon's statement that "it (The Harbinger) tries to fit into the genre of National Treasure and the Da Vinci Code”, I herald the main principle that America must repent and turn back to the God of the Scriptures.

Thank you, reader, for holding me accountable for what is communicated on this blog site.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snow and a Good Book...

Christmas snowSnow began falling in the early afternoon on Christmas Day at our home. Actually, the sleet came first then the snow came on top of it. Praise the LORD for the snow on top of the sleet! By Wednesday morning, we had a good 4-5 inches at our house with those around us getting as much as 13 inches. There is nothing like looking out that window in the waking hours and seeing a blanket of snow. The word ‘purity’ always comes to my mind when there is a fresh snow. There are no tracks in it from man or animal for a short amount of time. It may be the closest thing to seeing perfect pure beauty here on earth, at least in my mind. It is just so tranquil and peaceful. Then add to this a good book and a cup of coffee, and this makes for one happy camper! The book I am reading right now is The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. I suggest it as a ‘must read’! It is totally thought provoking in regard to America's future.

Speaking of the future, we are just days away from heading into a New Year. Lots of New Year's resolutions are being planned by many thousands of people even as I write this blog today. Some will plan to lose weight, some quit smoking, some quit drinking, etc. Have you ever noticed that most New Year's resolutions deal with taking something away? This year I want to encourage you as a believer to add something instead of taking away. If you will add, with a sincere heart, reading His Word and spending time daily talking to Him (prayer) and obeying Him and His Word, then you will not have to take things away . . . you will want to give them up. Big difference!!

I love you all and am looking forward to what God has in store for all of us as we journey together into 2013. Remember to pray for Pure Joy and all the plans God has for us as we go into the New Year!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Looking for the Answer...

This morning as we awaken from the weekend and the tragic massacre of the elementary school children in Connecticut last week, news commentators , psychiatrists, psychologists, school authorities as well as the President of the United States are saying we have to do something to stop these killings and the madness that is going on all over this country. Everyone is looking for the answer. Interestingly enough most people run to the answer immediately in these catastrophic situations: God. All of a sudden, people, including the very people who have taken God out of the classroom and schools, run to Him. They ask for prayer, they quote scriptures, and they call us as a nation to prayer. We are seemingly unified again as "One Nation Under God" even though a few cannot pledge allegiance in their schools anymore. We run to "God" when we have a crisis much like people who come to counseling. They show up because of a crisis and once it starts ‘feeling better’ they stop coming to counseling until the next crisis.

This we can be sure of concerning our nation: there will be more crises. These are things we cannot control.  What we do have control over is where we place our hope.

Yesterday afternoon I attended the Christmas program my home church prepared for the Christmas Season. I must say in all the years of being a follower of Christ I do not believe I have seen it done any greater or simpler than how our church shared the true meaning of Christmas. They gave the audience a different perspective on how others might worship in different countries; they addressed the family of today and how Christmas isn't always the sweetest time for many around the Christmas table. They addressed our families that have someone on the field in military service and those who may have lost someone in battle or service this past year; they addressed those who are lonely at this time of year and just want the season to be over. It was nice to hear a Christmas program address the realities of life and things people really deal with in this day and time during the Christmas season. But, the greatest thing of all was how simply they wove the coming of Jesus Christ’s birth and its meaning into our lives through this Christmas Program. Jesus: the simple HOPE of the world. Incredible! Yes, isn't it true that John 3:16 is the Christmas story . . . For God so loved the world that He gave His son from heaven above, to the cross and again when He returns, so that whoever believes with simple faith in Him, shall not perish (a promise) but have eternal life (the Truth!)

He is our Hope in the middle of all our circumstances: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the evil. He is our only Hope. If you have never received the gift of the season, Jesus, in your heart there is no time like now. It is as simple as honoring that tug He has placed on your heart. Simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD, that He came to this earth, lived, and died for you a sinner, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. You will be saved.

Please remember others during this season who don't have or understand the Hope Jesus gives us in the middle of our life circumstances. He truly is the reason for our HOPE!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blog not forgotten...

Ok, so last week I did not get around to the blog. I knew it was due but I just wasn't in that mode. My staff will attest to this truth: I am not the kind of person to write just to write. In fact, I wouldn't write as much as I do if they didn't press in on me to do it! That is why I love them so much!!

So, let me catch you up. On Friday November 30th I headed to Mineral Wells, TX to spend the weekend with several of the young women I had the opportunity to disciple for three years while I was on church staff in Austin, TX. We get together the first weekend of December each year either in Texas or in Arkansas to catch up and see what God has been doing in our lives over the past year. We had fun, ate too much, fellowshipped, had a few deep discussions on the topic of Christmas and did some shopping. (Shopping: my favorite thing to do . . . NOT!) Ladies, I encourage you to spend time with your girlfriends and add some accountability to your life.

Sunday afternoon as we all packed up and headed our separate ways, I headed on to Altus, Oklahoma where I spent the night with my dear friends, Robert and Maureen Sutherland. The following night I spoke at First Baptist Church Altus to a full house of women from churches all around the area. The Christmas Celebration Dinner consisted of brisket, twice-baked potatoes, salad, and a veggie, but of course, I don't remember what that was. Ha, Ha! The dessert was red velvet cake. Now that I'm thinking about it, who needs a speaker after all that? Ha, Ha! I did share a message with them from Luke 2:8-18 based on their theme "The First Christmas Rush". We had such a sweet time and laughed our heads off along with shedding a few tears. I returned home Tuesday, and Friday I did a TV spot with our local cable station to share about opportunities to get on board with Pure Joy International. (Note: TV is not my cup of tea, coffee, or any other drink! Ha, ha, ha!)

This week I am back on course with Pure Joy International and counseling. God is doing so many amazing things in our ministry right now that I am just enjoying the ride!! We will be bringing in an intern in January. Sara is a precious young woman and a soon to be first time mom. She grew up in Brazil, and she and her husband hope to return there to minister in the future. We are looking forward to what God is up to in her life and ours as we journey together.

Don't forget to be praying for our trips to Belize, Ghana, and Mongolia. Pray for all the details for connections and hotels/resorts, etc. Also, pray for the missionary women who need to know about these retreats. Pray about giving and pray about going! The dates have not yet been set – stay in touch through the blog where I’ll announce details as they emerge. 

If you want to see a slideshow of our trip to Prague, visit our website Take a look at the front page and other pages where we have been updating some of our information.

Hope all of you are not making yourselves crazy during this season but are actually taking time to celebrate that we have a Savior and, because of Him, we are only passing through!! Amen!!

Love you all!


Monday, November 26, 2012

"Such Joy" and "What to do"...

Such Joy . . .

The past two weeks I have had the opportunity to share with two different church families that helped to support our recent trip to Prague. The first one was a Wednesday night small group from New Life Church (NLC), Conway, Arkansas. Patty and Kenny are members of NLC and this was their small group. The turnout was great and they were excited to hear about the trip. We, however, were eagerly as excited for them to know how their investment of time, gifts, prayer, and finances made a difference in the lives of the women in Prague. The fruit continues to come in.

Sunday I had the opportunity with Faith to attend her sister’s church at FBC Maumelle and share with two women’s Sunday school classes that also were part of giving towards the Prague trip. They prayed for the missionary women as well as giving financially. Such sweet spirits! Faith's s sister, Kathy, invited us to address the women, and I am forever thankful for such opportunities. The more women, churches, and people that know, the more we can go and minister to our missionary women on the field.

Pray as we are working on plans for Belize in the spring of 2013! If God is speaking to you, please contact me soon at

What to do . . .

Christmas is just down the road as we leave Thanksgiving behind us. Many of my dear friends who are in the counseling ministry and I know that this is a difficult time of the year for so many people. The difficulties come in the form of loved ones that have passed away this year, marriages that have ended, rebellious children who have left home or are still living at home, loss of jobs, financial problems, health issues, etc.

While there may appear in the physical no encouragement to speak over the previous issues this time of the year, may we take hold of the truth that over 2000 years ago a child was born and His name was Jesus. Spiritual truths trump the physical every time! And oh, what glory when Spiritual truths become physical truths as well!!

Luke 2:11 (ESV): For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

I love how Isaiah 9:6 (ESV) foretold of His birth: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

As we journey into this season, be reminded that we can only focus on one thing at a time. With this being the case, may I suggest the Prince of Peace.

Loving you all so very much . . .


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Thanksgiving Essay...

We received this essay from one of our missionary women and enjoyed reading it so much that we asked and were granted permission to share it with you. Take time to read it - you may learn some things about the Pilgrims that you didn't know before!

Thanksgiving is a holiday that commemorates the true story of God's provision to a group of His people. It is proof of His decision to further His kingdom in the New World by creating a nation founded on His Word that would become a blessing to the world.

Today many Americans do not know of the miraculous ways in which God led the Pilgrims to America, used hardship to purify them, and caused their colony to be the success that it was at the beginnings of American history.

Because the Thanksgiving story is one colored throughout by God's intervention, it is either ignored or perverted in the history books, the entertainment media and modern documentaries.  Certainly this is a plan of Satan, keeping Americans in the dark about their national roots, so they will not trust God today.

The Pilgrims were Englishmen and women that were persecuted by King James I for their faith. They were first called Separatists, because they separated themselves from the Church of England and held their own church services with their own preachers and worship style. They had left England and were living in Leyden, Holland. Holland was a difficult place to live because the Dutch would not let them take jobs and their children were being harmfully influenced by the Dutch society.

English investors were looking for people to go to America to start settlements that would make money for them. The Pilgrims made a contract with a London investor group represented by Mr. Thomas Weston to travel to the New World and start a colony.  The Pilgrims agreed to be servants of the investment company until their debt was paid.  In July, they left Holland and traveled to England to get aboard the ships that would take them to America. Mr. Weston was not reputable and took advantage of the Pilgrims.  Right before sailing, he wanted them to sign a new contract and incur more debt in order to pay 'last minute' fees. In order to avoid this, the Pilgrims sold much of their valuable food supplies to pay the fees outright.

The Pilgrims were to travel on two ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. However, after two false starts, and a forced turn-back for repairs, the Speedwell was abandoned and the Pilgrims had to crowd into the Mayflower. They finally left Plymouth, England on September 6th, 1620. This was at the beginning of the stormy season; they had a very rough voyage of 66 days.  Several things happened on the voyage that showed the traveler's that the Lord was with them.

The sailors treated them with scorn, laughing at their seasickness. One in particular took great pleasure in calling them 'psalm-singing puke-stockings'.   He said he would enjoy feeding their dead bodies to the fish.  In a single day, that sailor got sick and died; this put a quick end to any further derision.

Another evidence of God's provision was demonstrated when the crossbeam supporting the ships’ main-mast broke. After the crew and Captain had despaired, the Pilgrims prayed and Elder William Brewster remembered that his printing press had a large screw that could hold the crossbeam in place for the rest of the voyage.  The experiment worked.  After a conference, it was determined to go on as they were more than half-way to America.

Other reasons for rejoicing came when a young Pilgrim man tossed overboard in a storm was miraculously saved when his wrist caught on a rope mat that was trailing in the water and when a new baby - named Oceanus Hopkins – was safely delivered.

The Mayflower was blown far north of the Virginia Colony's Charter jurisdiction where they had been given permission to settle. Because they were outside of the jurisdiction of the laws of England, the Mayflower travelers wrote and signed a Compact for self government before they went ashore.  The Mayflower Compact is an important document of American history. They touched land on November 9th, 1620 at Cape Cod.
The Pilgrims assembled a 30 foot sloop they had brought.  It was another month of rough sailing and exploring before they found a good harbor and decided on a place to settle. Four sweet water-creeks flowed into the harbor and twenty acres of nearby land was cleared, showing evidence of farming; but no one was around.  The men found a cache of Indian corn and iron pot buried under a mound of sand. This corn was life-saving food for the Pilgrims during the first winter.   They saw evidences of Indian habitation; but all was desolate and empty.

Actually, the cleared land had been the home of the extremely hostile Patuxet Indians.  A plague had wiped out their entire population just three years earlier and the surrounding tribes were avoiding the area for fear of the plague.   This empty, prepared land was a mark of God's provision.  Another blessing was that the closest Indians were the Wampanoags, led by Chief Massasoit.  He was friendly and generous to the white man.  In fact, there were only three areas on the entire Atlantic seaboard where friendly Indians lived; the Algonquins in Maine and Chief Powahatan in the south Virginia tidelands.

In mid-December the Pilgrims came to shore and named their new home Plymouth, after the harbor they had departed from in England.  Everyone was delighted to get on land even though it was very cold. The Pilgrims built a Common House for a church / fort; it had 6 cannons placed in the upper floor for protection.  The Pilgrims lived on the Mayflower as they built their homes. Very soon the Common House had to be used as a hospital. There was not enough food and many died of sickness. Every burial was done at night in an effort to keep any watching Indians from knowing how small their number was becoming. It was a horrible time of suffering for the Pilgrims; only one-half of them were alive at the end of winter.

As winter ended, the food supply was extremely low and the small amount of wheat, barley and peas that they had was needed for crops.  There wasn't enough for both eating and planting and they didn't know if or when any help from England would come. They didn't know how to catch the fish or what was safe to eat or if the local Indians would kill them.

One Friday in March, when the weather was beginning to warm, an Indian walked into the village.  The Pilgrims were frightened but the Indian raised his hand in friendship and said in English, "Welcome, Me Samoset." Samoset visited for a day.  He could see how starving and weak the Pilgrims were and how poorly they were making a living in the New World. Samoset told them that there were friendly Indians nearby; he promised to return with them to trade food to the Pilgrims.

Samoset was an Algonquin Indian Chief from Maine.  He loved to travel and had learned a little English from the fishing captains who had put into the Maine shore over the years.  When he visited the Pilgrims, Samoset was on a scouting errand for Captain Thomas Dermer of the Council for New England who was interested in locating a spot to claim for settlement. Samoset's appearance and friendly mediation with Chief Massasoit for the Pilgrims was a blessing of God.

The following Thursday Samoset returned with Tisquantum, a Patuxet who could speak perfect English and Chief Massasoit, of the Wampanoag Tribe, and 60 of his braves.     Tisquantum had been living with the Wampanoag Tribe for six months; he had been away when his tribe had been killed by the plague and was in deep grief about the loss.  He came with Samoset and Massasoit to act as an interpreter and to see the Englishmen who had settled on his tribal land.  The Pilgrims showed Massasoit and Samoset and Tisquantum the Indian corn they had found. Massasoit was friendly and generous to the Pilgrims. A peace treaty was made that day between them that lasted for fifty years. Tisquantum decided to stay and live with the Pilgrims.

Squanto, as Tisquantum came to be called, has a remarkable personal story of great tragedy and blessing in its many circumstances. Squanto's story begins in 1605 when he was 14 years old.  English Captain Weymouth' ship visited the Patuxet area on a fur trading and information gathering trip.   Squanto learned a little English from them and his father consented to his traveling south with Captain Weymouth along the coast to act as an interpreter.  However, one day he woke up to find that he was being taken to England to be questioned about colony sites.

Squanto was in England for 9 years before he could find a return trip with Captain John Smith in 1614. Another ship on this mapping and exploration expedition was under the command of a Captain Thomas Hunt. When Captain Smith left Squanto in New England to sail back to England, Captain Hunt captured Squanto and 19 other Patuxet Indians and some Nauxsets and took them to Spain where he sold them as slaves for $1,400.oo each. Some Friars bought and rescued Squanto and introduced him to the Christian faith.  Thus did God begin Squanto's preparation for the role he would play at Plymouth. Squanto made his way back to England and eventually got passage to Maine with Captain Thomas Dermer in 1619. After traveling through the woods to his homeland, Squanto was shocked to learn of the plague that had eradicated his people. (Squanto reached his homeland 8 months before the before the Mayflower brought the Pilgrims.)

When Squanto saw how desperate the Pilgrims were and how ignorant they were to help themselves, he found a new reason for living.  He had a new 'tribe' living on his homeland; brothers and sisters of the Christian faith. Squanto had lived many hard, unhappy years.  He had lost his people, but in helping these brave settlers make a living in the Indian ways, Squanto found happiness again.   Squanto lived for one year with the Pilgrims before he died.   Indeed Squanto was God's prepared messenger of help for the Pilgrims.

The day after Massasoit and his warriors left, Squanto went out and brought back an armload of eels, "fat and sweet" and "excellent eating".  The Pilgrims got their first of many helpful lessons from their new friend when he showed them how easy it was to catch the eels by squashing them from the mud with their bare feet!  Next Squanto taught them to make weirs for catching fish.  Even though they had only caught one cod in four months, the Pilgrims obeyed him.  Four days later the nearby creeks were clogged with the spring run of fish.  The Pilgrims were elated at finally having food!  Squanto helped in a thousand similar ways, teaching them to stalk deer, plant pumpkins and corn, refine maple syrup from the maple trees, discern herbs for medicine and harvest the forest for food.  The New World had some unknown foods that the Pilgrims became familiar with; Corn, Pumpkins, Cranberries, and Turkeys.

The two best 'gifts' that Squanto gave the Pilgrims was corn and beavers. Squanto taught them how to plant, garden, harvest and prepare the corn.   The investment company was expecting profits from a fishing industry. This was impossible for the Pilgrims but the beaver pelt became the ‘cash crop’ that would be their economic deliverance as corn was their physical deliverance. Squanto taught them how to trap the beavers and how to barter with the Indians to get beaver pelts for England. (It was twenty years before the debt to the investment group was paid and the Pilgrims were free men again.)

At the end of April, the Mayflower returned to England.  Captain Jones said he would take anyone back with him.  Even though they had experienced much hardship, no one chose to go back to England. The Pilgrims knew that God was with them and that He had sent Squanto to them to help them survive in the new land.

All spring and summer the Pilgrims worked hard in the fields. That autumn of 1621 they harvested their first crops.  They were enjoying good weather, good food and good health.  They felt ready for the coming winter. The Pilgrims decided to have a celebration of Thanksgiving and to invite their new Indian friends to join them. They would start and end the day with a worship service and have a feast and some games during the middle of the day. An invitation was sent to the Wampanoags and everyone began to prepare. The women worked for days, baking and cooking.  Governor Bradford sent the four best hunters out to kill turkeys; the boys and the girls dug for clams, picked berries, nuts and firewood.

On the appointed day, Chief Massasoit came with 90 of his Indian braves, bringing a dozen turkeys and five deer dressed for cooking. After a praise worship service, the feast was laid out on long picnic tables.  The Indians and the Pilgrims happily competed in shooting contests with gun and bow, in foot races, and wrestling.  Captain Standish led the Pilgrims in some mock military drills. The Indians taught the Pilgrims how to make tasty corn pudding with maple syrup and everyone shared an Indian delicacy: Popcorn!  It was such a great day that the Pilgrims and Indians decided to continue it for two more days!  All three days started and ended in worship.

Elder William Brewster, the acting Minister, led the Pilgrims in a prayer to God. They thanked God for His goodness to them. They were thankful for peace with the Indians. They were thankful for all the new things that they had learned in this new land.  They thanked God for watching over them in this new wild land, for giving them a good harvest, for promising never to leave them, for loving them and giving them His Word the Bible and His Son as their Savior. They were thankful for Squanto's caring help and for Chief Massasoit’s friendship.

William Brewster read from the Bible:
"And He humbled thee, and suffered thee To hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord does man live."  Deuteronomy 8:3

How fitting a verse to read, reminding the Pilgrims of God's love!  As you enjoy Thanksgiving this year, thank the Lord for your home, family, for your food and friends.  Everything good is from our Heavenly Father and He is pleased when we thank Him for His goodness to us.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Essay by Dianne Hill

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


As I begin to ponder the direction of the blog this week knowing that Thanksgiving is upon us, I am mindful of those who are struggling in so many different ways: in finances, marriages, families, children (young and adult), businesses, spirituality, ministries, health, loss of loved ones this year, etc.

Two verses from the Word of God stand out to me concerning this issue of Thanksgiving and our life situations.

The first is from 1 Chronicles 16:34 "Oh Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!"

His very character is that He is good. His goodness is intrinsic. Therefore, it cannot be changed or moved by circumstances, because to do so would change His very character. His goodness is also not manipulated by our behaviors/actions whether they are good or bad. I am so thankful for that alone!

Because God is good, He always has our best interest at heart! Always! Now, that is worth thanking Him with a few hallelujahs and praises!

The second is from Psalm 118:28 "You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you."

I love those first four words. "You are my God." When is the last time you claimed Him with such ownership and devotion? Have you ever? Have you ever even thought about it before? If not, please do. Because John 1:12 tells us, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God . . .” Therefore, He is your God! That, too, is worth thanking Him with some hallelujahs and praises!
So this Thanksgiving Season, thank Him because He is good and He is your God! Those two things are powerful reasons to give thanks.

While there is an endless list of reasons to be thankful this coming Thanksgiving Day, we at Pure Joy International are thankful for each and every one of you and your hearts for our God. Thank you for praying, supporting the mechanics of the ministry, supporting the missionary women, giving gifts, and for going!

I love you all so much and am thankful for you all the time!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Stopping the Chaos in the Family...

I hope you were able to look over our previous blogs to bring you up to date on our discussion of Stopping the Chaos in the Family. To give us a starting place today let me remind you of Psalm 127:1 -- Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

As we have discussed Genesis 1-3 it is clear that God is Sovereign, a God of order, a God of provision, an intimate God, a just God, and a God of grace and mercy always. I suppose that is where I would take us to today: God is a just God and a God of grace and mercy.

We watched God as He set that healthy boundary for Adam in Genesis 2:16-17 (ESV). "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” We know by now that Adam and Eve didn't experience a physical death but they did experience a spiritual death in the Garden. Their sin separated them from God. We see God as a just God because He set a boundary and consequence up front, and He followed through with it. I think that is something for us to recognize about God. When He sets boundaries, commands for living, etc., He is also faithful to share with us that if we don't do life His way, we will reap the consequences of our disobedience. He is no respecter of persons, gender, etc. He is a God of grace and mercy, in that He doesn't always give us what we deserve. We see that in the Garden in Genesis 3:22-24 (ESV). Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—’ therefore the LORD God sent him out from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the Garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”

My precious sisters and brothers who read this blog, God had a plan for the family. He intended for the husband to lead, protect, and provide for the wife and children. That means on all levels -- not just a paycheck! It means physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For the wife, He intended for her to be his helpmate. That means to be an encourager, to come alongside him physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to cheer him on to be all that God intended for Him to be. And those children were intended to be the fruit of that awesome commitment between a husband and wife doing life God's way! And yes, those children were meant to bring laughter, joy, and even tears at times.

God never promised there would be perfection in a household because there are no perfect people. But, God did have a plan for how a household should function. And when a household is built according to God's specifications, it is similar to building a house in real life. If the foundation is strong, the building materials are good, the craftsmanship is right, etc., then when the storms come the house may take a beating, but it withstands the storms. There will always be storms in this lifetime, as we all well know.

We purchase health insurance for protection; we purchase home insurance, car insurance, etc., etc. Why in the world would we not want “God Insurance” for our families? I ask you today to stop the bus! Evaluate! Die to self! Assess! Remodel!!!!!! It is NEVER TO LATE to remodel and do it God's way. But know this . . . It is costly! You will have to be willing to die to self and put your spouse first!

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain!

Loving you all so very much!!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On Stand-by...

I am prayerfully looking at how God wants me to close out our Chaos study as we come to the end of Genesis 3, so be patient with me and know the blog is on its way in His timing.

Loving you the way it wouldn't hurt for some of you to send in your comments about the Chaos study and what your thoughts are thus far. Write me at 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Fragrance of Prague and Stopping the Chaos in the Family Home Stretch...

As I step back into writing the blog on a weekly basis, I cannot get away from the fragrance of Prague that is still a sweet reminder to pray daily for our missionary sisters all over Europe and beyond.  We continue to hear from the ladies of the fruit God is producing in and through them.   

I personally was encouraged and set back on course for His Kingdom’s sake while in Prague.  One thing that I am constantly reminded of in the journey is that life isn’t always easy, fair, and behaving the way I think it should, but God is always ‘faithful’.

Stopping the Chaos in the Family Home Stretch….

As we prepare to bring some closure in the next couple of weeks to our time together looking at the topic of Stopping the Chaos in the Family, I want us to use today as a review to get us back on track…

So, here are some things to be reminded of…
  • Genesis Chapters 1-3 are the foundation for our topic.  Read them over and over.
  • Chaos is defined as “a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.” 
  • Chaos limits our ability to communicate, instruct, listen, think, accomplish, learn, grow, etc.
  • Don’t be willing to settle for chaos! It will make the enemy happy and it will keep you from living life God’s way.
  • Chaos looks like:  disorder, nothing makes sense, confusion, things aren’t where they are supposed to be, you don’t know if you are coming or going.
  • Chaos feels like: we don’t know what we are supposed to do; we are overwhelmed, hopeless, and in shock or disbelief of our circumstances.
  • To remove chaos from your family/ life, you must be willing to:
    1. Get honest with yourself and acknowledge the chaos.  Admit your family is in trouble.
    2. Face the issues head-on as a family no matter how insurmountable they seem.
    3. Sort through some issues
    4. Ask for help (because drowning people can’t help drowning people).
    5. Do not let the enemy convince you that you are the only family experiencing chaos.
    6. You may need to separate from someone you love for a season in order to be able to come back together.
    7. Salvage what is good. (Getting order doesn’t mean doing away with everything. It means keeping what is good and getting rid of the chaos.)
    8. After order has been restored to your family, then you must be willing to walk away from the past by leaving it behind.
  • To stop chaos, you must get order.  To get order, you must establish the measurement (plumb line) for order.  In our case, that would be the authority of God’s written Word.
  • Psalms 127:1 tells us, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
  • Who’s the Boss?  God IS!
  • We looked at two forms of authority on this earth.  intrinsic and xxtrinsic
  • We established that only God has intrinsic authority.  He can act on whatever He says He will do and has the power and means to accomplish it.
  • We learned in Genesis 1 that God is Sovereign over all, Creator, Maker, and a God of provision.
  • We also learned from the Genesis 1-2 that where there is order there is provision.
  • We watched as God established the order for family…Man, Woman , the two became one and then there were children.
  • We established that chaos entered the world with Eve’s disobedience and then Adam’s.

And finally, we spent the last couple of blogs before I left for Prague discussing man’s attempt to cover up his sins and God’s provision for sin.

This overview positions us for our blog next week.  I do encourage you to go back to the first week we started this study and read through the principles that were flushed out in each week to make it more personable.

Love you all so much…
Loving my People Group, too…missionary women!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 9 Prague and 10 Amsterdam,...

Greetings from Amsterdam! The team is on our way home. By the time our families
get this blog we may be at the house with you.

Our last day with the missionary women was so awesome. Bonnie led us out in worship
and Janet and I brought the final words to them regarding “Standing in the Gap”. I can
promise you because of God, not because of man, that hearts were touched and refreshed
this week for kingdom work. On a personal level it was something I have needed for
several months.

One thing became clear this week…many of us are weary. One of the things I shared
with the group the first night was how I was desperately trying to find God’s rhythm in
the middle of my ‘new normal’ stage of my life right now. Many of you know my niece
and her 3 ½ month son live with us. Nothing has been normal since then……..
Quiet time doesn't happen at the normal time, breakfast doesn't, walking is gone for now,
etc. It is really crazy. I love my niece and great nephew so much, but as you know life
changes when there is a baby on the scene. That is my ‘new normal’ as Jana from our
Sunday school class calls it. And sometimes it can make you weary. Thursday Kristy
brought me a card with Matthew 11:28-30 on it from the message bible. You absolutely
have to love God’s Word and even if you don’t like different translations this one spoke
to us this week.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and
you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work
with me-watch how to do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything
heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep Company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and
lightly. Matthew 11: 28-30 TMSG

I want to thank everyone that touched those ladies lives with your giving, gifts, cards,
prayers, etc. They were so in awe of your graciousness and willingness to give above and
beyond and you don’t even know them face to face. We too, at Pure Joy International
feel the same way. While we know some of you, we really don’t know face to face so
many of you that have been led of God to be a part of this growing ministry. Thank you
for giving those of us that ‘go’ the ability to go so that we together are fulfilling God’s
word in Heb. 3:11 that tells us to encourage one another daily.

Keep a watch on the blog as I go back to finishing up our journey on ‘Stopping the Chaos
in the Family’. Also keep an eye out for upcoming dates and trips and let me know if you
believe God is calling you and or your church to be a part of any of those trips.

Love you much

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Prague Day 7...

Sweet, Sweet day of the presence of the LORD. God is working mightily in the hearts of
the missionary women and the team. You can actually observe the hand of God at work
in the hearts of the women. Many tears of relief, joy, conviction, hope, etc. shared today.

The speaking has been incredible. The LORD has used each speaker in a unique way to
reach the hearts of the women. He has woven their words together endlessly. During
testimony time tonight it was sweet to see that most of the women could not remember
what women spoke what truth but was able to share the truth itself. I shared with the
ladies my excitement over their inability to remember who said what because it affirms to
me that theses women allowed the spirit of God to speak to and through them these last 3
days. No personalities were present except the Spirit of God. Amen.

Tomorrow is our last day together with us finishing up at 2 pm Prague time. Please pray
for the final words to be spoken over these lades along with song of worship! Pray for
anyone that has not heard from God to hear from Him. Pray for travel for the missionary
women and the team as well, as we start our journey’s back home tomorrow.
Stand in the Gap for us as we finish strong!

Love you much…


Friday, October 26, 2012

Prague Day 6...

Wow! Great day in the LORD!!! We started our day with sweet worship led by Bonnie.
Ruth, Paula and Janet shared wonderful messages from the Word of God. We were able
to identify all the food we have eaten today, always a good sign in a foreign country.

Faith, Bonnie and one of our missionary women gave testimonies tonight of things God
is doing in their lives! Good words of encouragement to the women!

Messages today revolved around Exodus 17:12 the story of the Amalekites attack on the
children of Israel coming out of Egypt. Paula also talked to us out of Psalms 78 about
telling our story to the next generation.

God is moving in hearts to encourage! Weariness has been an overriding theme here. It
seems like many of the ladies and team members included are in a season of many trails.
Tonight we spent time in prayer before the LORD just asking Him to be the lifter of our

Keeping Praying we still have today and tomorrow for God to do some incredible work!

Love you..

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Prague Day 5...

The missionary women arrived today!  Yea!!   All 50 of them made it in before the opening worship tonight.  Except for just being tired from travel hearts are good and receptive.  Sweet group of women!  We introduced the team to the women, had a sweet time of worship, I shared my heart, we went to dinner and then came back and listened to each one of them share about their ministry and location. 

It is incredible to listen to all these women are up to in the Name of the LORD.  Please keep praying for them and the team.  If you are “Standing in the Gap” for them in prayer please pray for a good rest!  Pray that for the team as well.  This will be the first time since we got here that I have been able to get in bed before 11:30 p.m.   I’m confident the rest of the team is doing about the same or worse!  So, we could use prayers for strength.

Greatest line of the day………When one of our missionary women stood after listening to many other women share about how long they had been married, how long they had been on the field, and how many children they had and the ages of the children and I quote, “Being a missionary sure keeps you looking young.”   Now the secret is out as to why all the women are leaving the country! Ha, ha,ha,ha  just kidding.

Love you all,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Prague Day 4...

This morning I started my day at 7:45 with Patty calling to ask me a question about something. I was sound asleep. My alarm went off at 4 a.m. I did not!! I don’t even remember shutting it off. However, 1 hour later I was in the lobby ready to walk out the door with the team to go shopping. Not my favorite thing to do for those of you that know me. However, I always enjoy the fellowship of the team. Well OK  Will and I did sit and drink Costa Coffee at a coffee shop the first stop we made while everyone else shopped.  Which brings me to the place of saying to Kevin……..  “I think Penny still thinks it is her birthday!” ha, ha, ha, ha And John if you are reading this blog…….Bonnie has been hanging out with Penny.  That’s all I’m going to say.

Once we returned to the hotel we divided up into different teams to get preparations done and accomplished them in record time with incredible order.  Thank you Lord for such a sweet team!

We left at 5:30 and walked to our evening meal which was on a boat cruise.  It was a great time of fellowship and a good finish to our sightseeing days.

We arrived back at the hotel around 8:30 or so. Will and Rachel brought the keyboard we will be using this week so we could get it set up. We prayed over the room, tables, equipment, etc. Bonnie led us a time of worship and we have headed to our rooms to rest and get ready so we will be ready for the missionary women as they arrive tomorrow!  Please continue to pray that all these months of praying and preparing will come to fruition these next few days, months, and years ahead for HIS GLORY. For all of you that are praying for us we talked about you in our prayer time and team meeting this afternoon. We can feel HIS presence because you are “Standing in the Gap “for us as a team!  Thank you!

Love you so Much…Pray for those women as they leave husbands and kids behind tomorrow to know that God KNOWS!


Prague Day 3...

Well, the team was up and ready to go on Monday morning when Greg, our missionary guide, showed up to take us on our final day of sightseeing before the retreat. Monday was my favorite day of sightseeing because we got to walk across the Charles Bridge. I encourage you go to on line and read about the Charles Bridge.

We also spent our day in Old Town Prague. We went to the Jewish Quarter, the Old Town Tower, and witnessed the Astronomical Clock on the hour. You must read up on this online and watch some of the YouTube videos. Incredible stuff!  Just being inside Old Town Prague is incredible all by itself. 

We had lunch at a restaurant the served traditional Czech food. Some had sausage and buttered potatoes, others soup, salad, some schnitzel, potato salad, etc. Most would simply say it was different. We celebrated Penny’s (one of our team members) Birthday by ordering her a slice of cake which we helped eat!  She celebrated by buying herself a gift. I will wait until she has had time to tell her husband before I share it with you! Ha,ha,ha

Deb and I met with Eva our hotel contact for the conference room setup this afternoon.  She is an extremely kind young woman. Everything is running on schedule for our time here. Even the team! Ha,ha,ha

This morning (Tuesday) Will, Rachel’s husband, will take us shopping for a couple of hours this morning then starting after lunch it is all about retreat mode for the next 5 days!  Pray for us that as we begin to go through the trunks and sort through the many things so many of you have touched with your very hands that all will be in good shape from travel!

I pray that you that give financially, allowed your wives, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, nieces, to travel with the team, those that have made gifts, given gifts, prayed, etc. realize that you are ever bit a part of what is about to go on here for the next 5 days. We are first and foremost as a team, ambassadors for Christ. We also represent every penny, prayer, thought, tangible gifts, garage sale, bake sale, opportunity shared, when we stand before those women tomorrow afternoon for the first time as a team, you are part of that team!  Thank you sooooo much!

I love you all so much!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Greetings from Prague

We made it into Prague yesterday afternoon about 3:00 p.m. local time.  The team was pretty tired, myself included.  We were met at the airport by Will and Rachael.  Rachael got us to the Hotel so we could freshen up a bit before heading to dinner.  Dinner was an Italian Restaurant were we agreed as a team to do a style of eating where they bring you endless helpings of every possible type of pasta you can imagine along with different pizza until you tell them to stop.  I can promise you we needed it for our touring today because we put some mileage on our feet! 

Today we started our day out by visiting a Czech International Church.  We had a sweet time of worship and a great message.  We then grabbed a quick sandwich at little place near the church and then we were off to visit the Prague Castle.  If you want to Czech out our touring today you can click on the following link    Again we had a missionary couple, Brian and Allie, that were our guides.  We had sweet time with them throughout the day and then went to dinner at a restaurant that served mostly Czech food.
It was wonderful!   We came back to the hotel and had our first team meeting and prayer time.

Things that were eventful among the last two days:
  • Our flight out of Atlanta on Friday afternoon was delayed because they could not get the seal vacuum on one of the exit doors to work.  We ended up having to return to the gate just after leaving the gate onto the tarmac.
  • Bonnie did not have her luggage checked through to Czech so we had to dress her in a variety of things yesterday.  Her suitcase did come in at 12:30 or so this morning.
  • We have been here less than 48 hours and have ridden the tram, bus, subway.  Incredible transportation system here!  You can get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time through these means.
  • The streets and sidewalks here are made of cobblestone.  It is interesting to watch the ladies that walk around in high heels.  I told Alley today if that was me I would have broken something and be laid out.

Pray for us as we spend another day tomorrow getting to know some of this area.
Our schedule looks like this:

·         Sightseeing East of the Vlatava
8:30 meet Greg in Hotel lobby
* Old town Square- Clock
* Jewish Quarter
* Charles Bridge
* Wenceslas Square

Keep praying for the missionary women and the retreat.  Also, remember one of the ladies named Denise. She has had some health complication and needs our prayers!!
Love you all very much,


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Prague, Here We Come!

Excitement is in the air around here this week. I just returned from Tulsa, Oklahoma where we packed trunks for our trip to Prague. Several weeks ago, we packed trunks in Longview, Texas and tonight (Monday) we packed the trunks from Arkansas, and Wednesday night they pack in South Carolina. Reality sets in when you start putting things in those trunks! It is so sweet to see the team working together as the body of Christ to accomplish His plans. Ladies in Prague, get ready because this team is ready to encourage and love on you!

For those of you who have been following the Stop the Chaos in the Family we will pick back up with that in two weeks. In the mean time I want to encourage you (if you haven’t already) to follow the directions I am listing below to be able to follow our trip to Prague with us. I will be writing a daily blog from this Friday, October 19th through Sunday, October 28th.  If you are not already receiving these entries by email and are reading this on the Blog page just look to the right where you will see “Enter your email”

  • Enter your email address and press “subscribe”.
  • A pop-up from Feedburner will require you to enter the code on the screen. There will by a message directing you to your inbox. Look in your inbox for a message from “Feedburner Email Subscriptions” (check your spam or junk folder if you do not see the note).
  • Click on the link in the message to complete the subscription process.

Now for those of you that are wondering . . . as of your reading of this blog we have ALL of our missionary women sponsored for this trip!! Praise God for His Faithfulness!!
I love it that you all take seriously your giving to this ministry and to our missionary women! Thank you each and every one who has been praying, giving and who are going on this trip! We have had some incredible encouragement from so many about what God is up to with this particular trip. I can’t wait to see His hand at work.

Watch for the next blog on Saturday. We will be in Prague by then. Also, remember to keep the team, the missionary women, and all our families in prayer while we are gone.

Love you all so much!


“The man who is elated by success and is cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it.” A.W. Tozer

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Prague Update and "Stopping the Chaos in the Family" Continued...

God is moving on behalf of the missionary women. Last week while the blog was at the editor’s, I found out that we had received another gift of $2000. That brought us down to 10 ½ ladies left to be sponsored. This past weekend several of us did the 2nd round of garage sales. The temperature dropped overnight from the upper 70’s to the mid 50’s. And the rain came with it. But, before it got the best of us, we raised another $277 and some change. So, that brought us down to 10, and the covering of at least an arm or a leg of another missionary. We needed some torso money again! Ha, ha, ha. As of today, we have all but nine missionary women sponsored. So pray, give, and share with others the opportunity to give; and watch as God continues to accomplish His will of providing for the missionary women attending this retreat. 

The team is ready and is dealing with final details as we go into the last leg of preparations. We have a lot to get done in these last 10 days before we leave the country. Packing will start taking place, the final checklist looked at, and lots of prayers will be asked of God that He will help us to make sure nothing is left undone.

So keep praying and keep giving as God leads! We are almost there!!!!

Stopping the Chaos in the Family . . .

Last week I shared a story with you that a young man had shared with me concerning the blood of Christ and Isaiah 53:5. We established that truly Jesus paid it all through and through. He is our righteousness and we don’t have righteousness in and of ourselves.

 I really need you to get hold of this truth. It is where our freedom in Christ and our great understanding of grace come from. Understanding this truth will change your walk with God. It will set you free and eliminate much chaos in the home! I came to this understanding about 18 years ago in my walk with the LORD. It looked something like this . . .

At that time, God had allowed me the opportunity to be able to share my spiritual gifts through teaching and speaking. I was traveling and speaking with a ministry out of Austin, TX. The result of this is I was also given opportunities to speak in churches and other established ministries. This resulted in me spending a tremendous amount of time in the Word and with the LORD. The end result was the enemy came by dangling a little bit of temptation in front of me to throw me off course, and I took the bait. I was devastated. I could not believe that I could have been deceived in such a fashion! I was in the Word, I was praying, I was hanging out with godly people, I was being used of God to minister to other people and set them free, I, I, I, I, I. Are you seeing this picture? I was so distraught that I even considered, “What is the point of life?” That is when God got hold of me and changed my journey. As I sat out on my back porch fully distraught from the situation ready to walk out of life, God spoke to my heart in that small but firm gentle voice, "Vickie, who do you think you are! This journey isn't about your righteousness. Yes, you have failed but your standing (righteousness) with Me isn't based on your performance or lack of performance, but completely on the finished work of the shed blood on the cross, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ! You, Vickie, have no righteousness apart from Me!” Girls, don't confuse doing right things for the righteousness of Christ. Christ is our righteousness, and He gives us right standing before God. Because of His righteousness in us, we do desire to live upright and pursue His desires . . . not ours! But never believe the lie that our failures in righteous living change our right standing before God! Jesus purchased that righteousness for us once and for all!!! As a result of that day with the LORD, I came to a true understanding of who I am in Christ.

Romans 5:17
For if, by the trespass of the one man [Adam], death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ (NIV 1984, “Adam” added).

Because of that day, I came to a true understanding that I would never be good enough to warrant right standing with God because of what I do. However, I will have that right standing before Him because of whose I am: a child of God.

John 1:12-13
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (ESV).

I fail miserably at times in my walk with the LORD, but that cannot change my right standing before God. Amen!

My precious ones, get hold of this truth! God isn’t concerned about how many times we hit the wall. What He cares about is that when we get up, we are still moving toward Him. Christ in us is the only thing that gives us the desire to carry on! So my sweet sisters, CARRY ON, there is kingdom work to be done!!

Love you much!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Prague News and "Stopping the Chaos in the Family"...

As we get into our home stretch for the Prague trip, I wanted to change the order of sharing information. It has been so fun to watch God at work during these last couple of weeks and I just want us to see His Hand at work together!!!

First, let me start out by saying I would not like to see another chicken cheese enchilada for a while. Over the weekend several of the team members, some Sunday school class members, previous team members, and a couple of girls I have the privilege of discipling and their children worked from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening making enchiladas and baked goods such as coconut cream pies, no bake cookies, chocolate pies, etc. The end result was that enough donations were given to sponsor 6 more missionary women at $500 per missionary. That money pays for them to stay 4 days, 3 nights in a nice hotel, all meals paid for, all materials covered, and the opportunity to hear messages given specifically for them, plus worship, fellowship, free time, etc. As of this writing, we only lack 14 ½ missionary women to have all 50 missionary women sponsored! We are so praising God and excited to see how He goes about bringing in the provision for the last 14 ½ ladies! Stay tuned! Remember, if He moves on your heart to give, be obedient. Otherwise, pray, pray, pray!

A couple of weeks ago I asked the missionary women to send me things I could share with you. This week one of women named Becky has sent a few different blogs that will give you some insight into ministry for her.

Expect great things during the next couple of weeks as we watch God move on behalf of these missionary women!!

[Special Note:  While this blog was sitting in the hands of the editor I received a phone call letting me know that we received a check for $2000.00 to sponsor 4 more missionary women!  WooooooooWhoooooooooo!!! 

So, we only have 10 ½ missionary women left to sponsor!  God is so good!!!!

Stopping the Chaos in the Family . . .

Last week we established that the shedding of blood and death took place for the first time following Adam and Eve’s disobedience (sin) toward God. This death (sacrifice) of the animal and the shedding of its blood is a foreshadowing of Christ’s shedding of blood and His death on the cross for forgiveness of our sins.

I want to share a story with you about a young man who shared with me several years ago as we were doing some clean up at a youth camp following dinner. He told me that his pastor had shared this with the congregation weeks before. First, he asked me to look at
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV):

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

Then he asked me these questions:
  1. “What is a wound?” I responded that it is a cut, open sore, torn skin, etc.
  2. “What are transgressions?” I responded that it is sin against God, and more specifically, to knowingly sin against him.
  3. “What is a bruise?” My reply was that it is when there has been a blow to your body but it bleeds on the inside not the outside.
  4. “What are iniquities?” My response was that I think of iniquities as more of internal sins: sins of the mind, heart, secret sin, strongholds, etc.

He then shared this with me: Vickie, Jesus was wounded (shed blood) for all your transgressions. All the times in your life past, present, and future that you will blatantly sin against Him when you know you shouldn’t do something. But, He was also bruised (shed blood internally) for those sins that are of the heart: bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, wrong thinking, etc. When Jesus shed His blood on the cross for our sins, it was shed from the outside in to the inside out. He has us covered with the blood through and through! So, don’t let the enemy ever convince you that you have ever committed a sin outwardly or inwardly that isn’t covered by Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross! He’s got us covered!!! He has clothed us in His righteousness!
Love you all so much . . . keep praying for those last 10½ missionary women!!!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

“Stopping the Chaos in the Family” continued and Prague News...

Last week I left you with the principle from Genesis 3:14 that God addressed the serpent first after giving Adam and Eve a chance to repent, because He knows who the real enemy is.

I hope during this past week that you have taken to heart that principle and have been able to acknowledge that your spouse is not the enemy. When we recognize this truth, it helps stop some of the craziness in our homes and helps us to come together to fight against the true enemy of our home: Satan.

Today, we are going to look at how God clothed Adam and Eve. But, before we do, there is one more principle I want you to see.  While God addressed Adam first in the garden with the opportunity to repent, He did not address Adam first when it came to consequences of sin. He addressed first the serpent as the real enemy, and then He addressed Eve. He held Eve responsible for her sin and gave her consequences accordingly. He then addressed Adam and gave him consequences as well. We will be held accountable for our sin as individuals. Doesn’t matter who started it!!

Notice when He spoke to Adam, He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you ‘Do not eat of it’. . .” (Genesis 3:17).

I love that picture of God addressing Adam. I believe we deal with this same issue in our lives at times as we follow God in our journey here. God tells us something very clearly. But someone comes along that we choose to listen to instead of God. I have watched ministries and churches experience serious problems because those in leadership heard from God but listened to the voice of others. Oh, but for the grace of God, go I! It is difficult sometimes to stick to what you KNOW God has told you when others around you may appear to know more, be a more mature believer, or have more knowledge, or when you don’t want someone to be upset with you. But, woe the consequences of disobedience when we walk away from His direction.

Enough on that. Let’s look at God’s wardrobe for Adam and Eve versus their loincloths of fig leaves. Several weeks ago, we talked about how Adam and Eve tried to cover their guilt and shame that resulted from their disobedience. We talked about how we try to cover our guilt and shame. Today, I want you to understand something very important about what happened next in the garden. God clothed Adam and Eve to take away their shame and guilt from their recognition of their nakedness. Adam and Eve tried to clothe themselves, but it wasn’t enough. Our way to righteousness will never be enough. We can’t go to church enough, pray enough, worship enough, do enough good works, etc. Blood had to be shed, and death had to take place. I like what Matthew Henry says:

The beasts whose skins they were must be slain, slain before their eyes, to show them what death is, and (as it is Eccl. 3:18) that they may see that they themselves were beasts, mortal and dying. It is supposed that they were slain, not for food, but for sacrifice, to typify the great sacrifice, which, in the latter end of the world, should be offered once for all. Thus the first thing that died was a sacrifice or Christ in a figure, who is therefore said to be the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. These sacrifices were divided between God and man, in token of reconciliation: the flesh was offered to God, a whole burnt-offering; the skins were given to man for clothing, signifying that, Jesus Christ having offered himself to God a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour, we are to clothe ourselves with his righteousness as with a garment, that the shame of our nakedness may not appear. Adam and Eve made for themselves aprons of fig-leaves, a covering too narrow for them to wrap themselves in, Isa. 28:20. Such are all the rags of our own righteousness. But God made them coats of skins; large, and strong, and durable, and fit for them; such is the righteousness of Christ. Therefore put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we accept and believe Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross, we have put on the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ll never forget when I came to an understanding of the truth of the statement Jesus made from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” When I was doing a Beth Moore study, she identified that word forgive as a continuous verb. That was life changing for my spiritual growth at that moment in time. I saw the truth of the power of the word forgiveness! I saw the power of His spilled out blood! I came to understand that I had no righteousness apart from Him, that He is my righteousness!!

Do you understand the power of the word “forgiveness”? If you haven’t been forgiven, you can’t possibly understand grace. And if you understand grace, you are without excuse to extend forgiveness to others.

Many homes are in chaos right now as I write these words, because they are too hurt to forgive, too prideful to forgive, too selfish to forgive, too angry to forgive. And all of these eventually lead to bitterness and destruction of self, others, marriages, and families. Forgiveness is a choice, not an emotion!!!

Prague News . . .

Well, pray for us this weekend in Arkansas as we do our bake sale and enchilada sale to raise money for the missionary women. We still need 20 women to be sponsored as of this writing. We are in the last leg of preparations for the trip, so please step up those prayers!!

I wrote the missionary women and asked if any of them would like to share anything with you guys, and a couple of them wrote back with the following links to blogs they themselves write if you’d like to check them out.

Stacy gave us these two stories from her blog:

One of our Rachels  (we have a few from this bunch) sent the following links to her blog and a story:

Enjoy the reading, and don’t forget to be praying for all the missionary women who will be in attendance!

Love you all!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Stopping the Chaos in the Family" and Prague Update...

Ladies, today we are going to look at the first seven words of Genesis 3:14. But first, let me remind you of the preceding verses.

Genesis 3:8-13

8And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

I want you to get this. God gave Adam and Eve an opportunity in the garden to repent when He said, “Where are you?” And again, when He said, “Who told you that you were naked?” God knew they were hiding, and He knew they had sinned, but He was giving them the opportunity to come clean. But, instead, Adam blamed God and the woman, and the woman blamed the serpent.

Genesis 3:14, first seven words . . .

The Lord God said to the serpent . . .

Major principle to consider today:

Notice the order in which God addressed the consequences of sin.

He addressed the serpent first. (“The LORD God said to the serpent . . .”) God demonstrated something He teaches us through His Word in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the cosmic powers (rulers) over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Let me translate something to you regarding husband and wife relationships. Your husband is not the enemy!!!!!!!! Husbands, your wife is not the enemy!!!!!! We have an enemy, and they’re not it!!!! But, as long as we are attacking the wrong source, we will continue to be defeated!!! The enemy is laughing his head off at some of you reading this, because you are destroying your marriage by not realizing this truth. Say to yourself until you believe this truth, “My husband is not the enemy!” “My wife is not the enemy!” “My children are not the enemy!” “My boss is not the enemy!” “My in-laws and out-laws are not the enemy!” When you grasp this truth, it will change your attitude toward others.

So, your challenge this week: When you are sitting across from him at dinner or breakfast or you just roll over in bed and see his face, REMEMBER . . . he is not the enemy!! I know some of you are thinking, “Yeah, maybe not . . . but I’m sure he is employed by him! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh, well. (Smile)

Prague News . . .

We have had some real sweet prayer times this past week for our missionary women, who will be attending the retreat in Prague. I hope many of you too are lifting them up in prayer. We have another missionary sponsored this week, so that is 29 sponsored so far. I love watching God bring in the resources for that which He has called us to do!

Ok, so as I’ve been looking at more stuff about Prague to share with you, I ran across a question asked by someone who was taking their 10-year-old child to Prague and wanted to know some good sightseeing things for children. Well, one of the things they mentioned was a Chocolate Museum. I’m thinking, “Forget the 10-year-old child. You are talking to a bunch of women here!” Women and Chocolate are like Ham and Eggs, Shoes and Socks, Salt and Pepper, etc. You get it!!!!! So, I thought you might want to do a little online peek:


Love you all!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

“Stopping the Chaos in the Family” and Prague News!

As I write this blog today, my first thought is, “how many of you were able to get ‘honest’ with yourself last week?” Several of my dear friends have shared with me the realization of throwing their husbands under the bus since last week’s blog came out. One actually suggested that not only did she throw him under the bus but backed over him a few times for good measure! Ha, ha, ha, ha! I can only laugh about this because I know each one of their hearts, and they did go to their spouses and make things right.

God put Adam in a position to get honest, but he blamed God and Eve by saying, “the woman you gave me”. You know what I love about Scripture?!? God honors His own principles throughout it. Notice, God honors His own ‘order of creation’ by going straight to Adam and not Eve even though she was the one who was deceived. God held Adam accountable for taking care of his family. Now, in fairness to some men out there, I know you want to take care of your wives but they won’t let you. Ladies, you have to let your husbands take care of you! And yes, you need to communicate what that looks like because some men think they are taking care of you from their perspective, and from yours they are not! It’s called ‘communication’. The principle works in reverse, too. You think you are being an encouragement to your husbands by doing such and such, but that isn’t their idea of encouragement. And yes, some of you think their only idea of encouragement starts with an S and ends with an X. But, there are actually other things that encourage them, like God’s instruction to us to respect our husband. They need respect. Find something to respect about your husband and then let him know you respect him for that!!

Last week we looked at how the emotional consequences of sin can cause a breakdown in intimacy with God and our spouse which results in ‘chaos’ in our marriages and families. We also observed Adam and Eve addressing this problem by dressing themselves in loincloths of fig leaves to cover up the guilt and shame, and afterward hiding, fear, and blame were at work thinking that God would find out what they had done.

What do you suppose we use as loincloths today to cover our guilt and shame? May I suggest some things to ponder . . . how about denial, anger, blame, a job position, educational titles, performance, money, religion, withdrawal, eating disorders, etc.?

Sadly, loincloths take on many forms in our world today as we try to cover up our guilt and shame and their traveling partners of hiding, fear, and blame. And, hear my heart on this subject, most people have no clue this is what they are doing, even in the body of Christ.

I have a little statement God gave me a long time ago to help people recognize sin at work in their lives. “If you have to hide it, sneak it, or lie about it, God isn’t in it and the enemy is at work!” Are you hiding anything as you read this today? Hiding from God (which He knows) or hiding something from your spouse? Sneaking something? Got some things you don’t want him to know about that you have justified his not knowing? What about just flat lying to him about issues - All those things prevent intimacy from taking place with God and your spouse on the level God desires for you to experience intimacy?

Not only does hiding prevent intimacy, it gives the enemy a stronghold in your life and makes chaos for the whole family system. Why? Because as it has been said, “We don’t sin in a vacuum.” Our sin affects those around us.

So, I close this area of the blog again today saying to you that our cover up will never be sufficient. And our cover up will always cause intimacy to be forfeited with God, spouse, family, and others.

I know I parked in this area an extra week before sharing with you God’s plan for guilt and shame, but I am seriously asking us to sit before a Holy God and ask Him to search our hearts. We in the body of Christ have to stop allowing the enemy to steal our intimacy with God and our families away from us. WE DO HAVE A CHOICE!!

Prague News!

The garage sale weekend was awesome! We made just over a thousand dollars, which sponsors two more of our missionary women who will be attending. Ben Roberson (pictured at left), the son of Kim who hosted the sale at her house, also sold soda pop to raise money as well. He has his own jar that said Pure Joy Donations on it. When it came time to count the money, Ben kept his jar because he wanted to take it to our Sunday school classroom to raise more money, and we left his money in there for ‘seed money.’ Ben’s seed money turned into another $250.63 that takes care of another half a missionary to attend! Thank you, Lord, for his precious heart for You! Ben is leaving seed money in his jar in our class to be passed each week until we leave for Prague. I encourage someone reading this blog to take a challenge and match Ben’s money that comes in each week. This week it was $250.63. Next week it may be more or less. Pray and see if God would have you to take the challenge.

We are on the road to Prague fully loaded! We have our 50 missionary women on board. We have 28 of them sponsored as of this writing! Yeah God!! That is three more than last week! Gotta love how God works on behalf of these missionary women. They received their first official letter from me this week encouraging them to start reading the blog with us. So hello, ladies, if you are joining us for the first time!

Pray for Ben and his seed money jar!

Love you all!