Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Love is Harmless…and a Fun Fact from Dominican Republic

First off, let me start out by saying that I cannot believe you let me get away with calling the 5th commandment the 6th commandment last week. We actually looked at the 5th commandment “Honor your Father and your Mother” not the 6th commandment. But that is ok, because we are looking at the 6th commandment this week. As always, I direct you back to our blog dating March 22, 2012 if you desire to start this journey from the beginning (

Also, here is a quick review of what we have covered so far.

1st Commandment “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:1-3).
Love Command: Love is Loyal

2nd Commandment “You shall not worship idols” (Exodus 20:4).
Love Command: Love is Faithful

3rd Commandment “You shall not take the name of the LORD in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
Love Command: Love is Reverent

4th Commandment “Keep the Sabbath holy” (Exodus 20:8).
Love Command: Love is Intimate

5th Commandment “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12).
Love Command: Love is Respectful

Today we continue our series on the Ten Commandments and the Love Commands.

th Commandment “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
Love Command: Love is Harmless

Today we touch on a really difficult commandment: Love is harmless. I am supposing that statement touches a lot of you out there today, because for so many people love has been anything but harmless. In fact, for many, by the time you reach my age, you have been on both sides of that coin. Each of us has been the one who has harmed others and the one who has been harmed. And honestly, chances are we will be on both sides of that coin many time before we die. However, I desire to be on neither side as do you, I would suppose. The truth is, one of those sides of the coin we have no control over. The other we do. We can do our best to make sure our love toward others is harmless. So, what might that look like? Well, ask yourself if you are careful with your words, your actions, your thoughts toward others. Do you consider the weight of the things you say to others and your actions toward them? I challenge you this week to be aware of your words to others and how you talk to yourself.

Remember, the last 6 commandments are about our love toward others and our self. What would happen if you caught yourself each time before the words leave your mouth that would bring harm to someone? Give it a try this week and see what happens.

Dominican News…

We have only 28 more missionary women to sponsor as of this writing! Yeah God! Keep praying and give as He leads!

Now remember I told you I was going to ask the team to share some things about what it has been like to be a part of the team so far, and I also was going to ask the missionary women to weigh in with some fun facts about Dominican and/or just missionary life in general. Well, the team came up short for this blog but NOT the missionary women. The first fun fact comes in from our missionary sister Kelly.

Fun fact - Kelly

We all know the good ol' "Vick's Vaporub" our grandmothers kept in the bathroom medicine cabinet (in fact my grandmother still has one in hers that is made of glass!). Well, here in the D.R. this is a standard for all - and the slang name for it is "Mentól". In fact it is sooo commonly used and for soooo many purposes that it is even manufactured in a handy-dandy purse size pod! And soooo cheap too - gotta love that! Well, let me explain all of the ways it is used here. Mosquito bites? - dab on a little Mentól! Bad headache? - rub some on the forehead and temples! Horrible cough or as we would say here, "gripe"? - put it everywhere - head to toe! A bad bang on the head, and got a little swelling? - smother it with Mentól - it will bring the swelling down! And last but not least...the lady that works for me, dear Miriam, always makes me a homemade tea of sour orange leaves, the spice "malagueta" ( I have noo idea what that is in English), cinnamon, guessed it, a dab of Mentól when my headaches have turned into "jaquecas" or migraines!!! Now if any of my dear friends from the D.R. are reading this - I know you are laughing your heads off right now, because you know that I have converted - I have a pod of "Mentól" in every cupboard and in every purse - it really does work :)! Blessings to all today!

All I can say to that is…anything that starts out with the first four letters being Vick can’t be anything but good! Ha, ha, ha!

Have a great week!

Love you all!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Love is Respectful…and Dominican Republic News

Four weeks ago we began a journey of looking at the Ten Commandments through the eyes of grace which gives us the Ten Love Commands.

Again, I encourage you to go back to our blog dating March 22, 2012 where this journey begins of addressing one commandment a week (

As we begin to look at the last six commandments I would like to remind all of us that those first four commandments are how we demonstrate our love toward God. Those of you who are married, the first four Love Commands are really the way a woman should also demonstrate her love toward her husband.

Your love toward your spouse should be Loyal, Faithful, Reverent, and Intimate. Is it loyal in that you don’t put anything in front of him except God who positions you to put your husband before everything but God? Is it faithful in that you do not give your heart or emotions to another man, your children, a ministry, or anything else to meet the needs that your spouse is supposed to meet? Is it reverent in that you show honor toward him? Is it intimate in that you try to set aside time with him to share your heart (even though he isn’t sensitive to you sometimes)? These are powerful truths to consider.

As we look at our last six commandments may we be reminded they are about our Love toward others and ourselves. In the book of Mark chapter 12 we are reminded of Jesus’ response to the teachers of the law when questioned about the greatest commandment.

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

So the sixth commandment is this:

6. You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39).

Love Command: Love is respectful.

I wonder if your love toward others today is respectful. Can I be honest with you? It can be downright hard to respect some people. In fact, some people just flat out don’t deserve respect because of their behaviors. But, I have learned this over time: When I can’t respect the person out right, I can respect them as God’s creation. Another thing I want to share here that is important to ponder: This commandment says, “love your neighbor as yourself.” God actually tells us to love ourselves. But it is with the same unconditional love we are to love others with. It isn’t the love of self (flesh).

Think on that because truthfully until you have a healthy God-centered love of self you are not capable of loving others rightly! In fact, when our love toward self isn’t God-centered and healthy, we only are capable of loving others to ‘get.’ As I tell my clients, “you love to get something” instead of “loving to give something.” In fact, deeply unhealthy people are pure takers. Oops sorry, got into a counseling mode there for a second. Anyway, you get the picture. So please treat yourself with respect (yes, yourself) so you will be able to treat others in like fashion.

Dominican News…

Well, the fun is beginning for this trip. One of our ministry staff just shot us a picture of one of the fun things we will be taking to the women. Two of our DR team members just got back from a long weekend at the beach. I’m telling you, we have to do some major preparation to get ready for this time with our missionary women. Ha, ha, ha!

Continue to pray and give as you are led. We have 20. 6 missionaries sponsored as of this writing. That means 20 women and a little over half a body. Ha, ha! Still 29.4 to go.

I have asked the team members who are compelled to write me a short note of how they are seeing God at work in the preparation process for this trip. I will post that with the blog next week.

I am sending out an email to our missionary women who will be attending the conference next month. I try to email them at least 3 times from the point that we close registration and the actual retreat days. I am asking them to send me one really cool interesting fact about the Dominican Republic area and/or their life there and/or ministry. So keep a watchful eye as I post those in the weeks to come.

I love you all!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Love is Intimate…and Dominican Republic Trip

The word intimate is a word that can bring up a bunch of different meanings and emotions to different people. Your husbands probably think it means, “Meet me in the bedroom!” Wives, you probably think it means, “Hold me, talk with me, and NOTHING ELSE!” Ha, ha!
This week as we continue our look at the Ten Commandments from the perspective of Grace (Love), we are talking about Intimacy. Again I encourage you to go back to our starting point for the 10 Commandments on the blog (March 22, 2012).

So far we have looked at our first three commandments:

1. You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3).

 Love Command: Love is Loyal

2. You shall not make any graven image (idol) or bow down before them or serve them (Exodus 20:4-5).

Love Command: Love is Faithful

3. You shall not take the name of the LORD in vain (Exodus 20:7).

Love Command: Love is Reverent

The Fourth Commandment is:

4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it Holy (Exodus 20:8).

Love Command: Love is Intimate

The definition of the word ‘intimate’ for our purpose simply means a close, confident, relationship such as with a very best friend.

Is your love toward the LORD intimate? Is He a close friend, a confidant? Is He your best friend? Those that know me well know that I don’t call anyone in the physical my best friend. I have some very good friends and some very close, close friends but Jesus Christ the Son of God is my BEST FRIEND! He is the one I can run to, trust, and share my deepest heart, thoughts, emotions and feelings with. He is always available; He always hears, and He always knows what is best for me. He also knows how to get my attention through conviction, mature me through life challenges, and encourage me through His words. HE IS!

Do you take time throughout the day to talk with Him, be still with Him, praise Him, etc? Do you realize that while He doesn’t physically hold your hand He spiritually holds your heart! He cares; He is gentle, kind, and GOOD ALL THE TIME! How’s that for an awesome intimate Best Friend!

I challenge you this week to take time to be intimate with Him. You won’t regret it and I can PROMISE YOU it will change your life!

Dominican Republic News…

The team meeting was awesome Monday night. We talked via Skype with the team members from Oklahoma and Texas, while five of us from Arkansas were in one  place and the other four from their home bases. We got lots of things talked about and walked through our schedule for the Retreat. Of course as always we all continue to pray daily for the women who will be attending, and we encourage you to join with us.

I’m excited about what God is up to with this team. The team is always different for every trip and it makes for a whole different set of energy. I have one true blue fun girl in this group that I am starting to suspect she really wanted to be a stand up comedian in real life. Hmmm…could that be Faith?

As we continue to prepare please pray those of us who will be speaking as we allow God to communicate into our hearts His messages on our theme of “Endless Love” and our verse, Psalm 103:12.

I love you all! Have a great week with HIM!


P.S. God is sooooooo cool. I was just getting ready to send this to the editor and in opening my emails I had a message from Chris Johnson, Pastor of FBC Albertville, Alabama. If you remember I attended their first ever Missions Conference back in January of this past year. It was called Advance 20/20. Awesome conference! Anyway, I just received an email from Pastor Chris who said their church is sponsoring a missionary for Dominican Republic. Why? Because they get missions and what our missionaries go through on the field and the benefit of a time of rest for them! Thank you FBC Albertville, Alabama!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Love is Reverent... and Dominican Retreat Update

We continue our look at the Ten Commandments from the perspective of Grace which gives us the Ten Love Commands.  Again, I suggest if you have not been following our blog since beginning this journey through the Love Commands that you go back and start reading the blog forward from March 22, 2012. 
So far we have looked at our first two commandments:

1.  You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

      Love Command: Love is Loyal

2.  You shall not make any graven image (idol) or bow down before them or serve them.  (Exodus 20:4-5)

     Love Command:  Love is Faithful

This past week I pray you took the challenge to really ask yourself daily if your love towards God is faithful.  Did you identify anything you are holding on to more than you desire to hold on to Him?  God’s word tells us in Jonah 2:8 “that those that cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace of God”.  (NIV)   I like to look at it this way.  You can’t hang on to the things of this world and hang on to God.   Eventually, you lose your grip on one or the other.

Today, we look at our third commandment.

3.  You shall not take the name of the LORD in vain.  (Exodus 20:7)

     Love Command:  Love is Reverent

Reverent means to respect and/or to honor.  God’s word commands us not to take the honor, authority, and/or character of God and speak deceptively about it, blasphemous, vulgar, falsely, etc.   So many times we as Christians excuse ourselves by believing if we don’t use the cussing version of taking the LORD’S name in vain that we get a pat on the shoulder and a pass.  My dear friends, this verse is telling us not to dishonor the truth of Who He IS as God in our everyday conversations by misrepresenting Him.   Here are some simple examples of this:  Do you claim to be a follower of Christ but you live daily no different than the world?  This dishonors God because it communicates “Jesus doesn’t make a difference”.   Do you teach a Sunday School class and then through the week talk to your family, peers, employees, and employers with harsh language, disrespect, unkindness, all the time proclaiming you’re God’s child?  This takes His name in vain.  Do you wear a t-shirt proclaiming His greatness, or the Cross, or Him as your Savior and you are involved in adultery, stealing, lying, etc. on a habitual basis? 

This week I challenge you to consider your reverence to God.  Are you respectful to Him, His authority and Character as you journey through the day?

Pure Joy Dominican Republic News:

I recently received this email from one of the ladies that will be attending the retreat in May.  I have taken her name out and the exact location of the retreat but you will have no trouble seeing her heart as she wrote to me.

Dear Vickie,

I am one of the 50 going on the retreat in May 23-26.  I am still absolutely blown away and speechless that anyone would do this for us?!?!  I'm 38, and we've been serving now since '96, and I have NEVER seen any type of ministering or act of love of complete giving out towards us such as this.

I just had to say thank you.  I am so very grateful to you and your "team".  I am just thrilled about the theme God has laid upon your heart!  I can relate!  I will be a conference speaker coming up in early May, and God gave me the theme: Promises given in Secret Places" - I felt spiritually and mentally worn out begging on my face for God's voice in giving me His theme.  Know that you are being lifted up in Santiago, D.R.

Abrazos!  (hugs),

This one email represents the heart beat of our missionary women from all walks of life as they await our time together.  I hope you caught that while she is excited about us coming she is also continuing to be obedient to that which God has called her to there on the field!  I also hope you caught that while we are praying for our missionary women they are praying for us too!  God is being talked to from both sides and all of you that pray and give are the filling! (smile)

We have 4 more missionary women sponsored since our last report.  That gives us 17 sponsored with 33 more to go.  Keep praying and keep giving as the LORD leads!!!

Lots of activity is going on in regard to our trip preparations.  Last week some of our team members from Evergreen Church in Broken Arrow, OK had a Night of Pure Joy and were able to share with the women in their church about the up-coming trip and ways they could be involved.  Team members from Antioch, Conway, AR raised some missionary support this past weekend by cooking up desserts for those that called in pie, cake and cookie orders that were then delivered to the church on Sunday for pick up. We received some support for the missionary women from our Houston connections last week as well. 

I am still hearing from the missionary women and their excitement about our coming.  As I shared last week those that live far off from the retreat site continue to figure out how to carpool with each other to get themselves to retreat.   It has been fun watching some of the emails go back and forth from the ladies as they communicate and are already making connections with one another for the trip.

It is so hard to believe that we are less then two months from our departure time to the Dominican Republic. God is working! All the Time!!!! 

Love you all…