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!