Monday, December 30, 2013

Stepping Away for a Moment...

I want to step away this week from our look at the Character of God to place a challenge before you as a child of the King.  Starting in January of this year I will strategically be taking my group of young women I disciple through a journey of God’s word using the materials written by Iva and Stan May, PhD.

Through the test of time, Iva and Stan have developed the Chronological Bible Teaching materials that many individuals, small groups, and churches are using to bring Bible literacy to God's people.  To better understand this opportunity to journey with thousands of people please go to   Iva will be writing daily on her blog regarding the daily readings for the year 2014 so don't miss out on the opportunity to read her thoughts as she shares more with you about that particular day’s reading.

It is my personal prayer for all of you, and myself, that as children of the Most High King we will be disciplined and steadfast in this challenge to read through His word in the year 2014.  Please take time to go to Iva’s website to read more of what she would say to you in preparing for this journey.  

We, at Pure Joy International, are looking ahead to all that God has in store for our missionary women all over the world in 2014!  We are so excited to see so many of you joining us as God moves on your heart to partner and come alongside us.  Thank you again for your obedience to Him!

Praying for all of you to have an incredible New Year in your walk with our most Gracious Loving Father!  Gear up for the journey and "keep walking"!



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

God is Merciful...

This week we look at the character attribute of God regarding His mercy.  I am so thankful for His mercy towards us as His children.  Before we discuss this attribute, I want to encourage you to look back over the attributes we have looked at thus far;  God is Good, He is Omnipresent (always present),  Omniscient (all knowing), Omnipotent (all powerful), Infinite, Holy, and Faithful.  I pray that you do understand that these attributes of God hold true 100% of the time.

I made the following comment the first week we began to look at the attributes..."We don't trust who we don't know!"  Our ability to grow in our faith is directly relational to our trust in Him being who He says He is! 

Merciful - God is an actively compassionate being.  He acts in a compassionate way toward those who have opposed His will in their pursuit of their own way.

Merriam/Webster Dictionary defines mercy this way....Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm. 

2 Samuel 24:14 (ESV)
Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.”

Psalm 145:9 (ESV)
The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

Luke 6:35-36 (ESV)
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Exodus 34:6-7 (ESV)
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness

Psalm 116:5 (ESV)
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.

Mercy imitates God and disappoints Satan.  (St. John Chrysostom)

Love You All....


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Important Virus Alert from earlier email

Please accept my apology for an email you may have received titled Hi! from me earlier today. My Gmail account has been hacked. If you clicked on the link in the email and entered your email information please immediately change your email password to safeguard your account. I am so very sorry and had no idea until I began getting messages from many that had received the email.

Again, I apologize and am just as surprised as you are about this! I have been assured by taking the step to change your password you will be safeguarded from the same thing happening to your account.


PS: However, it has been sweet to see some of your names pop up that I haven't seen in a long time.

Vickie Arruda
Pure Joy International



View the document i uploaded for you using Google doc, CLICK HERE. and log in with your email
Best Regards

Vickie Arruda
Pure Joy International


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

God's Faithfulness...

God is always true to His Promises.  He can never draw back from His promises of blessing or of judgment.  Since He cannot lie, He is totally steadfast to what He has spoken. 
Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV)
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations

Psalm 89:1-5 (ESV)
I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.  For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah.  Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!

Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (ESV)
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

I count on this attribute of God's character!  He is Faithful!  He cannot lie! I love that I can trust Him! I may not always like what His word has to say and/or understand it but I can trust that He will be faithful to His promises and all He has said.

Because of my counseling ministry I am very aware that many individuals live their lives disappointed to the point of being embittered because they have been exposed to the unfaithfulness of another.  That could come in the form of a spouse, child, church leader/member, boss, friends, etc.   Yet, God warned us in His Word ....

Psalm 118:8 (ESV)
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

Isaiah 2:22 (ESV)
Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?

My precious ones, He is faithful!  There are only two possible choices when it comes to where we place our faith (trust).  We will either have to choose God or man (self/others). Our God is Faithful!  Man, no matter how wonderful that person may be, will eventually let you down somewhere and/or somehow because we are only human. 

Today, if you are harboring bitterness towards someone that has been unfaithful intentionally or unintentionally to you ......please dethrone them.  They are not God.  Then trust God the Faithful One to help you learn how to forgive and let go of the bitterness.  Reconcile if possible and where that is not possible let go and move on.  God has a plan for your life and His kingdom!

Love you all...


Thursday, December 5, 2013

God is Holy...

I wonder how many of you after getting up from the thanksgiving table this past week looked down and found some food or drink on your shirt, pants, or skirt. Maybe another family member pointed it out to you (in love, of course - ha,ha,ha!) I suspect several of us could be included in  this situation. The point is the food, sauce, and/or drink does not belong there and we are usually quick to go about the business of removing the soiled spot if possible because it doesn't belong  there. How quick are we to go about removing other less visible uncleanliness in our lives?

God is Holy and His presence cannot exist in the presence of uncleanliness. When I think of the  Holiness of God, I think of how Isaiah responded in His presence, "Woe is me!"

Isaiah 6:1-5 (ESV)
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and  the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” 

Isaiah was exposed to the absolute Glory and Holiness of God! Wow! I suspect he was dumbfounded, unable to voice a sound. Meanwhile seraphim are calling out to one another: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts...” I've read that the word 'Holy' is the only character attribute of God that is spoken three consecutive times anywhere in scripture. The scriptures don’t ever say “Love, Love, Love,” Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” or “Faithful, Faithful, Faithful”. His Glory and Holiness set Him apart from and above all things!

Friends, as His children we are to be set apart from the things of this world. When was the last time you humbled yourself before a Holy God and said, "Woe is me!"

Looking ahead ….

For those of you looking at our schedule for next year we are trying to lock in dates and locations for Tanzania, Ghana, and Thailand. Pray with us as we listen to God's direction. We, like Joshua, do not want to go without God because our man-made thinking is to get it on the books. We will wait for His perfect timing. And as we know, His timing is perfect.

Love you all so much,


P.S. A word from Deb Potter, Public Relations Staff Member –

You may have seen articles online or heard a media story about a new way to contribute to nonprofits through Amazon Smile. We are thankful that Amazon has decided to contribute .05 percent of every transaction through its website to a nonprofit of the buyer’s choosing. We want to make our friends aware that there is another organization that utilizes the Pure Joy International name, therefore if you wish to take advantage of this opportunity and want to be certain that Pure Joy International Retreat Ministry will benefit from your purchase be aware of the following. When you select the organization that you would like a donation to be made to, be sure that you select Pure Joy International Retreat Ministry based in Austin, TX. The other organization is based in Bolivar, MO and is not connected to our ministry.

Don’t forget to go to when you are shopping through this Christmas season.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Psalm 100:4...

Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name - Psalm 100:4

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!!!

From the staff of Pure Joy International

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

God is Infinite...

Infinite........the realm of God has no limits or bounds whatsoever. 

Webster defines "infinite" in the following way: (1) limitless or endless in space, extent, or size, impossible to measure or calculate.  The synonyms are:  boundless, unbounded, unlimited, limitless, never-ending, interminable…

Please pause for a moment and consider this truth of God’s character.  Wow!  How Great is our God!!!  HE CANNOT BE CONTAINED! 

King Solomon understood this when he stated:

6 But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?
2 Chronicles 2:6 (ESV)

Job understood this when he was going through his sufferings:

26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable.
Job 36:26 (ESV)

King David reveals his understanding of our infinite Great God who owns and controls everything and needs nothing from us but yet allows King David the privilege of providing the materials for Solomon to build the temple:

14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.  15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 16  O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. 18 O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you.
1 Chronicles 29:14-18 (ESV)

We also see David writing of God infiniteness in Psalms 139:7-12 (ESV):

7” Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10  even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “’Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
1  even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.’”

This is so powerful for us to understand.  He is infinite in all His character.  That means there are no limits and/or bounds to His goodness, presence, knowledge, power, love, mercy, holiness, judgment, wrath, grace, wisdom, truth….    

The next time you become discouraged because you are limited by time, space, or circumstances,  look up and seek the counsel of the One who isn't. 

Remember keep vertical vision, not horizontal!

Love you all!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

God is Omnipotent...

Omnipotent .....God possesses all power.  God's power is unlimited.  He can do anything that is not inconsistent with His nature, character, and purpose.  He is able to bring into being anything that He has decided to do....with or without the use of any means.

I love that definition of God’s omnipotence.  I love it because of this statement, "He can do anything that is not inconsistent with His nature, character, and purpose."  Let me put that to you in human terms.....GOD WILL NOT AND CANNOT ABUSE HIS POWER!

Realizing this truth about God was very comforting to me as a young believer.  Why?  Because God represents authority; and authority and power are 'kissing cousins' as we say in the south. Many of you reading this blog today have had the experience at some point in your life of sitting under authority that used their power for personal gain, abuse, status, etc.  But God cannot do that because He does not act inconsistently with His nature, character, and purpose.  And remember the first attribute of God, He is a Good God!  Can you see the comfort in this now? 

Our God that created and made us with the purpose of being molded into His image, to bring glory to His name, to reach the nations, has the authority and power to complete the good work which He begin in us!  He can and will do it!  God is on your side and He has the power to work on your behalf and accomplish it!  So if you are in a tough place and you want out, ask God to move you but if He doesn't move you ask Him to sustain you! He has the power to do either one or both!  But He only acts in our best interest because He is a Good God whether we understand it in the physical or not.  Remember, vertical vision not horizontal!

Jeremiah 32:17 (ESV) 
Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

Genesis 18:14 (ESV)
“Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”  

Job 42:1-2 (ESV)
Then Job answered the LORD and said:
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

Mark 10:27 (ESV)
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

Matthew 28:18 (ESV)
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Revelation 19:1 (ESV)
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

Psalm 68:34 (ESV)
Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies.

And finally, Numbers 23:19 (ESV)
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Know this truth....God has the power to act on anything He has said.  Anything He has said, He will do!  Claim the truths of God’s power at work in your life!!!!

Love you all,

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
                                                                                                           --- Abraham Lincoln

“The measure of a man is what he does with power.” 


Monday, November 4, 2013

He Knows All...

The past two weeks we have looked at two character attributes of God.  He is Good and He is Omnipresent. This week we are going to look at the truth that He is Omniscient.

Omniscient.....  God knows all.  He possesses perfect knowledge of everything that is past, present, and future.

Romans 11:33-34 (ESV)
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”

Isaiah 40:13-14 (ESV)
Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?

Job 37:16 (ESV)
Do you know the balancing of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?

Isaiah 40:28 (ESV)
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV)
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

1 Samuel 2:3 (ESV)
Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

1 Chronicles 28:9 (ESV)
“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

Psalm 147:4-5 (ESV)
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

The list of verses could go on and on. But know this truth about His character...nothing slips by Him! Now, that can bring up several different emotions in us depending on our belief system about His full character. There is a reason why I had us look at the character attribute of God being a Good God first. And that is so when we look at all the other attributes we don't find ourselves being in a position to listen to lies from the enemy. For example, when I was a young believer and was learning about God's character (and I still am), I looked at the attributes of His Omniscience (all knowing), His Omnipotence (all powerful), and His Omnipresence (present everywhere all the time) first before understanding His Goodness. Therefore, my first response towards God regarding His character was, “If You are all knowing, all powerful, and everywhere all the time then why did You let me at the age of 10 to 11 be exposed to some behaviors from an adult that You could have done something about because You knew it was going on. You could have stopped it and You didn't, and You were present at the scenes!”  Those were honest emotions I had back in my early months of being a believer learning about His character. I had a lot of ‘why’ questions back then.  I suspect that many of you have why questions, too. I want to encourage you to stay on this journey with me and allow Him to speak to your heart as we study more about His character together. 

Thursday evening I received some sad news from someone I love very dearly. I couldn't even think about it that evening.  I just kind of shut it down. I couldn't even respond to my precious friend. But I reminded myself of just the very things we are talking about now.....Our God is a Good God, He is Present, He Knows and none of it has bumped Him off His throne! I can either live in my emotions about it and miss everything else God is up to around me in the here and now or I can walk in truth that He is in control and He is a Good God no matter how it feels or what it looks like in the physical.  It's called faith. Some of you are struggling with your own journeys of some kind right now. You have the same choice I do....Believe God or believe lies from the enemy. Please understand me when I say that doesn't mean you don't have emotions about the circumstances. God gave us our emotions. Choose to surrender them to the Spirit and not to the flesh so God can be glorified in your journey!

Love you all so much! Don't forget to meditate on these scriptures and those of the past two weeks and allow the truth of His character to fill your soul!

God is Good...all the time


Thursday, October 31, 2013

He is Omnipresent...

Last week I began a journey reminding us of the character of God.  Maybe some of you haven't even considered the character of God.

Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow.  The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.  Abraham Lincoln

I love that statement by Abraham Lincoln. I believe in this day and time many people see God as the shadow - they decide what they think of Him and His Character.  But, God is the tree!  He is the Great I AM!

Last week we saw through scripture God is a Good God.  I cannot tell you how many people shared with me this week they know that in their head but struggle with it in their heart. Why? Because our eye sight is mostly horizontal not vertical.  My sweet sisters, our belief system about God is the foundation for how we do life.  Look up!  Remember for every area the enemy can get you to doubt God's character, the enemy can get a toe hold and or strong hold in your life! Let’s look at another character of God:  omnipresence.

Omnipresent ........ God is present everywhere, in the entire universe, at all times, in the totality of His Character.                         

2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV)
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.

Proverbs 15:3 (ESV)
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Job 34:21 (ESV)
For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 (ESV)
 “Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.

Hebrews 4:13 (ESV)
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

God is present everywhere, in all the universe, at all times.  It certainly doesn't 'feel' that way sometimes, does it?  In fact, how many times have all of us said, “God, where are you?”  Many times people share with me that they believe God has forgotten them, doesn't remember they exist.  That is because they base their belief system on how they 'feel' instead of the truth of God's word about His character.  Read those verses again. He sees all!  You have to be present to see!  Please allow me to speak this truth over you.  God is omnipresent according to His word and that is a truth no matter how you 'feel'.  If you accept and believe that truth then it isn't based on feeling but fact, He is present 24/7.   What we miss out on in the body of Christ is His 'revealed presence'.   We don't experience His presence.  Why?  I think we can find the answer to that in the following passage.....

John 14:21 (ESV)
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

God reveals and/or manifests Himself to us through the person of the Holy Spirit when we love and obey His Word.

Please hear this truth as I close out today.  God is omnipresent no matter how you 'feel'.  He is there with you 24/7.  But, your opportunity to truly experience His presence in your life is directly related to your willingness to do life God's way.  Don't expect to live like the world and hang out with God.

I love you all so much. Have a blessed week.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Character Attributes of God...

Last month while we were in Northeast Asia our theme was "He Sees".  It was a powerful theme placed on my heart by God.  In the opening message I asked, who sees?  God sees.  But, who is this God that 'sees' us and what do we really know about Him?  I would like for us to take the next couple of months and look at one of God’s attributes each week.  Really consider each attribute and pray that He drops the truth of it out of our heads into our hearts so that we can begin to walk in faith in knowing these truths about His character attributes.  As I told the ladies last month, we don't trust who we don't know.

Today, I want to start with the same one I started with the women in Northeast Asia.

God is Good.  By His nature, God is inclined to bestow blessedness, and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people.  He is kind, benevolent, and full of good will toward men.

Now, I want you to really be totally honest and ask yourself if you really 'believe' this truth about His character.  If you don't believe this truth through and through, the enemy will forever have a toehold, if not a full blown stronghold, in your life!!  And let's be honest, if all we go by is sight it would be hard to accept this as a truth.  But, we as believers don't live by sight but by every word that comes from God's mouth.

Matthew 4:4 (ESV)
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

What do we live by? Our thoughts?  No, He says our thoughts are not His thoughts.  Our emotions?  No, because He says our hearts are wicked and can be deceived.  Our deeds? No because it is by grace we have been saved.   What do we live by?  "Every word that comes from the mouth of God".  So what does God’s word say about Him and His Goodness?

Psalm 25:8-9 (ESV)
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

Psalm 86:5 (ESV)
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

Psalm 119:68 (ESV)
You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.

Nahum 1:7 (ESV)
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

Mark 10:18 (ESV)
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

I also want to ask you, if you have time, to go to a couple of links and read the thoughts of the authors on this attribute of God:

A. W. Tozer:

Charles Spurgeon:

Love you all much....God is Good All the Time!


Monday, October 14, 2013


Many of you know I carry this little, what I like to call an 'imaginary nugget bag'.   I put little nuggets of wisdom in it that I collect along the way.  Recently when I was speaking at the Promise of Hope conference in Austin, Texas, I was given a nugget.  Let me explain....

Phyllis Moore and her husband Jon have a ministry called 'Christfollowers'.  They lead Spiritual Awakening Conferences and, trust me, we could use some of that in our churches today!!  You can read about them and contact them through 

Phyllis and I traveled together for many years with Great Hills Retreat Ministry out of Austin and we always roomed together because no one else wanted to get up with us at 5 a.m. to have their quiet time while at a conference.  We loved it because we would share things God was showing us and our nuggets we had collected since our last time together.   Well, it has been many years since Phyllis and I have been at the same location to speak to a group of women and naturally they put us together as roommates.   True to form....the nugget came.  It happened as we were walking down the hall to our prayer time for the conference.   Phyllis shared a quote from John McConkey “He who keeps the treasure bears the care.”   As soon as she said it, it spoke to my heart.  I wasn't sure how it all fit but I knew God was speaking to me.   We went on with our prayer time and the evening of speaking to the ladies at the conference but I could not get away from that statement.  When Phyllis and I got back to our room that night I told her that God had really spoken to me with that statement.  I told her I had been praying about some things regarding my family.  She then showed me the story about that preceded  McConkey's  quote.  I am paraphrasing that story to you now....

There once was a man that inherited a diamond at the death of a relative.  It turns out the diamond was absolutely priceless.  The man carried it with him wherever he went to protect it and keep it safe.  After some time the man begin to get paranoid about someone taking the diamond from him, maybe mugging him on the street.  So, he started to go out less and less and stayed home more and more.

Eventually, he began to think about what if someone breaks into my house and steals the diamond.  So, he put up the most expensive home protection system he could buy.  By now the man had few friends, he never went out, and just stayed home.  One day one of his really good friends came to his house and announced, "We are going out; get your diamond."  The man reluctantly followed his friend to the vehicle.  Once in the car the man's friend proceeded to drive him directly to a very nice bank.  The two men walked into the bank with the man with the diamond following his friend through all the doors and rooms until they reached a large vault.  The friend said, “I purchased this for you.  It is yours to keep your diamond in.  No one can get in here once we close the door today except you.  I want you to leave your diamond here.  You can come see it anytime you choose.” The man finally agreed and after much fretting the two of them left the bank.  Every day for weeks the man went to check on the diamond and each time it was there.  Slowly he began to go every other day, then only twice a week, then only once a week until finally weeks passed without him checking on the diamond.    Then he finally reached the place to check on it whenever he felt like it, which wasn't much because he knew where it was and that it was safe.   Thus the quote.....He who keeps the treasure bears the care.  

When I finished hearing her tell that story I realized that God was saying to me,” Vickie, I know that your family is your earthly treasure.  And you stay concerned for them a lot.  But, you can't bear the care anymore.  It's too much.   It keeps you from having the life I intended for you to have.”  It was like the LORD said, “Give me those treasures; I can bear the care!  So, guess what, I have given Him the treasures.  And while the circumstances are still difficult on a regular basis, my heart is much lighter!  I know that my God can bear the care and that I could not have my family in a safer vault than the arms of the LORD. 

So, I ask you today.  Are you holding on to your treasures?  Because if you are, you bear the care!  Let go and let Him have the treasure and bear the care because He can!

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Love you all,


Friday, October 11, 2013

When you have to come off the Mountain...

We are hearing back from a significant number of missionary women from the North East Asia retreat.  We as a team are also talking among ourselves about the trip.  Honestly, it is hard to get your feet to come back down to the valley after such a mountaintop experience of seeing God minister.  I shared with a team member recently that it can settle in as some unrecognized depression after a while.  You just kind of seem hum-drum.  

I tell my girls and ladies I disciple/teach that long ago while doing some prison ministry with a couple, I heard this statement, "Comparison is the death of JOY!"  It is so true in so many ways in our lives.  It is hard to come back from those that have so little to us that have so much and not get frustrated at our selfishness.  They have nothing; we gripe if we have to down size, sell a boat, live in a one story house instead of two or three…you get the picture.  

But, let me balance something for all of isn't what you have; it is what you do with what you have because it all comes from God!  He has allowed it!  So, is a three story home wrong?  NO!...especially if you are using it to minister to your family needs and the needs of others.   I know two very dear couples in ministry; one in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX and one in the Broken Arrow /Tulsa, OK area.  I love their hearts.  They always have an upstairs for what I call “their missionary friends” that come through town.   They truly use it for those in ministry that need a place to lay their heads as they are passing through.  I should know - I've laid my head in both homes several times!  I think you hear my heart.  The truth is that if we have hearts that 'Seek first His kingdom and righteousness ' then our lives will be a series of mountaintops and valley experiences.  Today, I am linking you to a letter from a sweet sister.....WOW!.... hear her heart and sense the Valleys and the Mountains. (Click Here for the link!)



Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I just returned from Austin, Texas and had the opportunity to minister with The Promise of Hope, a ministry from Great Hills Baptist Church.  It was good to see so many dear friends from my time on staff there, several of those I traveled with in the Great Hills Women’s Retreat Ministry, and those of you that attended the Promise of Hope retreat for the first time.  If you are joining our blog as a result of signing up after the retreat, “Welcome!”

As you can imagine, the dust has not settled yet from our North East Asia Retreat.   The emails are still coming in from the ladies that attended.  I am believing that some of you that gave gift bags and prayer cards will hear from some of the recipients in the near future if you haven't already.  However, they may not be able to contact you because of security reasons, so keep that in mind as well.

Today I wanted to share a note that a team member sent me.  I always try to share some things the missionary women had to say about the trip, but it is also good for you to hear what team members have to say because one day you might be one of our team members (smile)! 

It was wonderful getting to serve with you and this wonderful group of ladies! When we met the [NE Asia] woman who shared her testimony on the2nd day, I was so touched by her heart for God, and when she told us that she came to know Christ through a missionary who came to [NE Asia], God grabbed a hold of my heart and showed me how much missionaries are needed. I've never left the "Bible belt" before this trip and everyone I had ever known had heard about Jesus. I realized that she may not have ever heard about the gospel if that missionary hadn't come to tell her. I also see now how much missionaries need encouragement and prayer and how much Pure Joy means to them. It was awesome being a part of the worship and getting to see how excited and eager they were to worship God. I felt like they were the worship leaders. And God was so good to me on this trip. Every time I started to feel down and miss my family, a missionary would come up to me and tell me how much it meant to them that we came and would encourage my heart so much! It was like God was assuring me that I was right where He wanted me to be. Thank you for being sensitive to God and where He leads you. This ministry is so wonderful and life changing, both for the missionaries and those who get to serve on the team. Love you!

And let me say this about the young woman that wrote that email to me.  She did such a wonderful job of leading us in worship!  It was just incredible to hear the worship 'rise up' out of the hearts of the missionary women there.

Here is the link to a YouTube music video of a song that really ministered to our hearts during the retreat......

Love you guys.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We Are Home...

The team made it home Sunday afternoon and evening, once we separated from one another in Chicago.  We had an incredible time meeting and ministering to the missionary women.  I believe we all felt that God showed up and ministered to their hearts with comfort, encouragement, conviction, affirmation, and conviction - and a good amount of laughter, too.

Let me share with you a letter we received from one of the ladies. As you read this please understand why your prayers are so important when we ask you to pray for a retreat! And thank you for praying!!

Dear Pure Joy Team,

Thank you so much for hearing, listening and obeying.  Thank you for serving ad being God's love in action. God has blessed me immensely in mind, body, and soul through your kindness, gifts, your wisdom and vulnerable sharing. Thank you for ministering to us as sisters.  Thank you for saying the tough stuff in love.

God so knew I needed to be here. He has spoken deep into my heart this week in ways I couldn't have imagined.  Thank you for being committed to pray and for recruiting others to lift us up as well.  How can the Holy Spirit be so powerfully ministering through you just to me and then be doing the same for most every other women sitting around me.  Thank you for challenging us to let the walls down.  Thank you for providing a safe place for those walls to crumble.  Thank you for moving in the Spirit when it made you feel uncomfortable.

I'm not a retreat person.  God ensured that I come despite scheduling issues and lack of desire to come.  But through your prayers I have felt our Savior’s arms around my shoulders, His whispers in my ears, His comfort and His direction in some challenging areas and circumstances.  Thank you and thank you again.


I will share with you more comments along the way!

Love you all,


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day #7

Today was our last day with the ladies. What an incredible time we have had here. God has shown Himself very strong!!  This has been such an incredible group of women. The women were able to connect with each other in new ways and have plans to staying in touch in the future.  

The women have for sure heard strong Word teaching, received good encouragement, laughed a lot, cried a lot, and ate a lot of chocolate!

Today when we finished up we walked outside to see three different weddings taking place. The belief system in this country is that today is a good day to get married. So in one location over 300 couples were getting married!!!! I'm sure they all got premarital counseling.  Righttttt.  Ha ha We all enjoyed seeing them dressed in their traditional atire. It was a real treat for us!

We are at the airport waiting to board the first leg of our journey home which will take us to Seoul. There we have an 8 hour lay over before out 12 hour flight to Chicago and then on to our home airports from there!

So, family, be nice when we get home - we are all tired!

We will share testimonies with you from the ladies as they come in these next few days!

Love you all,


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day #6

Great day! God is doing awesome work through the worship, messages, hospitality, fellowship, free time , etc.

To all of you that made gifts for the ladies, you have been the topic of conversations for the past two days!!!
We also would ask that you pray as God has given us the opportunity to minister to one particular staff person here at the hotel. We are all watching His Spirit drawing her! So awesome!

We had some good fun watching a video about Adam and Eve by the Skit Guys following a discussion on marriage. Worth your time to watch... Totally  hilarious !!!


Day #5

They are here!! What a sweet time watching them arrive and carrying their bags to their 'gers'.

We had a sweet time of worship. Lindsey did an awesome job and this is her first time out of the country and second time ever on a plane. You will be glad to know she ate normal today. Hee, hee

Our opening message was on our Theme 'He Sees'. The women shared some of the hardships of being in this area.  The weather was a big one, it gets to 40 degrees below in the winter. Loneliness, communication, and learning the language is hard as well.

Can't wait to see what God is up to!

Love you all, gotta get some rest!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 3 & 4 North East Asia

Well, you may have noticed I didn't get the blog out last night.  It's called exhaustion.  We had a good but long day.  Therefore, I am writing both for yesterday and today.

Day #3
We started out visiting 
. It is a place where the people go to and stay for a day, days, a week and or more. It is a get away so they can breathe fresh air. There is much smog from the city. Gorkhi‐Terelj
 is comprised
 of bird
 While at the park Lindsey took time to ride a horse.

On the way to the National Park we also took time to view the Chinggis
 was a sight to behold .

We ate lunch at a place called Bull's Restaurant. It was very interesting. Without going into all the details of it, we actually ate horse, along with beef and chicken. It is a common meat here. It looks like sliced beef before it goes in the pot. It doesn't really taste like anything.

We have a joke with Lindsey now that she is the only person we know to have ridden a horse and eaten horse all in the same day. Yikes !

We did a little shopping after lunch and then attended a performance of traditional Mongolian dancers

 In regard to the khoomi throat singers, well, you would just have to hear it.

We then headed back to the hotel exhausted!!

Day #4
This morning we visited a Buddhist temple and then had lunch. We Headed back to the hotel and have been working on retreat preparations. The ladies come in tomorrow. We are excited!!!

Love you all!!



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day #2 North East Asia

The team arrived safely at our destination around 12 midnight and to our hotel by 1:00 a.m. Sunday. We are 13 hours ahead of central time. Therefore, if it is 3:00 p.m. Arkansas time it is 4:00 a.m. our time the next day.

Some of the team slept in and some were out early taking pictures of our surroundings. We met together at 12:30 p.m. for lunch. The most interesting thing we tried was what we would consider a fried pie only it didn't have apples, cherries, or peaches in it. It had sliced lamb. As one team member said, it was similar to a gyro sandwich in the states.

We had our second team devotional today. Our devotions are being done by Pam Rusher from Jonesboro, AR. We talked about how Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Pam then led us into the washing of each others' feet and prayer. Such a very sweet time. Isn't it cool how God has already put the 'feet' theme in our first two devotionals and Pam wasn't with us when we did the first devotional in the Dallas airport, so she didn't know.

Some of the team decided to go walk a mountain across from the hotel. I told Melinda a few minutes ago, "I don't think they realize that is not a hill but a MOUNTAIN." Sure enough Corley just poked her head in my door to let us know they were back. It was bigger than they thought. Hmmm. So instead, they found a wedding taking place on the grounds and invited themselves into a picture! Imagine that!!

The weather is nippy here today. Night times are very cold - in the low 30's. We had to have a gas heater moved closer to our table at lunch in the restaurant and we had our coats on! Glad I put in warm socks for nighttime!

It makes me sad that I don't know the languages of the different countries God sends us to minister in. It makes me so appreciate our missionaries frustration when they have a hard time learning the language of their people groups.  

Well, I have put off power napping today. One, because everyone was in the room for a bit and two, because Chrissy (our contact person) told us to try and stay up till 9:00 p.m. to get on the sleep cycle here.

We just finished our evening meal. Everyone went with soup, chicken fingers and fries. Some things just don't change! Ha ha

Keep praying...

Love you all,


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day #1 North East Asia...

As I write this blog we are in the air over the Pacific Ocean just outside of the Northeastern Pacific seaboard. The team is spread out in two different parts of the plane.  Some are sleeping, others walking to keep swelling down and others watching movies.   We only have 10 more hours to reach Seoul, South  Korea where we will have a layover of about two hours and then off to our destination .

We had our first team meeting at the Dallas airport.  We made important decisions like don't let me read the monitors for gate departure times because I have dyslexia with numbers.  On our trip to Peru a couple of years ago I actually led the team to a gate that resulted in the whole team having to go through security, again.  Yeah, they loved me for that one! Ha ha ha!!

We also talked about safety procedure regarding our personal  items and going everywhere in pairs  - which women are trained professionals at anyway because we've gone to the restroom in pairs/groups since we were old enough to walk.  (Men really don't get that about us) But then we don't understand how they can sit around for ever talking about a car!  I'm thinking... Does it have a motor,  four wheels, gas in it? Then just drive. Ha ha ha!

We did our first devotion on Isaiah 52:7 today.

Isaiah 52:7
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims \peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

We talked about how this vision given to Isaiah was prophesy to the children of Israel that they would be set free from their captivity in Babylon. It also proclaims the coming of Christ.  He prophesied this to them long before they were taken into captivity. One commentary describes the picture of  heralds running the hills announcing the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity announcing this Good News .  Thus the saying "how beautiful the feet."  I love the visual picture of the runners (heralds)  proclaiming the release of the captives !!

We were encouraged to see ourselves as those runners this week bringing the Good News of Christ from the things that could possibly hold us captive from  freedom in Christ to freedom in our personal growth in Christ.

Keep praying all of us!!!



P.S.   I have slept, spent time on opening message, walked the plane and watched two movies since starting this blog. We are 1 hour and  thirty  minutes  from landing in Seoul    for  our turn around there to our final destination.  I need freedom from this plane!!!!!! Ha ha ha!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's Time...

Trunks are packed, personal suitcases are being packed, and very last minute checklists are being looked over!  Friday morning the team departs from Little Rock, Memphis, Tulsa, and San Antonio to gather in Dallas, Texas to board a flight out of the country.  

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited the team is.  This has been some kind of journey for us and for many of the missionary women as well.  So much warfare and so many life circumstances have gone on.  God must have some really sweet plans for all of us this next week.  Please keep praying and don't let up!!!!

If you would like to journey along with us, keep a check on the blog.  I will begin writing a daily blog Friday evening and will continue to write until we head back into the country Sunday, Sept. 22nd.

As you pray remember our theme is "He Sees" and the verse is from Psalm 33:13 - "The LORD looks down from Heaven:  He sees all the children of men;"

Love you all so much...


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Paying if Forward...

Sunday morning I was giving a report to our Sunday school class (yes, we still call it what it is instead of fancying the name up).   This class has been proof to me that you can call it what you want as long as God's Word is being taught and the name of Jesus lifted up!  The class stays in a steady state of growth!  Anyway, I was sharing with the class how much I appreciated their support of Pure Joy International which translates into their support of our missionary women and families all over the world.  Our class has always been solid along with other church families and friends of Pure Joy to make sure all our missionary women in attendance are sponsored for each conference held overseas.  As of last week all our women for the North East Asia Trip are sponsored.  Thank you all for being a part of this trip.  As I said last week, any funds that come in from this point forward will go towards our next trip (probably Tanzania).  After class a friend and class member came up and said, “Here, 'pay it forward'”.  It was a check to sponsor a missionary for our next trip.   I love that God is always working on behalf of these missionary women and this is proof that we get to share with them.  

Well, today I started thinking about the times I have gone through the Starbucks line and the person in front of me bought my drink…and, how I have bought other peoples’ drinks as well…also, what it feels like to be able to help someone at the checkout at the grocery store when they come up short and really thought they had enough and you are in a position to hand them the needed amount.  There is something really awesome about being able to 'pay it forward'.    I've written on this before but it really is in my spirit again.  What if 'paying it forward' meant not only money.  What if it meant time?  Maybe someone gave you time that you needed for a listening ear or what about carrying someone's bags because someone did the same for you and because you can.  What if we just helped people in need of different things because we can?  What if for one day you made a decision to be aware of how you could 'pay it forward' to others around you, whatever that might look like.  Just for one day be that tuned into others!!   I challenge you to try it!!

We are 10 days out from leaving the country!  Hard to believe!  Please keep us in your prayers going into this home stretch before leaving the country.  Final details are being solidified with most of it done!!  Yea, God!

And finally, I just wish there was a way to let everyone know the full impact of the resources of finances, gifts, and prayers you sacrifice for these women and their families.  I suspect none of you will know this side of heaven!


Monday, August 26, 2013

In the Last Lap towards North East Asia....

Excitement is building as we begin the last lap of preparation. One of the team members left this morning to fly in early to visit friends. You may remember I wrote about her last week. Well, she is on her way!!

You guys have been incredible regarding sponsorship of the women. We now officially have 47 women registered with 45 sponsored. However, our deadline for registration does not close until Wednesday, August 28th. Therefore, I am believing as of this writing (Monday, August 26th) that we will have 5 more to sponsor (that includes the two). As you know we cap at 50 women. So pray for the remaining sponsorships as well as the other open spots to be taken. Any monies that come in above and beyond the need for this group of ladies automatically falls under our principle of "paying it forward" which means those funds go towards the sponsorship of missionary women for our next trip (to Tanzania it looks like).

Please continue to lift up the team as we prepare our hearts for the trip. Lots of warfare and just plain ol’ life is going on among us. Also, pray the same for the women that will be attending as they are doing life just like the rest of us. Pray even now for safe travel for us, good connections, leaving and coming home,  pray for the worship, messages, free times, counseling times, fun times, activity times, talk times, and for the husbands and kids and family members of team members and missionary women that will be doing life without us beside them.

Love you all,


Thursday, August 22, 2013

God is moving...

Well, we have one trunk packed and ready to leave the country on Monday of next week with one of our team members who is going on ahead of us to visit with friends of hers in the North East Asia area. When her husband was alive they did much work in the area we will be traveling to.  He was a medical doctor and had a great heart for the people in this part of the world.  Our team member (his wife) still does.   Packing the trunk this week was a true reminder that we are just over 3 weeks out from getting on the plane in Little Rock, Tulsa, and Memphis to head out.   Can't Wait!!

Also, I am loving the opportunity to watch God work through you as you respond to the needs of sponsorship for the missionary women.  We actually have had several more sponsored since last week.  We have 35 sponsored as of this writing with 10 left to go.  We did have 3 more women register this past week so we are up to 44 missionary women.  The deadline for them to register is August the 28th. 

Personally, life has been a tad nuts lately or actually, I think I may have been nuts. Ha,ha,ha,ha   Seriously, I hate it when my focus gets off God and on to my circumstances.  You know how crummy that is....the things that usually you can die to self on, well you aren't dying!!!  I would love to put my flesh on the altar of sacrifice but I don't think there is a crane big enough to lift it and move it to the altar.  ha,ha,ha,ha

All kidding aside, God is always faithful and actually ministered to me in an incredible way yesterday late morning.  He also allowed me to see, which He frequently does, a few things He wanted me to learn from this little flesh journey I have been on.  Pray I don't have to learn them again but they are solidified in my heart!    Amen!  He also keeps reminding me that anytime we are leaving the country the spiritual warfare is on but we are Overcomers in Christ.   Here is a YouTube link to a great song for that, Overcomer by Mandisa.

Remember.....10  missionaries still to be sponsored as of this writing (Wednesday). 

Love you all Much,


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Here's your sign...

This morning I began my weekly ritual that takes place on Tuesday mornings as I prepare to head to Ft. Smith, AR where I do Biblical counseling from 10 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. each week.   When I leave the house many times I start praying for all the things that are on my heart.  When I went to bed last night (and I say that loosely because Little Guy has been sick for the last couple of days) I was thinking over our prayer time meeting we had earlier in the evening for our North East Asia trip which is only 4 weeks away and, yes, we are counting!  When we get this close to departure I know I make Patty, our financial person, a little weary because I frequently want to know how many missionary women are sponsored and how many we need funded.   Let me say this about me if you don't know me ..........I'm not concerned that God isn't going to provide because He always does provide what we need for each trip.  But, I start thinking about how He is going to show up in the final hours.  I could probably write a book on the way God has moved on behalf of our missionary women all over the world in regard to Pure Joy International.   This is just one ministry.  There are stories after stories of how He has moved on behalf of those He has sent overseas to the frontline through numerous ministries.  What I love about that is......I want our missionaries to ‘see’ He is always acting on their behalf.  He knows!

All that to say, as I thought about the number of women we have signed up so far, 42 as of this writing with 11 of those still needing sponsorship, I was entering the on-ramp to I-40 West.   Now you must know I have entered this ramp every Tuesday morning for years and actually more than that if you consider some random trips west for other things.   There directly across the interstate was this big billboard that I know did not just grow there overnight and in big large letters was the number $8,000.  I don't even know what else was on that billboard because it seems like all that was on it for my eyes was the number $8,000.  I could not shake the number.  Then as I drove down I-40, I'm saying to God, “OK, so what about that number?”  Without going through all the dialogue that went on between God and me (yes, I believe God talks to us by impressing on us through the person of His Holy Spirit’s direction and answers as we seek Him) I know God wanted me to share the need for $8,000 dollars to sponsor the remaining missionary women.  Lord I said, “That is enough for two more missionary women than we have signed up.”  He Knows!  That still would leave $200 dollars left for what?  He Knows!

Now before you write me off as some little 'nut case' just know that I am being obedient to God.  I learned a long time ago that being obedient to God can look a little 'nutty' in the physical and people like to poke a little fun at you but I'll just take my chances and be obedient and if I missed it....God knows my heart is pure.
Pray for the final details as time closes in on our departure.   Also, I am hearing from several of the ladies that we will be ministering to and they are sooooooo excited!  

Love you all,


P.S. Remember our little guy in your prayers...he is a sick kiddo this week.

P.S.S. A note from Deb Potter, public relations person for Pure Joy International…

I wanted to let you know that Vickie was nominated for an Epoch award. “Epoch honors the unsung heroes; the people who cross the boulevard or the world to serve where poverty, drought, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, homelessness, and fear reign. For these heroes, this is more than planting churches and discipling– this is life.”

For those of you who know Vickie personally either through a relationship stateside, by encountering her on the field in a Pure Joy International retreat, or via her weekly blog, I’m guessing that you would wholeheartedly agree that she is indeed an unsung hero of the faith.  She has allowed God to pour out His creativity through her in a unique ministry that reaches and encourages missionary women around the world through in-country retreats, ongoing Biblical counseling via Skype and other electronic media, and weekly blogs.  All of this is to fulfill the purpose of bringing God glory by encouraging missionary women of all walks of life – single, married, widowed, or divorced – to stay in the place where He called them to serve so they can minister to His people in their own unique ways. (You can read more about this on the About page at: If you would like to know more about Epoch awards click here: 

Pray with us that God will be honored through the Epoch awards and we praise Him for Vickie’s nomination.


Deb Potter
Pure Joy International, Public Relations