Monday, August 25, 2014

What's that Smell?

There is a stretch of Interstate-40 West just outside of a college town not far from where I live that my mom and I pass through headed to another small town. (We live in Arkansas therefore besides living from Glory to Glory we live from small town to small town. ha, ha, ha) Anyway, every time we get to that location on I-40 it isn't long before we both are saying, "What's that smell?" Seriously, it is a bad smell!

Smell is one of the five senses that God gave us to relate to the world around us through our physical bodies - the others being sight, sound, taste, and touch. If you ever take time to really think about the role of each it is very interesting. But, for now we are talking about smell. Smells can alert us to danger such as the smell of smoke in a house, a sewer leak, a burnt breakfast, gas leak, etc. Smells can also alert us to things like approaching rain, a pie coming out of the oven, etc. Smell also has the power to attract us to a person, foods, a flower garden, etc., etc.

In 2 Corinthians 2:15-17 the apostle Paul writes of 'smell' if you will, when he is talking to the believers from the church of Corinth regarding those responsible to God to share the gospel of Christ.  

2 Corinthians 2:15-17 (ESV)
15  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16  to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

I love this passage because Paul is basically saying, "Hey, we aren't giving you a cheap perfume!” It has cost a man his life. It is costing us our lives and it will cost you your life. But what a sweet aroma it is among those that are saved and being saved instead of a cheap substitute which leads to death, which is peddled by some.

You may wonder why in the world Vickie is writing on this topic today. Well, quite simply the verse caught my eye this morning on my coffee cup. And I started to think about the times I am not yielded to the LORD in how I handle a given situation and my flesh rises up instead. I'm sure anyone around at the time is saying, "What's that smell?" It smells so bad! And don't sit there reading this like you don't know what I'm talking about. We have a daily choice of how we handle life situations. We either surrender to the Holy Spirit of God in us and or we yield to our flesh. There are only two choices. Surrender to the Holy Spirit is to die to self which elicits a sweet aroma of Christ. Surrender to the flesh is selfish and elicits the smell of self.
I don't know about you but I desire to live a life of Christ at work in me and through me that others are drawn to that aroma of Christ in my life. That comes from being saved by His Grace alone and by reading and living out by His power the truths of His Word in our daily walks with our spouse, family, and friends and the Nations!

Love you all -  have a great week....



Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Last Thursday evening I headed to Olive Branch, MS with the opportunity to share about Pure Joy International with Immanuel Baptist Church. Friday morning I had the privilege to sit in with a precious group of women leaders who meet for W3 ... Women, Worldview, and the Word Chronological Bible Discipleship. What a precious time it was as we discussed God's Word and some of the issues of today in our world. Friday night I had the opportunity to share with the women of Immanuel the story of how God cast the vision in my heart for Pure Joy and how as a church they could become involved in ministering to our missionary women overseas. We had a sweet time of fellowship and homemade sweets to go with it. 

Saturday morning I was able to meet with a couple of ladies who are leaders in other churches in the community to share about Pure Joy and how they too could become involved. Thank you to all of you in that part of Olive Branch, MS.

Some of my personal favorite time there also came from staying in the home of Stan and Iva May. They served as missionaries in Zimbabwe, Africa before God brought them back home to the States. Stan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist in Olive Branch, MS. Previously he served 16 years as a mission’s instructor at Mid-American Theological Seminary. Iva has traveled with Pure Joy International to Poland and Northeast Asia as one of our speakers. She and Stan are the directors of the Chronological Bible Teaching Ministry, a non-profit established to develop Bible literacy tools and to train others to use those tools. ( Iva spends much of her time training, teaching, and writing. OK, I shared all that to say to you I spent three days in a fountain of over flowing knowledge - while drinking coffee, I might add! It was wonderful!!  

The Tanzania retreat is moving along so nicely. In team meeting last night I was sharing with some of the ladies in Vilonia, AR that I just can't wait to see what God is up to with this trip and those ladies. It is awesome to watch it all just coming together. We have 24 missionaries sponsored as of this blog. Just 26 more to go, so keep praying and giving!! Challenge your church or Sunday School class to sponsor a missionary to be able to attend. Remember it costs $500 for each missionary to attend for 4 days and 3 nights, free of charge to them. This includes all their lodging, meals, materials, etc. Also, I want to ask you to join Pure Joy International in praying about where God would have us to minister in 2015. We have tried to plan on places 3 years out but to be honest with you that seems more man-made than God led. So, we will trust Him to direct us. We do have direction for the fall on one retreat but cannot post until I have more details. The staff is praying through several locations. If you are a missionary and know where you believe a need is for your fellow missionaries, please contact me at

As I close out today I want to ask you to ponder something. When is the last time you opened God's Word apart from Sunday morning and spent time reading with a purpose?

I love you all,


Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Sufficiency of Grace
Careless drivers often push their automobiles beyond their designated capabilities and the poor vehicle chugs and chugs until the motor finally dies. Daring and foolish engineers will put too much pressure on their boilers, or try to force more power from an engine than it can provide. But our Master guarantees that tasks shall be balanced with the precise strength we possess. Psalm 103:14 (ESV) For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. He will not be less merciful to us than the merciful man is to his beast. He knows the exact pressure we can stand, for He has made us; He knows the utmost load we can lift, and will not suffer us to be tried, tested, above what we are able (1 Cor. 10:13). 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. He is a Faithful Creator, because He is an abiding Sustainer. 
                                                     Practical Bible Illustrations from Yesterday and Today

I love these particular words from the Illustration above, “He knows the exact pressure we can stand, for He has made us; He knows the utmost load we can lift, and will not suffer us to be tried, tested, above what we are able. Many have been the times over the years when I have truly tried to convince God that His idea of how much pressure, testing, etc. I could handle and my idea of how much pressure and testing I could handle were not the same (smile), of course hoping to win Him over to my way of seeing it. I suspect if many of you were being honest you have had that discussion, too, somewhere along the road. I praise God for His Sovereignty that acts for our good and is not moved by our assessment of any given situation. I praise Him that He knows the exact amount of pressure we can stand and the utmost load we can lift.  I also praise Him that He equips us with just the perfect measure of Grace and Mercy to deal with things as we are tried and tested, thus leaving us once again to be in awe of His Sufficiency. 

I wanted to let you know that we have put Burkina Faso on hold as of last week. At first we thought maybe warfare but as time continued I honestly couldn't decide what was going on. So, I asked the Pure Joy executive staff to pray with me for 1 week very intentionally not taking into consideration Ebola, difficulty of procuring a location, etc. but strictly asking God were we to be there or not come January, 2015. The question isn't what does it look like in the physical; the question is what is God doing in the spiritual realm and is it His timing or not for us to be there. We held a conference call at the end of the week on Saturday. As a result of that time together we agreed that we weren't getting a "no" or a “yes" in regard to going. So, we will wait on the LORD until He directs our spirits otherwise. Tanzania is continuing to move forward. We are in a good place with one of the most important things left to do.... raise money for the support of the missionary women. We have 14 missionary women sponsored as of this writing - so 36 more to go. As always I ask you to prayerfully seek God on sponsorship.
Love you all,


Monday, August 4, 2014

Tanzania Team Member Shares..

As we begin our journey towards Tanzania I will give different team members an opportunity to share with you how God worked in her life to encourage her to travel with us to Tanzania. This week we will be hearing from Rona, one of our ladies from Clarksville, AR.

I first heard about Pure Joy International going to Tanzania at a Bible study on Nehemiah at the home of my pastor’s wife, Debbie Goodman. We were studying the very first chapter where Nehemiah had just learned of the tragic conditions in Jerusalem. Nehemiah could have ignored the situation but he wanted to know what was happening in Jerusalem and once he knew, he felt obligated to do something. That evening, we were asked to pray that God would develop in us the heart that Jesus has for others. So I began praying and each time I prayed, the people and work being done in the country of Tanzania became a burden upon my heart. Nehemiah prayed for about four months. I wasn’t that patient; the following week at Bible study, I informed Debbie that I thought God was calling me to go to Tanzania. She suggested that I contact Vickie. I emailed Vickie the following week and in the note I included the words from Isaiah 6:8 that say “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then said I, ‘Here am I; send me’.”

In order for you to understand what happened next, I have to explain two things.

First, my husband and I travel a lot and when we travel separately on business trips we have a tradition of bringing back a refrigerator magnet  from the places that we go so that the other person can remember the experience each time he/she looks at the magnet. We only display magnets of places that we have actually visited.
Secondly, a few years ago after visiting a foreign mission field and seeing the need for additional funds for the building of facilities such as churches and camps on the mission field, my husband started a project called “Can Do” at our local church, Stillwell Bible Baptist in Clarksville, AR. The idea was to collect cans (later it turned into collecting all kinds of metal objects), separate the metal and then sell it. The money that was collected was sent to the mission’s office to be used to build churches and church facilities in conjunction with missionaries worldwide. He often collects some interesting or unusual items and will sometimes ask me to try to guess what he had found that day. He usually does this when he has found “dryer change.” This is loose change that has been lost in the dryer which he finds when he is disassembling the dryer parts.

On this particular occasion, he came into the house with a smile on his face and said, “You’ll never guess what I found today.” My first guess was a large amount of dryer change but my guess was wrong. After guessing several other times to no avail he finally pulled out of his pocket a refrigerator magnet. The magnet displayed a beautiful sunset, the shadowy figure of a giraffe and to my surprise the word Tanzania on it! It must be a sign! I am now 100% sure that I must go to Tanzania not only because I already have a magnet from there but because like Nehemiah, I have a God-inspired heart that has no choice but to do something! 

Thank you, Donna Rona (the team nicknamed her that so we wouldn't pronounce it wrong). Please continue to pray for Tanzania and our missionary women there.