HOW GREAT OUR JOY! (Advent 2)

Though there are flashes of light in the first eight chapters of Isaiah, most of it is gloom and doom for God’s disobedient people. But when we arrive at Isaiah 9, the light is almost blinding, the promise almost too good to be true, and yet, it was true. It did happen, just as Isaiah said it would. And everyone who has received Jesus knows it is true, for God’s Spirit bears witness with his spirit, and he rejoices, “as with the joy of the harvest.” (Isaiah 9:3) I was one who surrendered to Christ reluctantly, because I became convinced He was who He claimed to be. The fear of the Lord brought me to my knees. But then! Oh! He took the blinders from eyes I didn’t know I was wearing. But I knew it when they were gone! […]

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GOD WITH US (Advent 1)

Advent 2016 has arrived, and how we need it! We will look at passages from Isaiah this Advent, and I am thrilled that this is how the Lord is leading. There so many parallels to where we are today. In America we’ve just been through the basest election season in my lifetime, and perhaps in history. There was time when Lincoln and Douglas referred to one another as “my honorable opponent.” But in 2016, all civility vanished. Both sides poured out vile words, harsh ads, and personal attacks.  Facebook was filled with tasteless posts, even from believers, that revealed a festering oozing wound, like the wound God saw in His people in the days of Isaiah. (Isaiah 1:5) Our Canadian and European sisters have written that they have preceded us in a cultural downward spiral. Believers from poor nations are […]

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PRAISE DEFEATS OUR ENEMIES

I AM A WEAK WOMAN. WHEN MY HUSBAND WAS DYING, I WANTED TO DIE WITH HIM, BUT HE PRAYED FOR GOD TO TURN MY MOURNING INTO DANCING. AND, AMAZINGLY, GOD HAS! I LEARNED THE POWER OF THANKSGIVING, THE POWER OF PRAISE, AND THE POWER OF SPEAKING INSTEAD OF LISTENING TO MY SOUL. THIS IS ONE REASON, I BELIEVE, GOD COMMANDS PRAISE. IT IS FOR US! WE LEARN WHAT JEHOSHAPHAT OF OLD LEARNED! PRAISE DEFEATS OUR ENEMIES! Thank you for your encouragement and prayers concerning this blog. What I am sensing is to continue, for we all are so blessed by the fellowship here. The lessons will be shorter and after Advent I may go bi-weekly. We are so blessed by women of depth here, and I would miss you — but I also know we all have other commitments. So, […]

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HANDS TO HOIST THE SAIL

HOW EXCITING IT HAS BEEN TO SEE YOU CATCH THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT IN EVANGELISM. INSTEAD OF A CANNED APPROACH YOU HAVE BEEN ALERT TO THOSE WHOM HE PUTS IN YOUR PATH BEING HIS HEART, HIS EYES, HIS EARS, LOVING AND LISTENING, AND SENSING THE WIND OF HIS SPIRIT! SO MANY STORIES: NILA IN HER BED AND BREAKFAST SUSAN AS A NURSE AT THE HOSPITAL JACKIE TALKING TO THE OWNERS OF PETS LIZ BEFRIENDING A NEIGHBOR AT THE MAILBOX REBECCA LOVING HER SONS’ FRIENDS LAURA INVITING HER NEIGHBORS FOR TEA AND SO MANY MORE! YOU ALSO WERE LIKE IRON SHARPENING IRON WITH LINKS TO ENCOURAGE US. A COUPLE I LOVED:  MARY E. GAVE THIS SO YOU CAN FIND OUT WHO YOUR NEIGHBORS ARE AND BEGIN TO PRAY: http://pray4everyhome.com/pray/ AND REBECCA FOUND THIS CLIP FROM AN ATHEIST WHO WAS SO […]

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SHOW THE WONDER OF GRACE!

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT A SIMPLE TESTIMONY OUR DAUGHTER BETH SHARED. STEVE AND I ADOPTED BETH FROM THAILAND WHEN SHE WAS TWELVE   When Beth was nineteen, her college speech teacher called me and said, “Beth told her story today and it was a speech no one will ever forget.” Beth brought a tape recorder (remember tape recorders?) with a song from Point of Grace called “Who Am I?” (Today you may be more familiar with Casting Crown’s recording.) Beth would share a sentence or two and then go over and play a little of this song. She kept doing this until the end. Here is the Point of Grace song:     Beth began: “When I was a baby my parents cut off my arm and threw me away to die. But I didn’t die. Somebody heard me […]

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LESS SCARY TESTIMONIES

I SCARED YOU LAST WEEK! WHEN I ASKED YOU TO PREPARE YOUR TESTIMONY, MANY OF YOU FELT LIKE THIS: A FEW OF YOU THOUGHT IF YOU HAD A DRAMATIC PAUL TESTIMONY, THEN MAYBE YOU COULD DO IT. BUT LIKE TIMOTHY, YOU CAME TO KNOW THE LORD AS A LITTLE CHILD YOU CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER LIFE WITHOUT CHRIST. I’M TRULY SORRY FOR SENDING YOU DOWN THE DIVING BOARD WITH SO LITTLE PREPARATION! YOU’VE CAUSED ME TO REPENT AND RETHINK. I’VE ASKED FOR WISDOM AND I DO BELIEVE THE LORD HAS MET ME. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SO SCARY. IT IS VERY POSSIBLE TO MOVE FROM FEAR TO EXCITEMENT AND VICTORY   WITH A LITTLE BETTER PREPARATION! WHETHER YOU ARE A TIMOTHY OR A PAUL OR A COMBINATION OF THE TWO, THERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE THINGS WE ALL CAN DO […]

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THE MOST FERTILE TIME

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR CAN ALSO BE THE MOST FERTILE TIME OF THE YEAR FOR SPIRITUAL BEGINNINGS. IF YOU HAVE MISSED THIS, CONSIDER SEIZING THE SEASON THIS YEAR. NOW IS THE TIME TO PLAN. YESTERDAY THIS WAS MY LITTLE VILLAGE, BUT SHE WILL SOON BE CLOTHED IN WHITE. YESTERDAY I WALKED THE TRAILS OF FALLING LEAVES WITH MY GRAND-DAUGHTERS BUT SOON WE WILL BE CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING THESE TRAILS. NOW IS THE TIME TO GET READY TO SEIZE THE MOST FERTILE TIME OF THE YEAR AFTER THIS POLITICAL SEASON, PEOPLE MAY BE ESPECIALLY HUNGRY FOR HOPE. MANY PEOPLE WHO WOULD SHUN AN INVITE TO A GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE WILL GLADLY COME TO YOUR HOME FOR A CHRISTMAS TEA. WOULD YOU PRAY NOW ABOUT HOSTING A TEA IN YOUR HOME? YOU MIGHT PARTNER WITH A SISTER IN CHRIST. THEN […]

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WINSOME WAYS OF TESTING THE WIND

HOW WONDERFUL IT IS WHEN YOU FEEL THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT MOVING SOMETIMES THE BREEZE COMES UP SO QUICKLY YOU CAN SCARCELY BELIEVE IT! I remember when my neighbor Gladys visited our Bible study. She was so quiet that I stopped by the next day with banana bread, thanking her for coming, telling her I hoped she’d come again, praying she might open up. She asked me to stay for tea (a good sign!) and over steaming cups of orange spiced tea, I queried, “You were so quiet at study — what you were feeling and thinking?” “Honesty, I felt kind of stupid — the other women seem to get it, but Dee, when I read the Bible, I feel like it is written in a foreign language.” She was an intelligent woman, so I was quite sure what […]

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HOW TO LISTEN WHEN YOU DISAGREE

WE MUST BE AWARE OF THE ENEMY’S SNARES WHAT SATAN FEARS THE MOST IS LOVE, THE BIRTHMARK OF A CHRISTIAN. GOD IS LOVE, AND AS HIS CHILDREN, WE MUST REFLECT THAT LOVE, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE DISAGREE. NOTHING CAN BUILD A WALL FASTER THAN QUARRELS. OUR ENEMY KNOWS THAT, SO WHEN A SUBJECT OF CONTROVERSY COMES UP HE IS FEEDING THE FIRE HE IS FEEDING OUR PRIDE SO THAT WE WILL BUILD A WALL BETWEEN US AND THE ONE WE LONG TO WIN TO CHRIST.  I HAVE LEARNED THE HARD WAY IN THIS REGARD. AS A YOUNG CHRISTIAN, AFTER COMING ON SO STRONG WHEN I DISAGREED, A WALL CAME UP BETWEEN ME AND ONE I LOVED. I HAD TO GO AND HUMBLE MYSELF, ASKING TEARFULLY FOR FORGIVENESS FOR NOT REALLY LISTENING TO HER. I TOLD HER, “I SEE IT WAS MY […]

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THE ART OF LISTENING (# 4)

SOME OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE LEARNED HOW TO BE THE HOST IN CONVERSATION. THEY ARE OTHER-CENTERED. THEY LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND, NOT TO REPLY. THEY HAVE MASTERED THE RARE ART OF LISTENING. WE MUST BECOME “WOMEN OF UNDERSTANDING” WHO KNOW HOW TO DRAW OUT THE DEEP WATERS OF ANOTHER’S SOUL. The purposes of a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5  WE NEED EARS TO HEAR WHAT IS KEEPING THEM FROM JESUS. SO OFTEN THE ART OF LISTENING GOES HAND IN HAND WITH THE ART OF HOSPITALITY. JESUS DIDN’T HAVE A HOME, BUT STILL, HE PRACTICED HOSPITALITY. HE MADE A BREAKFAST ON THE BEACH AND INVITED PETER TO JOIN HIM. HE TOLD ZACCHEAUS, “I’M COMING TO YOUR HOUSE TODAY.” HE BROKE BREAD WITH THE TWO ON THE […]

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A HEART TO MELT FEARS (EVAN. #3)

ON THE SIDELINES AT PICKLEBALL, I HAD THIS CONVERSATION WITH A WOMAN. Elaine: “What’s new with you, Dee?” Me: “Well, I’m part of a group that is just starting a new church — and that’s been exciting.” Elaine: “What kind of a church?” Me: “We call it ‘The Orchard,’ but it’s an Evangelical Free Church.” In response, Elaine looked a lot like this. “Evangelical?” she said. “You mean you push your religion on people?” She took me by surprise. When I recovered, I said: “Oh no — not religion! But we do talk about how Jesus has changed our lives.” Elaine was quiet, then seemed relieved when called to play pickleball, and ran. I’m praying for another chance to talk to Elaine, to see if she has been hurt by those whom were insensitive. I want to hear what is […]

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EYES TO SEE (Evangelism… #2)

IN GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY, HE HAS PLACED YOU IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, CITY, WORKPLACE… NOW YOU MUST PRAY FOR EYES TO SEE YOUR FIELD.        Jesus told the disciples to start in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. We too need to start where we are, and pray for His Spirit to open our eyes to the people right within our path. Your field changes with life circumstances. I became a Christian when Steve was going through medical school, so my first “field” was my neighborhood and the wives of other medical students. When I had children, their friends were my next “field.” Each neighborhood we moved to was a new “field,” and I have also sought to minister in what experts call the “fertile field.” (More about that soon.) Though some of you are rural, most of us have a […]

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EVANGELISM FOR INTROVERTS #1

In the increasingly hardened culture of today, it’s easy to feel like this about evangelism but by walking in the Spirit, it’s possible for this to change to this: And truly, I am so excited about sharing with you what I’ve learned, for though our methods need to change with the culture, the power of the gospel remains the same. Even if you are an introvert, as I am, you can do this. For when you move with His Spirit, you are not alone, and you will experience power from on high. If you have not yet experienced being part of the process of seeing a life changed by the gospel, I am praying this will be the year it happens. This community is one I am so proud of, for you are living your faith, and I am truly, […]

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WHAT MATTERS MOST (PS. 49)

SLOW SUMMER DAYS & SWEET SUMMER NIGHTS ARE FADING INTO FALL, AND WE CLOSE OUR SERIES ON THE PSALMS OF THE SONS OF KORAH WITH AN INTRIGUING CHANGE IN TONE: FROM WORSHIP TO WISDOM, FOR IMPORTANT THINGS ARE SAID WHEN TIME IS RUNNING OUT. PSALM 49 OPENS LIKE PROVERBS, WITH A CRY TO ALL:   WE REMEMBER THAT THE SONS OF KORAH SAW THEIR FATHERS, WHO TRUSTED IN THEMSELVES, SWALLOWED UP BY THE EARTH. NOW THEY DEDICATE THEIR LIVES TO SONGS OF WORSHIP, TO SINGING ABOUT WHAT MATTERS MOST. TO PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR A RICH STUDY, LISTEN TO THIS: On a personal note, I think you did tremendously last week with Augustine and the City of God. There were great questions, thoughtful “listening,” and together we grew. I’m so thankful for the fellowship here. On a side note, this […]

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CITY OF GOD (Augustine)

LAST WEEK I ASKED FOR PRAYER FROM YOU, DEAR SISTERS, FOR THE WINDS TO CALM, FOR WE HAD FOUR BAPTISMS SCHEDULED AT MY HOUSE.  JESUS STILLED THE WIND QUICKENED HEARTS AS FOUR NEW CHRISTIANS IN OUR CHURCH PLANT, THE ORCHARD, TOLD OF FINDING THEIR REST IN HIM. Ron  was religious, but did not find rest. But the love of God has dropped from his head to his heart, and after so many years of restlessness, he has found his rest in God. Ron is a transformed man — showing us all the power of God! RON SAYS, OFTEN WHEN HE IS WALKING HIS DOGS IN THE WOODS, HE FALLS TO HIS KNEES IN GRATITUDE. FOR HOW MUCH JESUS MEANS TO HIM FOR HOW CHANGED HE IS! A VIETNAM VET WHO WAS SO RESTLESS, TRANFORMED BY THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT. […]

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