Hello and thanks for stopping by my blog. If you’re looking for specific resources, be sure to check out the topics in the column to the right. Otherwise, feel free to look around! ~ Kerry

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Unhindered

First Peter 5:8-9 tells us to, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” And James tells us, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).”

Many days we fail to recognize the battle that rages all around us. It is a spiritual one. If we don’t recognize it as a spiritual battle, we don’t engage the “war” with the right weapons. Satan would love nothing more than to destroy our intimacy with God, the health of our marriages, and the effectiveness of our ministries.

My husband, Mike and I are very different from one another—he is quiet and I am very talkative. Today we enjoy a great relationship and our ability to communicate effectively has grown throughout the years. But when we were first married, I expected him to respond just like me and share every thought that entered his mind. The enemy would whisper accusations like, “Mike just doesn’t trust you enough to share his thoughts with you . . . If he really wanted to be close to you he would talk more . . .” I’ve discovered that if I allow those thoughts to linger and I mentally agree with them, I become very discouraged and it negatively impacts my responses to Mike. However, if I recognize the enemy is at work accusing my husband, I can disagree and simply enjoy the quiet times, knowing our relationship is secure.

We can only resist the enemy and stand firm if we recognize his strategies:

Strategy #1—He Accuses
Revelation 12 describes the enemy of our soul as an accuser. I believe there are two major ways he uses this tactic:
1. He accuses us personally with thoughts like, “You’ll never measure up. You will never be able to overcome that habit. You are not strong enough, pretty enough, smart enough…”
2. He accuses those around us with negative thoughts about their intent and character. (Just like the accusations he made about Mike.)

Strategy #2—He Creates Doubt about God’s Character
Just like the temptation of Eve, he will cause us to doubt God’s goodness. He whispers thoughts like, “Is God really good? Would a good God let this happen to you? Where is God? You don’t even feel His presence, do you?”

Any time we begin to doubt God and His character, we can know the enemy is at work. It is important to allow biblical Truths to shape our view of God, not the doubts the enemy plants in our thoughts.

So many times we don’t recognize accusations and doubts as the enemy, we simply think we are discovering reality. Maybe God isn’t good, maybe I’ll never succeed, maybe my spouse doesn’t love me. But the best time to beat temptation is early in the battle—when the thoughts first arise. If we entertain the ideas we open the door and give him permission to continue the attack. The longer the thoughts remain, the more we buy into the lies. These lies can create negative strongholds in our life. Resist him by recognizing his schemes and replacing the accusations and doubts with truth.

Remember, the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But the truth will always set us free. Christ offers us an abundant life, unhindered by condemnation and fear.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Practice His Presence

Sometimes the busy seasons of life can leave us feeling frazzled and overwhelmed. This week our team is getting ready for our District Women’s Directors Seminar and General Council in Phoenix. This is such a busy time in our office—it seems we have 1,000 details to tie up. And I have needed to remind myself several times to “practice the presence of God.”

Let me explain…

When I was about 27 years old, someone gave me a copy of the book, The Practice of the Presence of God. It describes the journey of Brother Lawrence, a Frenchman who served as a cook in a 17th century monastery. His desire was to live every moment with an overwhelming awareness of God’s presence.

This may sound strange, but I consider Brother Lawrence to be a mentor. (Don’t worry, I don’t see or hear him! I’ve just learned so much from his writings.) His life challenges me to enjoy a closer relationship with God—one more intimate than I ever thought possible.

I’m sure I don’t yet understand the depth of this reality—living continually aware of God’s presence. But the little I have learned has completely transformed my life.

When I’m not living aware of God, my flesh wants to react and respond in ways that are anything but pleasing to Him. I easily become distracted, frustrated, fearful, and overwhelmed with the responsibilities and cares of life. And my words and behavior are always disappointing.

However, if I make every effort to be aware of God’s presence, my responses are completely different. When I am aware of Him, I can rely on Him for whatever I need in each moment—whether it is wisdom, insight, strength, love, or patience.

It may seem like an overwhelming assignment, to be consciously aware of God’s presence in our busy, distracted lives. But I have learned from Brother Lawrence that you can have an ongoing “secret conversation of the soul” with God in the busiest moments.

Listen to what was said about this mentor of mine:

“As Brother Lawrence had found such an advantage in walking in the presence of God, it was natural for him to recommend it earnestly to others; but his example was a stronger inducement than any arguments he could propose. His very countenance was edifying, such a sweet and calm devotion appearing in it as could not but affect the beholders. And it was observed that in the greatest busyness in the kitchen he still preserved his recollection and heavenly mindedness. He was never hasty nor loitering, but did each thing in its season, with an even, uninterrupted composure and tranquility of spirit. ‘The time of busyness,’ said he, ‘does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and chatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees in prayer.’”[i]

The first time I read The Practice of the Presence of God, I was young mother of two very active little boys. I discovered that I could wipe runny noses, referee disputes, and make peanut butter sandwiches for the Lord. It completely changed how I approached my day—I wanted to do everything with excellence. And I grew to depend on Him more every day. It was so exciting to realize that He was right there to give me everything I needed to be a mom.

This truth is for us all—no matter what our day demands, we can grow to enjoy God’s presence and possess the inner tranquility He offers.

[i] Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God (Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour and Company, Inc., 1993, 37-38.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Broken Marriage Restored

Every once in a while, I receive messages or testimonies from women that are so exciting, I have to share them! I received this message from my friend, Ann. She led a Secrets bible study at her church and she saw first hand what can happen when a woman surrenders her whole life to God. Here's the story:

Hey Friend!

Have some cool news to share with you! Yesterday I was talking with a gal at my church that went through Secrets with me last year and she told me that she shared a copy of the book with her sister-in-law. She and her husband were in the process of a divorce and actually ended up going through with it. When she received the book she tossed it under the seat of her car and didn't want to read it. But after the divorce she started going back to church and eventually picked the book up and read it cover to cover. Said once she started it she couldn't put it down. Well to make a long story short, she and her ex-husband are back together! My friend said she repented of the things she had done that had caused problems in their marriage and decided to try to reconcile with him. Her husband said, "I don't know what was in that book but she's a different person now!" I was so excited when my friend shared that with me! I'm sure there are many more testimonies like this one :) Props again for writing this book!

Love ya!
Ann

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When God Made Time

Late one night, high above the Atlantic Ocean, I was challenged by this statement, "There is always time to do the will of God." I have difficulty sleeping on overseas flights, so I turned my attention to my current devotional book. The writer asked if we agreed or disagreed with that statement. Sure. I agree--there must be enough time to do God's will. I remember the sound of the jet engine and looking out the window at the stars above and the vast waters below and questioning myself. Then why do I feel so stressed, always wishing for more hours in a day?

My husband and I were leading a missions team of 27 people from our church in Wichita, Kansas, to Ireland. While everyone else was sleeping (or at least trying to sleep) my mind was pondering that interesting statement--"There is always time to do the will of God," and all of its implications for my busyness.

We landed in Dublin and were greeted by a wonderful Irish couple, a very small bus, and two cars. We piles in the vehicles and headed to one of the most beautiful spots on the earth--Carraig Eden in Greystones, Ireland. Needless to say, the beauty of Ireland crowded out the thoughts from my devotions. I was overwhelmed by cars driving on the left side of very narrow streets, thatched roofs, brightly colored doors, sheep, and the greenest grass I'd ever imagined. Once we arrived at the Bible college, the students won our hearts and we began to work on the many tasks we had come to complete.

One of the first things we noticed was the different pace of life in Ireland. A very relational people, the Irish enjoy taking time for tea and lingering over meals. To be completely honest, this was a real challenge for many on our team. My husband went to a nearby hardware store and had to wait for 20 minutes while the owners finished visiting over their tea. We soon realized that our fast-pased American way was being challenged.

Late one evening, after a full day's work and a delicious Irish meal, several of us walked along the Irish Sea shore. We came upon a kind, elderly Irish gentlemen. His lovely accent was so captivating and his answers to our questions were so enlightening, that we stood late into the night engaging him in conversation. After an hour and a half, I thanked him for taking so much time with us. I'll never forget his response, "Oh, that's alright. When God made time, He made plenty of it."

I remember thinking, Wow, we aren't in Kansas anymore. I had never heard that statement before. As Americans, we are always hoping for more hours in the day, more days in the week, and more months in the year!

Spending those eight days in Ireland taught me a very important lesson--there is always time to do His will. So anytime I begin to feel overwhelmed, I ask myself--am I doing what He desires or am I filling my life with things I think are important? I don't want to ever forget the words and challenging truth of a kind Irishman, "Oh, that's alright. When God made time, He made plenty of it."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Make Your Mark

Here is the video that I created for the organization where I work. I wanted to share it with you!
video

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Geniune Love

In the midst of pastoral counseling, my husband often defines love as self-sacrifice. Genuine love wants the best for others and is willing to make sacrifices for them to experience that goodness. When we look at the life of Christ, we see this picture of love in every encounter—truly putting the needs of others ahead of His own.

We may naturally think that self-sacrificing love is too costly. However, just the opposite is true. Selfish living always leaves us frustrated and unfulfilled, because self-centered thoughts tend to focus what is lacking in our life. Or we can find ourselves wanting others to live up to our expectations, causing even more dissatisfaction.

We actually rob ourselves of joy by choosing to live selfishly. Jesus tells us our joy is directly related to our choice to remain in His love and love others—

“’As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you’” (John 15:9-12, NIV).

Earlier in the book of John, we read that Jesus came to give us a “rich and satisfying life,” (John 10:10, NLT). But we are also called to serve one another in love. The two are directly related.

I pray we will remain in His love and allow self-sacrificing love to pour through our lives. I believe a rich, satisfying, joyful life will be the result!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Praying for Your Husband

Philippians 4:5-7 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Below is the prayer guide found in Secrets appendix. As you pray, allow the peace that God provides to guard your heart and mind.

For Your Husband

Relationship with God
Psalm 19:1-4 Pray your husband will see god at work in all creation.
Psalm 42 Pray your husband will be “thirsty for God.”
Psalm 103:1-18 Pray for your husband to experience God’s great love.
Psalm 139:1-18 Remember that this truth applies to your husband as you pray for him.
Isaiah 55 Pray your husband will seek God with his whole heart and find the satisfaction that only God can give.
Colossians 1:15-20 Pray your husband will come to know Christ as He is described in these verses.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Pray your husband will live in awareness of Christ’s return.

Righteous Living
Psalm 1 Pray your husband will be a righteous and “blessed man.”
Psalm 32 Pray your husband will be quick to repent.
Proverbs 4:23-27 Pray your husband will be a man of integrity.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 Pray your husband will avoid sexual immorality.
Hebrews 4:12 Pray that your husband’s heart will be touched in a life-changing way anytime he hears the Word of God.

Ability as a Husband
Ephesians 5:25-33 Pray your husband’s love for you will grow to be like Christ’s.
Philippians 2:1-8 Pray your husband will serve others with a humble heart.

Wisdom for Decisions
Psalm 62 Pray your husband will place his hope and trust in God.
Psalm 86:1-7 and Psalm 107 Pray that when your husband is in trouble, he will call out to God.
Proverbs 2 Pray your husband will grow in wisdom, insight, and understanding.

If Your Husband Is Not Yet a Christian
Hebrews 11:1 Remember that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Have faith in God and believe for your husband’s salvation.
2 Peter 3:8,9 Remember God’s patience and His desire for your husband to come to know Him.