If you could make one change…

adult and child hands holding red heart, health care love and family concept

Some time ago, I was reading an article about the benefit of organic choices. One thing it said was, “If you are going to make only one change, start with milk – organic milk.”  So I did. That is the one organic product I fairly consistently purchase with my groceries.

I was thinking recently about what one change a believer could make that would have the greatest impact.  I’m sure others would have different answers but I offer this one…Love.

The two great commandments are basically love God and love others You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39

Christ sums up all the commandments with these two – when all is said and done the law boils down to these two commandments.

  • #1 Love God
  • #2 Love neighbors

(According to the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 – our neighbor could be anyone – not just people we know or those living in our neighborhood. Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37)

God commands us to love other believers A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34 Love the brotherhood. 1 Peter 2:17

  • #3 Love the brethren

Jesus goes even further – love your enemies! But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44

  • #4 Love your enemy

In God’s book (literally) love is right up at the top of His list.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Love is woven throughout the message of the entire Bible.  From Genesis to Revelation, page after page. It’s there, in attitude, action, and word…LOVE.

What marks the life of a believer more than anything else?  LOVE.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

Love for God. Love for others. Love for the brethren. Love for enemies.  Love is God’s thumbprint.  As His redeemed ones, His love is to be evident in and through our entire lives.

If you are going to make one change in your life… let it be love.

Blessings,

Diane

Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at dhunt@americaskeswick.org.

Recalibration

close up of woman shoes standing on the street

In what area of life do you have difficulty believing that God is or will keep His promises?  Oh, we may say, “I know God keeps all His promises” but does our life reflect the reality of that belief?

Recently, I was in a discussion with a group of women and the question was asked: “What does God’s diligent pursuit of Israel teach you about the way He keeps His promises?” This question led to an interesting discussion.

One woman said she was trying real hard to think of a way God had not kept His promises because in her heart she felt like there were times He failed to keep a promise to her.

A second woman said she was feeling that way about a situation in her life but then remembered Scripture that encouraged her heart to view her situation in a different, more biblical light.  Her practical response was rather wise, I think.  She chose to have certain Scriptures come to her phone every morning at 8 am so she could recalibrate her thinking.

Now there are all kinds of apps that will give a verse of the day – and they are great.  By all means use them.

But I think what my friend did was a little different.  She chose certain verses that spoke directly to her heart about her specific situation – that targeted the lie she had been believing.  Daily she is intentionally renewing her mind. Each day her thinking is recalibrated to align with the Truth.

What areas of your thinking need to be recalibrated from a worldly perspective to a godly perspective?

Do you need recalibration regarding your anger?

Do you need recalibration regarding your pride?

Do you need recalibration regarding your sense of loneliness?

Do you need recalibration regarding your discouragement?

Do you need recalibration regarding a heart of bitterness?

Do you need recalibration regarding a judgmental or critical spirit?

Do you need recalibration regarding your church involvement?

The list is different for each one of us.  Where do you need recalibration?  Are you being intentional to align your thoughts with God’s thoughts?  It is not just a matter of rehearsing the Scriptural truths over and over but actually embracing those truths by faith.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Ready. Set. Recalibrate.

Blessings,

Diane

Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at dhunt@americaskeswick.org.

Expectation – Living Hope

 

Woman praying and free bird enjoying nature on sunset background, hope concept

Born again to a Living Hope! I Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Hope – Expectation of something that is going to happen in the future.  The world’s hope is uncertain.  As we live our lives we may set our hope on having a quiet and peaceful life. Hope for a fun-filled life that may go something like this: I really hope I get ________; ________ this year. This hope is how the world views things.  As believers in Christ, we have a “Certain” hope. Certain means to be free from doubt or reservation; confident; sure to happen!

I Peter 1:4 & 5 “God is protecting our inheritance”; and our inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, kept in heaven for you & me and guarded by God’s power. I don’t know about you, but I want to hold onto the expectation of “my inheritance waiting and being guarded for me in heaven.”

The only thing certain in the world is that we will have suffering. Jesus never said we’d be free of pain and suffering. II Timothy 3:12….we will be persecuted……and in John 16:33….”in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the world.”

Truth to hold onto:

1) We have a living hope to hold onto in the midst of the storm. “Jesus is our lighthouse.” Be confident, God has our back; I trust Him and because I trust Him, I can rest in Him, I can sleep.

If you have never heard “There’s A Lighthouse” sung by Joyce Hayes, I encourage you do get a copy of the CD by Robert, Joyce & Jordan Hayes. Every time I hear the words “Jesus is our Lighthouse” it brings tears of joy to my eyes because this is certain;

2) We will only face trials that are necessary – What is He teaching me? In shunning a trial we are seeking to avoid it;

3) Our trials will only last a little while. We must have a proper perspective: “God is in it with me – He’s the only one who truly has our back.  When we are in the dark remember the light of God’s Word” – “He is our Lighthouse”.

“When a train goes through a tunnel you don’t toss the ticket, you trust the engineer.” Corrie TenBoom.

Blessings,

Pat Spies

A Servant of the Lord and America’s Keswick Volunteer

 

To Know Him

Woman feeling free, happy and loved in a beautiful natural setting at sunet

You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. Isaiah 43:10

Creator

Sustainer

Infinite

Eternal

Omniscient

Omnipotent

Omnipresent

Self-existent

Almighty

Triune God

The One True God

THIS God invites us to know Him.  In fact, He not only invites us, He desires for us to know Him. Not only does He desire for us to know Him, He makes Himself known.

Throughout Scripture God says, “They shall know I am the LORD.”

God pursued Israel to make Himself known to them.  “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.  And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.” Exodus 26:45-46

God seeks to make Himself known to the nations.  Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

God makes Himself known to us.

…that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God… Ephesians 3:16-19

God not only makes Himself known to the Nations, He makes Himself known to you, personally. He makes Himself known to me, personally.

Is our knowledge of God increasing?  Is our love for Him growing?  Don’t be satisfied with just knowing God unto salvation, but eagerly pursue a flourishing, ever-increasing, growing, personal knowledge of Almighty God.

May I suggest just 2 ways to do that?

  1. Be in the Word – God makes Himself known through the written word (Bible) and the Living Word (Jesus) – immerse yourself in both.
  2. Be hyper-observant – be consciously alert and aware to the hand of God working in your midst. Be intentional to take notice of the Glory of God manifested in your life and the lives of those around you.

This pursuit will yield glorious fruit in our lives. As we grow in our knowledge of God, our love for Him will grow as well. As our love for Him grows it will overflow to a fallen, hurting, broken world. And we shall be His witnesses

Blessings,

Diane

Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at dhunt@americaskeswick.org.

Anger vs. Hatred

angry woman blowing steam coming out of ears

I am currently reading a book by Ed Welch, “A Small Book About a Big Problem[i]” It has 50 short meditations about Anger.  A few days ago I read this quote from Day 10: Blind Spots …

“In our anger, we think we see clearly—-much clearer than most people. We are certain that we are right and just. All we see is our rightness and someone else’s injustices done against us. But the evidence is that anger and hatred are the same thing with two different names, and hatred is blinding.

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:11)”

Did that statement and Scripture stop you in your tracks like it did me? Hatred?

I find I use the word hate more casually. I hate waiting in line. I hate it when I can’t sleep. I hate snakes.  But hate a person?

Jesus, in His sermon on the mount told His listeners,

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother is liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ Will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus takes anger very seriously and makes the connection between anger and murder. He is moving His listeners and us from thinking of just the letter of the law to the deeper heart and spirit of the law.

We may not have broken the letter of the law, but dare I say, we have all broken the spirit of the 6th commandment innumerable times.

In our anger, we hate.

In our hatred, we are blind.

In our blindness, we fail to see, accept and own our own personal offense to Almighty God.

That gives me pause.

How destructive is our anger? Very.

It doesn’t have to be explosive anger to be destructive, it can be an underlying simmering anger, bitterness. None of us are 100% free of anger, so we all fall somewhere along the continuum.

Rather than thinking of anger as a minor character flaw or just-being-human, perhaps we need to start thinking of it for what it is. Hatred.

In every area of our heart where anger lingers, hatred lingers.

In every area where hatred lingers, love is absent.

Where love is absent, we are not walking in Christlikeness.

If this is true, then one way to combat anger is to replace it with love.

Impossible?

Not by the grace of God and the power of His indwelling Spirit.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14

Blessings,

Diane

[i] Edward T. Welch, A Small Book about a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace. New Growth Press. 2017.

Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at dhunt@americaskeswick.org.

 

Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a Choice.jpg

 

I once read a devotion that talked about happiness being a choice. So I sat for a while and realized that I choose happiness every day. When I first awake and I start to journal, I thank the Lord for a beautiful day. Now I don’t really know what the weather will be like or what kind of day it will be, but I choose to beeline to “it is a beautiful day!” Every day is a beautiful day because it’s a day to be with my husband, talk to my kids, help a friend, cry with someone who is hurting, laugh with someone, or just be still and enjoy God’s presence. It’s all about how we look at things.

My husband has been having medical issues and we have gotten some results. Some people find it funny that our reaction to certain results is, “well, it’s only… but we know it could be worse.” We choose to see our glass 1/2 full not 1/2 empty. God never promised easy living – He promised to never leave us and He promised to fill us with joy. You can’t live an abundant life if you don’t choose happiness – choose to see the joy in each moment. My prayer is that you choose happiness no matter your circumstance.

Robbin Weinhardt is a Part-Time Dining Room Hostess and a Women of Character graduate. She is married to Ray Weinhardt, who works in our kitchen and is a Colony of Mercy Graduate.

What’s on the Inside?

Slow Weight Loss Progress

As the season changes, my Facebook feed is filling up with pictures, some funny, some not so funny, referencing the “need” to get rid of the extra winter pounds that we may have put on. I am guilty….again! But while most of us take great care and concern for the outside image, do we portray how well are we taking care of the inside?

Matthew 23:26-28  talks about when the Pharisees were more concerned with the outside than the inside. “You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  We desire to fit in our summer clothes, we strive to do our spring cleaning, but how seriously do we take the sin that comfortably resides in us?

It is hard work to clean the outside but so much harder to get the inside ship-shape!

Take a quiet moment today to deep clean the inside. Take in the Word of God and let it deep clean the areas that have been neglected, perhaps for far too long. Sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to what He will tell you needs to be removed. Allow Him to wipe everything clean. While this may seem overwhelming, as most cleaning projects are, He is faithful.    1 John 1:9 says, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Any cleaning project makes us feel good. It’s a great accomplishment to drop a few pounds, clean a closet or wash some windows. How much better will it be for you and me if we are washed on the inside?

Blessings,

Kathy

Kathy Withers is on staff at America’s Keswick and serves as Director of Partner Care. Kathy has been married to her husband Dave for 30 years. They have two adult children. Kathy is active in her local church and teaches a Bible study for women. Her passion is to encourage women to deepen their walk with Jesus Christ by finding and living out the truths of God’s Word.

God Never Leaves

woman reading the bible in the darkness

 

Have you ever felt like God has left you? You can’t feel His presence anymore? Well I have. And I learned a few truths. God in His Word promises to never leave us or forsake us. He also promises that He will be with us always, and that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

So when we feel alone and can’t feel Him with us, who is the one that changed?? This is when we start to focus on our circumstances, our problems, or worries. All we have to do is whisper His name and remember His promises and we will feel His presence. He never left. We let ourselves believe a lie that our circumstance or problem or worry was bigger than our God. We let a lie hide God’s truth.

So remember, we serve a Big God and His promises are truth. And when you feel alone or lost, just whisper His name and open your heart; remember His truths. He is always there, He never changes. He loves you!!

Robbin Weinhardt is a Part-Time Dining Room Hostess and a Women of Character graduate. She is married to Ray Weinhardt, who works in our kitchen and is a Colony of Mercy Graduate.

No Pity…

Nailed hand on cross

 

I was recently listening to a message by Dr. Michael Krueger, and he referenced that God did not withhold His wrath from His Son.  Unlike a parent who holds back what the child deserves, God did not hold back anything. God did not go easy on His own Son, on our behalf.  God exhausted His wrath on Jesus at the Cross.

These thoughts came to mind when I was reading Ezekiel last week.

God sent Ezekiel to the people of Israel, “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me.  They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn; I send you to them…And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.’” Ezekiel 2:3-7 (excerpts)

God was exacting His punishment on Israel for their rebellion against Him.  “I will spend my fury upon them…my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity, but I will punish you for your ways, while your abominations are in your midst…I will soon pour out my wrath upon you, and spend my anger against you, and judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in you midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD, who strikes…As for me, my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity, I will bring their deeds upon their heads.”

And we deserve nothing less, for apart from Christ, we too are a rebellious people and our sin deserves God’s wrath and punishment.  But Christ took that punishment on our behalf. At the Cross, the Father spent His fury upon Him, His eye did not spare Him, nor did He have pity, He punished Jesus for OUR ways, and OUR abominations.  The Father poured out His wrath upon His Son, He spent His anger against Him, and judged Christ according to OUR ways.  His eye did not spare nor did He have pity – He poured out His wrath for OUR deeds on Christ’s head.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief… Isaiah 53:4-5; Isaiah 53:10

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Romans 5:9

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…1 Thessalonians 5:9

Declaring Glory (song)

My God poured out His vengeance great
Like floods released with crushing weight,
But Jesus drank that fury dry
And now God’s wrath is satisfied.
O, glorious thought, How can it be?
My King has no wrath left for me![i]

© 2015 Declaring Glory – all rights reserved

Oh, how grateful I am.

Blessings,

Diane

[i] Music by Dave Mincy; Words by Joe Henson III

Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at dhunt@americaskeswick.org.

 

Out or Through

Girl reading the Bible in the library cafe.

 

Sometimes we need to pray “get me out” prayers. But sometimes we need to pray “get me through” prayers. And we need the discernment to know when to pray what. ~ Mark Batterson

Bill Welte has challenged our staff and ministry friends to read Mark Batterson’s book “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge.”  The quote above struck me very early in the book. Our natural inclination when faced with a difficulty is to ask for God to remove it or get us out of the situation. Whether it be an illness, a financial burden, a relational difficulty – you name, we want out of it.

But I find, more often than not, God doesn’t remove the difficulty or remove us from the situation. Rather, He uses it to continue the process of molding us to be more like Him – to teach us, to sand off our rough edges, to remove the dross from our lives so the silver can shine through. But He never abandons us in these tough times.  He’s not one to throw us in the deep end to force us to learn to swim. No, whatever the burden, whatever the difficult circumstance – He is right there with us, walking beside us. Sometimes holding a hand, sometimes picking us up and carrying us, sometimes just giving the word of encouragement we need to keep going.

“Get me out” brings instant relief, but doesn’t really benefit us in the long term. Nothing is learned, nothing is gained, in simply having the difficulty removed.

Paul the apostle experienced this himself. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 he says, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

If God chose to allow Paul to remain “in” the circumstance, why should I experience less? I have so much more to gain by walking “through” with Him.

So, how are you praying today? Get me out…or get me through?

Ruth Schmidt

Ruth Schmidt has worked at America’s Keswick since 1985. She currently serves as Administrative Assistant to Bill Welte.