Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prayers for God's Glory

“How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” – King David
2 Samuel 7:22

David’s greatest passion was for God’s name. His passion for God’s greatness was on display in the sheep pasture, the battlefield, and the palace. It was evident in his psalms and prayers, and God’s glory was the drive behind his desire to build the Temple. When Nathan told David that he was not to build the Temple, but that God promised to make David’s name great and establish his throne forever, David said nothing to Nathan. Instead, he went to the Tabernacle, sat before the Ark, and talked to God (2 Samuel 7:18-29). His posture, prayer, and position exemplify John’s words and God’s command, He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30).

David’s posture. David learned of God’s covenant promises and sat before the LORD. To sit rather than stand in God’s presence was a posture of humility and recognition that this was a gift of God’s grace. He didn’t earn it. He didn’t deserve it. All is grace! He was overwhelmed by God’s promise. “Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? This decree – Sovereign LORD, is for a mere human!” (v. 18)

David’s prayer. Within David’s prayer of gratitude he refers to God nine times as either the Sovereign Lord or Lord Almighty. God’s greatness is his prayer focus and praise. God’s glory is the heart of his petition. He urges God to fulfill His promise, not for David’s gain and glory, but God’s! “Do as you promised, so that your name will be great forever” (v. 26). David recounts the great and awesome wonders God performed for His people, he trusts God’s promises, and gives thanks for His forever blessings.  

David’s position. Within David’s prayer he refers to himself ten times as God’s servant. Whether living in obscurity as a shepherd or crowned king of Israel, he rightly understood and accepted his role as God’s servant. God is God. He was not. He is the Sovereign LORD, Master, Owner, and Ruler of all. No matter David’s position within the kingdom, his heart was postured as a servant for God’s glory.

God’s promise to David was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ whose mission and prayer was God’s glory. On route to the garden He prayed, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you” (John 17:1).

HE>i: Think about your prayers. Is the focus of your praise and petitions God’s greatness and glory?

Today when you pray, start with God. Survey what He has made. Recite what He has done. Proclaim who He is. 
Mark Buchanan

grace and peace,

Monday, March 31, 2014


May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

Since youth I’ve been a list maker. Need something done? Put it on the list. Check. Check. Check. What joy to cross off accomplished tasks with the scratch of pen to paper. Today my lists are driven less by the desire to check off tasks, and more by the necessity to write things down so I don’t forget! Don’t tell me on the fly that you need razor blades or milk. Put it on the list or it won’t happen. There are moments it would be helpful if I had jotted down why I entered a room. Can anyone identify?

Sadly, the one thing I rarely forget is the very thing I should: myself! In his book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Timothy Keller writes, “Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself.”

The Apostle Paul understood, taught, and lived what it means to be self-forgetful. Although he had every right to boast in outward appearances, he wasn’t puffed up with pride. He considered them garbage that he might gain Christ (Philippians 3:3-8). Although he admitted he was the worst of sinners, he didn’t self-deprecate (1 Timothy 1:15-16). His identity and purpose were not founded on what others thought of him or even what he thought of himself. His boast was in Christ alone! He wrote, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14). For God to become greater and us to become less we must boast in Christ, and be self-forgetful!

• The self-forgetful are more concerned about pleasing Jesus than making good impressions. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will . . . so you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way (Colossians 1:9-10).

• The self-forgetful look out for the things of Jesus rather than their own comfort and security. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:21).
• The self-forgetful do good deeds for the praise and glory of their Father, not for the praise of people. (Matthew 5:16) 

HE>i: How self-forgetful are you? Seek to think more about Jesus and less about yourself.

True humility isn’t acting to make ourselves seem humble to others, but striving to forget ourselves for the sake of others.
Burk Parsons

grace and peace,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's your Vision?

What’s Your Vision? 

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Isaiah 6:1

When Helen Keller was asked “What could be worse than being blind?”, she replied “To have sight without vision.” How true.

In chapter 5 of his book Isaiah points his fingers at the faults of others:
  • Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field (v. 8)
  • Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks (v. 11)
  • Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit (v. 18)
  • Woe to those who call evil good and good evil (v. 20)
A dramatic change took place in Isaiah when he had a God-sized vision of the LORD Almighty. Try to imagine the sights and sounds that Isaiah saw!

I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah saw angels and heard them calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Doorposts shook. Thresholds trembled. The temple was filled with smoke! (6:1-4)

No longer was Isaiah pointing his fingers at others. He had seen the LORD! He had seen His greatness and glory! The vision of God’s splendor convicted him of his sin. He cried out, “Woe to me!” (v. 5) A God-sized vision transformed Isaiah into a person God could use! After he was assured that his guilt was removed and his sin atoned for, he was ready to hear God’s call.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (v. 6)

How we see God affects the way we live. Our lives show God and others if we have a God-sized vision of the LORD or a pint-sized one. When Saul was anointed the first king of Israel his vision of God was so small he hid in the baggage. When David ran (yes, Scripture says, “ran”) to the battle line to meet Goliath, his vision of God’s greatness was aligned to the truth of who God is and what He says He will do. David said, “It is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s” (1 Samuel 17:47).

HE>i: What is your vision of God?

Sometimes when we get overwhelmed we forget how big God is.
AW Tozer

grace and peace,


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


The Whatcom County GEMS Skating Party is this coming Tuesday at Lynden Skateway, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., $5/person or $7 if you want inline skates. Bring a friend and join us!

Also, notice that in the right-hand column you can access the forms to register for the ALL WASHINGTON STATE GEMS CAMP, June 6-8, 2014 at Lake Retreat in Ravensdale, WA. We can't wait to see all you GEMS Campers and Counselors!! There is a new HEATED INDOOR POOL we get to use on Saturday afternoon, so no matter the weather, we will have opportunity to swim!!! Cost is $100/person. Forms are due TO YOUR CLUB COORDINATOR by May 1 and must be postmarked to me, Julie Ball, by May 5.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Potter > the clay

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

During a Threading the Theme sectional at an ACTS Fall Workshop in Sioux Falls there were five or six ladies standing in front of the group miming one of the ways we can serve others and point to God’s greatness. At least that’s what they were supposed to be doing. (See page 41, “The Potter and the Clay” in the Theme Resource Book.)

The specific assignment was for one person in the group to be the “potter” and the rest of the ladies to be the “clay.” In silence, the potter was to sculpt the clay into an act of service, and the clay was supposed to conform to the potter’s molding. It wasn’t going well.

There was no silent submission. The clay insisted on her way. “No, no! We should do this!” “Let’s do it this way.” “No, let’s try this!” Instead of waiting for the potter to shape them into position, they were rearranging themselves and telling the potter what to do. Talk about an object lesson within an object lesson!

God’s Word is clear. The Potter is greater than the clay! Yet like the Israelites, how often do we turn things around, acting as if our ways and plans are greater than the Potter’s? Isaiah wrote, You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? (29:16). Paul reiterates the same truth in Romans. Who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? (9:20-21)

Sisters, this is our reality. We’re cracked pots. That’s right. Cracked pots. The size and shape of the cracks and chips in our pots may look different from one another, but we each have the same choice to make. Will we make ourselves the greatest by sitting on the potter’s wheel and grumbling with our Maker? Or will we submit and let Jesus, the treasure within us, shine through our cracks and display the all-surpassing, great power of God within us? (2 Corinthians 4:7)

HE>i: Like clay in the hand of the potter, God has His hand on you and your circumstances. How are you responding to His sovereign choices?

His hand is on your life, developing your faith to display His glory. He will transform you into a vessel of honor. You can trust your life to the Potter’s hand.
Anne Graham Lotz

grace and peace,

Monday, March 3, 2014

A letter from the GEMS Board

March 3-2014

Dear Friends,
At this time last year, we were introducing you to a new Executive Director of GEMS Girls’ Clubs. Since then, there has been adjustment and growth, especially spiritually.  God has been stretching us, challenging us, encouraging us and walking each step with us.  He’s been teaching us much. And we are thankful. 

One of the things He has been teaching us is that there is a time for everything.  While we do not fully understand His timing, we do trust Him.  God brought Kathryn Miller to us a year ago to be the Executive Director of GEMS and while we all thought it would be for a longer period of time, she has sensed His call to move in a new direction.  We have learned much from each other and are able to see, without a doubt, that God brought us together for this time – without a doubt.  He has worked His purposes through our time together and we celebrate this and support God’s next steps for Kathryn, as she does for the GEMS Ministry and each individual in it. 

Our official time together drew to a close at the end of January, but we are certain many friend connections will continue.  Kathryn has relocated to be near her family in Texas.  On the GEMS website under the Leaders’ Blog, you will find a letter from Kathryn, dated Feb. 4 and a letter from the GEMS Board, dated Feb. 7.  If this is the first you are hearing of this transition, then these letters will be especially helpful to you.
Since January, the GEMS Executive Board has formed a Search Committee which has arranged for the position to be posted.  We are in that time frame now.  If you know of women who you think God may be calling to this opportunity, please let them know immediately.  The position is being posted from Feb. 17 to March 7.  Information is available at

Be assured that in this interim time of a couple months, the regular operations of GEMS will continue as usual – GEMS Sundays, Leadership Training, Conference planning, Get Connected Camp, website updates and more.  We have a wonderful, capable staff that manages the day to day operations and a board who is committed to help out as needed. 

Ladies, thank you for all you do – for your encouragement and prayers for the overall ministry of GEMS, and for your love and care shared through your local community of leaders and GEMS girls.  You are all specially called and are special!

Together we continue to grow through this year’s theme, and apply what we are learning in praying over this whole transition, fixing our eyes on Jesus so that the He is the focus. He is The Greatest.  We trust in Him.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.      Romans 15:13

On behalf of the GEMS Executive Board,
Mary Jo Vis - Executive Board President (new!) and
Henrietta Reinders – Search Committee
GEMS Girls’ Clubs

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Hi everyone! The Whatcom County GEMS Roller Skating Party has been rescheduled for TUESDAY, MARCH 25. We hope you can all make it from 6:30 - 8:30 at Lynden Skateway!!