It is GOD who BLESSES and TRANSFORMS...

This is a blog for women who:

(1) Desire to be transformed by JESUS' LOVE, HOLINESS, AND GRACE; (2) Believe that GOD'S WORD is the true Spirit food for HIS HOLY SPIRIT who lives within us; (3) Submit to GOD and walk this journey of life with HIM transforming us more and more into HIS likeness.

It's a blog about the POWER OF TRANSFORMED LIVES. Let's begin with yours and mine and pass it on... 1 + 1 + 1...

Since God's Holy Spirit lives inside a christian, let's choose to be nurtured and transformed by feasting daily on Holy Spirit food - God's Word - The Holy Bible..

Once in a while I take a hiatus from writing, but I have begun again on Easter Sunday 2013. Usually, there will be multiple blog postings each week. You are invited to use it as part of your daily quiet time. Topics may run for several months at a time. The current topic is posted over on the right side bar. Each week, I will try to connect to a song or two that goes with our current topic.

Each day of the week follows a special format: Sunday in the Son; Meditation Monday; GratiTuesday; Women in the Word Wednesday; Transforming Thursday; Family Fellowship Friday; and, Ketchup and Mustard Saturday.

There's a whole lot here! Take your time to browse. Please come back and visit often. Welcome!

Because of Jesus, we can be family,

Patti



TRANSFORMED MOMS:MOMS TRANSFORMED

Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SWEET FELLOWSHIP: SWEET SISTERHOOD TAKE TWO



Early this morning, I briefly shared with you my desire to honor 5 from our SWEET SISTERHOOD. My internet service was not cooperating. So, I am sitting at a different computer now at our church building. We had our Tuesday morning class on THE PATRIARCHS this morning. I hope to share with you tomorrow some of that lively and riveting one and one half hour discussion. Afterwards, a group of us headed for the Pizza Hut lunch buffet. We called ahead to make sure they could get us at one really long table. What a SISTERHOOD!
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Today, I am focusing my thanksgiving on 5 christian sisters - 4 from our Pitman church fellowship and one of two daughter-in-loves:
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1. 2 birthday girls:


  • Jacqueline, wife of our oldest son, Jordan is celebrating her birthday today. Jacqueline loves the LORD and is so excited about becoming a mom in April. Jacqueline and her sisters were raised in a wonderful christian home in Phillipsburg, KS where their grandfather had come to start a church years before. Jacqueline is the answer to many prayers to our GOD for "just the right helpmate" for Jordan. Jacqueline is an elementary school teacher...lover of children...a big heart for the downtrodden...a gentle spirit who is amazing at encouraging people with little notes and cards. Her husband is even the beneficiary of those notes that often pop up around their apartment. Jacqueline is pictured here in Colorado this past weekend showing that she is "getting stronger" after a rocky beginning to her pregnancy. http://jordandjacqueline.blogspot.com/




  • Dottie, secretary at the Pitman church of Christ for over 20 years, is one of the reasons Steve and I were so attracted to the Pitman church in the first place. What a heart! Dottie keeps our congregation connected via her DAILY email updates that include everything from congratulations to sickness to travels to activities of our students to a myriad of needs that volunteers can step up to the plate for. Dottie is always ready to serve where she is needed...this morning she filled in as the facilitator of our ladies class. Her love language is GIFTS and boy does she get excited when she gets a gift. Sure hope you get alot of birthday gifts today and tomorrow! In fact, she heads up our secret sisters and encourages us to be bearers of good gifts! Dottie is a wife, mother, grandmother, and has a huge heart for those with special needs. Here is a picture of Dottie celebrating her birthday with one of her new gifts, a queen's crown and wand. That's all it took for 2 preachers to get down on their knees and honor her...


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2. My last Sharing the Love blogger awards on this last GratiTuesday of September go to 3 very special Pitman sisters / Transformed Moms:


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  • Kristy Bates - Kristy, hubby, and 3 boys drive A LONG WAY from their home close to Atlantic City. Three little ones in diapers finds Kristy very busy with life. She is a wise woman with great perspective and a deep love for learning more about how to be GOD's woman. Thank you Kristy for who you have chosen to be and become. Kristy has an extended family at the Pitman church of her dad, mom, grandad, and grandma. She is an important part of our sisterhood. You will enjoy her blog at: http://batesplace.blogspot.com/

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  • Brenda Trent Collins - is a "Kansas girl" who I knew when Steve and I were teaching at York College. I taught classes for future Special Educators and that was Brenda's major. The LORD moved pregnant Brenda and hubby to our area last fall. What a blessing for us all! Brenda gives practical advise from her diverse experience. She has asked us all to pray for her military family: husband and two brothers. Brenda is pictured here with her little one, Lexi. Another connection is that Brenda's two best friends are Jacqueline's (my daughter in love) two sisters. Small world! Enjoy Brenda's blog at: http://collinsplus1.blogspot.com


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  • Andrea Olley - might be described by many of us at Pitman as a "ROCK". Steady, insightful, and wise beyond her years, Andrea, loves her sea farin' husband and four boys. They also live over closer to the Atlantic Ocean and trek quite a few miles to be with their Pitman church family. She grew up in a military family and went to Oklahoma Christian. She loves to write and has been a big help for me in getting this blog up and running. Andrea is pictured below with her husband of twenty years (today!). You can enjoy Andrea's "musings" and pictures of her boys on her blog at: http://mom4boys.blogspot.com/


I LOVE EACH OF YOU, SISTERS. THANK YOU FOR SHINING JESUS! SWEET FELLOWSHIP!

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  • Here's that SWEET FELLOWSHIP video again... what a great song:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2RW5GdHG1M

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SWEET FELLOWSHIP: 5 SISTERS

I had so hoped to share with you a little about 5 dear sisters but it will have to wait until later because my internet is only staying on for a few minutes at a time. It's been getting increasingly spastic for weeks and the last 24 hours its been psycho.

Okay, quickly! I'm so thankful for 5 ladies:

2 birthday girls and 3 Pitman blogger moms:

Happy birthday to my daughter-in-love, Jacqueline and to our church secretary, Dottie.

My last Sharing the Love blogger awards to 3 of my Pitman sisters: Kristy Bates, Brenda Collins, and the last one I'll give it to is who gave it to me, Andrea Olley.

On this GratiTuesday, I honor these sisters...stay tuned for more! In the meantime, keep enjoying the SWEET FELLOWSHIP that God blesses you with!

Here's that SWEET FELLOWSHIP video again...


Monday, September 29, 2008

SWEET FELLOWSHIP: MEDITATION MONDAY

QUESTIONS:
  1. Have you ever just called a sister to talk about what you learned from Sundays Bible class or sermon?

  2. Have you ever sat down and written the Bible class teacher or preacher a letter of thanks?

  3. Have you ever spent time in prayer thanking GOD for how He ministers to you through these Sunday lessons?

  4. Have you ever just spent some time throughout the week meditating on what GOD put on your heart via lessons on Sunday?

A little bit of forethought on Sunday or early Monday can lead to the most hectic of Mondays being MEDITATION MONDAY!!!

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We all have different ways of organizing our lives...mine is via a little notebook/journal book that I keep in my purse. They've been different sizes over the years. My current one is 4" x 7". I've had many because my working memory has proven to need help repeatedly over the years. I usually go through one of these every 2-3 months. My current book shows that I have been extra busy. Actually, it's because I took 45 pages of notes (back/front) at the Women of Faith conference. This book, I started on 8/15 and today, I am about 3/4 of the way through it. Here are some things that my current one includes:

  • Inside cover has a new addition: a place to record the times when I call my mom, Kathleen and my sister-in-law, Sandi. Mom has alzheimers; it's a terrible disease. It can be overwhelming for the caretakers. She lives with my brother and his wife. My sister-in-law, Sandi, does the lions share of serving mom. I need to be more diligent expressing my thankfulness, connecting and being aware of how I can serve from long distance. I plan to talk more about mom next Sunday, on her birthday.

  • Crystal's orientation info at Rochester College and names of new people we met
  • lists of needs for setting her up in her dorm room
  • sermon notes while in Michigan
  • FAFSA rules
  • notes on a book I was reading
  • Rowan Univ. names/connections/guidelines for my new job
  • notes from conversations/discussions on or off the phone to help me rememeber
  • grocery lists
  • bill reminders
  • phone calls to make
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OH, GOD, YOU ARE AMAZING! Right this minute as I am thumbing through my little book, the next page has an address in it that I've been looking for and praying about for 3+ days...here I am sitting and typing about being a Transformed Mom: MEDITATION MONDAY and at first I thought..."oh, I'll just give a general summary list of what might be in a notebook"...but this little voice kept saying, "No! You need to go through your book so they get the idea of how random the entries might be."

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Well, I did listen and right this minute GOD led me to my address AND you get to see how He worked, once again, through my randomness...Do I hear a "Glory!"????? Okay, so you get the idea of what might be in my book. More than anything, I hope you "get" that when you meditate on GOD, His will, and His word that He shows up in the details of your day! It's a big part of the SWEET FELLOWSHIP in the lives of christians. I've experienced it over and over again!

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So, what are some things that I wrote down in my book yesterday? My notebook is right here for me to re-read as I head into my very full Monday. Here are 2 of my 4 lesson connections from yesterday that I want to think and pray about this week. I will add more things to my notebook from my Tuesday morning ladies class and Wednesday night HOW GOD DOES FAMILY CLASS.

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1. Mary Lea, one of our elders wives, taught a very large group of our ladies in a packed fellowship hall. Some things I wrote down from her class that I will meditate on this week:

  • HOW CANDY CAN REPRESENT OUR JOURNEY OF MOTHERHOOD: Mary Lea passed out 2 kinds of candy: Peppermint candy symbolized the contrasts of her motherhood experience (both sweet and not so sweet); Dove Chocolate symbolized the rich sweetness that occurred more and more as she let the Holy Spirit lead her from motherhood and on into grandmotherhood. She said, "This represents: I am loved and was given the Holy Spirit to help and comfort me in this life." (Reminds me of the song: "There's a sweet sweet Spirit in this place and I know that it's the Spirit of the LORD...")


  • TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS starts with parental control slowly leading to more choice for a child (concept of giving them ROOTS and WINGS - lots of connections to different posts made recently including one on CHOICE). First example, she taught her kids to listen to the sermon by writing some words at the top of a paper and the kids made tally marks under a word every time they heard the preacher say that word...words like God, Christ, love, peace....at the end of the service they'd compare notes and see which word "won"...great discussion could follow later... Second example, as kids became older and began to sit with friends during services - in front of and within eye shot of parents, they got used to Mary Lea's throat clearing...important for family to be able to laugh their way through puberty...Third example, opening home to other children to let them see that they too can have a hope and a future...this trained her children to live the golden rule...always looking for someone else to bless...Debbie, a single mom and her daughter, Lauren, spent so much time with the Thompson's that Lauren often thought she was a Thompson...funny thing is she married someone from far away and guess what her last name is now? You guessed it - Thompson!

  • FONDEST MEMORIES OF CHILDREN AS THEY LOOK BACK: These may not always be what parents expect. In their case, what parents thought might turn their kids off to church ended up being THE MEMORY! The 30 minute trip to church meant a minimum of 3 hours a week in the car together as family. Wonderful memories were made with singing, telling stories, laughing, connecting...

  • GOD IS IN THE DETAILS OF EVERYTHING: When their young son Todd had a large tumor wrapped around his small intestine, it was surgically removed. They prayed fervently during the 4 days that it was being evaluated...all the while they experienced a peace that passes understanding. Doctor said, "I guess the LORD changed that tumor of your sons because this is not what I thought I took out of him...this is non-cancerous."

  • "WINGS PART IS HARDER THAN ROOTS PART!"

2. Steve's sermon on James 4: Steve and I are so opposite, in personality and preferences. So, over the years we have found ourselves in some high level disagreements. We had one of those this week as we were preparing for our Wednesday class...what a great introduction to a sermon over James 4! When Steve asked me before church, this morning, what I remembered about our Wednesday conflict, I said, "I don't remember! ... You forgave me and I forgave you!" We have found that the more we practice following in JESUS footsteps and truly practice forgiveness...the better life is. In spite of mine and Steve's few differences, He is my kind of preacher! Yet, it's so easy for me to forget points he makes because his sermons are SOOOO full of good information AND application.

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POINT: If you argue...do not sin!

APPLICATION: Have you done things in front of your kids that you need to pray that they will forget AND that you will never do again?



  • Did you know that there were more than 10 commandments in the Old Testament? In fact, there are also 613 moral laws!



  • Did you know that there are 108 verses in the little book of James? And, in fact, 58 of them are direct commands. Look at James 4...Steve talked about how they resemble the 10 commandments. I'm thinking, "How about the Be-Attitudes, too?"
    • 1. Submit to God (4:7)
    •2. Resist the Devil (4:7)
    •3. Draw near to God (4:8)
    •4. Cleanse your hands (4:8)
    •5. Purify your hearts (4:8)
    •6. REPENT: Be Miserable and mourn and weep (4:9)
    •7. Humble yourselves (4:10)
    •8. Do not speak against (4:11)
    •9. Say if the Lord wills (4:15)
    •10. If you know the right thing to do – DO IT! (4:17)


  • STEVE'S SERMON CONNECTIONS WITH MARY LEA'S LESSON AND BLOG: 1. Daily pray for wisdom without doubting; 2. Say, "if the LORD wills..." God's not against our plans, He just wants to be in the midst of them to give us a hope and a future; 3. Worldliness is cancer!; 4. If you know the right thing to do, then do it!; 5. Make a CHOICE: Heaven vs. Hell, Earthly Wisdom vs. Wisdom from Above, Righteousness vs. Worldliness; 6. What verse has GOD laid on Your heart today?...it's not the preachers job it's the HOLY SPIRIT'S; 7. FORGIVENESS fills in the blanks for many things (see Steve's blog)..



Well, I think we're full of things to meditate about:

  1. Talk to God about these things!

  2. Talk to your spouse or children about these things!

  3. Talk to a sister about these things!

Now, that's SWEET FELLOWSHIP!


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If , after all this, you're still looking for more to meditate on on Monday, I suggest you visit Patrick Mead's link and read his last Friday post - it's a keeper!

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

SWEET FELLOWSHIP

As I read the scriptures and the words to the song below, I look back over my life and think about how much this group Acappella has had a ministry of Sweet Fellowship to Steve, me, and especially our children. Above and beyond their music, we've been blessed to have them in our home, feed them, serve them, and get to know them and some of their wives on a deeper level. I just had a conversation with Carla recently when we both found out we mutually knew Gary and Sherry Moyers. I still treasure Gary's sweet gift to his wife when he flew her to my home...kid free! Sweet Fellowship!

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Beyond the amazing fellowship of believers that Acappella has encouraged, the words to this song, written by Keith Lancaster, were dedicated to Scott Homesley. When I think of Scott and Jan Homesley, I think of one word "SWEET"! We worked at Camp Deer Run in Texas together in the summers as college students. They gave me my first introduction to Dallas, TX. We've lost contact in the last few years...yet, I smile as my mind returns to the memories. Interestingly enough, to them my name was "Yankee"! They said this midwestern girl talked differently!
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Here are the words to the song, scriptures, and the only video I could find online of this song. I hope they bring thoughts to your mind of your fellowship with GOD and His family...SWEET!
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Sweet Fellowship Lyrics:
Fellowshipping with one another as we're walking in the light

(We keep on walking when we're...)

Fellowshipping with one another as we're walking in the light

For there's nothing as sweet as fellowship as we share each other's lives

For there's nothing as sweet as fellowship as we share each other's lives

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When we give our hearts to each other you can feel His love inside

(We keep on loving when we...)

When we give our hearts to each other you can feel His love inside

For there's nothing as sweet as fellowship as we share each other's hearts

For there's nothing as sweet as fellowship as we share each other's hearts

Fellowshipping with the Father

Fellowshipping with the Lord

Fellowshipping with the Spirit

Fellowshipping with the Family

Sweet Fellowship

Sweet Fellowship

Sweet Fellowship

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Scriptural Reference:


  • "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Corinthians 2:14"

  • And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:3

  • "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7
VIDEO LINK TO SWEET FELLOWSHIP:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2RW5GdHG1M
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

IF THERE WERE NO GOD...THERE WOULD BE NO SWEET...

1. SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER - Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! That calls me from a world of care....The joys I feel, the bliss I share...Thy wings shall my petition bear...May I thy consolation share...

  • I love this hymn and next week want to share more about it's words and it's author...
  • More importantly than the words of the hymn and it's author is just PRAYER itself...I fall more in love with prayer everyday...all day...a walking talking relationship with my JESUS...I fall more in love with Him everyday... GLORY!
  • John says it beautifully in 1 John 1:3-4 "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete."
  • Please join God's people in praying for our nation...for 40 days...

2. SWEET FELLOWSHIP - I smile deeply within my soul when I think of the sweet fellowship, in the Spirit, that we have as christians. No matter where we go on this earth, we have a spiritual family...

  • for those who were not raised in christian homes, having a big fellowship of believers as family is especially meaningful...
  • for those who live far from home, even in a distant land, having a big fellowship of believers as family is especially meaningful...
  • Ahhh, John uses inspired words again in 1 John 1:5-7 "This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: GOD is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of JESUS, His Son, purifies us from all sin."

3. SWEET SISTERHOOD - Last night as I lay in bed, I smiled as I recounted my sweet sisterhood. Sisters in different cities, different states, different countries and continents. Some of you are staying connected with me by reading this... Thank you! My mind thinks about my sisterhood since becoming a mom: our B-Town Wednesday mom/kids times, CCCH moms, Anson prayer walkers, Ten Thousand Angels extended family, Yorkie Special Educators, Hoosier Hysteria moms, my extended Klein and Sikes family, and I smile when I think that within the past year I have been richly blessed by the addition of:

  • a large close sisterhood in New Jersey...women who drive miles and miles to be together. Last night we did just that at our annual "tea". What a fellowship we had especially thanks to Dottie and Alana.
  • our blog world sisterhood of Transformed Moms. I had no idea, when we started this in June of how many women would use this blog. What a sisterhood! Thank you, JESUS!

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Today is a very important day for one of our sisters here in New Jersey - Mandy. Mandy lost her mother one year ago today to cancer. Her mother was far away in Arkansas...Mandy is a young mother... now working through her grief...believing that GOD gives GRACE for today and bright HOPE for tomorrow.

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Wednesday night a bunch of us signed a card for Mandy. You know, one of those musical cards that sings WE ARE FAMILY! Here is Mandy's thank you response:

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"Sistas...There aren't words to say how I felt when I opened and read the card you all gave me the other night. What a rich blessing to be surrounded, lifted up, included, loved, guarded, and just generally thought about by such a Godly crowd of women. "Can someone say, 'hallelujah'?". (I guess I found some words, huh?) The spiritual wagons circled around my heart, a warmth came over my spirit, and a smile came to my face. Maggie and I even did a little dance to the music. My mom smiled in Heaven knowing I am part of the Pitman sisterhood. She always said that it made it easier for me to be so far away to know I was part of a good church family. She was especially proud to hear, before she died, how wonderful things are for us at Pitman. This week I have such a mix of sadness and joy in my heart. To describe it would take.....well, you know how long I could go on, having known me for more than five minutes. :) So, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for blessing me, Lord. And thank you to all the Pitman ladies who love me. I love you, too."

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WE ARE FAMILY! That's actually the only 3 words of that song that I have ever known. I googled the lyrics and have put the words below. Since I thought the song to be not totally appropriate, I have put a few words in parenthesis that might be better substitutions. You can click on the playlist and follow along below if you want to hear what Mandy is listening to. Be encouraged, sister! This next week our theme will be SWEET FELLOWSHIP!

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SONG LYRICS: WE ARE FAMILY!

CHORUS:
We are family!
I got all my sisters with me !
We are family!
Get up everybody and sing!
We are family! I got all my sisters with me!
We are family! Get up everybody and sing!
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Everyone can see we're together -
as we walk on by.
And we fly just like birds of a feather -
I'm not telling (a) lie.
All of the people around us to say,
Can we be that close?
Just let me state for the record -
We're giving love in a family dose, yeah!
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CHORUS
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2.
Living life is fun and we've just begun
To get our share of the world's (KINGDOM'S) delights
High hopes we have for the future
And our goal's in sight
No we don't get depressed
Here's what we call our golden rule
Have faith in You (JESUS) and the things You do
You won't go wrong, oh no
This is our family JEWEL, yeah
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CHORUS
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Friday, September 26, 2008

IF THERE WERE NO GOD...WHO WOULD BE WORKING ON ME?


I know there is a GOD because just this week I've seen Him, once again, working on me! Why do I have such strong opinions? Why do I get so frustrated when Steve and I are preparing for something and our communication passes in the night? I'm so glad that GOD gives me some grace when He says, in Ephesians, "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. " Thank you God for Your grace! Please, keep me on the road to transformation! In fact, that is what this blog is about...women who want GOD to keep molding and shaping them into His image. Gradual changes take place which lead to transformation.
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So, I have a request. I want to run a slide show of all the women who participate in this blog. Women who by reading and meditating on the thoughts (it doesn't matter if you comment or not) desire to be Transformed Moms. I am requesting to post your picture...no names...just pics of you alone or you with family or friends. You can either post a comment here saying, something like "Patti, you are welcome to use a picture off my blog / website by clicking here." OR, email me your picture to transformedminds@comcast.net This slide show will go with next week's theme!
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In the meantime, turn on the new song on this months playlist and follow along with the words below. Just feel that transformation happening as you sing!

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SONG: HE'S STILL WORKING ON ME
By: Joel Hemphill

CHORUS:
He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.

It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me.
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1. There really ought to be a sign upon the heart,

Don't judge her yet, there's an unfinished part.
But I'll be perfect just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master's loving hands.
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REPEAT CHORUS

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2. In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see

Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He's the Potter, I'm the clay.
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REPEAT CHORUS

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

IF THERE WERE NO GOD...THERE WOULD BE NO CHOICE!



From the beginning our Creator designed a world of order, cycles, predictability, patterns, constants, love, family, blessing, positives, protection... Things were good and He wanted mankind to enjoy what He had made for them. Yet, He was aware of the importance to give each person the freedom to choose. So, being the gentleman that God was and is, He told the first couple what would be good for them and what would harm them. He left them to choose. Actually, He really didn't leave them because God is all about relationship, especially family relationship. The Garden of Eden was full of trees. God had said that the people were welcome to any of the trees and their fruit except for one. Now, which one do you suppose they really really wanted? Of course, the one that was off limits!
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Here's the deal:

  • God wanted the people who He had made to believe Him...to trust Him...that's called Faith.
  • He wanted the people to obey the rules and guidelines for living that He had set forth since He was the designer of the people and their world, He knew what was best for them...that's called Obedience.
  • He wanted them to be family. He would be their father and they would be His children. That's called Relationship.
  • If the people would have Faith in their Creator, obey His rules, and then have a good relatonship with Him as their father, they would just keep getting better...maturing...growing.... changing...becoming more and more like their Daddy...that's called Transformation.

What a deal! The choice is and was: DEAL OR NO DEAL! Choose God's offer OR say "NO!"

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I hear it daily in story after story about our political elections. Americans want security! Financial security! Homeland security! Security systems! Future security! Family security! Medical benefits security! Job security!


I can tell you quite a bit about Security...I graduated from high school in Security, Colorado. Steve and I were married in a church building in Security, Colorado. I have loved returning to show our children Security, Colorado. SECURITY sits on the southern edge of COLORADO SPRINGS right next to FORT CARSON and all three places are at the foot of the mountains that hold NORAD, our North American Aerospace Defense Command. My Dad was stationed at FORT CARSON twice and then returned to live in retirement in SECURITY.


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Since I grew up as an "army brat" I was used to living in or near FORT's. You have to have a military I.D. to get on a military FORT. The security is high. It used to be that FORTs had walls around them for protection. There are many FORTs in the USA. In Colorado alone, there are 60 or more. Now that I have moved to New Jersey, I have learned of FORTs in NJ. FORT Dix is the one that I had heard of before moving here. Well, I have to say, it got me to thinking...as a child, living on Army FORTs, I felt more protection than when we lived off the post. That is what a FORT is for: protection, fortification, defense, safety, security....
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Then, came the ah-ha moment...the connection...that's how God designed my brain..."Ah-ha! The only real security in life is God and it can be spelled out with an acrostic: F.O.R.T. "

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  • F aith in God
  • O bedience to God
  • R elationship with God =
  • T ransformed lives who are SECURE in God and His promises.
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Would you join me today in thanking God for:
  1. His design that includes: Faith, Obedience, Relationship, and Transformation
  2. His kindness in offering us CHOICE.

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Today, I pray that you and I CHOOSE GOD in all that we do!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

IF THERE WERE NO GOD...THERE WOULD BE NO HOLY SPIRIT POWER...NO PRAYER!!

Ephesians 3:14-19

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner (wo)man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

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I hope that you know that you can pray whenever and wherever. God wants to listen to you when you're kneeling, sitting, walking, driving...I love that He walks and talks with me. I cannot fathom no God, no prayer and no Holy Spirit power to give me strength. Oftentimes, He renews my strength in the form of connection. Allow me to share with you just a few prayer stories of late:
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1. Weekend before last when we were at the Women of Faith conference, Harriet prayed that if there was someone among the 20,000 women in the Wachovia Center that she knew from her past, would God please let her run into them. It was almost time to go home and Harriet says, "Okay, Lord, I guess it just is not going to happen today..." She looks up and standing right in front of her is the woman who led her to Christ. She had not seen this woman in about 5 years. Needless to say, God's answer to Harriet's prayer was encouraging, empowering, and strengthening.
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2. This week, I was speaking to a group about educating learners with special needs. I had prayed beforehand, like I usually do, that God would make the connections that needed to be made. Afterwards, a woman came up to me to say she felt that God had put her there as an answer to her sisters prayers. It seems that her sister has one child who has autism and two children who have AD/HD. Would I be able to help? Quite possibly! God is good all the time!
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3. It always amazes me that I can go to Bible class on Sunday morning and the next hour hear a song or a sermon that connects perfectly with the previous class. There was no planning for that to happen...only Holy Spirit connections when teachers/preachers/song leaders are being Holy Spirit led. I pray about my themes for this blog and my individual posts. On my Monday post, I talked about "What's in a Name?" Well, guess what Beth Moore talked about yesterday morning on our class video? The same thing! Holy Spirit connection!
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4. Sunday morning, at first service, Derek told of two boys, from his youth center ministry, who moved away recently. He had lost connection with them. They were heavy on his heart over the last few weeks as he prayed that God would make a way for re-connection. One day on his way to work, the thought came in his mind to take another route that he had not taken before. On down the road, he passed a bus stop. There stood these two boys! He has not only re-connected but arrangements have been made for these boys to get transportation to the youth center. Our God is involved in the details! He wants us to stay connected!
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I'm glad there is a God! I'm glad that He wrote a book! I'm glad that He listens to me and lives inside of me! I'm so thankful that He's actively involved in my life! It's great to be connected to the Creator of the Universe...after all He's my loving and kind Daddy! He certainly knows how to keep me connected!
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

IF THERE WERE NO GOD: THERE WOULD BE NO THANKSGIVING!

Before you read this post, you may want to click this weeks song, on the playlist, IF THERE WERE NO GOD!

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Wanna be drug down, depressed, and feeling far away from God? Then, just live around complaining, arguing, and non-thankfulness for a day! A few weeks ago, on Gratituesday, we talked about scripture that says that we "shine like stars in the universe when we don't complain or argue".
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It's interesting to note that several times in scripture God will address things that are UN-Godly and then right smack dab in the middle of the conversation He says...BE THANKFUL!!! I believe that He is showing us that He wants us to look to Him, even in the midst of darkness or dark circumstances. He gives us a choice to turn away in the midst of the mess.

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It happens in Ephesians 5...watch...

  • "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality,
  • or of any kind of impurity,
  • or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.
  • Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place,

  • but rather thanksgiving.


  • For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-such a man is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
  • Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
  • Therefore do not be partners with them. "

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Light in the midst of darkness? Thanksgiving in the midst of a sinful world?

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How does that look? Holy Spirit driven thanksgiving!

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I had committed this month to share each GRATITUESDAY and SHARING THE LOVE in honor of different bloggers. This week, I want to honor some men, some preacher men, who are new to the blogging world and some who are seasoned at it. I grew up in a home that honored preachers as "the most honored men"..."blessed are the feet of those who carry the good news!"

  • DAN COOPER and STEVE SIKES (my amazing husband) are our newbie bloggers. They have "mini-blogs" that can be accessed on our church's website: http://www.cochrist.org/ These two preacher men get to the heart of the matter and show it with ther lives and words. What we see on the outside is who they are on the inside. Thank you, Dan and Steve, for living Jesus for us and encouraging us to do the same! Thank you! We look forward to reading your future words of wisdom!
  • The oldies: two of my favorite preacher reads are Terry Rush and Patrick Mead OR Patrick Mead and Terry Rush. Thank you to a Tulsa, OK preacher and a Detroit, MI (Rochester Hills) preacher who take the time to reach out and connect with so many.

  • .....TERRY RUSH: I'm one of those people who have attended the Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop for more years than I can count. Actually, Steve and I have attended since before we had children and our oldest is now 27. Terry's congregation is the host for this wonderful God centered event on the Oklahoma State Fair Grounds at the end of March each year. Each year, I look forward to attending any classes led by Terry and soaking in his Holy Spirit filled messages. I am exponentially blessed if I get to talk with him personally. Come join me on a Tulsa trip next March...let's begin planning now. Terry, thank you for your transparency....blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Thank you, Terry, I see Jesus in you! For anyone who has a few minutes to spend on his blog this week, here are 2 posts from this month that I recommend: 9/2 - FAITH and 9/10 FLEXIBILITY, I GUESS GOD WASN'T KIDDING! .......Enjoy at: http://terryrush.blogspot.com/

  • .....PATRICK MEAD: Patrick is a regular visiting speaker at our Pitman church. His series this summer challenged us to see the church and be the church without walls. In many ways, Pitman is already that. Yet, Patrick has challenged us to a new level of being light in a dark world. Thanksgiving to our God would be a good place to start! Patrick ministers / preaches for the Rochester church of Christ next door to Rochester College (formerly called Michigan Christian). Steve's sister and family worship there. Our daughter goes to school and worships there. They are in a God blessed place! Thank you, Patrick for your part in that. Thank you for being the transparent child of God who challenges us to think about WHO we are, WHO we belong to, WHAT we are about, WHERE we are going, and WHY we do what we do. If you are so inclined, Patrick has a few "political posts" this month (9/2 and 9/5) that make a good read. They were very helpful to me. Thank you, Patrick. http://www.patrickmead.net/
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Please join me today in GRATITUESDAY by letting us know what you are thankful for by commenting here. There haven't been many comments this week from anyone, yet Vanessa's comment on Sunday touched my heart deeply.

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Also, please visit the originating GRATITUESDAY website link at: http://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/

Please join me today in honoring these men who SHARE THE LOVE OF CHRIST on the internet in such powerful ways. The originator of this award wants us to consider organ donation as a high level of SHARING THE LOVE. Take the link on the sidebar to her powerful story.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

IF THERE WERE NO GOD: THERE WOULD BE NO LOVE!

1 John 4:16 says, "God is love..." Know God! Know love!
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If there were no God.... No God! No love!
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This semester and in the past, I have had my students research the meanings of their names. I share the full meaning of mine - Patricia Ann Klein Sikes: Noble Gracious Little Running Brook. Kind of funny, for those of you who know me, if you think about it very long!
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I am always amazed at how many names have at least part of their root meaning in love, God, Christ, grace... When I ask students to give me a thumbs up or down on whether or not they like the meaning of their names, I am sad and disappointed at how many give a thumbs down to their name if it's meaning has its roots in anything to do with christianity.
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What would our world be without our God and His love?
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1 Corinthians 13 says, that if I "do not have love, I am nothing."
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Then, it goes on to say:
"Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails..."
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So, a day without God and love would go like this:

  • Impatience!
  • Unkindness!
  • Jealousy!
  • Bragging!
  • Arrogance!
  • People watching out only for selves!
  • Easily Provoked!
  • Keeping record of wrongs!
  • Rejoicing when people are wronged!
  • Rejoicing in lies!
  • Tolerating nothing!
  • Skeptical of everything!
  • No hope!
  • Giving up easily!
  • Failing often!

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If there was no God in your life today...you can still change that right now:

  1. Pour your heart out to Him...
  2. Mourn over your sins, shortcomings, failures, and disappointing Him...
  3. Allow Him to begin refilling You with His word, His presence, His love...He needs to take up residency and presidency in your life (if you have never been filled with Him initially - see the 9-13-08 post)
  4. Hunger and thirst for Him...for His love...

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If you didn't have a chance yesterday to watch this video, I hope you will today...TEACHING THE TRUTH IN LOVE...

http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=MLruGjvW4WE&feature=related

Sunday, September 21, 2008

IF THERE WERE NO GOD: THERE WOULD BE NO FAMILY!

Before you start this post, please click on and listen to the new song on the playlist: IF THERE WERE NO GOD.


IF THERE WERE NO GOD LYRICS:

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1.If there were no God there would be no music

There would be no dream to be dreaming of

What a dreadful thought of an empty future

If there were no God there would be no love.

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2.If there were no God there would be no children

There would be no joy to relieve our tears

Not a tender hand to provide us comfort

No consoling heart to subdue our fears.

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Chorus: But we know that God is with us

And we know His majesty

Reigning now, the King eternal

Yes we know the victory.

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3.If there were no God there would be no sunshine

There would be no rain to refresh the earth

There would be no jewels to display their value

There would be no thought of enduring words.

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4.If there were no God there'd be no creation

There would be no light there would be no breath

No surpassing joy nothing in existence

If there were no God all would be death.

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Repeat Chorus (x2).

Yes we know, yes we know the victory

Yes we know the victory

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Today has been a very encouraging first day of the week...Sundays are always encouraging because that is when I get together with other christians to remember God coming to earth as Jesus, the Son...living sinless...dying crucified...rising to live inside of you and me.... I cannot fathom a world where there would be no God!

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YOUNG ADULT CHILDREN: I drove into Philadelphia this morning to pick up a christian sister who is a university student in downtown Philly. Her momma and daddy are so thrilled that she has found a church home with people who love Jesus and who will be her family while she's away from family.
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When you are a christian, you have family all over the world:

  • This month our oldest son Jordan is interning at a hospital in Denver, staying with a christian family and worshipping with the Littleton church of Christ family. Little did he know that was where Garth (from Pitman) would be speaking this morning.
  • This last week, while Jordan was away, his pregnant wife Jacqueline passed out in front of her elementary students in Chicago. Jacqueline is now living with a family from church until she is better or Jordan returns...she's letting "family" help care of her and our first grandbaby.
  • The past few weeks, in Michigan, Crystal has gotten to know a young lady whose parents were killed in a motorcycle accident in May. Crystal has become her "sister" in many ways over a short time. Our Tuesday morning ladies class in Pitman wrote notes of encouragement and sent money for new clothes to this young lady who is going through so much grief. She asked why we would do this...Crystal's response: "Because they love you as their sister and they want you to know that they are praying for you."
  • This past week, Jessica got a call from her dear friend, Audrey, who called to say that she was headed out with her husband for the Dominican Republic as missionaries. Amazingly, our world is so connected by phone and internet, they will be able to keep connected over the miles.
  • Over the last year, Caleb has had trouble getting his medicine at times. Yet, everytime, just at the right time, God has worked through some christian who's heart was pricked by the Holy Spirit to meet Caleb's need of the moment.
  • This past month, Shelly (Steve's sister), her husband, children, and grandchildren packed up and left Houston and Hurricane Ike and went to live up in the Texas panhandle with their christian family. Many of you know people who did the same.
  • This past week, I have had opportunity to personally minister to several of our extended christian family here at Pitman and across the miles. Only God could have orchestrated some of the stories yet I've seen again and again how God cares for His family...miles are not an obstacle.
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Can you imagine life without family? Maybe a better way to put this is: Can you imagine family without God?...I know that some of you can. You've lived it! Some of you have told me that the only way you have made it is with the love and support of your large extended christian family.

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What about life without your large extended christian family?

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God's the One who came up with the idea of family! When Jesus came to earth, He was born into the family of Joseph and Mary. Then, along came other siblings. In fact, He had at least 4 brothers and 2 sisters - if not more :

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Matthew 13:55-56 says "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't His mother's name Mary, and aren't His brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all His sisters with us?"

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Jesus knew that His family extended far beyond those in His household where He grew up. Mark 3:34-35 says that one day while in a house with some of His disciples, Jesus said, "Then He looked at those seated in a circle around Him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." Now, that's how God does family: a worldwide group of those who do God's will."
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This morning, at Pitman, Steve preached on James 3. James, the brother of Jesus, quotes Jesus more than any other New Testament letter. In fact, he has 23 quotes alone that refer to the Sermon on the Mount. Now that's family: little brother quoting big brother! Yet, it had not always been that way for James because there was a time (right before the quote above) that Mary and her sons thought that Jesus was "out of His mind"! Now, that's that's how God does family: going from unbelief to belief!

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I remember our third child, Caleb, used to quote the authority of older brother, Jordan, "But Jordan said we could..." And, then I remember Jordan reminiscing that one of his favorite memories of Caleb was waking up in the middle of the night to find him laying in his bed reading his Bible. Now, that's how God does family: mutual respect for each other and a place where He shows up everyday!

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This morning, at Pitman, in Bible class Mary Lea spoke to the ladies of things that she treasured in her heart about motherhood. I was especially touched to hear another christian woman talk about being raised in a christian home where her mom and dad NEVER argued in front of the children. How convicting! She shared about her nightly devotionals with her own kids. She told about her sons prayers to God for her on days when she didn't do too good of a job being a mother. Now, that's how God does family: people who control their tongues and pray for one another!

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IF THERE WERE NO GOD...THERE WOULD BE NO FAMILY!

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Great Acappella song sung by a different group:

http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=MLruGjvW4WE&feature=related

Thursday, September 18, 2008

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD: THERE'S NO HIGH LIKE THE MOST HIGH!

From nearby mountain several hundred feet up.
That's Highway 101 that you see down below.
The Oregon coast is the most spectacular coast line in the United States.
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I have had hypoglycemia for many years and I know that when my blood sugar starts to drop that I need something to pick me up - namely protein. Sometimes I'll need a greater pick me up and I get something that probably is not the best for me - caffeine or a mint. On some of the more complicated days, I'll have my protein with chocolate. I know when it's time to get high!
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Our sister in Christ and friend, Marlene has a young son, Evan, who has PKU. Evan's body doesn't not handle proteins. All his special foods must be weighed and measured. Marlene must be on watch 24/7 to keep him from eating or being fed "regular foods". This week Evan is in Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. I spent Sunday with them. Some of you have called, been with them, or plan to go. Evan's PKU levels have been reaching the dangerously high mark. When that happens, brain cells begin to basically "fry". Pray for our friends! Marlene and Evan know that the ONLY high they want in their lives is THE MOST HIGH!
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We have friends and family members who struggle with different types of challenges and have found alcohol, nicotine, or drugs to help them cope. The "high" feeling is temporary, a "false positive", yet we all want to get out of that pit. I have friends, young men and women, who are very addicted to different things...they need to know...I want them to know...they need to see...I want them to see...they need to feel....I want them to feel...they need to hear...I want them to hear, "THERE'S NO HIGH LIKE THE MOST HIGH!"
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Drive by the Pitman church of Christ building today and you'll see that sentence on the marquee board: THERE'S NO HIGH LIKE THE MOST HIGH! Yesterday, as I looked at the sign, my thoughts connected to my many memories of the mountains. I've lived at the foot of two mountain ranges: the Rocky Mountains and the Wasatch Mountains. When I was in high school, our house in Colorado Springs, CO faced Pikes Peak and every morning one of the first things we would do is open the living room curtains that covered the picture window so that we could get our "Pikes Peak fix". I love the mountains!
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I love the process of getting from the foot of the mountain to the top! Yet, I also know that IT IS NOT EASY! Our youth group leader loved to take us on hikes and campouts in the mountains. There were hills, valleys, steep inclines, cliffs, big boulders, thick brush...and amazingly we kept going back for the thrill of the journey..the process of going higher. Reaching the top of each new hill had a celebration! Traveling down the otherside found us holding onto one another...often tied to our leader. We were careful to listen to his rules and directions for safety along the way.
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While in Oregon, this summer, Steve and I traveled north along Pacific Highway 101 and looked out to the left over the Pacific Ocean and Coastline. As our car climbed to a higher elevation, Steve's friend, "Bertha" (our GPS), began to entreat us to, "Turn left now! Turn left now!" Her voice was persistent. Yet, we knew following her voice would have been insanity. We would have fallen off the cliff into the Pacific Ocean and drowned. Instead, we chose to turn right and travel higher up to a lookout point. We stood in awe of the wonders of our God's mighty hand, which include the worlds largest sea lion cave and Cape Perpetua. We sang praises to our Awesome God!


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http://www.sealioncaves.com/
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Yesterday, I shared with you the beginning of the ABC's of names/descriptions of Jesus. If you just focused on the first five for the next month, you could not exhaust the discussion:

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  • A is for Author of Life
  • B is for Beginning and End
  • C is for Creator
  • D is for Deliverer
  • E is for Eternal Life
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Give me one minute to talk about A - The AUTHOR OF LIFE:
  • READ HIS BOOK: God thought up LIFE. God created LIFE. God wrote the guidebook on LIFE. Reading God's word and letting it soak in will take you higher in LIFE. This month on Sundays we're studying JAMES. Read it! On Tuesday mornings, our ladies class is studying the Patriarchs from the book of GENESIS. Read it! On Wednesday nights, in our How God Does Family class, we're connecting with GENESIS, EPHESIANS, PSALMS, and PROVERBS. Read them! Don't get overwhelmed! Just read a few verses at a time and then think about those verses all day long. You will begin to find a new confidence, a new peace as you begin to understand more where you are at and where you are going. Get to know the MOST HIGH!

  • TALK TO HIM: We have an open line to the Author of the Book...the Author of Life itself. Similar to my high school youth leader, God wants us to talk to Him, ask Him questions, stay connected to Him along the journey. Adore Him! Confess to Him! Thank Him! Supply Him with your deepest thoughts, desires, anxieties, worries, frustrations! Get high in a relationship with the MOST HIGH!



  • AMAZING VIDEO OF OUR AWESOME GOD:
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD: YOU WERE MADE IN HIS IMAGE

Tonight in our HOW GOD DOES FAMILY class we gave an assignment for the week. Tell your family that you've noticed that they have characteristics of their "big brother" Jesus...tell them specifcally which characteristics you see. Can you choose from one of these?
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A-Author of life – Acts 3:15 "I see Jesus in you, you are very good at using written words to encourage and uplift…

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B- Beginning and the End - Revelation 22:13 "I see Jesus in you, you are very good at finishing what you’ve started…

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C- Creator –John 1:1-3 "I see Jesus in you, you are very good at coming up with ideas and making/implementing them…

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D-Deliverer-Romans 11:26 "I see Jesus in you, you are very good at helping those who cannot help themselves…

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E- Eternal Life-I John 5:13 & 20 "I see Jesus in you, you are very good at living your life for eternity…

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F- Faithful & True-Revelation 19:11 "I see Jesus in you, you are very good at keeping your word and being consistent…

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G-Guardian of our souls-I Peter 2:25 "I see Jesus in you, you are very good at guarding your tongue; guarding your siblings/mother...

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H-Holy One of God-Mark 1:24 "I see Jesus in you, you are very good at living a holy life…

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Hope that's enough to get started...come on...give us some ideas for what you would put for other letters in the alphabet...if you were in class tonight commenting should be a breeze since you have the entire alphabet in front of you...
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NOTE: Thanks to some good advice from Vanessa, I've changed the comment section now so anyone can comment and you can even be anonymous (that's for you shy ones!)
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD: THANK HIM!

Another GRATITUESDAY and so much to be thankful for! OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD and He has given many of us a rich week of blessing, fellowship, salvation, healing, and connection. As I look back over this past week, I am amazed at how many wonderful things that happened to me weren't even included in my posts. Yet, if you have a moment, reading back over this weeks posts and listening/watching to the links could provide richness and healing for you and your personal journey.
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I have been so blessed to be surrounded by women, both young and old, who have modeled their christianity for me. I am so thankful to OUR AWESOME GOD that He makes Himself known to and through young women who want learn to love and grow in Him. My cup overflows with thanksgiving for spiritual daughters: Jessica, Crystal, Jacqueline, Krista, Mandy, Brenda, Alana, Brenda, Stephanie, Marlene, Carla, Missy...you know your names...
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Two of these women who I want to tell you about today have been on my mind since my first GRATITUESDAY / SHARING THE LOVE award several weeks ago. Different but the same! Different yesterdays but similar todays! Different personalities, yet similar in the fact that they love to use the gifts that they've been given to serve! Different geographical locations, yet similar locations during most days - HOME!
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I'll try not to be my wordy self but it's hard not to talk about these two special ladies who are so gifted at SHARING THE LOVE OF CHRIST:
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BOTH: Sikes' nieces, christians, mission-minded, went to York College, married to wonderful God loving men who they met at York College, friends of mine...
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VANESSA:

  • she started out life roughly (sometimes on the streets) with a mother who loved her dearly but had trouble providing for her
  • Steve's brother and his wife, Stanten and Colleen, took her into their home (they now have 7 children in all)
  • as a student at York College, when Steve and I were professors there...we moved our 8th grade daughter in with Vanessa when Jessica began suffering from such severe migraines in our cedar-lined house (we found out that Jessica had a severe cedar allergy)...Vanessa helped me care for Jessica and visa versa...what a blessing!
  • she was missionary in China as a young single college graduate
  • after returning to the states, she became a recruiter for York College and impacted many young lives for Christ through this work...
  • one Christmas holiday, she was traveling between Nebraska/Kansas and had stopped to get a sandwich...the same day, traveling between Oklahoma/Nebraska was someone she had known at York College, Brad Leonard...same sandwich shop, same time, same line...God's timing...acquaintance renewed...numbers exchanged...marriage followed...
  • Three kids later, ages 3 and under, Vanessa and Brad live in the Washington D.C. area - far away from home!
  • Brad's important job at the Pentagon means that it is very needed for Vanessa to keep those home fires burning strong...and what a job she is doing...
  • I see OUR AWESOME GOD more clearly as I observe the way He shines through the life of Vanessa! Thank You, Jesus!
  • Her blog will give you ideas on loving, mothering, and transforming: http://nessamomof3.blogspot.com/

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JULIE:

  • she started out life in the home of a mother and father who deeply loved the LORD - Larry and Diane Stephens
  • she was raised as a missionary kid in Kenya
  • she was a student at York College when Steve and I were professors there...as an education major, she was my intern in the Learning Lab...what a blessing!
  • she fell in love with Steve's nephew, Joshua Marcum, who had grown up as a missionary kid in Quito, Ecuador with his parents, Kent and Sharla Marcum
  • Josh became the youth minister for the East Hill church of Christ in York, NE and he and Julie made an amazing impact on many young lives...
  • Josh went on to Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, TN while Julie taught there
  • Three kids later, ages 3 and under, Josh and Julie (two missionary kids) are now missionaries in Bolivia, South America - far away from home!
  • Josh and Julie are facing trying times right now as Bolivia is going through much unrest. American Airlines is refusing to fly into the country, many roads are barracaded, there are food and gasoline shortages... Julie is bravely trying to keep the home fires strong...and what a job she is doing...
  • I see OUR AWESOME GOD more clearly as He shines through the life of Julie! Thank You, Jesus!
  • Julie's blog will give you a window into the life of a young missionary family as she loves, mothers, and transforms: http://jjmarcum22.blogspot.com/
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Thank you for encouraging these two young women via your prayers and comments.

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It is to them that I pass on this award today:



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Monday, September 15, 2008

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD: TRUST HIM - IN SPITE OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES!

Yesterday morning, we began a Ladies' Bible class entitled TREASURED IN MY HEART. This class will be taught by our elders and preachers wives. We will be sharing things that we treasure about the time we had raising our children.

I have to say that yesterdays class led by Katherine was AWESOME!!! I believe it was that way because GOD is at work in a major way! The class was I reflection of how God lives and works through broken vessels. Although I was a little late for class, I will share the gist of it:

  • Katherine spoke to the fact that we all carry "baggage or garbage" from our childhood...those things that weigh us down. She shared that she had brought plenty into her marriage but made every effort to get rid of it so that she would not pass it on to her children.
  • Katherine pointed out that Kristy had just had a baby which brought her to 3 children ages 3 and under. She asked Kristy if all the kids were still in diapers. The answer was - Yes! She asked if the diaper pail was gross and smelly. Once again -Yes!
  • Katherine wanted to know what would happen if she visited Kristy and dropped her diamond wedding ring down in that gross and smelly diaper pail. Of course, she'd do whatever it would take to get those diapers out of there!
  • Katherine used this to make the connection to our lives. We have these wonderful crowning jewels given to us called 'children', yet we often pass all our garbage onto them instead of going through our garbage and getting rid of it.
  • Katherine had given each of us a piece of paper. She said, "without writing your name on the paper take some time and write some garbage that has affected you and/or that you are still holding on to." We put our papers in a basket.
  • You could have heard a pin drop as Katherine read our responses...horribly sad, devastating despair, abandonment, abuse, fear......a group of wounded souls...
  • We were in a safe place...a group of people who love each other deeply...women who TRUST that they are being healed and transformed by the GREAT WOUNDED HEALER!
  • OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD: TRUST HIM!
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD: TRUST HIM!

This month my posts have been connected with a few themes:
  1. ROOTS AND WINGS
  2. FIND US FAITHFUL

AND, NOW:

3. OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!

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Dan Cooper, in his sermon on James this morning referred to:

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Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight.

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Many of my posts are long and I know that some of you say that you don't always have time to "catch up". So today, I hope you have some time to look back over some of the posts of this month and be encouraged by the Awesomeness of our God AND SEE HOW EASY IT IS TO TRUST HIM.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

FIND US FAITHFUL: HE LIVES! HE LIVES! MY REDEEMER LIVES!

This is Franny Stetser. In June, Franny went on to his eternal home, with his awesome GOD, after a brain hemorrhage took him from this life. Franny was 46 years old and had only been born again since April 2007. Yet, to those who knew Franny well, his conversion was truly life changing.
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In May, Franny was replacing the upstairs toilet in our house and he and I were visiting. He asked me if I knew his "story" and I said maybe just a little. He went on to tell me about his relationship with Rich, one of our deacons and the owner of the construction company he worked for. Franny and Rich had been friends for 18+ years. Franny said that there were many things he had done to Rich that were not good and that he was not proud of, yet "through all the times I disappointed Rich, he never stopped loving me." Over the last couple years, Rich has brought some of his workers from his construction company to the LORD, Franny was one of them. Franny understood that it was only JESUS who could give him eternal salvation, erasing all of his sins. Rich and Franny had recently started sponsoring AA meetings in our Pitman church building on Monday nights. Let's fastforward to tonight...


This is the back of Kristi's shirt from when she was part of the Camden Extreme Makeover - Home Edition. Notice how she covered up 'home' with 'life'. That's because tonight Kristi had an extreme life makeover. My REDEEMER, the CREATOR and SAVIOR of the world, who lived in Franny and lives in me - now lives in Kristi, too. When Franny had a life transformation, Kristi noticed. Franny's life and death planted the seeds that took root in Kristi's heart tonight!
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Actually all three of these adults watched Franny live his new life in Christ and were amazed by his transformation. Their lives were so influenced by this man who emptied himself out and allowed Jesus to move in. He allowed JESUS to take up residency and presidency! Tonight, at the Pitman church of Christ, they made the decison to do what Franny had done last year. Here is Kristi with her husband, Tim, and mom, Sandy, and son, Jason after the three adults had their Redeemer come to live inside of them. That would mean that this picture includes two new Transformed Moms and one Transformed Dad! Read on...
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Earlier in the day, I saw it over and over again ...evidence that My Redeemer, the Creator and Savior of the world lives! In the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, 15 of us joined in singing with around 20,000 women who were also there because they believe that HE LIVES!
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We discussed among ourselves the many different things that impacted us. I will share those over this next week. I'm overjoyed to share the following which will include the rest of the story about Sandy, Tim, and Kristi...
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Throughout the day, a few of us looked at, discussed, and commented on these scriptures. Please read them:
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SCRIPTURE #1:
John 4:22-24
"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the FATHER in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the FATHER seeks. GOD is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
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SCRIPTURE #2:
1 Timothy 4:16 "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."
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COMMENT: We want to be women who make their spirit/life of equal importance to the truth/doctrine AND visa versa!
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SCRIPTURE #3:
Romans 10:13
"...for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.'
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COMMENT: We heard a little bit yesterday and today that the above verse means that the way to salvation is to "pray JESUS into your heart" or "say the sinners prayer" based on the above verse and others like it. If we continue to search and "piece the puzzle together" the Bible gives us the entire answer. Read on...
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SCRIPTURE #4:
Acts 22:16
"And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His name.'
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COMMENT: And that's just what Tim, Kristi, and Sandy did! They were convicted by some of the scriptures below, also. So, they said, "No need to wait...we want to give ourselves to JESUS in complete obedience." So, they did! Tonight, they "called" on the name of JESUS through baptism.
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FIRST SANDY:
SCRIPTURE #5:
Galatians 3:26-29
"You are all sons of GOD through faith in CHRIST JESUS, for all of you who were baptized into CHRIST have clothed yourselves with CHRIST. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in CHRIST JESUS. If you belong to CHRIST, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."



NEXT, TIM:
LAST, KRISTI:

SCRIPTURE #6:
1 Peter 3:20-22
"GOD waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward GOD. It saves you by the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at GOD's right hand-with angels, authorities and powers in submission to Him.


COMMENT: After reading the above verse, along with the verses below, these three were convicted that their "good moral lives" OR "calling on/claiming Jesus as their LORD with their mouths" was not all that God has asked of them. And, their response was to finish what they had started...
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SCRIPTURE #7:
Acts 2:38-39
38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of JESUS CHRIST for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the LORD our GOD will call."


EARLIER IN THE WEEK: Lela had already put her LORD on in baptism as her "Transformed Mom" Eastla and Grandmother watched.

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COMMENT:

This week, these 4 people "got it". They got the knowledge and the understanding that Jesus died for their sins, was dead in a tomb for 3 days, and then came back to LIFE! And now they, too, can say:

  • "HE LIVES!
  • HE LIVES!
  • I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES..."

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SCRIPTURE #8:
1 John 2:3-6
"We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, 'I know Him,' but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. But if anyone obeys His word, GOD's love is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as JESUS did."

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COMMENT:

  • Eastla chose to call upon the LORD through baptism, be clothed with Christ, and "walk as JESUS did" and Lela followed.
  • Years ago Rich chose to call upon the LORD through baptism, be clothed with Christ, and "walk as JESUS did" and Franny followed.
  • Franny chose to call upon the LORD through baptism, be clothed with Christ, and "walk as JESUS did" and Sandy, Kristi, and Tim followed.

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Who's Franny?

.Franny was child of the King, the husband of Sandy, step father of Kristi, father in law of Tim, AND grandfather of Jason. He led the way for his family!

SCRIPTURE #9:

Matthew 28:19-20
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the FATHER and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
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2010 Pitman WOMEN REACHING OUT IN FAITH RETREAT - Cape May, NJ

TRANSFORMED MOM, LISA, REQUESTED PRAYERS FOR HER HUBBY: FULLY RESTORED! FULLY HEALED!