Monday, April 27, 2009

CEF - Child Evangelism of Saskatchewan

Here's a little video of what Child Evangelism does - teaching clubs throughout Saskatchewan all summer long. A couple of these pics I took my place when we hosted the club in our yard....and in our home at the lake when it was raining outside.

If you want more information about Child Evangelism and the work they do, or the clubs that they teach throughout the summer, go to their website or check out some of my other entries here on my blog labeled under Child Evangelism.

They also have a great blog where the workers throughout summer have written entries throughout their travels through the summer teaching about Jesus to over 4,400 kids all over Saskatchewan.

I just came from a conference in Moose Jaw this past weekend where I met up with many great CEF co-ordinators all over Saskatchewan. Some good memories came back to me from when I was a child.....................

I grew up attending 5 Day Clubs during the summer months. I also was very faithful in doing the Mailbox Club lessons as well - I just loved them. We didn't have TV growing up, so doing these lessons and reading the books and lessons were a great passtime for me. My mom also reminded me of the two winters that we had a after school club in our home every Friday (this must have been what is now called Club DJ) and our living room was filled with 24/25 kids each week. There was a young girl that mom referred to as the "little Adrian girl" who came every single Friday, never missed a week. She loved coming to this club and one afternoon she received Jesus as her Savior. That was so exciting!! I was about 13 or 14 and I was a little old for this club so I was the special helper each week - it was a definite highlight of my past and a great times it seems I have more bad memories than good memories but I sure love it when God brings back these good memories and the bad memories become less and less.

Anyway, today, I thought that I'd really like to see if I can find a connection to this "little Adrian girl". So, I phoned an old neighbor and got a phone number - totally unexpected. I spoke to the father of this girl for about 40 minutes on the phone. We had a wonderful conversation! Then, he gave me his daughter Angela's number - who was this "little Adrian girl" and I gave her a call. Well, we talked for another 40 minutes. She's 7 years younger than I am and had a period of rebellion in her life as well. Here it ended up that she also knew me from a wedding that I was the photographer at a couple summers ago....we sat at the same table and her husband runs a Christian radio station in one of the SK communities - I had even given them one of my flyers for the calendars that I make and sell. What an incredibly small world!! God is so interesting and it is so wonderful how He continually entertwines the lives of those around us. It's always so amazing to me how He works!! but I shouldn't be amazed!

CEF is a great place for young adults to share their hearts with children and teach them about Jesus. I organize the 5 Day Clubs in the Shell Lake area and on the reserves around the area up there. It has been such a blessing to have the workers stay at our home there sometimes and to also go with them and see firsthand the impact theses stories have on the kids that come to these clubs each summer. God is doing a mighty work!! Praise the Lord for these organizations and for the many faithful workers that commit themselves each summer to teaching these young kids about Jesus. God bless them greatly!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Does the Word "REDEEMER" Mean to You?

I had posted a bit of a survey on Facebook asking my friends what the word "REDEEMER" meant to them and here are some of their responses. Each of them makes you think and thank God for who He is and for what He has done.

"To me it means He - Jesus- took away my past- all the sins past present and future are taken care of. A very small catch - I have to believe in Jesus Christ my Lord and ask His forgiveness to be redeemed from my life of sin." - MaryAnn

"to me Redeemer is another word for LOVE. The name of Someone being tortured and put to death in my place so that I might be free. Redeemer=Jesus=Amazing Love=Freedom" - Bonnie

"Christ was the true redeemer. he was the only begotten of the father. The true and living spirit of God. Made...the life ...manifest. He is our salvation and our redeemer. Are we then redeemed by him? By his blood? Here's a question.... in the old covenant as the people gave their sacrifices ( a goat ..a bull...dove etc.) were the people " redeemed ' by the giving of their sacrifices? Was the sacrifice their redeemer from their sin ? Or redemption for sin?
Until we truly live that co-death with Christ only then will we experience redemption from the redeemer.
Many still look at Christ as a icon or a figure of God.Even the event of the cross. This can come from various sources in ones life. I dare say that it comes from religion and wrong doctrine. For one to experience the true redemption that is offered.. the believer must have his spirit quickened by the holy spirit ...the spirit of truth. How will one know otherwise what he / she needs redemption from? Doesn't everyone think that he/ she is right in life? Only the spirit of truth can redeem us from self. redeemer = Christ....redemption = co-death with Christ." Take up your cross and follow me." - Tom

"When I think about being redeemed, I think of myself as a slave to the things of this world. By dying on the Christ, Jesus, my Redeemer, set me free from those things, allowing me to live a life of love instead of anger, resentment and self-righteousness. I am righteous in Him and I don't need to prove it, I just need to love Him and love those He loves. I am Redeemed!" - Lisa

"If you want to open a can of worms with people ask them who created the world. ( not the earth ..the world ) And what the word " world " means. it has many references. John wrote that God created the worlds ( Plural ) and the worlds were framed by him. James later writes that all the world is evil containing the pride of life and the lust of the eyes. These verses seem contradictory. Unless we do not understand the meaning of the word world.
With you question of the word redeemer Christ came not to condemn the world but to save us ...not to save it but us. He also prayed the Father to keep us in this world but not of it ... in the garden he prayed this just before they took him. Will the world always be? The first world was destroyed. Now we have a redeemer to keep us from this second world.
Many believe that God created the world and all it's inventions to keep us... this is true to most. But is it the truth? Many preach this. The scriptures say that if one is not of Christ he is a child of disobedience and of the world...not of us or from us . So what is the world that the Father would have to send a redeemer for? What does that word " world " mean?" - Tom

"When I think of the word Redeemer, I think of someone who has freed me from paying the price that I COULD have paid.
This has happened to me: I begin with a pure heart and motives, but as circumstances arise and people begin to influence or add their comments, my "straight" path gets a slight curve in it and next thing I kinow I've adjusted my course in an effort to please and give the appearance of pure motives. When I get before God and ask for His strength, He erases the curves in the road and gets me back on track.
A Redeemer makes my "intentions" right, even though I may have been misunderstood.
I just looked up the word - and it means, to "buy back" - and that is what I'm summing up..........He buys back my hearts' original intention and puts His stamp of approval on my original plan/ desire." - Carollyn

What are your thoughts on "Redeemer"? Feel free to write in your thoughts on the comment link below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Laminin Video by Louie Giglio

In a couple of earlier posts, I shared about the video we watched at a ladies retreat on Laminin. Here's a link to the video on youtube. You will be amazed!!

The Day the Paint Box Fell from Heaven

Just a few photos to remind us of our great and wonderful of a painter our God is.
(these are not photos that I've taken - they were sent to me in an email from a friend)

We live in an awesome world.
Make it an awesome day.
Peace To All and May God Bless You
Live simply.

Love generously.
Care deeply.

Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


A while back at our Ladies Retreat, I mentioned a video we had watched of Louie Giglio - the video called "How Great is Our God" It was an incredible video! In it he spoke about the universe, how all the planets are so HUGE and earth is so small compared to some of them. He showed us photographs of the planets and stars.....amazing how complex and HUGE our galaxy is. We are all such a tiny speck in the largeness of the universe - it's amazing how important we as humans are to God....He made the amazing universe but He created US in HIS image and in HIS likeness! And He put US up above the importance spectrum waaaaaaay above the spectacular universe that He created! We are His chosen people - He created us with so much love and importance! I'm just so amazed!

So, below is a photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It is at the center of a black hole in a galaxy millions of light years from Earth. All Christians believe that God created the universe and everything in it. The image that is located in the center of that black hole millions of light years away is amazing! Is that not incredible or what? What does it look like to you? I know what it looks like to me...what does it look like to you?

Louie had talked about the greatness of God in His creation–stars, earth, universe, human body…but the thing that really blew me off was LAMININ. How he loved laminin. Our body is so incredibly and uniquely designed - the human eye, the blood cells, the blood clotting, the healing of the skin, the growth of the baby in the womb - WOW! it is such a complex design created by HIM, by GOD - how could our human bodies ever just evolve from a rock over billions and billions of years - impossible!! But when Louie talked about, it just totally amazed me! Read on and I'm sure you'll be amazed too!

Our human bodies are all made of Trillions and Trillions of cells that make up our body and all of it's delicate intricate parts. What holds this amazing body of ours together? Laminin. It is some kind of protein that acts as the glue that holds all of our trillions of cells together. There's not just one of these in our bodies - if our bodies have trillions of cells, you can imagine how much laminin there is in this amazing body of ours. Here is a scientific diagram of what laminin looks like...

Colossians 1:17 says: He (Christ) is before all things and IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.” Now, that’s a really powerful passage if you ask me. Cause what's holding me together?? The cross of Christ! - and millions of crosses!

During his talk, Louie Giglio displayed an actual microscopic photo of a single Laminin cell and it looked exactly like the photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the black hole light years from Earth. A molecular biologist that he talked about on this video sent him this image that was taken from a microscope. Do you see it?? My God connects Christ with everything in our lives.

Isn’t that amazing?? The thing that HOLDS our body together is the very symbol of the Savior who delivered us from all our sins, pains and doubts?? It was so phenominal!! Totally Incredible! I just sat their with the Glory of God wrapped all around me - with goosebumps on my arms and chills running up and down my spine. I was moved with such a special love like no other.

God is everywhere - in the far reaches of this incredibly vast universe that we live in, down to every cell of our intricately designed bodies. There is so much proof of that everywhere we look! How Great is our God!?!?!?! We cannot even begin to imagine how incredibly great and huge He is!

What are the chances that out of the million replicas and symbols in the world, God chose the symbol of the CROSS to HOLD our body together. Colossians 1:17 is not a figure-of-speech Bible passage for me. Literally, Jesus, my Jesus..HOLDS me TOGETHER..literally holds me together!! What more could I ever, ever, ever need? And you know, Christ is no longer on that cross or in that grave - He never stayed there! He rose again and is now in heaven making an eternal home for me there, waiting for me to come home with Him. I can't wait to meet Him personally, face to face, the ONE who holds me together now in this life I am living here on earth. Amen??

How Great is Our God....sing with me.....How Great is Our God! Let all the earth rejoice, let all the earth rejoice!!

On the Inside, we're all the same

I love babies! They all have such unique and beautiful qualities...different cries, different looks, different hair, different eyes, different noses, different facial features.....we're all so different. God did such a wonderful job creating all the different races and types of people - wow, what creativity, uniqueness, and wonder.

I was out for a walk this morning with a friend and my dogs. I was telling her about this beautiful baby next door, how gorgeous she was, and so precious!! I love the eyes! Such big dark eyes! Mmmmmm, hmmmm. God created such beauty!

I can't get over the hair!! I was commenting to my friend how some of the babies that had been born into my family didn't even have any hair when they were born. Then there's this widdo baby next door with incredible dark hair in tight tight curls - and a head full of it! I was so enthralled by it! My friend adopted a Spanish boy a few years ago and his hair is black and poker straight and sticks straight out sideways. A friend of mine who's Chinese has thin black hair that molds down over her head - beautiful hair!

It's so amazing how each of us, each beautiful race that God created, how different we are in our facial features, our skin tones and our hair. The hair!! Each hair on a person's head is so different and unique. What's so amazing about that, is that our Great God knows the number of hairs on each of our individual hairs! Don't you find that fascinating?? Even though the hairs on my head are getting less and less every day, it seems, God knows how many hairs I have! He loves me so much!

Even our skin tones and's fascinating to see all the different types of skin tones. And to think that God created it all....each different one! We didn't come from a rock people!!! God created us, each one so individually and extremely special in his own eyes. God hand made and hand picked each and every one of us. He chose which family we'd be in, which race we'd be born into, which part of the country we'd be born into.....He chose each and every one of us!

But you know what? My friend that I was walking with this morning, stopped me in my tracks and said something so profound! I've known it all along but just the way she said it this morning, just really hit me. She works in the hospital and she said "But when we open you up, you're all the same!" WOW! No matter how different we look on the outside with all our different tones, hues, features and characteristics, we're all made the same on the inside. My heart just pounded! We all got the blood, the veins, the arteries, the organs, the's all pink hues on the inside. We're all so different yet so the same. Why?? Because we have a marvelous Creator who created each one of us in His Own Image! That moves me to tears my friends, it moves me to tears. God put His own stamp of approval in each one of us. To prove it, I'll talk about Laminin in the next entry. Check it out! Laminin - that's what holds us all together!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Inner Beauty

I did a bit of a survey on Facebook and asked my friends what came to mind when they thought of the term "Inner Beauty." Here are some of their quotes:

"Serenity and inner beauty come when you wait upon God. Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart." - quote from Chris

"who your soul is..." - quote from Joann

"lookin forward" - quote from Fran - now she wasn't really commenting on inner beauty when she said this but rather when I would be sharing this talk at her church. But, I thought it was a really neat concept - inner beauty is looking forward - not living back in the past or drudging up old things but looking forward...looking forward to what's ahead and not continually looking back.

"I think inner beauty means Gods love and peace coming through, from the inside out." - quote from Liz

"God's spirit living through me!" - quote from Krisinda

"Anyone with the fruits of the Spirit flowing freely, is very beautiful!" - quote from Eva

"inner beauty" is someone with Alot of love for their fellow man!" - quote from Thelma

"inner beauty, is caring, loving and a listening kind of person." - quote from Nora
"The phrase inner beauty brings so many things to mind..a person's character...their morals and values...are they someone of good conscience... and of course the fruits of the spirit..." - quote from Melissa

"Inner beauty comes from being redeemed and allowing God to do His Almighty work in you... it's calmness you have within yourself because of what Jesus Christ our Saviour has done for us and living the way we should with Jesus in our hearts .." - quote from MaryAnn

And then I got this response from a guy - it really made me think and there's so much truth to it. "Inner beauty such thing.... only a phrase used by a non believer to glorify self. A phrase used to substitute ...spirit......would you rather have someone say you have " inner beauty " as it is ..or would you rather them say " I see the true and living spirit of God " or maybe yet " I see virtue " I have only heard the phrase inner beauty used towards someone that was fat or ugly ... so one would use the words "they have inner beauty " to compliment them for lack of something to say...." quote from Tom

Then I went onto the Web and got some quotes from various places on there:

" what is real beauty? I want to say that inner beauty is the real one because if someone has beauty in his soul, he looks like a really beautiful person.The beauty looked at with eyes doesn't last forever. Instead of concentrating on outer beauty, we should concentrate on inner beauty. The point is that inner beauty is more important than outside beauty. So, if we make the effort to make our minds beautiful, we'll be happier." - quote from Jenny in Korea

"Youthful beauty fades with time, but, with cultivation, inner beauty grows richer. The good news is that it’s never too late or too soon to evolve your inner beauty. A good place to start is to create self-awareness by locating your passions and using them positively to create self-satisfaction. Then your inner beauty will grow and radiate to your outer self.

Take time to find your unique gifts and develop them. Get motivated to create self-satisfaction and a positive self-image. If you do this, you will make your life richer and more meaningful.

1. Believe that you have an inner self to explore and that you are willing to let yourself develop your innate talents and gifts. Here are a few insightful quotes about personal development to ponder.

2. Create 2-3 positive affirmations, such as "My creativity is my gift, as I am open to it, I will be led." Or "I am a wonderfully gifted _________ and I am growing better every day." Repeat your affirmations 10 time each every morning to motivate yourself to grow, learn and experience the things you are passionate about.

3. Treat yourself to personal time away from family and friends to do something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled at least once a week.

4. Keep a private journal and write in it faithfully everyday. Let the distractions, injuries, worries, plans, hopes and ideas flow from your brain to the paper. This will help to clear your mind, focus on what is positive and release ideas and beliefs that may be holding you back.

5. Take time regularly to go inward with meditation or prayer."

- quote from Tomi Gion magazine in an article on Creating Inner Beauty

"Do we realize that we would look the way we are, and an expression on our face is actually the reflection of what we are from within? We can camouflage the exterior, but what can we do to the interior? Our goodness or badness, generosity or animosity, or love or hatred, all show somewhere here or somewhere there on our bodies. If we are good from within, our face reflects a mesmerizing state of goodness; if we are not, we clearly show it through our expressions....Haven't you ever come across simple-looking, down-to-earth people who impress upon, and look good to you, in the first very instance? They are the ones who carry an inner, positive influence as a beautiful mark on their faces. Beauty is nothing but a mindset, and you are actually a positive or a negative mindset when you look beautiful, or do not." - quote from Phylameana lila Desy,

So there are some good points in the quotes from the web…..but where is God in the picture? Is it just us and our positive nature and smiles that make us beautiful or is it God within us that makes us beautiful? Hmmmm.

When I think of Inner Beauty – I think of Christ living in me and it pouring out of me each day – radiating Christ’s love and care. There’s nothing great about myself as a whole – me alone is nothing, quite worthless actually and full of sin. But, with Christ in me, I am beautiful to God.

Attitude – I also think of our attitude when I think of Inner Beauty – the attitude I have is what can make me beautiful. Having a good, godly positive attitude is the key – it shines out as a great beacon of light. I often tell my girls, do you wanna shine or stink? Our attitudes can either shine and win people over or it can stink up such a smell that we’ll chase everyone around us away.



Life isn't always about the people around us's about changing our own hearts to reflect more of Christ! We can't change others around us...we can only change how we view them, how we react to them and how we love them through the love of Jesus. Christ in ME - the hope of all glory! Now that's living beyond yourself.

You know ladies, we always have a choice....God will not make us do anything, we are not a puppet....each day is a choice. But we act out what we believe in our own physical bodies....what do you believe? God has given those who believe in Him, believe in His Son Jesus Christ, the incredible power of the Holy Spirit. Through Him, all things are possible. Through Him, we can live beyond what we are feeling or thinking...we can live throughout all aspects of the Fruits of the Spirit - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. We can live out all of those - they are already in us because the Holy Spirit is within us. Each of these has an action:


God has taught us some wonderful things through this study. He wants to change our life and also our day! Victory happens one day at a time. I don't have to worry about tomorrow, a year from now, or 10 years from now. All I need to think about is what I am doing right now, how am I living for the Lord, in what ways am I reacting - through the fruits of the spirit or through the human flesh which cannot please God apart from Him. I need the glory of the Lord to fill my temple,
my body - so that I reflect more of Him and less of me and my selfish desires and actions. When God fills me up, it pushes out my carnal nature, my fleshly humanness and makes room for His Spirit and His work in me and through me. Teach me how to do that more Lord. I need to choose each day whom I will serve - myself or God. I stumble and fall each day, I make mistakes....but God is constantly there with His unfailing love and never ending mercy and forgiveness. Through His faithfulness, He gives me a new chance each and every day, every morning to reveal the inner beauty from within.


We just finished a Bible study called Breaking Free by Beth Moore. It was an incredible study. In it she gave a fascinating picture of Peace like a River – and having peace is a picture of inner beauty. I absolutely LOVE the analogy of the River. A river is a moving stream of water, it is a body of fresh water fed by springs or streams, it begins and ends with a body of water. God doesn't say we'll have peace like a pond....but peace like a river. His peace is a peace that we can have while life twists and turns and rolls over boulders. It's to have security and peace of mind and heart while life takes many bumps and unexpected turns along the journey of changes. Peace is submitted to God's authority, not resigning from all the activity of life. Peace comes from an active, ongoing, and obedient relationship with the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. He wants to feed us with the Living Water of His Holy Spirit and a steady stream of His Word until we have peace like a river. Peace flows from a continuing upland source, Jesus Christ, and is always a reminder that this life will eventually spill out into a glorious eternal life. This present life is not our destination! Hallelujah!! We who know Christ through a personal relationship with him, are continually moving over rocks, sometimes cliffs, through narrow places and other times wide valleys to a grand heavenly destination. This takes abiding with Christ, paying attention to God's commands through obedience through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Why? Because God is incapable of making any mistakes whatsoever with our lives. He teaches us only what is best for us, He directs us only in the way we should go. God's way is the safe way, the right way, and the only peaceful way in a very chaotic world that we live in. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Col. 3:15). Through all of life, I can have "peace like a river" when I pay attention to God's commands and follow where He leads me. The key to having peace in my life is to submit to His authority through my obedience to Him. Obedience doesn't come easily for anyone - we all wanna do our own thing and go our own way and live life as we please. Obedience to God is not going our way, not doing as we please and not even speaking as we please. Peace is the fruit of righteousness and joy is the wine from that fruit. Joy will ultimately flow from obedience.



Have any of you heard of Louie Giglio? He’s a phenomenal speaker. He has this Passion Video series out and at our ladies retreat last fall, we watched one of his videos called “How Great is our God”. My heart beat hard from the first moment it started to the very end. He began by showing us how vast our universe it is and how many galaxies exist out there – how many planets and stars and the sizes. The Sizes!! Did you know that our planet was not the largest planet in our galaxy? There are planets that are bigger than earth…but some of the stars! Wow! If I showed you a photo of one of the biggest stars out there, I wouldn’t even be able to put a black sharpy mark beside it cause the little dot would be too big to give you the actually size of this planet earth compared to the largest star that they’ve found. And these stars are millions of light years away! Our galaxy is huge!! There’s a black hole at the end of our galaxy and a photo was taken of it with the Hubble Space Telescope – and the image that is in that black hole is in the shape of an eye – very bright and shades of white – with the shape of a cross in the middle. God has his stamp on our great universe that He’s created!


We are all such a tiny speck in the largeness of the universe - it's amazing how important we as humans are to God....He made the amazing universe but He created US in HIS image and in HIS likeness! And He put US up above the importance spectrum waaaaaaay above the spectacular universe that He created! We are His chosen people - He created us with so much love and importance! I'm just so amazed! Okay, so here we are on this tiny planet earth, God’s chosen ones who He’s made in His image. Do you know of the intricacies of our body? How amazing are the workings of the eye alone! Or the blood system in our body…or the way our skin heals…..or the way our cell system works and how our body is made up of trillions and trillions of cells that if you stretched it out, it would fill up a whole whackload of encyclopedias with all the information that is stored up in our cells alone! We are an amazing creation - hand created and molded by our Great God. There’s absolutely no way that we could’ve evolved from a rock over trillions of years – impossible! We are too intricately designed! That’s not the best part yet though! Have you heard of Laminin? Louie Giglio had met a molecular biologist who introduced him to laminin. If you google it on the internet, you’ll see it for yourself. So, laminin is what they call the glue that holds our cells together so that our body can work properly. We don’t just have one of these in our body…we have tons and tons. Do you know what the shape of laminin is? A cross. Yep, a cross. The glue that holds all the trillions of cells together in our body is shaped like a cross. I got goosebumps. That’s inner beauty ladies. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ – the one He died on to redeem us from our sins and to give us eternal life, is stamped on the inside of our bodies as well as in this great universe that we live in. Colossians 1:17 says: He (Christ) is before all things and IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.Now, that’s a really powerful passage if you ask me. Cause what's holding me together?? The cross of Christ! - and millions of crosses! Isn’t that incredible? That alone is inner beauty! I am so humbled by my Great God – by His Greatness and His unfathomable way that He puts everything together. I, Lisa Braun, am being held together by the cross of Christ. You are too! How much more beautiful can we become than that?? We can’t! God is everywhere - in the far reaches of this incredibly vast universe that we live in, down to every cell of our intricately designed bodies. There is so much proof of that everywhere we look! How Great is our God!?!?!?! We cannot even begin to imagine how incredibly great and huge He is!

What are the chances that out of the million replicas and symbols in the world, God chose the symbol of the CROSS to HOLD our body together. Literally, Jesus, my Jesus..HOLDS me TOGETHER..literally holds me together!! What more could I ever, ever, ever need?


The other day, I was out walking with a friend, and I was telling her how enthralled I am by this new baby living next door to me. We have a black family that’s recently moved in beside us and they just had a baby. I’ve never held a black baby before and I was just fascinated! I was telling her how incredibly different all of our hair is – some fine, some straight, some curly, some shaggy…. Many different babies have been born around me recently and I’m just fascinated by the eyes, hair and facial features of each one. The hair on this baby next door is black and lots of it…and the tightest curls – I love touching it. I have a friend who adopted a Spanish boy and his hair is black too but different and it’s straight and stands out sideways. I have a Chinese friend who’s hair is black too but a different shade and it’s straight as well but it molds down over her head. So many shades of black and so many types of hair –and the eyes!! We all have such different eyes! Oh the eyes of the different races of people that I’ve come into contact with over the past few years…in Bolivia, in Israel, in Amsterdam, in Jordan, in Egypt…! God made us all so beautiful! Such beautiful people around us and I love to watch them. So, anyway, I ‘m going on and on and then my friend Rita (who is a nurse) she says the most profound thing… “but when we open you all up, you’re all the same.” Whoa! That’s inner beauty ladies! God made us all the same on the inside even though we all have different features on the outside. He put His stamp of approval on us – “Let us make man in our image.” Inside, we all have organs, blood flowing, veins, arteries, bones….you name it…and it’s wonderfully and uniquely made. The inner beauty is how God made us to work on the inside. Beauty from the inside out. Remember the cross – the Laminin – beauty from the inside – God’s stamp on each of us individually.


Ladies, it doesn’t matter what we do on the outside to try to make ourselves beautiful. It doesn’t matter if our bodies were completely mangled beyond recognition – we are beautiful! Christ was tortured, beaten and bruised beyond recognition – in the book of Isaiah it says that He didn’t even look human – and He was still beautiful! Why? Because He was God’s Son, God created Him, and He was doing the Will of the Father who sent him. We are co-heirs with Christ – we are God’s children, sons and daughters, princes and princesses. We are to be in this world but not of this world. We are often dressing like the world, talking like the world, competing like the world. God wants us to be different, to see different and to look different to the world around us. How do we do that? By being who He wants us to be and working on our beauty from the inside out. God is calling out to His people.


In closing, I’d like to tell you about a book that I’m reading right now. The timing of this book is amazing…only God can do things like this. Scars Don’t Hurt is a book about a Mennonite woman who shares my maiden name. She grew up in a family of 9 kids, her mother had mental illness, a couple of her brothers were drinkers, her father was a drunk and was never at home for days, weeks or months on end – he let his own wife and kids starve as he drank his wages away and lived with woman after woman supporting them and their children with food and clothing while completely neglecting his own family. He abused them greatly and also his wife. This woman, Margaret Davidson, was raped by her brother for years and also raped by her brother’s friend, her mother never ever hugged her and she never heard the words I love you from either of her parents. For years, she lived a lie and saw herself as ugly, shameful, and as an awful creation. She blamed herself and God and wanted nothing to do with Him. But, through miracles in her life, she overcame the hatred and allowed God to heal her and she began to see herself as beautiful. Why? God turned her ashes into beauty and she became a planning of the Lord – solid like a tree – that He might be glorified in her healing. (Is. 61:3) All of her pain, her bad memories and her nightmares, they’re all scars and the scars don’t hurt. Jesus can make painful memories into a scar – He can take the pain away. That’s inner beauty ladies. Margaret received a full revelation of God’s purpose in her life, in spite of all her pain. She’s taken her pain and turned around to help other women. The joy she received from her healing far out passed the pain of those horrible years of her past. Psalm 30:5 says “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. I had two friends who were extremely dear to me growing up, whom I’ve recently learned have both been sexually abused by brothers – one of them for years. I’ve cried together with them both. One of them is reading through this book right now as well, we’re reading through it together – she lives many miles away from here but we’re together in spirit, walking through this difficult journey. I was not sexually abused, but I was mentally and emotionally abused growing up…my mother suffered from mental illness and us kids can relate to some of the things Margaret went through in this book. I have a lot of bad memories of my own – shame has filled me at times of the memories I have of my own sinful deeds in my past – things that took place right here in this town. I lived a completely different life here years ago but now I am a different person today than I was 25 years ago. Why? I’ve allowed God to take over, to transform me from the inside out and I gave up my rebellion of wanting to lead my own life of selfish desires and worked on becoming who He wanted me to be. I used to put a lot focus on who I was on the outside and it often bothered me a great deal on how I was “shaped” on the outside….it still gets to me sometimes….I didn’t like who I was because I didn’t have the perfect body. But God showed me that I needed to be changed from the inside….He’s still continually changing me from the inside on a daily basis. Being involved in Bible studies and leading studies over the years is what has been transforming me – molding me into who God wants me to be.

With God, suffering is only temporary and His joy and peace make the difference – it’s that inner beauty of allowing God to transform you from the inside out – working the fruit of the Spirit through you and working together with God to become the person He created you to be.

Proverbs 31:30 NLT
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.
You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

Psalm 139:14 NIV
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

In the NLT it says “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

My Lord has created me so wonderfully. My heart yearns to be more like Christ, to be his beautiful bride – to have a heart like His – a heart of gold and to be a woman after God’s own heart – just like David. And look at the mistakes he made. But he was truly sorry for the wrong he had done, he repented and was a man after God’s own heart.

Psalm 27:4 NIV
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.

Mother/Daughter Retreat at Christopher Lake

This was such a special time away with my girls, the beautiful gifts that God gave me to raise to love Him, serve Him and give back to Him and trust that He will bring them through life okay. It's harder and harder to let go farther and farther as they get older. What better choice do I have than to entrust them to my heavenly Father? hmmmmm...seems that's the best place to put them, into His hands.

Playing games in the basement of the lodge was fun - Cara and I got a friendly competitive game of ping pong going throughout the weekend. :-) If was fun! Then there was the hot tub outside, which was heated with wood. It smelled good and was so warm under the dark sky. Such a quiet setting with no sounds except the sound of natural sounds of God's creation...birds, the water coming onto shore, the wind through the was all so heavenly.

Going on long walks through the forest was always something I enjoyed doing at Camp Kadesh and the cooler weather wasn't going to stop me from going this time. A group of us walked all the way to another private lake that you could only get into by walking. Can't remember the name of it though. Sitting by the water's edge watching the sun come up behind our cabin was wonderful! I've always loved the sunrises and sunsets at Christopher Lake.

We did lots of crafts and games, drank hot chocolate and had snacks. It was a cooler weekend but it was still good. We had some sunny times too, but it was definitely a good weekend to stay indoors and drink warm stuff.

The girls had to swing that crazy, huge jungle swing too....and of course their mamma had to go out and take photos of them doin that crazy thing. :-)

On Saturday night we had a great dessert buffet put out before us. It was so yummy! Good thing we did some races and exercising earlier. Alysha & Cara were on the same team for the amazing race and each won a gift certificate for Camp Kadesh - Alysha knows how she's gonna use hers - to come to camp in the summer, what else? :-) She was quite happy about that.

We spent a wonderful evening doing our nails, scrubbing our feet, laughing and talking and goofin off, not to mention the ping pong table playoffs and the funny skits. It was a great weekend with just the girls!

Years ago, in the summers of '85 and '86, I stayed at The Swamp - that was the place to be. It was a summer I'll never forget - a place where I ground my roots spiritually. So, I had to get a picture of me with the Swamp sign ya know. We had great cabin mates for the weekend, Cara and Braelyn, we all bonded very quickly. It was wonderful to get to know them. The girls hit it off right away and so did Cara & I. Have good roomies is always a way to start things off right.