Thursday, April 30, 2009

Humble Hearts

"Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. Then the Father, who see what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:1-4

Do you ever feel that what you are doing in this world goes unnoticed? Do you feel you are being obedient to God and pouring yourself into your ministry, but never seem to feel the fulfillment that you see in others? They seem to be moving ahead, getting all the attention. You think "But look at what I am doing, don't you notice all my hard work?" You see the joy that other people have and you just want some of that for yourself.

Maybe you should stop and think about your motives. Why are you really doing these things? Are you really doing them for God, serving Him with a pure heart, or are you doing them for yourself and the feel-good-feeling you get when you are praised by others. It doesn't matter how many compliments we get from people. What matters is knowing that God sees what we are doing. He sees our hearts and whether we are serving Him with pure motives. When we keep our motives in check and our eyes on God, He rewards us accordingly. Let us always evaluate our motives in all that we do and serve God with humble hearts. Remember their is no reward that this world has to offer that can compare with the rewards God has in store for those who love and serve Him.

Love In Christ,
Kim Ratcliffe

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Upcoming Events

A special thank you to Grace Mueller who spoke to our group yesterday about being a doula. She is one of the co-directors of Babymoon Doulas serving the Tri-county Panhandle including Winchester and Hagerstown. If you are interested in getting more information on doula care either for before, during, or after birth services, you may contact Grace at You can also check out the website at

Our upcoming events for May are as follows:

Tuesday, May 12 Mother's Day Breakfast- Join us at Shoney's Restaurant in Martinsburg, WV at 10 am for the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet starting at $6.99 each, drinks not included. Childcare available at Bethel A/G from 9:45-11:45 am. If you are planning to attend and will be using our childcare, please contact Lisa Fraley.
*Look for the Shoney's coupon in your mail*

Friday, May 15 Mom's Game Night- Meet at Amanda Dagostino's house at 6 pm. Bring a favorite game to play and $5 towards pizza. Contact Amanda or Lisa Fraley for directions.

Tuesday, May 26 Topic Meeting-Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building rm 109 from 10-11:45 am for our topic meeting. Rochelle Lushbaugh with YoungLives Ministry will be our guest speaker during our opening. Then we will join our care circles for discussion.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Testimony Tuesday by Deneil Busey

I had a crummy day last Thursday. My heart was heavy and I was overwhelmed with some issues gnawing at my spirit. I unintentionally started reading Psalm 91. It's a must read for you today. I smiled as soon as I started reading: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

Some of my other favorite parts are verses 11, 14-16. I'll leave you to read them for yourself and rejoice.

I literally felt the warmth of God pass by me. It was as if the Lord enveloped me with His grace, comfort and mercy with every word of that psalm. I looked at a dish of Easter chocolate infront of me and said, "Lord that word from you was better than chocolate." Then I began thinking that I would have rather read Psalm 91 than had a massage or even--shoe shopping. Gosh I love Him. He fuels my soul. Everyday with Jesus is a day better than chocolate, massages, shoe shopping or anything else this world could give.

Now go read Psalm 91!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Friend of God

When I was on my son's field trip last week, his teacher kept calling all her students her friends. She would call out to them, "Friends, please stay in your seat!" I have to say I thought that was so odd. But while preparing for this blog entry on how we are God's friends, I have a better understanding on it. After all the God of the Universe calls us His friends! How amazing is that!?! I don't often consider someone in authority over me my friend. But God is different. Let me tell you how and why.

We know we are God's friend because the gift of God's friendship is extended to us through Jesus. Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you (John 15:13-15). Jesus showed the greatest act of love and friendship to us by going to the cross and dying in our place. But it doesn't end there. He continues to show us friendship by including us in his business, the reconciliation of mankind.

Jesus demonstrates His love and friendship to us personally in several ways. He encourages us with His word by bringing special verses to our attention. He fills us with His presence, refreshes our spirit, and revives us. Jesus includes us in His divine purposes by using our lives to bless others and bring glory to His name. He takes away our burdens, listens to us, and cares for us. Do you feel this divine friendship?

If you feel there is something missing in your friendship with Jesus, then its important to improve it. One of the ways we can is by spending time together just as we would do with in an earthly relationship. This means we increase our quantity and quality of time spent with Jesus. What we don't do is increase our time spent "doing things" for Jesus. Remember in Luke 10:38-42 when Martha was busy doing things and Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. Jesus said, "Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her". If we really want to discover how wonderful it is to have a friendship with Jesus, we need to make time to fellowship with him through Bible study, prayer, worship, listening, etc.

The second thing we can do to improve our friendship with Jesus, or anyone else, is to remove any obstructions in the relationship. Obstructions are what would block our friendship with Jesus such as sins, attitudes, or issues. They become barriers between us and Jesus. We can remove these barriers by identifying them. Let's ask ourselves these questions: what is standing in the way?, what am I refusing to do?, what am I rebelling about? Is there a fear, disobedience, or a lack of trust? When we identify the barrier, confess it and ask for forgiveness, then it's gone. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Another way to improve our relationship with Jesus is to serve him. Jesus already showed the greatest example of servant hood to us on the cross. He continues to serve us by all the things He does for us each and every day. Serving Jesus is not about our "busyness". It's about our love for Jesus and the desire to do something for Him. Find a way to serve Him using your gifts and abilities and see how your friendship deepens.

Finally to improve our friendship with Jesus, we can affirm the importance of it. Simply, verbally speak out your love and affection to Him. Jesus has already said "I love you". All you have to do is say "I love you too!"


Friday, April 24, 2009

Disney's Earth Movie Review by Lisa Fraley

On Wednesday I went on a field trip with my son to see the movie Earth at the Martinsburg Regal Cinemas. I couldn't recommend a better movie that shows the beauty and majesty of this planet. My spirit leaped within me wanting to cry out "how could you not believe this universe, planet, and all living things were made by a divine creator?"

The movie Earth is a documentary that follows the lives of three wild animals over a year. It tracks polar bears in the Arctic, elephants in the Kalahari and a humpback whale and baby, through the trials and tribulations of 4 seasons in their lives. It's was beautifully filmed with bright, crisp pictures of wildlife and the changing earth. I recommend this film for school aged children. It shows the circle of life which can be sad at times. Several animals are chased down and caught by a predator. It never shows the killing of the animal but you do understand its outcome.

I was at first hesitate of viewing this film due to the biased world we live in depicting our existence by chance or evolution. However this film never stated any reference to that ideology. Instead the narrator opened up talking about the incredible design of this planet earth and how it is the only planet that can sustain life. We learn about the exact tilt of our planet which makes living on it possible, contributes to the seasons and many other things.

Just for fun celebrate Earth Day with your family by viewing this film together. It will give you an opportunity to reinforce to your children that we are created by God, our divine maker. If you are interested in viewing a trailer of this movie, you can check it out here--

Some of my favorite chapters of the Bible are in Job. Here is an abbreviated excerpt when God is speaking directly to Job about this wonderful planet Earth.

"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?...Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place...The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment...Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail,...What is the way to the place where the lightening is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?...From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?...Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?...Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?...Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south?"
(Job 38-39)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wait Your Turn

"No Tommy, it's my turn", Heather says. "Mommy, Tommy isn't taking turns." Wait your turn Tommy", I say.

As moms there are many instructions we give our children that only seem important at the moment we give them. [Take turns, Share, Be Patient] As our children grow into adults however, it will become evident whether or not they will remember and obey these instructions. There are some children who are never given these simple instructions at all.

I think about this when I am driving and a person almost hits me because they turn when I have the right-of-way (Wait your Turn). Or I am irritated when the person in front of me is driving too slow (Be Patient). When we are called to pull together our resources to help a family in need (Share). I begin to realize how important these instructions are, not only the moment we give them but they carry over into our children's adulthood. I think about how I need to remember these things in my own life and be an example to those who never heard them when they were children.

God's word says,"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." 1 Corinthians 13:11. These instructions are not just for our children today to help them to grow into thoughtful, patient, well-adjusted adults. They originate from God's word and have been passed down by mothers for generations. Let's continue to pass them on to our children so they can grow to become the people God intended them to be.

Love In Christ,
Kim Ratcliffe

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Upcoming Events

Our upcoming events for April are as follows:

Friday, April 24
Times of Refreshing Prayer Time-Join us at Kim Ratcliffe's home for an opportunity to have your needs prayed over and brought before God Almighty! Open House Format between 9:30 am- 2:30 pm.

Tuesday, April 28 Topic Meeting-Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building rm 109 from 10-11:45 am for our topic meeting. Grace Mueller from Babymoon Doulas will be our guest speaker during our opening. Then we will join our care circles for discussion.

Our upcoming events for May are as follows:

Tuesday, May 12 Mother's Day Breakfast- Join us at Shoney's Restuarant in Martinsburg, WV at 10 am for the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet starting at $6.99 each, drinks not included. Childcare available at Bethel A/G from 9:45-11:45 am. If you are planning to attend and will be using our childcare, please contact Lisa Fraley.

Friday, May 15 Mom's Game Night- Meet at Amanda Dagostino's house at 6 pm. Bring a favorite game to play and $5 towards pizza.

Tuesday, May 26 Topic Meeting-Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building rm 109 from 10-11:45 am for our topic meeting. Rochelle Lushbaugh with YoungLives Ministry will be our guest speaker during our opening. Then we will join our care circles for discussion

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Getting to Know.....Tammy Price

Recently, I sent Tammy Price our "Getting to Know You" questionnaire. This mom is equipped with a wonderful personality and a beautiful smile. I have really enjoyed getting to know her and I think that you will too.

Tammy loves to read a good mystery book in her spare time. Her favorite kind of music is contemporary christian and she enjoys listening to Toby Mac and Third Day. Her favorite movie is "Fried Green Tomatoes" and her favorite actress is Jodie Foster. Some fun activities she likes to do with her children include swimming and watching movies. Her food of choice is raspberries...yum!

She has been married for 18 years to Jimmie. They met when her father and Jimmie worked at IGA in Winchester. Her dad thought Jimmie would be the perfect match for her and he invited him over to watch basketball at their house. Tammy thought Jimmie was cute, she offered him a Pepsi and "the rest is history".

Her favorite thing about Mom's Connection is meeting other mom's would love Jesus. She chose to be in the "Being a Great Mom Raising Great Kids" group because she is always wanting to better herself as a mother and learn new things.

I asked her what a relationship with the Lord means to her and she answered, "God is my Saviour and my best friend. He is the only one I can truly tell anything to and He already knows everything about me and still loves me! I love just talking things over with God and thanking Him for everything he's done for me. I love God so much and I am so thankful Jesus died for me. God is truly my best friend. "

When asked about her biggest inspiration she replied, "Joyce Meyer. I have watched Joyce for many years on t.v. She had an abusive childhood and many problems even into her adult life. She prayed and studied the bible and cried out to God for help. She gives real down to earth teaching and advice on how to live a victorious and joy-filled Christian life. She helps people all around the world with such things as clean drinking water, food, housing, medical help, etc. She helps troubled teen girls and also has many prison ministries. Joyce has definitely helped me grow closer to Christ. I think she is a remarkable woman used by God to bless and help others."

Tina Burton

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ambassadors for Christ

Over the last three weeks I have written about who we are in Christ. My goal is that many will discover their new identity in Christ and what that means, or for some to be gently reminded of their privilege and responsibility. Today I am going to reflect on how we are ambassadors.

In the secular world an ambassador would be someone who represents a country. This person goes to other countries as a representation of the appearance, attitude, political viewpoint and religion of their people. As Christians we have the same responsibility to the world around us. As a member of God's family with our position firmly established as saints and soldiers for Christ, we represent "our family" (which includes God, Jesus Christ, our church, and all fellow believers) to the world around us. Our responsibility is spelled our very clear in God's Word when it says, "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf. Be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:16-20) We are not just representing God but are also responsible for getting His message across to others. But how are we doing it?

Some are not representing God to the world at all. They are what I like to call secret ambassadors. "Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Let's not tell anyone who we are." Secret ambassadors don't hurt the cause for Christ but they don't help it either. They like to spend time with only fellow embassy employees. They seldom mix with the citizens of the country they are in. They might feel uncomfortable around people in the world because of their different language (cursing), strange customs (tattoos, piercings), and hold different values (drinking, cheating, not honoring the Sabbath day). These type of ambassadors prefer to associate with people they already know and feel comfortable. They do not recognize spirit-led opportunities to reach out to the citizens of this world even when they walk right in their own church. This makes their responsibility of reconciliation IMPOSSIBLE.

Then we go to the opposite end of the spectrum to overzealous ambassadors. They blare their thoughts and feelings of this world from their mountain top banging the Bible over the citizen's heads. Instead of being spirit-led, they push themselves and the message into places they were not welcomed. They are not interested in getting close to people, being involved in their lives, loving them, resolving doubts, or working through conflicts. Sometimes they do good but often they do more harm. Overzealous ambassadors can cause a bigger gap with seekers of the kingdom using intimidation and high-pressure tactics.

Then of course there are the spirit-led ambassadors who are effective in representing Christ and getting the message of reconciliation across to the citizens of this world. They long for opportunities to be a witness and pray for divine wisdom on how to do it. They ask God to help them "be wise in the way I act toward outsiders; making the most of every opportunity" (Colossians 4:5). They pray "help 'my conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that I may know how to answer everyone'" (Colossians 4:6) They take seriously the words of Peter when he said, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).

What do we do with this knowledge that we are ambassadors? We look for opportunities to build bridges of reconciliation with our neighbors, coworkers, family members, all acquaintances, and even those who consider themselves our enemies. Pray for a heart filled with God's love for others and a hunger to see them reconciled to God. Then take notice on how you behave around others. Do you give off a friendly, approachable vibe? Be aware that many times the world views God through what they see in you. How are you representing God?


Friday, April 17, 2009

Homemade White Bread

This recipe is a lot of work (mostly waiting) but a lot of fun--and the taste makes it worth the effort.

Ingredients: 6 cups of flour (divided)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 envelope dry active yeast
2 cups very hot water (120 degrees or more)
2 Tbsp melted butter

-Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
-Beat in water and butter.
-Continue beating for 3 minutes at high speed.
-Add 1/2 cup flour and beat 4 minutes longer at high speed.
-Stir in 3 cups flour or enough to make a soft dough.
-Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed.
-Put dough in a large buttered bowl turning the dough to butter the top.
-Cover with a clean towl and let rise for an hour in a warm place, free of drafts.
-Punch dough down and knead until smooth then cut dough in half, cover with the buttered bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.
-Separate each half into thirds. Roll each piece into a rope about 10-12 inches long and then braid 3 of the rope pieces together. (you should have 2 braided loaves when finished) Place each loaf on a baking stone then cover the stones with a clean towel and allow to rise 45 minutes or until they have doubled in size.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
-Bake loaves for 20-25 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped with fingers.
-Remove from pans to cooling racks, brush with melted butter (will make dough shiny and soft).
-After completely cool, either wrap with aluminum foil or place in a freezer bag to keep fresh. Will stay fresh for 3-4 days (but usually it is non-existant around hubby after 2 days).

Tina Burton
Hospitality Coordinator

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting Skunked

I have always been a dog lover. I have always been blessed with good dogs. But all that changed in 1998. That is when Bubba came into my life. Then, a few years later, Ebony joined our family. Bubba and Ebony – those are their names. But that is not how my family and close friends know them. They are more famously known as "The Village Idiots". Now you may be wondering why, as a self-proclaimed dog lover, I would call my dogs such an offensive nickname. Let me assure you, they have earned their title. They are both very smart animals, but there is one lesson they have never grasped. And that very important lesson is this – do not corner a skunk!

After their first "skunking" I felt confident they had learned their lesson. I knew I had. It’s one thing to catch a waft of skunk aroma as you drive down the road. It’s another thing altogether to have 2 fifty-five pound dogs barrel into your home after taking a "direct hit". The odor permeates everything. And whatever they come in contact with has to be "de-skunked" as well, including the unfortunate human who has to clean them. So after this unfortunate incident had passed, I felt sure the lesson had been learned, especially due to the fact that the dogs endured some pain as a result of being sprayed in the eyes by the skunk. Imagine my surprise when 3 weeks later they were skunked again! I was dumbfounded. How could they make the same mistake again? Didn’t they learn anything the first time? The entire process was repeated to remove the obnoxious odor from all it had permeated again.

So were 2 episodes of getting skunked enough to earn the nickname "The Village Idiots"? Probably not, but my dogs didn’t get skunked twice. The magic number for these dogs is 6. Yes, you read that correctly – 6. The last episode occurred just two weeks ago. Now the nickname was bestowed on them at skunking episode 3. But their good favor with me just expired two weeks ago. I have been patient. I have forgiven. I have scrubbed, and scrubbed, and scrubbed… I have scrubbed my floors, furniture, walls, clothes, the dogs and myself time after time to be rid of their obnoxious odor. But not anymore; on that Wednesday night 2 weeks ago, I did not scrub my dogs. I tied them outside by their doghouses and that is where they have stayed. I scrubbed myself and the clothes I was wearing, but I decided that night to never allow their odor to rub off on me again. If they refuse to learn their lesson, fine. They can live with the smell, but I refuse to.

How many times do we, as Christians, get "skunked" by life? My dogs have a weakness for a member of the weasel family with a white stripe down its back. There are days when I feel like one of the "Village Idiots". I know what my personal "skunk" is. What is your weakness? Is it a bad tempera; tendency to gossip? What is the one thing you find yourself asking God to forgive you for over and over again? If you’re like me, you have more than one "skunk" to pray about. But how blessed we are! God doesn’t send us to the doghouse and wash His hands of us. Instead, He lovingly forgives us and washes our sins away. "Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight". Romans 4:7 (NLT) So the next time something in life "skunks" you, don’t be discouraged. Take it to God! He will wash it away.

May God Bless You!
Donnis L. Lloyd

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's Up, Wednesday!

The Easter Egg Hunt at Bethel Assembly of God was awesome! We met in the Sanctuary where Pastor Rick did a skit for the kids reminding us all what Easter is about. We sang some songs led by the children's worship leader, Amy Brooks. Then after it was dark we headed outside with the older children for their night time egg hunt and inside the Mace building for the under 5 age. Every child found lots of eggs filled with candy! After the egg hunt we headed indoors for refreshments and to check out our eggs. Several "special eggs" were found which awarded you with a prize. We were blessed with good weather and a great time!

Our upcoming events for April are as follows:

Friday, April 17 Pajama & Movie Night- Tender Touch Ministries at Bethel Assembly of God in Martinsburg, WV Event. Meet in the upper center room of the MACE building at 6 pm. Movie snacks and childcare will be provided. The movie "The Ultimate Gift" will be presented for viewing.

Friday, April 24 Times of Refreshing Prayer Time-Join us at Kim Ratcliffe's home for an opportunity to have your needs prayed over and brought before God Almighty! Open House Format between 9:30 am- 2:30 pm.

Tuesday, April 28 Topic Meeting-Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building rm 109 from 10-11:45 am for our topic meeting. Grace Mueller from Babymoon Doulas will be our guest speaker during our opening. Then we will join our care circles for discussion.

Our upcoming events for May are as follows:

Tuesday, May 12 Mother's Day Breakfast- Join us at Shoney's Restuarant in Martinsburg, WV at 10 am for the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet starting at $6.99 each, drinks not included. Childcare available at Bethel A/G from 9:45-11:45 am. Please RSVP with Lisa Fraley if you are planning to attend and if using our childcare.

Friday, May 15 Mom's Game Night- Meet at Amanda Dagostino's house at 6 pm. Bring a favorite game to play and $5 towards pizza.

Tuesday, May 26 Topic Meeting-Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building rm 109 from 10-11:45 am for our topic meeting. Rochelle Lushbaugh with YoungLives Ministry will be our guest speaker during our opening. Then we will join our care circles for discussion

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Testimony Tuesday

With the month of May approaching and the planning of my son's 9th birthday party, I wanted to share with you this testimony of God's goodness to me!

My husband and I were married four years before our son Lee was born. Before my pregnancy I was asked constantly when we were going to have children. Every time I acted like it wasn't a big deal and we were not in a rush to be parents. But that was far from the truth. We tried having children as soon as we were married. Every month I was left disappointed. We eventually saw an infertility specialist after three years of trying on our own.
We started that wonderful process of infertility treatments. During this time my father died. That did not deter me from wanting a child and we were pregnant four months later. It was amazing to have gotten pregnant so quickly but that isn't what my testimony is about today. Instead I want to praise God for His timing.
The day I found out I was pregnant was my mother's birthday, Aug. 30. My family needed some good news. We were all struggling SO HARD with the death of my father. We shared in the joy of expecting this wonderful boy, my mom's first grandchild. Then on May 2, 2000 Lee was born. Being born in May had great significance for my family. My dad's birthday was May 23. My parent's 24th wedding anniversary would have been that May 24, 2000. My dad died on May 13 and was buried on my brother's birthday, May 16.
When my father died, the month of May was left empty for me. I thought this normally joyous month was gone. But Lee was born one year after my dad's death in May. But God's goodness does not end there. My daughter was born three years later on May 28! Then my brother had his first son on May 22!
I know God created this universe and all mankind but what makes Him BIG to me is that He cares about the little things in my life. What might seem insignificant to others is not to Him! I praise God for His timing!!! It was worth the wait!

Thank you God for always making me feel valued in this enormous world!
Lisa Fraley

Monday, April 13, 2009

Onward Soldier, Onward!

When we become Christians, we become sons and daughters, and we become saints, but we also become soldiers. We are automatically listed into God's army. For some of us the thought of ourselves as soldiers is just plain funny. If you're anything like me, maybe you're just a little too much on the prissy side to think of yourself as a soldier. However, I didn't know how strong I was until I had my first child. And I'm not talking just about the pain of childbirth. As mothers we have all been put on the front lines of a spiritual battle. God's Word says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12) And as soldiers we are supposed to defend ourselves and our families against evil, but also capture enemy territory.

However, its not just our loved ones we are here to reach, protect, and serve. But we are fighting over the destiny of human beings who matter to God! " For God doesn't want anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9) So I'm going to challenge you today to think about what kind of soldier you are.

There are some people who I will call Sunday soldiers. They drag themselves out of bed, put on their uniforms (their Sunday best), and do their weekly duty for God. They can't be counted on for more than that. These people are content to sit back and leave the real battles to others. They believe in the fight for Christ but don't want to get dirty.

Then there are those soldiers who go AWOL. When it starts to get hard, they tuck their tails between their legs and run. The battle continues to rage but they sit back in safe territory and avoid any conflicts or confrontations. When serving God starts to challenge them, change them, or cost them something, they're no where to be found. Paul said to Timothy, "Endure hardships with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:3) How would you feel if in a military battle your comrade leaves you to face the enemy alone? But that's exactly what many do when they leave a church or a ministry behind. Now many times a soldier becomes AWOL due to hurts that are caused by other soldiers. We must remember Jesus willingly bled and died on a cross to gain victory over Satan, and He expects us to pay a price for the victories that we gain as well. Sometimes the price we pay are hurts we incur on the battlefield. But Jesus said, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)

Now this next soldier is the one I want to be. The soldier who says to God just as Isaiah did, "Here I am, send me." (Isaiah 6:8) They stand in attention with their hands at their brow and say "Yes sir"! They acknowledge their submission to the Commander in Chief of their soul, Jesus Christ. They are ready for battle at any moment. I want to surround myself with these types of soldiers. I don't want to be a single person fighting the good fight alone, but together with an army of obedient Christian believers. When we are these kind of soldiers, God will use us, bless us, and do miracles in our lives.

Let me encourage you today on how you can be a "Yes, Lord" soldier. When you are going about your daily business and the Lord gives you clear direction to smile, pray, show love, or reach out to a specific person, do it!! When God asks you to get involved at a church, in a ministry, or in another cause, do it!! It's in those moments of truth, that the battles are won and lost.

Remember we are all soldiers for Christ and every Easter reminds us, we are victorious!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!!!

"On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!'" (Luke 24: 1-6)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Our Easter Party

On Tuesday, March 30 we celebrated Easter together in the gym with our children. We started out with a mixer for moms in which we drew eggs out of a basket that had written facts about moms inside each one. Then we opened our eggs and tried guessing who it belonged to in the group. For example, we learned Donnis Lloyd was once a runway model and Mariah Triggs collects frogs!!

We enjoyed some activities with our children. We made bunny baskets which was put together by Donnis Lloyd. We played games with our children and had an easter egg hunt outside.

Everyone brought something to share for lunch. We had a delicious spread. Afterwards we took home beautiful handmade miniature baskets filled with Hershey's kisses made by Tina Burton and homemade chocolate suckers.

Happy Easter Moms!!
You are invited to join us at our Easter egg hunt this Saturday evening at 7:30 pm and on Sunday morning at 9 am or 10:45 am services at Bethel Assembly of God in Martinsburg, WV.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Scariest Verse in the Bible

"Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" Matthew 7:22-23

I literally shudder every time I read it.

I would always ask myself, who in the world could do all of this supernatural "stuff" and just not make it. I finally came to a perfect example. Someone we can learn so much from. Judas.

It's passion week and today is Holy Thursday, the day that commemorates the Last Supper. I read all four gospel accounts of the Last Supper closely and came to an eye-opening discovery. JUDAS DID NOT TAKE COMMUNION at the Last Supper. During the time around the table, Jesus and His disciples shared a meal. It is referred to in the gospel of John when Jesus mentions in 13:26 that the one who betrays Him is the one "whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." He's not referring to communion. Judas actually eats this bread and then Jesus tells him in verse 27 "What you are about to do, do quickly." Then in verse 30 it says, "As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out."

In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, the same chronological order is followed, however, they don't mention Jesus telling Judas to leave immediately. If you put the puzzle together, we know for sure Judas did not partake in the very first holy communion. The gospel of Luke does not follow the chronological order as the others and makes it appear as though Judas does take communion. After some interesting research of Bible scholars, the gospel of Luke's sequence is unlike the other gospels in many ways. We can rest assured that Judas left after he took the bread Jesus gave him but before Jesus administered the bread and wine as symbolizing His body and blood. Let's look at the spiritual implications of this.

So Judas saw the miracles of Jesus. He listened to the teachings of Jesus. He even was given authority to "drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness"(Mathew 10:1). Judas even came from the same ancestoral tribe as Jesus. "Iscariot" means the man from Kerioth" which is one of the towns in the tribe of Judah. All of this, yet Judas never had "true communion" with Jesus.

To think so many people in the universal church today are listening, witnessing miracles, worshiping and claiming Jesus. But they do not have "true communion" with Him. They instead have their own agenda, and are trying to keep as much of their life without letting Jesus cover it all and live through them. Today I especailly check myself. "God, am I just talking the talk, or I am really living it." On this Holy Thursday, sit down with Lord and have communion. It's actually His idea. Here Him say, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me"(Rev.3:20).

Deneil Busey

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What's Up, Wednesday!

Thank you to everyone who came out and participated in our Easter party. Special thanks to Donnis Lloyd and Julie Burton for planning it. We all had a great time and I know our children did too as they participated in a craft, egg hunt, and games!

Our upcoming events for April are as follows:

Saturday, April 11 Easter Egg Hunt-Come join us at Bethel Assembly of God at 7:30 pm in the sanctuary for a time of music, short story, and fun. Dress warm, bring a flashlight, and a basket for the nighttime egg hunt for children ages 12 and under

Tuesday, April 14 Topic Meeting- Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building rm 109 from 10-11:45 am for our topic meetings. We will enjoy a time of fellowship and break into care circles for discussion. You will choose from one of the three topics we are currently studying.

Friday, April 17 Pajama & Movie Night- Tender Touch Ministries at Bethel Assembly of God in Martinsburg, WV Event. Meet in the upper center room of the MACE building on the second floor at 6 pm. Movie snacks and childcare will be provided.

Tuesday, April 28 Topic Meeting-Join us at Bethel Assembly of God in the Mace building rm 109 from 10-11:45 am for our topic meeting. Grace Mueller from Babymoon Doulas will be our guest speaker during our opening. Then we will join our care circles for discussion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Texas Trip by Julia Bivens

On our trip to Texas, we traveled on route 40 through Arkansas, which is one of the most desolate stretches of highway I have ever seen. There is nothing but flat farm land as far as the eye can see, and about 20 miles between each exit. To make matters worse, there had been a drought. Not only was it a barren landscape, but it was dry, hot and dusty with huge dust clouds being blown around by a severe windstorm that day.

The traffic was heavy, and we were boxed in by a couple of semis. The truck immediately in font of us swerved to avoid a piece of curved sheet metal as big as a kitchen table. When my husband pulled onto the shoulder to drive around it, the strong winds blew it under our van. All power to the engine was cut off, and immediately Eric started asking God to help us.

We didn't know what was wrong with the van, but it was still rolling so we were able to coast along the shoulder. Thankfully, there was an exit right there, and we drifted down the hill onto a small country road. Unfortunately, the only thing we could see was a HUGE billboard advertising the triple X adult store off the end of the exit ramp. Great, we thought, four small children and the only shelter was THAT!

Eric and I got out to inspect the damage and saw that the fuel lines were severed. We spent only a few minutes crawling around on the ground and already the severe wind had blown grit and dust into our eyes, teeth, hair, and any other place imaginable. We miserably took shelter in the van to reassure the children and discuss options. That was when we noticed what looked to be a run down garage with a lot of junk cars laying around. Eric went to see if there was anyone around who could help.

While he was gone, I was praying with our girls that God would take care of us. Audrey said that she wished God would have kept it from even happening, and I told her that we needed to trust that God had His reasons for this situation.

Next thing I knew, Eric and another fellow came along with a large fork lift. I figured that it was probably a good time to bail out rather that be eight feet in the air, so I took all of the girls to the garage office. It was exactly what you would expect a junk parts shop to be, but it had a clean blanket laid over the couch, and it was out of the stinging wind.

Eric and I started talking with the shop owner while the mechanic ran to get some parts. It turned out that the fellow was a Christian, and he told of all the times God sent people to the door of his shop in situations much like ours. He said it was his ministry to help stranded motorists, because his was the only shop for miles around. He said he should have left for Memphis 20 minutes before we arrived, but was delayed by an unexpected visitor. He even talked to Audrey, telling her that God often allows things to happen to keep us from being at a certain place at a certain time.

When the mechanic came in to say everything was fixed, Eric asked what we owed them, and the owner said, "Nothing." We were overwhelmed. After praying with them, we got back on the road. Another twenty miles of driving brought us to the scene of a major wreck where a tractor trailer had caught on fire and burned completely to the ground. God certainly kept us from being at that certain place at that time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm a Saint!

I'm a saint! That's right! I said it. I'm a saint! But guess what? So are you! I know when your children are arguing in the back of your van and you're yelling "Be quiet!" at the top of your lungs while you are going 75 mph in a 65 mph zone trying to get to your destination, you just might not feel like a saint! Neither do I. Who do you think I just described above? But regardless of how you feel God still considers us saints.

Last week I reminded you that we are God's children, adopted into the family of God. We were strangers but are now daughters. Because when we accept Christ Jesus into our lives, our spiritual position changes. We were far off but now are brought near. In Ephesians 2:19 it reads, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people (saints) and members of God's household." We were lost but now are found! At the moment of our conversion, our position changed! In Ephesians 1:1 Paul describes the church of Ephesus as saints. We have been set apart. Please read further on what God's Word says about us as saints in Ephesians 3:8, 4:11-13, 5:3, 6:18. ( In the New International Version of the Bible, the word saint is sometimes translated "God's people" or "God's holy people".)

Now that we have been reminded of our position, what do we do about it? We are set apart for what? In Ephesians 1:18 Paul wrote, "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints...". We have a hopeful, rich future on this earth and waiting for us in Heaven. Being a saint means to be set apart. We are set apart to worship God, serve fellow believers, and reach those outside of the family. When we're saints positionally, we need to act accordingly as we are growing up in Christ.

Here's the key- we are growing up which means we're not perfect. Sometimes we need to focus more attention on the awe of our position instead of always thinking of our failures and frustrations. I know its hard to do because we are reminded daily of how we didn't act like a saint. Instead change your focus on how great God is that despite all your mess ups, your position does not change. God still says, "you're mine, you're a saint, you're forgiven, and I love you."

"For I am convinced that neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39

Blessings Saints,

Friday, April 3, 2009

Open Gym Time With Your Children

If you want to do something fun with your kids, check out Flip Over Gymnastics in the Berkeley Recreation Center located at 273 Woodbury Ave Martinsburg, WV 25401 (off of North Queen Street).

Open gym is $5 per child/ $3 for one sibiling discount

one-month open gym pass is $25
$20 for students who sign up for multiple classes

noon-1pm 7 and under (older sibilings may attend)
1pm-2pm 8 and older (no younger sibilings may attend)
2pm-3pm Ages 13 and older

10am-11am 18 months through 7 years
11am-noon 18 months through 7 years

10am-11am infant through 5 years
11am-noon 18 months through 7 years

6pm-8pm 8 years and older

Thank you to Janine DiGiovanni for sharing this information with us and for the picture of her son Samuel at the gym.