Hi Folks,

Let’s continue our discussion on our Identity in Christ.

So, What does it mean to “remain” in Jesus?  I think it means that as Christ is, as Christ acts, as Christ loves … so must WE because we are connected to the VINE…connected to our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us our identity!

Let’s apply that identity.

In 1 Cor. 2:16: Paul tells us, “…we have the MIND of Christ.”

What does that mean?  Why does that make a difference?  Our mind controls who we are.  What we think controls how we act.  We have the mind of Christ because we are connected to the vine.  Jesus says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your (what?)   MIND!”  Why does Jesus tell us this in Matthew?

MacArthur says that, “As Christians…God instructs us.  We are able to understand all things of His word because we have the MIND of Christ.”  Obviously, we can’t know and understand everything – we’re humans!  We need human teachers and need to study the Word.

But…this illumination of our mind like Christ’s that Paul speaks of DOES mean that “Scripture can be understood by every Christian who is diligent and obedient.”  We remember in Luke 24, Jesus’ revelation to the disciples on the road to Emmaus: Verse 45: “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

Wherever our mind is, that is who we are in Him!!  Paul says in 1 Corinthians that as spiritual believers, having the mind of Christ,” we are allowed, by reading the Word and by the Power of the Holy Spirit, to know the thoughts of our Lord.”  Amazing!

What is the result of remaining in Christ Jesus?   Listen to Paul’s instructions in Philippians 4:5 to those of us who have the MIND and thoughts of Christ telling us HOW to LIVE in that mind of ChristHow to let HIS light fill our beings:

Paul says “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is Near!      Do not be anxious about anything,                                                                In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Oh, thank you, thank you Jesus for Paul’s blessing and that promise to us.

He continues “And (THEN) the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your MINDS in Christ Jesus. The Peace of our God will rule our hearts and minds.    He will guard our minds with His inner peace.

The peace of God is for me and for you!                                                   May you enjoy this blessing,



Who AM I?  Easy for me – I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, a lay pastor…NO, NO – that is what I DO!  SO, Who AM I?

You don’t have to be a teenager, a college student, in a mid-life crisis to ask this question.You don’t have to be on the journey to “Find One’s Self” to ask that question BUT…


Who AM I?

I have been including a collection of scriptures entitled, “THIS is who you are in Christ,” put together by Priscilla Shirer in my daily devotionals.  These scriptures have been powerful answers to the doubts and questions which Satan plants in our minds to discourage and depress us.  They clarify our true identity and purpose and build us up in our journey with the Lord!

A major part of my coming to Jesus involved the realization that I was NOT what I DO – wife, mother, teacher, etc. but so, so much more…My Identity was in Jesus Christ!

Your whole Identity – WHO YOU are – is in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

That eye-opening fact hit me when I was 32 – right in the middle of Who I AM being tied to what I was doing and how well I was doing it!  What a relief to know that God’s love for me was overwhelming even when I was overwhelmed being “Super Mom.”

Really?  I am a child of God?  I am a citizen of Heaven?  Really?  When that sinks in, your life is changed.  Hallelujah!

Years go by, kids grow up, tragedies devastate us, loved ones disappoint us, babies are born, jobs are lost…life goes on and on.  Because I am retired and not out there in the fray of life, WHO I AM in Christ takes on a deep, spiritual meaning.

Living for and in Jesus; living for God became my purpose at age 32 and has taken on a more significant drive each year since.  God knows our longings and desires to be significant so in the future in our blog let’s look at some of these scriptures He has given us to tell us so!

In John 15, verse 5, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

YOU CAN DO NOTHING!  Thems pretty strong words, folks.  A living relationship with Jesus is absolutely necessary!  Without it is lifelessness.  Nothing. The fruit we will bear?  The evidence of our salvation in continual service and obedience to Jesus and His teaching.

As we think about this scripture, let’s take note of how it is we are living in relationship with Jesus today and every day.  Next time we’ll explore what that means.

God bless you,



I want to share with you some truly amazing blessings from Ministry Affirmation Sunday at our church the end of June.  Although we were celebrating the licensing of two new pastors, the focus of the service was the line on the back of every Sunday bulletin stating that every member of our family is a minister!  Pastors Dara, Blake and I shared about ministry among us these last 6 years and recognizing YOUR gifts for serving our Lord Jesus Christ.  Any ideas on how to use your gifts this summer?

What a pleasure to realize and praise His blessings in our midst, that ministry Sunday:

  • There was a huge group of loving elders, including several from the past, gathered at the altar, laying hands on Linda and Tim in prayer!
  • Several visitors mentioned that they looked forward to returning to this “incredible family!”
  • Looking out our congregation, I rejoiced seeing many tears of love and joy!
  • Many of us were truly overwhelmed by the movement of the Holy Spirit flowing through our family that morning and often!

It just doesn’t get any better than that!  Hallelujah!

Remember the blessings you have worshipping with your church family together this summer.  I’ll never take this gift of time in His Loving Presence with my brothers and sisters in Jesus for granted!  How about you?

Bless you,



Have you ever wondered what your life would look like if you were so full of the Holy Spirit sent by Christ as our Comforter? How do we “live in the Spirit?” As always, the word of God has the answer.

Our Pastor Blake’s Pentecost Sunday message centered on Stephen in Acts 6 – 7 as he walked in the Spirit. When a need arose in the Christian community, the disciples chose seven among them who were “known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom,” (6:3) to meet this need while the disciples were dedicated to prayer and ministry of the word. Stephen was one of this group.

“Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power,did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. (6:8)
What a stunning example of an ordinary man achieving ordinary deeds through the power of the Spirit!

When men tried to argue with Stephen, they couldn’t stand up against “the Spirit by whom he spoke.” (6:10)
What protection in the Spirit!

But they persevered. Soon, through lies against Stephen, they angered the people and brought Stephen before the Sanhedrin. Stephen was so in touch with and living in the Holy Spirit that, “ All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that
his face was like the face of an angel.” (6:15)
Standing against these sinners, the Holy Spirit shown through Stephen!

After Stephen rebuked them all for not obeying the law sent by angels and murdering Jesus, the Sanhedrin were furious and stoned him. Facing this terrifying opposition, “…Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (7:55)
Jesus cared for and welcomed Stephen for his life in the Holy Spirit.

As he was stoned to death, Stephen prayed for Jesus to receive his spirit and not to hold their sin against his killers. A final act of amazing forgiveness in the Spirit! (Rev.Blake Heffner, 2017)

What a comfort and blessing to know that when we dedicate ourselves to Jesus Christ, committing to live a life in the Holy Spirit:

• Our ordinary lives can be so extraordinary
• We have the protection of Jesus and the Spirit with our adversaries
• The Holy Spirit will shine through us in adversity
• Jesus is watching and caring for us as proclaim His name to all the Earth
• Through the Holy Spirit, we will have the mighty power of forgiveness

I am so incredibly thankful for this message of encouragement in ministry, and pray that you are blessed as well. Hallelujah!


Being a Child of God


Every once in a while, we all become discouraged, don’t we?  Whether it is some family issue, a person or project at work that just isn’t humming the way we wish or just that tired feeling that brings us down.  Will I ever feel that old energy again?  I know that part of my dismay is connected to the aging process, but I also know that when I forget who I am it’s bound to get worse!

I am a child of the most high God!  If someone asks you to whom are you a child, is your response Harry and Sue?  or Barbara and John?  Katharine and Warren (my parents)?  Obviously, these are our earthly parents, mortal parents who, unfortunately, will not be on this earth to nurture us forever.  Aren’t we blessed that we will never be left alone, either on this earth or in the heavenly realm, because, spiritually, we are children of our God?  The Bible says that we are made in HIS own image…can you imagine what that entails?  No one but our amazing God could have created an intricate brain which tells the rest of our body what to do, including our heart pumping into every little vein of our being!

Paul tells us that NOTHING can ever separate us from this God, our father, and His mighty son, Jesus Christ who was, is and shall always be…forever and ever!  Believe it every day and discouragement will fly in the wind as we flourish with Him!  Hallelujah!

Many Blessings,






“Perfect Submission – all is at rest

I in my Savior am happy and blest;

Watching and waiting, looking above,

Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

(Crosby and Knapp)

A few weeks ago, while we were vacationing in Florida, I received the tragic news that a dear friend of mine’s 39 yr. old son was killed in a car accident.  This touched me very deeply, even causing me to go to that dark place of fear that this could happen to my own precious son.  Hoping to get control over all this, I started on my daily walk on the beach.  I stopped and just looked out over the vast water, as I often do to feel peace.  Slowly, the words of the song to which I had awakened crept back into my mind, “Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

Lost in His Love…I wasn’t aware of anything or anyone around me.  The air was soft and warm cuddling my shoulders as I felt my heart healing, the fear fading, the sorrow softly shrinking.  I was totally lost…in the love of Jesus.  This place was “filled with His goodness,” as I heard Him gently whispering not to worry, her son was forgiven, washed clean and welcomed into the Heavenly realms.  We had prayed so often for this young man, and instantly I knew that God had heard every single prayer and that this child of His had heard the promises of Jesus.

Lost in His Love…in “perfect submission – all is at rest.”  In totally submitting to Jesus, I felt an aura, an inner peace, a “blessed assurance” indeed!  In this one mighty hymn verse, it is so very clear, so simply expressed, what a life lost in the love of Jesus can be:  Our perfect submission to Him brings us rest, happiness and endless blessings.  Filled with HIS goodness, we watch and wait, anticipating when we will join Him above, in the splendor of glorious eternal life!

Come, Lord Jesus – we want to live lost in Your Love.





“…all ye who labor and are heavy laden…I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)

The picture in my mind is of me carrying the weight of all the chores I have to do and the obligations I have to meet on my shoulders hanging down from one of those yokes they put across cattle.  At this time, how many of us have clung to these words of Jesus, have grabbed them and rubbed them all over our bodies like warm lotion, have taken them deep into our hearts when we feel like we just…can’t…do…another…thing or take…one…more…step?  I know that I have and that I do!

While we are blessed with days of vacation and time away from our daily routine of life, I am fortunate to have time to catch up with many things…with my writing, but more so, with the reading that I long to do.  I just finished reading A. W. Tozer’s amazing book, The Pursuit of GOD.  One of the most powerful messages Tozer gives is the description of what it is that makes us “heavy laden” and how Jesus can give us rest from that.  He says if we examine our burden ,we will find it to be an interior one, attacking our heart and our mind and reaching our body from within!  Have you ever imagined it that way?  I know I hadn’t.

What does it mean to have an interior or internal burden?  Of course, Tozer mentions specific types of interior burdens, but this idea struck my awareness of some of my own individual buried burdens hanging so heavily on that shoulder yoke.  Maybe it’s feeling unworthy and critical of myself.  Or maybe it’s a painful hurt coming as a result of a criticism or comment that someone made to or about me.  Perhaps it’s when I feel I’ve not done something as well as I think I should have.

Jesus wants to give me rest.  In the Bible he wants me to find who I am in Christ…not who I am in this world… but who I am in Him.  Slowly, these beautiful scriptures chip away at that heavy yoke bringing me down:

  • “I am a child of God” (John 1: 12)
  • “I have peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) The wood is cracking…
  • “I am not condemned by God” (Rom.8:1) The yoke splinters to pieces…
  • “I am completely forgiven” (Col. 1:14) It is nothing but a pile of wood on the ground!
  • “I am tenderly loved by God” (Jer. 31:3) Hallelujah!

“Here,” Jesus says, “Take MY yoke upon you, and learn of me…and you shall find rest unto your souls.”  (Matt. 11: 29-30) This new yoke feels like thick fleece wrapped around my shoulders on a chilly day; this new yoke fills my heart with smiling joys; my soul’s love runneth over!”  Why?

Our Jesus says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matt. 11: 29-30)  Wearing the yoke of Jesus gives us rest because it reminds us of how incredibly loved we are by Him and by God.  And…wear it every minute…it NEVER wears out!  Thank you, Jesus.

God Bless you,




“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16)

On this first day of the season of Lent, I like to select a theme to guide my study and prayers for the weeks until Easter, the day of Resurrection! This year I am reminded of a Bible Study we did in our small group on our Spiritual Gifts. In this study, the authors divided our gifts into two main categories, gifts of Speaking and gifts of Serving. Of course, both are intertwined in bringing glory unto God, but I have been struck by the gifts of Serving. In recent messages on humility, our pastor has stressed that the true gifts of Service include placing the needs and concerns of others above our own. During Lent, I have pledged to myself to be more aware of others and less into my own issues and wants. What will that look like?

Our “corporate” daughter always suggests we have a “plan” when facing challenges in our lives. I think my plan must be built around a question posed by our pastor, “…are we willing to identify with John the Baptist who said, ‘[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease?’“ How can I increase my Jesus in my life?

When a friend is hurting, more of Jesus will mean laying down my life for her in prayer, in listening, in hugging, in accepting her nonjudgmentally right where she is, in thinking how I can comfort her today as I plan my activities.

When a friend is excited about a new venture or success, more of Jesus will mean feeling her joy, encouraging her future with absolutely no comparison to something great I have done, but that it be all about HER and nothing about ME.

When folks hear me speak, will they hear a humble sinner who is nothing without her God and Jesus? Will they hear an inflated spirit, full of myself or one that is bursting with the joy of the love of Jesus? Whose concerns will folks hear first, mine or my honest interest in each one as a child of our God?

So, I look back and I remember those humble Christians I know and have known who always have affirmed my beliefs and successes first, have asked about my life first thing when we meet, have prayed, guided and strengthened me in the scriptures.

The way that they are much more of Jesus than of themselves inspires me in my plan to serve others during Lent. What is your plan? I’d love to know so I can pray for you as I hope you will pray for me!

God Bless you,

Celebrate Our Savior

It’s always nice to reach February, the month of Love, Cupid, Valentines and all that great stuff! (It also says to the Northerners that Spring is just around the corner.) Along the theme of Love, Great Love, I’m looking back at Christmas. We received a Christmas card from dear, Christian friends, who have been our mentors for many years. This card struck me deeply so I saved it and am returning to it now to talk about Love. It says:

“His destiny was the cross…
His purpose was love…
His reason was you.

(DaySpring Christian expressions)

Was your Christmas a Celebration of Our Savior? Mine?
Jesus knew He was destined for the cross; He lived His life in that destiny; He perfectly obeyed His father’s will, even as He asked that it not be so in Gethsemane…He obeyed, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39 NIV)

What was the result of that perfect obedience to God? LOVE. Not the Valentine’s Day love, necessarily, but the total, submissive love…the agape love…the love of God the father, brought to the world by His Son Jesus. “God so loved the world…”

Whom did God love? He so loved YOU and ME that He gave His only begotten son so that (WE), who believe in Him, will not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 in my words.)
Jesus’ reason for going to the Cross was Love for YOU!

Maybe it takes a lovely Christmas card to shake us up a bit and make us remember that because of Jesus, we can live this life with hope and joy at our core and the peace that passes all understanding in our very soul.

Maybe it takes a lovely Christmas card to bring us to our knees in constant praise as we once again commit to the will of God for our lives! ”…not as I will, but as you will.” Every morning, in God’s mercy, we can start anew to be totally obedient to God in grateful thanks for His love.

Maybe it takes a lovely Christmas card to raise that warm smile across your face, my face, when we stand in prayer, in the presence of our Mighty God and KNOW, truly KNOW He loves each of us because we are His through our Jesus Christ.

You think that deserves a celebration?? You bet it does!!

May God continue to Bless You,

Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year!
And a fantastic New Year in Christ it will be!

Back in October, after our pastor preached an amazing message on hearing from God, I challenged our church family to write down when they heard from God! In the days after that they were probably saying, “What ever happened to those papers? Why did she have us do that?” At the time, Pastor Blake asked me the same question, “Now what are you going to do with them?” And…I had no clue…until yesterday!

Let’s start at the top. When you ask if our church folks hear from God, the resounding answer is YES!! Hallelujah!! What did I do with the almost 30 responses they wrote? After placing them on the altar and praising God for speaking to us, I carried them home like little gold nuggets, read them with tears in my eyes and then put them all in a list. Would you like to know what God’s been saying to all of us? There were two main areas where He spoke in our lives. First, was to give us guidance in our life commitments, our need for worship, to center on and share love! Over one third of our lives were guided by God!! Amazing. Second, another third of us heard the name of someone to visit, to encourage, to invite, to comfort and to pray for! Folks, God knows each of us by name and calls others to help us when we are in need. His faithfulness is right in black and white on those little slips of paper. Praises that our family answers His call! Many others were thankful…for joy, for peace, for family. They knew they were to trust, to serve, not to fear, to tolerate, to be strong in the face of illness.

I don’t know about you, but I was blown away by these results. You know why? I can say that I belong to a church family where so many hear from God and answer His call. As we enter into this new year of 2017, I want to challenge ALL of us to make our lives devoted to hearing from God, in every area of our lives. Priscilla Shirer shares Five Ms to knowing the voice of God:
• Look for the Message of the Spirit
• Live in the Mode of Prayer
• Search out the Model in Scripture
• Submit to the Ministry of an Eli (wise, mature, believer)
• Expect the Mercy of Confirmation (God makes sure you know it’s Him)
(Priscilla Shirer. Discerning the Voice of God.)

In closing, it is my honor to share a few of the actual words of my brothers and sisters in Christ that really touched my heart and gave me some ideas about where our church will be heading this new year!

“It was good to be in the House of the Lord today.” Let worship be a priority!
“I Love to tell the Story.” Get out there and share Jesus with everyone we know!
“I feel the Holy Spirit filling this sanctuary! Amen.”
WOW! It just doesn’t get any better than THAT!!

These folks are truly amazing and I love them all!
Happy New Year! Listen for His Voice! Barbara