Monday, October 20, 2008

A Letter From Donna

Precious Friends,
There are some changes coming for "Living the Word Ministries" and I want to share them with you.  I also would like to update you on a few others.
Boy, when I think back to the beginning of 2008, I am amazed at what God has done during these last 10 months. I can recall the prayers that I prayed. I can remember the dreams and visions that I had for the new year. And I have to say that God had His own plans, plans that never even entered my mind when the world was singing Auld Lang Syne. I am convinced that God loves surprising His kids.
The first few months of the year were spent preparing for the first ever "Living the Word Ministries" conference. Branching out on my own, without the support of any local church or organization, was no small leap of faith, but God was faithful. The conference was held in May and while the numbers wouldn't have packed Madison Square Gardens, I believe that those in attendance were touched by the awesome presence of God. The debut of the "LTW Band" was awesome and those sweet folks ushered us right into the throne room of our God. I thank each and every one of you who were in attendance. My heart was filled with overflowing joy and thankfulness to my God as I looked out and saw all those beautiful women, praising and seeking His face with every inch of their precious hearts.
The month of March brought the birth of our first granddaughter. I don't have to tell you what a joy this lovely little girl has been. I'm sure if you've talked to me, I've told you a million times.
With the spring, came an opportunity to teach the book of Ruth to the Women's Bible Study group at my local church. I have always considered myself more of a preacher than a teacher, but again, God had other plans. He has stretched me beyond what I considered my ability to stretch. I never dreamed of being involved in women's ministry. I had the honor and privilege to lead those same women, and many more, through the "No Other Gods" study by Kelly Minter this summer. I know that people overly use this phrase, but this study was life-changing for me and for each woman who set themselves apart this summer to seek God and tear down some golden calves and Asherah poles.  No small feat. Each and every week I witnessed relationships forming, countenances changing, and a real love for God and for His wonderful Word develop in these sweet gals, right before my eyes.
On October 2, we began our fall Bible study - Esther - A Woman's Bible Study. If you live in the Detroit metro area, we would love to have you join us on Thursday nights as we travel to ancient Persia and watch a peasant girl become a queen and save a nation. We are marveling at the providence of Almighty God, as He teaches us that no event in our lives is random, and that we have been created to be used by God, for just such a time as this. We are believing that we have been anointed and appointed to walk right into our God-ordained destiny. (For times and directions:
Chuck and I, and our family, have experienced many changes this year. We have certainly had our share of laughs, but we've cried our share of tears as well.  We have received abundant blessings from the Giver of every good and perfect gift. We have also been on the receiving end of the devils schemes to derail us. Every blessing He's poured out, we return to Him in praise. And we've attempted to bless His name right in the middle of the hard times too.
So, all this to say that life is ever-changing. But bless God, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. And as life changes, so do ministries. After a lot of prayer, after a whole lot of seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, after talking it over with Chuck, and after not a few tears, I have made the difficult decision to indefinitely suspend "Tuesday's with Jesus".
All of the changes and doors that the Lord has opened for me have made it increasingly more difficult to write "Tuesday's" each week. After three years of writing to you, I feel the season of my life changing just like the falling leaves outside my window. I know that there are real faces on the other side of my trusty laptop. I see you in my mind's eye. I feel your love in my heart. And because you have been faithful to encourage me and bless me with your e-mails, I know that "Tuesday's" has been a blessing to many of you as you open your e-mail on sometimes not so sunny Tuesday mornings. Let me assure you that it has been nothing short of an honor and a privilege to serve you in this way over the last three years.  I will treasure it in my heart forevermore. As I treasure each and every one of you.
Every single "Tuesday's with Jesus" is archived on the web site and I encourage you to go back and read them. Copy them, hand them out, forward them, use them as you wish in Bible Study...they belong to God... and to you.
In this season, I hear the Lord calling me to face-to-face my family first. They are my most important ministry. Chuck loves me as close to how my heavenly Father loves me as any person of flesh ever could. My daughters  are grown up girls, but in many ways they still need their mom. And I wouldn't have it any other way. My sons need to be well-nurtured plants...they need tending...tending with my love and with the Word of God. And I need to be "Grammy" to Miss Ashton and all of the other grandbabies coming in the future.
In this season, I hear the Lord calling me to face-to-face women. Pray for me as I spend not a small amount of hours trying to hear from God what He would have me say in this Esther series. I so want it to be God-breathed and excellent. And I'm praying that God will open more doors of opportunity for me to communicate to His precious daughters, wherever He may lead, how much He truly loves much worth and value they have in His sight, and what an awesome plan He has for their lives.
I will also continue to minister the Word face-to-face to those who come every other Saturday to my church's food pantry. I have been doing this for a little over two years and I cannot even express to you my love for these folks. We have watched God's transforming power at work, through His living and active Word, changing lives, lifting burdens, and drawing so many close to His heart. I wouldn't miss them for the world and it is not yet the season to say goodbye. They bless me so.
My availability to minister to any group, meeting or conference for women has not changed. I would be honored to come and share my heart and God's Word wherever He may choose to send me. I leave that in His hands and will follow wherever He leads. His Word burns in my heart and I can scarce keep it in. Please check back to the web site often. In the next few weeks we are going to post "Esther-A Woman's Bible Study" as an online lesson. I will also be preparing another "Living the Word Ministries" Conference for the early part of 2009.  Also, be sure to check out the LTW Blog ... I will no doubt occasionally have something to say.
I apologize from the bottom of my heart if you are disappointed. I have been so honored and privileged to serve you in this way for so many years and I will miss it deeply. I will miss you deeply. Thank you for every prayer that you have prayed for me and mine. Thank you for every word of encouragement you have sent. Thank you for loving Jesus right along with me through the good times, through the crazy, chaotic times, and even through the hard times.
Pray that I will always be satisfied with nothing but the unfailing love that Jesus Christ has for me. Pray that I will cling to no one or nothing but Him. And I will pray the same for you.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven". (Ecclesiastes 3: 1)
I love you,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #169

#169 "You've Got To Be Kidding Me!"
October 14, 2008
"When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind." (Mark 3: 21)
In the midst of chaos and confusion, uncertainty and fear, worry and crisis, it's refreshing to get a good laugh once in a while. The state of our world, and many of our lives, seems to make the old saying true that "if it weren't for bad news, we'd have no news at all."  I think I have something funny to share with you this morning. From a most unlikely source. God! He does have a sense of humor, you Robin Williams used to say...just look at a platypus. Anyway...I digress.
I started my reading this morning in the gospel of Mark. Well into the third chapter, I came across a verse that you and I have probably read hundreds of times. When I went back to it, I saw something new that I'd never seen before. [Isn't it awesome how alive and active God's Word is?] Mark 3: 21 says this: "When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, "He is out of His mind." Seriously, I laughed out loud! (LOL)  
They went to TAKE CHARGE OF HIM? You've got to be kidding me?!?!? THEY went to take charge of HIM?!?!?!? If any of my neighbors were out at the crack of dawn this morning and heard me laughing, I would've been thought to be out of mind right along with Christ!
Who are we talking about here? Talk about not being in someones right mind! How do you take charge of the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, The Holy One? We're talking about the One and Only Lord God Almighty, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Word of Life, and the Author and Finisher of our faith. How do you lay hold of The Way, The Truth and the Life? Did they actually think that they could stop the Lord of All, the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior, the Chief Cornerstone, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Head of the Church, the Morning Star, the Chief Shepherd, the Resurrection and the Life, the Alpha and the Omega, the Lord Jesus Christ.... and the great I AM? Come've got to be LOL with me right now! Or maybe not...
Wouldn't you agree that we sometimes do the same thing? We try and take charge of Christ when we give Him our 5-point plan for how He should solve our problem and expect Him to follow it point by point. We try and take charge of Him when we come up with bright ideas for ministry, and with no patience, no prayer or seeking His guidance, we want Him to bless what we've conjured up in our minds as "doing His will". We fight His hand of discipline over our lives. We fight obedience to His Word when our way seems to be best, and the ways of the upside-down Kingdom of God seem foolish. We cry, we make excuses, and often we blame the devil. We try to manipulate Christ with patterns and principles that we've heard will surely get our prayers answered the way we want them to be. We try that new method of prayer that we've heard really moves the heart of God.  His ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts, because they are much higher (see Isaiah 55), and maybe we think Jesus is just a touch out of His mind at times. Like His earthly family, we want to take charge of Him. Seriously, how ridiculous!!
We need to let Christ take charge of US, not the other way around.  He is in His perfect mind. And who are we to question that? "Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? Who has instructed Him as His counselor?" (see 1 Corinthians 2: 16, Romans 11: 34 and Isaiah 40: 13) He doesn't need our help. I've heard it said that He is God all by Himself. His will is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12: 2), and when we let Him take charge of our lives, He will take us places that we've never even dreamt of! He will lead us to pleasant places (Psalm 16:6), spacious places (Psalm 18:19), and do for us exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) For gosh sakes, who do we think we are? And more importantly, how do we not fully understand who HE is? Take charge of HIM? Yeah, right!  
Still ROTFL (Rolling on the floor laughing),
Visit the LTW Blog:   
To unsubscribe, reply to this e-mail and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.
If you are viewing this on and would like to receive "Tuesday's with Jesus" in your e-mail box each Tuesday, please visit our website or e-mail and you will be added to the list.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #168

#168 "Unbelievable Grace"
October 7, 2008
"But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
(Matthew 13: 57)
Charles Babbington of the AP has this to say this morning: "The gloves are off, the heels are on, and the presidential race is dredging up infamous events from 20, 30, even 40 years ago." I don't think I have to tell you about the nature of television ads these day. Dig up the dirt. Bury your opponent in the hole and heap some more dirt on top of him [or her]. That's the unfortunate nature of politics in the 21st century. And I hate to say it, it's the unfortunate nature of many in the church...then and now.
Christians are the recipients of God's unbelievable grace and forgiveness of their own "infamous events" of days gone by. Sadly, they are not always extended that same grace by people, believers and non-, and they often don't extend that grace to others. Folks would rather shed the light on where other folks have come from, and what they used to be, than to praise God for the transformations that have taken place in people's lives. This ought not to be so!
God's ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55: 8-9) God will choose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. He will choose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chooses the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him". (1 Corinthians 1: 27-29)
God will take a deceiver like Jacob and make him the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. God will take a show-off like Joseph and place him in a seat of power, second only to a Pharoah. God will take a stutterer like Moses and use him to lead 2 million murmuring and grumbling Israelites to the edge of the Promised Land. God will transform a young shepherd boy into a mighty King of Israel . God will forgive his sin of adultery and call him "a man after God's own heart". Amazing, isn't it? God will take Isaiah, a man of "unclean lips" and use those same lips to prophesy to a nation. Jeremiah was afraid that he was too young and inexperienced, but he was used as a prophet as well.  Matthew was a tax collector. Peter was a cursing, angry fisherman. Paul called himself "the worst of sinners" (1 Timothy 1: 15). He stood by as Stephen was stoned to death, "giving approval to his death" (see Acts 8:1). He was "breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem." (Acts 9: 1-2) 
God will use the most unlikely people to do His greatest work and Paul tells us exactly why in 1 Timothy 1: 16. "But for that very reason [being the chief and worst of sinners], I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life." REVELATION: It's not about us...It's about Christ displaying Himself in the lives of the most unlikely people. And to this Paul shouts: "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."  (1 Timothy 1: 17)
There is a certain Christian recording artist who fell into temptation some years ago and was caught in adultery. His career came to an abrupt halt and he suffered rejection by many in the business, many of whom would not even play his music on Christian radio.  But over time, God has restored this man to uprightness. He has restored his once broken marriage. Because there were some Christ-like Christians who were willing to give him a chance, God is using him once again on television and through music to reach sinners with the good news of Jesus Christ. Foolish, weak, lowly, despised in the eyes of men....but used mightily by God. Watching this guy do his thing often brings tears to my eyes because he is flesh and blood, for-real, evidence and testimony to the redemptive, forgiving, restorative love of God.  
If you are the object of this kind of treatment by people who want to judge you on your past "infamous events", please know that God has forgiven you. You may be a marred pot in His hands but He will form you into another pot, shaping you as seems best to Him. (see Jeremiah 18: 4) You can join those other unlikely people and do awesome things as a new creation in Christ. Your past is your past because it's passed!! Often it's those closest to you that refuse to acknowledge the change that Christ has made in your life. Be encouraged. Jesus went through the same thing that you are. He did fabulous miracles and taught amazing sermons but all people could say was, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And the Bible says that they took offense at him. (Matthew 13: 53-57) Folks may take offense at your new life in Christ. They may only want to remember you those years B.C. But you will shine like a star in the sky, as your life displays the power and glory of God.
And if you are judging and questioning and gossiping about the "infamous events" in other peoples lives....STOP!!  For every former prostitute, every former junkie, every former adulterer, every former slanderer, every former thief,  and for each and every sinner that you see being used by God.... "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." And Amen!
Visit the LTW Blog:   
To unsubscribe, reply to this e-mail and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.
If you are viewing this on and would like to receive "Tuesday's with Jesus" in your e-mail box each Tuesday, please visit our website or e-mail and you will be added to the list.