Heaven Bound

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I don’t know remember when my thoughts of heaven began.  Perhaps the cartoons of chubby, cherubs strumming harps on fluffy, white clouds, was the beginning.  Then surely, Bible stories from Sunday school, with felt figures filled my mind.

It wasn’t until someone very dear to me passed away that my thoughts of heaven ran deeper.  My belief in God, running deeper still, was never questioned but was heaven a place I wanted to spend eternally?

Scriptures about heaven are found all throughout the Bible.  Revelations illustrates a hard to imagine place. “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Yes! I definitely longed for such a life!

Then questions about how can I be sure, I will live eternity in heaven arose?

By then I was learning that Scripture was my most reliable source.

Romans 10:9 held my answer, “’If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”’ 

There is a declaration—I testify, agree, affirm, proclaim and announce that Jesus is my Lord.  Lord over my life.  The way I live is in obedience to the Word of God.

There is a belief—I believe in Jesus, God’s only Son, our Lord. That He was crucified, died and was buried.  That on the third day He rose again!

There is a saving

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2: 8 & 9

In this Truth, I realized that I could stop living to earn my salvation.  That I could stop striving in my own efforts to be ‘good enough.’

Accepting the gift, I look forward to living in such an eternal way.

A Second Chance

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

A couple days ago, another missionary friend of mine posted something on her Facebook status that made me cry. I have to say that first of all, before I share this story, that I have so much respect for her and her ministry. She is the real deal…nothing fake about her. She is involved in a ministry that I could never see myself doing. I think I would either be terrified or sick to my stomach. Yet it is where God has called her, and that is to the gangs of this city. I love her heart for these boys. Boys, that most would be afraid of and stay away from. She truly loves and cares for them like a mom. She is Jesus to them. His hands. His feet. His heart. There are times when she has brought food to them. And she has  always, always told them about Jesus.  She is making a difference in an area where most would be afraid to enter.  I think a lot of people would maybe think they are unreachable or a lost cause. But you know what? They still need Jesus even though they may have done terrible things. They still need to hear about his love for them. And that is what she does. She loves them. Not for what they do, but as they are. A lot like Jesus. Because Jesus accepts us as we are, because of who He is.

The other day though, something happened. She attended a wake for a young man she had known many years. One with whom she had shared Jesus with countless of times. There had been some sort of accident at the prison where he was and he was taken to the hospital for surgery. After this man woke up, his aunt called him on his phone. He told his aunt that God had given him another chance. His aunt asked him if he was ready to give his life to Christ. He responded that yes, he was. He also gave some cocaine from his pocket to the custodian because he did not need it anymore.

Within ten minutes this young man, a brand new follower of Jesus was shot to death in his bed with over one hundred bullets.

When I read this story, I cried. I don’t understand why things like that happen. I don’t know why he did not have a chance to live for the Lord, or a chance to grow in his new found faith. He received the free gift of salvation…and now I believe He is with the Lord in heaven. He may have done some evil things while on earth and he may have lived a rough life.   But, he had another opportunity to make things right with God, and he did. At just the right time, moments before he was so brutally murdered, God saved him. That is grace. That is mercy.

See that is how God is. He accepts us and loves us where we are at. Not because of anything we have done, or haven’t done. There is nothing we need to do for God to love us. We don’t need to change first. We don’t need to clean ourselves up before coming to Him. No matter the kind of life we live—He loves. We are loved by Him. He wants us to have his free gift of salvation, so that we can have eternal life with Him. He changes us. And he wants to have a relationship with us. It’s why he died. So we can be forgiven and free.

My friend is not afraid to go into the hard places. The dangerous places. The places to where God has called her. I think of the countless young men she has reached out to. Time after time after time. She may be the only “Jesus” they will ever meet.   I know that there are others, that because of her faithfulness that are in heaven today because of her planting the seeds, and not giving up, even though there may have been times where she felt like it. What if this young man I told you about had never been told about Jesus?

It kind of made me stop and think; who is God asking me to talk to that I have held back due to language barriers? What about the neighbours I see and talk to when I am walking every day? I’m getting to know a number of them in the conversations I have with them, but how many of them know my Jesus? Maybe it is more than just the kids in the schools that we are reaching. I have no problem talking to them. I’m not afraid or nervous.   I’ve been reflecting on this a lot. It’s challenged me to step out of my comfort zone . Because there are no guarantees in this life. You never know when time will run out.

1 Jn 1:9 —But, if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.

Rom 3:27—Can we boast then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our aquital is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.

Rom 10:9—If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved.

Paving Hope Road

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

It was a rainy Tuesday evening. My hubby was working and I decided I would take a trip to the grocery story to pick up some groceries while he was gone- with our less-than-one-month-old baby boy.

Not my greatest choice.

As soon as I walked through the doors of the store my precious little one began to scream. Screams that communicated pain and discomfort. He shifted and wiggled in his carrier as he bellowed and my Mommy heart deflated quickly. Nothing I offered provided him any relief and before long I was nearly running through the aisles to get only the necessities on my long list, in order to promptly return to the comfort of our own home.

Once in the car the tears of defeat flowed freely. Why did I even bother?

As I started back home I recalled a lady who, just that previous Sunday, had offered a helping hand with the baby if I ever needed one. She encouraged me to just ask, that if she was able, she would love to help.

An answer to prayer, Renee came to our home that evening and held baby Ben while I unpacked my groceries. She never complained one time about me asking for help and before she left she encouraged me to ask her for help again! Her help that Tuesday evening brought incredible relief to my overwhelmed soul, but more than that, she became a trusted friend.

In the months and years that followed I learned Renee’s story. What I didn’t know that Tuesday night was that I would soon be entering a journey very similar to Renee’s. I learned so much from my conversations with her; her faith in God, and her ability to see His hope in all situations brought me hope.

When my daughter came along with a similar condition to Renee’s son, she offered genuine empathy. There were many- I mean many- who offered sympathy, but there is something precious about being encouraged by someone who truly knows how you feel. Renee did not always encourage me through her words, either. She also offered hope in the form of practical help; by lightening the load of our burdens which helped us focus on our priorities.

Your responses to your circumstances, both during those stormy seasons in life and after, is either paving hope road for someone who will cross your path in the future….or maybe you’re paving hope road for someone in your life right now. Will you choose to be a beacon of His light in all things (like my friend, Renee) or will you choose to drag your feet as you journey through those less-than-lovely circumstances?

The choice is yours.

Father God, thank You so much for sending people into our lives who shed light on Your hope simply in the way they walk through this life. You give bright hope for our futures and that is true even during our biggest moments of weakness and struggle. Thank You for never giving up on us, never leaving us, and never turning your back on us. Help us to live our lives, in all situations as a beacon of Your hope. We love You so much! Amen.

What A Friend We Have In Jesus

Written by: Conny Varga

It happened again! The day started out fine, and I was in my element. But then one thing added to another, things weren’t working out the way I had hoped, getting supper on the table was an afterthought, and at the end of the day, I was frazzled and worn out. My poor husband came home to a less-than-cheerful wife.

And then, a couple hours later, it hit me. I had forgotten the most basic, most common-sense thing! I forgot to pray my way through the day! I neglected to go to the only One who would have been able to help me get through the day and come out on top!

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7)

Why do we not follow that simple exhortation? We know better than that. But somehow, when times get hectic or tough, we forget to go to the Source of strength and peace. And unfortunately, it is not only we who end up suffering, but most often the people we love most are affected as well. When we are not communicating with our Father or operating in His strength, we are prone to sin. Little issues that would not normally bother us, have the potential to turn into full-blown arguments and points of contention.

The old hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by Joseph M. Scriven comes to mind. Part of the first stanza states:

…Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer.

Jesus is such a perfect example for us. During his recorded years of ministry, He spent countless hours in communication with His Father, and lo and behold, He was never stressed or frazzled. The only time when He actually was in great distress – in the Garden of Gethsemane before His capture and crucifixion – He did not stop praying and pouring out His heart to God until He felt strengthened and ready to face whatever lay before Him.

The verse in Philippians promises that if we bring everything to God in prayer – the good, the bad, and the ugly – His peace will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus. I want that for myself, and I want that for every follower of His!

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30, emphasis added)

I pray that I would never again forget to follow Jesus’ example. May we all remember that God is the solution to our problems, and if we go to Him like children to their Daddy, He will gladly give good things to those who ask Him (Matt. 7:7-11). We will save ourselves a lot of headaches and pain, and our lives, homes, work places, churches, and families will be more peaceful, harmonious, efficient, and focused on what’s truly important. Lord, help us come to you and find rest for our souls!

Understanding God’s Will

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Recently I was asked by a young person, “How do I know what God’s will is for my life?”  I remember asking that same question in my teen and young adult years.  It always seemed such a mystery, something far off and unreachable.  So much emphasis was put on knowing God’s will for our lives that it became the more grown up version of the childhood question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  I remember spending hours at the altar seeking to know “His will” only to go home not much farther ahead than when I started.  It was a very frustrating and confusing time in my life.

It wasn’t until my mid 20’s that I really began to UNDERSTAND God’s will for my life after hearing a couple of excellent messages on the subject and searching the scriptures in my quiet times with Jesus.  One scripture that spurned me on to really get to the bottom of this conundrum I found myself in was Psalm 119:105, “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  If I was going to truly begin to UNDERSTAND God’s will for my life, and follow His direction, I had to immerse myself in His sacred writings.

As you read on Daughters, keep in mind that knowing and UNDERSTANDING are two very different things!  There lies a HUGE difference between these two concepts.  You see, I can know something as a fact and be able to rhyme that fact off over and over, but to UNDERSTAND is to comprehend what that fact is saying to me.  Comprehension is a much deeper process that burrows into the very center of my cognition and eventually takes root in my convictions.

To boil it down, I can know that 2+2=4.  That is a fact; one I learned very young by memorization; one I can recite over and over again without even thinking.  But, to UNDERSTAND what this equation really means is to break it into smaller parts to yield greater comprehension, learning and application.  Written like this, OO+OO=OOOO, the answer has far more meaning to me and I can stand on the fact with conviction.

So, began my journey into God’s Word to discover His will for me and to fully UNDERSTAND it.  I soon realized that God’s will for me was so much greater and richer than simply knowing who I was to marry or what I was to become as a professional or whether I should have children or not.  It really had less to do with the outcomes in my life and more to do with my spiritual wellbeing, character building and actions towards others.  I realized that God already knew every day of my life before each one was lived; therefore, He already knew how my life was to unfold.  I simply had to serve Him, cultivate the fruits of His Spirit within me and watch with great anticipation as to how it all played out.  This shift in my perspective made life so much more enjoyable to live with each day being a complete adventure!

Banner scriptures concerning God’s will for me began to fly off the pages of my Bible.  My excitement continued to blossom and grow!

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified…”

1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Timothy 2:3-4, “This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

1 Peter 2:15, “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.”

These are just a few of many scriptures regarding God’s will found in His Word.  Ephesians 5:17 ties up perfectly this blog on UNDERSTANDING God’s will for us, “Therefore, do not be foolish, but UNDERSTAND what the will of the Lord is.”

No One Is You-er Than You!

By: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Can I share a confession of mine with you? I spend a lot of unnecessary time feeling inadequate! God has called me to do some very specific things in my lifetime; complete some very specific purposes. Sometimes He blesses me with the ability to ‘see’ the fruits of my labor; sometimes it’s not for me to see, just be a part.

It’s those times when I am ‘just a part’ that I begin to doubt myself. Did I really do all I could do? Should I have done more?! Should I have done less? What if I never know if what I’ve done was good enough?! I’m sure there was someone qualified to do a better job than me!

The bible says that each one of us is God’s handiwork. He made each of us individually, with intended purposes. He has prepared you in advance for each thing He will require you to do, along your journey here on this earth.

It is true you will begin to feel inadequate when you look around at others. I know this from experience. The most important thing to remember is that God has called YOU to be you. Looking around and trying to decide who might be better off doing what God has asked you to do is like you’re telling God He’s not good at being God. (Likewise, don’t look at something God has called someone else to, and think you’d be a better choice for their calling)

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” –Dr. Seuss

Be the masterpiece that God created you to be and set your mind to do whatever it is He asks of you with excellence. Don’t try to be anyone else; just be you! Resist the temptation to feel inadequate by measuring your capabilities to someone else’s. And remember that if God asked you to do something for Him, it’s because he wants YOU to do it.

Jesus, thank You for making us who we are. I pray that we will learn to be comfortable and appreciate ourselves because it is You that has made us. I pray that You will create in us a confidence to be that person You’ve made us to be, so that we can fulfill your purposes. Help us to learn to not worry about whether we are qualified or not for what You are asking us to do; that’s for You to decide. Instead, I pray that we will simply say yes to Your assignments. I pray this in Your name, Jesus, Amen.


Written by: Christianne Williams

Have you ever had a piece of clothing that fits so well, is so very comfortable, it makes you want to wear it all the time?  I had sweatpants like that.  I wore them for a day, washed them at night, wore the next day, washed them while I slept, wore them again.  You get the picture.  I had to go buy a couple more pairs because first of all, they faded fast from all the washing,  and second, I wanted to be able to say I had more than one pair.  You know, people were looking at me like I was weird, wearing the same pants every single day, I wanted to say, “Hey I’m not wearing the same ones, I have a twin pair at home!”

My kids have all been like that.  They have a closet full of clothes but only  the green dinosaur sweater that’s two sizes too small and has a hole in the right sleeve will do.  Or the faded pair of jeans with the grass stain on the right knee and no left knee left at all.  My daughter would wear shirts that were so short they didn’t meet her pants anymore, I would go through her clothes while she was busy and dispose of all the garments I knew were getting too snug to avoid the haggling that would occur if she was involved.  Many times she would see another little girl wearing something that looked exactly like the item she once owned and would say, “Look, so and so has the same shirt I used to have!”  She’s never caught on that not only does it look it, it is it!

My son had a T-shirt that we brought home for him from a trip we had taken.  He loved that shirt so much, he wore it everyday.  It went through the wash dry cycle so often, but usually only after it had been wrestled from his clutches, that it was full of tiny holes.  My son also likes to make small holes bigger so it wasn’t long before the shirt was in an awful state.  One day as I was folding laundry I seized my opportunity and threw the shirt into a bag of odds and ends that were heading to the dumpster.  I thought that was the end of it.  Much to my surprise, I found him wearing it a few days later.  He said he found it on top of the bag of junk and knew it must be a mistake because his favorite shirt was not junk.  I hadn’t disposed of it fast enough.

It occurred to me, we have problems exchanging old for new sometimes.

I think it happens because things become comfortable, even if they aren’t the best fit, or if they may not be the best for us.

Think about the disciples.  They were doing well in life by their standards and they were called by Jesus to leave it and exchange it all to follow Him ! Seems like a simple decision, but that’s because we’re reading about, not actually being required to a make it.  And also, when can read the entire account, they were called to make the exchange having faith that it was profitable.

When God asks us to give up something it’s because His desire is to move us into something better for us. He wants to give us clothes that fit, so to speak, that aren’t ripped or dirty.  Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a speedy exchange, sometimes we have to let go without any glimpse of something better on the horizon, but we know that if God is in it, it will always be a better fit.  If we remain where we are because we’re comfortable we’ll never realize the fullness of life that awaits us. If the Israelites had remained in Egypt as slaves because they knew what was going to happen day after day, and hadn’t stepped out into the unknown, they never would have received the promise of God.

While they wandered in the desert they complained, it wasn’t easy, but in the end it was worth it.  They were free.  Sometimes we stay in the confines of our bonds because we know what to expect and the discomfort it easier than the fear of the unknown.  But even though it may be hard, it will be worth it.  Let go of the old so you can embrace the new.

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

Written by: Cindy Morrone

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement. James 2:12 & 13

It’s easy to detect; like a loud alarm that we can’t shut off.

Every time we think of that person; hear their name; or see them, those overwhelming feelings bring on the noise.

Our peace, quietness, wellness is gone.

Replaced by anger, disappointment and fierce justification.

As the noise rallies on and we bring on others in our protest, we march on in righteous demonstration.

I’ve been on the receiving end of such a rally.  Publicly flogged. Privately mocked.

Forced humiliation and condemnation.

For me, only hurt, a deeper sense of insecurity, and a feeling of shame covered me.

A vicious cycle that tornadoes into a miry pit.


We can all relate, can’t we?  Especially in this culture of all things social.

Just the other day, I fell short.  I did not meet a responsibility.

I toiled and feared and worried about the response.  The person had every right to press into me.  To ensure the assignment was completed.

Instead, I was met with GRACE and understanding.  And my self-worth was relieved and confirmed.

In turn, I did the same for another.  Receiving such MERCY; it overflows, into understanding and a letting go.

The tether that binds, loosens and the noise stops.  Peace rises.

Judgement is left to Another and Love restores.

Happy MERCY giving.


Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

Psalm 119:147 I will rise early before the sun is up. I cry out for help and put my HOPE in your words.

I think I’ve mentioned before that my favorite time of the day is first thing in the morning. I love starting my day before anyone else is awake, when all is dark and quiet. I like to exercise first thing to wake me up and then I sit down with my coffee and Bible. I like to be awake so I can focus on the word and not be so tired I am falling asleep and the words all blur together.  I love my morning routine and coffee with Jesus. I love writing out the scriptures.

However, a few months ago I was noticing that I was becoming more and more distracted by stuff.  After the elections in Honduras back in November, it seemed like the entire country was falling apart. There was so much political unrest, rioting, violence and demonstrations.

Instead of reading the Word, I was checking Facebook first to see if anything had transpired overnight. Where there any scheduled demonstrations or road closures that day? Would the kids’ school cancel classes again? Were there any more businesses sacked? Before I knew it fifteen or twenty minutes passed before I’d crack open my Bible. Precious time once spent with Him was now spent looking for updates while scrolling my newsfeed on Facebook. I was still doing my devotions but I guess a way to describe it was it felt like God was getting my leftovers…whatever little time was left.

We have an enemy and he’s real. The last thing he wants is for us to have a relationship with the Lord and he will use anything to stop us.  He’s sneaky. He will distract us with things that are not necessarily “bad.”  It might be our “to do” list. Maybe we will be sitting there with our Bible open and we notice a piece of furniture that needs dusting.  Perhaps it’s clutter.  Maybe we sleep in or our dog needs to go out. Those are a few of my distractions. What are some of yours?

Joyce Meyer once said, “Spending time with God is the key to our strength and success in all areas of life. Be sure that you never try to work God into your schedule but always work your schedule around Him”

James 4:8 Come close to God and he will come close to you. Wash your hands you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the World.

God wants to spend time with us. How he loves us! He wants to hear our heart and share with us His. But sometimes we are guilty of putting others things first and only spending time with him if we have time.  In a way we have not been faithful.  But even when we are faithless he remains faithful . He is so good to us.

2 Tim 2:13 If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful for he cannot deny himself.

I Chronicles 16:11 Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.

Oh, that we would not become distracted by the day to day things. But that we would give him first place in our lives and not whatever time we have left.

As Working For The Lord

Written by: Conny Varga

“The first (i.e. most important) of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Over the past few days, these two commandments have just not left my mind. I had to keep asking myself, Am I really obeying these commandments? Am I truly loving God with everything I have? According to the Bible, the evidence is pretty straightforward. Jesus said that “if you love me, keep my commandments.” Is my life marked by a whole-hearted obedience to the teachings of Christ? Am I willing to follow Him in everything, to the hurt of my own self? What if He asks me to love and forgive someone who has caused incredible pain? If He tells me to give more than I think I am able, will I shrink back, or will I trust that He will provide for all my needs? Maybe He is pointing out a habit that needs to be broken – am I ready to let go?

The Bible also reminds us that EVERYTHING in life is to be approached as if we were doing it for God Himself.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Eccl. 9:10)

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord” (Col. 3:23)

Am I truly doing everything with all my heart? Or is my motto “that’s good enough”? I’m a stay-at-home mom, and my children and I take care of the majority of the household chores. How am I tackling everyday tasks? Am I doing my very best in scrubbing the floor, and cooking dinner? Am I training my children to do their chores to the best of their abilities? How about their education? Am I encouraging them to push themselves to their full potential? Am I being frugal with the money God has entrusted to my family, being the best steward possible with my resources? Am I the best wife I can possibly be, or do I expect my husband to settle for “good enough”?

God expects only our very best, nothing less. Anything less than that is mediocre, no matter how good we think we did. If we do not push ourselves to be the absolute best we can be, “as working for the Lord”, then we are “robbing God” and are no better than the children of Israel in the Old Testament (see Malachi 3). When Jesus observed the poor widow giving her offering of a few cents worth to the temple, He praised her for giving “all that she had” (Mark 12). We would have just sent her away, telling her to keep her few pennies, thinking it wouldn’t really contribute much anyway. But God doesn’t look at the quantity. He wants us to give our all, above and beyond what we think we are able. Only then do we truly love Him with everything we have.

We are also to love our neighbour as ourselves. What I realized is that I truly don’t love myself and therefore am not able to properly love others. I am negative and critical of my looks, my weight, my abilities, my shortcomings, my circumstances, and my personality. To be honest, Ladies, we can be very mean to ourselves. We would never speak to a friend the way we talk to or think about ourselves! We must stop this destructive behaviour and thought pattern, and we must learn to love and respect ourselves the same way God loves us. Only then will we be free to love others around us. We owe it to God, and we owe it to our friends, family, and everyone else we interact with.

Let’s give God the very best of our time, energy, resources, and obedience. And let’s joyfully and confidently dare to be the women God created us to be, free to love lavishly and unconditionally!