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And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson



Seeking More 'Seeking God' Upgrades

There’s seeking God, and then there’s Seeking God! Maybe you know what I mean.

If you ask the average Christian, “Are you seeking God?” you’ll likely get a “yes.” Most of us think we’re seeking God when we attend church, read our Bibles, pray and pursue spiritual disciplines. And we likely are.

But then there are times when we get more desperate, more passionate, more focused. These are like Seeking God “Upgrades” in our lives!

  • Maybe circumstances (pain, fear, confusion, a tough decision, a loss) drive us to seek Him.
  • Perhaps we arrived at a special retreat or a solitary location—a blessed place without distractions—and we have the time and opportunity to seek Him more earnestly.
  • Or maybe we suddenly, in the midst of self-seeking, feel the urgency to seek, find and know God more.

Many in this world say they are seeking God or some form of spirituality, but they are not seeking the God revealed in the Bible (Romans 3:11; John 17:3).

Once we have sought the God of the Bible to save us—and the writers at Girlfriends in God describe that seeking well—we will have many periods in our walk with God where we’re drawn back to Him in a closer, deeper way. God Himself calls us to seek Him (Psalm 27:8).

In the Old Testament, we see God calling to His people through the prophets and other godly people (see 1 Chronicles 22:19a; 28:9b; 2 Chronicles 15:2-4; Job 8:5; Isaiah 55:6-7; Amos 5:4-6a; Zephaniah 2:3). Over and over again, the Children of Israel heard these words: “Seek me and live.” … “Seek the Lord while he may be found.” … “If you seek Him, He will be found by you.” … “Set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.”

To seek the Lord means to seek His presence.

The Jews called it seeking God’s “face,” which makes sense—to be before God’s face would indicate being in His presence.

I used to wonder about God’s presence. Aren’t we always there?

He’s omnipresent, so yes, God is always present with us. He manifests His power and provision in our lives. He’s always near to love, guide and help us. He is faithful to His children “to the end of the age,” the Bible tells us (Matthew 28:20).

But in another sense, we’re exhorted to “seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”(Psalm 105:4)

Do you know why we get that instruction? There are times when we drift away from the Lord. We are not conscious of His faithful presence. We forget how wonderful He is, the beauty of His grace, His purpose in sending Jesus, His work in our lives.

So God’s call to us is to seek Him continually. We set our mind and heart toward Him (1 Chronicles 22:19). In the New Testament, we’re told to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Our whole focus, our attention and heart, are set on seeing and knowing God.  

Two of my favorite verses are Colossians 3:1-2: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Our thoughts center around God Himself and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), not just the splendors of heaven and glories of eternity.

Seeking God is a choice.

We have to recognize when we have wandered off or coasted spiritually and  been too busy for God; and we consciously choose to return and seek Him. He may seem hidden from us, so we seek Him as the treasure He is. We pay the price, take the effort. We "come away to a quiet place" and rest with Him (Mark 6:31a). We ask God to reveal Himself in the Word and manifest His glory in His creation and through the godly lives of others in the family of God.

Seeking Him implies there are hindrances and obstacles in the way. I’ve found that media, social media and the entertainment industry are three ways the enemy tries to dull my desire to seek God; but other things—even good, necessary things—can draw me away from seeking God when He calls. Certainly my own pride gets in the way, and I am not alone (Psalm 10:4). If I’m going to boast in anything, let it be that have sought God and know Him (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

Seeking God includes crying out to Him, even pleading for mercy (Isaiah 55:6; Job 8:5) as we draw near, recognizing His holiness.

God’s faithful promise to us is satisfaction for our seeking: “If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (1 Chronicles 28:9). Though we may find many other things in the seeking, the greatest reward will be God Himself—His sweet presence (Hebrews 11:6).

"Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!" (Psalm 105:3)

Do you have special resources to help you seek God in a deeper way? Two resources from Revive Our Hearts  I recommend are The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and the Bible Study, Seeking Him, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom.

Dawn Wilson is the founder of Heart Choices Ministries and creator of and also blogs at Dawn's ministry encourages, edifies and energizes women with the truth of scripture so they can better enjoy life, bless others and honor God. She lives in San Diego with her husband Bob and a rascally maltipoo named Roscoe.



When the Ache Won't Go Away

With the wisdom of a story-telling sage, Cynthia Ruchti leads women to the Source of grace and hope:

“Like an abscessed tooth, the memory of Darren’s betrayal kept Marika from chewing on that side of life,” Ruchti said. “The pain throbbed through her entire being. She thought she was doing fine until she’d chomp down on something hard—like her daughter’s fatherless recital—and restart the cycle of pain.”

Her words are more than one woman’s story. It’s a lesson to help us UPGRADE our attitudes as we deal with life’s hurts.

Ruchti continues ...

I pray you don’t identify with Marika’s stabbing distress. But I know better than to assume you don’t. Or that you don’t care about someone walking her path.

We’ve heard the stories too often—the husband who walks away from his family, who chooses to ignore his responsibilities and his marriage vows in favor of the adventure of someone who comes packaged with no responsibilities but a good time, someone who treats him like a pubescent boy rather than the man he’s supposed to be.

He gets a condo in the city. The Marikas in the story are stuck with an impossible mortgage, the full weight of raising their children, an awkward or no social life, leaky gutters, a mini-van with an ailing transmission, and an abscess-like sense of rejection.

Or the situation is flipped, an all-too frequent occurrence. She and her girlfriend decide to leave their husbands and kids and share a condo in the city, a place that allows them a freedom that comes at the cost of their marriages and their children’s happiness.

Referring to fractured families like Marika’s, a quote from Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices says,

“The spittle of parental hostility always lands on the children. A feud between Mom and Dad is as hard to breathe through as secondhand smoke.”

As a gossamer, balm-laced overlay to that picture, though, is this unshakable truth that cuts through the pain:

God doesn’t just care; He understands.

We lean on His power, His ability to hold us, His tenacious love for us, no matter which part of the abscess equation is ours. But this too is true—His understanding has no limit.

His love is limitless. His forgiveness is limitless. His compassion knows no bounds. His mercy is limitless. We cling to those promises. But here’s a holding-on place for trying times that gets less attention than others. The Bible assures us there is no limit to His understanding (Psalm 147:5).

He understands how deeply betrayal cuts. He understands our insomnia, our frustration, our weariness, our battle to keep from letting bitterness dictate our reactions. He understands it all.

          He doesn’t just know. He understands.

          He doesn’t just see. He sees why.

          He doesn’t just react. He creates.

          He doesn’t just care. He shows it.

          He doesn’t just love us through it. He gets it.

He understands exactly how fast our world is spinning and how close it’s tiptoeing to the edge.

He understands how ragged and worn we sometimes feel.

          He understands it all. All.

Fill your lungs with that bracing breath of life today. No matter what we face, Someone understands.

Now, there’s something to hold onto while we wait for the pain to subside!

When has God’s understanding encouraged you to hang on and persevere?

Cynthia Ruchti is the author of Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices, a book that takes a look at the realities of the consequences we face because of another’s wrong, hurtful, misguided, or sinful decisions. Filled with stories of those who responded admirably and with uncommon grace, the book also addresses those of us who walk beside people caught in the aftermath of someone else’s bad decision. You can connect with Cynthia on her website or Facebook Reader Page to find out more about this book and others she’s written.


Hurry to Pause

I first met Debbie Harris in a revival ministry, and clearly, she still loves to see women come alive with God’s Word. She shares three ways to slow down and find strength in the Lord.

“It is true I spend more time “doing my day” than “reflecting on my day,” Harris said. "Hurrying seems to come naturally.”

She continues …

I have certain tasks to perform, deadlines to meet, phone calls to make, a job to do, a meeting to make, kids to care for, friends to respond to, food to prepare, clothes to wash, a ministry to maintain and the list goes on.

A scripture that motivates me is Isaiah 30:15b: “… In quietness and trust is your strength.’ But you were not willing.”

“Quiet” does not happen on its own in this busy loud world. Quiet only happens when I intentionally step out of the fast lane with the express purpose of pausing life.

Pause to PRAY

I have learned at square “52” on my journey that it is unwise to get out of bed without pausing to pray, and perhaps that is why I list it first!

Prayer is how I start and end my day and what I find myself doing all day! Jesus is the only One who is available to me 24/7. He never tells me He is too busy, and I don’t have to make an appointment in advance; He is always there and with the promise He will never leave! We do life together, and since learning how interested He is in my life, we are the very best of friends! 

Pause to PONDER.  

The best thing to ponder is God’s Word. I have a verse journal, as my Christmas gift to Jesus this year, with the goal of 365 verses washing over me—collecting one per day.

Dr. David Jeremiah says,

“We don’t need the Bible in our hands; we need the Bible in our hearts!”

My purpose as I ponder each verse is that it comes off the shelf, embeds itself in my heart, and comes out in my behavior for my good and God’s glory.

Pause to PEN.

I love to journal. I learn things about myself, God and life that I don’t seem to catch any other way. I often don’t know what I am going to write when I grab my journal, but it is always a reflective time. I write verses God has pointed out so I can find them again, make lists of things I am praying for, write where I have already been and where I plan to go, collect quotes and write or copy poems.

I ask God for certain things—and put a box by them so I can return later to check them off—or write things God is nudging me to do. And I praise God for all that He is and does in this life on my way to Him. My favorite part is harvesting the journal. I am always amazed as I look back and trace God’s hand in my life through the pages of my own journal!

Oswald Chambers wrote, “I am here not to realize myself, but to know Jesus.” I want to know Jesus through the Word better than I know anything else. Pausing throughout my day will push me toward that goal.

God help me to “hurry to pause.”

How do you pause in your day to step out of the fast lane and seek God?

Debbie Harris is married to the Men’s Pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church in southern California. She and Ben have six children and three grandchildren. She loves God, family, women and the Word.  Debbie assists her husband in various ministries, disciples women, and will begin her seventh year teaching a Precept class this fall. She prays for women to come who “don’t want to be in a Bible study” and women who “don’t know they want to be in a Bible study,” and she has found the thrill of mining diligently through the Word contagious!


Do Your Clothes Complement Your Life Message?

I asked Pat Ennis, the Director of Homemaking Programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, to share from her expertise. Here are some thoughts on upgrading our appearance to the glory of God.

“What is your Life Message,” Ennis asks. “Or have you never really considered the need to develop a statement that guides your decision-making process?”

She continues…   

My Life Message is a guide that controls my decisions. As a Christian, my Life Message began when I was adopted into God’s eternal family (spiritual birth) and continues until I draw my final breath.

It even affects the clothes I choose to wear. Let me explain.

1. The central theme of one’s Life Message is to focus on passions that will have eternal value.

Perhaps the questions that I use to evaluate my life will assist you in selecting clothing.

  • With what issues do I want my name associated?
  • When my Lord calls me home or He comes for me, what evidence of your faith will others find when they sort through my belongings?
  • Will they be drawn to the One who loved and redeemed me, or will they only be impressed by my accomplishments, accolades, and possessions?
  • When I meet my Lord, will He say of me, “Pat, you chose the good part, which will not be taken away from you?” (Luke 10:42)

 2. Modesty is the foundational criterion for selecting clothing to complement your Life Message.

 Spiritually, modesty is an issue of the heart. 

In the New Testament, modesty goes beyond the adornment of clothing to include inner beauty and attitude. Modesty calls for avoidance of anything that is impure or short of biblical standards. If your thoughts are focused on the attributes found in Philippians 4:8-9, then likely your external appearance will be modest.

Your sense of modesty will be regulated most of all by your commitment to Christ. Beauty and fashion are not condemned by the Bible, but they must be expressed through the lens of Scripture.

3. The number of garments in your wardrobe is important. Too many garments can reflect that more attention is being focused on the outer appearance rather than complementing your character (1 Corinthians 12:23; 1 Timothy 2:9). Carefully selecting garments to align with your season of life and its accompanying responsibility allows you to practice the principle of modesty.

4. Quality workmanship is another key criterion. A carefully selected garment constructed with quality workmanship will serve the wearer through numerous seasons. By choosing garments with quality workmanship, the wardrobe will not require constant replenishing. This is especially true for the maturing woman.

5. Use your “Personal Shopper.” Upscale department stores frequently provide a personal shopper service to assist their clients in selecting clothing.

Christian women have the most reliable personal shopper available, the timeless Word of God. As its truth is applied to their clothing choices, they will find that what they are wearing will consistently support their Life Message (Proverbs 31:18, 21, 25; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4).

What is your Life Message?

Pat Ennis is a distinguished professor of Homemaking and Director of Homemaking Programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. She is a speaker and author, and her most recent release is The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook with Dorothy Patterson (Crossway, March 2013).


How to Be an Encourager

Nancy Thompson, one of my mentors and a woman I called my “Counselor Mom,” went to the Father’s house recently. She was an incredible encourager.

It’s no surprise her family found a template for being an encourager in her Bible. Her son, Tom Thompson, read Nancy’s “Encourager Concepts” at her memorial service, and I asked him if I could share them as a special UPGRADE tribute to a woman who always let Jesus upgrade her attitudes.

The concepts come from I Thessalonians 5:8-11.

1. An encourager dwells on the internal rather than externals – faith, love and hope.  Attitude is more important than looks.

"But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation" (v. 8)

Nancy focused on reaching the heart and was big on examining attitudes, knowing they can change our direction. She knew where to go to get attitudes “back on track,” and spoke about “putting off and putting on” (Ephesians 4:22-24).  The Word is “so timely, so practical,” she once told me, “no matter the changes in the culture.”

2.  An encourager dwells on grace over works (acceptance over accomplishments).

"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him" (vv. 9-10).

Nancy was a woman of grace, though she stood firm on biblical truth. She came to understand that fine line between following hard after Christ—living the abundant life—and descending into legalism. She knew performance must always take the back seat to a sincere relationship with God.

3.  An encourager dwells on unconditional over conditional.

As far as I ever saw, Nancy loved people unconditionally, and from that love flowed all the encouragement they needed. 

4.  An encourager dwells on tomorrow over yesterday – hope over hurt, potential over problems.

"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing" (v. 11).

Potential – that was a huge word in Nancy’s vocabulary. She seemed to see with the Father’s eyes, believing by faith that we were capable of more because of God’s Spirit within us. Nancy counseled and taught women because she knew “there is always hope” in God.

If you wonder how it was that Nancy was such a powerful, effective encourager, I think the answer is in Psalm 73:26, which was shared at her memorial.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

No matter her circumstances, Nancy could love, give, serve, counsel and encourage because God strengthened her heart and poured Himself into her life. She was a willing vessel, and her encouragement touched people all around the world in missions, within the churches where she served so faithfully and in the lives of her family and friends.

Make it Personal:  With Nancy’s “Encourager Concepts” in mind, how can you become a better encourager?


Nancy Thompson was born July 4, 1923 in Brooklyn, Maine, and passed into eternity on July 7, 2013, at age 90.

She will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved her, and I have no doubt many will greet her in the Father’s house someday with grateful hearts.