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Showing posts from August, 2008

Love in Purest Form

Proverbs 31:28 (New American Standard Bible)
New American Standard Bible (NASB)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
28 Her children rise up and bless her;

Saturday morning at 10.00 usually finds me in a three way phone conversation with my brother Rob, and our mum in England. We catch up on each other's news and that of the village where they live.

Since Mum had a stroke 5 years ago, she has recovered amazingly well and we are grateful, but she still finds conversation hard. She enjoys listening in, laughing in all the right places, and participating a little in conversations mainly carried by Robert and I.

I've been meaning to book a flight there for weeks. Mum is 82 this year and time with her is precious.

So today after we talked, I sat at the computer and booked up at last. Then I called back to tell them.

Robert had already gone back upstairs to his flat, and Mum answered the phone. I could h…

The Highway to Holiness

It's been a challenging couple of weeks for me since returning from vacation and there has been much opportunity for God to hold up a mirror where I could see myself in plain view.

I picked up an adage years ago, and though it is not scripture per se, I think it is consistent with its teachings. I often return to it in order to make sense of what is happening to me and around me.

"God offends the mind to reveal the heart."
I had occasion to be offended of late, and trust me, what was in my heart came gushing to the top. Whether that gushing be good, bad or indifferent, when our hearts are offended, what's in there is going to show. What showed in me wasn't very pretty. I was shocked at my own inability to stand against the onslaught. But I knew that before God could deal with what needs to be changed, first I had to see it.

Another thing I've picked up along the way is that God is not so much concerned about my happiness as he is about my holiness. It's not …

Please Pray

I just became aware, through a link from my friend Alan Yoshioka's FB page, of the terrible persecution of Christians in the Indian state of Orissa.

http://orissaburning.blogspot.com/

Please pray with me for our brothers and sisters in India who are in a maelstrom. They need our support in prayer. Please let's think of them whenever we can and lift them up, praying for courage, grace, and the ability to witness faithfully to those who are their persecuters.

The Fame of His Name

Proverbs 16:20 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.


I'm late this morning friends. I can only echo Bob Crachit in Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, and say that, "I was making rather merry yesterday sir."

It was late last night as I finally sat down with my laptop on my lap, I promptly fell asleep--and woke up at 1.00 a.m. without a thought in my head to write about! Since I can't tell you "Whatever he says," unless he does, I decided to go to bed.

This morning though, I know exactly what to write about so here I am, with a quick word, aided by the considerable talents of Chris Tomlin and his wonderful song, "Famous One."

We sit across from eachother at breakfast each morning, Paul and I, and pray. Over breakfast, he often asks me what I am doing that day. When he incorporates the…

Jazz--Maybe God is Trying to Tell You Something

Jazz--it was the topic for our writers group meeting; and although I never did get the piece written, if I had, I would have tried to capture a scene from a movie that I love, The Colour Purple, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker.

There are several scenes in that movie that speak to me powerfully even 20 years after seeing them for the first time, but this is my favourite--at least today.

...It is the Deep South, Georgia in the 1920’s; a Sunday morning, and the summer air is sultry and heavy inside a church built on the edge of a swamp. The church folks, dressed in suits and ties and Sunday dresses, fan themselves, hoping to catch a breeze from the open windows. I bet that a fly buzzed lazily overhead, a mild distraction from the black robed minister up in the pulpit. "All us been prodigal children, one time or another," he shouts down at the congregation.

...There is another sound and it is coming in thro…

Object lesson from a Chiropractic Bench

My chiropractor gets me to cooperate. I take a deep breath, fold my arms across my chest, or drop one of them down the side of the bench. She presses in and the tricky adjustment is made. I feel relief, albeit with pain at times. She often says “Stellar movement today!! “ I tell her she must have Irish blood, knowing how far I have to go to be truly flexible, as we both work on the legacy in my body of years of emotional tension.

But there are other times when my cooperation and her strength are not enough. She then has to rely on the special features of her expensive bench. She warns me that she is about to let the bench do the work of moving my body down so that the necessary adjustment can be made. For those of you who know, it’s a little like the bottom falling out, even if it’s only at one spot. I wait, prepare myself for the noise, the drop, the plop, and then relief comes. I am grateful, but almost embarrassed that she had to do things that way.

I have found myself musi…

Love Is...

I've been thinking a lot lately... about thinking.

There is a common adage which says "I think, therefore I am". This packs so much in a single statement. The way I choose to unpack it today is to realize that how I think, becomes who I am.

In her beautiful blog yesterday, Joyful quoted from 1 Corinthians 13 and I would like to refer to the verses just prior for this post...
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
I Cor. 13:1-3

I have found lately that I can control my thoughts as one would change a channel on a T.V. I find myself slipping into ungratefulness or criticism. Thanks be to God that He prompts me through the Holy Spirit …

The Global Village

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek it's own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; [Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails;... I Corinthians 13: 4-8 NASV

I received in my inbox this week a picture of the ocean. Waves extended to the horizon, yet close to shore, they churned in white foam. Various shades of blues and whites were captivating. On the beach were 4 persons holding hands, two female, two male of various ages. One was Asian, one European, one American and one was African. In bold black letters, written in the surf were the following words:

IF YOU COULD FIT THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF THE WORLD INTO A VILLAGE CONSISTING OF 100 PEOPLE, MAINTAINING THE PROPORTIONS OF ALL THE PEOPLE LIVING ON EARTH, THAT VILLAGE WOULD CONSIST OF

57 ASI…

Courage

Hebrews 13:12-13 (Amplified Bible)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
12Therefore Jesus also suffered and died outside the [city's] gate in order that He might purify and consecrate the people through [the shedding of] His own blood and set them apart as holy [for God].
13 Let us then go forth [from all that would prevent us] to Him outside the camp [at Calvary], bearing the contempt and abuse and shame with Him.


Here is a little song that I wrote thirty years ago, based on these verses. I pray that it blesses someone today and encourages them not to be ashamed of bearing the name of Christ.

I ask for courage Lord,
That I might dare to go
Outside the city walls with thee,
And despised for thy sake be.
My weakness well you know,
I fear what men might say,
Please teach me how to bear your shame,
And be worthy of your Name.

Dear Lord you went for me,
Outside those walls so long ago,
My shame you suffered there for love,
That your blood m…

Wonderfully Complex

Both Belinda and I belong to The Word Guild - an organization of Canadian writers who are Christian. As members, we are part of a listserve, which emails I read regularly, but respond to very few.

There was an exchange yesterday, though, that I couldn't help getting into.

A little background: There is a weekly question provided to the listserve which is intended to create discussion and promote community. This week's question was "What are your dreams?"

One young man wrote in that he would like to write an autobiography (and other writings) from a very unique perspective - as one having high-functioning autism. He also mentioned in his email the possibility of being "cured" of autism.

Belinda repsonded to that by saying that she thought it was interesting that he had mentioned being cured, "when I would consider who God made you to be a gift."

Another writer responded to that quickly and simply - saying to Belinda (with a smiley attached)that she woul…

Sharpening the Saw

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

10 If the ax is dull
and its edge unsharpened,
more strength is needed
but skill will bring success.

I love to cook and am never more happy than when in my kitchen, chopping and slicing and preparing something delicious. My friends all seem to end up there sooner or later, seated at the table chopping fruit or vegetables as we laugh and talk and drink cups of tea.

For Christmas, Susan gave me a set of good quality kitchen knives. They sit on my countertop, stored in a wooden knife block ready for duty. I thank her in my heart every day as I select this one or that to use, depending on the task. A good tool is a wonderful thing.

I still remember the first few days I had them; slicing through meat or vegetables with delightful ease. I looked for things to chop just for the pleasure of using them. What a difference it made to use a good …

Let Your Words be Few

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
2 Do not be quick with your mouth,

do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.

"God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." It is an admonishment I need, and not just when coming before God.

Oh, to master the art of Few Words. Why is it that just when I've made a simple point and all is going well, I invariably go further, say more; and dig myself a hole I would like to vanish into? You would think that I would learn. Apparently not.

I already had this theme stirring in my heart when I opened up my little green note book and read something that my friend Frances said last year, when her husband Brian shocked--I mean surprised, her by bringing home the dog…

Words and Waiting

I love words. They help me so much. I can delight in discussions about their meaning, quibble about them when they are used incorrectly, laugh hilariously at some turn of phrase and some second meanings that touch me somewhere deep within. They are a special language for me with certain friends. They are one of my love languages. I delight to use them to bless others, and to receive them in a similar way. And they are also a great source of hurt to me by their lack when I need them, and by their deliberate use in a negative way.

And they are one of God’s love languages to me. To all of us, of course, in His WORD, but especially to me in a variety of ways. Special words from scripture and words from songs and poems have lit up my path. Prophetic words have blown me away. However they come from God, they speak deeply within me, to His spirit alive in the depths of my being.

They especially help when life is a struggle, when I feel like there is such a gap between God’s promise to me and t…
Our posts will now appear early in the morning (and should be there by the time people get up and look for them). In so doing, there will some changes in who posts on which day. So that you know when you can expect to hear from each of us:

Sunday Belinda
Monday Joyful Fox
Tuesday Ang Cat
Wednesday Meg
Thursday Belinda
Friday Belinda
Saturday Susan

Faith Girl is an occasional poster and we look forward to her posts whenever they appear.

Listen and Be Strengthened

"For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. 2 Cor 13:4

"And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2Cor 12:9

"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

I'm still enjoying Brennan Manning's book "The Importance of Being Foolish". This quote from page 132 excerpted from writing by Dietrich Bonhoeffer says,
"Satan's desire is to turn me in on myself to the extent that I become enslaved and become a destructive force in community. The thrust from Jesus Christ is the opposite - to enhance my freedom so that I can become a creative force of love. It is the spirit of self-centeredness and selfishness versus the spirit of openness and self-sacrifice for the good of others."

I read this and think "Ahhhh YES!!!"
This is truly the battle. And i…

The Kingdom of Heaven Belongs To Such as These

They want my attention. Two little boys, soon to be three, clamoring and revelling in my affections. I sit on the trampoline. They run around me in circles, squealing in delight. One does a seat drop and looks quickly to me for approval. I wink. It is enough. He does it again and waits for my words of affirmation or a reassuring smile.

Then they frolic like puppies, tumbling, standing, wrapping arms around one another, giggling, and beginning again. I move back from the fray and open my book. A few minutes pass. They notice. It's not enough that I'm with them. They want my undivided attention.

One places chubby hands on either of my cheeks, his bright smile doesn't waver as he grasps my face. "Mom, I wuv you," he says. I'm smitten. Again I put my book down.
"I love you, too," I respond.

Soon we move from the trampoline and the day goes on. It doesn't matter where I go. They want to be near. Following and adoring.

Evening comes. Children gather round…

The Balance

*Proverbs 25:20 (The Message)
20 Singing light songs to the heavyhearted is like pouring salt in their wounds.

It is tempting to read the Bible selectively, picking out favourite passages to read or memorize, especially when they confirm a point I want to make, but balance is found in the whole picture, not isolated sections.

And so, this week, as I determine to shine light on my path and that of others, trying to take myself less seriously; I feel I need to give some balance--because it's there in God's Word.

Proverbs 25:20 reminds me to be sensitive to someone who is struggling through a dark tunnel. Their need may be for someone to sit with them or simply listen, or to give space so that they can work things through. They don't need someone urging them to laughter or to count their blessings.

Somewhere this week I heard laughter referred to as "carbonated holiness." I loved that! It's one of the tools in God's toolbox.

Love compels me to learn to choose…

A Child is Born!

Susan most joyously announces the birth of her newest grandson...
Owen Edward Prock
...weighing 8lbs 13oz, and arriving at 1:38 a.m. on Aug. 16, 2008. Mom and baby are doing great. Grandma (a.k.a. "Mommy'sMum", is EXHAUSTED!!)
Thank you Ang for covering the blog tonight. Beth will be delighted in the words that were inspired by the birth of her son this night.
A quiver FULL of boys! (This is their fifth boy.) ALL the glory goes to the Lord Jesus Christ!
Blessings all, Susan

And we, your blog friends are celebrating with you, Susan; and Beth, Mike, Mikey, Matthew, Nolan and Gregory.

Welcome to the world and waiting hearts, Owen. We stand ready to love you.

Labour

She stood in the window high above me, smiling and seemingly calm. She was flanked on either side by another daughter and a friend.
We called up with excitement "How's she doing? Any baby yet?"
"Not yet" was the answer, but she's working on it, labouring....

We sent our love and prayers and walked away, my daughter and I, our hearts full. Mine was full with the vicarious range of emotions that the pains of childbirth bring...joy, expectation, trepidation, compassion, exhaustion and wonder. My little girl was just gloriously excited that a baby was being born.

I wonder what goes on in heaven at these times, birth moments, a new life, tiny body, fresh, untainted spirit, potential, hope.
Does the heavenly host revel this much when a soul is born into the kingdom, or even more?

Being born a first time, and then a second, eternity set before us, perilous, wondrous, overwhelming. The beginning of a journey is most often filled with hope.

Sometimes labour is hard and dra…

Of Clouds and Silver Linings

Romans 13:12 (New International Version)
12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

It was late as I drove home after dropping off two friends at their homes and it was already dark. Up in the sky shone the brave moon, bright over the hushed fields and the still busy road. A dark little cloud drifted aimlessly as if it had lost its way on the sea of the night, but suddenly its edges were silvered by the hiding moon.

I understood then, that the adage, "Every cloud has a silver lining," does not mean the same thing as another old proverb, "It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good." Both, I used to think, meant something similar; that to every bad thing there is a grain of good if only you look out for it; but suddenly I saw something else. The true meaning is that even though dark clouds may temporarily obscure the light; it is still there, and every cloud is lined with silver on th…

Not Just Curiosities for a Museum

Do you remember the times when God has made things so clear to you? You wrestle through a decision, seeking His guidance, and you get it without a shadow of doubt. He did that for me about my decision to apply for the Master of Divinity in Counselling at a seminary. At the time I needed unmistakable guidance because there was a powerful mentor in my life believing God was calling me in a different direction. It was a season in my life when I was working through how I made decisions in relation to others, and was learning to listen to God’s voice deep within my heart and match it against the voices of others outside of me. It was a threatening time, and it was new territory to trust my heart and the voice within me.

Today I read some lines from C.H. Spurgeon which reminded me of that day.

“There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for His people to make a show-thing of Him, and not to use Him. He loves to be employed by us. Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, …

Let There be Light!

Proverbs 15:15 & 30 (New International Version)
15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched,
but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.

30 A cheerful look brings joy to the heart,
and good news gives health to the bones.

Tonight at our cell group, on the DVD we were watching, something Dr. Del Tackett said, grabbed my attention. He was talking about a time when his son opened a closet door.

"Stop!" he said to his son, "Do that again."

His son must have thought he'd taken leave of his senses, but he opened the door again.

"That's it," yelled Del, "See? It's light in the closet."

He went to the closet, got inside and closed the door. It was dark. He opened it and the light flooded in.

The zany behaviour was all because Del saw something profound in that moment: Darkness does not overtake light, but light overtakes darkness. The darkness in the world will shrivel before the blaze of light if only we shine brighter.

There…

Summer Heart

Sometimes I get too comfy in my life. I slide by doing the things that must be done, raising children, being a wife, dabbling in my giftings and reading good novels.
All worthy pursuits, enjoyable, lovely to me, yet not without their challenges, except the novel part. The most difficult part of a great book is either the finishing of it, or it slipping from my fingers as my head droops weary into the pillows and my eyelids close despite valiant efforts to read just to the end of this chapter...

It's summer time, both the time of relaxing and ruts.

I've been getting up later, doing less housework, playing more with my kids and relaxing. Sounds good doesn't it.
It is.
My recent realization is that I've been living a summer life for a while. Some seasons (like the school year) require that I get up earlier, but it's not about that.

If I break it down, I think it's about diligence, pouring my all in, doing it for others, not myself and living outside my own head and …

Holy Fool

A poem was read at Faith Community Church in Alliston on June 8. It struck such a deep chord in me then, I asked for a copy. Within me I knew I would share it with my friends at whateverhesays. The time for sharing has come.

Holy Fool

I am a fool
I look beyond reason
I stray beyond logic
I dance when I should cry
I weep when I should party
I am fool of joy for the things I don't know
I am past caring about the things I do know
I love someone I've never seen
I admire people who I know are a mess
I hope things are fragile, I just don't trust stability
I long for the future and I love each step toward it
I walk the earth but I dream of the heavens
I know I am special because of my ordinariness
I find chaos confusing and confusion creative
I am of no influence yet I strive to make a difference
I have no voice yet I shout from the rooftops
I live a life that's a joke with a serious punchline
I am a poet who's lost for words
I love the world that turns its back on all that matters to me
I w…

Be Nice

On summer evenings I love my village walks with Molson.

The path I take leads past some older houses, with old fashioned porches, surrounded by old fashioned country gardens filled with such flowers as lilies and hollyhocks, black-eyed-susans and forget-me-nots.

I admire the wooden porches; some weather worn, others freshly painted, but all inviting. On the porches are carefully arranged wooden rockers or perhaps wicker chairs and loveseats with bright cushions.

"Come sit or rock awhile," they seem to whisper, "Come sit beneath the wind chimes with a good book, or a friend and a cup of tea."

I love the play of light and shadow as the evening breeze sighs through the leaves of the trees.

Hanging above the front door of one house, is a sign bearing a simple message that I have been pondering. "Be Nice," it reads.

What a good message to take to heart, I think.

I would add three more exhortations to make a mantra that, if heeded would make a better world:

Be nice
Be k…

What is "That"?

The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. Proverbs 4:18 ESV

Two precious weeks of rest and restoration are drawing to a close. We returned this morning from the Maritimes, after driving 24 hours straight through to get home in time for a beloved little grandson's first birthday. We have had so many experiences and taken in more of the wonder of God's creation than I ever would have thought possible in two short weeks.

We have scrambled across rocks and felt the salt spray on our faces on deserted areas of our eastern coast. We have seen vistas of beauty that at times took our breath away. We have descended to the black depths of a Cape Breton coal mine, and ascended heights of grandeur along the Cabot Trail. We met people who have instantly enriched out lives, some of whom we will never forget. We have tapped our toes to the infectious music of the Maritimes performed live. We saw wildlife, including two moose…

The Room of Days

Proverbs 2:6-11 (New International Version)
6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds victory in store for the upright,

he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just

and protects the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just

and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,

and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,

and understanding will guard you.

I closed my eyes to listen with full concentration. The music finding its way from my laptop, through the wires and into the ear buds in my ears, was so beautiful that it took me to a place in my imagination; a room in heaven. The Room of Days is what I named it in my thoughts.

I saw a room in which all of our days, just like photos in an album, could be looked at; the choices we made in them seen by the ones whose days they were; many choices, made in split seconds. For instance; …

An Ever Present Reality

The guest preacher unexpectedly turned in the middle of his talk and addressed us – the visiting missionaries – He said the Lord wanted to say 2 Corinthians 12:9 to us: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This man knew nothing of us. We were visiting the church where I had been part of a women’s multi-denominational prayer and study group before we went to live in Uganda. That was our only connection. It was the last Sunday of a six month furlough. I had expected God to speak to us in some special way. But what did this mean?

Of course it’s THE verse for all of us. His grace IS sufficient always. And always it seems we tend to live as if it isn’t. Why were we, now, in our fifth year as missionaries, needing to be told this? No more clues came, even when we were prayed for later in the service. The usual prayers were prayed which were comforting. The preacher said nothing more.

But out in the foyer as we moved in opposite directions, I c…

Be Lifted High

I spotted an unfamiliar face in the crowd that had gathered for a barbecue; the first party at a new home for people with intellectual and physical disabilities .

Outside in the bright, warm sun of the summer day, vans and cars lined the driveway. Someone had set up lawn chairs out on the back deck, but they were deserted; everyone seemed to prefer to gather inside, in a large, bright room off the kitchen. Guests always seem to gravitate where they will!

I introduced myself to the one person there I didn't know, the young man I had seen when I walked in, and as somebody picked up a guitar and began to lead the group in some worship songs, he told us that he'd been reading the psalms. It was obvious from his expression as well as his words, how much they meant to him. He told us of the musical instruments that the psalms mention and how we are to worship God with singing and all kinds of instruments and how God is enthroned on our praises. Since I too, had just almost finished t…