Sunday, 31 July 2011

Where are you looking for refreshment?

Jeremiah 2
My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

It's the real thing...

John 7
On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says."

Friday, 29 July 2011

Holy cow!

James 5
Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you've sinned, you'll be forgiven—healed inside and out.

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.

My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God's truth, don't write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Some lakes are hotter than others...

Be mindful of your actions. They do have consequences...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Life isn't always this easy to follow...

James 5
Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master's Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.

Friends, don't complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner.

Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You've heard, of course, of Job's staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That's because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.

And since you know that he cares, let your language show it. Don't add words like "I swear to God" to your own words. Don't show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can't be used against you.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Love does

1 Peter 3
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here's what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you're worth.
God looks on all this with approval,
listening and responding well to what he's asked;
But he turns his back
on those who do evil things.

If with heart and soul you're doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you're still better off. Don't give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Is your life a story of rejection?

Why not let God write a new chapter?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Apply This!

This cartoon brought to mind a recent blog I read. In it the writer was wondering how to apply David Platt's book, Radical.

Instead of imploring his readers to give the ideas in the book a try, the blog writer simply said, 'this book is rather weak on how to apply all of this stuff.'

I was stunned, but sadly not surprised.

The move from just mere knowledge, or facts, on to significant behavioral change & character formation is sadly lacking in many Christian circles.

Everyone is searching for success stories and, 'the quicker you can show me how to get there' the better.

Instant spiritual growth is a demand, and if its not instant you'd better be able to show me how to get from A - Z in a series of easily explainable steps.

You know, just the way God explained things to Abraham in Genesis.

What specifics are you waiting on God for?

All truly contemplatives souls have this in common: not that they gather exclusively in the desert, or that they shut themselves up in reclusion, but that where He is, there they are.

And how do they find Him? By technique? There is no technique for finding Him. They find Him by His will. And His will, bringing them grace within and arranging their lives exteriorly, carries them infallibly to the precise place in which they can find Him. Even there they do not know how they have got there, or what they are really doing. Thomas Merton

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Ever feel like you're not getting anywhere?

Isaiah 43
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it won't be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior."

"So don't be afraid: I'm with you.
I'll round up all your scattered children,
pull them in from east and west.
I'll send orders north and south:
'Send them back.
Return my sons from distant lands,
my daughters from faraway places.
I want them back, every last one who bears my name,
every man, woman, and child
Whom I created for my glory,
yes, personally formed and made each one.'"

This is what God says,
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can't get up;
they're snuffed out like so many candles:
"Forget about what's happened;
don't keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.
It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Do you always have to be right?

According to Marshall Goldsmith, 'the need to win at all costs and in all situations -- when it matters, when it doesn't, and when it's totally beside the point' is actually a detriment to your character & further development.

Next time bite your tongue & let it go.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Which sword are you wielding?

Matthew 26
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."

Ephesians 6
Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

What's the story of your life?

Preparing my mom's obituary & eulogy was a daunting task.

How do you encapsulate in words someone's life that touched so many others & in such deep ways?

In going through her papers she herself had written to her alumnus, the Vermilion School of Agriculture (now Lakeland College),

"Helping people was my life. I'm now retired, but continue to help people, in whatever area they need assistance in."

That most definitely was my mom, & I always understood her desire to help others, even when I was a young child it was evident.

I seek to help people find God in the midst of life.

What is the story of your own life?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Get outside!

Direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. Richard Louv

Try going for a walk as a family, or biking, or even gardening!

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.

God looked over everything he had made;
it was so good, so very good!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Romans 12:9
Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Overcoming hurdles...

Romans 5
We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Friday, 15 July 2011


The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. George Bernard Shaw

What you say isn't always what others hear.

How you said what you said isn't always how you remember saying it.

We often spend a great deal of time preparing to speak; what if we spent extra time preparing to listen?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Abundant Community

"In our book, The Abundant Community, we point out that there are at least six community-building characteristics of a neighborhood that empowers its residents: cooperation, hospitality, generosity, kindness, forgiveness and accepting fallibilities.

Each of these qualities is a power and creates powerful results.

Kindness is the power to care. A careless society is a weak society. It finally descends to callous practices and brutal disregard for its members.

Hospitality is the power to welcome. A fearful society is frightened of strangers and weakened by its exclusions of the talents of strangers inside and outside its community.

Generosity is the power to give. Powerlessness is greatest when we are denied the right to contribute and express ourselves. That is why prison is so terrible, even though food, clothing and shelter are provided. There is no stronger punishment than denying a person’s power to give.

Cooperation is the power to join with your neighbors to create a future. Every totalitarian system knows that the greatest threat is people working together in groups, small or large. In those societies, the power to associate is called a conspiracy.

Accepting fallibility creates the power to enjoy each other in spite of our failures, deficiencies and differences. It creates the glue that holds us together in spite of our nature.

Finally, forgiveness is the power to forget. Many communities have been weakened for centuries because of an event that happened in the distant past. Until a community or its members can overcome a pervasive sense of grievance, that community will atrophy in a spirit of retribution." (From The Abundant Community website)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

No more grieving...

Revelation 5
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

God at grieving...

John 11
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

“Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Monday, 11 July 2011

Good at grieving?

People who are good at grieving, those who recover from a trauma or a massive loss - they grieve and feel it deeply but then turn away from the negative feelings.

They accept and move on, they don't ruminate or over-think on the negative and pessimistic.

Over thinking ushers in a host of adverse consequences. It sustains or worsens sadness, fosters negatively biased thinking, impairs a person’s ability to solve problems, saps motivation, and interferes with concentration and initiative.

Moreover, although people have a strong sense that they are gaining insight into themselves and their problems during their ruminations, this is rarely the case. What they do gain is a distorted, pessimistic perspective on their lives.
Sonja Lyubomirsky

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Today would have been...

My mom's 77th birthday.

She's been gone only 2 days yet I miss her so much.

Yesterday on the way to her apartment to get some info I needed for the funeral home I was moved to stop by an old friend of hers who lives across the street.

I had the dozen roses my aunt had bought for my mom for her birthday, & felt they should go Rennie. Rennie is around my moms age & was widowed just a couple of years ago.

Rennie used to walk & talk with my mom & was devastated that she had passed. Giving her the roses seemed like something mom would have done.

As we cried & embraced I felt God's comfort there for both of us.

Happy birthday mom.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Goodbye to 9Y-25...

This morning we cleaned out my mom's hospice room, said goodbye & thank you to the many staff who really cared for her these last 51/2 weeks of her life.

It was hard to go up to the unit knowing she was no longer there, as well as realizing I would not be coming back to visit her ever again.

Taking down the cards, the flowers and the art work my kids had made for her wall felt so sad & empty.

Yet in the midst of it I found myself so thankful that mom was able to be a part of this caring community while her life wound down.

It was exactly the kind of place she could have worked or even volunteered, for life was always precious in her eyes, relationships of crucial importance and those who hurt always had a place in mom's heart.

I will never forget 9Y...

Thursday, 7 July 2011

an empty glass

A friend of mine (thanks Clint) tipped me off to a talk his dentist gave after receiving a Distinguished Medal of Service from the Alberta Dental Association and College to the 2011 Dental Congress Awards Night.

Dr. Paula Yeung has Stage IV lung cancer and during her talk she remarked,

"If I could use a glass of water to be an analogy for life, I am grateful that I still have a few drops remaining in my glass. Though it is reaching the bottom, it means a lot to me and my family, as we can spend this little time together."

I was deeply struck by the power of Dr. Yeung's comment, and that in my mom's particular situation she is now down literally to her last drop.

These last few drops of life my mom has lived have been extraordinarily painful, yet they are precious precisely because they are the last few drops of life she has had.

Many thanks to those who have shared in this journey. I could not have walked it alone.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Live it - ups and downs and all!

1 Corinthians 11-12
I've worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death's door time after time. I've been flogged five times with the Jews' thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I've been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I've had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I've been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I've known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather.

And that's not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut.

If I have to "brag" about myself, I'll brag about the humiliations that make me like Jesus. The eternal and blessed God and Father of our Master Jesus knows I'm not lying. Remember the time I was in Damascus and the governor of King Aretas posted guards at the city gates to arrest me? I crawled through a window in the wall, was let down in a basket, and had to run for my life.

...Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Life is art

No work of art is more important than the Christian’s own life, and every Christian is called upon to be an artist in this sense. He may have no gift of writing, no gift of composing or singing, but each man has the gift of creativity in terms of the way he lives his life. In this sense, the Christian’s life is to be an art work. The Christian’s life is to be a thing of truth and also a thing of beauty in the midst of a lost and despairing world. Francis Schaeffer

Monday, 4 July 2011

Tough words from James...

Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.

You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

1 Timothy 6
A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough.

But if it's only money these leaders are after, they'll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.

But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive. C. S. Lewis