Sunday, May 31, 2009


"Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains." Proverbs 14:13

There are all types of laughter. Belly laugh. Chuckle. Giggle. Side-splitting. Nervous. A few days ago I wrote about a wonderful afternoon of laughter. It was real, sincere and healing. Yet, laughter can so easily be a tool of protection providing a mask, to blanket feelings. It's colourful and amusing, but it also provides a hiding place. Behind the joyful sound of delight is a heart of despair. The music of laughter conceals the misery of a mournful song silenced, and when it's melody is over, grief remains.

Lately the song being orchestrated across my life is one that plays itself out after the laughter is gone. When words can't be found and all the tears have been cried, music expresses the language of my heart. Feelings that can't be shared with anyone else flow and dampen the ivories as pain finds expression. Anger, frustration, confusion and heartache are unlocked. Unspoken words find an avenue of speech. My soul is exposed. Truth is uncovered. The smile is a facade.

Fearing my pain will be discovered, not by you, but me, laughter is helping me live above my now. It's my weapon of defense, shielding my mind from reality, preventing my emotions from dictating my living and sheltering my heart from the sneers of the evil one.

If I truly let my mind hold the accuracy of my current, depression would control. Laughter is but a momentary liberation. It provides a break in the monotony. I'm so thankful to those who find a way inside. They have a gift. Even if the laughter isn't lasting, it's relief and release brings healing.

Yes, grief remains, but for a few minutes I've forgotten it's pain.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pollyanna Perspective

"If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!" Proverbs 11:27

One of my favourite old Disney movies is "Pollyanna" with Haley Mills. As I read the above verse this morning, I was reminded of the quote found inside the locket Pollyanna wore, the locket given to her by her father.

"When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will." Abraham Lincoln.

In the past many weeks as my journey has been difficult at best, I have found the opposite to be just as true as well. If I search for the good, expecting to find it, I surely will. Often the search is longer and harder as the treasure is buried, but it's there, and it's so precious for the finding.

Did I come to this perspective easily? No! I have a friend who is daily encouraging me to focus on the positive. To look for the good and keep looking until I find it. I'm discovering that so much of the 'bad' is speculation, possibility and appearance, but not truth.

The benefit of being a scout for the favourable is that it focuses my mind on the agreeable and pleasing. For example, today, sitting by my Dad's bedside in the hospital as he enjoyed an afternoon nap, I tuned my ears to good. This is the good my heart heard:

...a patient trying to sing Happy Birthday...a Dr. who is checking Dad for infection and providing a cream...the sweet nurse Kim who seems so caring...the nurse playing "Crazy 8's" with another patient (a fitting game for this ward...oops...sorry..couldn't help myself..) encouraging word as the nurse praised another patient who almost found her room by herself...the sound of invitation extended to Dad's room-mate to go watch orderly who offered directions to an outdoor patio if we wanted to take Dad outside...the nurse who voluntarily told us about chapel services...the nurse who was putting the kettle on to refresh a weary soul...

The sound of 'good'.

What good did you hear today? Keep seeking!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Hopes and Happiness

"The hopes of the godly result in happiness..." Proverbs 10:28

In order to even consider my hopes resulting in happiness, I must first define 'godly'. Pious. Righteous. Practicing virtue and avoiding sin. Showing reverence for God. Honouring God in my conduct. Acknowledging His sovereignty. Being obedient to His Word. A godly person has counted the cost and continues pursuing holiness. I certainly haven't arrived, but I believe my feet are walking on the right path.

Today I long for my hopes to result in happiness. I know that I cannot claim this verse as a promise, as Wendy reminded us on Wednesday, but the possibility is offered. Solomon did observe a consistancy in this general truth.

Last night fresh hope was breathed into my soul. A window of opportunity just might be opening in regards to my Dad's long term care. Although we have been informed to expect at least an eight month stay a this present, unpleasant location, through a phone call we have been given hope that a move could take place much sooner. Oh friends, will you join me in praying for God to intervene? These 'hopes' would result in much happiness!

I realize these are circumstantial, conditional hopes, however, properly placed hope comes with a guarantee. All hope can result in happiness when placed in God because regardless of the outcome, I can know the joy of the Lord.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His Word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

One Voice

"My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you've learned." Proverbs 5:1-2

"...and your lips will express what you've learned." That phrase caught my attention this morning. So often my lips fail me. I've learned quite a lot over the past almost 47 years, yet the words that escape often times are not a reflection of wise learning. Some teachers have imparted lasting lessons that need to be embraced. Others, who I trusted, passed on knowledge and understanding that corroded my perceptions, damaging my thinking.

Careless, thoughtless, hurting, incorrect, idle words too often come flowing unbridled when wisdom is not heeded. Frequently my conscience gives the warning from the understanding imparted in my heart, yet I don't allow it to direct my path.

That's where wisdom comes in. The ability to discern the what, when, where, how and why of opening my mouth. Words based on fact, not feeling. Wisdom provides the skills to sift and place a guard on my lips. It's from the overflow in my heart that my mouth speaks. My word problem is a heart issue.

Lord, I pray for that discernment. Teach me discretion in what I hear, repeat and believe. May the voice I find, both spoken and written, be grounded in reality and actuality. May I accurately convey truth, without being swept up in a current of hearsay. Place a filter in my mind and on my heart to guard the thoughts that form the words that flow from my mouth. May any expression today be prompted by You alone. It's a choice to listen to wisdom's voice.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009


"Don't get sidetracked..." Proverbs 4:27

Well...I sure did today! Here it is, almost 11pm, and I'm only now just sitting down to share some thoughts. The thing of it is...I had a free day!!! How is it possible, on a day when NOTHING was pressing, that I accomplished so little?

Sidetracked. To deviate, divert or delay. Yes, that was me today. I had a list of things a mile long to do, like cleaning bathrooms, washing floors, vacuuming, dusting, but the seconds became minutes, which became hours and before I knew it, the time had come for me to pick my son up from school. How did it happen?

I deliberately decided to deflect duties. After an hours walk in the rain and a coffee with my sister, I played "dress-up" with some clothes a friend left in a bag at my front door. The computer beckoned me, and I relented to it's call. Next I toured an old stomping ground and enjoyed tea with a friend. Laughter marked my afternoon. Not just little chuckles, but roll-on-the-floor, smile-'til-your-cheeks-hurt, healing laughter. Making supper was next on the agenda and then I hurried to my son's school for their three-hour music concert.

Yes, I got sidetracked from my plans today, but I think it put me in the center of God's plans for me. It was a good derailment.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

God's Rest

“…God gives rest to his loved ones.” Psalm 127:2

Rest. A coveted commodity. Rest has been replaced with recreation, and we fool ourselves into believing we are being recharged. Rest is defined as freedom from activity. Respite. Pause for relaxation. Inaction. To me it’s more than physically being still.

I have sat in a posture of ‘rest’ for the past 12 weeks at the side of my Daddy’s hospital bed, but I have not experienced ‘rest’. It’s more than a position. If just sitting still was enough, I should be the "Energizer Bunny". So, why today, am I worn, weary and wasted?

Phsycial rest without the accompanying emotional, spiritual and mental rest accomplishes nothing. We need heart, soul and mind rest as well. I have to confess, I'm not doing very well in those areas this morning.

Yesterday I "rested" in some knowledge that has turned out to be false. For those of you reading this who are aware of the journey I have been on with my Dad, please continue to pray. The day started out so hopeful, but has taken a devestating turn and I'm exhausted from tears that have flowed, unstoppable. My head is aching. My heart is hurting. I don't understand.

LORD, I've been trying to hold on to You through this...I've been trying to trust Your ways and Your plan...I've been trying to hold on to hope from the beginning...I haven't understood any of it....Daddy went in for day-surgery...a small procedure...why has this all happened? I can't stand it. I don't get it. My heart can't break any more than it is right now. My Daddy was moved further away and is locked in a hospital...a place where we had been promised help...Lord, please be very present with Daddy right his companion...He's afraid, begging and crying his family not to something...get Daddy out of there...My sister and I sat and cried together last night and she just kept repeating, "He'd be better off dead". We held hands and again implored the Lord for divine intervention.

Just as I turned off my computer in the wee hours this morning, my sister sent me an e-mail. She had called the hospital and had a beautiful talk with Nicole, a nurse in Dad's area. She said Dad settled REALLY well and was super cooperative, the BEST patient they'd had there (no kidding! - He shouldn't be in this hospital!!) He took his pills (love to know what they gave him!!!), had his cranberry juice and has gone to bed. My sister cried on the phone to the nurse explaining Dad shouldn't be there. So thankful last night for that phone call. God allowed it to provide a little rest.

Circumstances, situations, thoughts, location will never supply the rest we truly need. True rest is found in a Person. Matthew 11 tells us that He will bring rest to our souls. Father, today I need to rest my very worn and weary self in You. Sing me a lullaby Lord.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

A Whole New World

“I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes.” 1 Kings 10:7

Seeing is believing. Isn’t that the way the saying goes? I mean some things just have to be seen to be believed don’t they? I’ve often heard someone express, “If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it.” The story being told is so incredible it is beyond our finite comprehension so our minds can’t fathom it. The Lord must have known our propencity for the sight sense. Our need to see and not just read the word. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory..." John 1:14.

Yet sometimes even seeing isn’t enough.

The disciples imploring the Lord for Peter's release from prison, rejected the servant girl’s report when he arrived at the door in answer to their prayers. Sight didn’t erase doubt. Belief obviously hadn’t accompanied the request. They saw the answer, but couldn’t receive the truth. Seeing through our natural sight doesn’t guarantee belief.

When we begin seeing through eyes of faith, it opens up a whole new world of sight, yet there will always be things we will never see, because of our limited understanding.

Lord, I pray today You will help me trust You where I don't see You. Trust that You are working in my Dad's situation. Trust that You are touching a friend who is suffering physically with a debilitating disease. Trust You are healing a marriage that is cold and distant. Trust that You are guiding the writing process for a couple of dear friends. Trust that You are lifting the weight of depression and bringing clarity for another. Lord, where I can't see You today, give me eyes to see, and help me walk in faith that keeps believing until that day I see You face to face.

"...blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20:29

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Heart's Turning

"At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you." 2 Chron 7:13

I must admit...last night I felt I was sitting in the middle of such a season. Dry from no refreshing rain. "Grasshoppers" had devoured growth. A "plague" had infected my heart. A season of drought, devestation and despair. A parched soul from excessive exposure to the heat of hardship. Life was ebbing and hope was difficult to find. And this is God's doing?

"At times I might..." Why does He allow and plan these desert times? Is it to magnify thirst and deepen desire? Is it to develop appreciation for living and recognition that everything good comes from God? Unfortunately, too often they hold me in their grasp, stilling my travel. Footsteps that should move on, give in to the cold climate as I curl up allowing and welcoming atrophy.

At times He will "shut up", "command" and "send" for the purpose of getting our attention and refocusing our heart. Expectation of what we want has trumped appreciation for what's been given. As a friend reminded me this morning I need "willing eyes" to see.

Sometimes the travel from a winter's heart is a choice. Yes the land is dry. Yes the grasshoppers have devoured. Yes the plagues have come. But as my friend Elaine reminded me this morning, God's good is not diminished because of my difficult.

"When pain, hardship, heartache and questions are our requirement, it's difficult to reason the good of God." "Regardless of the mitigating factors that collect and gather to beg my thoughts in another direction, God is after my acknowledging him for his goodness." Elaine Olsen

Although restlessness marked my slumber, this morning I've been given new vision through truths written by the hand of a friend. Too often I allow my life to be robbed by feelings. I surrender to emotions and set up camp in sensitivity, looking for sympathy in my survivng. All such actions scream of insecurity. Life is too short to continue dwelling in dark nights of the soul.

Saddness accompanies my journey right now, that can't be denied. Yet, this morning my eyes continued reading the hope in the next verse of the above passage.

"Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."

The "at times" are not the end. There comes a "then". The subsequently of our now. The turning of a heart.

Father, my heart needs to turn. It has been referenced in grief and needs to be refocused in good. In this desert may I see Your promise.

A silent, sad voice is going to sing a summer's song. Thanks for the invitation Elaine.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Prayer

"Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you." 2 Chronicles 6:19

Dear Heavenly Father, I bow before Your presence this morning in holy awe. Lord, You are my everything. Your Name is majestic and Your love for me so amazing. You are so personal with me. You hold me so close and speak so tenderly. I praise You for who You are...Maker, Creator, Sustainer, Deliverer, Alpha and Omega, my Shelter, my Confidence, my Guide, my Rock, my Hope, Redeemer, Prince of Peace, Shield, Lifter of my head, Messiah, Keeper, Healer, Shepherd, Sanctifier, Comforter, Seeker, Rewarder, One who intercedes, Forgiver, Counselor and Friend.

Lord, You are answering prayer in amazing ways. I am seeing Your hand evident in our family situation with my Dad. You have provided us with the most amazing Chrisitan Personal Support Workers, giving Dad the care he needs. You have kept him close to home so much longer than we had originally been told. You have returned so much of his health and removed his med induced aggresssion and delusion. You are carrying my family and I, and strengthening our trust in You.

Father, I come to You again today, longing to see Your direction and plan. Monday it appears the hospital will be transfering Dad to another hospital. He will be in a cognitive care unit, which I guess is for his good, but Lord, it's further away. Although I know we can't keep going every day, I can't imagine NOT seeing Dad. I don't want to think of him as being lonely. He waits now at the elevators for us every day...sometimes from 5am...hours of looking...longing...yearning to see his family. Lord, will You hold his hand when we're not there and let him know Your presence and our love? I can't stand the thought of him being sad and by himself. His mind is such that we can't explain our absence and expect him to understand or remember.

Lord, will you help him more than adjust to his new location and routine? Will you encourage him to willingly participate in the many activities that are offered and help him embrace this change? Father, help him accept and welcome the new care-givers in his life. May the programs be beneficial and their training lasting.

Father, this won't be his last move. We still await a door to open for a long-term care facility. Lord, You know my choice. I want the best for Dad. I don't want to settle for acceptable. I know You can do more than I can ask or imagine. Father, we toured a home that was beyond my hopes and dreams. Dad could call this place 'home', I know he could. Lord, the waiting list is long, but that means nothing to You. I love that You don't know the word impossible. It's not in Your vocabulary. I'm removing it from mine and choosing to trust You.

Lord, thank You for the opportunities You are providing to testify of Your love to nurses, doctors, patient's, visitors, and hospital staff. Father, keep me faithful. Faithful in my witness for You in action and word. Thank You for those who are surrounding us with prayer. You are meeting our every need as we wait and trust in You.

The road is long. I'm tired. Hold me longer.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Building Plans

"Solomon also built a palace for himself, and it took him thirteen years to complete the construction." 1 Kings 7:1

My heart delights today in Solomon's priorities. Solomon built the Temple for God,(see 1 Kings 6), then he built for himself.

How's my construction plan going? Where are my efforts focused? Am I building for God or self? If my first foundation isn't God, than my labour is in vain.

What blueprints are demanding your time today?

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Thursday, May 21, 2009


"...our God is greater..." 2 Chronc. 2:5

Do you need to see God greater today? I do.

I need to see Him greater than...
...the Dr's answers...
...the Hospital Discharger's plan...
...the Community Care Access worker's choices...
...the Long-Term Care facility waiting list...
...the "no bed" placement availability...
...the weariness of a wife, pouring her life out for her beloved...
...the frustration of a daughter, angry at the system...
...the guilt of a mother not available for her family...
...the continuation of medical tests tomorrow...
...the pain of a closed door...
...the fading of a dream...
...the lonely heart of one misunderstood...
...the burden of financial concern...
...the questions that flood my mind...
...the need that overwhelms...
...the condemnation of the evil one...
...the understanding of His ways...
...the failure of my comprehension...
...the mountain blocking my view...
...the worries that flood my soul...
...the battle of the evil one...
...the agenda of Satan...
...the weapons formed against me...
...the insurmountable red tape...
...the resentment that divides...
...the feelings that shift focus...
...the torrential downpour of this storm...
...the shadow that hides His promise...
...the irreversible loss of memory...
...the broken relationship...
...the strained friendship...
...the fear in living every day...
...the knot at the end of my rope...

"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule." Matthew 5:3, The Message (Thanks Tracie!)

Whatever you're going through today...know..."our God is greater"!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


“I am like a little child who doesn’t know (her) way around.” 1 Kings 3:7b

The first day of High School. Standing inside the doors of further education. Timetable clasped in my hands. Praying that I won’t be late for my first class. Glancing down hallways and hoping to hear that voice behind me saying, “This is the way, walk in it”, Isaiah 30:21. Breathing in uncertainty and exhaling indecision. Seconds separated lost and found, but it felt like an eternity.


A frightening word and a familiar feeling.

Lord, right now I am that little child. Unexpected winds have blown me off course. Surrounded by unknown, I am directionless and disoriented. I can’t find my bearings. Questions fill my days and haunt hours of restlessness. Caught in a cycle of unending circumstances, I’m wandering aimlessly.

Voices beckon me offering advice. Too many choices. Too many demands. Each decision leaves someone disappointed. Impossible to please and satisfy everyone. And what about me? Where is Your purpose as I meander down paths of pain? This is foreign territory and I’m a stranger in the land.

Lord, I’m searching for answers. I reach for the compass of Your Word, as mine lays shattered at my feet. You are my true North. You alone know the way out of the forest of confusion. Let one leaf fall to guide my way. Give me eyes to see. In my self-consumed thoughts, don’t let me step over this marker unnoticed. May the sound of crunching beneath my feet break through my bewilderment, as creation grabs my attention and points me to You. Help me navigate through feelings and faith, keeping my eyes fixed on You, the bright and morning Star.

I am so small. Life seems so big. You surpass them all. Take my hand Lord and show me the way.

"I'm a little lamb who's lost in the wood...oh how I need, Someone to watch over me." (Gershwin)

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


"Stengthen the man you love..." Psalm 80:17

My Dad is becoming frail. He complains of weakness in his legs and a heaviness that falls over him. So sad to see how quickly his life has changed. Twelve weeks ago he was driving his car. Now his life is spent surrounded by four walls of a hospital room. We take him outside as often as we can for a breath of fresh air, but it's not the same. He's not the same.

A trembling hand grips a spoon at meal times. His other hand aids the utensil to it's desired destination, while a towel, acting as a bib, is in place to rescue any spills. Shuffling steps accompany the sound of a walker as we stroll down the hall. Shoulders hunched, Dad no longer stands tall and confident. He is fearful and uncertain. A wheelchair provides transportation for longer outings. The man who always cut the grass wearing a shirt and tie, now remains in pajama's and housecoat. His expression is sad. Smiles and laughter are few, but treasured. Sitting staring silently, I wonder what goes through his mind. Is he aware of all he's lost? Does he even know where he is? Does he know how much I love him...and miss him?

He tries so hard to answer questions correctly and becomes frustrated at his lack of memory. Many faces are no longer familiar. Thank You Lord for the gift that Daddy still knows me. He waits each day for our trip across the street to the park, weather permitting. Bundled up in winter coat and blankets, we head over. He loves to head to the baseball diamonds to watch a game. The children on the swings always make him smile. A pigeon building a nest. A seagull scavaging for food after an abandoned picnic. The view of the horizon. The colour and curls of that little girls hair. Father, the things I would miss, that would go unnoticed, if not walking with my Dad.

Lord, strengthen the man You love. Oh how I still pray for a miracle. I will not give up. I know God is able to heal my Dad completely, and like David who prayed for the recovery of his ill son, I will continue to implore the Lord until Dad is free of suffering here or there.

Thank You for Your promise, that as our days, so shall our strength be, Deut.33:25. My own weakness is implied by my claiming of this Word. Strength for my days...this day...this hour...this moment. Tomorrow's strength will come tomorrow. This is today's grace. As different as our days shall be, and as long as our days shall be, and as varied as our needs shall be, God's strength shall be. Lord, for the strength needed just for today I pray...for my sisters...the friend Melissa and her family travelling a road of weary friend wedding planning friends Zoe and weakened friend Diane...strengthen all those You love and fulfill Your promise today.

I rest in Your strength alone.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

A New Language

"When the LORD heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them...Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him." Psalm 78:21,22,32b


When the Lord hears me He furious? Do my words flow from a heart of belief? Does the fire of His wrath burn against me because of my lack of trust? Does His anger rise because I do not take Him at His Word? Do I truly believe He will care for me? Do I accept His Word and claim His promises? Despite His wonders displayed in and around me, I still refuse to trust Him.

Trust involves surrendering my concerns and resting in God's provision and promises. Trust requires relinquishing control. Letting go and leaning on the Lord. It's so easy to say I trust God, but where is that faith evidenced in my life?

Is it in the anxiety I have over my own health?
Is it demonstrated in my worry over my parents?
Is it in questioning how finances will fund my Dad's continual care?
Is it in sleepless nights concerned about my husband's job in this economy?
Is it walking seven flights of stairs daily, not for need of exercise, but nervous of elevators?
Is it saying 'no' to opportunities because of personal inadequacies?
Is it in my tight grasp of friends, afraid of lonliness?
Is it in my insecurity that love will last?
Is it in my fear to step outside my comfort zone and follow His dreams for me?
Is it in the over-protection and restriction I place on my son?
Is it in living my life in the "safe zone" and not the "faith zone"?

Lord, You must often be so furious with me. I don't trust You to care for me. Your care doesn't mean that hardships won't hit, but it means You will never leave me or forsake me. Your care is purposeful, to conform me to Your likeness. Trials do not indicate that I have stepped outside Your concern or attention. Trust is determined in the storm. Trust is the peace and assurance that accompanies the crashing waves. Trust is not continually searching the horizon for the next winds to blow.

Trust is still a new dialect for me. One I don't speak well or often. Like any foreign language, it must be practiced to be perfected.

Lord, my heart's desire is to rest in You so completely, that some day I will be able to speak this language fluently.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

More Than

“I desire you more than anything on earth." Psalm 73:25

"More than anything." Does my desire for the Lord truly fall under that category? More than all else for which my heart longs?

More than my desire to be loved and accepted.

More than my desire to be a published author.

More than my desire to be a good wife and mother.

More than my desire to fight fear.

More than my desire for perfect health.

More than my desire for beauty.

More than my desire for temporary satisfactions.

More than my desire for materialistic gain.

More than my desire to have a friend and be a friend.

More than my desire to become and be found.

More than my desire to please others.

More than my desire to keep up appearances.

More than my desire to see my son grow spiritually.

More than my desire for my husband to be a godly leader.

More than my desire to look the part.

More than my desire for financial gain.

More than my desire for success.

More than my desire to know and be known.

More than my desire to see and be seen.

More than my desire for contentment and happiness.

More than my desire for a beautiful home.

More than my desire for safety and security.

More than my desire to be free of guilt.

More than my desire to never know pain.

More than my desire to walk in confidence.

More than my desire for miracles and miraculous.

More than my desire to never experience worry and anxiety.

More than my desire of Your benefits and blessings.

More than my desire for what You do…I long for who You are.

“I desire You more than anything on earth.”

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Unfailing Love

"Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants." Psalm 89:14

Earlier this morning while visiting a few blogs, I came across this statement in a list of "silver linings" that the author was looking for in her life: "Appreciate people who love me. {Honestly, sometimes I’m not sure why anyone would want to hang out with me.}"

You can ask my friend Andrea, but I was having this exact conversation with her last evening.

You've heard that old saying, "To know me is to love me", but quite honestly, do most of us actually believe that line? I think more often we feel, if we were truly known, no-one would love us. We feel there is nothing in us that is worthy of another's love.

Maybe we have been hurt in the past by others who have been fair-weather friends. Maybe we have been told repeatedly that we are failures. Maybe we have longed for love, tasted it for a season and then discovered in time that love has waned and we're searching for that same unattainable acceptance again. Maybe insecurity has been our portion. We've been taught that the correct behavior and performance result in approval. Lacking in self-confidence, skepticism has taken hold. Doubt and disbelief often put us on the defensive. With trust lacking, incredulity dictates responses.

Maybe it's just stress, but I'm struggling with accepting that anyone, outside of God, can love me just as I am. Word games in the past have hurt and now effort is needed to believe. I feel vulnerable and exposed and long for the security of something certain...someone certain. I wish I had the assurance that others emulate, yet I don't want any form of imitation. I'm through being the great pretender.

This morning my heart has been reminded of God's unfailing love. Love that will never disappoint or disappear. It's a tenacious love, clinging and holding persistantly to my heart. It is from God and it IS God.

Lord, my mind my heart receive.

I used to sing the following song as a teenager. I still need these lyrics to take root in my life. When I finally and fully embrace this truth, I believe I truly will stop seeking and longing for anything more...anyone more, for my heart will be more than sufficiently suffancified.




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Friday, May 15, 2009

Not My Concern

"I don't concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp." Psalm 131:1 am I doing with that and what exactly does it mean to me? Do I actually let go and let God, in situations that are far outside my control?

Deut 29:29 reminds me that, "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law."

There are things I will never know or understand this side of heaven. The things God has revealed I am accountable for, but the secret things belong to God. There are times when I should be at a loss for words. Ecc. 5:2 reminds me to let my words be few.

This verse also encourages me to avoid vain contraversy and keep from becoming involved in matters I will never truly fathom. Questions that involve why God allows pain and suffering...why a child can be abducted or murdered...why there is abuse...why there are drive-by shootings...why planes hit towers...why there are famines...will it be post or pre tribulation...why my Dad was given a medication that triggered dementia. These things are "too great" and "too difficult" for me. (NASB)

Sometimes the most truthful thing I can say is, I don't know why this has happened, but I'm so very sorry.

Lord, keep me from the pain that questioning Your ways brings. Keep me focused on Your absolute turths. Help me to trust Your heart, when I don't begin to understand Your hand. May I remember that Your ways and Your thoughts are higher than mine, (Is.55:9), and relinquish the worry and anxiety that accompanies the unknown.

Lord, thank You for the one thing I do know for certain. I am Yours and You are mine.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Awaken the Dawn

"I will wake the dawn with my song." Psalm 108:2

Wake up, sleeping soul
The gift of light unfolds
Slowly the night gives way
Before the dawning day

Shine in, O Morning Light
Chase back the shades of night
Fill my heart with a song
Silence has reigned too long

I will awaken the dawn
Be the first voice of praise with a song
Till the morning joins in and creation begins
To awake to the sound of this song

High as the heav'ns above
So great is the Father's love,
Love unconditionally
Rejoicing over me

I will awaken the dawn
Be the first voice of praise with a song
Till the morning joins in and creation begins
To awake to the sound of this song

Yo quiero cantar con felicidad
(I want to sing with joy)
Porque Tu renuevas mi ser, al amanecer
(For You renew my soul in the morning)

Alma, despierta ya (Wake up soul)
Huye la oscuridad (The darkness flees)
Venga a la Santa Luz (Come to the holy light)
De El Senor Jesus (Of Jesus the Lord)

I will awaken the dawn
Be the first voice of praise with a song
Till the morning joins in and creation begins
To awake to the sound of this song

Words by Steve Green
Music by Steve Green and Phil Naish

What composition is God writing in your heart today to give Him praise?

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Showers of Blessings

"You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land." Psalm 68:6

My living has been in weary land. I am very familiar with the endless expanse. Nothing grows. It's ground is dry and unyielding. Too tired. A famine has claimed life and the landscape is dreary.

Today the Lord is sending abundant rain and times of refreshing.

An early morning walk along the lakeshore.

Reclaiming childhood wonder, when I didn't need wings to touch the sky.

Living water from the Rock.

Providing a foothold of safety when floods overwhelm me.

The companioned footsteps of a friend for the journey.

A cup of tea and a homemade cake.

A listening ear and someone who understands.

A laugh.

A prayer.

A hug.

Yes, today it is raining, and I've been caught without my umbrella. The Lord is drenching me with His love.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Red Sea Moments

"Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people! He made a dry path through the Red Sea, and his people went across on foot. There we rejoiced in him." Psalm 66:5-6

Can you imagine standing on the shore that day? This isn't a little stream of water, this is the Red Sea for goodness sake. Can you even begin to contemplate the courage it took for some of those people to take those first steps of faith and then keep walking? Were they taken tentatively or tenaciously? I for one certainly would be hurrying. Yet, even as I write that, why would I rush? Do I not believe God will watch over me until I reach the other side? Do I only think He'll take me half-way to His promised land? God made a pathway through the impossible and led them safely to their destination.

Maybe today, you're standing on the shore of a "Red Sea". Not one boat is tied to the dock. No options ahead. Sea billows round you roll. You feel stuck on the shore without any solution as to how you'll cross over to victory. You know others have made the journey ahead of you and trusted in the unseen, but your faith is weak and your fear is strong. You've reached a crisis point and a moment of decision. You stand alone. There is only one way to the other side.


Red Sea moments frighten us because it's at these times we come face-to-face with a truth that calls for surrender. We realize anew that we are not in control. We stand humbled in the presence of a mighty God and all our words are put to the test. Will we believe that God is able to carry us safely to the other side?

Red Sea moments are crossroads. Will my faith become action? They have tremendous purpose. They put us in a position where we must answer the question, can God be trusted? When everything around me looks completely impossible, will I relinquish myself and my situation into God's hands?

Red Sea moments are often places of suffering. Much agony has travelled with us to this point in time as our accompanying companion. God's greatness is birthed in pain.

Peter jumped out of the boat.

Daniel didn't compromise.

Esther asked to see the King.

A woman found her pots.

A father kept his eyes fixed on the horizon.

A mother believed.

What step of faith do you need to take from your shore today? A Red Sea is waiting to divide.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Rescue Me From Me

"I said to myself, 'I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue'...But as I stood there in silence - not even speaking of good things - the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words..." Psalm 39:1-3

God's Word is so personal! I have to admit to almost laughing out loud as I read the verses above this morning. If any of you who read this blog are also Facebook friends with me, you'll know that just two weeks ago my FB status read, "Joy is getting lots of practice holding her tongue!!!" And, as recently as two days ago I wrote, "Joy is about to blow a gasket!" So, do you see the humour...and the irony?

Unfortunately, there are times when a volcano of fiery words errupts, spewing anger, confusion and disappointment. Thankfully it usually only lasts seconds. Emotions can place us on the verge of exploding, as pressure builds to an uncontrollable measure.

So, how did David handle this dilemma? He asks for a new perspective.

"'LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered - how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.' We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing...Rescue me from my rebellion." Psalm 39:4-6,8

In the scheme of things, how important is the situation that has my feelings raging? Even if I am justified in my reaction, is my response really worth it? I say with David, rescue me from me.

I know I've posted this song before, but it was playing when I got in the car this morning. Let's make every moment count friends. No regrets regrets.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Praying For My Mom

"I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart...I am on the verge of collapse..." Psalm 38:8,17

I heard these words just two days ago, coming from the overwhelmed heart of my mother. The stress of the past ten weeks has been taking it's toll on her. She is completely broken as she watches the love of her life for 65 years become a stranger in many ways. I can't begin to imagine the loss as a wife. I only know it as a daughter.

Mom has been a tower of strength and the pillar of our home. It's difficult to watch her suffering now. A time of life when I wish she could just relax and enjoy the blessings of family and friends, she is burdened with the incredible weight of countless decisions and unfathomable heartache.

Growing up, our home was a place where I always felt secure and loved. Mom used every opportunity to set a godly example to let me see the reality of Christ. Even when my sister and I would argue (which wasn't often!), Mom would burst forth in a chorus of "To be like Jesus", making it difficult for our disagreement to continue while being sweetly serenaded with God's truth.

No doubt these teachable moments were a direct result of mom's daily, consistent, personal time with her Lord in prayer and Bible study. As long as I can remember, Mom has been rising each morning by 4:00am to spend time with the Lord, studying His Word and lifting her family and loved ones to Him in prayer. As a child, my days began and ended with prayer. Mom would kneel beside my bed each morning committing my day to the Lord. Then joining hearts and hands around our dinner table at the close of the day, time would be given to read His Word during "Family Worship". I can recall praying for everything and everyone, often stopping in mid-prayer to ask a question or give a hug, but Mom never seemed to mind. I learned early that I could talk to God anytime, anywhere, and He became my best friend and Saviour while watching mom model such an intimate relationship with Him.

Mom is faithful, not only in her quiet times, but in all areas of her life. She is a faithful mother, wife, grandma, great-grandma, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and friend. Her daily letter writing is just another example of her committment to those she loves. It has been the 'norm' for dad to drive to the post office every morning, mailing numerous letters, notes, and little words of enouragement to those the Lord happened to place on mom's heart.

As a godly woman, mom's quiet countenance, gracious nature, open hospitality, discerning spirit and tender heart have always made our home a haven, not just for her family, but for all who enter. A knock at the door, and in no time, the kettle is boiling, as she shares a hot cup of tea, a smile or a tear. She provides a listening ear, encouraging word and prayerful support, ministering God's love.

Perhaps one of mom's favourite past-times, besides a trip to Tim Horton's for coffee with a friend, would be her love of reading! A good book, a hot drink, and a cozy place is mom's personal refuge. She enjoys quiet evenings, needlepoint, fresh white handkershiefs and peanut-buttered toast. She is happiest when her family is happy.

She is the Founder of "There-there's"! Unexpected gifts, large or small, given for no other reason than to simply say, "I love you." We never required a special occassion in our home to wait for a parcel. Often little surprises greeted us on our dinner plates, under our pillows, in lunch bags, tucked away in suitcases and now even on doorsteps. Mom is a generous giver.

Mom invested in the life of her children, making sacrifices for us, and she did it with passion. I cannot thank her enough for making the life-long investment in training and shaping me. She provided the colour and shading that brought depth and dimension to my life. In my growing up years, and still often today, I find time for everything and everyone but you, Mom, and yet, would any of the others have done for me what you did? I don't know how many times I could have made you happy by simply saying, "I love you, mom."

Our relationship hasn't been perfect. We have our differences and we don't always agree. Mom is an eternal optimist, refusing to see any negative and believing always in the good of everyone. Extremely sensitive, her responses have at times received rolled eyes and judgement from this daughter. She goes to great lengths to please others and longs for everything to always appear right and well. Her home is immaculate. Her clothing pressed. Her dinner always prepared. Her floors cleaned. Her windows washed. Her perfume on.

Since becoming a mother myself, I appreciate and love my mother in a deeper way. Being a mother. What a calling. What a responsibility. What an honour! I esteem my mom for the perseverance she continually displays in daily taking the time and effort necessary to ensure that she leave a healthy and godly heritage, a heritage that I now strive to pass on to my family.

Today as I celebrate being a mom, I also celebrate the memories and moments shared with my mom. Treasures in my heart that will never wear out or fade away.

Linda Weber, in her book, "Mom You're Incredible!" writes:

"Motherhood is not an entry-level service position for mindless, insecure and second-class citizens. It is the noblest of callings. To be entrusted with the very life, health and well-being of a tiny human person is a great gift and honour. To realize this small child reflects traits and characteristics of you, your spouse, and your families is a mind-shattering and heart-rending realization. To invest your time and best efforts into a child and to watch him grow, develop, and excel is to be part of the creative majesty of life itself. Never let anyone denounce motherhood or dissuade you from experiencing it. It transcends all other experiences."

As Theodore Roosevelt said, "No other success in life - not being President, or being wealthy, or going to college, or writing a book, or anything else - comes up to the success of a man or woman who can feel that they have done their duty and their children and grandchildren rise up and call them blessed."

Mom, today I rise up and call you blessed, as I am blessed by having the delight and honour of being your daughter. I wish right now I could remove all the pain, loneliness, decisions, misery and distress. I am doing what I can, but it feels like so little as I watch your head bow, your body shake and tears flow.

Today Mom, I am praying for you. May the Lord tenderly hold you. May you feel His arms surround you. May your heaviness lift. May your helplessness be replaced with great courage. May the clouds of darkness dissipate. May His peace, that passes understanding, reign and be a reality in your heart. May your fear and insecurity vanish. May His love carry you...just for today...and then all your tomorrow's. I love you mom.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

His Hands

"My times are in your hands." Psalm 31:15

Time. Past, present and future. The mystery of tomorrow, the moment of today and the memory of yesterday all held in God's hands. Hands that have arranged every event and shaped every course.

Not only is our future in His hands, but our frame is also. A Father's hand holds us. Pierced hands. Outstretched hands. Beautiful hands. Merciful hands. Comforting hands. Guiding hands. Instructing hands. Loving hands. Sustaining hands. Stengthening hands. Supportive hands. Protecting hands. Delivering hands. Freeing hands.

"In all that has been sent, in all that has been recalled, and in all that has been withheld; his hand, noiseless and unseen, has moved. Ah! yes, that hand of changeless love blend's a sweet with every bitter, pencils a bright rainbow on each dark cloud, upholds each faltering step, shelters within its hollow, and guides with unerring skill, his chosen people safe to eternal glory." Octavius Winslow

His hands not only allow, but they also restrain. With all that has happened recently in my life, with all that is happening, and all that is yet to happen, I am so thankful to surrender myself into such capable hands.

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Friday, May 8, 2009


"Is this the one who relies on the Lord?" Psalm 22:8

I am writing this while waiting to see my doctor. An intense pain awakened me at 2:15am this morning and robbed me of any further slumber. Although my body has been experiencing these symptoms since Monday, I have tried to ignore them. This morning my feeble frame said, 'Enough! I need attention!' So, after a brief consultation with a nurse on the Telehealth phone line, I have surrendered to an appointment for further care.

This mornings reading asks a searching question. "Is this the one who relies on the Lord?"

What does it mean to rely on the Lord? Does it mean that if I trusted Him completely I wouldn't be sitting here now? Most certainly not. The Lord has given us a mind and He wants us to use it. He has given wisdom and training to medical staff and uses them to provide our care.

Relying on God means I will quit my incessant worry and trust my life in His hands. It means calling on Him first before running to friends to supply for my need. It means giving Him fear, doubt, worry and anxiety and knowing that He is working for my best and His glory.

I think often the Lord looks down on this little Much Afraid and asks, "Is this the one who 'says' she relies on Me?" He must shake His head at all my worries and anxieties, thinking, 'Child, if you would only place yourself in My hands and let Me carry you. You seem to have more faith in fretting than in letting go.'

I want to declare with David in Psalm 26:1, "I have trusted in the Lord without wavering."

Unwavering. No compromise. Standing on and believing in God alone. Surrendering my fear for faith. Unshakeable. Without doubt. Completely resolved that absolutely nothing can unsteady my stand and belief in my Savior. "Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me", Psalm 23:4. I desire to say with assurance and conviction, " LORD, I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God!" Psalm 25:1

Friends, we can expect our faith to be challenged. Our faith can be stressed and pressed through so many circumstances. Those trying times are opportunities to exercise and live out our saving faith. Our biggest obstacle is ourself. We are capable people. We are smart. We have been provided with many resources. We think we can do it on our own. We must learn that no matter how confident we seem, we can only have victory through Christ.

We can have unwavering faith through extraordinary circumstances. Though we are guaranteed that waves will beat upon the shores of our lives, we can stand firm with faith that will not be washed away. We might not have oceans of faith. It might be but a single tear, silently expressing our longing to keep holding on. It is enough.

"...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

It's not about the size of our faith, but the size of our God! And, He's not wavering.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Deliberate Sin

"How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don't let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin." Psalm 19:12-13

As I read through the passages in the Psalms today, they were filled with so many wonderful promises and verses of hope. My heart thrilled with delight at God's unfailing love, divine protection, perfect guidance, incredible blessings and miraculous answers. As Pollyanna would say, I highlighted so many "glad passages".

However, the verses that grabbed my heart were the two above. Not exactly ones that fall into the "glad" category. Ones that actually stirred up conviction and shame.

Friends, I'm nothing if I'm not honest here in my writing.

Today I could so easily share about the splendor of God's creation giving praise from Psalm 19. I could write more about my wonderful inheritance from Psalm 16. I could speak about seeking God from Psalm 14. The Lord's rescue and goodness hold such hope in Psalm 13. God's pure promises encourage me in Psalm 12. Yet, those reflections would be, but clever, crafted words if I abandon what the Lord most impressed on my heart today.

Deliberate sin. On purpose. Knowing in advance that it is sin, yet following in spite of the Spirit's warning to my soul.

I wish I could be quick to say that I have never chosen to sin deliberately, but unfortunately, even saying so, I'd then be speaking such.

I have known in my heart that the unkind words about to run from my lips will hurt, yet I have provided their footing.

I have realized that my action will pain another, yet I chose to proceed.

I have considered that I would be demonstrating pride by continuing down that path, but I have walked it regardless.

Just this past Monday night I excused an answer I gave someone as "truth", justifying my response because I wanted to give an affirmative reply. When questioned whether or not I had followed through with something I had promised to do, I said 'yes', telling myself I had intended to do it and would fulfill the request as soon as they left, so truly, it was as good as done. Why did I not just admit that I hadn't completed the task? I was afraid of looking like I had failed. Yet, in speaking a lie (let's call it what it was!), I have lived with the guilt.

The job I had neglected wasn't a big deal. A day or two late would have resulted in no ramifications. Yet, pride controlled my heart and gave instruction to my tongue and I obeyed sin's choice. A second of disobedience has caused days of regret and shame. So, was that momentary escape from expected judgement worth it?

I could have simply, in all honesty, replied 'no' and I'm certain I would have been offered grace, but instead I chose to deliberately sin.

Three days later my answer has now become truth, or at least that's what I'd like to believe, as the duty has been done. The truth however, is that my original answer can never be anything but what it was...a deliberate sin.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Greater Joy

"You have given me greater joy..." Psalm 4:7

Today is a day of greater joy.

Today is a day of celebration.

My Mom and Dad celebrate 65 years of marriage today. A wonderful milestone has been reached. Sixty-five years of covenant living and loving.

Their love has climbed mountains, endured desert dryness, walked paths of pain, forged valleys, battled storms, soared over unexpected wonders and lingered in gardens of delight, always side by side.

Firm believers in never allowing the sun to set on an unkind word or misunderstanding, short accounts were kept and a lifestyle of forgiveness was modelled. Their love was and is anchored firmly in the Lord.

Married in their late teens, now in their 80's, any observor would forget their age as they walk hand-in-hand and arm-in-arm.

"Dorf" and "Demf", as they lovingly call one another, still embrace like newlyweds. Mom will ask, "Who's your girl?" and Dad will respond without hesitation, and with exclaimation and a twinkle in his eye, "You are."

Cupping Mom's face in his hands, he still speaks words of endearment, cherishing her beauty. He adores her completely.

They were first love and only loves.

The following picture was taken about nine months ago.

Most of you know that my Dad is struggling with health concerns right now. We are hoping to enjoy a little time of celebration today. Please pray that it will be a special day for all our family. Ten weeks ago I questioned the arrival of this celebration. The Lord has been so gracious as to give us all "greater joy" and more treasured moments with my Mom and Dad.

My sister, her son and I went to the hospital last night to decorate Dad's room to surprise Mom today. Dad enjoyed being in on the planning and he was directing our every move.

I hope to be back later today to post additional pictures.

Today I'm celebrating...and I have greater joy!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Only a Moment

"We are here for only a moment..." 1 Chronicles 29:15

A moment.

A particular point in time.

An indefinitely short period.

The here and now.

It's been said that the past is history. The future is a mystery. The only time we really have is now - just this moment.

Many people are so concerned with adding days to their life that they forget to add life to their days.

“We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.” H. G. Wells

Moments are lost in the 'important'. Busyness crowds out our 'now'.

The truth is, this very moment is the only timeline of your life.

Celebrate that you are alive this very second.

Be fully present in the present.

See the wonder within each treasured gift of time.

Become aware.

Your life is built upon the moments that God gifts to you. What will you do with each one today?

It is the seed of your future, planting and growing flowers of delight. Breathe in the fragrance of the beauty of each second.

Embrace the now.

Be thankful for what is.

“Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” Henry Miller

Moments have become so much more precious over the past 10 weeks. I am cherishing each one with my Daddy. Strange...he's living in the moment, yet it makes us sad. Yesterday's are forgotten. Tomorrow's seem too hard to grasp. His mind can only hold the current. Maybe that's what truly living is all about. Why do we try so hard to hold on to more?

It's the moments that make up our years.

My very dear friend, Elaine, wrote a wonderful post just a couple of days ago that further adds truth to what I'm feebly trying to express here. Please click on her name, visit her blog and be blessed.

We Have This Moment (Gaither Vocal Band)

Hold tight to the sound of the music of living,
Happy songs from the laughter of children at play;
Hold my hand as we run through the sweet fragrant meadows,
Making mem'ries of what was today.

Chorus: We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come, But we have this moment today.

Tiny voice that I hear is my little girl calling,
For Daddy to hear just what she has to say;
And my little son running there by the hillside,
May never be quite like today.

Tender words, gentle touch and a good cup of coffee,
And someone who loves me and wants me to stay;
Hold them near while they're here and don't wait for tomorrow,
To look back and wish for today.

Take the blue of the sky and the green of the forest,
And the gold and the brown of the freshly mown hay;
Add the pale shades of spring and the circus of autumn,
And weave you a lovely today.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

A Dream Denied

"It was my desire to build a temple where the Ark of the LORD's Covenant, God's footstool, could rest permanently. I made the necessary preparations for building it, but God said to me, 'You must not build a temple to honor my name, for you are a warrior and have shed much blood." 1 Chronicles 28:2-3

As a little girl, I had dreams.

Dreams for love, marriage, beauty, acceptance, friendship, position and accomplishments. Some have been fulfilled, others have fallen short of my hopeful imaginings.

Today, as I look around and see others possessing what I had purposed, sometimes it's hard. It's difficult to see another living my dream. The longing is still there, yet it's realization is lacking. For some reason the Lord has decided that, like David, He can entrust me with a vision that requires my prayer and preparation, but not my participation. Sometimes it's the right idea, but at the wrong time. David's son would receive the honour.

How do you feel as you watch your dream being fulfilled by another?

Is there a tinge of resentment and jealousy, or can you truly rejoice with those who rejoice?

We see what God longs for our response to be just a few verses later.

"Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought." 1 Chronicles 28:9

A whole heart worship and willing mind service.

Often He must purify motives of ambition in us to bring us in line with His plans. Our self-serving, self-seeking nature needs refining and refusing so that His name alone will be praised.

God raised David up as a King and warrior, but not a builder.

Is there a dream the Lord is asking you to surrender and even pass on to someone else? Maybe your role will be to train another, or like David, raise a child, to fulfill your dream.

Can you sing with the song writer, "All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give?"

One of the hardest things for us to experience might be to prepare for the building of the dream, but not be one of the construction crew.

"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain." Psalm 127:1

Although God does not call everyone to build temples, we have been given special abilities and talents with which to honour the Lord. We were made specifically and purposefully for His high calling. Praying today that the Lord will be gentle with my misplaced and mistaken desires as I embrace His marvelous dreams for me.

"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." Romans 12:6-8

"Hard as it seems
Standing in dreams
Where is the dreamer now
Wonder if I
Wanted to try
Would I remember how
I don't know the way to go from here
But I know that I have made my choice
And this is where I stand
Until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice

This is the faith
Patience to wait
When there is nothing clear
Nothing to see
Still we believe
Jesus is very near
I can not imagine what will come
But I've already made my choice
And this is where I stand
Until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice

Could it be that He is only waiting there to see
If I will learn to love the dreams that He has dreamed for me
Can't imagine what the future holds
But I've already made my choice
And this is where I stand
Until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice"

(Twila Paris - I Will Listen)

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Long Haul Living

"...the leaders of their family groups, registered carefully by name." 1 Chronicles 23:24

David designates the descendants duties by clans and families. Employing them together would encourage them to work together and love one another...or would it? Great in theory, but could the daily, close contact divide more than unify?

Yesterday afternoon I was steaming mad. I'm sure a 911 call was placed as billows of smoke must have been seen rising above my head. Words had been fired at me suddenly and unexpectedly, and in an instant, my 'good day' had become 'bad' leaving a wake that crashed the shore of my heart with confusion and anger.

On Tuesday our family begins week ten visiting my Dad at the hospital. I have been by my Dad's bedside 67 of those 70 days. As my Mom doesn't drive, she has accompanied me on every visit. Many of those days, both my sisters have also been at the hospital during some of the time I've been there. I wish I could tell you that we always get along perfectly, but that would not be true. Stress and concern over Dad, worry about Mom, schedules that have been abandoned, families that have been neglected, plans that have been forfeited, have combined to make tempers short and frustrations many. I sat bewildered in the eye of the storm, as my life was torn and scattered with winds of accusation.

What is the one thing that's needed to sustain relationships over the long haul? Forgiveness!

John MacArthur says, "It makes sense to forgive. It is healthy. It is wholesome. It is liberating. It is sensible. It relieves tension. It brings peace. It solicits love. And again I say, it is man at his noblest. It is his glory to overlook a transgression." (Prov. 19:11)

Any relationship, family or otherwise, cannot survive without forgiveness. We have to give up the notion of 'being right' or having it my way. When all is said and done, what is truly important? God is using these trials to perfect me, 1 Peter 5:10. God is working through these mistreatments, unfair circumstances, seemingly injustices to bring about spiritual maturity.

Again, John MacArthur encourages, "Be little concerned about your personal injuries and much concerned about your personal holiness. Remember that in your trials God is at work making you strong and holy."

I will fail. I will offend. I will wound. I will hurt.

I will be disappointed. I will be abandoned. I will be injured. I will be accused.

Peter 2:19-20, "For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly...If you do what's right and suffer for it and endure it patiently, this finds favor with God."

Life isn't always fair. Relationships, especially those in close contact, will struggle. Differences will occur. Words will be spoken. Feelings will be hurt. Tempers will rise. But, pause and think of One who suffered even greater injustice.

"No one ever suffered unjustly to the degree that Jesus did. Perfect, sinless, never committed a sin, never deceit in His mouth and yet He suffered more than any man and He deserved none of it. And in the midst of the suffering, never retaliated, accepted it and just committed Himself to God for the purposes which God had in mind."

May God perfect me through my trials.

"Forgiveness brings heaven to earth. Forgiveness puts heaven's peace into the sinful heart. Forgiveness is the image of God. Forgiveness is the advancement of Christ's Kingdom. Forgiveness is what makes a relationship last."

I'm in it for the long haul.

Additional quotes by John MacArthur, 1997, Grace to You

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dealing with Discrepancy

"Once again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census." 2 Samuel 24:1

"Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel." 1 Chronicles 21:1

Do you see my problem here? As far as I can tell, this is the first time I've noticed conflicting explainations in scripture. The Samuel passage refers to "the Lord" causing the census and the Chronicles writting gives credit to Satan. Is your mind like mine? Does it question and wonder which one is correct?

At a young age my Mom taught me the following verse from God's Word, "But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain" Titus 3:9. I like the way The Message puts it, "...concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone. Stay away from mindless, pointless quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code. That gets you nowhere."

We could spend hours debating over the source of David's prompting, but we need to hold onto truth. What do we KNOW from God's Word?

James 1:13 tells us that God does not tempt anyone. God cannot, nor can He, be tempted. According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, our own nature makes us vulnerable to temptation. We can be tempted, but God will always provide an alternate way.

So, God does not tempt us, but He may allow us to be tempted in order to test, prove or help us grow. We certainly saw this earlier as we studied the life of Job. God must have seen something in David's heart that needed to be exposed.

God also did provide a "way out". Joab pleaded with David not to take a census. He knew that a military census was contrary to faith in God. The size of the army meant nothing. Victory would only come through God. David desired to know the strength of his army. His motive was pride.

God gives us freedom. We can't be free to choose unless we have a choice. David chose to disregard Joab's warning and Israel met God's judgement.

I don't want to end there though.

"Now David's heart troubled him after he had numbered the people" 2 Samuel 24:10.

David's conscience bothered him after he had taken the census. Again we see why David is a man after God's own heart. He was far from perfect, but his heart was sensitive to God. Deep inside David's inner man he felt God's displeasure at what he had done.

Have you ever been troubled by something in your spiritual walk? If so, what have you done about it? Have you ignored it and just continued in the same direction? Or, did you stop, admit your error, confess and repent and allow God to deal with you concerning this matter?

David's compromise with pride caused many lives to be taken. We may question, how can God do such things? A more honest question may be, how can God stop when He does, fully knowing what we deserve? He owes us nothing. We don't deserve any of His benefits. It is only and always because of His grace that we don't receive what we deserve.

If a godly man like David can make mistakes, so can we. We need to be accountable; we need to heed sins consequences and we need to take His Word seriously. This will protect us from flirting with danger, rejecting His Word and denying His Lordship.

We will not always understand or be able to explain certain acts of God. His ways are higher than ours and we may not have all the facts or the ability to comprehend His actions. At times like this, we need to hold tightly to what we do know and keep walking by faith.

"Help me to understand. And where I can't understand, help me to trust. And where I can't trust, help me to overcome my unbelief." Ken Gire.

"Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God's plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins." Eric Liddell.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

A Heart's Response

"I love you, LORD..." Psalm 18:1

Profound in it's simplicity, yet what more can I add today.

A truth that has held my heart, captured by the Lover of my soul.

Sometimes silences speak louder than words.

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